Regional Rail Link

The Regional Rail Link project was a multi-billion dollar project that separated metropolitan and regional services through Melbourne's west. The project built dedicated tracks for the Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat trains through the metropolitan system from Sunshine to Southern Cross Station.

About the project

Regional Rail Link project completion video transcript Regional Rail Link completion video transcript.docx (DOCX 19.15 KB)DOCX icon

Key elements of the project included:

  • construction of new track from west of Werribee to Deer Park and between Sunshine to Southern Cross Station
  • two new platforms at Southern Cross Station
  • new stations for Wyndham Vale and Tarneit
  • a new station at West Footscray, a major upgrade to Footscray station and a rebuilt Sunshine railway station
  • the removal of two level crossings at Anderson Road, Sunshine
  • 13 road and rail grade separations through Wyndham Vale and Tarneit
  • a new rail bridge over the Maribyrnong River

The Regional Rail Link project was the winner of the Australian Construction Achievement Award 2015 and Infrastructure Project of the Year 2014, as well as receiving the Premier's Sustainability Award in 2014, and an IABC Gold Quill award for Community Relations in 2015.

Map showing the alignment of Regional Rail Link track and stations. The track starts from the Geelong line west of Werribee and travels through the new stations at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit before joining the Ballarat and Melton line. Trains will run along existing tracks to Sunshine station that received a major station upgrade. The new tracks continue through an upgraded Tottenham station, a rebuilt West Footscray station, the existing Middle Footscray station and the upgraded Footscray station. The new tracks then continue past South Kensington and North Melbourne station before ending at the upgraded Southern Cross Station.

Rail operational noise

In delivery of the project, the Regional Rail Link Authority (RRLA) applied the Victorian Government's Passenger Rail Infrastructure Noise policy.

Noise assessments

Noise assessments were undertaken by the project's acoustic consultants to identify areas where noise following completion of the project would exceed the thresholds set out in the policy. The noise assessments were undertaken using the Nordic Railway Noise Model (Kilde, 1996), an internationally-accepted model which has been well validated on many railway projects in Australia.

The model considered multiple factors and inputs including:

  • The design of the track and local topography
  • The distance between trains and residential or similar sensitive properties
  • Information from Public Transport Victoria on the current number of train movements and types of trains and the increase in passenger rail services both immediately after the project's completion and 10 years after completion.

The assessment found that noise barriers would provide the best noise mitigation benefits for residents and the broader community in areas, both inside and outside of properties, where multiple properties are identified.

Design of the noise barriers

RRLA worked closely with councils along the rail line to develop designs for the noise barriers, with the aim of striking a balance between the two key priorities identified in community feedback – mitigating noise and maintaining visual amenity.

The noise barriers were architecturally designed to ensure they incorporate community feedback and reference existing urban design elements being incorporated as part of the project. Barriers facing residential areas were constructed with materials to help deter vandalism.

Wherever possible, the noise barriers were complemented with landscaping to help soften the barriers and improve local streetscapes.

The noise barriers were designed to reduce noise from the extra passenger trains enabled by the project to the relevant Noise Policy threshold, not eliminate noise from trains altogether.

Post-operational noise measurement

In late 2015 noise from the extra passenger trains enabled by the project was measured at representative locations along the rail corridor where noise barriers have been constructed between West Melbourne and Wyndham Vale, in order to confirm the adequacy of the noise barriers.

In total 13 representative locations were measured between West Melbourne and Deer Park (Section 1), and 15 representative locations were measured between Truganina and Wyndham Vale (Section 2) as per the verification plan

To undertake the post operational measurements in accordance with the standard method of measurement acoustic specialists placed microphones, where possible, 1 metre from the façade of the dwelling at a height of 1.5 metres above ground. The façade chosen was the façade of a habitable room which is most exposed to rail noise, where possible.

The results confirm that the noise barriers have been successful in mitigating noise to the relevant Noise Policy threshold set out in the Noise Policy for Section 1, and to the noise levels set by the Minister's Directions for Section 2. 

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

The Australian Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) protects and manages nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage.

The Regional Rail Link Authority prepared additional documentation to assist the Commonwealth Government in assessing the impacts of the project in relation to the EPBC Act, including the following documents:

*Please note: the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has requested that detailed information regarding the location of the Sunshine Diuris Orchid be removed from these documents to safeguard the security of the plants.

More information

Visit the Public Transport Victoria website for timetables, station information, and to plan your journey.

A series of project videos from throughout the project's construction can be viewed on YouTube.

Page last reviewed on 9 June 2016

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