Victorian public transport minister Jacinta Allan has detailed how Melbourne’s cross-CBD Metro tunnel will alter the tram network on the surface above it.
Allan on Tuesday said the Metro Tunnel would “transform” the city’s tram network, with the earliest changes to the light rail network to be made shortly.
A worksite will be established in the southern corner of the Shrine Reserve at Domain early next month, so gas, water and other services can be relocated. As work ramps up next year, large construction sites will be established on St Kilda Road and Domain Road to build Domain Station along the tunnel route.
Allan said these sites will prevent Route 8 trams turning right onto St Kilda Road from Domain Road. As a result, the project will build new tracks along Toorak Road West, allowing trams to turn onto St Kilda Road south of the Domain construction site.
When the work is complete by mid-2017, Routes 8 and 55 will be combined into a new Route 58, which will run from Toorak through South Yarra to St Kilda Road via the new Toorak Road West connection.
Trams will then turn left down Park Street and run along Kings Way to William Street, on to West Coburg, Allan explained.
While that is happening, Route 6 from Glen Iris will be extended from Melbourne University to Moreland, to replace Route 8 services on Lygon Street.
The minister said this would ensure there is no reduction in service for passengers in Brunswick and Coburg, and will increase services to Prahran, Malvern and Glen Iris.
She also said the Metro Tunnel project will also build new tram connections on Toorak Road West in South Yarra, Park Street in South Melbourne and on Flinders Street in the CBD to allow trams to continue at the end of Elizabeth Street.
The changes are aimed at relieving pressure on trams along Swanston Street and St Kilda Road – Melbourne’s busiest tram route and, according to Allan, the busiest in the world.
“Metro Tunnel will relieve the pressure on the busiest tram route in the world by providing turn-up-and-go train services under Swanston Street from Domain to Parkville,” she said.
“New connections in South Yarra, South Melbourne and the CBD will enable trams to fan out across the city to where they are needed most in the future.
“Route 58 will start next year as part of the transformation this massive project will deliver to our tram network, while it builds a new tunnel to run more trains in and out of the city from the suburbs and regions.”