After more than five decades of talk, the time for action on an airport rail link looks to be drawing closer.
Last Thursday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged $5 billion towards the project and called on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to match the figure.
Four possible routes have been proposed for the project.
The Albion East option would likely use the new metro tunnel and run out west on the Sunbury line to Sunshine station and then north on a new line to Tullamarine.
It is the only one of the four proposed routes that includes a stop in Sunshine.
Premier Daniel Andrews last week told Triple M that the Albion East option provides the greater benefit to the west and regional Victoria.
“The way we see the project, it works best if it’s an airport rail link, but you do it in such a way that it further electrifies the west of Melbourne and then unlocks capacity to do really proper fast rail,” he said.
“Broadly, that’s [the Albion East option] one of four options … and the other three don’t necessarily deliver that regional rail benefits.
“What you’ve got to do as well is basically take the power further out to the west so you electrify the network further out into the western suburbs, you then separate off from regional rail link, those suburban services, so there’s no more sharing of track.”
Brimbank mayor Margaret Giudice welcomed the announcement and said the council would continue to push for a stop in Sunshine to be included in the project.
“In November, Premier Daniel Andrews announced support for the rail link to come through Sunshine. We want to work together with all levels of government and get this project moving,” she said.
“We believe that the route should ensure maximum connectivity across metro Melbourne and regional Victoria – bringing the route out west will be a game-changer for the western region, unlocking huge economic benefits for the entire region including Brimbank.
“A Sunshine stop would open up big benefits for metropolitan and regional commuters, and for the booming western suburbs of Melbourne.”
The other three options included a link via the Craigieburn line, a direct tunnel route via Footscray and a route that goes through Kensington and follows the Flemington line.