by Ian Blyth
THE unexpected change of name of one of the stations on the Mernda rail extension has received a less than enthusiastic response from residents.
Originally named Marymede, the station has morphed into Middle Gorge – which strangely is located some 7.8 kilometres away in Yarrambat.
The Mernda Rail Alliance is leading the charge to have the name changed back to Marymede or something more appropriate to its location.
A popular suggestion on the Alliance’s Facebook page is the renaming Marymede to South Morang – the location, until 1959, of the original South Morang Station.
This would necessitate the current South Morang being renamed Plenty Valley (or something similar). Mill Park was one suggestion.
City of Whittlesea councillor, Cr Tom Joseph has also suggested The Lakes.
Residents first heard of the new name when the Andrews Government announced that the $600 million Mernda Rail Extension is six months ahead of schedule, with the first test trains to Mernda to be running by the end of September.
Acting Premier and Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan, joined Member for Mill Park Lily D’Ambrosio and Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green in Mernda to announce train testing will begin earlier than expected. The Minister also revealed the names of the three new stations as – Mernda, Hawkstowe and Middle Gorge.
The announcement, while bringing a positive reaction regarding the earlier completion date, created a not unpredictable storm over the name change.
Mernda Rail Alliance spokesperson, Darren Peters, said that the name change was never raised in any of the reference group meetings he had attended.
“Middle Gorge was never discussed. No wonder the community is upset,” Mr Peters said.
Linda Watson wrote on the Alliance Facebook page: “Happy with Marymede. It’s what we all call the station now. Middle Gorge sounds like something out of a Harry Potter movie.”
“Just leave things and names alone. Too many silly bureaucrats with nothing to do on April Fool’s Day,” John Egan contributed.
The three new stations, irrespective of their name, are expected to cater for up to 8,000 commuters a day, helping ease congestion along Plenty Road.
A new shared user path will connect the stations and provide alternative transport options. Perhaps foot traffic when the trains are late?
Passenger trains will begin after a testing and commissioning period, with details of dates and timetables to be finalised in coming months.