Work has begun to prepare the Cranbourne-Pakenham line for a 65 new High-Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs) – the largest single order of new trains in Victoria’s history.
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan has outlined $660 million worth of upgrades that will be carried out along the entire length of Melbourne’s busiest train line and the entry to the Metro Tunnel.
Over the coming years, power and signalling will be upgraded between the City Loop, Pakenham and Cranbourne.
Longer platforms will be built at a total of 18 stations on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line to cater for the HCMTs, which will be 20 per cent longer than the existing fleet and carry hundreds more passengers with every trip.
As part of these works, platforms at 13 existing stations will be extended, in addition to longer platforms at the five new stations being delivered through the $1.6 billion Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project.
More than 70 kilometres of overhead power lines will be rebuilt, 20 substations will be built or upgraded, and a section of track in South Dandenong will be duplicated to boost reliability and support more services.
A huge new depot will be built in Pakenham East that will include a maintenance facility, train simulators and stabling for up to 30 trains – creating 100 new ongoing local jobs.
The Victorian Government admitted to disruptions to train services, the first of which will see buses replace trains between Dandenong and Pakenham from 1 to 5 April.
“We’re getting rid of the congested level crossings and out-dated signalling that is holding our train system back,” Ms Allan said.
“It will mean some disruption, but after years of inaction and neglect, we’re getting it done.”
With the removal of nine level crossings, the new trains and infrastructure upgrades will increase capacity on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line by 42 per cent, creating room for 11,000 extra passengers in the peak.
The first HCMT will be delivered and in testing by late next year, ready to enter service in 2019.
All 65 trains will be ready for the opening of the Metro Tunnel in 2026.