Geotechnical investigations complete, Metro Tunnel construction to ramp up

You've probably heard of it by now - that new rail tunnel that's set to run through the city.    

The State Government has today announced geotechnical investigations are complete which will lead to the acceleration of the early works that have been slowly turning over for a while now in the CBD.

Things are about to become just that more real, more visible.

If you frequently travel to the city, the two sites which have seen some level of preparatory works already at both the top and bottom end of Swanston Street - Melbourne Central and Flinders Street Stations - will become construction focal points from this point on.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Public Transport and Major Projects confirmed the largest component of the entire project, the PPP contract for the civil works to construct the tunnels and stations, is still accepting bids until next month.  

A decision to announce the successful bidder is expected by the end of 2017 with the tunnel-boring machines expected to be let loose under the city sometime in 2018.

Expected capacity improvements after the Metro Tunnel is operational

The network map above, posted on the front page of the Metro Tunnel project's website, illustrates the capacity improvements expected once the metro tunnel is operational.

Based on previous announcements, we know that the Pakenham/Cranbourne-Sunbury line that is created as part of the Metro Tunnel project will have a modern signaling system which does away with blocks and allows trains to run closer together.  Government information released to date put this new capacity on rail lines using the new 'High Capacity Signalling' system at 24-30 trains per hour (a train every 2-2.5 minutes).

The current signaling system can 'safely' handle approximately 20 trains per hour according to published government information on the topic.

The Frankston, Sandringham, Craigieburn, Werribee/Williamstown and Upfield lines are set to see some infrastructure improvements which will allow more trains to run shorter runs on their respective lines: Cheltenham on the Frankston line, Essendon on the Craigieburn line, Gowrie on the Upfield line were all mentioned in the Metro Tunnel business case.

Of all the lines and the respective capacity improvements depicted on the map above, Upfield is a stand out.  This is most likely because it's coming off a very low base: there are only 3 trains per hour between 7am and 8am and 4 trains per hour between 8am and 9am at present.  

With 3400 units in 47 projects located in Brunswick & Coburg in the development pipeline, the extra services - likely to be a train every 10-12.5 minutes based on the capacity improvement number - are well and truly going to be needed.

1 comment

George D's picture

They're steaming along!

Back to top

Development & Planning

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 00:00
Docklands may well stand to gain its most daring residential and commercial developments near simultaneously, as separate developers press ahead with their respective projects. At NewQuay, MAB Corporation has officially ramped up the profile of its latest tower to grace the precinct.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 13:00
The Victorian Government has announced it will ban the use of aluminium cladding panels that have a polyethylene core of more than 30% and expanded polystyrene will also be banned on buildings with 3 or more levels. The changes were announced by the Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, on Saturday morning along with new guidelines for building surveyors.

Visual Melbourne

Monday, February 5, 2018 - 12:00
The various spaces and elements which combine to form RMIT's New Academic Street (NAS) have progressively begun to open to students and visitors alike. I was recently fortunate enough to be part of an informal group tour through the completed spaces within NAS, led by Harrison and White which had a hand in the project.

Transport & Design

Monday, March 19, 2018 - 12:00
Works on the new purpose-built Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) headquarters were completed late last year. Now occupied, the 10-storey mixed-use complex at 535 Elizabeth Street was built by Multiplex and accommodates the organisation’s 165 staff within the 16,820 square metre building.

Sustainability & Environment