Melbourne sets sights on new $4.5 billion rail line Sep 2009
Paula Wallis, TunnelTalk
Fig 1. Phase 1 & 2 proposed routes
- Melbourne, Australia is setting its sights on a new Aust$4.5 billion rail line. The city, unveiled station concept designs and announced tenders for scoping work for Phase1 of it proposed metro line under the city.
- Victoria State Premier, John Brumby made the announcement at a Wednesday (September 9 2009) news conference, saying that soil and engineering testing works could start before the end of the year. "Stage 1 of the Melbourne Metro will run from Dynon to Domain (St Kilda Road) and today I am announcing that we are seeking engineers and technical designers to examine the possible alignment of the new rail tunnel," he said (Fig 1).
- Station designs included concepts for a new $100 million underground station at Parkville, the first underground train station for the city in 25 years.
Premier Brumby announces tendersBrumby said Stage 1 would cost more than $4.5 billion of the $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan designed to shape the future growth of the Central Business District and inner Melbourne. "The new tunnel will go via Parkville and provide rail access to Melbourne University and this important education and medical hub for the first time with train services capable of moving 12,000 passengers every hour. It will serve the thousands of tertiary students and heath care workers in the area and provide a seamless link from the inner west to the St Kilda Road precinct."
- State Government Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said the call for tenders signaled another step in the transformation of Melbourne's rail network. "I am delighted to say we are now starting the first stage of what will be a massive infrastructure project which will create thousands of jobs and shape the growth of inner Melbourne. We are planning for the future and work is already underway to change our suburban train system to a modern, metro, mass transit train network," she said.
- However, detractors point out that the massive project is unfunded. Daniel Bowen from the Transport Users Association is doubtful the
Station design concepts
- project will get off the ground. "It's very much pie in the sky stuff now. It is all pretty pictures and some initial funding for a little soil testing," he said.
Premier Brumby said the scoping works is a necessary first step in securing the Commonwealth's financial support.
"To make sure that we have the best possible bid, we need to be doing the engineering work and the feasibility work. We need to be doing all of that now," he said,
"so that all of that completed material is available to Infrastructure Australia and give us the best possible chance of securing those funds."
- Phase 1 is included as a short-medium term priority in the State's Infrastructure Australia funding submission to the Commonwealth Government. In the 2009/10 Federal Budget Victoria received $3.265 billion from the Building Australia Fund, with $3.225 billion for Regional Rail Link and $40 million to get working on the Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel. Stage 2, linking Domain to Caulfield with additional tracks between Caulfield and Westall, will be considered in the longer term.
- Construction on Melbourne Metro is anticipated to begin in 2012.