Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder today accepted delivery of the first of seven new X'Trapolis trains and announced the first details of a new timetable for the Melbourne rail network.
Visiting Alstom's factory in Ballarat, Mr Mulder said the first of the new trains is arriving five months early.
"These trains have the highest level of locally sourced input ever seen in the delivery of X'Trapolis trains to Melbourne, providing about 65 full-time jobs in Ballarat, with another 70 indirect jobs," Mr Mulder said.
"They will modernise and expand Melbourne's train fleet as new services are delivered following the completion of the Sunbury Electrification Project.
"Metro services on the new Sunbury line will begin on 18 November this year, bringing a completely new train timetable and a boost to train services in Melbourne's growing north-western suburbs.
"The extension of the Sydenham line to Sunbury will deliver a much needed boost to train services for passengers in Diggers Rest and Sunbury, from the current V/Line service level of 298 to 489 Metro services each week.
"This is a 61 per cent increase in services for Sunbury residents, and a fantastic result for the town's 34,000 residents."
Mr Mulder said the November timetable change will spread the benefits of the Sunbury Electrification Project to commuters across the northern and western suburbs, with new peak services on the Craigieburn and Upfield lines.
The introduction of Metro services on the Sunbury line will also help to alleviate crowding on Bendigo trains, while Public Transport Victoria (PTV) is also overhauling bus timetables to improve connections between buses and trains.
PTV Chair and Chief Executive Ian Dobbs said the November timetable change was a good opportunity to add extra peak hour services to some of Melbourne's busiest train lines.
"As we all know, Melbourne has witnessed incredible growth in patronage in recent years, with more than 50 per cent growth in the last seven years," Mr Dobbs said.
"Public Transport Victoria forecasts show continued strong growth on the rail network which makes these seven new trains and extra peak hour services so important.
"With these new X'Trapolis trains we can expand our total fleet and devote more maintenance time to ensuring our trains are in top condition," Mr Dobbs said.
"As part of the timetable change there will also be a range of bus improvements introduced in the north-western suburbs to provide a more streamlined service and to better co-ordinate with train timetables.
"This follows the success of the train and bus timetable changes in April this year, which extended the train network to South Morang and has seen a marked reduction in overcrowding on that line," Mr Dobbs said.
Further details of the timetable will be announced in October. Copies of the timetable will be available online in October and in print at most railway stations from November.
For all your public transport information visit www.ptv.vic.gov.au