2 September 2020

The Victorian Government is upgrading important rail infrastructure on the Clifton Hill group, including the Hurstbridge and Mernda lines, that will enable more train services, less crowding on peak trains and better connections to public transport in Melbourne’s north east.

As part of these upgrades, a new substation will be built in Reservoir, south of Keon Park Station, to enable 5 additional services on the Mernda Line in the morning peak. It will regulate the power source for Mernda line trains, allowing more trains to run more reliably.

For more information contact 1800 105 105 or email at contact@levelcrossings.vic.gov.au.

Questions and answers

What is a substation?

A substation provides the power required to operate Melbourne’s trains and signalling equipment and are common across the entire metropolitan network. It is a fully enclosed building that is owned by VicTrack and operated by MTM.

Why does the rail network need substations?

As demand for train services continues to grow and major rail infrastructure projects such as Metro Tunnel and the Level Crossing Removal Project provide capacity for more trains across Melbourne’s network, rail power and signalling needs to be upgraded to enable more trains to run.

How do substations work?

Trains need a direct and constant source of power that can’t be met by the street power supply. Substations do not generate power; they convert the local street power supply from power lines to the voltage required to run trains.

How are locations for substations chosen?

To provide optimum power for trains, substations are evenly placed along the rail corridor.

Power modelling for the Hurstbridge and Mernda lines indicates there is a need for additional power supply between existing substations at Thomastown and Reservoir to run more services.

The design, construction and operation of the substations are based on the principle of providing a safe and functional electrical supply. MTM has undertaken detailed modelling to determine the location of the new substation and to align with the required power output and temperature control to support the service uplift on the Mernda Line.

The location for the new substation in Reservoir means the Mernda Line will have a more reliable power source, minimising unplanned disruptions to services and enabling more trains to run.

When will the substation be built?

Works for the new substation will take about 6 months to complete. The substation will be built on site and ready for operation in January 2022.

How big is the substation?

The substation, including staff car park, is about 30m long and 5m wide, further site investigations are required to confirm the final dimensions.

Will the substation be fenced?

An architecturally designed fence will be built for safety and security. The fence design will fit in with the broader urban design of the local area.

When will the substation be operational?

The substation will be operating from January 2022. The substation will typically be accessed by staff between 7am and 5pm. Emergency maintenance works may require the substation to be accessed outside of these hours.

What are the operational impacts of the substation?

The substation’s location between High Street and the rail corridor means there will be no noticeable light or noise impacts to neighbouring properties.