Mernda rail is a victory for the whole community

Whittlesea Leader
4 September 2018

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THE rail extension to Mernda was years in the making. Here’s how it happened.

1959: Mernda Station closed after the line was only electrified to Lalor. Epping Station was reopened in the 1960s.

1999: The Labor Party says it will extend the rail line from Epping to South Morang if it wins the election.

2002: Whittlesea Council identifies restoration of Mernda railway as a strategic goal.

2003: Instead of extending the rail line, Labor introduces the Trainlink bus from South Morang to Epping Station.

2004: Friends of South Morang, Mernda and District Residents Association, Public Transport Users Association and City of Whittlesea Ratepayers Association form the South Morang Rail Alliance in a bid to have the train line extended to South Morang.

2005: The Alliance submits a 5644-signature petition to the Victorian Parliament requesting Labor fulfil its promise to extend rail from Epping to South Morang.

2008: Labor announces it will complete the line from Epping to South Morang by 2012.

2009: On the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Whittlesea line, the South Morang Rail Alliance updates its name and sets its sights on having the line extended to Mernda.

2010: Labor proposes a busway to Mernda instead of a railway and the Liberal Party make no commitment to a railway.

2012: South Morang Station opens on April 22.

June, 2012: The Alliance and Whittlesea Leader submit a 5185-signature petition to the State Government calling for a railway extension to Mernda.

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2013: A Public Transport Victoria report proposes an extension of rail to Mernda by 2032.

July, 2013: Premier Daniel Andrews drops Labor’s Mernda Busway policy and promises a railway to Mernda instead.

March, 2014: On March 17, the Alliance, Whittlesea Leader and Whittlesea Council launch the Access Denied campaign.

May, 2014: Whittlesea Council mayor Mary Lalios says Whittlesea transport needs have fallen on deaf ears after the Access Denied Campaign fails to receive any funding in the 2014-15 State Budget.

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July, 2014: More than 5000 people like the Extend the Rail Line to Mernda Facebook page and hundreds of people begin writing to Whittlesea Leader and politicians about why the extension is needed. August, 2014: The Greens are the first political party to commit to building the rail extension.

September, 2014: Daniel Andrews announces Labor will commit to the extension.

October, 2014: The Liberal Party commits to the extension.

May, 2015: The State Government commits $9 million to the project from the 2015-16 Budget so a business case can be completed.

May, 2015: Deputy Premier James Merlino and Yan Yean state Labor MP Danielle Green confirm to Whittlesea Leader the extension will be complete by the 2018-19 financial year.

February, 2016: The Access Denied campaign scoops an international public relations award for public affairs.

April, 2016: The State Government allocates $587 million in the 2016-17 Budget to complete the Mernda rail extension.

November, 2016: The government announces Hawkstowe Station will be added.

April, 2017: The first sod of the project is turned as the project officially begins.

May, 2017: Major works on Plenty Rd begin as part of the rail extension.

July, 2017: Council ticks off plans to move Mernda town centre closer to Mernda Station.

September, 2017: Whittlesea Council votes to name a future main road on the western side of Mernda Station, Alliance Ave, in honour of the South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance.

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October, 2017: Social media comments spark rumours the line will be opened ahead of schedule in late 2018.

March, 2018: A diesel freight train hauling 165m long strands of rail arrives at South Morang Station.

July, 2018: Trains begin testing the tracks.

July 3, 2018: Whittlesea Leader reports August 26 will be the likely opening date.

July, 2018: Premier Daniel Andrews confirms the Mernda Rail Extension will open on August 26.

August 19, 2018: About 6000 people attend an open day at the new Hawkstowe, Middle Gorge and Mernda stations.

3.34am, August 26, 2018: The first train leaves South Morang Station for Mernda Station. The first commuter service from Mernda to Flinders St Station departs at 4.49am.

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