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Melbourne's Long-Awaited Airport Rail Link Will Run Trains to the CBD Every Ten Minutes

The trip from the airport to the city will take less than 30 minutes — and the service should be up and running by 2029.
By Sarah Ward and Libby Curran
November 21, 2020
By Sarah Ward and Libby Curran
November 21, 2020

For years, a train line connecting Melbourne's CBD to Tullamarine Airport has felt like one of those projects that's constantly discussed, and that everyone wants, but has never seemed particularly close to actually becoming a reality. That has been changing since 2017, however, with the Victorian Government finally committing to building Melbourne Airport Rail Link (MARL), and then the Federal Government throwing in funds. The state also pledged to match its Commonwealth counterparts, and the two governments also signed a Heads of Agreement confirming the arrangement.

Now, today, Saturday, November 21, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews have announced a few more details — and confirmed the route the Airport Rail Link will be taking. The pair also revealed how long the journey will take, how often Melburnians will be able to hop on a train, and when it's all set to kick in.

It has been a long (long) time coming, but construction will start in 2022 and be completed by 2029 — which is two years earlier than the last target date of 2031. If all goes to plan, that's when you'll finally be able to banish the SkyBus from your life forever.

Route-wise, Melburnians will head from the CBD to Tullamarine via Sunshine, and it's expected that the journey will take less than 30 minutes. Even better — MARL trains will run to the CBD every ten minutes, so you won't need to wait for long to make the trip that either gets you to the airport for your next journey or takes you home after your getaway (or spirits you to wherever you're staying if you're a tourist visiting Melbourne).

Visit Victoria, Josie Withers

With the line linking in with the $11.3 billion Metro rail tunnel — which will supposedly open in 2025 — folks from the city's south-eastern suburbs won't need to change trains, while the majority of other Victorians will be able to make the journey with one interchange. At Sunshine, those heading to or from Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo will be able to hop on or off the MARL, while those coming to or going from Gippsland will be able to connect at a number of stops along the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.

Both the Victorian and Australian governments have committed $5 billion each in funding to the project, which is still in the planning and development stage.

And yes, it's all about time. Sydney and Brisbane already have airport rail links, and Perth is currently in the process of building its own. Maybe this will finally kill or clarify that myth around the airport's secret underground 'station' as well.

For more information about the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, which is due to start construction in 2022 and be completed by 2029, head to the website for the project.

Image: Global Panorama via Flickr.

Published on November 21, 2020 by Sarah Ward


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