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Train passengers using the first section of the multibillion dollar Suburban Rail Loop have been promised 22 minute trips from Cheltenham to Box Hill.
The 26km journey would take at least twice as long to drive during peak hour, and is based on trains taking an average of 3-4 minutes between six new underground stations.
The modelling for the journey times is included in a long-awaited investment case for the 90km mega-project, likely to cost tens of billions of dollars for just the first stage.
Public transport advocates say the impressive journey times mean the government should consider an extra stop being inserted between Cheltenham and Clayton to cater for a nearby industrial precinct and potential urban renewal.
The Andrews Government has said planning won’t preclude a station from being built near to a stabling site in Heatherton in future, but there is currently no economic justification.
Construction work continues ahead of schedule at the Arden Metro Station site in North Melbourne. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw
Set to be the most expensive rail tunnel ever built in Victoria, the plan for a Suburban Rail Loop is to build a 90km orbital line that would connect almost all radial train lines in Melbourne.
Stage one early works have started, despite no pricetag or cost benefit study being released, and will run 26km with new underground stations at Southland in Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash University, Glen Waverley, Burwood near to Deakin University, and Box Hill.
Box Hill is the most challenging engineering feat due to high rises around the station box, which is designed to be 350 metres long.
Trains will take between three and four minutes between stations, with the journey from Cheltenham to Monash University done in under 10 minutes.
Suburban Loop Minister Jacinta Allan said Melbourne’s population will be the size of London’s today by the middle of this century meaning the loop is “more than a rail line”.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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