Underground Suburban Rail Loop To Connect Victoria

A re-elected Andrews Government will start work on the biggest transformation of public transport in Australian history – a new underground rail network circling Melbourne’s suburbs.

The Suburban Rail Loop will connect every major train line from the Frankston line all the way to the Werribee line through Melbourne Airport, with up to 12 new underground stations.

In the last four years, the Andrews Labor Government has embarked upon the biggest transport building program ever – keeping our promise to remove level crossings and fix roads and rail across Victoria.

But our 100-year-old radial transport network – built to move people in and out of the CBD – can’t keep up with a rapidly growing Victoria. Without action, demand on the network will grind our state to a halt.

The Suburban Rail Loop is the big, bold new project our state needs for the future – Labor’s vision for a modern, connected transport network that will make Melbourne one of the world’s truly great cities.

No longer will Victorians have to travel into the CBD to get where they want to go. The project will change the way that people move around Melbourne – connecting our suburbs with major employment centres, universities and TAFEs, hospitals and retail precincts.

The Suburban Rail Loop is the only project that will slash congestion across the entire transport network – expected to take thousands of passengers off existing rail lines, and 200,000 cars off our major roads.

It’s projected there will be strong patronage in both directions throughout the day – with 400,000 trips daily set to make it Victoria’s busiest rail line by 2051.

Labor will invest $300 million in a full business case, design, and pre-construction works, with work on the first section in Melbourne’s south east expected to begin by the end of 2022.

The south east section will run underground between Cheltenham and Box Hill – with new rail tunnels linking the Frankston, Cranbourne-Pakenham, Glen Waverley and Belgrave-Lilydale lines.

This section could include six new underground stations – four underground interchanges with existing lines, and two potential new stations at the Monash Clayton and Deakin Burwood precincts.

The north east section will connect the Belgrave Lilydale line to the Hurstbridge, Mernda, Upfield and Craigieburn lines before heading to Melbourne Airport.

In addition to the four interchange stations on these lines, there will be potential new underground stations in Doncaster and the La Trobe precinct in Bundoora.

The new Airport Rail Link will form the north-west section, with construction also underway from 2022. The western section will connect to the Werribee line via the new Sunshine super-hub, with further technical investigations to determine the scope and route of this section.

Regional Victorian passengers will be big winners, with three new super-hubs at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine providing better access to jobs, education and health outside the CBD.

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.

Early planning and feasibility work, including identification of the project corridor, was undertaken by experts at Development Victoria, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Office of the Coordinator General over the past 12 months.

A project of this massive scale – amongst the largest in the world – will be built over multiple decades, with the first sections expected to take around 10 years to construct.

The Suburban Rail Loop is projected to create more than 20,000 jobs during construction – including 2,000 apprentices, trainees and cadets employed through Labor’s Major Projects Skills Guarantee.

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.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“It’s not good enough to ‘extend’ the congestion, we need a plan that doesn’t just force more cars and commuters into the city.”

“The Suburban Rail Loop will get people to where they want to go – and more people on public transport means less traffic on the road for you.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan

“The Suburban Rail Loop is the underground train system a growing Melbourne and Victoria needs – connecting every Victorian to jobs, education, hospitals and shopping without needing to change trains in the CBD.”

“Finally, Victorians will be able to catch public transport across and around the city – taking thousands of people off existing trains and slashing road congestion with up to 200,000 cars off our roads.”