Premier Geoff Gallop today unveiled a bold new vision to build a direct rail link between Mandurah and Perth.
Dr Gallop said the Cabinet today approved a redirection of the rail line, bringing trains up the centre of the Kwinana Freeway, over the Narrows Bridge and underground through the CBD, linking up with the northern rail line at a central city station.
The $1.2 billion project will connect Mandurah - Australia’s fastest growing city - and the southern suburbs to Perth.
It will slash 12 minutes off the travel time from Mandurah and Rockingham to the city.
Trains on the southern line will travel at speeds up to 130kph, compared with 110kph on the northern line.
In peak periods, trains will run at five-minute intervals from a new station at Thomson’s Lake, at the intersection of Beeliar Drive, Armadale Road and the Freeway.
Under the previous plan, via Kenwick and the existing Armadale line, the Rockingham to Perth journey would take 45 minutes. Under Labor’s direct route it will take 33 minutes, while the trip from Mandurah to Perth will be cut from 60 minutes to 48 minutes.
More commuters are expected to use the service because of the shorter travel times.
Importantly, the cost of the direct route will be contained within existing budget estimates.
The new route will also make Murdoch University more accessible to students living north or south of the city.
The project reflects Labor’s commitment to implementing an integrated, sustainable public transport system. For the first time passengers will be able to travel directly from Clarkson in the north to Mandurah in the south.
“This decision is about people,” Dr Gallop said.
“It is about improving the quality of life for families living south of Perth who for so long have been denied a quality public transport system.
”When you set about building something that will change the city forever you have to do it right. The simple fact is the previous government’s plan was a second best option.
“It was a very roundabout way of getting people from Mandurah and Rockingham to Perth. It would have been like building the railway line to Perth from Joondalup via Midland.
“The new Government believes communities in our rapidly growing southern corridor deserve better.”
Suburbs that were to be bypassed by the Kenwick line will now benefit under Labor’s plan. Stations will be built at Murdoch, Leach Highway and Canning Bridge.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said a more efficient service would attract greater patronage.
Preliminary studies showed the direct service would be used by at least 2,500 extra passengers a day.
"The new route will also provide a rail service that goes right through the heart of Perth's central business district, providing direct access to major office and shopping areas," Ms MacTiernan said.
"When we came to Government and had access to all the relevant information, it was evident that the existing masterplan did not provide the best public transport outcome."
Ms MacTiernan said that in order to do the detailed planning for the new route, the completion date would be extended by a year, but this was a small price to pay for a superior public transport system and one that would be delivered within the same budget.
She said it would no longer be necessary to have the dual alignment through Rockingham because, under Labor's plan, trains would travel directly through the residential centre of Rockingham, with a station to be located at the corner of Ennis Avenue and Rae Rd.
Trains would travel at 10-minute intervals from Rockingham in peak periods.
Rockingham commuters would save 24 minutes a day travelling direct to Perth rather than via Kenwick.
"We will work with the City of Rockingham to develop a rapid transit system to service Rockingham shopping district and other nearby facilities," Ms MacTiernan said.
A spur line from the Armadale line would extend in the first instance to Thornlie, via the nearly completed Kenwick Tunnel. Commuters along the corridor would have the choice of linking in at Thornlie or using the station which would be built at Murdoch.
A masterplan would be developed over the next six months, during which time the precise route through the CBD and the location of the city stations would be determined.
The office of the Perth Urban Rail Development has set up a hotline for information about the new route on 9231 2746.
for the Premier - Grahame Armstrong 9222 9475
for the Transport Minister - Keri Welham 9213 6400