Construction on a project which will connect Melbourne Airport with the CBD will commence in 2022 after more than six decades of consideration, the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments say.
In a joint announcement, the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments announced the route for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.
Set to open in 2029, the link will enable international and domestic travellers to transit between the airport and the CBD in 30 minutes via 10 minute up and go services.
It will run from a new premium station at Melbourne Airport via Sunshine and into the CBD through the Metro Tunnel (see map).
New tracks will be constructed along the existing Albion-Jacana freight corridor between Sunshine and Airport West.
The tracks will veer off the freight corridor crossing the M80 freeway and head towards the airport following Airport Drive before arriving at the new airport station.
A rail bridge will be constructed across the Maribyrnong River Valley and an elevated rail design will be used to cross the M80 freeway.
The new line will enable Melbourne metropolitan passengers to travel to and from the airport with only one interchange.
Regional passengers from Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo will interchange at Sunshine whilst those from Gippsland in the South-east will be able to access the airport via the Cranbourne or Pakenham lines.
The line will also provide visitors with more direct connections to regional areas and thus help to promote regional tourism.
The new line will use the new fleet of High Capacity Metro Trains which will come into service next year and are capable up carrying 1,100 passengers – 20 percent more compared with other trains on the network.
Subject to a final business case and state/Commonwealth approvals, construction will begin in 2022.
Around 8,000 jobs will be created during construction.
First proposed in 1958 by the then City Development Association, the idea of a rail link from the City of Melbourne to the Airport has been considered for more than half a century.
Action on the current link, however, did not happen until the Victorian Government announced its intention to proceed with the link via Sunshine in 2018.
The new project is being funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, each of which have committed $5 billion.
However, the project budget has not been finalised and accurate cost estimates will be informed by detailed planning which is currently underway.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the project’s importance should not be underestimated.
“The airport link is a nationally significant project and Victorians have been waiting a long time for it to become a reality,” he said.
“When complete, the link will slash travel times, bust congestion and be a major boost to the economy.”