Premier Denis Napthine announced on April 13 that plans for the railway link formed a significant part of his state budget. The proposed line will provide a direct route from the CBD’s Southern Cross Station to the airport, taking travellers to the air hub in under half an hour, with services every 10 minutes.
“The new link will consist of a combination of at-grade and viaduct rail lines that will run from Albion, through the Jacana freight corridor and airport land terminating at a new elevated station at Melbourne Airport,” explained Dr Napthine.
“A new rail flyover will be constructed at Albion to ensure smooth access to the existing rail network.”
According to Terry Mulder, minister for roads and public transport, Melbourne Airport already carries 30 million passengers each year and this figure is set to double by the mid-2030s. Ensuring the smooth flow of travellers to and from the airport will therefore become a key issue.
Industry groups have come forward in support of the new rail link, with the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) highlighting the vast improvements in traffic flow the railway project would deliver.
“Without substantial investment in our rail networks, particularly those that provide links to other major transport hubs like airports, Melbourne’s highways will continue to be clogged with trucks and its cities will be heading further towards gridlock, frustration and excessive urban sprawl,” said Bryan Nye, CEO of the ARA.
The ARA also revealed that its recent submission on the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Strategy to the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure had called for “stronger rail linkages” to the city’s air and sea ports.
Such railway projects are vital to ensuring that the infrastructure of Australia’s main cities can meet rising demand. While concrete dates and costs are yet to be set for the Melbourne Airport link, developments are likely to follow in the near future.