First of seven new Metro trains arrives early

The new train is the first of seven to be added to Metro's fleet. Photo: Craig Abraham

THE first of seven new trains for Melbourne was delivered to the Victorian government yesterday, five months ahead of schedule.

The new train, which was built by manufacturer Alstom at its Ballarat factory, is the first of seven to be added to Metro’s fleet in the next six months, boosting capacity on Melbourne’s frequently overcrowded railways.

But the train will not make its first suburban run for at least another month.

The new train will run in the eastern suburbs and free up other trains to eventually run on the Sunbury line, which will become a Metro line on November 18, having been electrified this year at a cost of $270 million. On that day the number of trains to Sunbury, which currently has a V/Line service, will jump from 298 to 489 a week.

Overcrowding on the Bendigo line is also expected to ease, in part because Sunbury residents will be ”encouraged” to quit catching V/Line trains to and from the city.

New peak-hour services will also be added to the Upfield and Craigieburn lines. The Craigieburn line is one of Melbourne’s most overcrowded, while the Upfield line has no better than one train every 20 minutes in the peak.

Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said he was pleased to receive the first new train for the state in his time as minister, after the government promised it would deliver seven new trains in its first term.

Demand was increasing on the regional and metropolitan networks ”and it’s up to the government of the day to meet that demand”, Mr Mulder said.   Adam Carey, The Age, September 20, 2012