Glen Waverley railway line

The Glen Waverley line is a commuter railway line in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.[1] Operated by Metro Trains Melbourne, it is the city's fifth shortest metropolitan railway line at 21.3 kilometres (13.2 mi). The line runs from Flinders Street station in central Melbourne to Glen Waverley station in the east, serving 20 stations via Burnley, Kooyong, East Malvern, and Jordanville.[2] The line operates for approximately 19 hours a day (from approximately 5:15 am to around 12:00 am) with 24 hour service available on Friday and Saturday nights. During peak hour, headways of up to 10 minutes are operated with services every 10–30 minutes during off-peak hours.[3] Trains on the Glen Waverley line run with a two three-car formations of X'Trapolis 100 trainsets.[4]

Glen Waverley
Railways in Melbourne
Xtrapolis train arrived at Darling railway station, Melbourne.
City-bound X'Trapolis trains at Darling station.
Service typeCommuter rail
SystemMelbourne railway network
LocaleMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Darling (1890–1922)
  • Darling ^ (1922–1929)
  • East Malvern ^ (1929–1930)
^ are electric services
First service24 March 1890; 133 years ago (1890-03-24)
Current operator(s)Metro Trains
Former operator(s)
TerminiFlinders Street
Glen Waverley
Stops20 (including City Loop stations)
Distance travelled21.3 km (13.2 mi)
Average journey time36 minutes (not via City Loop)
Service frequency
  • 10–15 minutes weekdays peak
  • 10–20 minutes weekdays off-peak
  • 20 minutes weekend daytime
  • 30 minutes nights
  • 60 minutes early weekend mornings
  • Occasional services run express from Richmond to Darling
Line(s) usedGlen Waverley
Rolling stockX'Trapolis 100
Track gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Electrification1500 V DC overhead
Track owner(s)VicTrack

Sections of the Glen Waverley line opened as early as 1890, with the line fully extended to Glen Waverley in 1930. The line was built to connect Melbourne with the rural towns of Kooyong, East Malvern, Mt Waverley, and Glen Waverley, amongst others.

Since the 2010s, due to the heavily utilised infrastructure of the Glen Waverley line, significant improvements and upgrades have been made. Different packages of works have upgraded the corridor to replace sleepers, upgrading signalling technology, the introduction of new rolling stock, and the removal 2 out of the 6 remaining level crossings.[5]


19th centuryEdit

A rail connection from Princes Bridge station to Punt Road (Richmond) was built by the Melbourne and Suburban Railway Company in 1859, with a branch line from Richmond to Burnley opening in 1861.[6] In 1890, part of what would become the Glen Waverley line, opened from Burnley to Darling.[7] At the same time in 1890, a line known as the Outer Circle line opened, running from Oakleigh station to Darling, continuing to Burnley with the line continuing north to Riversdale and beyond.[8] The Outer Circle closed in sections between 1893 and 1897, with the Burnley to Waverley Road section of the line closing back to Darling in 1895.[8]

20th centuryEdit

Electrification of the line to Glen Waverley occurred in three stages between 1922 and 1930. In March 1922, the section from Burnley to Darling station was electrified, with the section to East Malvern being electrified in June 1929, and the final section to Glen Waverley being completed by May 1930.[9][10] The electrification of the line allowed for the introduction of Swing Door electric multiple unit trains for the first time.[9][11]

The introduction of power signalling on the line begun in 1919 with the section from Richmond to East Richmond, with the remainder of the line converted in stages from 1922 to 1964.[12] In 1929, the Glen Waverley line began construction on an extension from Darling to East Malvern along the original track of the Outer Circle line. The Outer Circle line previously begun its curve south towards Waverley Road and Oakleigh. The Glen Waverley line continued east towards Holmesglen.

The 1950s saw the line undergo major upgrades, including the first centralised traffic control installation in Australia. Commissioned in September 1957 at a length 6 miles (9.7 km) in length, the Victorian Railways installed it as a prototype for the North East standard project.[13] On 6 February 1956, the Toorak Road level crossing, between Kooyong and Tooronga stations, was the first in Victoria to receive boom barriers, replacing hand operated gates.[14]

New Comeng trains were introduced to the Melbourne railway system in 1981. Initially, along with the Glen Waverley line, they were only allowed to operate on the Alamein, Belgrave, Dandenong and Lilydale lines, due to the width of the trains (10 feet (3.05 m)).[15] Also in 1981, Glen Waverley line services commenced operations through the City Loop, after previously terminating at Flinders or Spencer Street stations.[16] The commencement of operations involved the service stopping at three new stations—Parliament, Melbourne Central (formally Museum), and Flagstaff.[17] The Loop follows La Trobe and Spring Streets along the northern and eastern edges of the Hoddle Grid.[18] The Loop connects with Melbourne's two busiest stations, Flinders Street and Southern Cross, via the elevated Flinders Street Viaduct.[18]

Many stations were rebuilt and level crossings removed along the corridor through the construction of road bridges during the 1970s to the late 1980s.[19] These works coincided with the construction of the Monash Freeway which runs alongside the route for part of the journey.[19]

21st centuryEdit

Works to remove the Burke Road level crossing, 2015

In 2014, the Level Crossing Removal Project announced the removal of 2 level crossings on the Glen Waverley line, to be completed in 2016 and 2020. The removal of Burke Road, Glen Iris involved the lowering of the rail line and the reconstruction of Gardiner station.[5] This was the first crossing to be removed by the project and was completed in 2016.[5] The second removal involved raising the rail corridor above Toorak Road, Kooyong, with the crossing removed by early 2020.[20] With the removal of 2 level crossings along the corridor, only 4 crossings now remain on the Glen Waverley line.

In 2021, the metropolitan timetable underwent a major rewrite, resulting in all Glen Waverley line trains operating via the City Loop alongside Alamein, Belgrave, and Lilydale services.[21]

Network and operationsEdit


Services on the Glen Waverley line operates from approximately 5:15 am to around 12:00 am daily.[10] In general, during peak hours, train frequency is 5–10 minutes while services during non-peak hours drops to 10–30 minutes throughout the entire route.[3] Some express services do occur during peak hour by skipping unpopular stations. On Friday nights and weekends, services run 24 hours a day, with 60 minute frequencies available outside of normal operating hours.[22]

Train services on the line are also subjected to maintenance and renewal works, usually on selected Fridays and Saturdays. Shuttle bus services are provided throughout the duration of works for affected commuters.[23]

Stopping patternsEdit

Legend – Station status

  • Premium Station – Station staffed from first to last train
  • Host Station – Usually staffed during morning peak, however this can vary for different stations on the network.

Legend – Stopping patterns
Some services do not operate via the City Loop

  • ● – All trains stop
  • ◐ – Some services do not stop
  • | – Trains pass and do not stop
Glen Waverley Services[24]
Station Zone Local Ltd Express
Flinders Street 1
Southern Cross
Melbourne Central
East Richmond |
Burnley |
Heyington |
Kooyong |
Tooronga |
Gardiner |
Glen Iris |
Darling 1/2
East Malvern
Jordanville 2
Mount Waverley
Glen Waverley


The Glen Waverley line has had a total of 6 operators since its opening in 1888. The majority of operations throughout its history have been government run: from its first service in 1888 until the 1999 privatisation of Melbourne's rail network, four different government operators have run the line.[25] These operators, Victorian Railways, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Public Transport Corporation and Hillside Trains have a combined operational length of 111 years. Hillside Trains was privatised in August 1999 and later rebranded Connex Melbourne. Metro Trains Melbourne, the current private operator, then took over the operations in 2009. Both private operators have had a combined operational period of 23 years.[26]

Past and present operators of the Glen Waverley line:
Operator Assumed operations Ceased operations Length of operations
Victorian Railways 1888 1983 95 years
Metropolitan Transit Authority 1983 1989 6 years
Public Transport Corporation 1989 1998 9 years
Hillside Trains (government operator) 1998 1999 1 years
Connex Melbourne 1999 2009 10 years
Metro Trains Melbourne 2009 incumbent 13 years (ongoing)


Interactive map of the Glen Waverley line in eastern Melbourne.
Glen Waverley (physical track)
StatusOperational with passenger services from Flinders Street to Glen Waverley
LocaleMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
Connecting linesAll metropolitan, regional, and interstate
Former connectionsOuter Circle
  • 20 current stations
  • 3 former stations
ServicesGlen Waverley
Commenced24 March 1890 (1890-03-24)
  • Princes Bridge to Richmond on 8 February 1859 (1859-02-08)
  • Richmond to Burnley on 24 September 1860 (1860-09-24)
  • Flinders Street to Princes Bridge on 18 December 1865 (1865-12-18)
  • Burnley to Darling on 24 March 1890 (1890-03-24)
  • Darling to East Malvern on 3 February 1929 (1929-02-03)
  • East Malvern to Glen Waverley on 5 May 1930 (1930-05-05)
Completed5 May 1930 (1930-05-05)
  • Flinders Street to Darling on 19 December 1922 (1922-12-19)
  • To East Malvern on 3 February 1929 (1929-02-03)
  • To Glen Waverley on 5 May 1930 (1930-05-05)
Line length21.3 km (13.2 mi)
Number of tracks
  • Twelve tracks: Flinders Street to Richmond
  • Four tracks: Richmond to Burnley
  • Double track: Burnley to Glen Waverley
Track gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Electrification1500 V DC overhead
Operating speed95 km/h (59 mph) – Electric
SignallingAutomatic block signaling
Maximum incline1 in 30 (3.33%)

The Glen Waverley line forms a mostly curved route from the Melbourne central business district to its terminus in Glen Waverley. The route is 21.3 kilometres (13.2 mi) long and is predominantly doubled tracked, however between Flinders Street station and Richmond, the track is widened to 12 tracks, narrowing to 4 tracks between Richmond and Burnley before again narrowing to 2 tracks between Burnley and Glen Waverley.[27] After departing from its terminus at Flinders Street, the Glen Waverley line traverses both flat and hilly country with few curves and fairly minimal earthworks for most of the line. The journey from Holmesglen to the terminus involves some of the steepest grades in Melbourne (1 in 30).[28] However, sections of the line have been elevated or lowered into a cutting to eliminate level crossings.[29] Despite some removals, there are a small number of level crossings still present with no current plans to remove them.[30]

The line follows the same alignment as the Alamein, Belgrave, and Lilydale lines with the four services splitting onto different routes at Burnley. The Glen Waverley line continues on its south eastern alignment, whereas the Alamein, Belgrave, and Lilydale lines takes an eastern alignment towards their final destinations.[31] All of the rail line goes through built-up suburbs towards its terminus in Glen Waverley.[31]


The line serves 20 stations across 21 kilometres (13 mi) of track. The stations are a mix of elevated, lowered, underground, and ground level designs. Underground stations are present only in the City Loop, with the majority of elevated and lowered stations being constructed as part of level crossing removals.[32][33]

Station Accessibility Opened Terrain Train connections Other connections
Flinders Street Yes—step free access 1854[34] Lowered    
Southern Cross 1859[34] Ground level        
Flagstaff 1985[34] Underground  
Melbourne Central 1981[34]    
Parliament 1983[34]  
Richmond No—steep ramp 1859[34] Elevated    
East Richmond Yes—step free access 1860[34] Ground level
3 connections
Burnley No—steep ramp 1880[34]
Heyington No—stairs required 1890[34]
Kooyong Yes—step free access  
Gardiner Lowered  
Glen Iris No—steep ramp Ground level   
Darling Yes—step free access  
East Malvern No—steep ramp 1929[34]
Holmesglen 1930[34]
Mount Waverley
Glen Waverley
Station histories
Station Opened[35] Closed[35] Age Notes[35]
Parliament 22 January 1983 40 years
Melbourne Central 26 January 1981 42 years
  • Formerly Museum
Flagstaff 27 May 1985 38 years
Southern Cross 17 January 1859 164 years
  • Formerly Batman's Hill
  • Formerly Spencer Street
Flinders Street 12 September 1854 168 years
  • Formerly Melbourne Terminus
Princes Bridge 8 February 1859 1 October 1866 7 years
2 April 1879 30 June 1980 101 years
Botanic Gardens 2 March 1859 c.April 1862 Approx. 3 years
Punt Road 8 February 1859 12 December 1859 10 months
  • Replaced by Swan Street (200m further along line)
Richmond 12 December 1859 163 years
  • Formerly Swan Street
East Richmond 24 September 1860 162 years
  • Formerly Church Street
Burnley 1 May 1880 143 years
  • Formerly Burnley Street
Richmond Park - - -
  • Built 24 March 1890 but never opened
Heyington 24 March 1890 133 years
Kooyong 24 March 1890 133 years
Tooronga 24 March 1890 133 years
Gardiner 24 March 1890 133 years
Glen Iris 24 March 1890 133 years
Darling 24 March 1890 133 years
East Malvern 3 February 1929 94 years
  • Formerly Eastmalvern
Holmesglen 5 May 1930 93 years
Jordanville 5 May 1930 93 years
Mount Waverley 5 May 1930 93 years
Syndal 5 May 1930 93 years
Glen Waverley 5 May 1930 93 years


Rolling stockEdit

The Glen Waverley line uses X'Trapolis 100 electric multiple unit (EMU) trains operating in a two three-car configuration, with three doors per side on each carriage and can accommodate of up to 432 seated passengers in each six car configuration.[36] The trains were originally built between 2002 and 2004 as well as between 2009 and 2020 with a total of 212 three-car sets constructed. The trains are shared with 7 other metropolitan train lines and have been in service since 2003.[36]

Alongside the passenger trains, Glen Waverley line tracks and equipment are maintained by a fleet of engineering trains. The four types of engineering trains are: the shunting train; designed for moving trains along non-electrified corridors and for transporting other maintenance locomotives, for track evaluation; designed for evaluating track and its condition, the overhead inspection train; designed for overhead wiring inspection, and the infrastructure evaluation carriage designed for general infrastructure evaluation.[37] Most of these trains are repurposed locomotives previously used by V/Line, Metro Trains, and the Southern Shorthaul Railroad.[37]


Darling station features tactile boarding indicators and other accessible features.

In compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992, all stations that are new-built or rebuilt are fully accessible and comply with these guidelines.[38] Half of stations on the corridor are fully accessible, however, there are some stations that haven't been upgraded to meet these guidelines.[39] These stations do feature ramps, however, they have a gradient greater than 1 in 14.[39] Stations that are fully accessible feature ramps that have a gradient less than 1 in 14, have at-grade paths, or feature lifts.[39] These stations typically also feature tactile boarding indicators, independent boarding ramps, wheelchair accessible myki barriers, hearing loops, and widened paths.[39][40]

Projects improving station accessibility have included the Level Crossing Removal Project, which involves station rebuilds and upgrades, and individual station upgrade projects.[41][42] These works have made significant strides in improving network accessibility, with more than 50% of Glen Waverley line stations classed as fully accessible. Future station upgrade projects will continue to increase the number of fully accessible stations overtime.


The Glen Waverley line uses three position signalling which is widely used across the Melbourne train network.[43] Three position signalling was first introduced on the line in 1919, with the final section of the line converted to the new type of signalling in 1964.[44]


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External linksEdit