The Pakenham line is a commuter railway line in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Operated by Metro Trains Melbourne, it is the city's longest metropolitan railway line at 57 kilometres (35 mi). The line runs from Flinders Street station in central Melbourne to Pakenham station in the south-east, serving 27 stations via the City Loop, South Yarra, Caulfield, Oakleigh, and Dandenong. The line operates for approximately 20 hours a day (from approximately 4:00 am to around midnight) with 24 hour service available on Friday and Saturday nights. During peak hour, headways of up to 5 to 10 minutes are operated with services every 20 minutes during off-peak hours. Trains on the Pakenham line run with a seven-car formation operated by High Capacity Metro Trains.
|Service type||Commuter rail|
|System||Melbourne railway network|
|Locale||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|First service||8 October 1877as South Gippsland line|
|Current operator(s)||Metro Trains|
|Stops||28 (including City Loop stations)|
|Distance travelled||63.368 km (39.375 mi)|
|Average journey time||1 hour 13 minutes (not via City Loop)|
|Track gauge||1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)|
|Electrification||1500 V DC overhead|
Sections of the Pakenham line opened as early as 1859, with the line fully extended to Pakenham in October 1877. A limited number of stations were first opened, with infill stations progressively opened between 1879 and 2012. The line was built to connect Melbourne with the rural towns of Caulfield, Oakleigh, and Dandenong, amongst others. Significant growth has occurred since opening, with a plan to extend the Pakenham line one stop east to a new station in Pakenham East as part of the Level Crossing Removal Project. This extension is planned to open in 2024.
Since the 2010s, due to the heavily utilised infrastructure of the Pakenham line, significant improvements and upgrades have been made. A $15 billion upgrade of the corridor included the replacement of sleepers, the introduction of new signalling technology, the introduction of new rolling stock, the removal of all level crossings, and works associated with the Metro Tunnel project. These projects have improved the quality and safety of the line and will be completed by the opening of the Metro Tunnel in 2025.
In 1877, the Pakenham line began operations from Oakleigh to Bunyip, as part of the main line to Gippsland. The section from Oakleigh to Flinders Street station was connected at South Yarra in April 1879. In 1877, the Pakenham line began operations from Oakleigh to Bunyip, as part of the single-tracked main line to Gippsland, with an extension of the duplicated section of the line opening in 1881 to Caulfield, Oakleigh in 1883, and Dandenong in 1891. In 1883 the line between Richmond station and South Yarra was quadrupled to accommodate an increase in train services due to the opening of Frankston and Sandringham lines.
In 1885, a number of level crossing removal works occurred between Flinders Street station and South Yarra due to an increase in freight and passenger operations. These crossings were removed through a combination of lowering and raising the corridor.
In 1915, the line between South Yarra and Caulfield was quadrupled, as part of level crossing removal works. This section of the line was lowered into a cutting to eliminate numerous level crossings. Power signalling was provided between Richmond and Hawksburn at the same time, then on to Caulfield in 1921.
Electrification of the line to Dandenong occurred in two stages during 1922. In May 1922, the section from South Yarra to Oakleigh station was electrified, with the section to Dandenong being electrified later in December 1922. The electrification of the line allowed for the introduction of Swing Door electric multiple unit trains for the first time.
Power signalling was extended to Carnegie in 1933, Oakleigh in 1940, and to Dandenong in stages between 1970 and 1972.
The line between Dandenong, Pakenham and Traralgon was electrified in 1954. Initially single track, duplication of the line between Dandenong, Pakenham and Nar Nar Goon was completed in 1955 and 1956. Suburban services were extended beyond Dandenong to Pakenham in January 1975. Previously, the stations between Dandenong and Pakenham were only served by regional passenger trains connecting Gippsland to Melbourne.
In 1981, Pakenham line services commenced operations through the City Loop, after previously terminating at Flinders or Spencer Street stations. The commencement of operations involved the service stopping at three new stations—Parliament, Melbourne Central (formally Museum), and Flagstaff. The Loop follows La Trobe and Spring Streets along the northern and eastern edges of the Hoddle Grid. The Loop connects with Melbourne's two busiest stations, Flinders Street and Southern Cross, via the elevated Flinders Street Viaduct. From 2025, the Pakenham line will no longer operate through the City Loop, instead operating via the north-south Metro Tunnel corridor.
In 2002, after the closure of the nearby General Motors factory in 1991, General Motors station closed permanently after 46 years of operation. A 2007 restructure of train ticketing in Melbourne involved the removal of Zone 3, with Zone 3 stations being re-classified to Zone 2. This brought the cost of train fares down, improving system accessibility to the public.
The Pakenham line received heavy investment during the 2010s to align with the 2013 PTV Development Plan. A new station at Cardinia Road opened in 2012 situated between Officer and Pakenham stations. This is the first infill station to open on the line since 1927, with an additional station at Pakenham East expected to open in 2024 in conjunction with level crossing removal works. In 2018, the Pakenham East Depot opened for the newly acquired High Capacity Metro Trains. This depot has stabling capacity for 30 seven-car trains with train maintenance, driver training, and washing facilities present onsite.
Pakenham railway line
The Pakenham line forms a relatively linear route from the Melbourne central business district to its terminus in Pakenham. The route is 57 kilometres (35 mi) long and is predominantly doubled tracked, however between Flinders Street and Richmond, the corridor is widened to 12 tracks, narrowing to six tracks between Richmond and South Yarra before again narrowing to four tracks between South Yarra and Caulfield. After Caulfield station, the corridor again narrows to two tracks for the rest of the route. The only underground section of the Pakenham line is in the City Loop, where the service stops at 3 underground stations. Exiting the city, the Pakenham line traverses mainly flat country with few curves and fairly minimal earthworks for most of the line. However, between South Yarra and Malvern, the rail corridor has been lowered into a cutting to eliminate level crossings, and between Malvern and Caulfield, the corridor has been raised on an embankment for the same reason. After Caulfield, the line formerly had numerous level crossings, however, all have now been removed between Caulfield and Dandenong as part of an elevated rail project, as well as some older bridges over and under roads. Remaining level crossings between Dandenong and Pakenham stations will be removed by 2025 under smaller level crossing removal works.
The line follows the same alignment as the Cranbourne line with the two services splitting onto different routes at Dandenong. The Pakenham line continues on its eastern alignment, whereas the Cranbourne line takes a southerly alignment towards its final destination of Cranbourne station. Most of the rail line goes through built-up suburbs and some industrial areas, but after Dandenong, the line passes through more open countryside, including open fields and farms, particularly after Beaconsfield. This outer portion of the line is one of Melbourne's main growth corridors, where farmland is being replaced with housing and commercial developments, leading to a rise in patronage.
The line serves 27 stations across 57 kilometres (35 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. From 2025, services will cease to stop at Flinders Street, Southern Cross, Flagstaff, Melbourne Central, Parliament, Richmond, and South Yarra stations due to the opening of the Metro Tunnel. Also from 2025, Narre Warren and Pakenham stations will be elevated as part of level crossing removal works.
|Flinders Street||12 September 1854||168 years||
|Southern Cross||17 January 1859||164 years||
|Flagstaff||27 May 1985||38 years||
|Melbourne Central||26 January 1981||42 years||
|Parliament||22 January 1983||40 years||
|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||
|Richmond||12 December 1859||163 years||
|Cremorne||12 December 1859||c.28 December 1863||Approx. 4 years|
|South Yarra||22 December 1860||162 years||
|Hawksburn||7 May 1889||134 years||
|Toorak||7 May 1879||144 years||
|Armadale||7 May 1879||144 years||
|Malvern||7 May 1879||144 years|
|Caulfield||7 May 1879||144 years|
|Carnegie||14 May 1879||144 years||
|Murrumbeena||14 May 1879||144 years|
|Hughesdale||28 February 1925||98 years|
|Oakleigh||8 October 1877||145 years|
|Huntingdale||25 June 1927||95 years||
|Clayton||6 January 1880||143 years||
|Westall||6 February 1951||72 years|
|APEX Siding (Westall)||?||-||
|Springvale||1 September 1880||142 years||
|Sandown Park||c.December 1888||15 May 1955||Approx. 66 years||
|19 June 1965||57 years|
|Noble Park||3 February 1913||110 years|
|Yarraman||21 December 1976||46 years|
|Dandenong||8 October 1877||145 years|
|General Motors||1 October 1956||28 July 2002||45 years|
|Hallam||1 December 1880||142 years||
|Narre Warren||10 March 1882||141 years|
|Berwick||8 October 1877||145 years|
|Beaconsfield||1 December 1879||143 years|
|Officer||4 August 1881||141 years||
|Cardinia Road||22 April 2012||11 years|
|Pakenham||8 October 1877||145 years|
|Station||Accessibility||Expected opening||Terrain||Planned train connections||Other planned connections||Notes|
|East Pakenham||Yes—step free access||2024||Ground level||Opening as part of the Pakenham line extension in 2024|
|Opening as part of the Metro tunnel project in 2025|
Services on the Pakenham line operates from approximately 4:00 am to around 11:30 daily. In general, during peak hours, train frequency is 5 minutes on the Dandenong corridor (combined with the Cranbourne line) and 10 minutes in the AM peak on the Pakenham Line while during non-peak hours the frequency is reduced to 20–30 minutes throughout the entire route. Services run anticlockwise through the City Loop, and from 2025, Pakenham line services will cease to stop at South Yarra, Richmond, and all City Loop stations when trains are rerouted through the Metro Tunnel upon opening. On Friday nights and weekends, services run 24 hours a day, with 60 minute frequencies available outside of normal operating hours. Since 13 February 2022, some off-peak daytime Pakenham line services (and Cranbourne line services) stop at Malvern station, running express between South Yarra and Malvern stations.
Train services on the Pakenham 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.
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
- ▲ – Only inbound trains stop (trains operate counter-clockwise through the city loop all day)
- ▼ – Only outbound trains stop
- | – Trains pass and do not stop
|Station||Zone||Local||Ltd Express||Morning Shuttle||Weekday Shuttle|
|◼ Flinders Street||1||●||●|
|◼ Southern Cross||▲||▲|
|◼ Melbourne Central||▲||▲|
|◼ South Yarra||●||●|
|◼ Noble Park||●||●||▼|
|◼ Narre Warren||●||●||▼||●|
|East Pakenham||(under construction)|
The Pakenham line has had a total of 7 operators since its opening in 1877. The majority of operations throughout its history have been government run: from its first service in 1877 until the 1999 privatisation of Melbourne's rail network, four different government operators have run the line. These operators, Victorian Railways, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Public Transport Corporation and Bayside Trains have a combined operational length of 122 years.
Bayside Trains was privatised in August 1999 and later rebranded M>Train. In 2002, M>Train was placed into receivership and the state government regained ownership of the line, with KPMG appointed as receivers to operate M>Train on behalf of the state government. Two years later, rival train operator Connex Melbourne took over the M>Train operations including the Pakenham line. Metro Trains Melbourne, the current private operator, then took over the operations in 2009. The private operators have had a combined operational period of 23 years.
|Operator||Assumed operations||Ceased operations||Length of operations|
|Victorian Railways||1877||1983||106 years|
|Metropolitan Transit Authority||1983||1989||6 years|
|Public Transport Corporation||1989||1998||9 years|
|Bayside Trains (government operator)||1998||1999||1 years|
|Connex Melbourne||2004||2009||5 years|
|Metro Trains Melbourne||2009||incumbent||13 years (ongoing)|
The Pakenham line uses a fleet of electric multiple unit (EMU) High Capacity Metro Trains operating in a seven-car configuration, with three doors per side on each carriage and can accommodate of up to 1,380 passengers in each train-set. Shared with the Cranbourne, Sunbury, and Airport lines, the rolling stock will consist of 70 High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT), once fully delivered. They are built in Changchun, China, with final assembly occurring in Newport, Melbourne, by Evolution Rail, a consortium composed of CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles, Downer Rail and Plenary Group.
Previously, the Pakenham line was served by a fleet of Comeng and Siemens Nexas trains. The oldest Comeng trains (stage 1 and some stage 2) have been retired and scrapped as part of the HCMT introduction, however, some of these trains have been displaced onto other Melbourne metropolitan lines. In comparison, the Siemens Nexas trains have not been retired, instead being moved onto other lines to replace older Comeng sets. Since the end of 2022, the Pakenham line is almost exclusively operated by High Capacity Metro Trains.
Alongside the passenger trains, Pakenham 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. Most of these trains are repurposed locomotives previously used by V/Line, Metro Trains, and the Southern Shorthaul Railroad.
This section needs expansion with: information about the different types of depots (driver, maintenance, and stabling) if the article could qualify for FA status. You can help by adding to it. (May 2023)
Rolling stock on the Pakenham line is primarily served by the Pakenham East Depot located in the outer suburb of Pakenham East. This depot was built in 2018 to exclusively house and maintain 30 brand new High Capacity Metro Trains while they are out of service. Built by evolution rail the 118 hectares (290 acres) depot consists of a stabbling yard and an advanced driver training simulator.
The depot is one of the most sustainable train maintenance regimes in Australia with:
- Energy savings of 23%
- Water savings of 46%
- 77% of water recycled
- 13% enchanment of biodiversity
- 115,000 kilograms (254,000 lb) of carbon saved every year
Since the mid to late 20th century, the Pakenham line has used a fixed block three position signalling system designed for lower frequencies and less services. However, the ageing system had undermined reliability due to the presence of system faults and limited frequencies, requiring the Pakenham, Cranbourne, and Sunbury lines to upgrade their signalling system. Since 2021, high-capacity signalling (HCS) has been rolling out on the Pakenham, Cranbourne, and Sunbury lines, allowing trains to safely run closer together and run more frequently. The new system is being delivered by CPB Contractors and Bombardier Transportation under the Rail Systems Alliance. These works valued at $1 billion includes the roll-out of 55 kilometres (34 mi) of HCS and communications systems on the aforementioned lines, allowing an increase in reliability and frequency. The line will be equipped with Bombardier’s CityFlo 650 communications-based train control system, that will enable operation at 2–3 minute headways.
The upgrading works were completed in phases from 2021. With the upgraded signalling system, trains are now able to run closer to each other. The new system was tested on the Mernda line and a section of the Cranbourne line before being fully implemented on the lines. In March 2022, the Pakenham line underwent further testing of high-tech signalling equipment, to ensure the new trains and signalling system can safely run alongside older-generation trains—including freight and V/Line trains—and the existing signalling system.
All premium railway stations on the Pakenham line have customer service centres that are open from the first to the last service. Host stations on the line also have customer service centres, however these are only staffed for a few hours during the morning peak.
At the service centres, passengers can:
- Buy tickets (Myki)
- Pick up timetables
- Collect change for vending machines and payphones
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. The majority of stations on the corridor are fully accessible, however, there are some stations that haven't been upgraded to meet these guidelines. These stations do feature ramps, however, they have a gradient greater than 1 in 14. Stations that are fully accessible feature ramps that have a gradient less than 1 in 14, have at-grade paths, or feature lifts. These stations typically also feature tactile boarding indicators, independent boarding ramps, wheelchair accessible myki barriers, hearing loops, and widened paths.
Projects improving station accessibility have included the Level Crossing Removal Project that involves station rebuilds and upgrades, individual station upgrade projects, and associated Metro Tunnel works. These works have made significant strides in improving network accessibility, with more than 60% of Pakenham line stations classed as fully accessible. This number is expected to grow within the coming years, as a network restructure associated with the opening of the Metro Tunnel is completed and level crossing removal works are completed on the corridor by 2025.
Passenger information displaysEdit
Most stations on the Pakenham line are equipped with Passenger information displays which provide real time departure information. These displays are owned by Public Transport Victoria and are managed by Metro Trains Melbourne. With the exception of the five central stations, most stations on the network are equipped with 2 line LED displays. However, since 2016 these are being replaced by flat screen displays that additionally show every station the train will serve.
The 2012 Network Development Plan identified the need for a north-south tunnel connecting the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines to the Sunbury line. In 2017, the Metro Tunnel began construction, involving the construction of five new underground stations, twin 9-kilometre (5.6 mi) tunnels, and other associated infrastructure improvements. Leaving the existing Pakenham line alignment before South Yarra station, new stations will be built at Anzac, Town Hall (with connections to Flinders Street station), State Library (with connections to Melbourne Central), Parkville, and Arden, before continuing onto the Sunbury line. These works will be completed by 2025, and upon completion, will create a singular rail line from Cranbourne and Pakenham to Sunbury and Melbourne Airport (from 2029).
Melbourne Airport railEdit
The Melbourne Airport rail link will involve the construction of a 27-kilometre (17 mi) line from Sunshine to a new station at Melbourne Airport. Connected via the Metro Tunnel, services will operate from the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines through the tunnel before splitting off at Sunshine to either Sunbury or Melbourne Airport. Construction of the line will involve the renovation of Sunshine station to allow for additional platforms, construction of new track, and the addition of two new stations at Keilor East and Melbourne Airport. Construction started in 2022 with services expected to begin in 2029.
Pakenham East line extensionEdit
Announced in 2021, the Pakenham line will be extended one stop east to Pakenham East. The extension will involve the removal of the Main Street and Racecourse Road level crossings, the elevation of Pakenham station, the construction of a new station at Pakenham East, and other associated safety and landscape works. These works will be undertaken as part of the Level Crossing Removal Project and will be completed by 2024. The station will be named East Pakenham.
Level crossing removalsEdit
The Level Crossing Removal Project has announced the removal of all 22 remaining level crossings on the Pakenham line, to be completed in stages from 2018 to 2025. All level crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong were removed in 2018 as part of the Caulfield to Dandenong skyrail project. This included the removal of nine level crossings and the reconstruction of five elevated stations along the corridor. The second phase of removals involves removing individual crossings along the corridor through a variety of methods by 2025. Some crossings have been removed through elevating the rail corridor, some by lowering or raising the road, with other crossings being removed by closing the crossing off from motor traffic. These projects will leave the entirety of the Pakenham line level crossing free by 2025, with projects on the Sunbury line leaving the entire Sunshine-Dandenong corridor crossing free by the opening of the Metro Tunnel in 2025.
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- ^ "Pakenham Level Crossing Removals One Step Closer" (PDF). 27 July 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 January 2023. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
- ^ Cardinia Shire Council. "LXRP – Level Crossing Removal Project in Cardinia Shire". www.cardinia.vic.gov.au. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
- ^ O'Keane, Tom (6 January 2022). "Contact awarded for $844M Melbourne rail works". Roads & Infrastructure Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
- Pakenham line timetable
- Network map
- Media related to Pakenham railway line at Wikimedia Commons