AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Mernda rail extension guaranteed

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Regardless of which party wins Victoria’s state election in November, the outer-northern suburb of Mernda will be connected to the city’s rail network, with the project now earning bi-partisan support. </span> <p>The incumbent Coalition party this week pledged to build the Mernda link by 2020/21 for $700 million, matching a September promise by the challenging Labor Party, which said it would build the link for between $400 and $600 million.<br /><br />“Growth in Melbourne’s northern suburbs began accelerating a decade ago,” premier Denis Napthine said.<br /><br />“Over the last three-and-a-half years, we have improved punctuality and reliability on public transport, and introduced 10,000 additional services each and every week.<br /><br />“We have stabilised the basics and now, through strong financial management, we are in a position to build the infrastructure that the outer suburbs have been crying out for.”<br /><br />The 7.5km double track rail extension to Mernda will include two new stations and provisions for a third, as well as stabling and maintenance facilities, Napthine added. Trains will run once every 10 minutes on the extension.<br /><br />State transport minister Terry Mulder criticised Labor’s plans for the Mernda project.<br /><br />“Labor has costed Mernda Rail at $400 million to $600 million. It will actually cost $700 million,” he said.<br /><br />“[Opposition member] Danielle Green should tell the truth and explain what sort of half-rate service Labor’s cheap and nasty pledge will deliver,” Mulder said.<br /><br />“From October 2015, the wait between services on the South Morang line will halve from 20 minute intervals to 10 minute intervals on weekdays between 9am to 4pm under a re-elected Coalition Government, as a result of the introduction of 40 extra train trips per week.”<br /><br />Premier Napthine added: “Building these critical projects will cater for the growth of this rapidly growing part of Melbourne and create hundreds of construction jobs.”<br /><br />Whittlesea Council, which covers the Mernda area, says 9500 people move there every year.</p>