There is a growing need to provide more public transport in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne to accommodate rapid patronage growth on the Hurstbridge and Mernda rail lines, which connect at Clifton Hill.
The City of Whittlesea – including the suburbs of Thomastown, Mernda and Wollert – is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia, with its population projected to grow by 4.3% per year between 2011 and 2021. Travel demand in the Whittlesea corridor will grow strongly, with the annual patronage on the Mernda Line expected to increase by 9.1% per year between 2018 and 2021. This could lead to overcrowding and poor reliability on the Mernda Line.
As the timetables are interconnected, capacity of the Mernda Line is governed by constraints on the Hurstbridge Line, which includes single-line sections of track. In addition to track upgrades, the Hurstbridge Line also requires a more regular pattern of services, and improved connections to key precincts and employment clusters.
The Hurstbridge Line was upgraded in 2018 to duplicate track along some sections of the line, construct a new station and remove level crossings.
The capacity of the Hurstbridge Line and Mernda Line could be further improved by duplicating other single-track sections of the Hurstbridge Line, upgrading stations, and potentially enhancing other public transport modes along the corridor.
This initiative is complementary to the High Priority Initiative for Melbourne rail network capacity, which is also included on the Infrastructure Priority List.
Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).