The long awaited Doncaster Rail Study has resulted in a proposal that is extremely expensive, but in Stage 1 does not even access Doncaster Shoppingtown, the major regional activity centre. Stage 1 is proposed to terminate 3 km away in an underground station at the isolated Park and Ride facility.
The Study’s claim that 6 trains per hour from Doncaster could not join the existing Clifton Hill rail line to access the city in Stage 1 is nonsense. Sufficient train capacity exists now; and new, state-of-the-art signalling would raise capacity between Clifton Hill and the city further. In a later stage, a more direct route under Fitzroy and Carlton could also be considered.
The Study has called for much expensive underground rail building as part of the Doncaster project. In fact with careful design, only one short tunnel section is required to reach an underground terminal station conveniently placed under the Shoppingtown complex. Clearly the view of politicians and bureaucrats is that much needed suburban rail extensions should be “gold plated” and specified to become unaffordable. Doncaster joins the list with the Airport line and the Rowville line.