The Victorian Government will launch this week the Expressions of Interest for the tunnelling packages on Melbourne city rail loop (the Suburban Rail Loop – SRL).
The first tunnelling package covers 16 km of twin tunnels between Cheltenham and Glen Waverley while the second will complete the SRL East corridor with tunnels from Glen Waverley to Box Hill.
Up to ten tunnel boring machines will be used for SRL East, each custom-built to suit the local ground conditions. The Metro Tunnel used four TBMs, while eight were used for the dual 21 km tunnels on London’s CrossRail project.
The number of TBMs will speed up the tunnelling process, with launching sites planned for three locations at Monash, Heatherton, and Burwood.
Initial construction on the project will start in coming weeks, with tunnelling expected to kick off in 2026.
This package of works will also include safety cross passages between the tunnels, station boxes at Clayton and Monash, and tunnel entrances and exits at the stabling facility.
In addition, the Government also launched the SRL Community Projects Fund which will deliver local projects to communities from Cheltenham to Box Hill while SRL East is being built so communities along the line will start to see the benefits of the project long before any trains hit the tracks. Eligible projects could include new and improved open spaces and facilities like parks, playgrounds, community hubs, sports club upgrades and new equipment, or support for community events and festivals. Applications are open for the first round of Community Support Grants, with not-for-profits, sports clubs and schools able to apply for grants between AUD 10,000 and AUD 80,000 (USD 7,526 -60,207), with the first to be awarded later this year.
SRL East will link 6 new underground stations at major suburban employment, education, health and retail precincts, attracting new jobs, housing and opportunities while creating up to 8,000 jobs during construction.
The Melbourne city rail loop comprises a 90 km rail line that will link every major rail line from the Frankston Line to the Werribee Line via Melbourne Airport. Three transport super hubs at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine will connect regional services, so passengers outside Melbourne won’t have to travel through the CBD to get to employment, world-class hospitals and universities in the suburbs.
In 2021, the government has announced a AUD 9.3 billion (USD 7 billion) investment for the first section of the project which will be delivered into three sections:
SRL East – from Cheltenham to Box Hill; construction will start this year and is expected to be completed in 2035. USD 25.9 billion is the estimated value of the construction of this section.
SRL North – from Box Hill to Melbourne Airport which is expected to be completed by 2053.
SRL West – from Melbourne Airport to Werribee which is currently under investigation, planning and development.