Australia: Melbourne Suburban Rail Plans Unveiled
The Victoria State Government have unveiled its AUS$1.6billion plans for the Melbourne Suburban Railway, elevating 8.2km of track and eliminating nine level crossings and rebuilding five stations in the process, increasing capacity by 42%. It is expected to begin running full services in 2018.
The level crossings, as they operate at the moment, bring traffic to a halt for a up to 87 minutes during the two hours of morning rush hour. Elevating the track will make all modes of traffic run more smoothly through the city. There will be a total of three elevated sections of track, creating “community spaces” beneath, with a new 12km uninterrupted pedestrian and cycle network, as well as creating new car parking spaces.
The construction of the elevated sections will not interfere with rail services, and will minimise disruption of road and pedestrian traffic. The stations will be fully integrated with other transport modes.
The plans were unveiled in the same week that a committee hearing for the Government of Victoria heard that the former Government cut funding to the Victoria Line by more than AUS$70million. These cuts put pressure of services and operational capacity. Since coming into power, the Labor Government has invested AUS$23million in axel counters at level crossings and ordered 21 carriages for regional trains.