Melbourne Metro 2: building another river crossing that would deliver much more than twice the capacity of mega roads.
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What is it?
Melbourne Metro 2 is the logical addition to Melbourne’s 21st century rail network (See Map – dotted orange line). MM2 involves building a tunnel between Newport and Clifton Hill via Fishermans Bend, Southern Cross, Flagstaff, Parkville and Fitzroy.
A metro-style train line can carry up to 40,000 people per hour per track with 2-minute services, or 21,000 per hour for 5-minute services. This performs significantly better than a freeway which can only carry 2,000 cars per lane, with a maximum capacity of a 10-lane freeway in one direction of 10,000 cars per hour, and with mostly only one occupant. The West Gate Tunnel Project (WGT) will be 6 lanes, designed to a maximum capacity in the peak of only 6,000 cars each way - a fraction of what a train line could carry.
MM2 would thus transform the Werribee line to create a cross-town metro service from Wyndham Vale in the South West to Mernda in the North East. This would connect people in the west directly with the CBD, universities, hospitals and inner north. Parkville would become the interchange between MM1 and MM2, providing much easier access to the entire metropolitan area for everyone than the often unpredictable transfers at central city stations. Thus creating the public transport network spine of metro train lines from the north-east to the south-west (MM2) and the north- west to the south-east (MM1).
Why it will work
MM2 would be a faster, more frequent and more direct route to the city for people in Wyndham and Hobsons Bay. Like MM1, it would use longer trains carrying more passengers, running more often: MM2 could quadruple the capacity of the Werribee line, and get people into the city faster by bypassing the inner-west (Spotswood to North Melbourne) stations, while connecting with them at Newport. MM2 would free up capacity on the Altona and Williamstown Lines allowing more services to run. The rail capacity of the west, along with its accessibility to the city would be dramatically expanded. Just imagine how that would change Melbourne!
When could it happen?
If the state government committed to planning for MM2 in 2020, it could be operational by 2030 or earlier.
As a significant infrastructure project, building and operating MM2 will create thousands of local jobs; Melbourne Metro 1 is generating 7,000 jobs alone. Both will create ongoing jobs once operational.
Victoria has already invested in the technology needed to build Melbourne Metro 1, this would extend the life of that equipment and expertise, making both projects more cost effective and creating longer-lasting jobs.
How much will it cost?
MM2 could be built in a single project or staged. According to Infrastructure Victoria’s high-level analysis, the cost for the whole project could be between $13.9 to $20.8Bn.
Infrastructure Victoria has identified opportunities for building MM2 in . Building the link between Newport and Parkville was estimated to cost between $8.4 to $12.7Bn. This version of MM2 is the most beneficial for Melbourne’s west and would provide an alternative to the West Gate Tunnel tollway project (not to say the West Gate Bridge!) for commuters, freeing up roadspace for those who have no alternative. The full project would provide for enhanced public transport access for people in the east and north east in four ways. Firstly, by adding capacity on the South Morang/Mernda Line; secondly, by freeing up capacity on the Hurstbridge Line for more frequent services; thirdly, making an Epping North/Wollert branch more viable, and finally, by freeing up the capacity necessary for a future Doncaster Line, which IV costed at between $2.6 - 3.9Bn.
Compare the cost of MM2 (with or without Doncaster Rail) to the combined $38.3Bn cost of the three planned mega road projects in the same transport corridor as MM2: WGT ($6.8Bn), NEL ($16.5Bn) and EWL ($15Bn). These costs are without factoring in the costs of tolling to the community. Toll revenue (currently going to private companies) that will not be available to improve public transport. These megaroad projects are premised on freight demand, but rely on capturing large flows of private motorists to subsidise them. For less than half this cost, MM2 would build on the $15Bn public investment in MM1 and the Regional Rail Link to provide greater transport choices for commuters and others who currently have no option other than driving, freeing up roadspace for freight, emergency services and tradespeople.
The MM2 alignment isn’t finalised. The planning process may result in a slightly different set of stations, but most likely would include the following: Newport, Fishermans Bend NEIC, Montague, Southern Cross, Flagstaff, Parkville, Fitzroy and Clifton Hill.
Many Melbournians are not aware this proposal to continue our public transport revitalisation exists. Many people also don’t realise the significant risks of delaying these public transport initiatives, building more mega roads, further locking us into cars and freight based road transport.
MM2 is part of a broader vision for Melbourne where people have a much wider range of options for how we choose to travel – a smarter, more sustainable, less congested transport future.
MM2 responds to the need for people in the west, the north and north east. The west is Melbourne’s fastest growing region, closely followed by the north. It is here there are growing needs for better access to jobs and educational opportunities in the central and inner city. MM2 will enable people in the west and north to get to the city faster, in comfort, without having to sit in traffic and waste time looking for costly parking. MM2 frees up capacity on existing lines for long-called for extensions to the rail network such as to Doncaster and Epping North/Wollert.
THE ASK: reallocate the money being spent on NEL planning for MM2 planning
- Supplement C: Major transport projects – preliminary costing – Assessment 3. Advice to Infrastructure Victoria 23 September 2016
- Fishermans Bend Framework – Draft
- Fishermans Bend Integrated Transport Plan http://www.fishermansbend.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0029/87059/Fishermans-Bend-Integrated-Transport-Plan-Final.docx.pdf