Melbourne’s re-elected Andrews Labor Government has said it will embark upon the biggest transformation of public transport in Australia’s history, with a new 90km underground rail network set to circle Melbourne, connecting every major regional train line from the Geelong line to the Gippsland line through Melbourne Airport.
Regional Victorian passengers will be big winners thanks to regional super-hubs included in the project at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine providing better access to jobs, education and health services outside the CBD – with 200,000 vehicles also forecast to be removed from our major roads.
This will build upon the Labor Government’s $1.75bn Regional Rail Revival plans that are upgrading every regional passenger line in the state.
In the last four years, the Labor Government has embarked upon the biggest transport building program ever – building large scale new road and rail tunnels to free up space on the existing network.
This project will create up to 12 new underground train stations, linking into every existing major suburban and regional line. Modelling projects strong patronage in both directions throughout the day, with 400,000 trips a day by 2051 set to make it Victoria’s busiest rail line – alongside creating 20,000 jobs.
Labor will invest an initial $300M in a full business case, planning and pre-construction works, with work on the first sections in Melbourne’s south east between Cheltenham and Box Hill to begin by 2022.
A re-elected Labor Government will also provide up to $5bn towards the construction of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, matching a commitment from the Federal Government. This will enable the Sunshine and the Melbourne Airport section of the Suburban Rail Loop to get under way by 2022.
Exact station locations, route alignment, rolling stock, and staging will be confirmed through the full business case and technical work, including extensive consultation and environmental assessments.
The project will be built over multiple decades, with the first sections expected to take around a decade of construction. State, Commonwealth and private sector contributions, as well as value capture opportunities, will be required to fund the project.
Business case development, detailed design and community consultation will commence in 2019, with work on the first stage expected to begin by the end of 2022.
Public Transport Minister, Jacinta Allan said,“This is the underground train system a growing Victoria needs – connecting all Victorians to jobs, education, hospitals and shopping without needing to change trains in the CBD.”