Melbourne’s long-awaited railway link between Tullamarine Airport and the CBD has been getting plenty of coverage following this weekend’s promises by the state government.
Here’s the Australian Business Traveller executive summary while to read while you sit in an Uber, a taxi or the SkyBus.
Is the Melbourne Airport Rail Link finally happening?
Not quite yet. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that his Government will provide $5 billion towards the construction of a railway line between the airport and the city if his Labor government is returned to power in the November 24 state election.
This would match a $5 billion commitment from the Federal Government, with the project expected to cost between $8 billion and $13 billion.
However, opposition leader Matthew Guy has said that he would also back the Melbourne Airport Rail Link should his Liberal party win government.
When will the Melbourne Airport Rail Link open?
Construction is expected to begin by 2022, although likely that travellers won’t be punching their ticket for at least a decade. So, let's call it '2030something'.
What route will the Melbourne Airport Rail Link follow?
The Victorian Government’s preferred corridor for the airport railway will be via the inner-west suburb of Sunshine.
12km of new track would be laid between Melbourne Airport and Sunshine Station – which would be remodelled as a ‘super-hub’ – from which there are existing railway links to Melbourne CBD and suburbs on the Sunbury Metro line and through the new Metro Tunnel project, as well as regional V/Line services to Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong.
How long would it take between the city and Melbourne Airport?
While this won’t be a high-speed express train service similar to those of Hong Kong, Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur, travelling b between the airport and Melbourne’s CBD would take around 30 minutes.
(By comparison, the SkyBus must struggle along often-congested roads for 30 to 45 minutes.)
How much would tickets cost?
Lorie Argus, chief of parking and ground access for Melbourne Airport, says the airport expects the Melbourne Airport Rail Link to be “competitive” with SkyBus, which currently costs $19 each way.
While the state and federal governments have pledged a $10 billion pool for the airport railway line, Premier Andrews admitted the project could be an opportunity to partner with the private sector and deliver the Melbourne Airport Rail Link as a public/private enterprise.