What should it be?
Should the Doncaster DART be a train, a bus or a tram? Coalition pledges Doncaster rail plan (2 November 2010)
“Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu pledged to kick-start plans for a billion-dollar Doncaster/Ringwood rail link. The coalition would spend $6.5 million planning the new rail line from the city to Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs within the first two years of government.”
Image: Surprise! Old blueprints do exist from 1929.
Manningham citizens have been waiting a long time for this ghost train to arrive. Yarra citizens would also prefer to see more commuters catch public transport instead of driving polluting cars through congested streets.
Truckies, cabbies, tram and bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians would all like to see less Driver Only Driver Owned DODOs clogging up the roads and polluting the air.
“The people of Doncaster are plaguing the life out of me to get a survey of the proposed line from Canterbury to Doncaster” – Local MP
John Keys to the Premier Duncan Gillies 1888, quoted by Graeme Davison, The Age, April 20 2008.
A train line from Kew station to Doncaster was surveyed in the 1929 plan for Melbourne along with the Glen Waverly line. However the Great Depression and World War II intervened and the Doncaster Line was never built.
When the F19 (now Eastern Freeway) was designed in the 1970’s, a train line to Doncaster was included in the wide median strip down the middle of the freeway. when it opened the freeway only went as far as Thompson Road. The line was proposed in response to community outrage at the prospect of hundred of thousands of cars being dumped of the end of the freeway onto Alexandra Parade and Hoddle Street.
Not only was the median reserved for a rail line, but a tunnel was blasted to Victoria Park station, where the train was to join the existing tracks to Jollimont. Blasting caused cracks in houses around Abbotsford, Collingwood and Clifton Hill. The rail line was published in the 1982 Melway Edition 14.
Images showing Doncaster Rail construction circa 1976
- Peter J. Vincent Collection: Victoria Park, Clifton Hill, Vic Park / loco stalled first go / projected loop entrance for Doncaster line (1976)
- Weston Langford Railway Photography: Victoria Park Deviation for Eastern Freeway Construction Looking towards Melbourne (1976)
- PTUA: Eastern Freeway under construction, showing the cutting to Doncaster
This line could not be afforded by Cain/Kirner Government during a period of declining patronage of public transport and the reservations in East Doncaster where the stations were to be located were sold.
Liberal shadow transport minister Rob Maclellan in August 1984 said that Government had sold the land set aside for the railway (Stephen Cauchi (February 1998). “Whatever Happened to the Proposed Railway to Doncaster East”. Newsrail (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)) 26 (2): page 40–44)