A FIFTH suburban rail service in Perth was introduced on August 7, when Western Australia’s Premier Geoff Gallop inaugurated the Thornlie Spur.

The A$75m branch serves a new bus/rail interchange with park-and-ride facilities for 450 cars. It diverges from the Perth - Armadale line south of Cannington, and includes a short tunnel at Kenwick as well as a bridge over the Canning River. The station is expected to attract 3500 passengers on a typical weekday.

Thornlie is the third station to open on the Transperth network within the past year, following Greenwood and Clarkson on the Northern Suburbs line. Perth - Thornlie trains run every 15min, serving intermediate stations between Claisebrook and Cannington. This enables Transperth to make the Armadale service limited-stop on this section and cut journey times by 5min.

The Thornlie spur was originally intended to form the start of the Southern Suburbs Railway to Mandurah, which was subsequently diverted to run directly into the city centre. During the opening ceremony, Dr Gallop confirmed that the 70 km line to Mandurah will open ’in early 2007’.