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Metro Tunnel

Frequently asked questions

What is the Metro Tunnel?

The $11 billion 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 39,000 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, Upfield, Frankston, Sandringham and Werribee 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.

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.

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 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).

The five new Metro Tunnel stations are North Melbourne (formerly Arden), Parkville, State Library (formerly CBD North), Town Hall (formerly CBD South), and Anzac (formerly Domain).

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?

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 a future Airport Rail Link.