SRL train and tunnel concept render

Frequently asked questions

Suburban Rail Loop is a city and state-shaping project that will transform Victoria’s public transport system, connecting our suburbs and creating opportunities in great places.

The 90-kilometre Suburban Rail Loop will link every major rail line from the Frankston line to the Werribee line, via Melbourne Airport, providing important travel connections between employment, health, education and activity centres in Melbourne’s middle suburbs.

Three transport super hubs at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine will connect regional passengers to Suburban Rail Loop.

The project will be delivered in stages over several decades, with construction on Stage One between Cheltenham and Box Hill starting in 2022.

Suburban Rail Loop will be a catalyst to attract investments in the areas around the new train stations to make them even better places to live, work and visit.

Suburban Rail Loop will deliver important cross-suburb travel connections between major hospitals, universities and TAFEs, retail and employment centres outside the CBD. It will change how we move around Melbourne and will ease congestion, taking pressure off existing transport networks.

The project will trigger investment and development around the station precincts. This provides a valuable opportunity to consider the services, amenity and infrastructure these communities will need in the future as Melbourne grows.

The biggest rail project ever built in Victoria, it will create a pipeline of jobs and construction activity with at least 800 direct jobs created during Initial and Early works on Stage One from 2022, and up to 20,000 jobs during construction.

Regional passengers will be connected to Suburban Rail Loop, which means they won’t have to go through the CBD to get to the airport, jobs, and world-class education and health services in Melbourne’s suburbs.

Suburban Rail Loop will provide faster and more convenient travel to university campuses including Monash, Deakin and La Trobe, and major hospitals including Monash, Monash Children’s, Box Hill and the Austin.

Regional passengers will be connected to Suburban Rail Loop via interchanges at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine.

Suburban Rail Loop will slash travel times for Regional Victorians travelling to Melbourne’s middle suburbs. For example, a journey between Traralgon and Box Hill Hospital will be around 26 minutes faster by rail – taking around two and a half hours instead of three and making train travel times comparable to a car trip.

From 2022, the Initial and Early Works on Stage One of Suburban Rail Loop will create up to 800 direct jobs. The project will create around 20,000 jobs during construction, with up to 2,000 apprentices, trainees and cadets employed under the Government’s Major Projects Skills Guarantee.

Beyond construction of the rail infrastructure, improving cross-suburb transport and increasing economic activity around the station precincts will drive business opportunities and clusters of new jobs. This will enable more people to work closer to where they live and will give Victorians greater access to more diverse employment opportunities outside of the CBD.

The locations of six new underground stations and the refined rail tunnel corridor between Cheltenham and Box Hill have been identified following 18 months of project development and design, geotechnical investigations and engineering assessments, and consultation with local stakeholders.

The new line will start near Southland, underneath Sir William Fry Reserve, with stations next to Monash and Deakin universities, central to the Box Hill and Glen Waverley activity centres, and north of Carinish Road in Clayton, where a transport super-hub will connect regional passengers to the loop.

Local residents, businesses and landowners are being notified as work in these areas increases over coming months, and will be kept informed of any potential impacts as plans for the stations develop.

When we talk about ‘precincts’ we’re looking at the local area and neighbourhoods associated with Suburban Rail Loop stations.

We’re considering the green and public space, services, amenity, housing mix and other infrastructure that can help ensure these communities are even better places to live, work and learn as our city grows.

One of the key project objectives beyond the significant transport benefits is to drive investment, job growth and economic activity in the employment, health and education centres that have already been established outside Melbourne’s CBD.

There are six precincts associated with new underground stations as part of Stage One of Suburban Rail Loop at Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill.

The middle suburbs of Melbourne were identified as the preferred broad alignment for Suburban Rail Loop to facilitate better travel connections to health, education and employment hubs across Melbourne’s suburbs and to regional Victoria.

Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 sets Victoria’s overarching policy direction for population, economic growth and urban planning over the next 30 years. It identifies places of state significance across Melbourne that will be a focus for jobs growth and strategic infrastructure investment to help expand employment opportunities, including National Employment and Innovation Clusters (NEICs) and Metropolitan Activity Centres (MACs). These provide the community with good access to a range of major retail, community, government, entertainment, cultural and transport services.

Stage One is considered the priority because it will connect major employment precincts, universities, hospitals and shopping centres in the south east, including the Monash NEIC, Burwood education precinct and Box Hill MAC. It will also benefit regional Victorian passengers, connecting them to jobs and world-class services in Melbourne’s suburbs via the connection to Suburban Rail Loop at Clayton.

More than 80 per cent of Melburnians will experience reduced travel times thanks to the Suburban Rail Loop, which will deliver shorter, faster and more reliable journeys for Victorians while slashing travel times across the state.

Suburban Rail Loop will deliver faster and more convenient public transport journeys to high growth areas of Melbourne. By shortening commutes and improving cross-suburb connectivity more people will be encouraged to jump on public transport and leave their car at home. This will have a knock-on effect of slashing congestion with improved traffic flows on freeways and major arterial roads.

The service will deliver a resilient and reliable network – providing frequent ‘turn up and go’ services, reducing crowding on existing lines and making it simple to transfer between radial lines, just like other world class public transport networks around the world.

Suburban Rail Loop is the biggest rail project ever undertaken in Victoria and it will be completed in stages over several decades.

Initial and Early works on Stage One from Cheltenham to Box Hill will get underway in 2022, creating 800 early direct jobs and paving the way for major construction and many thousands of jobs. The works will enable launch sites to be prepared for tunnel boring machines, and include upgrades to road and power supply, building new sub-stations, and relocating gas, water and other utilities.

Further detail regarding the delivery timeline and completion will be determined as part of the ongoing technical work and Investment Case.

This will be one of the world’s biggest and most ambitious projects, costing tens of billions of dollars over the life of the entire project. However, it will be funded and delivered in stages over several decades.

The Victorian Government has provided $2.2b to deliver all Initial and Early Works on Stage One, taking the project from concept and planning to the start of on-the-ground delivery in 2022. This follows funding of $300 million in the 2019-20 Budget for project planning and pre-construction activities.

The Business and Investment Case and technical work underway will determine details of the project infrastructure, design, construction methodology and delivery, and associated costs. Funding options being considered include potential State, Commonwealth and private sector contributions, as well as value creation and value capture opportunities.

Hundreds of boreholes and land surveys have already been completed across the Stage One project area, helping to inform the project planning and development, and the Business and Investment Case. The Stage One station locations will now be subject to a concentrated ground testing program to determine the precise underground station footprints.

Details about current works in your area can be found here.

Stage One from Cheltenham to Box Hill will be approximately 26 kilometres constructed as a twin tunnel. This will be a fully operational standalone line that interchanges with existing metropolitan and regional lines. More technical investigations are needed on subsequent stages of the project, but they are expected to be a combination of tunnel and surface rail.

The landowners and tenants of around 2,100 properties along the Stage One rail corridor have been sent a letter to update them on the project’s progress. These letters have been sent to landowners and tenants whose properties are in areas identified as in an area of interest for the twin tunnels between Cheltenham and Box Hill.

Information about the rail alignment and how the twin 26-kilometre tunnels will be built is available online in the Suburban Rail Loop Virtual Engagement Room and Engage Vic page. People who have received a letter or live in the area and want to find out more about the project can provide feedback here.

They will also have an opportunity to have their say during the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process.

Following the environmental assessment process and obtaining of statutory approvals, SRLA will contact property owners directly to discuss the project and the tunnel alignment.

Before works start, we will engage with residents and businesses about activities planned in their area, what to expect and how any disruptions will be managed.

Tunnelling under Melbourne’s south east will involve using the latest technology including custom-built tunnel boring machines (TBMs).

At its deepest point, the tunnels will be approximately 60 metres below ground, the equivalent depth of a 16-storey building. On average, the Stage One tunnels will be approximately 26 metres deep – that’s about six storeys below ground.

TBMs will be launched from the train stabling facility at Heatherton, and at Monash and Burwood. 

Stage One from Cheltenham to Box Hill will be mostly tunnelled, significantly minimising above ground impacts.

There may be some instances where landowners are eligible for compensation in accordance with the requirements of the relevant legislation. 

Managing construction under Melbourne’s densely populated south east suburbs presents a range of challenges, including navigating existing underground infrastructure, relocating utility services, managing disruption to residents and businesses, protecting heritage, community and environmental assets, safely removing large amounts of excavated materials and providing a safe working environment.

Measures to avoid, mitigate or manage any potential adverse impacts will form part of necessary environmental protections, statutory approvals and land access and acquisition considerations for the project.

Cities around the world are building underground rail systems in densely populated urban areas, including Melbourne’s own Metro Tunnel, demonstrating that engineering and construction challenges can be overcome with careful planning and smart construction, as well as proven mitigation measures.

Following the environmental assessment process and obtaining statutory approvals, we will be engaging with landowners and tenants above the tunnel alignment.

When the tunnel alignment is confirmed and prior to tunnelling commencing, property owners near the proposed tunnels and stations will have the opportunity to have the existing condition of their property assessed via a property condition survey. These are routinely offered on major infrastructure projects.

Stage One of Suburban Rail Loop from Cheltenham to Box Hill will be tunnelled underground, significantly minimising impacts on land and property. While every effort is being made to minimise impacts to homes and businesses, the scale and complexity of Suburban Rail Loop means there will be some unavoidable disruption and land acquisition.

Project developments will be communicated to people who live or own properties or businesses in the general vicinities of the new proposed stations.

The landowners and tenants of around 300 properties have been notified that their property is likely to be required for the project. They will be kept informed as the project progresses.

You can visit this page of our website to see the letters that have been sent from Suburban Rail Loop Authority (SRLA). If you have received a letter and would like more information about the process of land acquisition and compensation, you can find it here.

Old Dandenong Road, Heatherton, has been identified as the location for a new Suburban Rail Loop train stabling facility.

This site was found to be the most suitable of several locations considered, based on criteria including engineering design, the environment, sensitivity to the local community, protection of local jobs and the safeguarding of existing agricultural land.

The train stabling will be subject to a robust planning and environmental assessment and statutory approvals process. 

You can find more information and provide feedback on the train stabling at Heatherton here.

As part of the proposed tunnel and stabling facility design, the trains will come to surface level at Heatherton. Tunnel entrances and exits will be located on the eastern and western sides of the Heatherton site with the total track at surface level within the boundary of the site. Building the stabling facility underground is not being considered because of the considerable technical, cost and safety challenges.

The community has an important part to play in the development and delivery of Suburban Rail Loop and it is our priority to consult widely, ensuring Victorians are informed of project updates and can have their say.

Face to face information sessions are happening now. You can find out more here.

Our virtual engagement room is also open and we encourage you to visit to learn more about the project and have your say, here.

We’ve already received hundreds of responses to our community surveys and are taking that feedback on board.

We’re also working closely with stakeholders, seeking the input of local government, peak bodies, developers and key health, education and industry groups.

Haven't found the answer you needed? Feel free to give us a call on 1800 105 105, 24/7.