The Victorian Government’s $600 million Mernda Rail Extension is six months ahead of schedule, with the first test trains to Mernda to be running by the end of September 2018.
In order for train testing to begin ahead of schedule, construction will ramp up over the coming months, including extending work hours in some key locations.
To April 2018, the project has excavated more than 21,000 cubic metres of basalt rock from under McDonalds Road and South Morang Station, and new rail has started arriving on overnight rail trains to South Morang.
Over coming months, works will continue on signalling, electrical systems and station buildings, and track will continue to be laid from South Morang to Mernda.
Acting Premier and Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said, “Work has progressed well and we expect to begin testing trains by the end of September. It’s a wonderful result for communities in Melbourne’s north.”
The names of the three new stations have also been revealed as Mernda, Hawkstowe and Middle Gorge.
Mernda Rail will deliver better transport and facilities for local residents – with three new stations, community and open spaces, better connections for pedestrians and cyclists, and improved access overall.
The three new stations are expected to cater for up to 8000 commuters a day, helping ease congestion along Plenty Road.
A new shared user path will connect the stations and provide alternative transport options.
Passenger trains will begin after a comprehensive testing and commissioning period, with details of dates and timetables to be finalised in coming months.
Member for Mill Park, Lily D’Ambrosio, said, “It won’t be long until people will be able to catch the train to get where they need to work, school or wherever they need to go – which is exciting for our local community.”