Rail link to go underground

A map of the route (shown in aqua) the underground rail link is expected to follow.
A map of the route (shown in aqua) the underground rail link is expected to follow.

Today’s announcement is expected to show the rail link branch off the existing Perth to Midland line, run under the Tonkin Highway and the Swan River, and continue under Brearley Avenue to a station about 700m from the domestic terminal.

The airport rail link would then continue under the existing airport runway to a new station about 400m from the international airport and remain underground to Forrestfield, where a new rail station complete with Transperth bus terminal is planned near the marshalling yards.

Residents in Forrest- field, High Wycombe, Maida Vale, Kalamunda and Lesmurdie will be among the people to benefit most from bus links to the Forrestfield terminal.

Tunnelling for the 8.5km airport rail link is expected to start at Forrestfield in 2016, with the rail link carrying its first passengers in 2020.

An original plan showed only 4km underground, but on Tuesday night the ABC reported the State Cabinet had signed off the final route.

A Transport Department spokeswoman said she could neither confirm nor deny the ABC report, but the minister would not be asking for any corrections, though the timeframe might vary slightly.

The airport rail link was a much-publicised Liberal election commitment in the run-up to the state poll in March last year.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said in June the Government was exploring four different routes for the airport rail link.

The sinking option was a winner with the Government because it is likely to have a lesser impact on the neighbouring communities and traffic.

‘The Forrestfield-Airport Link is a priority project for this Government,’ Mr Nalder told the Reporter. ‘We will ensure it is an affordable, practical transport solution.’

The Government is expected to shelve its $2 billion light rail plan in order to deliver the project.