The Victorian Labor Government has announced a $50 billion transport project if it wins the November state election.
The underground Suburban Rail Loop would connect Melbourne’s outer suburbs to the airport. This would be Australia’s biggest transport project in history.
The network would develop 12 new stations, starting in Cheltenham and reaching all the way to Werribee.
Labor candidate for Burwood Will Fowles said the suburban stations would create easy access to Deakin, La Trobe and Monash universities as well as busy shopping centres.
“It will make accessing the Deakin University precinct easier for the thousands of staff, students and visitors who travel there each day. The station will also provide an urban renewal opportunity to create a community that will support Deakin University,” Mr Fowles said.
New potential stations and interchanges would be built in the south eastern suburbs of Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill.
This interactive Story Map shows all the possible development locations.
Due to Melbourne’s rising population, the project would be built to accommodate future demand on the public transport system.
By 2051 the Suburban Rail Loop would become the busiest stand alone line in Melbourne with patronage of around 400,000 per day, Mr Fowles explained.
“Many stations on the line will be among the busiest on the network and services in the busiest hour are expected to be around 80 per cent full,” he said.
Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said: “It will get you where you need to go, wherever you live – and that’s what our growing state needs.”
We'll build an underground suburban rail loop connecting Melbourne's train lines. It will get you where you need to go, wherever you live – and that's what our growing state needs. pic.twitter.com/7CCBr5GNlP
— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 27, 2018
By following a path via the south eastern and northern suburbs, commuters would avoid existing lines that enter the city, therefore lessening the strain on these services. Premier Daniel Andrews said commuters would reach the airport from the south eastern suburbs in only 45 minutes.
Mr Fowles said, since the project’s announcement, the community has reacted positively.
“They have applauded the long-term vision involved in this project, and know from the first term of this government that when the Andrews Labor Government says it will build a project, it does it,” he said.
Mr Fowles said, as well as lessoning travel times, the project would help employ many people during construction with more than 20,000 jobs being created.
Mr Fowles said the new network would take 400,000 passengers a day, removing 200,000 cars off major roads. The construction of the first stage of the project would begin in 2022 and be completed in 2050, Mr Fowles predicted.
“Business case development, detailed design and community consultation will commence in 2019. Labor has committed a $300 million investment in this business case and pre-construction work if we win re-election,” Mr Fowles said.
“The strategic assessment was undertaken by Development Victoria, supported by Rail Projects Victoria, with commercial and technical advice provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and Aurecon.”
The Liberal party released a video criticising the suburban rail with the announcement of their mock project, ‘Bass Tunnel’.
The announcement of the Suburban Rail Loop comes after the Andrews Government began constructing the Metro Tunnel, an $11 billion project that is developing new stations around the CBD. The new stations include North Melbourne, Parkville, Royal Melbourne Hospital, State Library, Town Hall and Anzac station, which will reduce travel times for up to 20 minutes.