Since we are talking about lines on a map @John.Z, I thought I would draw yours as a reference point.SRL West is not a shortcut to the Airport, although it can be used as such, just like it's a shortcut for those in Reservoir to get to the airport.
The standout differences are.
The expected plan contains
- no new tracks
- maybe a new station for Keilor
- new platform pair at Sunshine.
The ideal full circle contains
- 35km new track
- 20km runnels
- another new 1kn/50m high bridge over the Maribyrnong
SIX new stations
$40B+++ is a lot of extra money for what?
A shortcut for Watergarden/Carolyn Springs passengers
- If any small cohort of passengers are going to be forced into train changing, they would be high up the list.
One suburb (Pt Cook) missing their own backyard station, just 5km away from the existing mainline.
Every other stop already exists
As for duplicate service @Lockie, not really.
It's just sharing the track to squeeze some efficiency. No different to Bendigo & Sunbury.
And the icing on the cake is the disagreement that will not die. STANDARD GUAGE.
The western end of SRL will use a substantial part of the existing network (even if its just the RRL piece) which is BROAD GUAGE.
Why anybody would introduce an incompatibility, for NO benefit at all is just crazy.
It's to connect the major lines and future residential hubs.
To get from Point Cook to Sunbury, you have to get a bus to Williams Landing, then train to Footscray, then train to Sunbury (or bus to Tarneit, VLine to Sunshine).
To get from Caroline Springs to Broadmeadows, you have to change at Footscray and North Melbourne or at Spencer St depending on the time of day.
How are these trips any less valid than going from Dandenong to Southland or Doncaster to Lilydale?
This 'wider arc route is similar to a suggestion I made earlier and seems more appropriate. Although, not the last section to Point Cook which doesn't seem very feasible for the future?
Unfortunately, I suspect that the western section of SRL will most likely never be built. This will be due to a combination of basic politics & electoral cycles, state debt and other rail transport priorities. As history has shown around Oz, political continuity is very important for these type of major infrastructure projects to be fully implemented.
Firstly, within the next 10 years or so, both the Melton and Wyndham lines will be sparked and operational. Hopefully, not long after Wyndham is then looped around to Werribee thus providing better connectivity in the west. Added with the MARL being completed by 2031/2 (bloody slow), results in decent connectivity via the Sunshine interchange much sooner than the planned SRL timetable.
Secondly, whenever the Liberals are elected to government they will immediately cancel SRL, defer MM2 and whittle down other network extensions all due to a combination of state debt and other transport priorities...ie. new road projects....do I hear East-West Link anyone?. (The cancelling of the much belated Brumby transport plan with MM1 by the newly elected Baillieu in Jan 2011 essentially wasted 4 years for MM1). They will continue with a truncated LXR program which is electorally popular. MARL and HSR to Geelong will of course continue.
The next election is Nov 2022
and current polls suggest that the ALP will be reelected - though who knows what will happen in the post Covid environment especially if Australia has a recession for the 2nd half of 2021 as is expected? However, let's assume that the ALP is reelected.
That would mean roughly the following rail projects commencing construction;
2022 - SRL Eastern section and MARL preliminary works start
2023 - HSR to Geelong construction starts
2024/5 - 1 of Melton or Wyndham electrification works start?
2025 - MM1 opensNov 2026 - state election
I would doubt that SRL Northern section would be part of the 2026 platform for the ALP - this would most likely be for the 2030 election platform. Perhaps, only more LXR, Clyde ext and the other of Melton or Wyndham electrification assuming that works had previously commenced on the other. I can't speculate about MM2 but even though there will be lots of post MM1 opening electoral benefits with all the above listed projects U/C it is not difficult to foresee that it is deferred to a later date.
(I'm ignoring other exts such as Wollert, Wallan, Baxter etc assuming that they will be built in the 30s)
Now, a reality check with this electoral forecasting & guessing game. By 2026, the ALP would have won the previous 3 elections and based on state election history in Australia in the last 30-40 years the chances of winning a 4th election diminish greatly. It is very rare with the SA ALP being the only party that has won a 4th election in that time period to my understanding.
If the Liberals win then SRL Northern definitely gets cancelled based on the above mentioned reasons, plus there is little electoral benefit for them. If the ALP wins, then they go to the 2030 election with a policy platform to build SRL Northern and the chances of the ALP winning a 5th consecutive election are essentially Buckleys. In this scenario, it will then require the ALP to be elected after 1 or 2 or 3 Liberal govt terms for SRL North section to be implemented.
Regardless of the actual results of the 2026 and 2030 elections, the chances of the SRL Northern ext being built by 2040 are precarious given the vicissitudes of state politics. This then has an obvious consequence of both delaying and undermining the potential of the SRL Western section ever being built, especially by 2050.
I'm patently playing a guessing game of conjecture of the future and articulating a somewhat pessimistic disposition which is based upon much supposition. However, taking into account state political and party policy history, along with the current team heading up the opposition this rough outline of the future is plausible. Let's see how it all unfolds at the next election....