Sections of the Frankston and Cranbourne/Pakenham lines will be upgraded as part of a summer construction blitz to prepare the network for high-tech new trains and to remove nine of Victoria’s worst level crossings.
A massive power, signalling and communications upgrade to prepare for High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT) will close both lines for a period in January. Ongoing work to remove the nine level crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong will also be undertaken.
Preparation for High Capacity Metro Trains and level crossing removals are two separate projects being delivered as part of the one contract to minimise disruption to passengers.
To allow crews to work safely around Caulfield Junction and to coincide with the quieter holiday period, power will be switched off and buses will replace trains from January 2 to 9 between Flinders Street and Westall on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line, and Flinders Street and Moorabbin on the Frankston line.
Buses will also replace trains between Caulfield and Dandenong from 10-17 January, and again between Westall and Dandenong for two weeks during February.
The huge upgrade is the biggest restoration of the overhead and power system on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line in more than 20 years and the first rail systems upgrade in history to span the entire length of an existing metropolitan line.
The Cranbourne/Pakenham line is Melbourne’s busiest with more than 90,000 passengers every weekday. As part of the upgrade, platforms at 13 stations will also be extended to accommodate the new seven-carriage trains.
Following the Caulfield Junction shutdown, specialist crews will move in to carry out works further down the line as part of the broader level crossing removal works.
Those travelling to the city on affected lines during these summer works should allow for extra journey time ranging from 40 to 75 minutes, with V/Line services also affected.
Coordinating these works, and delivering them during major rail shutdowns over the quieter summer period, will reduce disruption to passengers, and deliver these works safer and sooner.
By the end of 2018, all nine level crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong will be gone and the first HCMT will have arrived and be in testing, ahead of its introduction to the network in early 2019.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan
“This summer, crews will be working around the clock to prepare the network for bigger, better trains and get rid of nine dangerous level crossings on Melbourne’s busiest rail corridor.”
“It’s the biggest investment in better trains services for Melbourne’s south east in a generation, and will also reduce congestion and boost safety on our roads.”
“I thank passengers for their patience as we get these works done – to run bigger trains, more often, every day on a modern network.”