Three level crossings have been removed at Noble Park, and test trains are now running on the new section of elevated rail on the Cranbourne-Pakenham Line.
Passenger services will commence on the elevated section for the first time this Thursday, and approximately 150 train drivers have been training to familiarise themselves with the altered rail line.
With the elevated section of rail completed – enabling the removal of level crossings at Corrigan Road, Heatherton Road, and Chandler Road – trains will now be able to travel above the traffic, while motorists will no longer have to stop at boom-gates, which were, at times, down at these locations for up to 73 minutes during the 2-hour morning peak.
“These dangerous and congested level crossings have been holding us back for decades. Not anymore – the boom gates in Noble Park are gone,” premier Daniel Andrews said.
“For too long, governments have found excuses not to remove these crossings – we got it done, ahead of schedule.”
The three Noble Park level crossings are the first of nine that will be removed on the Cranbourne-Pakenham Line between Caulfield and Dandenong this year.
“We’re not wasting a minute removing Melbourne’s worst level crossings,” state transport minister Jacinta Allan said. “They’re dangerous, they’re congested, and they stop us running more trains on our busiest line.”
The new elevated Noble Park Station will also be opening for the first time on Thursday. Four other stations will eventually be rebuilt over the course of the Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project.
At Noble Park, old tracks remaining at ground level are now being removed to make way for the eight hectares of new open space in Noble Park, much of which will be transformed into parkland and public recreational areas.