The $600 million Mernda rail extension is six months ahead of schedule, with the first test trains to Mernda to run by the end of September.
Acting Premier and Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan, joined Member for Mill Park Lily D’Ambrosio and Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green in Mernda on Monday, April 2 to announce train testing will begin months earlier than expected.
“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,” Allan said.
To date, 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.
Works will continue on signalling, electrical systems and station buildings, and track will continue to be laid from South Morang to Mernda.
“This is great news for the people of South Morang, Mernda and surrounding areas. I’d like to thank teams here on site who have worked so hard since construction started last April,” Green said.
In order for testing of trains to begin ahead of schedule, construction will ramp up over the coming months, including extending work hours in some key locations.
Three new stations – Mernda, Hawkstowe and Middle Gorge are expected to cater for up to 8,000 commuters a day, helping ease congestion along Plenty Road.
The Mernda rail extension 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.
Passenger trains will begin after a comprehensive testing and commissioning period, with details of dates and timetables to be finalised.