Perth rail network capacity

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Perth rail network capacity
Priority Initiative
Perth, WA
Fast-growing cities
Urban Congestion
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Near term (0-5 years)
Proposed By
WA Government
Date added to the IPL
26 March 2018


Perth’s population is projected to grow from approximately 2 million people in 2016 to 2.5 million by 2026. This growth is expected to occur through the densification of existing urban areas and limited expansion of Perth’s overall urban footprint.

Perth’s urban rail network will play a vital role in supporting this growth. There were approximately 244,000 daily rail boardings on this network in 2015. This figure is projected to double over the next 15 years. The rail network will need additional capacity to service the city’s major growth areas.

In the absence of additional public transport capacity, further strong growth in demand for travel will need to be absorbed by Perth’s road network, which is already constrained in peak periods. This has the potential to exacerbate congestion, further increasing travel-time costs and resulting in nationally significant productivity losses.

Proposed initiative

Additional rail network capacity could be realised through line and station upgrades, platform extensions, line extensions, train control and signalling upgrades, level crossing removals, rolling stock upgrades, better system resilience (i.e. power and turnbacks) and improved station accessibility. These investments will need to align with broader land use and transport planning across the city to deliver an efficient and integrated transport system.

The Western Australian Government established the METRONET office in 2017 to develop business cases for a number of Perth rail network projects.

Business cases for the following projects were evaluated by Infrastructure Australia in 2018 and were previously included on the Infrastructure Priority List:

  • Yanchep Rail Extension – as a High Priority Project.

  • Thornlie-Cockburn Link – as a Priority Project.

Next steps

Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework), and complete business case development (Stage 3 of the Framework).

Individual projects are at various stages of development.