THE RAILWAY DREAM – Melbourne

This was sent in by Richard King, while it’s focus is on Manningham rail, it does explain the bigger picture, particularly funding issues and time frames.

I can’t understand why they keep the prospect of a rail service alive, after all the promises and studies etc, most people believe if it were viable it would have happened by now.

Only 22 people turned up to a rail forum addressed by Tim Gosbell not about 100 as reported in the leader.

Note: Diagram below showing proposed lines that have not been built.

Politicians continue to exploit the lack of adequate public transport in Doncaster by announcing rail studies for the purpose of enhancing their own election prospects, knowing full well it had been decided back in 1991, after land reserved for its construction was sold off, that a bus service would remain the solution for public transport in Doncaster.

Manningham has since been told not to be “tugging in other directions”.(movingvictoria.vic.gov.au has just announced a $47 Million upgrade of the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (Dart) bus service).  nevertheless we have yet another rail study released in 2012. The huge costs of its recommended rail line to Doncaster Hill (RT1) like the plans before it, seems certain to be abandoned.

According to the study, the estimated cost of Doncaster Rail, $4 Billion-$6 Billion, will double to around $11 Billion due to the costs associated with a plan to uncouple and reroute the South Morang railway from the Hurstbridge/Collingwood line which would be necessary to provide sufficient capacity to allow the connection of the Doncaster Hill rail line.

The current network will not have the capacity for any new lines until the Melbourne Metropolitan Project is completed. The estimated cost of the MMP, according to transport minister Mr Mulder, would be around $11 Billion but  would likely blow out well beyond that figure now that they have opted for deep tunnelling under the CBD.

The combined cost of the MMP, the uncoupling and redirecting of the South Morang line and the completion of the rail to Doncaster Hill, without any other new lines being added to the network, would be somewhere in the order of $22 Billion.

Federal government have demonstrated their lack of interest by pledging the paltry sum of $2 Billion towards the MMP, without indicating when it would be paid, except to confirm it would be available sometime after 2019. Mr Mulder had declared that “some of the correspondence was so fanciful that it may as well have had a dozen tattslotto tickets attached to it.”

The 1969 proposed Doncaster rail line below, shown in yellow, was approved in 1972. Property acquisition for part of the route was completed in 1975, and construction of a cutting at the city end was commenced in 1974, only to be filled in two years later. By 1982 plans to build the line were shelved by the state government, and by 1984 land for the line once it left the freeway was sold. In 1991 an independent report investigating the construction of a railway line to Doncaster recommended against it due to the high cost.

From Richard King

Melbourne Rail Proposals Map 2009

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