VICTORIAN Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan last week outlined $660 million worth of upgrades that will be carried out along the entire length of the Pakenham and Cranbourne train lines in Melbourne's south-east to prepare them for the new High-Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs).
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.
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 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.
The Victorian Government has ordered 65 new HCMTs, which represents the largest single order of new trains in Victoria's history. 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.