The Victorian government has announced the details of its plans for Victoria’s dedicated, standalone Suburban Rail Loop.
“A year ago, Victorians voted for the Suburban Rail Loop and we haven’t wasted a moment getting on with it” premier Daniel Andrews said.
“We’ve removed 30 level crossings, we’re building the Metro Tunnel, and we’re doing the vital planning and design work for the Suburban Rail Loop,” minister for transport, infrastructure Jacinta Allan said.
After 12 months of technical, planning and design work, the government has announced that the 90-kilometre rail ring will be a twin-tunnel line solution with a dedicated fleet of quick, high-tech trains enabling ‘turn-up-and-go’ services.
It will fully integrate into the existing public transport network with up to 12 new stations connecting the existing rail system with the new standalone line. Passengers will be able transfer between both networks easily, using the same ticketing system servicing both.
Building the loop as a separate, standalone line will allow it to integrate state-of-the-art systems from around the world without having to retrofit technology into the existing network.
It will also mean that the design of the dedicated fleet won’t be constrained by the requirements of Melbourne’s hundred-year-old train network. As such, the new trains will be faster than the existing fleet.
They will be four to five carriages long, which means they can turn up more often. The platforms will also be shorter – reducing the distance passengers need to walk at the station each day to get on the train.
Geotechnical drilling is now well underway on the Stage One route from Box Hill to Cheltenham. Fourteen boreholes have already been dug, with close to 100 to be drilled by mid-2020.
The information collected during this stage will inform the final alignment and station locations for the project. Construction on Stage One of the Suburban Rail Loop is expected to begin in 2022.