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Metro Tunnel

Frequently asked questions

What is the Metro Tunnel?

The Metro Tunnel will create a new end-to-end rail line from Sunbury in the west to Cranbourne/Pakenham in the south-east, with high capacity trains and five new underground stations.

Some of Melbourne’s busiest metropolitan train lines – Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham – will run exclusively through the new tunnel. By taking these lines out of the City Loop, other lines will be able to run more services.

As a result, capacity will be created on the network to enable 504,000 more passengers to use the rail system during each peak period.

The Metro Tunnel is the first step towards a 'metro style' rail network for Melbourne with the 'turn up and go' train services that are the hallmark of the world's great cities such as London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Why is the project needed?

Melbourne is steadily growing, but we can't run more trains in and out of the city because the City Loop is full.

Some of Melbourne’s busiest metropolitan train lines – Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham – will run exclusively through the new tunnel. By taking these lines out of the City Loop, other lines will be able to run more services

By creating a new dedicated pathway through the inner core for Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham services, more trains will be able to run more often on other lines across the metropolitan rail network. The Craigieburn, Frankston, Sandringham, Upfield and Werribee and Williamstown lines will all benefit from this unlocked capacity.

The Metro Tunnel is the key to the 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 from the west of the city to the south-east as part of a new Sunbury to Cranbourne/Pakenham line
  • New underground stations at Arden, Parkville, Domain and two new CBD stations directly connected to the City Loop at Flinders Street and Melbourne Central stations
  • Train/tram interchange at Domain
  • High capacity signalling to maximise the efficiency of the new fleet of High Capacity Metro Trains.

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?

For details of the benefits that the Metro Tunnel will provide Melbourne and Victoria, see our Project benefits page.

When will the Metro Tunnel be complete?

The Metro Tunnel is on track to be completed by 2025

Who will deliver the Metro Tunnel project?

Rail Projects Victoria (RPV), formerly known as Melbourne Metro Rail Authority, 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.

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 deemed 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, paved 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 five new Metro Tunnel stations are Arden, Parkville, State Library, Town Hall, and Anzac.  Suggestions were sought from the public in 2018 and helped shape a short list of names. The names chosen by Government were among the most popular suggestions for each station. Find out more about the new stations and the naming process.

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.

Design and development assessment undertaken by Rail Projects Victoria indicates that an additional connection at South Yarra as part of the Metro Tunnel Project would cost close to a billion dollars and require more than 100 extra properties to be acquired. It is also anticipated that the building of a connection would cause significant disruption to residents and businesses, including impacts to Chapel Street, and delay the Project’s completion by up to two years.

The Metro Tunnel allows for longer, high capacity trains. Longer trains need longer straight 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.

South Yarra is already well served by public transport. The Metro Tunnel will free up space in the City Loop, allowing more trains to run more often on the Sandringham and Frankston lines and ensuring South Yarra continues to enjoy a high level of service when the new Metro Tunnel is completed.

It is however recognised that South Yarra is a busy station with growing patronage and the Victorian Government has committed $12.33 million to improve the station entrance and provide a new accessible tram stop to make it safer, easier and more convenient for everyone.

Public Transport Victoria (PTV) are leading these improvements as part of the work to prepare our network for the Metro Tunnel. Preliminary concept designs can be viewed on the PTV website for public feedback.

We are continuing to work with the City of Stonnington, PTV and other South Yarra stakeholders as we build 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?

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.

What kind of signalling will be used on the Metro Tunnel?

The Metro Tunnel will use next-generation High Capacity Signalling to help deliver more trains, more often. High Capacity Signalling is different from existing ‘fixed block’ signalling on the Victorian rail network. It’s based on a more flexible ‘moving block’ system that safely allows trains to operate closer together. This means trains automatically adjust their speed to maintain a safe distance from each other, rather than having to stop for signals even if the way ahead is clear.

Current trackside signals allow up to 20 trains an hour to run reliably. High Capacity Signalling will allow up to 24 trains an hour to run safely and reliably. This equates to approximately 8000 extra passengers moving between Cranbourne/Pakenham and Sunbury every hour.

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 the Melbourne Airport Rail project.

Airport trains will run through the Metro Tunnel, providing passengers with a 10-minute turn-up-and-go service from Melbourne Airport and an under 30-minute journey into the CBD.

Haven't found the answer you needed? Feel free to give us a call on 1800 105 105, 24 hours a day.