Trains every ten minutes from Cranbourne are one step closer, with the first section of a second track installed as part of a $1 billion project to duplicate the line and remove the last four level crossings.

Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan today announced the first of two new platforms at Merinda Park Station has opened, paving the way for services every ten minutes on the Cranbourne line.

Eight kilometres of track will be created to fully duplicate the line between Cranbourne and Dandenong, boosting capacity for 121,000 extra peak passengers each week once trains start running through the Metro Tunnel.

Supporting local jobs, the project is using ballast from Pakenham, more than 16,000 rail sleepers from Geelong and more than 22 kilometres of Australian steel rail welded in Sunshine. Around 500 metres worth of brand new track was laid last week.

At Merinda Park Station in Lyndhurst, stage one of construction is now complete, with passengers now using the first of two new platforms, along with a new station entrance. An old platform was demolished last week with work on the second new platform is already underway.

Meanwhile, at Dandenong South, another major Cranbourne Line Upgrade milestone has been reached with every bridge beam now lifted into place for a new rail bridge that will remove the congested Greens Road level crossing.

More than 60 massive concrete bridge beams – weighing a combined 7000 tonnes and manufactured at a Melbourne factory – were installed in recent weeks. The crossing delays more than 23,000 vehicles each day in one of Melbourne’s busiest freight, logistics and manufacturing areas.

Making the most of rail crews working on the line, the Level Crossing Removal Project will also now deliver an additional package of track works through Dandenong. These works, separate to the duplication, will untangle tracks around the junction between the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines, removing ‘speed limits’ for trains and making it easier for them to run to the timetable.

The first part of the Andrews Labor Government’s Cranbourne Line Upgrade was completed in October last year when the Evans Road level crossing was removed – reconnecting the communities of Lyndhurst, Lynbrook, and Cranbourne West.

Working to open the second track by 2023, crews have already duplicated a mammoth amount of power and signalling including 250 overhead structures and hundreds of kilometres’ worth of cables.  Across Melbourne, 46 level crossings have already been removed – and the Cranbourne line will be the first to be level crossing-free.

Quote attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan

“Trains every 10 minutes are on the way for Cranbourne Line passengers – we’ve started laying the tracks on the Cranbourne Line Duplication to deliver more frequent, reliable services for Melbourne’s fastest-growing area.”

Quote attributable to Member for Cranbourne Pauline Richards

This massive project is creating capacity for 121,000 extra passengers a week on the Cranbourne Line – and with 12 level crossings already gone between Cranbourne and the city, we’re freeing up busy roads in the south-east too.”

Quote attributable to Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams

“We’re not just supporting local jobs in construction – this duplication project is using ballast from Pakenham, rail sleepers from Geelong and Australian steel rail welded in Sunshine, delivering opportunities for businesses and communities right across Victoria.”