In Transport

Victoria Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder

Eastern Freeway Best Route For Doncaster Rail Line

Victor P Taffa

A rail line along the Eastern Freeway, connecting the Doncaster Park-and-Ride with the Hurstbridge line at Collingwood, is the most viable option for a Doncaster rail line, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder said today.

Announcing the public release of the Doncaster Rail Study’s Phase One draft report, Mr. Mulder said the preferred Doncaster rail alignment could be expected to carry 56,000 passengers per day by 2031.

“The Eastern Freeway option would provide a fast, frequent and reliable service between Doncaster and the CBD, with the journey expected to take around 25 minutes.” Mr. Mulder said.

“The Doncaster rail line would start at the Doncaster Park-and-Ride, and would pass under the Eastern Freeway to a station at Thompsons Road in Bulleen, then cross into the freeway median and on to a station at the Chandler Highway in Kew.”

“The new rail line would then pass under the freeway and connect into the Hurstbridge line at Collingwood station, with trains continuing into the city on the existing tracks.” Mr. Mulder said.

The ‘rapid transit’ alignment was selected from six options and was preferred over routes which were constructed entirely in tunnels via local suburbs, and a link from Doncaster to the CBD via Box Hill.

This route was also the one most favoured by community members in the area.

“More than 60 % of people who gave their feedback to the study team listed the rapid transit route as their first preference.” Mr. Mulder said.

Mr. Mulder said the Doncaster rail line was one of the medium-term priorities outlined in the government’s submission to Infrastructure Australia and welcomed the release of the study’s Phase One draft report.

“The government is committed to delivering a heavy rail line to Doncaster and this was affirmed in our submission to Infrastructure Australia.” Mr. Mulder said.

“The release of the Doncaster Rail Study Phase One draft report is an important milestone in planning for the line.”

The draft report, prepared by an independent study team of engineering and planning specialists, identifies a number of rail network capacity challenges that would need to be addressed before a rail line to Doncaster could be introduced.

These challenges include measures to increase the number of trains that can be run on the busy South Morang and Hurstbridge group of lines.

Mr. Mulder said that addressing these challenges and planning for the Doncaster rail line was part of the longer-term plan for Melbourne’s rail network.

“At some point, the South Morang and Hurstbridge group of lines will reach capacity.” Mr. Mulder said.

“An option to address this is separating the South Morang line from the Hurstbridge line, and putting South Morang trains on their own tracks into the city.”

“In doing so, we would not only gain the ability to add more services to the fast-growing Whittlesea area, but also to introduce the Doncaster line to the existing rail network at Collingwood.” Mr. Mulder said.

The Doncaster rail line is estimated to come at a cost of between $3 Billion and $5 Billion, in today’s dollars, with the South Morang line separation works estimated to cost a similar amount.

“Other options, including the tunnel-based ‘local access’ option, would have delivered great benefits, but are estimated to cost up to $11 Billion.” Mr. Mulder said.

“The preferred approach means we would be able to deliver both the Doncaster rail line and the South Morang separation works for billions of dollars less than some of the other options considered, while providing benefits to a broader reach of people.”

The Doncaster Rail Study Phase One draft report is now available for public comment and Member for Doncaster Mary Wooldridge encouraged the community to provide feedback on the report’s recommendations.

“Before the study team finalises its report for submission to government, it is important people have their say on what the draft report is recommending.” Ms. Wooldridge said.

“I would encourage all interested members of the community to comment on the draft report over the next five weeks and participate in a Q&A session with the study leader, which will be held later this month.”

The scope of work to be undertaken in Phase Two of the $6.5 Million Doncaster Rail Study will be determined following the government’s consideration of the final recommendations report, which is expected to be submitted later this year.



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