A long-awaited duplication of the Cranbourne rail line will finally get underway as part of $1 billion major upgrade.
Works will ramp up to duplicate eight kilometres of track between Dandenong and Cranbourne during a five-day construction blitz, with buses replacing trains with express buses running every five to 10 minutes.
With Melbourne in lockdown and transport patronage low, crews will limit disruption as they build power, signalling and drainage works at Merinda Park Station and in the rail corridor from Cranbourne through to Greens Road.
Once complete, trains will be able run every 10 minutes on the Cranbourne Line – and the capacity for 121,000 extra peak passengers every week across the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.
The duplication of the Cranbourne line is due for completion by 2023 and will pave the way for planning for a future extension of the line to Clyde.
In the coming weeks work will also ramp up at the Abbotts Road level crossing removal site – the first step in creating support columns for a 400-metre rail bridge to take the second, duplicated track.
The new Merinda Park station is also a step closer, with works on its rebuild to begin in August as parts of the old station are removed. The works will be staged to keep the station as operational as possible during construction.
Designs for the new station have been updated in response to community feedback, with two lifts added to the design and a taxi zone moved closer to the station entrance to improve accessibility. The new station will also feature a new pedestrian underpass with lifts, ramps and stairs to access the platforms and covered waiting areas.
Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said removing the last four level crossings on the Cranbourne Line upgrade would make it the first level crossing-free train line in Melbourne.
Cranbourne MP Pauline Richards said: “These projects are vital to get people home sooner and safer in one of the fastest growing communities – and busiest train lines – in Victoria.”
Nearby, the Evans Road bridge is also taking shape, which will remove the Evans Road level crossing by the end of this year – reconnecting the Lyndhurst, Lynbrook and Cranbourne West communities for the first time in 15 years to restore local connections and improve travel times.