AN underground rail project announced by the Andrews Labor Government is set to connect the Frankston train line to nine other lines in the outer suburbs.
Cheltenham Station on the Frankston Line will be the first stop on the new network, known as the Suburban Rail Loop.
From Cheltenham, passengers will be able to travel directly to stations in Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood. The line will reach as far as Melbourne Airport and Werribee.
The new network will feature a total of 12 stops, with works on the Frankston line section projected to begin in 2022.
Carrum MP Sonya Kilkenny said that the new line is necessary to connect commuters in the south east to work opportunities across the outer suburbs.
“We’ve already been removing level crossings and building big road and train tunnels, and now we are delivering the biggest investment in public transport in Australia’s history. Suburban Rail Loop is the underground metro that our community needs to make it easier to get to employment centres, travel to the airport, and access world-class universities, TAFEs and hospitals and retail centres in our suburbs,” she said.
“The priority section for delivery is right here in the south-east of Melbourne, and only an Andrews Labor Government will get working on this bold new vision for Victoria by the end of 2022.”
Premier Daniel Andrews said that the project would help congestion on both the train lines and the roads.
“It’s not good enough to extend the congestion, we need a plan that doesn’t just force more cars and commuters into the city. The Suburban Rail Loop will get people to where they want to go – and more people on public transport means less traffic on the road for you,” he said.
“Labor will invest $300 million in a full business case, design, and pre-construction works, with work on the first section in Melbourne’s south east expected to begin by the end of 2022.”
Early estimates suggest the project will cost $50 billion.
Shadow Treasurer Michael O’Brien suggested that the project should have been sent in Infrastructure Victoria for “proper assessment and planning” before the announcement was made.
“The Liberal Nationals support new road and rail infrastructure which is why this suburban rail proposal should be sent to Infrastructure Victoria for proper assessment and planning. At the moment, the Andrews Labor Government can’t say how much it will cost or if there will be new taxes to fund it. The devil is in the detail which is why this idea needs to be sent to Infrastructure Victoria for proper assessment, costing and planning,” he said.
The project is not expected to be completed entirely until 2050.