Arden Station completed ahead Melbourne Metro Tunnel opening

Arden Station completed - Melbourne Metro Tunnel project
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Arden Station completed - Melbourne Metro Tunnel project
Arden Station completed - Melbourne Metro Tunnel project
Sean Car

In a significant development for Melbourne’s public transport system, Arden Station, the inaugural stop in the expansive Metro Tunnel project, has been completed and is now ready for testing.

The state government announced Arden’s completion on January 15, with the underground rail line set to open an entire year ahead of schedule in 2025. However, Joe Barr, the CEO of the Metro Tunnel project’s builder John Holland, last year revealed it could be unveiled even sooner than planned, suggesting a September 2024 opening.

Premier Jacinta Allan and Acting Minister for Transport Infrastructure Steve Dimopoulos jointly declared construction at Arden Station finished, situated at the heart of the Arden urban renewal precinct just two kilometres from Melbourne's CBD.

The Arden Precinct is envisioned to host up to 34,000 jobs and accommodate around 20,000 residents by 2051.

Located on a former industrial site, Arden Station includes distinctive features such as a soaring brick-arched entrance, skylights channelling natural light 14 metres underground, and, in a Victorian-first, innovative platform screen doors for secure access to trains.

 

 

It also includes bike parking spaces, drop-off zones, accessibility carparks, and is close to the North Melbourne Recreation Centre, Arden Street Oval, and the route 57 tram.

The state government in 2022 announced $5 billion in funding to expand both the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Royal Women's Hospitals in Arden, creating a burgeoning biomedical and health sciences hub easily accessible from the station.

The government has also previously stated that it would provide a significant investment in new affordable housing in Arden, although questions remain about how this will be delivered

Concerns were also raised last year by local families regarding the provision of new schools in Arden, with Greens MP for Melbourne Ellen Sandell pushing the government to progress planning. 

In celebrating the completion, Acting Minister for Transport Infrastructure Steve Dimopoulos took aim at the Liberal opposition for initially dismissing the project as a “hoax”, despite more recent bipartisan support.

“The Liberals said it was a hoax, but here’s Arden Station in all its glory – and there’s four more of them to come,” Minister Dimopoulos said.

 

Premier Jacinta Allan said the project would “change the city forever”.

 

“I thank and congratulate the thousands of workers who have been employed on this site since the beginning, and the many thousands more who are building rail lines and roads right across Melbourne and regional Victoria,” she said.

Since the beginning of construction of Arden Station in 2018, thousands of workers have excavated 330,000 tonnes of rock and soil, installed 3000 lights, and laid 104,000 locally manufactured bricks.

 

 

The government said the acceleration of the station’s completion served the dual purpose of initiating system testing and establishing a template for the remaining stations. Recent weeks have seen crews adding finishing touches, including landscaping, seating, paving, bicycle hoops, and passenger information displays.

Once open, the Metro Tunnel project will interconnect the Sunbury, Cranbourne, and Pakenham lines via a new tunnel beneath the city, creating a seamless rail line from the northwest to the southeast. This initiative alleviates congestion in the City Loop, facilitating more frequent and efficient train services.

The project, coupled with the introduction of new High-Capacity Metro Trains, is poised to accommodate an additional 121,000 peak-hour passengers weekly, marking a significant 45 per cent increase and reducing travel time by up to 15 minutes to Parkville and 25 minutes to St Kilda Rd.

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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