We note the success of the Mernda line extension with more than one million passengers having now used the Mernda Rail line in the nine months since the extension from South Morang was completed. This project was brought forward by 15 years. We think it’s time for the Upfield line track duplication, upgrade and extension is brought forward as a priority project as well.
The Mernda 7 kilometre extension with three new stations and an accompanying cycling path cost $600 million. It is the first time in 60 years that passenger trains have returned to Mernda on the old Whittlesea line. The Extension to Mernda and new stabling facilities was in the Network Development plan as a 20 year timeframe (2032) but was re-prioritised thanks to a strong community campaign.
6 to 8 minute peak hour service on Mernda line
The Victorian Government advises there are 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. Mernda station sees about 2,600 passengers each day, and about 1,000 trips through both Hawkstowe and Middle Gorge stations.
It is estimated that 5,000 car trips have been diverted from roads each day since the Mernda rail extension opened.
Cycling to the train stations from surrounding residential neighborhoods on new cycling paths “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”, says the media release.
Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne said, “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.”
We appreciate the work of the Labor Government extending and improving the service on the Mernda line. We would like to know when the poor public transport issues on the northern transport corridor encompassing the Craigieburn, Upfield and (Vline) Seymour rail lines are going to be addressed.
Upfield passengers languish with a 20 minute unreliable service
Passenger services on the Upfield Line to Somerton were closed in May 1956.
At the moment Upfield passengers endure an 18 minute peak service, blowing out to 20 minutes during the day, and 30 minutes in the evening.
It is time the Upfield track was duplicated between Gowrie and Upfield and a second platform at Upfield Station was constructed to immediately improve the service reliability. This is a distance of 3.97 kilometres. We think Track duplication should be done at same time as Coburg Level Crossing Removal.
Just about every day there are service cancellations on the Upfield Line, and often trains short shunted at Coburg to minimise disruptions to people on the southern portion of the line, while passengers from Batman station north and forced to endure longer delays causing them to be late for work or appointments.
The Metro Tunnel, when it opens in 2025, will increase capacity and frequency on the Upfield Line. But to get this frequency improvement we also need track duplication and upgrade to be done for when the Metro tunnel opens. Upfield passengers do not want to wait six or more years for the possibility of an upgrade.
The growth in population along the line and further north should not be neglected, and the Upfield line should be extended and electrified all the way from Upfield through Roxburgh Park, Craigieburn, Donnybrook to Wallan to coincide with Metro Tunnel opening in 2025. From Upfield to Wallan is a distance of 28.65 kilometres.
It is time for Premier Dan Andrews and the Victorian Labor Government to address the poor transport in the northern suburbs. They have done this for the Mernda line. The success is evident. It is time for the State Government to follow through with upgrading the Upfield line. This is a matter of social justice and social equity for residents in new suburban developments. An opportunity to provide decent public transport for youth and commuters in these suburbs. To reduce traffic congestion, pollution and transport emissions.
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