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 and travel times of 17 minutes between Melbourne (Southern Cross Station) and Geelong, and 13 minutes from Melbourne to Dandenong. Peak hour services would be every 10 minutes.
This compares to a travel time for current V-line services, between Geelong and Dandenong, of around one hour and 40 minutes. 16-car trains are proposed to accommodate expected demand, with all passengers seated for comfort, productivity (ability to work whilst commuting) and safety. The consortium has also suggested that magnetic levitation trains such as Shanghai’s Transrapid Maglev, with a maximum speed of 500 km/hr, may be an option. The intention is to primarily utilise existing rail corridors. Geelong, forecast to become a Twin City to Melbourne, and the emerging city of Werribee, will benefit from development in the region, particularly the Bellarine Peninsula and the South West Coast.
The proposed HSR line would service four of Australia’s fastest growing local government areas – Wyndham (Werribee), Cranbourne, Melbourne and Cardinia – averaging 5.2% p.a. population growth. While housing affordability will increase as new outer suburban and regional areas become more accessible, the MegaRail consortium estimates property values between Melbourne and Geelong will also rise by around $7.4 billion.
Environmental benefits are also significant. Compared to other forms of land and air transport, HSR emits 4 kg of CO2 emissions per 100 passenger kilometres, versus 14kg for private cars and 17 kg for planes. Per kiloWatt of energy, HSR carries 170 passengers, versus fast trains 106, commuter trains 90, bus 54, cars 30 and air 20.
The MegaRail consortium includes transport planning firm AWTY Transport Consulting Pty Ltd, Philip Norman and Associates Pty Ltd, Monash University Institute of Rail Technology, RMIT University School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and others. The bid is part of the Faster Rail Connecting Capital Cities and Orbital Regional Centres initiative, announced in the May Federal Budget.
Stage 2 of the bid process requires detailed project proposals to be submitted to the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development by 8 December 2017.
For further information, please contact:
AWTY Transport Consulting
Mobile: 0403 923 165