The surburb of Mernda in Melbourne, Australia, will see the first train in nearly 60 years being tested on track next month, in preparation for passenger trains to start running at the end of the year.

Construction crews have begun laying the final section of track in the Plenty Road area, which will enable the test train to arrive in Mernda for the first time in 60 years and six months ahead of schedule.

The Victoria Government extended the line from Epping to South Morang.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said: “This is one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever undertaken here in South Morang and Mernda and we’re getting it done, months ahead of schedule.”

“This is one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever undertaken here in South Morang and Mernda and we’re getting it done, months ahead of schedule.”

Mernda Rail construction crews have prepared the track by removing rocks, installing tracks and building signalling and power infrastructure.

Over 25,000 m3 of rock underneath Plenty Road has been removed as part of the project.

More than 100 young apprentices, cadets and trainees have worked on site and more than 700 workers are currently working on site to complete critical works prior to the testing and commissioning of the new line.

The new 8km-long Mernda Rail will provide transport facilities for locals. The three new stations along this stretch are expected to serve up to 8,000 commuters daily, contributing to easing congestion along Plenty Road.

With the opening of the Mernda rail extension later this year, passengers will have access to 982 services every week. Dates and timetables will be finalised in following months.