Melbourne Airport Rail Link

 
  Lockie91 Assistant Commissioner

So, it sounds like 6 tph added to existing Metro line from Albion to MM1 will be airport trains (HCMT).

MM1 will have a max capacity of 24 tph, so a big percentage of those will end up at Tullamarine.  What was the tph forecast for Sunbury trains? And then you have to factor in Melton sparks as well down the track....

I can see the logic of taking much of the Geetroit trains away from RRL to free up some capacity there which might include Melton and Wyndham Vale sparks on the RRL path as well.
Carnot
MM1 has a theoretical capacity of 36TPH, actual of 32- 34 TPH. Higher the TPH, lower the reliability when a train level 5 seconds late from a station.

Airport has 6 TPH
Sunbury has 12TPH

Leaves space for additional Sunbury trains in the future and Melton ending up in MM1 short term.

More Generally

Its good to finally get a project announced and under way (im sure dan is hoping before he goes to the polls). This sets up a series of upgrades and projects over the next 10 years in the west. The consortium may be dead, the Sunshine - CBD Link is not. The government has taken the sensible option of building the project over many years as needed. The missing piece to this puzzle is any announcement on the Western Rail Plan and how SRL will play into Sunshine.

Im not sure if we will see any movement on the Western Rail Plan this year, the government may be hoping that the additional trains from the BLU and reduced patronage from COVID will give them a little time. Well before SRL ever makes it to Sunshine, the station is going to need a major reconfiguration to accomodate future Melton or WV MM1 Services being in the right place. With the announcement the Some Geelong Trains will run via Newport, this suggest that RRL will be sparked to cater for WV and Ballarat Services; With Melton going into MM1. MM1 day one is scheduled to be in 2025, if all goes well, this still gives the government a year or two before they begin construction on dedicated tracks to Melton. As any upgrade is useless unless MM1 is up and going.

Come 2025 we should have Melton, Airport (2029) & Sunbury running via MM1. This freeing up capacity for a 20 minute off peak service to Ballarat and increased peak services to WV.

Im a bit perplexed it will take 9 years to build 8km of above ground rail, a couple of station rebuilds and 4km of underground tunnels into the Airport. With Airport Trains going into MM1 works beyond Sunshine are already well advanced. This all just shows the BS that has been going on. If the project has been committed to years ago, we would have Airport coming online with MM1.

As for the Sunshine - CBD Link, in 30 years time when Melton and Sunbury need those 6 TPH, Bendigo and Ballarat need additional city capacity we might see the project built.

As for the Geelong Announcement.

MM2 seems to be on the governments radar, there are only a couple of spare TPH through Newport so we might see 2 Geelong Trains Express from Lara to Newport to crawl behind a Metro SAS to the city. This brings MM2 back on to the radar to be announced at the 2026 election, paving the way for Geelong service to run through MM2. MM2 may be staged to be built Newport to Southern Cross as stage 1, then on to Clifton Hill as stage 2.

A few questions that the government will need to answer as the project develops over the next year. Junction Upgrade at Newport, LX removals between Newport and North Melbourne, Altona Loop Duplication.

How does SRL play into this projects RRL was designed and built to be qauded, will SRL take these additional tracks.

When and if all Geelong trains run via the new alingment via Newport this leaves WV on RRL to be sparked and run by Metro. Leaving them to mix with Ballarat services, which should not be an issue as long as the flat junction at Deer Park is upgraded. All Services run express from Sunshine to Footscray then on to Southern Cross, issue with Ballarat services being slowed by Metro.

Lots of exciting news today, but at the same time a lot of unknown about how all these projects are going to interact and work alongside each other. If only we had some sort of legislation that required the government to release an overarching transport plan.

Lockie

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  chomper Junior Train Controller

I doubt this will see the light of day, despite todays announcement. Can someone explain the rationale of charging $20 considering it is taxpayer funded (unlike Sydney and Brisbane)?
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Free at last, free at last
I doubt this will see the light of day, despite todays announcement. Can someone explain the rationale of charging $20 considering it is taxpayer funded (unlike Sydney and Brisbane)?
chomper
Maybe 'cause the Feds are stumping up a lot of cash and "user pays our mates" is their mantra.

Don't worry about the irrelevance of that,  the State govt has to say "yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir"
until reality of "the market" finally dawns upon them both - as did the Sydney Airport rail - and is priced down accordingly.

cheers
John
  Carnot Minister for Railways

The Govt will charge a premium because they want some $$$ to pay off the debt. Think of it as a levy where a greedy PPP entity doesn't get to profit from it.

Remember too that the Airport was wanting to monopolize it and treat it as their own little cash cow railway... At least that's been circumvented.
  Yappo Station Master

So I will be able to take a 45 minute train trip, then change trains, then take a 30 minute train trip, and pay $40 (is that just for the Airport link trip, or does it include other public transport travel to get to the link?) for the privilege (return trip)?  Or I could drive there in 40 minutes and park for the same price.

Hmmm.
Djebel
I don't really understand the point of your post I'm sorry. Will the new MARL be suitable for everyone who needs to go to Tulla every trip? Of course not.

However, it if provides 20-25% of those travelling to/from the airport with a mass transit option it will have done what it needs to do. More importantly, Melb finally enters the late 20th century in having an airport line connected to the suburban network. A line that it really should have had 3 decades ago.

Everyone could post how the airport line will not be suitable for their normal needs due to their specific travel patterns from home. However, at least in a decade - hopefully less - everyone will have it as an option for some trips. I know many pilots and cabin crew who love the fact that this will finally be built.

(Regarding your car park fees (and petrol). Don't forget to also add insurance, rego, maintenance costs and most importantly depreciation costs to the equation to obtain what it really costs you to drive your vehicle. That 40 min drive is most likely 3 times the cost of a one way ticket though obviously much more convenient in your circumstances.)
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville
Something that hasn't been noted yet is that the pamphlet linked, just revised, indicates that there are going to be new structures and tracks between Albion and Sunshine, with provision for an SRL connection at the Airport.

MARL brochure

Neil
  chomper Junior Train Controller

So I will be able to take a 45 minute train trip, then change trains, then take a 30 minute train trip, and pay $40 (is that just for the Airport link trip, or does it include other public transport travel to get to the link?) for the privilege (return trip)?  Or I could drive there in 40 minutes and park for the same price.

Hmmm.

Everyone could post how the airport line will not be suitable for their normal needs due to their specific travel patterns from home. However, at least in a decade - hopefully less - everyone will have it as an option for some trips. I know many pilots and cabin crew who love the fact that this will finally be built.
Yappo

The problem is that this option fails on both counts. The el-cheapo now but properly overpriced option being favoured by both  govco's will in the long term will almost guaranteed be too slow to entice people out of their cars and Skybus services. General rail commuters will not embrace it because it covers no new areas and it does nothing to add capacity to the network.

What I also don't get is why the 12km of new track between Werribee and Laverton when the RRL can do the job far better (why they didn't lay a fresh pair of tracks between Sunshine and Robinsons Rd during construction does my head in).
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
So I will be able to take a 45 minute train trip, then change trains, then take a 30 minute train trip, and pay $40 (is that just for the Airport link trip, or does it include other public transport travel to get to the link?) for the privilege (return trip)?  Or I could drive there in 40 minutes and park for the same price.

Hmmm.

Everyone could post how the airport line will not be suitable for their normal needs due to their specific travel patterns from home. However, at least in a decade - hopefully less - everyone will have it as an option for some trips. I know many pilots and cabin crew who love the fact that this will finally be built.

The problem is that this option fails on both counts. The el-cheapo now but properly overpriced option being favoured by both  govco's will in the long term will almost guaranteed be too slow to entice people out of their cars and Skybus services. General rail commuters will not embrace it because it covers no new areas and it does nothing to add capacity to the network.

What I also don't get is why the 12km of new track between Werribee and Laverton when the RRL can do the job far better (why they didn't lay a fresh pair of tracks between Sunshine and Robinsons Rd during construction does my head in).
chomper

Congestion on the Tulla will make the trip by road a lot slower than by rail.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
As a Gippsland resident I like what has been announced. A change of trains at Caulfield for example, without even needing to change platforms, is simplicity in itself. Far better than the present arrangement of changing at Southern Cross, dragging your luggage for a few hundred metres and lining up for a bus. The use of MM1 makes sense in that it caters for more centralised interchangeability for the other lines and also for the CBD tentacle that is St Kilda Rd (Anzac station).

I am wondering about the design of the HCMT's though. Will they now need some seats or standing room removed to allow for luggage racks?
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
As a Gippsland resident I like what has been announced. A change of trains at Caulfield for example, without even needing to change platforms, is simplicity in itself. Far better than the present arrangement of changing at Southern Cross, dragging your luggage for a few hundred metres and lining up for a bus. The use of MM1 makes sense in that it caters for more centralised interchangeability for the other lines and also for the CBD tentacle that is St Kilda Rd (Anzac station).

I am wondering about the design of the HCMT's though. Will they now need some seats or standing room removed to allow for luggage racks?
DirtyBallast
i don't think they'll put luggage racks in.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I don't really understand the point of your post I'm sorry. Will the new MARL be suitable for everyone who needs to go to Tulla every trip? Of course not.

However, it if provides 20-25% of those travelling to/from the airport with a mass transit option it will have done what it needs to do. More importantly, Melb finally enters the late 20th century in having an airport line connected to the suburban network. A line that it really should have had 3 decades ago.

Everyone could post how the airport line will not be suitable for their normal needs due to their specific travel patterns from home. However, at least in a decade - hopefully less - everyone will have it as an option for some trips. I know many pilots and cabin crew who love the fact that this will finally be built.

(Regarding your car park fees (and petrol). Don't forget to also add insurance, rego, maintenance costs and most importantly depreciation costs to the equation to obtain what it really costs you to drive your vehicle. That 40 min drive is most likely 3 times the cost of a one way ticket though obviously much more convenient in your circumstances.)
Yappo
These costs are paid anyway as part of car ownership as most couples/families will always have two cars regardless of the mode of commuting, especially if you have a family and/or live in the 'burb's

What you save is driving trip and parking.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
So I will be able to take a 45 minute train trip, then change trains, then take a 30 minute train trip, and pay $40 (is that just for the Airport link trip, or does it include other public transport travel to get to the link?) for the privilege (return trip)?  Or I could drive there in 40 minutes and park for the same price.

Hmmm.

Everyone could post how the airport line will not be suitable for their normal needs due to their specific travel patterns from home. However, at least in a decade - hopefully less - everyone will have it as an option for some trips. I know many pilots and cabin crew who love the fact that this will finally be built.

The problem is that this option fails on both counts. The el-cheapo now but properly overpriced option being favoured by both  govco's will in the long term will almost guaranteed be too slow to entice people out of their cars and Skybus services. General rail commuters will not embrace it because it covers no new areas and it does nothing to add capacity to the network.

What I also don't get is why the 12km of new track between Werribee and Laverton when the RRL can do the job far better (why they didn't lay a fresh pair of tracks between Sunshine and Robinsons Rd during construction does my head in).
chomper
No, experience in the northern states with airports that are far more central and closer to the CBD than Mel and have significant premiums added to the normal fare dictates otherwise.  As Tulla is on the outside of Mel suburbia, Mel should see a higher % capture to rail than Syd and Brisbane.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
To be clear, I'm not suggesting that a large amount of space should be set aside for luggage in each carriage, but just for a moment lets compare an airport train with Skybus.

Skybus runs express from the airport to the CBD and 100% of the passengers actually get on at the airport. Most of them have luggage.

A train from the airport to the CBD and beyond will run express to Sunshine and 100% of the passengers will have actually got on at the airport (although the train may not necessarily be full). Most of them will have luggage. If this is also a morning peak train to the CBD and it already contains a few hundred passengers that have just landed from Singapore and LA whose luggage takes up two spaces, how is a commuter boarding at Sunshine and the other stations along the line going to like it?

It would be the same for me. Although I like the idea of a virtually seamless transition from V-Line to Metro, if my flight leaves at 10am I've got Buckley's chance of squeezing on at Caulfield with +1 and two large suitcases. I would be forced to change at Pakenham instead.

The reverse would also be true. An evening peak Down service to the airport will also be full of commuters heading home from the CBD, so those passengers actually heading to the airport with luggage might find it difficult at that time of day.

That said I am still largely in favour of today's announcement.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
To be clear, I'm not suggesting that a large amount of space should be set aside for luggage in each carriage, but just for a moment lets compare an airport train with Skybus.

Skybus runs express from the airport to the CBD and 100% of the passengers actually get on at the airport. Most of them have luggage.

A train from the airport to the CBD and beyond will run express to Sunshine and 100% of the passengers will have actually got on at the airport (although the train may not necessarily be full). Most of them will have luggage. If this is also a morning peak train to the CBD and it already contains a few hundred passengers that have just landed from Singapore and LA whose luggage takes up two spaces, how is a commuter boarding at Sunshine and the other stations along the line going to like it?

It would be the same for me. Although I like the idea of a virtually seamless transition from V-Line to Metro, if my flight leaves at 10am I've got Buckley's chance of squeezing on at Caulfield with +1 and two large suitcases. I would be forced to change at Pakenham instead.

The reverse would also be true. An evening peak Down service to the airport will also be full of commuters heading home from the CBD, so those passengers actually heading to the airport with luggage might find it difficult at that time of day.

That said I am still largely in favour of today's announcement.
DirtyBallast
I know what you're saying but realisitically i don't think they will alter the design to create space for luggage.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

However, at least in a decade - hopefully less - everyone will have it as an option for some trips. I know many pilots and cabin crew who love the fact that this will finally be built.
Yappo
Yes, a salient point. Even if no airline passengers were to use the railway, the airlines, the airport itself, and the service industries that are placed adjacent are significant traffic generators in themselves.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
To be clear, I'm not suggesting that a large amount of space should be set aside for luggage in each carriage, but just for a moment lets compare an airport train with Skybus.

Skybus runs express from the airport to the CBD and 100% of the passengers actually get on at the airport. Most of them have luggage.

A train from the airport to the CBD and beyond will run express to Sunshine and 100% of the passengers will have actually got on at the airport (although the train may not necessarily be full). Most of them will have luggage. If this is also a morning peak train to the CBD and it already contains a few hundred passengers that have just landed from Singapore and LA whose luggage takes up two spaces, how is a commuter boarding at Sunshine and the other stations along the line going to like it?

It would be the same for me. Although I like the idea of a virtually seamless transition from V-Line to Metro, if my flight leaves at 10am I've got Buckley's chance of squeezing on at Caulfield with +1 and two large suitcases. I would be forced to change at Pakenham instead.

The reverse would also be true. An evening peak Down service to the airport will also be full of commuters heading home from the CBD, so those passengers actually heading to the airport with luggage might find it difficult at that time of day.

That said I am still largely in favour of today's announcement.
DirtyBallast
I think you need to look at Brisbane and Sydney a bit further.

Brisbane has a train on 15/30 min timetable, using the higher standard GC trains and much of the traffic comes from the GC line. While the city to airport section is rarely packed, south of the city to GC is a different story and there is alot of traffic for the airport train from the GC, but overall more than 2/3 come from the city.

Sydney every 10min, using normal commuter services and rolling stock from SW and the airport is only a few stops from the city loop/

Having used both, I have not a major issue with luggage. Sydney Central station platform 22/23 is however inappropriate for an airport service.

However OS, you have the likes of Vienna where the aisles are too small to wheel a two wheel suitcase down the aisle normally. No issue on BRisbane trains and Sydney has the very open vestibule.

Melbourne trains are likewise open.

Also Melbourne is on a 10min frequency. 40m people/annum is 3000/hr in one direction or 500 per train assuming 100% used the train, which they won't. You will be lucky to get 40 - 45%.

Your full flight from LA and SIA will not loaded onto one train as it tales 30min to unload the plane, 1h or more to go through immigration and then waiting for baggage to be delivered for up to 1h and then of course people need to "get their sh_t together". So yes while I have seen the 30min frequency in Brisbane get hit with big peaks from international arrivals, in Sydney on a 10min frequency including myself on a A380, no. If you had 100 travelers on one train I think it would be a big load.

I think the 10min frequency proposed for Mel considering its a dedicate service is a waste of tax payers money 15min is more than enough, but it does mitigate the need for specialized airport rolling stock.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
However, at least in a decade - hopefully less - everyone will have it as an option for some trips. I know many pilots and cabin crew who love the fact that this will finally be built.
Yes, a salient point. Even if no airline passengers were to use the railway, the airlines, the airport itself, and the service industries that are placed adjacent are significant traffic generators in themselves.
Lockspike


"On a typical weekday in 2016, this equated to 71,200 air passenger trips, 31,800 employee
trips and 15,300 commercial trips, which equates to 118,300 daily trips to and from the
airport, but this can increase to as many as 127,000 trips on a busy day."

Melbourne Airport Rail Link Sunshine Route Strategic Appraisal
  LeroyW Junior Train Controller

Location: Awaiting MM2
To be clear, I'm not suggesting that a large amount of space should be set aside for luggage in each carriage, but just for a moment lets compare an airport train with Skybus.

Skybus runs express from the airport to the CBD and 100% of the passengers actually get on at the airport. Most of them have luggage.

A train from the airport to the CBD and beyond will run express to Sunshine and 100% of the passengers will have actually got on at the airport (although the train may not necessarily be full). Most of them will have luggage. If this is also a morning peak train to the CBD and it already contains a few hundred passengers that have just landed from Singapore and LA whose luggage takes up two spaces, how is a commuter boarding at Sunshine and the other stations along the line going to like it?

It would be the same for me. Although I like the idea of a virtually seamless transition from V-Line to Metro, if my flight leaves at 10am I've got Buckley's chance of squeezing on at Caulfield with +1 and two large suitcases. I would be forced to change at Pakenham instead.

The reverse would also be true. An evening peak Down service to the airport will also be full of commuters heading home from the CBD, so those passengers actually heading to the airport with luggage might find it difficult at that time of day.

That said I am still largely in favour of today's announcement.
DirtyBallast
While I can totally empathise with the problems faced getting onto crowded trains with luggage, they still show a very 'Melbourne' way of thinking.

Recently pre-covid in London we changed trains 4 times to get out to Heathrow from Kensington on the Picadilly and District lines in peak with full luggage. Just needed to jump on whatever train was coming with room and heading in somewhat the right direction and the turn up and go makes it work.

From Caulfield, catch a Frankston short stopper to Melbourne Central and change to Airport via State Library rather than trying to hit a full Airport train on the way in.
In pm peak to the Airport, just get out to Footscray via whatever train you want and swap onto the Airport service there (Williamstown or Altona always have heaps of room).
  Yappo Station Master

So I will be able to take a 45 minute train trip, then change trains, then take a 30 minute train trip, and pay $40 (is that just for the Airport link trip, or does it include other public transport travel to get to the link?) for the privilege (return trip)?  Or I could drive there in 40 minutes and park for the same price.

Hmmm.

Everyone could post how the airport line will not be suitable for their normal needs due to their specific travel patterns from home. However, at least in a decade - hopefully less - everyone will have it as an option for some trips. I know many pilots and cabin crew who love the fact that this will finally be built.

The problem is that this option fails on both counts. The el-cheapo now but properly overpriced option being favoured by both  govco's will in the long term will almost guaranteed be too slow to entice people out of their cars and Skybus services. General rail commuters will not embrace it because it covers no new areas and it does nothing to add capacity to the network.
chomper
Why all this pessimism.... too slow? Can you suggest a suitable comparison to support that view?

HK Express takes 24-25mins to HK station. MARL is estimated to take 27 min to Library and 29 min to Town Hall/Flinders st. Are you seriously suggesting that the extra 3-5 mins is going to make any real difference for most pax? Bris Airtrain takes 24 mins from domestic to Central or 28 mins to Roma st for a 16km trip. MARL estimated times are completely reasonable compared with both. Skybus normally take between 25-30mins to SXS.

Pricing wise, I suspect that once pax surveys are done and the numbers are crunched that a lower fare around $10-$15 will hopefully be decided upon. However, even if the fare is similar to Skybus it is not difficult to project that they will lose around 75% of their pax within the first 12 months. The MARL will offer much better reliability, capacity and more importantly easier connections with the wider network.

The MARL will essentially be a semi express service for around a 30 min journey to the CBD. An extra fee on top of the Myki base fare is not unwarranted when you compare with other express services such as Honkers $20 (OW), Narita Express $42 or KLs $18.50 (70km trip). Syd charges $14.87 station access fee for a much shorter trip and the over priced Bris Airtrain costs $19.50.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Moreover, getting back on track, if you were flying into or out of Melbourne airport in those days...years before airline de-regulation, you were not short of a quid as airfares were expensive and you weren't travelling to the airport by any other bus than the Flxible Clippers operated by the airlines themselves from Franklin Street.

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=taa+flxible+clipper+melbourne&tbm=isch&hl=en-GB&chips=q:taa+flxible+clipper+melbourne,online_chips:ansett+airlines&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiP866_-ILtAhUqDrcAHSnLBpcQ4lYoAHoECAEQFg&biw=1263&bih=610#imgrc=0N4q-DczKxPnBM

If I recall...there was very little talk about a fixed heavy rail service to the airport, however there was some discussion about extending the Essendon airport tram further along to service the new Airport.
The discussion was not about extending the railways any fashion apart from the City Loop as railways were literally being closed in their hundreds of miles all around the state as the feeling at the time was their day was almost over.
The Vinelander

I'd love to know why Tullamarine was chosen as the site for the new airport - I've never seen a good reason.

It could have just as easily been placed on the other side of the Moonee Ponds Creek, say around Sydenham - Calder Park. The land is dead flat (in fact, flatter than round Tullarmarine). Just like Tullarmarine, it was all farm land in those days (it was still farm land when I first saw it in the '80s).

It would have made much more sense from a transport perspective. The train might not have been a high priority in those days, but the government certainly considered that there'd be enough of a road demand to build a dedicated freeway to the airport. North of the Calder interchange, the new freeway *only* served the airport so the capacity was pretty much wasted for many years. If the airport had been built near the Calder, the same amount of freeway would have also served country traffic on the Calder. You can still see the wasted money today - we have two expensive freeways only 5 km apart.

The decision, incidentally, was a Federal one. I wonder who owned the land Tullamarine was located on Smile
  John.Z Assistant Commissioner


I'd love to know why Tullamarine was chosen as the site for the new airport - I've never seen a good reason.

It could have just as easily been placed on the other side of the Moonee Ponds Creek, say around Sydenham - Calder Park. The land is dead flat (in fact, flatter than round Tullarmarine). Just like Tullarmarine, it was all farm land in those days (it was still farm land when I first saw it in the '80s).

It would have made much more sense from a transport perspective. The train might not have been a high priority in those days, but the government certainly considered that there'd be enough of a road demand to build a dedicated freeway to the airport. North of the Calder interchange, the new freeway *only* served the airport so the capacity was pretty much wasted for many years. If the airport had been built near the Calder, the same amount of freeway would have also served country traffic on the Calder. You can still see the wasted money today - we have two expensive freeways only 5 km apart.

The decision, incidentally, was a Federal one. I wonder who owned the land Tullamarine was located on Smile
historian
Probably the same reason why Monash University was built on the Princess Highway instead of one block west on the Dandenong railway corridor.

Money and lack of planning considering public transport at a time when cars were considered the future.
  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Interesting how much commentary on this thread follows a theme of “I live in Melbourne (insert suburb here) and it won’t be convenient for me.”

Personally, I live interstate and a train would be awesome for me as a visitor to Melbourne. And I suspect for many other visitors who will typically stay in cbd or fringes.

Melbourne folks can continue to drive if they want, but the visitor flow will still support it and take traffic off the Tulla- notably empty cabs/limos serving peak inflows/outflows.

As an aside, the Sydney airport line served me very well for business trips, despite the premium cost. The economics work in favour of rail for single passengers, with taxi becoming a better deal for couples and small groups. I suspect a similar structure will apply to Melbourne.
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

Special trains: Longitudinal seating on the HCMT's can work better for luggage than forward/rear facing seating, because passengers simply place their bags in front of their legs, whereas on dedicated trains the luggage can be some distance from the seats. This is an observation from the Narita SkyAccess (the cheap train to Tokyo's Narita Airport), whereas the Narita SkyAccess (the faster higher-priced train), along with Brisbane and Sydney have forward/rear seats.

Special price: Despite premium prices, the Sydney Airport stations attracted 8 million passengers per year in 2016, and patronage has been increasing by 1m per year. After a meeting in Sydney CBD a few years ago I took the train from Town Hall Station to the Domestic Airport, and it seemed half the train-load also alighted with me. The service is very convenient to get to the airport from meetings in the Sydney CBD, and Melbourne's link should be similarly convenient. For comparison, Melbourne's busiest non-City station is Footscray at 4m per year. If we can get to 8m/yr this will be a good boost to the overall network patronage, with peaks at times that don't coincide with the normal commuting peaks.

Patronage comparison. Patronage at some other airport stations in car-dominated cities like Melbourne are 1.5m/yr at Brisbane (special fare), 4m/yr at San Farncisco, and 4m/yr at Chicago. The latter 2 don't charge a premium fare.
  chomper Junior Train Controller

So I will be able to take a 45 minute train trip, then change trains, then take a 30 minute train trip, and pay $40 (is that just for the Airport link trip, or does it include other public transport travel to get to the link?) for the privilege (return trip)?  Or I could drive there in 40 minutes and park for the same price.

Hmmm.

Everyone could post how the airport line will not be suitable for their normal needs due to their specific travel patterns from home. However, at least in a decade - hopefully less - everyone will have it as an option for some trips. I know many pilots and cabin crew who love the fact that this will finally be built.

The problem is that this option fails on both counts. The el-cheapo now but properly overpriced option being favoured by both  govco's will in the long term will almost guaranteed be too slow to entice people out of their cars and Skybus services. General rail commuters will not embrace it because it covers no new areas and it does nothing to add capacity to the network.
Why all this pessimism.... too slow? Can you suggest a suitable comparison to support that view?

HK Express takes 24-25mins to HK station. MARL is estimated to take 27 min to Library and 29 min to Town Hall/Flinders st. Are you seriously suggesting that the extra 3-5 mins is going to make any real difference for most pax? Bris Airtrain takes 24 mins from domestic to Central or 28 mins to Roma st for a 16km trip. MARL estimated times are completely reasonable compared with both. Skybus normally take between 25-30mins to SXS.

Pricing wise, I suspect that once pax surveys are done and the numbers are crunched that a lower fare around $10-$15 will hopefully be decided upon. However, even if the fare is similar to Skybus it is not difficult to project that they will lose around 75% of their pax within the first 12 months. The MARL will offer much better reliability, capacity and more importantly easier connections with the wider network.

The MARL will essentially be a semi express service for around a 30 min journey to the CBD. An extra fee on top of the Myki base fare is not unwarranted when you compare with other express services such as Honkers $20 (OW), Narita Express $42 or KLs $18.50 (70km trip). Syd charges $14.87 station access fee for a much shorter trip and the over priced Bris Airtrain costs $19.50.
Yappo

The pessimism stems from the fact that govco is selling it as a better and faster option than driving. If they are saying 29 mins from State Library, one could almost bank on it being 10 mins longer. The usual Tulla freeway traffic causes 30 minute travel times, during epic snarls it blows out but on the whole, 30 minutes from the CBD is normal.

Had the route gone SCS-Footscray-Highpoint-Essendon North-Airport as a first stage and then extending that line from SCS out to the SE suburbs not served by any rail in subsequent stages, the trip time from the CBD to the airport would reliably be sub- 20 minutes and an airport trip from Berwick would be 45 minutes.

The SRL would work in bringing passengers from the eastern suburbs and from the regions (Broadmeadows interchange, Watergardens interchage [if they run the route of the SRL to serve the west far more effectively] and Werribee interchange).
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Probably the same reason why Monash University was built on the Princess Highway instead of one block west on the Dandenong railway corridor.

Money and lack of planning considering public transport at a time when cars were considered the future.
John.Z

I clearly didn't express myself well. I wasn't talking about public transport.

Even if you believed that the car was the future, Tullamarine doesn't make sense from an access perspective.

It was necessary to build a freeway to the new airport wherever it was located - that's a given. But locating the airport at Tullamarine meant that the freeway was essentially a dead end. They spent all that money building a freeway and beyond the Calder Interchange it only served the airport. It took years for substantial development to occur along this section, and even today very little traffic goes beyond the airport.

It would have appeared to be quite feasible to locate the airport near the Calder somewhere between the Maribrynong River and what is now Calder Park. You'd still need a freeway, but now it's an upgrade of the Calder. Spending the same amount of money not only provides access to the new airport, it provides improved access to all of Victoria to the north and north west of Melbourne. (As a side effect, the Bendigo railway was also located nearby, and providing rail access to the airport would have been simple.)

To see how odd this is, notice that the Calder was turned into a freeway anyway. We now have two freeways in north west Melbourne that parallel each other 5 km apart. The money spent on the Tullamarine Freeway north of the Calder Interchange was essentially completely wasted. And the waste is still going on - when the Western Ring Road was constructed two major interchanges were necessary - one at the Calder and one at the Tulla. When the Western Ring Road was upgraded *both* interchanges needed to be upgraded.

So why did the Federal government choose to build the airport at Tullamarine?

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