Victoria’s Government has announced a AUD 9.3 billion (USD 6.58 billion) new funding to support major construction works for the Melbourne Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) East which are scheduled to start next year.
“The Suburban Rail Loop is not just a rail line – it delivers opportunities for Victorians to live close to work, more access to education and services and supports thousands of new jobs at a time our state needs them most,” Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews said.
The project covers the construction of a 26 km long twin tunnel and six underground stations between Cheltenham and Box Hill. The section will provide transport connection on the Gippsland corridor offering increased access to health, education and retail destinations in Melbourne’s east and south east region.
The announcement provides certainty for project delivery and communities in the region, paving the way for procurement of main works packages to start next year.
In November 2020, the government provided AUD 2.5 billion for planning and development of the Suburban Rail Loop and for initial and early works on SRL East.
The contract for this first phase of works which will create up to 800 early direct jobs, has been awarded to Laing O’Rourke, which has agreed to exceed workforce and local content targets. The works include preparing sites for the launch of tunnel boring machines, moving and protecting underground services, ground improvement, geotechnical investigations and roads modifications.
The commuters in the south east region of Melbourne will experience much faster journeys on the underground line, saving up to an hour on a one-way trip. Trains will take 3-4 minutes between stations, and a journey from Cheltenham to Box Hill will be just 22 minutes.
The Eastern section of the Suburban Rail Loop is expected to enter operation in 2035 transforming Melbourne’s public transport network and better connecting people to jobs, health, education, retail opportunities and each other.
Fast, efficient, high-tech trains powered by renewables will provide a turn up and go service carrying around 70,000 passengers a day.
The business investment case of the SRL East and SRL North shows that these two projects will deliver AUD 58.7 billion (USD 41.5 billion) in economic, social and environmental benefits, and will support up to 24,000 local jobs.
Melbourne Suburban Rail Loop involves the construction of a 90 km long railway line comprising three sections: SRL East, SRL North and SRL West. It will link all the regional and suburban railway lines.