Melbourne airport rail link boost: Turnbull Government to pour cash into long-awaited project

 

News article: Melbourne airport rail link boost: Turnbull Government to pour cash into long-awaited project

A TRAIN link to Melbourne airport has won the backing of the Turnbull Government, which will pour cash into the long-awaited project to finally get it on track.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I want to congratulate Darren Chester he is without a doubt the infrastructure minister.  This is good news for Victoria but we need to go one step more and assign the project to deliver the Airport Rail Link to someone other than Victrack and the PTV.  They are simply hopeless.

Now, for those of you who sometimes ready my rants on here and my opinion you may recall I suggested there would be an announcement on the melbourne airport rail link before the next state election.  Perhaps Andrews has been trumped?

Darren Chester for PM

Melbourne airport rail link boost: Turnbull Government to pour cash into long-awaited project

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  steve195 Train Controller

This is good news, but without wanting to be too cynical, this is a pretty tiny commitment in monetary terms. On the other hand, it signals a big philosophical change from the 'roads only' Abbott days.


The funding would be part of a Victorian infrastructure package worth more than $1 billion, which would also finance upgrades to the Bairnsdale, Wodonga and Warrnambool railway lines.
Somebody

What are the odds that western Sydney and regional Queensland get roughly one bazillion dollars for transport projects they weren't really asking for? Pretty high I reckon.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
You did pick it bevans but nothing from the state government yet maybe they are feeling the pressure.

An amazing shift in thinking maybe just maybe Chester this the man this country needs to get us moving in the right infrastructure direction.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

I'm rather curious to know what the regional rail upgrades involve.  I'm thinking Stratford Bridge and Bunyip duplication (Gippsland), second Geelong tunnel and double track to Waurn Ponds along with some track renewal (Warrnambool), and having another go at the ballast and base on the NE line.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The article states the Federal (not state) government will work on the route for the airport line. We may see a different type of solution provided which may open up new ideas.

Also states Andrews has said it will stack up at some point when infrastructure Victoria says current proposals will return $1.60 for every $1 invested so I think this would mean now and not in the future?
  woodford Chief Commissioner

A couple of points,

Its only a billion dollars, for projects that will cost MUCH more than that.

It appears its money the federal government owed Victoria anyway, so they (the feds) have actually done VERY little.

Apparently everyone has forgoten Victoria has already commited at least 10 billion for the Metro tunnel as well as quite a few more billions to the level crossing removal project. This is already a considerable burden on the tax system. Now Both Victoria needs to dig up another  (atleast) 4 billion, MONEY DOES NOT GROW ON TREES and its a moral the feds will not want to stand the extra funds.

Victoria MUST have a major interest in the exersize, if a project  between federal and state are NOT done hand in hand, we will almost certainly have one of the BIGGEST pigs breakfasts  we will ever see..

woodford
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
It's already a given that the Airport train, when it eventually comes along won't be travelling through Sunshine due to the congestion on the RRL, so Plan B may possibly entail an extension to the Flemington Racecourse line underground and on to Bendigo via the Airport and Clarkefield.

It's unlikely the Fed's will be stumping up all that $$.

Having said that, it's good news the Feds are at least considering funding for PT which is far more than former PM Tony and others before him did.

Mike.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
It will be interesting to see if this project is just the Napthine governments plan for an airport line via Sunshine dusted off and given a new spin, or if it ends up being something else such as a line on an alternate route or even something totally different such a monorail partly along the Tulla Tollway (which actually makes some sense despite the fashion for slagging off monorails).

Given that Victorian governments (of both flavours) hate to be seen to be adopting the plans of their predecessors, it will be interesting to see the spin the Andrews government put on announcing an airport line, when cancelling the Napthine governments airport rail line was one of the first things they did when they were elected.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
A couple of points,

Its only a billion dollars, for projects that will cost MUCH more than that.

It appears its money the federal government owed Victoria anyway, so they (the feds) have actually done VERY little.

Apparently everyone has forgoten Victoria has already commited at least 10 billion for the Metro tunnel as well as quite a few more billions to the level crossing removal project. This is already a considerable burden on the tax system. Now Both Victoria needs to dig up another  (atleast) 4 billion, MONEY DOES NOT GROW ON TREES and its a moral the feds will not want to stand the extra funds.

Victoria MUST have a major interest in the exersize, if a project  between federal and state are NOT done hand in hand, we will almost certainly have one of the BIGGEST pigs breakfasts  we will ever see..
woodford

Some responses on the above:

1. A billion is a damn good start however it is sad the federal government offered Kennett $500m back in the 1990's to build the line which would have cost $900m back then far less than it would today so what are we doing different now that the cost is so much higher?

2. Why are there capacity issues on the new RRL network?  This is new track and signalling.

3. The Feds paid for the RRL which was $4b why would they not contribute progress payments?

4. It is nice to see a transport minister who is actually interested in transport and not just talk.

5. Victoria this year has a $3b surplus it is not like we have struggling.

I would like to see other options explored where perhaps we might see a heavy rail connection from the city initially branching off at say parkville or maybe off the Upfield line which has capacity and then overhead (like brisbane) all the way down the Tullamarine freeway into a loop at the terminals and back out again.  The only disadvantage I can see if no easy way to create a junction before the airport or other lines if above ground?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
A couple of points,

Its only a billion dollars, for projects that will cost MUCH more than that.

It appears its money the federal government owed Victoria anyway, so they (the feds) have actually done VERY little.

Apparently everyone has forgoten Victoria has already commited at least 10 billion for the Metro tunnel as well as quite a few more billions to the level crossing removal project. This is already a considerable burden on the tax system. Now Both Victoria needs to dig up another  (atleast) 4 billion, MONEY DOES NOT GROW ON TREES and its a moral the feds will not want to stand the extra funds.

Victoria MUST have a major interest in the exersize, if a project  between federal and state are NOT done hand in hand, we will almost certainly have one of the BIGGEST pigs breakfasts  we will ever see..

Some responses on the above:

1. A billion is a damn good start however it is sad the federal government offered Kennett $500m back in the 1990's to build the line which would have cost $900m back then far less than it would today so what are we doing different now that the cost is so much higher?

2. Why are there capacity issues on the new RRL network?  This is new track and signalling.

3. The Feds paid for the RRL which was $4b why would they not contribute progress payments?

4. It is nice to see a transport minister who is actually interested in transport and not just talk.

5. Victoria this year has a $3b surplus it is not like we have struggling.

I would like to see other options explored where perhaps we might see a heavy rail connection from the city initially branching off at say parkville or maybe off the Upfield line which has capacity and then overhead (like brisbane) all the way down the Tullamarine freeway into a loop at the terminals and back out again.  The only disadvantage I can see if no easy way to create a junction before the airport or other lines if above ground?
bevans
Had been built the knock on effect today would be significantly higher as this extra traffic would have had to be dealth with. So I don't think anything has been lost not building it. Also back then the state was basically broke and more debt was not what the state needed.

The surplus is going to be short lived and the state still has $16B of debt (I believe). The feds are going to pull the reigns in soon and they will be targetting the cashed up states like Vic and NSW. Even Qld with its large debt still has a balanced budget sheet (unless Debbie blew it away) is likely to get targetted. Best position the states can be in to ride out the upcoming downturn is bank the surplus and dont' get too carried away throwing money around.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Regardless of who builds it and/or finances it, the debate will continue about the route, and how it would mesh with the existing transport infrastructure.  This debate has been going on for years, but nothing ever happens.

It's easy to make vague announcements and wave money around, but do the Feds have any concrete ideas about actual implementation?
  Rossco T Chief Train Controller

Location: Camberwell, Victoria

I would like to see other options explored where perhaps we might see a heavy rail connection from the city initially branching off at say parkville or maybe off the Upfield line which has capacity and then overhead (like brisbane) all the way down the Tullamarine freeway into a loop at the terminals and back out again.  The only disadvantage I can see if no easy way to create a junction before the airport or other lines if above ground?
bevans

Um, don't forget it was only just over 4 years ago that there was a fairly comprehensive study that considered the various route options to deliver the rail link to Tullamarine Airport

https://web.archive.org/web/20131006100357/http://ptv.vic.gov.au/assets/PTV/PTV%20docs/Melbourne-Airport/Melbourne-Airport-Rail-Link-Study-Technical-Report.pdf

Surely we don't need to reinvent the wheel, or have things changed that much since 2012?  Yes, I know that the RRL has opened, but we were well on the way to completing that project when the 2012 report was released.

Ross
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon

I would like to see other options explored where perhaps we might see a heavy rail connection from the city initially branching off at say parkville or maybe off the Upfield line which has capacity and then overhead (like brisbane) all the way down the Tullamarine freeway into a loop at the terminals and back out again.  The only disadvantage I can see if no easy way to create a junction before the airport or other lines if above ground?
Um, don't forget it was only just over 4 years ago that there was a fairly comprehensive study that considered the various route options to deliver the rail link to Tullamarine Airport

https://web.archive.org/web/20131006100357/http://ptv.vic.gov.au/assets/PTV/PTV%20docs/Melbourne-Airport/Melbourne-Airport-Rail-Link-Study-Technical-Report.pdf

Surely we don't need to reinvent the wheel, or have things changed that much since 2012?  Yes, I know that the RRL has opened, but we were well on the way to completing that project when the 2012 report was released.

Ross
Rossco T

I see form the link the option of an above ground higher speed service from Melbourne to the airport was not considered?

This Chester chap has breathed life into the idea public transport can again be funded by the Federal Government under Turnbull.  The states are areally desperate for funds and roads are not the answer.  This is good news although I see Daniel Andrews is trying to hose down the idea.  But why?
  steve195 Train Controller

It will be interesting to see if this project is just the Napthine governments plan for an airport line via Sunshine dusted off and given a new spin, or if it ends up being something else such as a line on an alternate route or even something totally different such a monorail partly along the Tulla Tollway (which actually makes some sense despite the fashion for slagging off monorails).

Given that Victorian governments (of both flavours) hate to be seen to be adopting the plans of their predecessors, it will be interesting to see the spin the Andrews government put on announcing an airport line, when cancelling the Napthine governments airport rail line was one of the first things they did when they were elected.
Bogong
Was it really cancelled if no money had been allocated (aside from the feasibility studies) and the opening date was 12 years away?

The airport train is a bit of a strange project, because it has massive public support despite not necessarily being a wise investment and pollies of both flavours just keep kicking it down the road.
It's everything a politician could want in a project, yet it is at least 9 years away from opening and we are yet to see a firm commitment of $$.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
It will be interesting to see if this project is just the Napthine governments plan for an airport line via Sunshine dusted off and given a new spin, or if it ends up being something else such as a line on an alternate route or even something totally different such a monorail partly along the Tulla Tollway (which actually makes some sense despite the fashion for slagging off monorails).

Given that Victorian governments (of both flavours) hate to be seen to be adopting the plans of their predecessors, it will be interesting to see the spin the Andrews government put on announcing an airport line, when cancelling the Napthine governments airport rail line was one of the first things they did when they were elected.
Was it really cancelled if no money had been allocated (aside from the feasibility studies) and the opening date was 12 years away?

The airport train is a bit of a strange project, because it has massive public support despite not necessarily being a wise investment and pollies of both flavours just keep kicking it down the road.
It's everything a politician could want in a project, yet it is at least 9 years away from opening and we are yet to see a firm commitment of $$.
steve195
Its no doubt popular, but could be like Sydney and Brisbane when the real price hit home not so popular but has since grown on people and most people just wear the cost.

Melbourne's line is expensive and will always be expensive. Even cheap options are expensive due to the distance. Brisbane and Sydney's projects may come in under $1B each. For Melbourne its barely the deposit.

However for Melbourne considering the state of the network, is it not worth waiting for the Metro to be complete or at least time the Airport line to open 6mth later so the trains have somewhere to go?

What is wrong with going via Sunshine? The racecourse option must surely be alot more costly and with Sunshine you feed straight into the new metro. But I see the options of new stations may also be popular and help justify the higher cost.


As Victoria's resources will be strained with the funding and managing of the Metro and Skyrail projects. Perhaps with the feds $1B and Vic throwing a similar amount in, they could then give this to a private operator to build the project on a BOOT arrangement. With the $2B reducing the cost of the project to make it more commercially viable. Everyone wins!!!
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

What is wrong with going via Sunshine? The racecourse option must surely be alot more costly and with Sunshine you feed straight into the new metro. But I see the options of new stations may also be popular and help justify the higher cost.


As Victoria's resources will be strained with the funding and managing of the Metro and Skyrail projects. Perhaps with the feds $1B and Vic throwing a similar amount in, they could then give this to a private operator to build the project on a BOOT arrangement. With the $2B reducing the cost of the project to make it more commercially viable. Everyone wins!!!
RTT_Rules

The Sunshine option would make Melbourne the nations laughing stock Exclamation

During the peaks, scheduled trains are as close as 3 minute headways which means potential travelling speeds of 130kph are more often than not...stopping all signals to/from Sunshine at a very slow, time losing average speed.

Add to this, your suggestion of frequent Airport trains into the mix...basically RRL gridlock when commuter flights are at their most frequent. The accepted norm for Airport trains is similar to the Heathrow Express, and even Brisbane's Airtrain is a far better and higher average speed service than Melbourne'es can possibly be via Sunshine.

Also...forget the original METRO lines which are already saturated.

This project will require a clean sheet of paper.

Mike.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE

The Sunshine option would make Melbourne the nations laughing stock Exclamation

During the peaks, scheduled trains are as close as 3 minute headways which means potential travelling speeds of 130kph are more often than not...stopping all signals to/from Sunshine at a very slow, time losing average speed.

Add to this, your suggestion of frequent Airport trains into the mix...basically RRL gridlock when commuter flights are at their most frequent. The accepted norm for Airport trains is similar to the Heathrow Express, and even Brisbane's Airtrain is a far better and higher average speed service than Melbourne'es can possibly be via Sunshine.

Also...forget the original METRO lines which are already saturated.

This project will require a clean sheet of paper.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Obviously you just don't plug it in to the existing line. What will this corridor look like post Metro project and what else would still be required to make it work?

Airport service frequency would be 15min, unless the trains were also used for other traffic there wouldn't be enough traffic to justify more.

They are spending $10B to build a new tunnel through the city, there won't be another $10B available. If you cannot add 4 or so trains an hour to the city post Metro then there is something seriously wrong. The advantage of using the Metro tunnel is also the train length can be increased to manage growth from the airport without increasing frequency.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
They are spending $10B to build a new tunnel through the city, there won't be another $10B available. If you cannot add 4 or so trains an hour to the city post Metro then there is something seriously wrong. The advantage of using the Metro tunnel is also the train length can be increased to manage growth from the airport without increasing frequency.
RTT_Rules

The Proposed Melbourne METRO isn't the problem...but the congestion from Albion to South Kensington is.
See below alignment:

http://metrotunnel.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/34874/MM-Indicative-Alignment-Map-20151112.pdf

The portal for the Melbourne METRO is at South Kensington which in no way assists the proposed Airport train in reaching the City unimpeded nor the RRL which as I said earlier and through twice daily peak travel experience is basically already saturated.


Mike.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
They are spending $10B to build a new tunnel through the city, there won't be another $10B available. If you cannot add 4 or so trains an hour to the city post Metro then there is something seriously wrong. The advantage of using the Metro tunnel is also the train length can be increased to manage growth from the airport without increasing frequency.

The Proposed Melbourne METRO isn't the problem...but the congestion from Albion to South Kensington is.
See below alignment:

http://metrotunnel.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/34874/MM-Indicative-Alignment-Map-20151112.pdf

The portal for the Melbourne METRO is at South Kensington which in no way assists the proposed Airport train in reaching the City unimpeded nor the RRL which as I said earlier and through twice daily peak travel experience is basically already saturated.


Mike.
The Vinelander
Ok fair point I thought the Metro tunnel went further west.

Much of the corridor does have room to expand, some of the inner parts not, but likely alot cheaper than going via Flemington, but I see benefits in doing this with extra catchment, but the price for 7km of tunnel?
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
The Network Development Plan has the airport train running through to Westall/Dandenong/Pakenham/Cranbourne so that people from the East and South Eastern suburbs only have to change trains once, even after Stage 4. Running it to terminate at Southern Cross or Flinders Street removes this ability.

I wish I had saved a copy, but I was reading something interesting the other day about how non-express airport trains were the most successful as they allowed workers to get to the airport as well. This is why the train should stop at Sunshine. If there is also a consistent Limited Express Train every 15 minutes, Arden-Footscray-Sunshine-Airport, this might help even up loading. To be viable, an airport train should also carry ordinary traffic. In Sydney this is easy as the airport is close to the city and on a regular suburban line. This isn't possible in Melbourne (Personally I think an airport train should loop back around to the Craigieburn line somewhere, but that's just foaming).

With West Footscray having an extra platform added there might be an opportunity for a peak direction overtaking track for airport trains to run through stoppers.



The RRL paths should be cleaned up through Melton Electrification (including fixing junctions at Sunshine and Deer Park West and Quadding to Deer Park or even Caroline Springs) and the retiring of H Sets, and less utilization of N Sets during the peak.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The Network Development Plan has the airport train running through to Westall/Dandenong/Pakenham/Cranbourne so that people from the East and South Eastern suburbs only have to change trains once, even after Stage 4. Running it to terminate at Southern Cross or Flinders Street removes this ability.
TOQ-1
I would say a Tullamaine airport rail service MUST call at Southern Cross Station !

Southern Cross Station has by far the most transport service connections In the State.

Southern Cross Station has all the facilities and travelers aid services to cater for International, Interstate and Regional passengers.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
Darren Chester for PM
bevans
Whilst any sort of federal funding for PT would be a welcome breath of fresh air, at the core of it, Chester is but a mere a simple Nat script reader, responsible for looking after the gullible majority Great Unwashed in one of the lowest educational outcome areas in the nation. That's why he is popular there. Dumb and poor people normally vote for conservative parties:
http://www.communityindicators.net.au/wellbeing_reports/east_gippsland

Unless his proposed airport link runs on a completely separate alignment directly to the CBD to integrate with the rest of the system, it will crash and burn until Metro is built and stabilised.

If he's fair dinkum then he will stump up $10b instead, which will go some way to make up for the blatant shortfall of federal infrastructure funding of any sort to Victoria over the past decade or so.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
I would say a Tullamaine airport rail service MUST call at Southern Cross Station !
Nightfire
Why? The vast majority of people using a Tulla train would be heading to the city or suburban Melbourne, as most people going to the country would take a direct airport bus service that goes directly to regional centres and bypass the inner city. For the few people wanting to travel from the airport all the way into the city before heading out to the country, there would be plenty of opportunities to change trains.

Look at The Tube. The Piccadilly line from Heathrow bypasses every country rail terminus on that side of town, then heads through multiple inner city stations before finally passing through Kings Cross, the rail terminus furthest from Heathrow.

It's true that the Heathrow Express train goes direct from the Airport to Paddington, but only business travellers or rich people use that. The vast majority of ordinary riff-raff just use the much cheaper Piccadilly Tube line and they have no trouble changing trains at junction stations.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Why? The vast majority of people using a Tulla train would be heading to the city or suburban Melbourne, as most people going to the country would take a direct airport bus service that goes directly to regional centres and bypass the inner city. For the few people wanting to travel from the airport all the way into the city before heading out to the country, there would be plenty of opportunities to change trains.
Bogong
The reason why Is network connectivity !

There are coach services that run out of SXS that don't call at suburban stations, some regional (non Gippsland) trains don't call at Footscray.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I would say a Tullamaine airport rail service MUST call at Southern Cross Station !
Why? The vast majority of people using a Tulla train would be heading to the city or suburban Melbourne, as most people going to the country would take a direct airport bus service that goes directly to regional centres and bypass the inner city. For the few people wanting to travel from the airport all the way into the city before heading out to the country, there would be plenty of opportunities to change trains.

Look at The Tube. The Piccadilly line from Heathrow bypasses every country rail terminus on that side of town, then heads through multiple inner city stations before finally passing through Kings Cross, the rail terminus furthest from Heathrow.

It's true that the Heathrow Express train goes direct from the Airport to Paddington, but only business travellers or rich people use that. The vast majority of ordinary riff-raff just use the much cheaper Piccadilly Tube line and they have no trouble changing trains at junction stations.
Bogong
There is no magic one way to build an airport line. Every city is different and hence each solution is different. Just look in our own country for two very different examples of how to make it work with Brisbane basically extending the GC line to the Airport and hence benefits from GC Interurban rollingstock and often light to modertaely loaded trains to the airport as it doesn't go anywhere else. Where as Sydney jumps on the frequent bandwagon because the line is part of the inner core and a 3rd example being built in Perth and Adelaide if it was to get one would be LR and hence different again.

Airport workers are not a keystone of Airport Railways as they are by far a minority, but can equally use the line as per the air traveller on the express and the above comment is a myth.

For Mel the decision needs to be
- Is it a dedicated Airport service and hence have specially fitted rollingstock suited for people not familiar to the city, luggage space etc. If so then the train would start-finish from Southern Cross.

- If its a through train basically feeding another Suburban line using standard rolling stock then Southern Cross is no longer essential but desirable.

If Melbourne had electrified regional services, I would have tapped into the Geelong line aka Brisbane as it would provide regional rolling stock which should come with toilets, better seating and potentially some luggage storage space and frequency.

For Melbourne's case I strongly lean to a dedicated Airport service and specalised rolling stock as the route is fairly long and if running express will not service much commuter traffic although this doesn't stop a few new stations being built and serviced by the same train.

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