The Eastern Transport Coalition has welcomed the Doncaster Rail draft report’s recommendation that the best route for a new railway line would be along the Eastern Freeway, but questioned several of the report’s other findings.
ETC Chairperson, Cr Samantha Dunn said the centre median of the Eastern freeway had been reserved for a rail line when planning for the road was done in the 1970s and, as had been discovered by the Doncaster Rail Study team, was the preferred route for most local residents.
"However we are disappointed that the study recommended terminating the railway line at the Doncaster Park-and-Ride, rather than continuing it to Doncaster Hill," Cr Dunn said.
"The result is that the line will fail to capture the 10,000 residents around Doncaster Hill who would be within walking distance to the train. It will put more pressure on the Doncaster Park-and-Ride and do nothing to discourage car dependence in that area," she said.
"We are also disappointed that the report did not recommend a station at Burke Rd, which would have allowed integration with the number 72 Camberwell tram. Overall, we wanted to see a greater consideration for how the new rail line could integrate with other public transport and become a really viable alternative to car travel."
Cr Dunn said the ETC would also like to see detailed costings for the project.
According to the Doncaster Rail draft report, the 11km section along the Eastern Freeway between Victoria Park Station and Doncaster Park and Ride, with only three stations, has been estimated at between $3 - $5 billion.
In comparison, the 72 km Perth-Mandurah line in Western Australia was delivered for under $1.7 billion in 2007. This line has 11 stations, including two underground stations within the Perth CBD and a number of bridges over rivers and creeks.
Furthermore, a separate study commissioned last year by the Doncaster Rail Local Government Group, had found that a rail line long the Eastern Freeway, including a connection at the end to Parkville, could be delivered at a cost of between $840 million and $1.25 billion.
Cr Dunn also questioned the assertion in the draft report that an upgrade of the South Morang line was necessary before Doncaster Rail could be built.
"Certainly considerable investment needs to take place across the entire metropolitan rail network to accommodate future rail extensions, particularly the Melbourne metro rail tunnel," Cr Dunn said.
"However, claiming that upgrades are first necessary on the South Morang line is simply taking money from the Doncaster Rail project to solve other network deficiencies."
Cr Dunn said it was pleasing that the government has already committed funding for stage 2 of the study and said the ETC looked forward to it beginning as soon as possible, taking into account the feedback from this first part of the process.
The ETC is made up of seven eastern suburban councils, and represents the public transport needs of more than one million residents.
Labels: cr samantha dunn, doncaster rail, eastern transport coalition, public transport