Melbourne Airport is one of Australia's major international entry points. The Government has investigated a possible Airport Transit Link as part of its Linking Victoria program, which aims to revitalise our State's roads, rail and ports, improve our public transport networks, and make our regions more accessible.
In short, there is no rail servicing Melbourne Airport. Use the links below for links to Car, Bus and Taxi alternatives.
Melbourne Transport Guide
Melbourne Trains and Rail Guide
Melbourne Airport Rail Link not viable now
A comprehensive patronage study has found that a rail link to Melbourne Airport would not be commercially viable for at least ten years, Transport Minister Peter Batchelor said today.
Mr Batchelor said the Government had therefore decided to reserve land for a rail link through the Albion corridor, but would not proceed with construction of the rail link at this stage.
"A financial analysis undertaken by the Rail Projects Group (RPG) of the Department of Infrastructure showed that building an airport rail link now would require government subsidies over a 10 year period of between $350 to $450 million (in today's dollars)." Mr Batchelor said.
"This is a significant cost to Victorian taxpayers that could not be justified."
The patronage study prepared by Booz Allen Hamilton showed that currently seven percent of passengers travelling to and from Melbourne airport use public transport (buses and coaches), or approximately 2 million people a year.
Current annual airport patronage is approximately 27 million. This is expected to increase to some 37 million by 2009.
The study predicted that by 2009 a new rail link would increase public transport usage to around nine percent of all passengers travelling to and from the airport at that time, with a rail link attracting only an extra 750,000 public transport users a year.
"This small diversion to public transport is insufficient to justify the high cost of a new rail link," Mr Batchelor said.
"Given the likely low patronage, a rail link is not commercially viable and it would be financially irresponsible for the Government to proceed with the project at this stage.
"An airport rail link will one day be a valuable addition to Melbourne's transport system - reserving the route now preserves that option and allows a link to be built when it is commercially viable."
The study took into account the downturn in air travel following the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and the Ansett collapse.
It studied options for trains terminating at Spencer Street or Flinders Street stations, travelling around the loop or continuing to the eastern suburbs.
The study showed the rail link's patronage would be comparable to that of the Sydney and Brisbane links.
The RPG also examined alternative technologies and solutions, including a Maglev (a train using magnetic levitation to run on a guideway), which it found would require a higher Government subsidy than a heavy rail option.
"Subject to a formal indication of support from the Commonwealth, the Government will now reserve the Albion East route in the relevant planning schemes for a future rail link, to be developed when passenger demands makes the project a more viable proposition," Mr Batchelor said.
Melbourne Airport had been extremely cooperative and had now agreed to reduce the amount of tunnelling required on the Albion East option, making this a more realistic alternative, he said.
Mr Batchelor said following discussions with the Maribyrnong City council officers, the removal of Middle Footscray Station would not be pursued for an airport link, and the Government would consider offering to negotiate to purchase the whole of the two affected residential properties near the station once the planning schemes had been finalised.
"The Government will also continue to examine an upgraded bus service using City Link and Tullamarine Freeway over the next several months," he said.
In November, the Government abandoned the Broadmeadows route for the link and committed to further investigate the Albion corridor options, as recommended by an independent planning panel.
Melbourne Transport Guide