Test trains start rolling on the new rails to Mernda

Test trains start rolling on the new rails to Mernda
Test trains start rolling on the new rails to Mernda

Test trains have begun running on the new rail infrastructure that has been built as part of the Mernda extension of the South Morang line in Melbourne's outer north east.

Trains used to run as far as Whittlesea 60 years ago before the line was truncated.  Metro services were extended from Epping to South Morang in 2012, the latest extension project to Mernda brings trains back to within 7-8km of Whittlesea.

The impetus for rebuilding the railway line is the outward expansion of Melbourne's northern suburbs which for the most part has run into the urban growth boundary around between Mernda and Yan Yean.

Apart from ensuring the new rails, catenary and signalling are all in working work also extends to getting exact times for a new timetable that is expected to be in place by the end of the year.

Three stations are being added to the South Morang line - Middle Gorge, Hawkstowe and Mernda - which is expected to be used by 8000 passengers a day once opened.

Test trains start rolling on the new rails to Mernda
Driver's eye view of the new track - image: LXRA

The new station at Mernda will be integrated into the new Mernda Town Centre which could see up to 6 level mixed-use and residential building proposed and built adjacent to the station.

The town centre plan will see a large retail core that will include multiple supermarkets and discount department stores with employment uses expected to be developed in later stages.

Differing scales of residential development will be added to the southern end of the town centre.

In terms of the existing development pipeline along the new rail extension, there are three projects, clustered near South Morang.

Test trains start rolling on the new rails to Mernda
Mernda Town Centre Plan - image: City of Whittlesea

To read more about the Mernda Town Centre, see whittlesea.vic.gov.au,

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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