Avalon Airport Rail Link

Avalon airport has been identified as a future second international airport for Victoria. It is located approximately 50 km south-west of Melbourne. A preferred alignment has been identified for a railway line to the airport, branching off the Geelong line between Little River and Lara.


Ballarat Station Precinct Redevelopment

Ballarat Station Precinct Redevelopment planning is ongoing. The project is based on the Ballarat Station Precinct Master Plan, which was released in 2014. Features of the project include:

  • refurbishment of the station buildings to facilitate increased use for transport and non-transport purposes

  • construction of a new bus interchange north of the station

  • redevelopment of the former goods shed for new usage.

Better Train Services for Bendigo and Central Victoria

This program is part of the Bendigo Metro project. It includes new stations at Huntly and Goornong on the Echuca line, and at Raywood on the Swan Hill line. These three stations will all be have a single platform, along with car parking and covered waiting areas. Planning will also begin on the re-opening of Harcourt station, which closed in 1981. Upgrading of track between Bendigo and Kyneton will allow more frequent trains services during peak times.

Caulfield to Rowville Line

A new tram line has been proposed from Caulfield to Rowville in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Stage One of the line would be from Caulfield railway station via Chadstone shopping centre to the Clayton Campus of Monash University, near the intersection of Blackburn and Wellington Roads. Stage Two would extend from Clayton to Rowville via Waverley Park. The total length of the line is anticipated to be around 18 km. The Victorian Government has committed funds for design and planning work. In the 2018–19 Federal budget the Australian Government allocated $475 million for a heavy rail line to Monash University rather than a tram line. The funding would be around half the cost of the project, with the Victorian Government expected to fund the remainder.

Cranbourne Line Upgrade

This project would involve duplication of 8 km of single track between Dandenong and Cranbourne. Upgrading of tracks around Caulfield and Dandenong would also be carried out. Completion of this project would enable capacity on the line to double, with trains operating up to every 10 minutes during peak.

Fast Rail To Geelong

Various options for a fast rail link between Melbourne and Geelong are to be investigated by the Victorian Government. One option is the electrification of the existing railway line. Another option is the construction of a new dedicated high speed line with new trains capable of speeds between 250 and 300 km/h. Consideration of a railway route to Melbourne Airport is also part of the investigation. The Victorian Government has committed funds for planning work and to determine a preferred option.

Faster Rail

Funding was provided in 2018 to support the development of three business cases, including between Melbourne to Greater Shepparton in Victoria. Five addiontal business cases were announced in the 2019–20 budget, including Melbourne to Albury–Wodonga and Melbourne to Traralgon. Although the Australian Government is providing financial support for the development of the business cases, this does not mean it will support delivery of specific projects.

High Capacity Metro Trains Project​

65 new High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT) are being purchased for operation on the Melbourne suburban network. They will be indivisible seven-car trains with a length of 161 metres, compared to 143 metres for the six-car trains currently in service. It is anticipated that HCMTs will enable average loads of up to 1100 passengers. Potential exists for the future addition of an additional three carriages, taking the length to 230 metres for a ten-car train, and having capacity for 1500 passengers. The HCMTs will initially run on the line from the city to Cranbourne and Pakenham, and eventually use the Metro Tunnel before continuing to Sunbury. They are being built by Evolution Rail, with the shells manufactured in Changchun, China, and final assembly at Newport in Melbourne. Testing has begun and it is expected that the first of these trains will commence service in the middle of 2020. Large-scale maintenance facilities are being constructed at Pakenham East. Some design features of the new trains were based on feedback received from engagement with future passengers.


Hurstbidge Line Upgrade

Stage 1 of this project was completed in 2018 when the line between Heidelberg and Rosanna was duplicated. Stage 2 would involve:

  • construction of a new station at Greensborough

  • duplication of 3 km of line between Greensborough and Montmorency

  • duplication of 1.5 km of track between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen.

Work would begin in 2020 and be completed by 2022. Funding for this project was allocated in the 2019–20 Victorian budget.

Level Crossing Removal

The Level Crossing Removal Authority was established to oversee the removal of level crossings in the Melbourne suburban area. A total of 50 have already been removed or planning is underway, and a further 25 removals will be completed by 2025.


Melbourne Airport Rail

Construction of a railway line to Melbourne airport has been discussed since the 1970s. A railway was identified as a future project in the Network Development Plan – Metropolitan Rail in 2012 and in Victoria’s 30-year Infrastructure Strategy in 2016. The Victorian Government has indicated support for the project and the Australian Government has agreed to contribute funding. A detailed business case is being developed for a route via Sunshine. Investigation and delivery of the line would be carried out by Rail Projects Victoria (RPV). Construction is expected to begin in 2022 and take up nine years.

Metro Tunnel

The Metro Tunnel is a major rail infrastructure project which comprises twin 9 km rail tunnels from South Kensington through the Melbourne CBD to South Yarra. It includes five new underground stations: North Melbourne, Parkville, State Library, Town Hall and Anzac, as well as a train–tram interchange at Anzac station. The new Metro Tunnel will enable more trains to operate in and out of the CBD, providing for an additional 39,000 more passengers across the suburban railway network in peak times. Stations on the Melbourne Metro line are being built with platforms of 240 metres in length, enabling the operation of 10-car trains. Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) has responsibility for delivery of Metro Tunnel. John Holland has been awarded the first major contract, involving the excavation of shafts in preparation for tunnelling and the construction of underground stations. Major construction has begun, with services to commence running by 2026.


Murray Basin Rail Project

The Murray Basin Rail Project involves standardising and upgrading 1055 km of freight railway lines servicing the Murray Basin region in the north-west of Victoria, and increasing the axle loading on most of these lines from 19 to 21 tonnes. Lines to be converted from broad gauge to standard gauge are those from Maryborough through Mildura to Yelta, from Dunolly to Sea Lake, and from Dunolly to Manangatang. The currently unused standard gauge line between Maryborough and Ararat will be upgraded and re-opened. The line from Gheringap through Ballarat to Maryborough will be upgraded to dual gauge (broad gauge and standard gauge). Between Ouyen and Murrayville the line will be standardised, but axle loading will be only 19 tonnes. The project will assist Victoria’s rail freight network to meet the increasing demand for freight services. Additionally, restoration of the 87 km freight line between Ararat and Maryborough provides a standard gauge rail link from the Murray Basin to the Port of Portland. Upgrading of axle loadings to 21 tonnes will enable train loads to increase between 300 and 400 tonnes, and average grain train payloads to increase to 2500 tonnes per train. Work on Stage 2 is complete with trains are running again on the Mildura line and the re-opened Maryborough to Ararat line. Future stages include gauge conversion and upgrade work from Maryborough to Manangatang, Korong Vale to Sea Lake, and Gerringhap and Warrenheip.


Network Development Plan – Metropolitan Rail

Public Transport Victoria (PTV) completed the Network Development Plan – Metropolitan Rail in 2012. The plan provided an examination of the requirements of Melbourne’s railway system to meet the needs of the city and of passengers in the future, up to 40 years in advance. The plan was intended to inform government as part of the process of policy formulation. Major long-term projects include:

  • construction of a new railway line from Albion to Melbourne airport

  • construction of a new railway line from Huntingdale to Rowville

  • diverting South Morang services into a new tunnel between Clifton Hill and Southern Cross

  • construction of a new railway line from Collingwood to Doncaster

  • electrification of the railway line to Melton

  • installation of high capacity signalling on the Northern and Cross-City group lines

  • reinstatement of the former railway line between Upfield and Somerton

  • duplication of the railway line from Dandenong to Cranbourne

  • electrification of the line to Baxter and building of a new maintenance facility

  • duplication of the railway line from Greensborough to Eltham

  • building of new stations at Truganina and Sayers Road

  • retirement of all remaining Comeng trains

  • reconfiguration of the City Loop to provide seven separate, independently-operated lines through Melbourne CBD

  • quadruplication of the railway line between Burnley and Camberwell

  • duplication of the railway line from Altona Junction to Seaholme and grade separation at Altona Junction

  • electrification of the railway line from Craigieburn to Wallan

  • electrification of the railway line from Sunshine to Wyndham Vale, and later to Geelong

  • duplication of the railway line from Mooroolbark to Lilydale and building of new stabling facilities

  • extension of the railway line from Cranbourne to Clyde

  • extension of the railway line from Werribee to Wyndham Vale

  • extension of the railway line from Southern Cross to Fishermans Bend via a tunnel, which will be an extension of the tunnel from Clifton Hill to Southern Cross.

New E ClassTrams

A total of 50 members of the E Class trams entered service from 2013 to 2017. An order was placed in 2015 for an additional 20 E Class trams, but in March 2017 it was announced that the new order would incorporate additional safety features and be known as the E2 Class. Funding has been allocated to purchase a further 30 trams, which will bring to 100 the total of E and E2 Class trams. Deliveries of E2 Class trams are ongoing and are expected to continue until 2020.

Regional Network Development Plan

The Victorian Government completed the Regional Network Development Plan in 2016. This plan describes short-term (up to five years), medium-term (five to ten years) and long-term (more than ten years) plans for regional areas. It aims to develop a better coordinated and integrated public transport network, involving train, bus and coach services working together. Features of the plan regarding railway services include:

  • a commuter service with a minimum train service frequency of 20 minutes in peak hours and 40 minutes in off-peak times between Melbourne and the major regional centres of Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Seymour and Traralgon

  • five services on five days a week along the outer regional railway lines to Warrnambool, Bairnsdale, Albury, Echuca, Swan Hill and Shepparton

  • procurement and roll out of further VLocity train sets

  • refurbishment and retirement of older passenger carriages

  • upgrading of regional stations

  • construction of new train stabling facilities

  • construction of new train maintenance and cleaning facilities

  • duplication of sections of single line railway and new passing loops

improvement of information provided to passengers.

Regional Rail Revival​

The Regional Rail Revival program includes further upgrades to the regional rail network in Victoria. Features of the program include:

  • Ballarat Line Upgrade: duplication of 18 km of track between Deer Park and Melton, construction of a new station at Cobblebank (between Rockbank and Melton), rebuilding Rockbank station, ugraded stations at Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and Wendouree, track duplication at Bacchus Marsh, new stabling facilities at Maddingley to replace those at Bacchus Marsh, passing loops at Ballan and Millbrook, signalling upgrades and track improvements. The upgrade will enable an increase in the frequency of services on the Ballarat line, and also enhances the possibility of future electrification of the line to Melton

  • Ballarat Line Upgrade Stage 2: train stabling facilities at Ararat, and upgrading of signalling and track work in the Ballarat area, providing capacity for extra passenger services to Maryborough and Ararat, and improving the movement of freight trains

  • Bendigo and Echuca Line Upgrade: upgrades to signalling between Bendigo, Epsom and Eaglehawk, and improving track speed between Epsom and Echuca from 80 km/h to 130 km/h, providing capacity for extra services and shorter journey times

  • Geelong Line Upgrade: construction of a second platform and pedestrian crossing at Waurn Ponds station, preparing for duplication of the line between Geelong and Waurn Ponds, and corridor planning for a possible future railway extension to Armstrong Creek

  • Gippsland Line Upgrade: duplication of the line between Bunyip and Longwarry, and between Traralgon and Morwell; additional platforms at Bunyip, Longwarry, Morwell and Traralgon; replacement of the Avon River bridge at Stratford

  • North-East Line Corridor Upgrade: improvements to stations at Donnybrook and Wallan, and design work and infrastructure for future standard gauge VLocity trains to operate on the line

  • Shepparton Line Upgrade: new train stabling facilities near Shepparton and the construction of a crossing loop near Murchison East, platform extensions and upgrades to track and signalling, which will enable trains to travel at speeds up to 130 km/h

  • Warrnambool Line Upgrade: installation of a crossing loop from Boorcan to Weerite, and upgrades to signalling between Waurn Ponds and Warrnambool, providing capacity for extra services and shorter journey times, and enabling VLocity trains to operate to Warrnambool.

Suburban Rail Loop

The Suburban Rail Loop is a proposed new rail line through Melbourne’s suburbs. Although described as a circle, it is actually more of a semi-circle, with Werribee in the western suburbs at one end and Cheltenham in the south-eastern suburbs at the other end. It proceeds via Sunshine, Melbourne Airport, Broadmeadows, Fawkner, Reservoir, Heidelberg, Box Hill, Glen Waverley and Clayton. The line would be up to 90 km in length and be mostly underground. There would be at least 12 new stations, as well as connections with existing stations. Superhubs, where the Suburban Rail Loop connects with regional lines, would be located at Sunshine, Broadmeadows and Clayton. Planning began in 2019, with construction work to begin by 2022. It is projected that by 2051 the Suburban Rail Loop would be Melbourne’s busiest railway line with over 400,000 passengers per day.

Trains, Trams, Jobs 2015–2025: Victorian Rolling Stock Strategy

The Trains, Trams, Jobs 2015–2025 report provides an overview of plans for 100 new metropolitan trains, 100 new trams, and a large expansion of the regional train fleet over the ten year period from 2015 to 2025. During this time period it is expected that 100 new metropolitan trains, 160 new regional carriages and 240 new trams will be needed. The new trains will cater for the anticipated growth in passenger numbers, and enable the retirement of older trains and trams.


Victoria’s 30-year Infrastructure Strategy

Infrastructure Victoria released Victoria’s 30-year Infrastructure Strategy in December 2016, following the earlier release of a draft strategy and consultation with the community. The strategy lists 137 recommendations to be delivered over the next three decades. Its vision is for a future where infrastructure enables people in Victoria to access opportunities, to connect with each other and the world, and to live sustainably. Railway and tramway projects listed in the strategy include:

  • extension of the tramway network to Fishermans Bend

  • new stations in the western suburbs of Melbourne on the Geelong railway line

  • extension of the electrified railway network to Melton and Wallan

  • construction of a new railway line from Cranbourne to Clyde

  • completion of a feasibility study into a rail or bus transport link to Wollert

  • provision of access to real-time public transport information across suburban and regional networks

  • train timetable changes to provide increased peak hour services on the suburban railway network, particularly the Werribee line

  • reviewing and updating Public Transport Victoria’s Network Development Plan – Metropolitan Rail and identifying priorities for network upgrades and enhancements to maximise use of the existing railway network

  • upgrading suburban railway stations with high passenger volumes, such as Caulfield and South Yarra

  • providing high-capacity signalling systems on important sections of the metropolitan rail network

  • continuing a long-term program of suburban and regional railway rolling stock and tram procurement, building on Trains, Trams, Jobs 2015–2025: Victorian Rolling Stock Strategy

  • introduction of ten-carriage metropolitan trains on lines that will run through the Melbourne Metro tunnel

  • construction of a railway line to Melbourne airport, ideally linking with the CBD and the south-eastern suburbs

  • reconfiguring the City Loop railway to improve capacity on the Craigieburn and Upfield lines

  • identifying future stages for the Melbourne Metro

  • targeted removal of level crossings in Melbourne

  • creation of mass transit bus or light rail networks linking major centres with existing heavy railway lines

  • identifying priorities for regional railway upgrades

  • providing additional passenger trains on long-distance lines, focusing on the scheduling of five services on five days each week to Warrnambool, Bairnsdale, Albury-Wodonga, Echuca, Swan Hill and Shepparton

  • improving capacity on the railway line to Dandenong and Gippsland

  • consideration of a high-capacity rail or bus transport link between Geelong and Torquay

  • preparation of a policy for railway access to the Port of Melbourne

  • finalising the location of the Western Intermodal Freight Terminal in the western suburbs of Melbourne

  • standardising the railway gauge in north-east Victoria and determining other priorities for rail standardisation

  • undertaking planning for the delivery of the Inland Rail project.

Western Rail Plan

The Western Rail Plan outlines the future investments that are required for the development of a fast, high-capacity rail network to service Victoria’s growing suburbs and regional cities. It includes three major connected projects:

  • Construction of two new electrified metropolitan rail lines in Melbourne’s western suburbs to Melton and Wyndham Vale. This would enable these areas to be serviced by suburban electric trains and separate them from the Ballarat and Geelong regional lines. A line connecting Wyndham Vale and Werribee would also be considered and could become part of the proposed Suburban Rail Loop.

  • Increased track capacity between the CBD and Sunshine, enabling more frequent train services to operate. It would also provide capacity for the Airport Rail Link.

  • Major investment in the Geelong and Ballarat regional rail lines, enabling trains to operate at faster speeds than the current 160km/h maximum. Planning will include investigation of the possible electrification of these lines and the operation of new, fast electric regional trains.

Wyndham Vale Stabling Facility

A new stabling facility for regional trains is being built to the north of Wyndham Vale station. It will replace the E-Gate facility near Footscray. It will include a stabling yard, driver facilities, and a bypass track connecting it to the Geelong line. The facility will house up to six VLocity trains, with the possibility of future expansion. Work commenced in late 2018 and is expected to be completed by early 2020.