Melbourne’s long-term growth strategy identifies Melton to Bacchus Marsh as a key growth area. The 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit estimated that population growth in the Melton–Bacchus Marsh region will grow at an average annual rate of 3.9% per year between 2011 and 2031. This is the second-highest growth rate in Greater Melbourne.
The Audit identified the Melton–Bacchus Marsh region as an area in which high levels of additional transport activity is expected out to 2031. Audit data shows that demand on the Melton Line is projected to grow to around three times current capacity by 2031.
Currently, the line between Melton Station and Sunshine Station is operated by V/Line and is not part of the metropolitan network. This section of the line is not electrified, which limits higher-capacity trains being introduced on the line. The Melton Line currently lacks the capacity to service future population growth.
The proposed initiative would involve upgrading the Melton Line to expand capacity to service additional demand associated with population growth.
Options that may be considered as part of the upgrade include, but are not limited to:
- preservation of corridors for extensions and/or duplication of the Melton Line
- duplication of the Melton Line
- electrification of the Melton Line
- capacity upgrades where the Melton Line meets the metropolitan network at Sunshine Station (part of the Sunbury Line).
This initiative is complementary to the Melbourne rail network capacity High Priority Initiative and the Ballarat Line Upgrade project, which are also included on the Infrastructure Priority List.
Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).