The state government is facing a public backlash over its decision to change the name of Marymede station to Middle Gorge, with residents labelling the name “stupid” and “ridiculous”.

The government recently announced that the three stations on the Mernda Rail Extension will be known as Mernda, Hawkstowe and Middle Gorge.

Until now, Middle Gorge station has been known as Marymede after its proximity to Marymede Catholic College.

Residents have taken to Facebook in recent days to protest the decision and to call for the name to be changed.

The most popular option put forward by residents is changing South Morang station to Plenty Valley and then renaming Middle Gorge as South Morang.

The government is standing by its decision, saying Middle Gorge was chosen because the station is near the “popular” Middle Gorge Park.

However, the park is actually several kilometres away in the neighbouring suburb of Yarrambat in Nillumbik shire.

A spokeswoman for Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the government had followed the relevant guidelines and adopted station names that reflect local character and landmarks.

South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance spokesman Darren Peters said there was “no logic” to the government’s decision.

“[Middle Gorge Park] is kilometres away from Marymede station. If any commuters actually wanted to visit Middle Gorge Park from Marymede, they can’t as there are no footpaths,” he said.

“You wouldn’t change the name of Flinders Street station to Fitzroy but that is essentially what they have done.”

Mr Peters said the community’s suggestion made the most sense and reflected the history of the area.

He called on the council and Mill Park MP Lily D’Ambrosio to campaign for a name change.

“Overwhelmingly, the majority of residents don’t like the name Middle Gorge,” Mr Peters said.

“Museum station is now known as Melbourne Central, Spencer Street is Southern Cross and Fairfield station was Fairfield Park but they changed the name because it is not near Fairfield Park.”

The government also announced the Mernda Rail Extension is six months ahead of schedule, with test trains to be running by the end of September.