Victoria Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder
First Trains To South Morang Mark Historic Day For Rail
Victor P Taffa
Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder today boarded the first train to the new South Morang station, as Melbourne’s overhauled public transport timetable is rolled out around the network.
With trains now running on the new South Morang line, major works on the $498 Million South Morang Rail Extension project have reached completion.
Mr. Mulder said the 3.5 km South Morang extension marked the biggest expansion of Melbourne’s rail network since the City Loop partially opened in 1981, 31 years ago.
“This is an historic day on our rail network and a fantastic day for Melbourne’s northern suburbs.” Mr. Mulder said.
“The extension of the line from Epping to South Morang is the first expansion of Melbourne’s rail network in more than a generation.”
“This rail extension and the changes we’ve made as part of the new timetable will provide greater public transport access for thousands of locals and help people get to and around the South Morang area.” Mr. Mulder said.
Mr. Mulder and Member for Northern Metropolitan region Craig Ondarchie today inspected works carried out as part of the project, which also saw new stations built at Thomastown, Epping and South Morang, and the duplication of the 5 km single track between Keon Park and Epping.
Mr. Ondarchie said the project had also delivered a host of improvements to the area including improved car parking facilities, transport interchanges and adjoining shared-use paths in the 18 months since construction commenced.
“As a South Morang resident, I am not only thrilled that our new South Morang line is now up and running, but that it is so much earlier than expected.” Mr. Ondarchie said.
“With an original anticipated completion date in 2013, the fact we’re here today in April 2012 on a train to South Morang is outstanding. My neighbours, friends and my local community here in South Morang are delighted.”
The South Morang station is one of three new stations to be in use from today.
New stations at Cardinia Road and Lynbrook are now open to commuters in Melbourne’s south-east.
The new train timetable also features 353 new weekly trips including a major upgrade to weekend and public holiday services on Melbourne’s three most popular train corridors.
Trains will run every 10 minutes to Ringwood, Dandenong and Frankston for much of the day, in a major step towards a high-frequency metro-style timetable.
Weekday peak-time trains will have a frequency of around eight minutes on the South Morang line, with 70 extra weekly trips also added to the South Morang and Hurstbridge lines.
The Craigieburn, Werribee, Sydenham and Upfield lines will be changed to run clockwise through the city loop on weekends, helping footy fans get home more quickly from Etihad Stadium.
Changes to 140 Melbourne bus routes also started today.
Public Transport Victoria Chief Executive Ian Dobbs said the changes were designed to provide improved services to the city’s bus lines.
“These changes will help better co-ordinate train and bus travel to improve connections between modes.” Mr. Dobbs said.
“The changes represent the benchmark of timetable planning for Public Transport Victoria.”
“As well, a $220 Million maintenance and stabling facility at Craigieburn opened earlier this month and is now running 24 hours a day to help keep Melbourne’s train fleet moving,” Mr Dobbs said.
The state-of-the-art facility, which includes a wash plant, stabling and world-class maintenance facilities has also created 120 jobs.
The timetable will also take advantage of the recently delivered 38 new X’Trapolis trains.