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THE timing for the on-again, off-again Ellenbrook rail link has been brought forward but could still be more than 30 years away.
The final version of the Barnett Government’s long-term transport plan was released online yesterday and has shifted the timing for the link — which is a spur line to Marshall Road in Malaga — so it will be ready before Perth’s population hits 3.5 million in about 2050.
The plan, released for public comment in July last year, features new train lines and freeways, an inner-city subway and new bridges across the Swan River — including some for bikes.
But after receiving almost 700 submissions, some major changes have been made. The subway plan has been expanded to include South Perth and to go further west to the University of WA and QEII Medical Centre.
And a new rail link between Bayswater and Morley has been added for “beyond 3.5 million people” to complete a rail ring around Perth. The plan also looks at driverless trains.
“Higher levels of automation engender smoother and more reliable operation, allowing trains to run closer together,”it said.
“Such a system will be required to handle the increasing passenger demand and the requisite planning has begun.”
In the draft plan, the Ellenbrook rail link was in the “beyond 3.5 million people” category. Bringing it forward was designed to allow it to be built at the same time as the proposed East Wanneroo rail line (between Morley and Wanneroo) and to generate some “economy-of-scale savings”.
“The East Wanneroo rail link is a new radial link in Perth’s suburban railway system,” the plan said. “The railway is expected to be delivered in two stages, with the first stage from the Perth CBD, via a tunnel to Morley, to a station near Marshall Road in Beechboro.
“The second stage connects to the Joondalup line and includes a rail spur built from Marshall Road to Ellenbrook.”
This article first appeared on www.perthnow.com.au
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