The Mernda Rail Extension Project involves 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 includes construction of three new stations at Mernda, Marymede and Hawkstowe.

The estimated cost of the extension project is A$600m ($453m), which is being funded entirely by the Victorian state government. Construction on the project commenced in April 2017, and will be completed in 2019.

Being executed by the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA), the project will reduce journey times and provide direct services between South Morang, Doreen and Mernda stations.

It is anticipated to create approximately 1,200 jobs during construction and more than 1,800 indirect jobs.

Details of the railway extension

The railway extension project involves the construction of a new premium station at Mernda along with two new stations at Marymede Catholic College and Hawkstowe Parade. It will also create 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 will be built as part of the project. A new walkway and cycling path connecting the existing network, stations, schools and Plenty Gorge Park will be built.

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

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

Design of new stations

The new station to be built at Mernda will be integrated into the proposed 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 will also offer parking facilities for bikes and more than 1,000 cars.

The platform of Mernda station will offer clutter-free space covered by a roof canopy, which will protect the passengers against weather conditions. A transport hub with an interchange for bus services will also be developed to the east of the Mernda station. A new pedestrian overpass to be built at the station will enable passengers to avoid crossing busy Bridge Inn road to enter the station.

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

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

To be constructed adjacent to Hawkstowe Parade, Hawkstowe station will offer 350 park-and-ride spaces. The new station will be connected directly to the adjacent Plenty Gorge parkland. The north and south entries to the station will be linked to a landscaped courtyard.

The station will provide convenient access to all age groups, 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 providing 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.