South Morang train station gets official opening
Greg Thom From: Herald Sun April 22, 2012 2:32PM
MELBOURNE’S newest train station began operating today, with the official opening of the $498 million South Morang Rail Extension.
Transport minister Terry Mulder was aboard the first train to arrive at the South Morang, which coincides with a revamped weekend train timetable across the network.
The 3.5km extension of the line from Epping marked the biggest expansion of Melbourne’s rail network since the City Loop more than 30 years ago.
“This is a historic day on our rail network and a fantastic day for Melbourne’s northern suburbs,” Mr Mulder says.
Completion of the project is a victory for local residents, who campaigned for more than seven years after it was variousy promised, dumped, then finally bankrolled by the former Brumby government.
The project also sees new stations open at Thomastown and Epping, along with duplication of 5km of single track between Keon Park and Epping.
The new train timetable which came into effect today features a major upgrade to weekend and public holiday services, including more trains, greater frequency and improved co-ordination between buses.
South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance spokesman Darren Peters, says today is a historic one for residents.
“For many years it seemed that our promised railway extension would never come, but we fought together as a community for what we were promised and our resolve has seen this project come to fruition,” he says.
He says the lobby group was formed in 2005 when it was revealed the former Bracks Government did not intend to build the railway extension to South Morang they had promised in 1999 would be completed by 2003.
After years of lobbying, the state government under Bracks successor John Brumby, allocated $650 million in 2010 for the extension to be completed, along with related work along the Epping Line.
“Everyone will now have an alternative to driving on the severely congested Plenty Road and be able to return home sooner and spend more time with their families,” Mr Peters says.