Suburban Rail Loop starts next phase at Box Hill

The Victorian Government is carrying out geotechnical work on the Suburban Rail Loop project, signalling the start of extensive ground works. 

The geotechnical work encompasses borehole drilling to depths of between 30-60 metres at the Box Hill site, with samples to be analysed over the next fortnight for soil and rock composition and stability. The work is intended to identify suitable locations for the underground stations.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan were in attendance at Box Hill to announce the next phase of the project as it moves towards its anticipated 2022 construction start date.

“We said we’d get the Suburban Rail Loop started and that’s what we’re doing – with geotechnical work now underway in Box Hill,” Andrews said.

The $50 billion Suburban Rail Loop, part of Victoria’s Big Build program, is intended to connect Melbourne’s middle suburbs through an underground 90-kilometre rail link running from the Frankston line to the Werribee line via Melbourne Airport. 

The project, which is planned to incorporate several new stations looping from the southeast to the northwest of the city, may not be fully completed until the 2050s. Andrews stated that the project would change the way people move around Melbourne, “slashing travel times and better connecting people with jobs, education and other vital services, wherever they live”.

The expensive project received a funding blow following Labor’s defeat at the federal election in May. Former Labor leader Bill Shorten promised $10 billion for the project in the event of winning the election, including $300 million in matched funding with the Victorian Government, but this failed to transpire due to his loss to Liberal leader Scott Morrison.

Labor to meet with stakeholders for Suburban Rail Loop planning

The Andrews Labor Government is due to meet with representatives from Melbourne suburbs for consultations on the first stage of the Suburban Rail Loop.

Labor will meet with representatives from the suburbs of Whitehorse, Monash and Kingston to discuss first-stage implementation of the proposed corridor for the $50 billion project’s South East Section. The talks will include consultation regarding ecological and geotechnical studies

The Victorian Government looks to be on its own in delivering the ambitious rail project, after Labor was defeated at the federal election over the weekend. Labor leader Bill Shorten had made a commitment to provide $10 billion for the project.

Billed as Australia’s largest ever public transport project, construction on the Suburban Rail Loop is currently pencilled for a 2022 start and may not be completed until the 2050s.

The project involves construction of a new underground rail line that will connect several Melbourne suburbs to the city’s existing major lines so that  improving connectivity and reducing commuting times. The line will run 90km from the Frankston line in the southeast to the Werribee line in the west via Melbourne Airport in the north.

Initial site investigations have been proposed for the second half of 2019, but the final number of stations has yet to be determined.

“The Suburban Rail Loop will change the way we move around Melbourne forever, and we’re not wasting a minute getting this vital project started,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

“It will create and support local jobs and slash travel times, getting people where they need to go.”

Labor lays out details of city infrastructure plan

Shadow Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has elaborated on Labor plans to partner with local and state governments through its City Partnerships program.

The program is intended to replace the Coalition’s City Deals program in the event Labor wins the upcoming federal election. Minister Albanese referred to the Liberal and Nationals plan as “ad hoc and politically motivated”.

The scope of the program includes extensive public transport plans, including new and expanded services through the inner and outer suburbs and investment in high speed rail to grow regional cities.

Other plans include the implementation of a national Park and Ride fund to invest in parking facilities at train stations across Australia.

The deal is planed to re-establish Infrastructure Australia’s Major Cities Unit, establish an expert panel and make changes to the National Urban Policy.

Labor has also promised $10 billion towards Melbourne’s ambitious Suburban Rail Loop, as previously reported.

“Labor will pursue a genuine partnership with local government and state governments, as well as with business and community to deliver this vision,” Albanese said in a statement

The program will also look into areas such as housing affordability, national bike paths, technology investment and the expansion of the Western Sydney Deal to incorporate Blacktown City Council.

“This election is a choice between Labor’s plan to invest in communities around Australia, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals and Nationals,” Albanese continued.

“After six years of cuts and chaos under the Liberals and Nationals, our united Labor team is ready.”

Labor commits $10bn to Melbourne Suburban Rail Loop

Bill Shorten’s pre-election promise to provide $10 billion for the development of Melbourne’s Suburban Rail Loop has been welcomed by Victorian Premier Dan Andrews.

The Opposition Leader Shorten made the pledge at a campaign rally in Maribyrnong in advance of the election on May 18.

The $50 billion endeavour is the biggest public transport project in Australia. It envisions a suburban underground rail route connecting Cheltenham in the southeast to Werribee in the northwest via Melbourne airport in the north.

Construction is set to begin in 2022 and may not be completed until the 2050s, by which time Melbourne’s population is expected to grow to 8 million. The initial phase of construction will stretch from Cheltenham to Box Hill and is set to take around 10 years to complete.

The line is also intended to connect to the developing Melbourne Airport Rail Link, which is also scheduled to begin construction in 2022 over a period of up to nine years.

The Suburban Rail Loop, intended to reduce transfers within Melbourne’s central business district, will precipitate the construction of up to 12 new underground stations.

“The Suburban Rail Loop will slash congestion across the transport network – taking thousands of passengers off existing rail lines and 200,000 cars off major roads – and create 20,000 jobs for Victorians,” said Victoria Premier Dan Andrews.

Andrews, who announced his plans to support the project last year prior to his landslide win in November’s state election, expressed his approval of Shorten’s pledge.

“The Suburban Rail Loop will get people where they want to go – and with a real partner in Canberra, we will be able to get on with this project even faster,” he said.