Massive upgrade for Cranbourne line
Major work is kicking off to duplicate the track along the Cranbourne line as part of a $1 billion upgrade.
With 11 level crossings already removed on the Cranbourne line, work is now underway to duplicate eight kilometres of track between Cranbourne and Dandenong, using more than 22 kilometres of Australian steel rail and more than 16,000 new sleepers.
The fully duplicated track will allow for trains to run every 10 minutes on the Cranbourne Line – which, together with the Metro Tunnel and new bigger trains, will create capacity for 121,000 extra peak passengers every week across the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.
A five-day construction blitz along the Cranbourne line has started this week to enable major works to get underway – with crews working around the clock on essential power, signalling and drainage works at Merinda Park Station and in the rail corridor from Cranbourne through to Greens Road.
As millions of Victorians stay at home to slow the spread of coronavirus, crews are working around the clock this week while transport patronage is low, minimising disruption. Buses are replacing trains between Dandenong and Cranbourne, with express buses running every 5-10 minutes during peak.
In the coming weeks work will also ramp up at the Abbotts Road level crossing removal site, where a massive piling rig will drill 25-metre foundations into the ground – 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 next month 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.
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.
Across Melbourne, 75 level crossings are being removed by 2025 – and the Cranbourne line will be the first to be level crossing-free. 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.
For more information about Victoria’s huge infrastructure agenda, visit bigbuild.vic.gov.au.