Proposed Melbourne rail extensions

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Proposals for expansion of the Melbourne rail network are commonly presented by political parties, government agencies, industry organisations and public transport advocacy groups. The extensions proposed take a variety of forms: electrification of existing routes to incorporate them into the suburban rail system; reconstruction of former passenger rail lines along pre-existing easements; entirely new routes intended to serve new areas with heavy rail or provide alternative routes in congested areas; or track amplification along existing routes to provide segregation of services. Other proposals are for the construction of new or relocated stations on existing lines, to provide improved access to public transport services.

Diagram showing Melbourne's rail network, including former lines and lines currently in planning or construction.

Inner city[edit]

North–south tunnels[edit]

  • In 2008 The Greens proposed an inner city metro in their transport discussion paper The People Plan. Amongst the proposals were underground rail from Jewell to Melbourne Central with a station at Parkville, railway along a sunken channel between Parkville and a proposed Doncaster line, and underground rail from South Yarra to Southern Cross with stations at King's Domain and Southbank.[1]
  • A 2007 proposal by the State Government involved connecting one of Craigieburn or Sydenham lines through to one of the Caulfield group of lines.[2][3]

Variations on the above proposals, among others, were considered and rejected during the preparation of a business case for the Metro Tunnel, which began construction in 2017.[6]

Outer suburbs[edit]

  • In the lead up to the 2018 Victorian election, Premier Daniel Andrews proposed a Suburban Rail Loop, extending 90 kilometres (56 mi) underground from Werribee to Cheltenham, via Sunshine, Melbourne Airport, Broadmeadows, Fawkner, Reservoir, Bundoora, Heidelberg, Doncaster, Box Hill, Burwood, Glen Waverley, Monash University and Clayton. The plan has been costed at $50 billion and would be built in stages, beginning with the Cheltenham to Box Hill component in 2022, with the entire loop to be complete by 2050.[7]

Western suburbs[edit]

Werribee line[edit]

Wyndham Vale line[edit]

  • Electrification of the Deer Park – West Werribee line to Wyndham Vale was included in the PTV NDPMR, along with quadruplication to provide express tracks for Geelong services. The state government committed to preparing a business case for the project in 2018.[9]
  • Several additional stations have been proposed for an electrified Wyndham Vale line, at locations including Truganina, Sayers Road, Davis Road and Black Forest Road.[8]

Melton line[edit]

  • Electrification of the Ballarat line as far as Melton, as well as provision of express tracks for Ballarat services, was proposed by the PTV NDMPR. The state government committed to preparing a business case for the works in 2018.[9] Advocacy groups have argued that the electrification should be extended as far as Bacchus Marsh.[10]

Northern suburbs[edit]

Melbourne Airport line[edit]

  • A variety of proposals for a rail line to Melbourne Airport have been presented since the land was acquired in 1958. A business case prepared by the state government for construction of a dedicated line via Sunshine and the corridor of the Albion-Jacana railway line is due for completion in 2020.[11]

Albion–Jacana line[edit]

Craigieburn line[edit]

  • The PTV Network Development Plan Metropolitan Rail proposed electrification as far as Wallan.

Upfield line[edit]

North-eastern suburbs[edit]

Doncaster line[edit]

  • A variety of proposals for railway lines to the suburb of Doncaster have been made since the mid-20th century, although none have commenced construction. The City of Manningham is the only metropolitan Melbourne council area not served by a heavy rail line, and most proposals have envisaged a junction with the Hurstbridge and Mernda lines near Clifton Hill. Public transport advocates have claimed that the most frequently proposed route, along the median of the Eastern Freeway, will be jeopardised by construction of the North East Link, permanently precluding construction of the rail line. However, construction authorities have stated that the reservation will continue to be suitable.[15]

Mernda line[edit]

  • A branch from the Mernda line north of Epping to the suburbs of Epping North and Wollert has been proposed since development of the suburbs in the early 2000s. The project was included in the PTV NDPMR, and recommended by Infrastructure Victoria's 2016 report.[16]

Hurstbridge line[edit]

  • An extension of the Hurstbridge line to East Reservoir, was proposed in the 1950s as a means of opening up the area east of High Street towards Darebin Creek for residential development. The proposed route was a branch line from Alphington station to East Reservoir. The proposed line consisted of five stations and several bridges which meant that the line would not interfere with any road traffic. The proposed cost was approximately £250,000.[citation needed]
  • A new Eltham North station, between the existing Eltham and Diamond Creek stations, has been proposed to provide improved access for local residents. However, the proposal has been criticised due to its potential to encourage urban sprawl in undeveloped areas.[17]

Eastern suburbs[edit]

Lilydale line[edit]

  • An additional station at Cave Hill, between Mooroolbark and Lilydale, has been proposed by Yarra Ranges Council to support residential development in the area.[20]


  • A railway line to the suburb of Rowville has been proposed repeatedly since its appearance in the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan, and was included in the PTV Network Development Plan. A 2012 feasibility study and a 2016 Infrastructure Victoria report rejected the project as a poor use of funds, but public transport advocates continue to favour a heavy rail line, particularly to serve the nearby Monash University campus. A 2018 proposal by the state government for a light rail service along the route is expected to have a business case complete by 2019.[21]

Alamein line[edit]

South-eastern suburbs[edit]

Frankston and Stony Point line[edit]

Pakenham and Cranbourne line[edit]

  • The Public Transport Users' Association has proposed re-opening the General Motors railway station which closed in July 2002. Both platforms and the footbridge above the station remain but would require repairs and resurfacing or replacement, while the building and other fixtures would have to be demolished and new facilities built. PTV instead argues that land use in the area does not demand construction of a passenger station.[26]
  • Various proposals have been made to extend the Cranbourne line to Clyde by re-electrifying part of the closed South Gippsland line. Construction on a project to duplicate the Cranbourne line is expected to begin in 2019, with extension to Clyde to follow on its completion.[27]

Southern suburbs[edit]

St Kilda line[edit]

Although the St Kilda Line has been converted to light rail operation and is now part of Melbourne's tram network, several proposals for rail extensions existed throughout its working life.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The People Plan Discussion Paper" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  2. ^ "Underground revolution - $2bn secret railway plan". The Age. Melbourne. 28 January 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2007.
  3. ^ Moynihan, Stephen (16 August 2007). "New rail tunnel proposal gains momentum". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 30 September 2007.
  4. ^ Melbourne Future Transport Options, Final Report Archived 17 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine: Professor Graham Currie, Institute of Transport Studies, Department of Civil Engineering, Monash University
  5. ^ Kleinman, Rachel (20 July 2006). "Council proposes underground train line". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 30 September 2007.
  6. ^ "Appendix 1: Capital Investment Options". Melbourne Metro Business Case (PDF). Melbourne Metro Rail Authority. 2015.
  7. ^ Jacks, Timna; Preiss, Benjamin (27 August 2018). "State government announces massive suburban rail loop for Melbourne". The Age. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  8. ^ a b Macaulay, Charlene (25 September 2018). "Wish list for rail future". Star Weekly. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  9. ^ a b Jacks, Timna; Preiss, Benjamin (15 October 2018). "Labor weighs plan for airport rail tunnel from CBD to Sunshine". The Age. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  10. ^ Wrigley, Brendan. "Push to put Bacchus Marsh commuters onto Metro train service". The Courier. Ballarat. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  11. ^ Jacks, Timna (23 December 2018). "Airport rail business case kept secret". The Age. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  12. ^ Coburg Historical Society Newsletter, No 49, June 1997
  13. ^ Greening Melbourne with Public Transport, Public Transport Users Association, 1991
  14. ^ Jacks, Timna (6 November 2018). "Sluggish Upfield's service boost still seven years away". The Age. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  15. ^ Lucas, Clay; Jacks, Timna (26 April 2018). "Toll road to kill off future Doncaster rail: public transport group". The Age. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  16. ^ Michell, Laura (5 September 2017). "Epping North residents ready to fight for rail link". Star Weekly. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  17. ^ Shanahan, Brittney (11 July 2017). "New station mooted for Eltham North". Diamond Valley Leader. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  18. ^ a b C L Fouvy. "The Melbourne region's opportunity and need for rapid transit" (PDF). Railway Technical Society of Australasia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  19. ^ Coldstream Structure Plan Draft (PDF). Yarra Ranges Council. October 2015. p. 39. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  20. ^ Egging, Kiel (24 August 2017). "Lilydale project to give township a new look". Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  21. ^ Carey, Adam; Preiss, Benjamin (7 May 2018). "Trains or trams? Debate begins over transport mode from Caulfield to Rowville". The Age. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  22. ^ Millar, Royce (22 December 2005). "Chaddy about to get a whole lot bigger". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 30 July 2007.
  23. ^ "City of Kingston Historical Website - 'Beaumaris Railway Spur'". Retrieved 15 September 2008.
  24. ^ Grady, New Jersey (1985). "Electrification - Overhead Line Equipment for the Year 2050". Conference on Railway Engineering 1985
  25. ^ Lund, Andrew (23 April 2018). "Frankston line extension plans a step closer". 9 News. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  26. ^ Townsend, Melissa (19 April 2015). "General Motors "ghost station" to stay". Dandenong Leader. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  27. ^ "Cranbourne line train services set to double under Labor election promise". ABC News. 26 August 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  28. ^ a b c D.F. Jowett & I.G. Weickhardt (1978). Return To Rosstown – Railways, Land Sales and Sugar Beet Ventures in Caulfield. Rosstown Historical Research Group, Chapter 9.
  29. ^ 1954 Planning Scheme, Melbourne Board of Works
  30. ^ D.F. Jowett & I.G. Weickhardt (1978). Return To Rosstown – Railways, Land Sales and Sugar Beet Ventures in Caulfield. Rosstown Historical Research Group, Chapter 13.

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