Public transport

May 7, 2014

Will Napthine’s new route ruin Melbourne’s Metro?

The Victorian government's promised Melbourne Rail Link replaces the former government's Metro. It follows a different route but the outcome is a lot better than the early leaks suggested

Alan Davies — Editor of The Urbanist

Alan Davies

Editor of The Urbanist

How Melbourne's rail network is expected to look on completion of the new Melbourne Rail Link project

Yesterday’s State budget confirmed the Napthine government’s commitment to addressing the looming capacity constraints in Melbourne’s rail system. As expected, it will make extensive changes to the existing plans for Melbourne Metro.

It’s now called Melbourne Rail Link and the tunnel component will be routed via a new station at Fisherman’s Bend rather than under the CBD as Metro planned. It includes a line to Melbourne Airport and a number of changes to the operation of other services.

Revising the project has lots of political benefits for the government. Most importantly, it gives it real credibility on public transport.

Whereas the Metro was Labor’s creation, Melbourne Rail Link is the Coalition’s own invention. It will also provide a line to service the government’s signature urban redevelopment scheme at Fishermans Bend.

And the change, with its associated need for years of extensive design work, provides political cover for not spending serious money on the project until at least 2018.

That doesn’t mean, though, that Melbourne Rail Link is necessarily a bad project or even inferior to Metro. All major projects involve compromises and have to be assessed in terms of how well the inevitable compromises are traded off.

So, has Denis Napthine got it right this time or is he about to stuff up Melbourne’s Metro?

Fortunately there’s more information than was provided previously. On the basis of the limited technical information available, the Melbourne Rail Link provides a number of advantages compared to Metro. It will:

  • Cost less to build, mainly due to shorter tunnels. This means for the same cost as Metro ($11 Billion), the project includes construction of a new line to Melbourne Airport with stops at Southern Cross, Flinders St and stations out to Pakenham.
  • Increase peak hour capacity across the system by a claimed 30% versus Metro’s 17%.
  • Provide rail access to Fishermans Bend, “the largest urban renewal project in Australia”, (40,000 jobs, 80,000 residents).
  • Avoid temporary disruption in Swanston St from building the two new CBD stations proposed for Metro.
  • Include construction of an interchange at South Yarra with the new line (Metro had the tunnel portal at South Yarra but not a station, due to cost).
  • Give all services stops at a minimum of two CBD stations. The key Sunbury – Dandenong line will have stops at Southern Cross and Flinders St (Metro planned these services would stop at new stations at Melbourne Central and Flinders St).

And what are the downsides relative to Metro? The biggest one in my view is the delay necessitated by the changes to the project.

The start of construction is put off by at least three to four years as a significant amount of work has to be done on front end design and engineering. Rushing that work would risk major cost blow-outs.

Another is that the station at Parkville planned under Metro will no longer be built; the new station at Fishermans Bend (Montague) will effectively replace it. As I’ve noted before, I think that’s a reasonable trade-off.

While there’s not much there now, Fishermans Bend is effectively a ‘greenfield’ site with potential for much higher densities than Parkville. Moreover, Parkville is close to the CBD and is already serviced by trams; funding is provided in the project to improve tram and bus connections to the area.

Seemingly more worrying is the location of Montague station on the eastern end of the Fishermans Bend precinct (intersection of Montague St and 109 tram line). Although Montague includes a tram and bus interchange, a more central location would be better.

However that has to be weighed against the additional cost. In any event the highest job and residential densities will be in the eastern part of the precinct (1).

A further issue is that travellers from Frankston will “detour” via the new tunnel and hence have slightly longer journeys. On the other hand they’ll now get access to four loop stations compared to three under Metro (but not Flinders St in either case). At present Frankston trains only stop at Flinders St and Southern Cross.

A more substantive worry is the revised project forfeits the relief Metro was expected to give to severe tram congestion on Swanston St and St Kilda Rd. There are of course other solutions (e.g. see Is this a real tram ‘network’?) and the government should ensure the issue is addressed.

Melbourne Rail Link doesn’t solve all of the same problems as Metro but it’s a different beast; all in all this is a better project than the early leaks suggested (2).

I’d still like to see more information (e.g. on how the Benefit-Cost Ratio and the higher peak hour capacity claims are calculated) but there’s enough there to give me confidence the Napthine Government isn’t about to stuff up the key purpose of Metro i.e. to provide greater rail capacity in the city centre.


  1. Update: the government says it’s considering a new “light rail loop” to link into Montague.
  2. Either the Government’s revised the project in response to the criticism or it needs to do leaks a lot better
How the network was expected to look in circa 20 years with Melbourne Metro (source: PTV Network Development Plan)
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33 thoughts on “Will Napthine’s new route ruin Melbourne’s Metro?

  1. Lakhman Singh Virk

    I personally agree that the Melbourne Rail Link is capable of enhancing the system capacity. No worries if it can’t deliver more passengers!

  2. Dudley Horscroft

    ian smith at 12 asks: “Can somebody please explain why we need to build an expensive rail link to the airport?”

    We don’t need to build an expensive rail link, but we do need to build a cheap, fast and reliable good line to the Airport. Note that about 3/4 of the track is already there (needs a bit of upgrading for very fast services plus electrification), approx 6 km still to be done from the existing line to the Airort Station.

    As to lack of planning and engineering design – the route was confirmed at least a year ago, so most of the design work should already have been done. I understand that the design of the terminal station at Tullamarine was done when the latest modifications to the airport were done.

    In effect, most of the route is already “shovel ready” and by the time the line from Albion to Tullamarine Freeway is done, the rest of the work into the Airport Station should be ready for start of construction. Finissh in two years, if they get their fingers out.

    Albion Station to TF is about 10 km, so Sunshine to the Airport is about 18 km. For an up graded line capable of 160 km/h operation, reduced a bit on the Albion curve and the curve linking the Albion to the TF section, and on the station approach, it should be feasible to average 120 km/h from Sunshine to the Airport. This is 9 minutes, allow a bit of catch up time and 10 minutes is an easy task. Southern Cross to Sunshine is 17 minutes, deduct 5 minutes for five stations omitted (stopping at Footscray and North Melbourne) and Southern Cross Station to Tullamarine Airport Station is 22 minutes, which I think beats the bus in traffic free periods, and is way ahead in congested peak periods.

    Dandenong trains are to be through routed to Sunbury and Airport – with 15 trains departing Dandenong for the City between 0700 and 0800 there are surely plenty to give a very frequent service to the Airport. Beats the uncomfortable, cramped, expensive bus hollow.

  3. Tom the first and best


    The air space above South Yarra station is a very impractical location for above the tracks development.

    Firstly, as you mention, in relation to connections with the tunnel, there are heritage issues.

    Secondly, a significant proportion of the space immediately above the station is needed for a second concourse to relieve pressure of the existing concourse and provide better access to the Forrest Hill precinct and possibly the older residential areas on the other side as well.

    Thirdly, covering stations with buildings, rather than roofs, is not of benefit to passengers as it often makes the stations darker and also requires space for support pillars on the platforms (particularly at multi-track stations like South Yarra).

    Fourthly, the surrounds of South Yarra station make it very hard to get all the necessary entrances and exits for any kind of development above the station difficult.

    Fifthly, all of the above would made any development very expensive and not even profitable to the developer without a massive subsidy.

  4. Sean Deany

    Sorry that the key image didn’t paste, but you view it with my accompanying comment on my transport blog site.

  5. Sean Deany

    Why the Melbourne Rail Link Stinks!

    There is something of a red herring when concerning the reasons for dumping the much planned and revised Melbourne Metro tunnel for an alternative which is so full of bluff and lies its astonishing.

    Firstly its important to note that in its original and well planned concept before promised Infrastructure Australia funds were diverted towards road construction the proposed Melbourne Metro rail tunnel was never meant to run close to the surface along its Swanston Street alignment for a variety of obvious reasons. However one of the key factors for its evident dumping was that this major Melbourne street would need to be torn up through cut and cover construction. This is simply not the case.

    As the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel was to travel beneath the Yarra River it would have, as shown in the above diagram, to have been at such a depth requiring bored tunneling methods. The CBD South Stn (City Square / Flinders Street) would only require a surface works point covering the northern half of City Square and road covering metal plates at the Flinders Street Stn access points. The station main structure would have been of cavern design due to its depth in the Melbourne formation and spoil removal would be extracted via the actual tunnel and out to its remote western portals in Kensington South to be tructed away for landfill. The CBD North Stn (La Trobe / Melbourne Central) also of cavern construction would require a surface works site north of La Trobe Street along Swanston St, but without impact on tram movements for the duration of the project. Only building site machinery / structure barriers would obstruct key hole sites for the duration of the project construction at a minimal footprint possible. A similar situation would be in place at the proposed Parkville Station site with possibly some impact obstruction for the areas around Grattan Street (east of Royal Pde) and on the central axis of Royal Pde its self north of Grattan Street. The proposed Domain Station site involved works much closer to the surface and be of box construction in the sandy soil, but this also would have only had intermittent / moderate impact of road traffic flows and only temporarily on tram movements – if any! Arden Station of course in its construction would have had little impact of the surrounding area.

    I would have liked Melbourne Metro to have included underground platforms at South Yarra as this is a major interchange station / TOD. Its possible, but would impose some major impacts on the existing station and surrounding area. Also it would be costly as the station may need to be rebuilt excluding heritage buildings from being impacted. However by selling the air space above the existing South Yarra Stn to private residential development I believe that the new rebuilt Sth Yarra Station precinct would pay for its self – PPP in a socially positive scenario!

    Therefore in the case with the recently announced Melbourne Rail Link South Yarra does indeed provision for new underground platforms. However this is possibly as good as this new alternative to Melbourne Metro the project proposal gets! There is indeed nothing good about the rest of the project.

    I have been doing a lot of transport detective work when it concerns the proposed Melbourne Rail Link. When compared with the recently scrapped Melbourne Metro it really doesn’t make much sense for this highly circuitous rail line, which isn’t going to help much when it comes to improving the overall Melbourne rail network.

    I have also found some serious balls ups which are a grave concern to how the project is going to impact the built environment and passenger attraction. This new rail alignment which has hap haphazardly been projected on future generations and city shaping, station locations and probably heritage precinct impacts its of great concern. For example The Galilee Regional Church and School / numerous houses and some 1970 strata flats, nonetheless costly real estate would require demolition, if the line isn’t at a great depth.

    With the use of geodetic mapping and a basic rail engineering knowledge I was able to extrapolate a highly probable alignment – restricted primarily to streets, cut and cover construction and required minimal radii for the rail alignment I pin pointed the best possible / likely location for the sub-surface Montague Stn. Its location is centered on the Montague Street and the 109 LRT route in South Melbourne. Alarmingly if this line is ever actually built it would impact on any proposal for the South Morang decoupling and routing via Southern Cross Stn to the real Fisherman’s Bend Station to be located on Plummer Street. This is only the beginning of the problem as Southern Cross Station would become a major construction site once more to provision for the proposed sub-surface platform and its necessary placement south of, but between, the Burnley Loop (pl 10) and the Caulfield Loop (pl 12) portals. Effectively all trains running via the City Loop from / to the Burnley and Caulfield Loop Lines – half of the entire Melbourne rail network would have to terminate at Flinders Street for the duration of construction of this new sub surface platform at Southern Cross Stn.

    This could all be avoided in any future scenario for a South Morang to Fishermans Bend Line (actually proposed by PTV) where its dedicated alignment would run from new underground platforms immediately north of and parallel to Flagstaff Stn and through new tunneling to additional sub-surface platforms at Southern Cross – beneath Wurundjeri Way. With Melbourne Metro this line of course would potentially have interchange at Parkville Station and additionally provision for a possible Doncaster Line. Sadly there has been little planning and vision from PTV to consider such highly probable scenarios for the longer term development for new lines.

    These findings and others to follow will certainly prove that this recent proposal for the Melbourne Rail Link is nothing other than a politically motivated bluff to win votes at the next state elections. While for some years now the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel was in favor by the current Liberal government it was initially the child of the previous Labor government and a product of the Sir Rod Eddington led East West Needs Assessment report of 2008.

    In short the now proposed Melbourne Rail Link is an unrealistic pipe dream and will not actually serve Melbourne in any way near to the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel. Melbourne Metro and its potential has been castigated to history and is yet another worthy project consigned to a gathering pile of projects put on hold or dumped altogether which seem to be endemic.

  6. IkaInk

    @Michael Bell – These tweets might shed some light on this…

    @MatthewGuyMP @ClayLucas Addressing the point, though Minister, why would you not conduct a full business study to compare the benefits?— Steve Coughlan (@esssee) May 8, 2014

    @esssee @ClayLucas Because I'm the Planning Minister, not the Transport Minister.— Matthew Guy MP (@MatthewGuyMP) May 8, 2014

  7. Michael Bell

    Nice work, Smith John. Your reasoned approach is a model for how transport planning ought to be tackled – and not the political plaything it has become.

    In all this week’s bluster, I’m wondering why DTPLI is messing with integrated public transport planning, when the Liberal government specifically established PTV for that purpose? Why has the government chosen to ignore the just 1-year-old Department of Transport-backed ‘PTV Network Development Plan’, and instead funded a proposal from the Department of Planning? To a humble constituent, it looks like Minister Guy has sucker-punched Minister Mulder, with Minister O’Brien’s backing and Premier Napthine’s endorsement.

  8. Smith John

    gypsy @25

    If the main aim is to increase Melbourne rail capacity generally, the project is unsound, as rail capacity can be increased better and more cost-effectively in other ways.

    If the main aim is to serve Fishermans Bend redevelopment, that should be argued separately on its merits.

    At present the rhetoric in the official blurbs is overwhelmingly about increasing total capacity and ‘untangling the network.’ ‘We’ll be able to have a station at Fishermans Bend’ is an afterthought.

    On that basis, the project is unsound.

  9. gypsy

    Smith John – what are you saying?

  10. Smith John

    The proposal is to connect the Burnley and Caulfield loops to make a through city track pair from Ringwood to Frankston. The concept is similar to earlier proposals to connect the Burnley and Northern loops [1] or the Northern and Caulfield loops [2].

    In terms of bang for the buck it’s slightly cleverer that the canned Metro Rail Tunnel. But I would still argue that a far more cost effective way to increase rail capacity is:
    1. run longer trains from Werribee to Dandenong [3]; then, when needed
    2. connect the Northern and Caulfield loops to make a track pair from Craigieburn to Frankston via Melbourne Central. [4] This needs about 2-3 track kilometres of new tunnel for new chords from Parliament to Richmond and Flagstaff to Nth Melbourne. Compare with 15 track km and four underground stations for the Fishermans Bend proposal.

    The Northern-Caulfield loop connection gives:
    * 3 through city track pairs: Werribee – Dandenong, Sunbury – Glen Waverley; Craigieburn – Frankston;
    * 2 remaining loops: Clifton Hill & Burnley
    * 1 terminating line: Sandringham to Flinders St

    The current proposal gives:
    * 3 through city track pairs: Werribee – Sandringham, Sunbury – Dandenong, Ringwood – Frankston
    * 2 remaining loops: Clifton Hill and Northern (Craigieburn)
    * 1 terminating line: Glen Waverley to Flinders St

    Advantages of the first option, apart from hugely lower cost, are:
    * better options for east-west through-city trips, including more one seat travel on the three through city track pairs. This is important in light of future Arden and Egate developments.
    * better connections at Richmond and Nth Melbourne, where all three through-city track pairs pass; this minimises issues like the complaint that the present proposal gives very poor access from the Frankston line to Parliament.
    * it makes more sense to through-route from the west to Glen Waverley than to Sandringham for several reasons:
    – Glen Waverley/ Alamein/ Blackburn has more patronage than Sandringham, so the advantage of through routing for cross city trips will be enjoyed by more people.
    – Werribee and Sandringham demand would be unbalanced. This implies either running a lot of empty seats to Sandringham, or terminating some Werribee trains at Flinders St, which undermines the operational simplicity of through-routing.- By contrast, Sunbury and Glen Waverley/ Alamein/ Blackburn demand is more balanced, and there is the opportunity to use some of the capacity to increase service on the Ringwood line when needed.

    So the new proposal, to be justified at all, would have to be justified by reference to an integrated development plan for Fishermans Bend. It’s not justified as a project to increase rail capacity, because that can be done better and more cheaply in other ways.

    [1] discussed in one of the background documents at the time of the 2008 Eddington East West study:
    [2] proposed for ‘stage 4’ (ie in the never-never) in PTV’s 2012 Network Development Plan.
    [3] To avoid conflict with Frankston trains this requires up-up-down-down running to Caulfield with a new flyover at Caulfield.
    [4] How this increases capacity: it frees up two loop tracks on the Flinders St viaduct, and these are used for the Sunbury line, thus bypassing the present choke point where Sunbury and Craigieburn merge to the Northern loop.

  11. prodigy

    My interest is in the airport link. By incorporating into the suburban network, arriving passengers with luggage will probably still prefer Skybus, negating much of the benefit of the rail link. I think Sydney learnt this (as well as cost that made taxis for 2+ pax more attractive). But at least its something to lift arrival in Melbourne our of a third world experience.

  12. Gordon Farrer

    Great, stuffing with the Frankston line again.

    Last time they did this was when they introduced the 10-minute timetable. Great, more frequent trains. Problem was, they cut most of the express services during the day, which added more than 10 minutes to my journey to Flinders St.

    More frequent trains were no use to me: to arrive at Flinders Street at the same time I still had to catch a much earlier (all-stations) train.

    Under this new plan I will now also have to change at South Yarra to get to Flinders St. So
    I’ll lose work time waiting (I study or do work on the train, the only benefit to me) – and probably not get a seat, so won’t be able to continue working. More wasted time. (Boo shucks, you say?)

    A lot of people get off my train at Flinders St. It’s not going to be fun being part of the pack at South Yarra trying to get between platforms in the rush to get the next train …

    What are these people thinking?

  13. Andrew Bullen

    Are we to take the 30% capacity increase of MRL (v. Metro’s 17%) on faith? If no justification or calculation is given this seems scarily like the 1.4 BCR of EWLink – i.e. a sham (as exposed by Infrastructure Australia).

    I also don’t see how removing connection of the west via Parkville and Arden stations is the way to go. Yes, Fishermans Bend has great potential for renewal, but MRL would not serve current residential areas and business hubs.

    So MRL does not address Melbourne’s present needs as much as Metro would. It’s just more bastardisation of the Eddington report by those on Spring St. It misses the point and short-changes commuters for the sake of ‘savings’.

    And there seems to have been little proper planning for MRL (as mentioned above, IkaInk #15).

    Just more ad hoc policy that falls short (and won’t be implemented for years).

  14. Michael Bell

    I acknowledge that the new Melbourne Rail Link from South Yarra to Southern Cross is practically the same length, with the same number of intermediate stops, and will be about the same travel time as the current route via Richmond and Flinders Street.

    However I disagree with comments that dismiss the impact of this change.

    Today, Frankston travellers have a choice: take a direct service to Flinders Street, or change at Caulfield, South Yarra or (for greatest convenience) Richmond, for connecting services to underground loop stations. Regular commuters such as myself use this opportunity – it makes my journey to Parliament station 10 minutes quicker than ‘going round the loop’.

    Under the new MRL proposal, this opportunity becomes less feasible, as it would require 2 changes: at Caulfield or South Yarra, and again at Richmond. Knowing the time it takes to change platforms and the likelihood of uncoordinated connections, this will cause journey delays, and make staying onboard for the whole loop a more practical option.

    So Frankston line travellers to Parliament, Melbourne Central or Flagstaff who currently have an option to change trains and shorten their journey, will suffer a journey time increase by staying on and travelling the whole MRL loop.

    For travellers to Parliament, the increase is not ‘slightly longer’ – it’s a full 10 minutes. A 10 minute increase to a Melbourne train journey is significant.

  15. Alan Davies

    IkaInk #15:

    Yes, I don’t think there can be any doubt the planning work and business case for MRL still needs to be done (although with the inclusion on Melbourne Airport and Fishermans Bend I’d expect it to have a higher BCR than MM). To be fair though, The Age’s report, Rail tunnel plan based on ‘common sense’, is a bit of a stitch-up.

    As I read the report, Matthew Guy’s comments on the lack of a business plan relate only to Montague and to the fact his department hasn’t prepared one (it’d be PTV, not Planning). It looks like the word “planning” in the report should’ve been capitalised. Maybe it’s a consequence of the Fairfax staff being on strike.

  16. Tom the first and best


    A significant part of this pressure on the Northern loop would be because it would still operate as a loop rather than being through-routed and s such fewer people would be getting off than under a Northern loop through-routing.

  17. Tom the first and best


    800m in an understatement of how far people will walk to a good rail service (although possibly not quite so much in a dense inner-city area).

    However people do not walk as the crow flies, they walk along streets and so simple circles are not all that accurate as the street pattern and station entrance location has a big effect on how much of that circle is actually in the station`s pedestrian catchment.

    That map also shows that was the Port Melbourne line still a railways, it would have quite a bit of use to the Sandridge precinct.

  18. Liamj

    This is a whole lota fuss over nothing, with no planning and no business case the plan exists purely between now and the election. After that it’ll be filed in the warehouse full of broken promises.

    We all know nobody in Spring St gives a damn about the regions, but just for reference, regional rail promises broken by LNP: Restoring services between Maryborough and Castlemaine, restoring services between Ballarat and Bendigo, restoring services between Ballarat and Geelong, putting PSOs on country stations, reducing fares (up 20%), increasing capacity and building the Rowville and Doncaster rail lines.

  19. IkaInk

    Well it looks my first of two possible hypotheses regarding the planning of this realignment was correct. The planning work hasn’t been done, nor has a business case. This is back of the envelope planning…

  20. Dylan Nicholson

    monosnail – as a regular train user at peak hour getting on at South Kensington I just really hope you’re wrong. The constant difficulty of trying to travel that tiny distance to North Melbourne (after which things generally run smoothly) is almost enough to force us to move. Trains are dependably late and overcrowded and often cancelled, making the following train impossible to board, and regularly seem to have wait for interminable periods before pulling into North Melbourne where I’m only too grateful for the number of people who get off presumably to switch to a loop service. Still trying to find some alternative arrangement that means getting on at Footscray or North Melbourne but who knows. Even with the original Metro plan I figured there’d be so much disruption with the tunnelling that things would get a good deal worse before they got better, and indeed by the time there was any improvement my circumstances would no longer require using that line at peak hour any further (my son may have to for some time though). I’m rather more hopefully though that the RRL project will help solve the issues that exist currently – I assume that part of this will be to significantly reduce the number of regional trains that actually stop at North Melbourne (presumably the only reason trains do stop there is for regional commuters who need to be on a city loop service, but it’s hardly much of a change to their journey if they have to go into Southern Cross first). I’d also think if it were really required it wouldn’t be all that hard to add another platform to North Melbourne.

  21. Alan Davies

    ian smith #12:

    Someone’s already explained why we don’t need to build one yet, numerous times, e.g. see Trains: should the where come before the why? The nub of it is that demand warrants a rail line when airport patronage reaches circa 60 million p.a. That’s projected to happen at Melbourne Airport around 2030, which is about when we should realistically expect the Napthine government’s promised airport line to be operational.

  22. ian smith

    Can somebody please explain why we need to build an expensive rail link to the airport?
    We are already well served by skybus which provides a frequent, reliable, relatively cheap service from Southern Cross 24/7. In fact, the skybus service is not that different to the bus/rail services in large international airports that take passengers from one terminal to another.
    i.e. It is not that difficult to regard Southern Cross simply as an extension of Tullamarine AP.
    Is it likely that a rail link could transport passengers any faster, as frequently or (just as importantly) for a cheaper price? I remain puzzled.

  23. monosnail

    This plan will put extreme pressure on North Melbourne and the Northern loop, with both Newport and Sunshine (which will eventually include Melton and 9-car) passengers trying to change trains to get to loop stations. Dwell time and passenger flow will likely be seriously affected, along with overloading the Northern loop services.

    The loop will already be close to full, at 22tph in NDPMR stage 2, without having to deal with this mess. They will probably be spending billions again to fix things by stage 3.

    The old Metro didn’t have this problem, in fact it would have reduced the pressure, because some Newport passengers would change to the Metro tunnel at Footscray.

  24. IkaInk

    @David R – True about Parkville, but it services every city loop station except Flinders Street, and frees up capacity to run more services on other lines to the City Loop in the process: it is inaccurate to claim it doesn’t add capacity to the CBD.

  25. David R

    The Melbourne Rail Link probably succeeds in increasing the overall capacity of the system. However, it fails in delivering more passengers to high demand locations in Parkville and the CBD. Also as you mention it won’t relieve tram congestion on Swanston Street and St Kilda Road.

  26. Alan Davies

    Dylan Nicholson #6, #7:

    No inconsistency. Parkville station is planned to be provided as part of the Mernda (South Morang) to Flagstaff line at a later date (Stage 4 of PTV’s NDP I think). That line is supposed to then go on to Fishermans Bend via SXS, so that aspect is presumably up in the air now.

    I think the shortcomings of the location of Montague are being over-played. There’s lots of density at Southbank on one side and the eastern end of Fishermans Bend on the other will be all high towers. The lower density western end of FB along with areas like Station Pier can be connected to Montague by trams and buses.

    In any event, rail stations tend to have much bigger catchments than the 800 metre standard. In Melbourne, half of commuters travel more than 800 metres from home to the station and a quarter travel more than 1300 metres (see How far do we walk to the station?).

  27. Dylan Nicholson gives an idea of where the proposed station would go, and how little use it would seem to be to most of the eventual population.

  28. Dylan Nicholson

    BTW Alan from my reading you didn’t previously see substitution of Parkville with Fisherman’s Bend as a reasonable trade-off at all: you quite explicitly said “There’s an argument for promoting Fishermans Bend ahead of (**but not instead of**) these areas”.

  29. Dylan Nicholson

    On broad principles I’d have to agree personally this makes some amount of sense, but as a Kensington resident I’m a bit disappointed that the proposed line from South Kensington through North Melbourne (which currently has no stations at all situated in any ‘interesting’ areas, i.e. where people live and shop and eat out etc.) and Parkville has been dropped. But I’d be far more interested in seeing an actual ‘to-scale’ map that shows where the fishermen’s bend station would actually go – because it’s hard to square my concept of where Fishermen’s bend is with anything like that diagram! Still, that they are actually planning serious infrastructure for a suburb that development work hasn’t even started on yet is to be applauded.

  30. Alan Davies

    IkaInk #3:

    With you completely on detour; that’s why I put it in quotes and said “slightly”. Worth noting that Ms Greco’s article compares Melbourne Rail Link against current arrangements, not against Metro.

  31. IkaInk

    I agree Alan. On the limited amount of information that has been released so far, this plan doesn’t look particularly worse than the previous plan, and does offer some advantages. I agree with you on all the advantages and disadvantages of the project, with one very minor quibble, and to be honest this criticism is aimed more at other people who seem to be outraged that this new route will be longer.

    I don’t agree that the new alignment warrants being called a detour for Frankston passengers, unless of course they’re trying to get to Flinders Street. Using Google Earth and approximating the route based on available sketches it looks like the new route would be about 5.7km vs 5.6km if they were taking the existing route (between South Yarra and Southern Cross). So technically, yes its longer but the extra 100m or so hardly warrants being called a detour.

    Also, for anyone wanting a good summary of how the new infrastructure will affect each line, Carmelene Greco has written an excellent summary at The Age.

    As far as I can tell this summary is free of factual errors, unlike The Herald Sun’s coverage in the papers today which humorously claimed in one paragraph that Frankston Trains would not travel through the loop, only to contradict that statement in the following paragraph by correctly stating they’d travel through the loop after entering Southern Cross.

    All of this said, I do have one major gripe about this project and how it has been announced. When did the planning work on this concept begin? Why wasn’t this option tabled anywhere in the PTV Network Development Plan just last year? Either it wasn’t conceived then, which indicates very little planning and realistic costing has been done, which means we could be in for some rude shocks regarding the cost; or the work was done, but the plan was suppressed. Either way this isn’t how to do planning well. Planning should be done in a more open and accountable way. Options and projects should be put to the public and debated on their merit, not simply packaged up in two election campaigns: “Here vote Liberal and get The Metro Rail Link [warning contents may contain an EastWest Freeway of highly dubious value]” vs. “Here get the Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel which we promise does not include any EastWest Freeway*”.

    *This promise cannot be guaranteed, as previous operators may have left EastWest Freeways in packaging.

  32. Alan Davies

    Daniel Bowen #1:

    Daniel, thanks for pointing that out. I took the opportunity to fix my error, given the post is still relatively “young”.

  33. Daniel Bowen

    Minor detail: “whereas under Metro (Frankston trains) would’ve only stopped at Flinders St and Southern Cross as they do at present.” – not quite right.

    Under the old metro tunnel plan, Dandenong trains would have used the metro tunnel through to Sunshine. Frankston line trains would used the Caulfield Loop tunnel. Sandringham trains would have been through-routed to Newport; same as in the new plan.

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