The Cranbourne line is a commuter rail service operated by Metro Trains Melbourne in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It operates along the inner section of the former South Gippsland line. The service is part of the Public Transport Victoria metropolitan train network.
The line traverses flat country and there is little in the way of earthworks. There are a few level crossings along the line. The area around Cranbourne is one of Melbourne's main growth areas, giving the line considerable potential for growing patronage.
The line, which branches from the Pakenham line at Dandenong, is single track after the Greens Rd level crossing, with a crossing loop at Lynbrook towards the Cranbourne end of the line. Trains can also cross at Cranbourne itself, which has two platforms. Power signalling is provided throughout, being controlled from Dandenong. There are no intermediate terminating facilities, however stabling sidings were recently constructed and opened in Cranbourne.
Beyond Cranbourne there is a siding between Cameron Street and Berwick-Cranbourne Road near the Cranbourne "Shed" and the new Hunt Club Estate. The line then continues to Leongatha, but between Cranbourne and Nyora, the line is unserviceable.
On weekdays, Cranbourne line services run express between South Yarra and Caulfield between 6 am and 10 pm (6 am - 8 am Flinders St direction only), and operates as shuttles to and from Dandenong, connecting with a Pakenham line train, at all other times. During peak, some services will originate and terminate at Westall or Dandenong running express between South Yarra and Caulfield. During the morning peak, these short services may also instead run express between Richmond and Caulfield outbound.
On weekends, Cranbourne line services run express between South Yarra and Caulfield between 11 am and 7 pm, and stops all stations between Flinders Street and Cranbourne from 6:45 am to 11 am (9:30 am to 11 am on Sundays) and from 7 pm to 8:15 pm (Flinders St direction only). At all other times services operate as shuttles to and from Dandenong, connecting with a Pakenham line train.
Weekday morning and weekend services run anticlockwise through the City Loop, while weekday afternoon services run clockwise.
Standard timetabled journey
from Flinders Street
The Cranbourne line opened in December 1886 as part of the section to Tooradin. This was the first section of the South Gippsland Railway, with passenger services to Leongatha withdrawn on 24 July 1993. The last train ran on 24 July 1993 with P class locomotive hauling an FSH set to Leongatha and back to Melbourne. Shortly after the Leongatha service was axed, V/Line's then newly introduced Sprinters railcars were tested along the line from Dandenong to Cranbourne for a short period of time until the electrification of the line to Cranbourne was completed in March 1995.
In November 1993, Train Order Working replaced Electric Staff safeworking to Cranbourne, then on 24 March 1995, the electrification and power signalling on the Cranbourne line was commissioned. Funded as part of the Federal Government "Building Better Cities" program, the $27 million project included an upgraded Dandenong station and a new Merinda Park station at Cranbourne North (the line had previously been electrified for a short distance to the Commonwealth Engineering siding).
In 2008, work started on the construction of six train stabling sidings at Cranbourne station at a cost of $37 million, to enable more trains to run on the line at peak times without duplicating the line, which was completed in November the same year, along with a major upgrade of the station and the extension of platform 2.
In January 2018, the City of Casey launched the Commit to Casey campaign to request the State Government and Opposition, to provide $2.7 billion in funding for the Dandenong–Cranbourne duplication and Clyde extension.
Later that year, the Victoria State Government agreed to allocate $750 million for track duplication. It will be delivered in conjunction with Melbourne Metro and Level Crossing Removal Project. This will allow the number of train services to double during peak times, with trains running every 10 minutes along the line. Tracks between Caulfield and Dandenong stations will also be upgraded. The project includes rebuilding of Merinda Park station and provision for the future rail extension to Clyde. In March 2020, contract for the upgrading was awarded to McConnell Dowell, Arup, Mott MacDonald and Metro Trains Melbourne. Works will start later in 2020 and will be completed by 2023.
On 3 November 2012, a truck travelling along Abbotts Road, in Dandenong South, was hit by a Cranbourne-bound train at about 11:40am. The accident caused the train to jack-knife, causing severe damage to the train, as well as the track and overhead infrastructure. One passenger died at the scene of the accident, having suffered a heart attack, while at least 13 others, including the train driver, were injured.
- Daniel Breen (24 March 2009). "Freight network goes off the rail". Geelong Advertiser. www.geelongadvertiser.com.au. Retrieved 4 April 2009.
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- "Media Release: CRANBOURNE STATION TRAIN STABLING PROJECT ON TRACK". Minister for Public Transport Media Release. www.dpc.vic.gov.au. Archived from the original on 22 July 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
- "VICSIG – Infrastructure – Cranbourne Sidings and Station". www.vicsig.net. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
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- Houston, Hingston, Stark, Cameron, Chris, Jill (3 November 2012). "Safety fears after fatal crash". The Age. Retrieved 3 November 2012.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)