Here we go, mates. At long, long, long last it seems that Melbourne might finally be on the verge of getting an insanely long-overdue rail link to the airport, if a bold new plan announced by Premier Daniel Andrews is anything to go by.
Andrews has reportedly told business groups in a speech this morning that the Labor Party has begun the planning stages on a potential rail link to Tullamarine, which he expected to be “well underway” by the time the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel project is completed in 2026.
So, y’know… it’s still a decade off, but it’s better than nothing.
With a year to go until the State Election, a rail link to the airport seems like a smart core policy promise to be making, given how insanely overdue it is. It’s suggested that not only will a rail link to the airport provide much-needed transportation options from Victoria’s primary air hub, but that it will also assist in relieving congestion on the chronically clogged Tullamarine Freeway and CityLink road networks.
Under the Andrews plan, a major new rail hub would be developed at Sunshine station in the city’s north, providing branch line access to the airport. Rail links to Geelong and Ballarat would also be improved, allowing for high-speed trains that would revolutionise Victoria’s rail system. Andrews stated that high-speed trains would cut travel times to Geelong to well under an hour.
Imagine travelling from Geelong to Melbourne in under 40 minutes. It would change the way people work and live. And it would change the face of our state forever.
The Andrews Government resisted calls to build an airport rail link before the Melbourne Metro project, stating that the inner-city rail network needed boosting before an airport link could be sustained.
This year’s Federal Budget contained funding for the planning of a Melbourne Airport rail system.
The Tullamarine Airport currently services 35 million passengers per annum, a figure that’s expected to rise to 60 million by 2033.
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Image: Getty Images / Scott Barbour