Melbourne’s busiest train line, the perennially packed Cranbourne-Pakenham line, will be getting longer platforms as part of a $660 million upgrade to reduce overcrowding, the Victorian government has announced.

Thirteen of the line’s existing station platforms will be extended to accommodate a fleet of new, longer, high-capacity trains, which are currently being built in Victoria. Another five stations that are being rebuilt to remove level crossings will also have the elongated platforms.

The new trains will be about 20 per cent longer than they are currently, which along with the platform upgrades are expected to increase the capacity of the Cranbourne-Pakenham line by 42 per cent overall, making room for an additional 11,000 passengers during peak travel times.

Work on the platforms will begin later this year. Stations that are being extended include South Yarra, Caulfield, Malvern, Oakleigh, Westall, Springvale, Dandenong, Merinda Park, Cranbourne, Hallam, Berwick, Officer and Pakenham. Stations being rebuilt include Carnegie, Hughesdale, Murrumbeena, Clayton and Noble Park.

The works will cause disruptions to train services. First up, buses will replace trains between Dandenong and Pakenham from April 1 to 5.

“We’re getting rid of the congested level crossings and out-dated signalling that is holding our train system back,” said Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan. “It will mean some disruption, but after years of inaction and neglect, we’re getting it done.”

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