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THE first train since 1959 has rolled into Mernda Railway Station this morning as testing of the track begins.
The train arrived in secret at 10.47am after departing from South Morang at 10.35am — making it a 1- minute trip.
The train was part of a number of tests expected to be carried out on the line today ahead of passenger trains which will roll out next month.
The Leader understands that commuter services will begin on August 26, ahead of the previously publicised September date.
Workers await the first Mernda test train at South Morang Station. Picture: Darren PetersThe Government has remained tight-lipped about the date the line would open, but the tip-offs come after Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan announced buses would replace trains between Clifton Hill and South Morang from the evening of June 29 to the last service on July 1 so the tracks could be checked.
A press release from public transport minister Jacinta Allen on June 21 confirmed that the first test train would run to Mernda in July.
The first Mernda test train gets ready to leave South Morang station. Picture: Darren PetersMs Allan said the early trial was made possible because the project was six months ahead of schedule.
South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance spokesman Darren Peters said the opening of the extension would mark 14 years of persistent campaigning by the community.
“This historic moment signals victory for the South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance and everyone in the community who supported us in our fight to bring rail to Mernda, which began in 2009,” he said.
The first Mernda test train on its way to Mernda station. Picture: Darren PetersYan Yean state Labor MP Danielle Green said Mernda and Doreen residents would be “delighted” the project was so far ahead of schedule.
“Reaching this landmark moment is a testament to the hard work of our engineers and construction workers,” she said.
The extension would allow an additional 115 services each day to run from South Morang to Mernda, making room for 115,000 new passengers.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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