FOR the first time in six decades, a train will arrive in Mernda.
While only some residents may remember back to when train’s arrived in the township, entire generations will see something they have never seen before.
On Thursday, June 21, the government announced test trains would be running along the new Mernda Railway in July to collect date and inform the new timetables created.
South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance spokesman Darren Peters said the announcement was music to his ears.
“It is six years to the day since we led the community campaign to block [member for Yan Yean]Danielle Green’s Mernda Busway policy in favour of a railway with 5185 signatures, so it’s a great day to hear the first test trains start in July,” he said.
“Our community fought our local MP’s for years to get rail to Mernda; it’s time for us to celebrate our victory.”
The Mernda Railway is six months ahead of schedule, according to the government, which allowed the testing to be approved for next month.
Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green said it was a credit to those working on the line.
“Reaching this landmark moment is testament to the hard work of our engineers and construction workers. Being 6 months ahead of schedule will delight Mernda and Doreen locals,” she said.
Victorian Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said the project had been a huge success.
“Mernda Rail has created thousands of local jobs and will give people in Melbourne’s north the world-class transport they deserve,” she said.
“This is one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever undertaken here in South Morang and Mernda and we’re getting it done, months ahead of schedule.”
The three new stations are expected to cater for up to 8000 commuters a day, helping to ease congestion along Plenty Road.
An additional 40 car spaces will also be built at the new Hawkstowe Station, increasing the number of car parks at this station to 397, and the total number of car spaces to 2,000.
When the Mernda Rail Extension opens later this year passengers will have access to 982 services every week, with details of dates and timetables to be finalised in coming months.
To get ready for test trains to safely run on the new line, buses will replace trains between Clifton Hill and South Morang from the evening of Friday 29 June to the last service on Sunday 1 July.