South Morang extension starting to look like a railway line

South Morang extension starting to look like a railway line
South Morang extension starting to look like a railway line

In a pre-Easter update, the Level Crossing Removal Authority has posted a swathe of new construction images on its Facebook page which, at last, depict a rail line under construction rather than just a whole lot of earthworks underway.

The rails are now physically connected from the end of South Morang station under McDonalds Road and installation of signalling equipment has occurred.  Track laying has been occurring around the new Marymede station and the bridge over the Simon Creek is progressing.

The extension of the South Morang line to Mernda was an election promise for the Andrews Government and the Level Crossing Removal Authority is the responsible entity for its construction.

The Mernda extension project adds three new stations to the line.  They will be called Hawkestowe, Marymede and the new terminus at Mernda.

South Morang extension starting to look like a railway line
Mernda's station canopy - image LXRA

Hawkestowe and Mernda stations will be elevated and similar in look to the new elevated stations on the Caulfield-Dandenong level crossing removal project.  Marymede station will be situated on the surface.

It's expected the extension of the South Morang line to Mernda will generate an extra 8000 passenger journeys and interestingly a further 2000 car park spaces will be added to the three stations.

With such a lengthy extension of an existing line, a top-up order of trains was required - in the 2016 budget, the government ordered 9 new X'TRapolis trains to be assembled at Alstom's Ballarat facility.

South Morang extension starting to look like a railway line
New stabling facilities having tracks laid at Mernda - image: LXRA

Ongoing level crossing removal work on the Hurstbridge line which shares the same track as the South Morang/Mernda line closer to the city will see the removal of another single track choke point which in turn will trigger a new timetable.

X'Trapolis trains generally run on the South Morang, Hurstbrtidge, Lilydale, Belgrave, Glen Waverley, Alamein and now Frankston lines.

The South Morang line, in general, sees an 8 trains-per-hour (TPH) frequency in the weekday peaks and 3TPH in off-peak.

South Morang extension starting to look like a railway line
Tracks are now connected to the existing terminus at South Morang - image: LXRA

 

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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