Melbourne CBD-airport rail link unveiled

The route for a long-awaited Melbourne airport-to-city rail link has been agreed upon, with travellers being promised trains every 10 minutes for a less than 30-minute trip.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Saturday they had settled on the route, to which their governments have each committed $5 billion.

Both leaders heralded the undertaking as one which will underpin economic recovery out of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving the construction industry a pipeline of work and creating thousands of jobs.

A rail journey between the CBD and Tullamarine airport 20km away has been long-desired by Victorians, who unlike residents in other states, have relied on a Skybus service from Southern Cross Station or taxis for public transport.

Construction is expected to kick off in late 2022 and be completed by 2029.

Previous state governments have tried and failed to deliver an airport rail link.

Mr Andrews said it should have been built decades ago and that he was thankful to now have federal support.

The rail link will run via Sunshine in Melbourne's west, which the state government wanted in order to connect to multiple regional rail lines.

Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo passengers will get to the airport by changing trains at Sunshine, while travellers from Gippsland in the state's east will connect into the airport line by changing along the Cranbourne or Pakenham lines.

Melbourne residents along these southeastern lines - the city's busiest - will be able to travel 85km direct to the airport in the outer northwest.

All city loop trains will connect to airport trains at Flinders Street and Melbourne Central meaning most Victorians will be able get to the airport by changing trains only once.

The federal and state governments also announced a faster rail link between Melbourne and Geelong, costing them $2 billion each.

They said it will cut the current 70 minute trip to 50 minutes.

"Those travel time savings will change the personal and the productive experience for so many people," Mr Andrews said.

The hope for both the airport link and Geelong line is residents will swap driving for train travel, relieving traffic congestion.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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