A Voice of Reason: Solution offered on Doncaster dilemma

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'We say [the tunnel] is not necessary because Doncaster rail could be realised through other means.' - Tony Morton.

‘We say [the tunnel] is not necessary because Doncaster rail could be realised through other means.’ – Tony Morton.

A plan to build a railway line to Doncaster at a cost of up to $11 billion is so costly that the proposal risks being permanently shelved. But it could be rescued with two major changes, the state’s public transport lobby group says.

Responding to the Napthine government’s Doncaster rail study, released in March, the Public Transport Users Association argues the study’s proposal to terminate the rail line at the Doncaster Park and Ride bus interchange should be scrapped.  The line should end instead at Westfield Doncaster, one of Melbourne’s largest shopping centres and an area earmarked for future growth, the association says.

The study’s related plan to build a brand new rail tunnel from Northcote to Flagstaff in the city should also be rejected in favour of a much cheaper investment in new high-speed signalling that would allow trains to run closer together.

The government-commissioned study, by consultancy URS, said a new tunnel was needed because the existing rail corridor between Clifton Hill and Jolimont stations has very little capacity for more frequent trains. It proposed a new tunnel for the South Morang line at a cost of $4 to $6 billion, freeing up the existing corridor to be used by Doncaster and Hurstbridge trains.

Tony Morton, the Public Transport Users Association president, said the high price-tag of the URS proposal for Doncaster rail was prohibitive.

”We say [the tunnel] is not necessary because Doncaster rail could be realised through other means,” Dr Morton said.

Dr Morton said some European cities had high-speed signalling systems that enabled trains to run together at headways of less than two minutes.

The London Underground was bringing in high-speed signalling at a cost of about $2.5 million euros ($3.5 million) a kilometre, he said…

The URS study predicted 56,000 people a day could use the Doncaster line by 2031.

Adam Carey, The Age, July 3, 2013

One thought on “A Voice of Reason: Solution offered on Doncaster dilemma”

  1. chrisg says:

    Make sure you read the comments on this article in The Age. A lively debate.

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