First step for second track as Cranbourne works gather pace
22 Mar 2021
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 level crossings.
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 brand new station entrance on Endeavour Drive. An old platform was demolished last week with work on the second new platform 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 dangerous and congested Greens Road level crossing for good.
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 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.