“Doncaster railway line ‘could be built for $840M” (Age 24/7), raises important aspects about construction costs and patronage that are misleading.
Since October last year, we have been leading a team to study a heavy rail connection to Doncaster, undertaking work to determine some broad engineering alignments and modelling on patronage.
To suggest that any Doncaster rail line option could be built for only $840M is overlooking the complexities of building a new railway line to Doncaster. One of our options follows the Eastern Freeway, but needs major tunnelling infrastructure to provide a connection to Doncaster Hill at its terminus, and major works to connect either near Victoria Park station or more tunnelling to connect to Parkville. More than half of this alignment is outside of the freeway median, requiring much more complex engineering.
Furthermore, it is completely inappropriate to compare a Doncaster rail line with a project in Mandurah built nearly 10 years ago, in a different construction environment, using different rolling stock and to different rail standards.
The article also suggests that the project will attract ’100,000 people per day’. This is extremely ambitious. One of the busiest rail groups on our network, combining the Lilydale, Belgrave, Alamein and Glen Waverley lines, achieves just over this figure. These four lines service a far larger catchment than a Doncaster line could; our work is indicating that a Doncaster rail line would carry a similar number of passengers to just one of these lines. To claim that a rail connection to a catchment the size of Doncaster would carry 100,000 people a day is simply misleading.
We look forward to receiving a copy of the Local Government Group’s report so we can further understand the work that was done to provide these estimates.
The report which details our work in phase one of the study and provides recommendations for a possible heavy rail connection to Doncaster will be available for public comment later this year and will assist in promoting informed debate.
Doncaster Rail Study Leader