It’s been one year since the new Mernda rail line opened, bringing trains to Melbourne’s outer north, with passengers making more than 1.8 million trips on the line since August last year.
Around 2,600 passengers are using Mernda Station each day, with around 1,000 passengers at both Hawkstowe and Middle Gorge stations daily.
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.
Locals say the new rail line has ‘changed their lives’ opening up opportunities for employment, education, entertainment, leisure and recreation at their doorstep.
One Doreen local, Gabi Kurtz, uses the train several times per week to go to swimming at Thomastown Recreation Centre, shopping at Preston Market and to the cinema at South Morang.
“It is fast, efficient, clean, comfortable, reliable, safe and convenient,” she says.
The new railway line opening in 2018 marked the return of passenger trains to Mernda in almost 60 years. Things have changed since the last diesel ‘rail motor’ chugged up the line towards Whittlesea in the late 1950s – passengers now have 982 electric train services every week to choose from, and new bus services at each new station.
The $600 million extension of the South Morang line to Mernda included eight kilometres of new rail line and three new stations; Middle Gorge, Hawkstowe and Mernda.