Within 9 months since Mernda rail extension was opened, more than one million passengers used this commuter line in Melbourne area.
“Last year we brought passenger trains back to Mernda for the first time in 60 years – one million trips in nine months show this was the right thing to do,” Minister for Public Transport, Melissa Horne, said.
The 8-km extension double-track line to the existing South Morang line served by three more stations for passengers in the Plenty Valley. The rail service includes more trains, more often and better bus links, with the number of people using the line increasing by nearly 50 per cent since opening, in August 2018.
Passengers travelling from Mernda to the city have access to 982 services every week running every six to eight minutes in the peak, with two new and seven realigned bus routes introduced to coincide with the opening of the rail extension.
The rail extension and Plenty Valley Bus Network have given residents of the growing northern suburbs and surrounding areas, more and easier ways to travel with almost 2,600 passengers using Mernda Station each day and 1,000 trips at both Hawkstowe and Middle Gorge stations. This has meant 5,000 car trips have been diverted from roads each day since the Mernda rail extension opened.
Cycling to train stations, on newly constructed paths is also proving popular with close to 1,000 people using the bike storage facilities at South Morang and the three new stations, with almost 400 of those at Mernda.
Work to improve safety and deliver more trains on the Mernda line is continuing with five level crossing removals and three new stations at Reservoir, Bell and Preston to be completed by the end of 2022.
Planning for the second stage of the Hurstbridge line upgrade is also underway with construction expected to begin in early 2020. The upgrade will deliver further improvements on the Hurstbridge line, including more train services, less crowding on peak trains and better connections to public transport in Melbourne’s north-east.