High Speed Rail

proposal overview

A proposal to build a $15 billion High Speed Rail (HSR) line from Dandenong to Geelong, via Melbourne, Werribee and Avalon – reducing travel times to as low as 30 minutes – has successfully advanced to Stage 2 of the bid process for the Australian Government’s Faster Rail Prospectus.

The proposed HSR will be a congestion buster for Melbourne’s east-west transport corridor, with initial modelling suggesting it will attract 24,000 passenger trips per hour in peak periods – equivalent to the vehicle capacity of a 12 lane freeway.

The proposal will also significantly improve housing affordability and employment opportunities, as distant suburbs become more connected and accessible.

The Australian-owned MegaRail consortium proposal would link Melbourne – Geelong and the Melbourne –Latrobe Valley corridor with a single HSR line, delivering cruising train speeds of 350 km/hr.

The service plan includes:

  • Geelong – Melbourne expresses for a 17 minute connection
  • Werribee – Dandenong shuttles for 9 minute Werribee – Melbourne and 10 minute Melbourne – Dandenong connections (plus 2 minute station dwell time)
  • Geelong – Dandenong all-stops services for 8 minute Geelong – Avalon and 8 minute Avalon – Werribee connections (Werribee – Dandenong as above)

The initiatives

We propose a dedicated High Speed Rail Corridor, but note that this could be alongside the existing rail corridor in places. Possible alignments are shown in the following images. Some alternative alignments around Geelong are also proposed as options.

We believe a bored tunnel will be required between Newport and Oakleigh with a “cut and cover” station platform at Southern Cross beneath Collins Street. Surface rail should generally be possible elsewhere.

We believe 10 minute services will be required in the peaks, with 20 minute services otherwise.

High level estimate

of timeframe

This project represents a major shift in how Melbourne is planned to develop, and so cannot be simply funded and built. In the first instance it needs to be properly scoped and costed with rigorous modeling to assess benefits and develop the Business Case. This is what we are seeking Commonwealth assistance to undertake.

With a positive Business Case, the project will need to be submitted to both the Australian and Victorian Governments for their support.

With Australian and Victorian Government support for the project, it will need to be incorporated into the Victorian Planning system. This will essentially require an Environmental Effects Statement and process with subsequent Planning Scheme Amendments. With the requisite planning approvals, the project could proceed.

Timeframe wise, we believe it will take:
• 6 to 12 months to develop a rigorous business case,
• up to 12 months to achieve Government support for the project,
• 2 years to deliver the planning approvals.

That is, about 4 years until the project could be tendered for construction.

We would anticipate:
• 12 months for the development of contract documentation,
• 4 or 5 years to deliver the project, depending on funding availability.

So about 10 years before services commence, although delivery of the project in parts could see services commence a year or two earlier.