Construction on a new rail line to Mernda near Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, has commenced, in order to address the increasing demand for train services in the wider Victoria area.
The A$600m ($452.1m) Mernda rail extension project will see the addition of 8km of new and duplicated track, as well as the addition of three stations at Mernda, Hawkstowe and near Marymede Catholic College.
Construction personnel are expected to establish work areas, remove vegetation and develop the rail corridor in the coming weeks, as construction gets underway later this year.
The newly proposed stations will be used by approximately 8,000 passengers daily and are scheduled to become operational in early 2019.
Australia Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said: “This massive project will change people’s lives for the better, creating thousands of jobs and connecting one of Victoria’s fastest growing areas to the public transport they deserve.
“The project is fully funded, construction is underway and we’re not wasting a moment getting on with it.”
Plans have also been outlined for the development of new walking and cycling paths, in addition to improved bus connections and train stabling in Mernda.
The project will feature bike storage and up to 2,000 new car spaces across the three new stations, and is expected to create nearly 3,000 jobs, comprising 1,200 during construction and a further 1,800 indirectly in local businesses and industries supported by the development.
It will also support 70 ongoing jobs after the train line becomes fully operational.