The Victorian government has decided on a route for the Melbourne Airport rail link(external link). It’s going to run through the Metro Tunnel, with stops at major suburban hubs (not just in the CBD) like Sunshine, Footscray, Caulfield and Clayton. This is good news, especially for western suburbanites and people catching V/Line trains from regional towns and cities who don’t want to go all the way into the CBD.

One thing I’m not sold on is the $19.50 ticket price (although it is good you’ll be able to pay through the myki integrated ticketing system, and not have to buy a totally separate ticket like you currently have to do for Skybus). At $19.50, it won’t be an attractive transport option for workers at the airport, and that’s really a lot of people it’d be nice to tempt out of carbon-emitting cars into more sustainable public transport. Not everyone who goes to the airport is a traveller ready to be nickel-and-dimed for all these random surcharges and extra expenses.

The article says the project is intended to be up and running by 2029; I’d guess the timing is so skilled workers can move smoothly from the current Metro Tunnel project (expected to be completed 2025–2026) onto it without the two projects overlapping too much and creating labour shortages. Of course considering there’s also the Suburban Rail Loop and plans for a second metro tunnel, who even knows! Of course I’d love to see these projects all built immediately, but the reality is you need a large number of people trained up to work on them, so the slow trickle it might have to be.