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More than 200 new weekly train services will be introduced in the biggest overhaul of Melbourne's rail timetable since the City Loop opened in 1981.
Trains on the Epping and Hurstbridge lines will run direct to Flinders Street before travelling through the loop. Peak-hour services on the Werribee line will run direct to Flinders Street.
The new services, starting later this month, are being introduced in a bid to tackle overcrowding on the city's busiest train lines, caused by a lack of trains and falling reliability.
According to Department of Infrastructure figures released in Sir Rod Eddington's transport study last week, reliability on Melbourne's train network has dropped dramatically in recent years.
Simultaneously, overcrowding has skyrocketed: since 2001, the number of trains considered "overcrowded" by the State Government's own standards has increased by 700%.
The metropolitan rail network is carrying 189.4 million passenger trips a year - a level not seen since the 1950s.
"This figure exceeds the highest previous figure of 173.9 million passenger journeys reported by the Victorian Railways between 1949 and 1950," said Premier John Brumby, launching the new timetable this morning.
However, Department of Infrastructure figures also released in the Eddington study last week indicated that there were more than 180 million boardings on Melbourne's train network in 1949.
The new timetable will see 11 new daily services launched. These will be spread out across the Dandenong, Pakenham, Glen Waverley, Sydenham, Werribee, Frankston and Craigieburn lines.
Mr Brumby said these would carry at least 8800 more passengers every day.
Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said the first stage of the new timetable would begin on Sunday, April 27.
"The timetable is key to making the network perform at its peak," Ms Kosky said.
Stage two of the plan will be rolled out in November, not October as reported in The Age on Saturday.
On the Epping and Hurstbridge lines, more services will be added by running trains in one direction through the City Loop all day rather than reversing the direction around midday.
"More reliable services will also be delivered for Werribee and Sydenham line customers by running Werribee peak-hour trains direct to Flinders Street," Ms Kosky said.
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