Work has begun to prepare the Cranbourne-Pakenham line for the 65 new High-Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs) being built in Victoria by the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan today outlined $660 million worth of upgrades that will be carried out along the entire length of Melbourne’s busiest train line and the entry to the Metro Tunnel.

Over the coming years, power and signalling will be upgraded between the City Loop, Pakenham and Cranbourne.

Longer platforms will be built at a total of 18 stations on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line to cater for the HCMTs, which will be 20 per cent longer than the existing fleet and carry hundreds more passengers with every trip.

As part of these works, platforms at 13 existing stations will be extended, in addition to longer platforms  at the five new stations being delivered through the $1.6 billion Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project.

More than 70 kilometres of overhead power lines will be rebuilt, 20 substations will be built or upgraded, and a section of track in South Dandenong will be duplicated to boost reliability and support more services.

A huge new depot will be built  in Pakenham East that will include a maintenance facility, train simulators and stabling for up to 30 trains – creating 100 new ongoing local jobs.

To undertake this huge program of works safely, there will be some unavoidable disruptions to train services, the first of which will see buses replace trains between Dandenong and Pakenham from 1 to 5 April.

The Labor Government’s 65 new HCMTs represent the largest single order of new trains in Victoria’s history.

With the removal of nine level crossings, the new trains and infrastructure upgrades will increase capacity on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line by 42 per cent, creating room for 11,000 extra passengers in the peak.

Just as importantly, every one of these new trains will be built in Victoria – creating 1,100 local jobs, as well as skills and opportunities for more than 150 apprentices, trainees and engineering cadets.

The first HCMT will be delivered and in testing by late next year, ready to enter service in 2019. All 65 trains will be ready for the opening of the Metro Tunnel in 2026.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“We’re building Melbourne’s first high capacity train line and creating thousands of new construction jobs.”

“Bigger trains, better stations, and no level crossings will get tens of thousands of  people in Melbourne’s south east home safer and sooner every day.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan

“We’re getting rid of the congested level crossings and out-dated signalling that is holding our train system back.”

“It will mean some disruption, but after years of inaction and neglect, we’re getting it done.”