The Mernda Rail Extension stretches from South Morang station to Mernda station. Image courtesy of Level Crossing Removal Authority.
The extension project provides better access between South Morang, Doreen and Mernda stations. Image courtesy of John Holland Group Pty Ltd.
Three new stations were built as part of the extension project. Image courtesy of State of Victoria.

The Mernda Rail Extension Project involved the development of a new 8km-long dual rail line to link the existing South Morang line with Mernda in Melbourne, Australia. The project also included construction of three new stations at Mernda, Marymede and Hawkstowe.

The A$600m ($453m) extension project was funded entirely by the Victorian State Government. Construction on the project commenced in April 2017 and was completed in August 2018, six months ahead of the schedule.

Executed by the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA), the rail extension project reduces journey times and provides direct services between South Morang, Doreen and Mernda stations.

The project created approximately 1,200 jobs during construction and more than 1,800 indirect jobs.

The three newly constructed stations are expected to see more than 8,000 commuters a day.

Details of the railway extension

The Mernda railway extension project involved the construction of a new premium station at Mernda along with two new stations at Marymede Catholic College and Hawkstowe Parade. It also created additional parking spaces for approximately 2,000 cars, bicycle storage areas, and bus facilities around the stations.

Three new rail bridges and two road underpasses with no level crossings, as well as a train stabling yard were also built as part of the project. A new walkway and cycling path connecting the existing network, stations, schools and Plenty Gorge Park were built.

More than 86% of the rail line was built at ground level, while the rest was built as an elevated structure. The extension project created five grade separations with no level crossings.

The first and second grade separations are railway underpasses at McDonalds Road and Plenty Road / Gordons Road Intersection. The third, fourth and fifth grade separations are railway overpasses at Hawkstowe Parade, The Parkway and Bridge Inn Road.

Design of new stations

The new station at Mernda is integrated into the Mernda Town Centre on Bridge Inn Road, resulting in easy access to shopping, entertainment, restaurants, a library, health and fitness facilities, and bus services. The station also offers parking facilities for bikes and more than 1,000 cars.

The platform at Mernda station offers clutter-free space covered by a roof canopy. A transport hub with an interchange for bus services was also developed to the east of the Mernda station. A new pedestrian overpass built at the station enables passengers to avoid crossing the busy Bridge Inn road to enter the station.

A new ground-level station at Marymede was built opposite Marymede Catholic College. It offers a parking facility for 550 cars. A separate bike parking area at the station was directly linked to the new walking and cycling path, which  further connects the new public forecourts on either side of the station with a pedestrian subway.

“The railway extension project involved the construction of a new premium station at Mernda along with two new stations at Marymede Catholic College and Hawkstowe Parade.”

Hawkstowe station, which was constructed adjacent to Hawkstowe Parade, offers 350 park-and-ride spaces. The new station is directly connected to the adjacent Plenty Gorge parkland. The north and south entries to the station are linked to a landscaped courtyard.

The station provides convenient access for all passengers, including senior citizens, disabled personnel and people travelling with children.

Contractors involved with the Mernda rail extension project

John Holland was awarded an A$600m construction contract for the project in November 2016. John Holland subcontracted KBR for to provide engineering and design management services for the project in December 2016.

Grimshaw Architects was awarded a subcontract by John Holland to offer design services for the new stations at Marymede, Hawstowe and Mernda.