The Metro Tunnel, Melbourne, Australia


The Metro Tunnel, Melbourne, Australia

Aurecon to help free up Melbourne’s biggest rail bottleneck

The Metro Tunnel will untangle the City Loop and means more trains, more often. It will make travel easier with more frequent trains carrying more people to destinations across Melbourne. Some of Melbourne’s busiest metropolitan train lines – Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham – will run exclusively through the new tunnel.

By taking these lines out of the City Loop, other lines will be able to run more services. As a result, room will be created on the network to enable over half a million additional passengers per week across Melbourne's train network to use the rail system during the peak periods.

Aurecon, in partnership with Jacobs and Mott MacDonald (AJM Joint Venture), were appointed as the technical, planning and engagement advisors for Rail Projects Victoria, formerly known as the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority.

The Metro Tunnel is the first step towards ‘turn up and go’ train services that are exemplified in some of the world’s great cities such as London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. Featuring enhanced safety and international-style platform screen doors at stations, the project will reshape travel demand, allowing for future extensions to the tram and rail network as Melbourne grows.

In addition, three of the five new stations along the Metro Tunnel corridor will bring heavy rail to areas not yet connected to the rail network, at Arden, Parkville and Domain. Connectivity to these areas will be enhanced with a combined catchment of over 200,000 jobs, student enrolments and residents; while taking 18,000 vehicles off congested roads as people make the switch to public and active transport. 

The project includes:

  • Twin nine-kilometre rail tunnels from the west of the city to the south-east as part of a new Sunbury to Cranbourne/Pakenham line.
  • Five new underground stations – Arden, Parkville, Anzac and two new CBD stations – State Library and Town Hall – directly connected to the City Loop at Flinders Street and Melbourne Central stations.
  • High capacity signalling to maximise the efficiency of the new fleet of High Capacity Metro Trains.
  • Train / tram interchange at Domain.

The AJM Joint Venture built on significant planning work completed in the lead up to this city-shaping project through options assessment and technical investigations. The joint venture provided specialist technical, planning and engagement advisory services across the project development and environment effects statement (EES) lifecycle, including design optimisation and EES preparation.

Based on a thorough understanding of the project's status and delivery goals, the joint venture team coordinated a risk based approach prioritising high impact elements for each of the project stages.

Planning to build the Metro Tunnel in a dense urban environment involved giving particular consideration to noise and vibration. The environment team were able to assess expected airborne and ground-borne construction noise and vibration together with the impact of future railway.

Due to the close proximity of residents and vibration-sensitive research facilities, the environment team undertook extensive measurements, modelling and stakeholder engagement to determine appropriate actions. This involved using the SoundAdvice tool to update assessments as changes to construction methods were explored.

Learn about how AJM used digital collaboration solutions to design and plan for this city-shaping rail infrastructure project in the case study below:

The AJM Joint Venture has worked on some of the most complex transport projects in Australia and internationally, including London’s Crossrail and Auckland’s City Rail Link, as well as Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station Redevelopment and Sydney’s North West Rail Link.

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