Today's inaugural passenger run on the Perth-Joondalup railway was the start of a new era in rapid transit travel in the metropolitan area, Premier Carmen Lawrence said today.
"The Government's investment in this project demonstrates our confidence in the future of Perth and its rapidly expanding northern corridor," she said.
"This service will turn community attitudes toward the greater use of public transport as we move into the 21st century."
Dr Lawrence said the opening of the passenger rail link - the first to be built in Perth in more than 100 years - provided a fast and efficient public transport system.
"The $277 million northern suburbs railway system is a state-of-the-art network which will have spin-off benefits for housing, industry, small business and employment," she said.
"It will enhance lifestyles in the northern suburbs and help rejuvenate our city."
Dr Lawrence officially launched the railway and three new stations along the 26 km route to Joondalup. Tomorrow, a reduced service called `discoveride' will operate daily between 9.30 am and 2.30 pm prior to the opening of four more stations in the New Year and the full commissioning of the integrated bus and rail service in March.
The northern suburbs service will complete a four-year program costing $500 million to electrify and extend passenger rail systems throughout the metropolitan area.
"The northern suburbs service will carry as many people as the other three metropolitan lines combined - it is expected that on this single route there will be 10 million passenger boardings a year," the Premier said.
Dr Lawrence said the northern suburbs service represented a huge investment in the future. The project absorbed 120km of rail track, 81,400 concrete rail sleepers, and 115,000 tonnes of ballast.
Because the trains were free of impediments such as level crossings and frequent stops, they would travel at up to 110kmh.
The `user-friendly' service would provide easier access for people with prams and those in wheelchairs. Five of the new stations - Glendalough, Stirling, Warwick, Whitfords and Joondalup - had been installed with high-quality lifts and escalators to provide quick transfers between levels.
All station platforms had been designed so that they were level with the floor of the train, allowing easy access for people in wheelchairs.
Mothers, the elderly and young people who felt isolated or cut-off from the rest of the community would now have links to other parts of Perth through a fast, efficient and extensive train and bus network.