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More than 100 extra tram services will help AFL fans get to the MCG this weekend as an unprecedented rail shutdown threatens to cruel the commutes of more than half the city's footy crowds.
Trains between Caulfield and Flinders Street will stop for more than two weeks after Friday night's Melbourne-Essendon clash, as part of a month-long building blitz on the $11 billion Metro Tunnel.
About 60 per cent of footy fans who usually rely on public transport will be restricted to trams, buses, cars, bicycles or their own legs to get to six matches scheduled at the MCG during the massive rail closure.
Courtney Hill and her son Max, 3, find it difficult to get to watch the football because of rail works.CREDIT:CHRIS HOPKINS
Trains on various lines have already closed for short periods in recent weeks, marking the start of what Premier Daniel Andrews describes as an "unprecedented" rail disruption that will see nine lines close at different times over the course of one month.
The worst will start on April 8, when Cranbourne, Pakenham, Frankston, Gippsland and Warrnambool trains stop until April 23.
Commuters on each of these lines will face hour-long delays, as construction crews start building the Metro Tunnel's South Yarra entrance, by lowering Dandenong train tracks beneath the Sandringham and Frankston lines to feed into the new tunnel.
Public Transport Victoria is adopting strategies it uses for events like the Australian Open and the Grand Prix to help people get to the footy on time, chief executive Jeroen Weimar told The Age.
PTV will run more than 100 extra tram services on routes 70, 75 and 48 for each match, with the extra services starting up two hours before and continuing after the game, until the crowds clear.
The free tram zone will also be extended, while the AFL is preparing to hand out water, snacks and other sweeteners to help ease the pain.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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