Melbourne’s Avalon Airport could finally get the rail link that travellers have been waiting for, although it won’t be a direct line to the city as previously promised.
Instead, the latest low-cost plan would see a light rail line branching off the main Melbourne-Geelong train line.
A new Avalon Airport interchange station would be built between the current Lara and Little River stations, with an automated ‘people mover’ to shuttle passengers to and from the airport.
The light rail spur carries a far cheaper price tag than the estimated $250 million direct line pledged by the Victorian Government in 2010, and would also be faster to build.
It’s modelled only on similar systems used both within airports and to connect them to nearby centres, as well as the driverless trains which will run on Sydney’s new North West Rail Link.
The light rail link will boost Avalon’s ambitions to become Melbourne's second international airport, which includes plans for a new $15m terminal (shown below) with up to 10,000 square metres to cater for the customs and security requirements of overseas flights along with space for retail and duty-free.
Avalon Airport chief executive Justin Giddings envisions “the airport experience” as beginning at Avalon Airport station rather than waiting for passengers to arrive at the terminal.
"They'd check in, drop their bags off, have a coffee or whatever, and get their boarding pass. Then when they're ready, they'd get on to a light rail to the airport."
Avalon Airport is located 55km south-west of the Melbourne CBD, sitting nearest to the regional Victorian centre of Geelong, with travellers flying via Avalon currently relying on a shuttle bus or private transport to Melbourne.
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