Frequently asked questions
What is the Metro Tunnel Project?
The Metro Tunnel will expand the City Loop, enabling major improvements in capacity, reliability and efficiency of train lines serving Melbourne's growth areas in the north, west and south-east.
Extending from Kensington in the west to South Yarra in the south-east, the city's newest rail line will involve construction of two nine-kilometre twin rail tunnels and five new underground stations.
The project will connect the Sunbury and Cranbourne / Pakenham lines for the first time, creating a new end-to-end train line through the inner city.
Why build a new rail tunnel?
Melbourne is Australia's fastest growing city, with the population expected to almost double by the year 2050.
Melbourne's public transport system needs to grow with it to maintain the liveability and prosperity of our growing city.
The Metro Tunnel unlocks the centre of the train system, enabling major improvements in capacity, reliability and frequency of services across our busiest train lines in Melbourne's growth areas in the north, west and south-east.
The extra capacity created by the project on opening will be equivalent to taking over 18,000 cars off the road in the busiest hour of the peak.
Importantly, the Metro Tunnel is the key to future expansion of Victoria's rail network, enabling our transport system to grow as our community does.
What is being delivered as part of the Metro Tunnel Project?
The Metro Tunne Project will deliver two nine-kilometre twin rail tunnels and five new underground stations. Full details of what the Metro Tunnel will deliver is on our Project scope page.
What is the project's Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR)?
The Metro Tunnel has strong economic credentials, with a Benefit to Cost Ratio (BCR) of 1.1 or 1.5 including wider economic benefits.
|7% Discount Rate||4% Discount Rate|
|Metro Tunnel Program Conventional Economic Benefits||1.1||2.4|
|Metro Tunnel Program including Wider Economic Benefits||1.5||3.3|
For more information, see our Business Case page.
What are the benefits of the Metro Tunnel?
Details of the benefits that the Metro Tunnel will provide Melbourne and Victoria, see our Project benefits page.
Is the Metro Tunnel fully funded?
On 27 April 2016 the State Government fully funded Metro Tunnel. The 2016-17 Budget commits $2.9 billion over the forward estimates to progress construction of the project and sets aside the required dollars beyond the forward estimates.
What is the cost of the Metro Tunnel?
The estimated construction cost of the Metro Tunnel in nominal terms is $10.9 billion.
Will pedestrian and cycling upgrades be considered as part of the Metro Tunnel?
We are working closely with key stakeholders such as local councils and Bicycle Network Victoria to identify opportunities to enhance cycling connections in areas affected by construction of the project.
Will there be opportunities for stakeholder and community input during the Metro Tunnel's planning process?
We are committed to a robust and transparent planning process. We have undertaken a comprehensive engagement program seeking input from stakeholders and the community throughout the development of the Environment Effects Statement (EES).
Who will deliver the project?
The Metro Tunnel Project will be delivered by Melbourne Metro Rail Authority, similar to the successful model established for the Regional Rail Link. This will enable one office to focus on the delivery of this critical, city-shaping infrastructure project.
When will major construction works start on the project?
Early works are underway. Subject to the necessary planning and environmental approvals, major works are expected to commence in 2017.
What new stations will be built?
The new underground stations will enhance access to the public transport network and major activity areas across inner Melbourne.
How are the Metro Tunnel stations being named?
The Metro Tunnel's new railway stations will be named in accordance with the Victorian Government's Guidelines for naming a place. Any feature, locality or road (whether public or private) can be named, renamed or have its boundary changed, but this must be done so in accordance with the principles contained within these guidelines. A name can only be considered if it meets the principles outlined in the mandatory Guidelines which are provided for under Section 5 of the Geographic Place Names Act 1998 (Vic).
While no formal names have been given to the new Metro Tunnel Project stations at this stage, naming suggestions will be considered in line with these guidelines and Public Transport Victoria's network plans closer to the commencement of train operations.
Will there be a new station at South Yarra as part of the Metro Tunnel?
A new station in South Yarra is not in the scope of the Metro Tunnel Project, however, this does not mean that improvements to the existing South Yarra station won't happen in the future.
The Metro Tunnel allows for longer, high capacity trains. Longer trains need longer platforms, and it is difficult to accommodate lengthy platforms in South Yarra without causing significant impacts to the surrounding area during construction, including increased land acquisition.
Upon the Metro Tunnel's completion, passengers using South Yarra station will benefit from improved capacity and more frequent services on the Frankston and Sandringham lines.
We will work with the City of Stonnington and other South Yarra stakeholders as we plan and develop this transformational project for Melbourne.
Will there be a new station at South Kensington as part of the Metro Tunnel?
Upgrades to South Kensington station are not within the scope of the Metro Tunnel project.
However, improvements to the station will be considered as part of ongoing upgrades across the network over the coming decade.
The Metro Tunnel will connect the Sunbury and Cranbourne / Pakenham lines for the first time, creating a new end-to-end line through the city. While the new twin tunnels won't connect to South Kensington station, the Werribee line will benefit from the additional capacity and reliability, which the project creates.
Why will the Metro Tunnel travel under Swanston Street in the CBD?
A number of alignments through the heart of the CBD were considered for the Metro Tunnel. Ultimately, a Swanston Street alignment is preferred as it:
- provides the best service to key city destinations
- enables direct pedestrian connections from the new CBD North and South stations with Melbourne Central Station and Flinders Street Station respectively
- provides the greatest long-term relief to the road network and the St Kilda Road and Swanston Street tram line – the world's busiest.
Will this cause major disruption to trams on Swanston Street?
Under our proposed construction solution the two CBD stations will be excavated under the roadway.
This means the trams will continue to run through the heart of the city along Swanston Street during construction, many major utility relocations will be avoided and the surface disruption to many businesses and CBD visitors will be greatly reduced.
Were alternative alignments to Swanston Street considered?
A number of alternative alignments through the CBD were considered for the Metro Tunnel, including routes along Spring, Exhibition, Russell, Elizabeth and William streets.
These alternatives had various drawbacks, including less optimal interchange opportunities, increased rail disruptions during construction and more complex geotechnical issues, leading to higher construction costs.
Are there any plans to extend the Metro Tunnel to other destinations such as the Airport?
An airport rail link is not in the scope of the Metro Tunnel Project.
Network developments are managed by Public Transport Victoria and are detailed in their Network Development Plan - Metropolitan Rail.
Any enquiries regarding future development of the metropolitan rail network can be directed to Public Transport Victoria.
What geotechnical work is happening along the alignment?
We have undertaken a significant program of geotechnical investigations between Kensington and South Yarra to understand more about the ground conditions and the location of underground services along the proposed alignment.
These investigations have allowed us to gain a greater understanding of local geological conditions and assist in planning how the new tunnels and stations will be built.
For more information visit the Geotechnical investigations page.