Fifteen hundred passengers boarded the inaugural Perth to Mandurah railway this morning, a project which has been more than six years in the making.
The $1.6 billion project saw its first journey depart from Perth at nine o’clock, carrying 500 people on each of three trains, along the 72km route.
The railway was a 2001 election promise by the then Labor Opposition and former Premier Geoff Gallop is on today’s train with 500 other VIPS.
Public seats on the inaugural train journey were decided by ballot process and the government says two thirds of the 1,500 passengers, are members of the public and railway construction workers.
Hundreds of members of the public have also lined the platforms along the route, to watch the trains as they pull in to take more passengers.
The project, overseen by Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan, has been plagued by several cost overruns and legal challenges from contracting partnership Leighton-Kumagai.
In September this year, Ms MacTiernan revealed another $50 million budget blow out, taking took the total cost overruns to $250 million. The final cost of the project is now estimated at $1.66 billion.
The Public Transport Authority says the new rail line will add another 15 million trips a year to Perth's passenger rail network.
The $1.6 billion New Metro Rail Project, which includes the Perth to Mandurah line, is made up of: 11 new railway stations; 31 new rail car trains; a new 3.4km line from Cannington to Thornlie and a 4km extension from Currambine to Clarkson.
The southern link of the railway, from Perth to Mandurah, links the northern railway line with the southern line, running almost all the way along the Mitchell and Kwinana freeways.
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New rail service arrives in Mandurah