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Metro Tunnel

Frequently asked questions

What is the Metro Tunnel?

The Metro Tunnel is one of the largest public transport projects ever undertaken in Australia and the first major investment in Melbourne's CBD rail capacity since the City Loop was completed 30 years ago.

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 Metro Tunnel 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 Tunnel will comprise:

  • twin nine-kilometre rail tunnels connecting the Sunbury and Cranbourne / Pakenham lines
  • five new underground stations at Arden, Parkville, CBD North, CBD South and Domain with longer platforms to accommodate High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs)
  • high capacity signalling

Support initiatives include:

  • tram network changes
  • signalling upgrades on other lines and other works across the network
  • introduction of 65 High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs) which will operate on the Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham lines
  • an additional 25 HCMTs and associated stabling and maintenance

Wider network enhancements comprise a range of works, including infrastructure to facilitate access to sidings, train turn backs, signalling headway improvements, other works to support service frequency across the existing network, and some changes to the operation of the tram network. Various aspects of the works are still being refined.

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?

The Metro Tunnel Project is fully funded. The 2016-17 Budget committed $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 Metro Tunnel is an $11 billion project.

Who will deliver the Metro Tunnel project?

The Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA) is responsible for delivery of the Metro Tunnel Project. Works will be undertaken by a range of contractors, see the Project delivery page for details.

Major works are now underway to prepare sites for main construction and allow tunnelling and station excavation activities to begin immediately in 2018. These works are being delivered by John Holland as the Managing Contractor on behalf of the MMRA. Works on tram infrastructure will be undertaken by Yarra Trams under the existing tram franchisee agreement.

Does the Metro Tunnel have planning approval?

The Metro Tunnel was assessed through an Environment Effects Statement (EES) process. The Minister for Planning's assessment deems that the likely effects of the Metro Tunnel project are acceptable and provides recommendations for decision-makers, such as local councils, the EPA and VicTrack, to consider when relevant statutory approvals are sought for the project.

This assessment, and subsequent statutory approvals, pave the way for the Metro Tunnel project to start major construction. See the Planning approvals page for more details.

How are the Metro Tunnel stations being named?

The Metro Tunnel's five new railway stations will be named in accordance with the Victorian Government's Guidelines for naming a place (external link). 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.

Will Metro Tunnel 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.

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.

Are there any plans to extend the Metro Tunnel to other destinations such as the Airport?

The Metro Tunnel will create capacity for more trains, more often across Melbourne, paving the way for the expansion of Melbourne's rail network.

The project will create space to run more services to Sunbury, Melton and any future airport rail line.