Forrestfield rail link at last

WA Premier Colin Barnett unveiled one of WA’s biggest infrastructure plans at last weekend’s Liberal Party State Conference, confirming the project would start in 2016 and be finished in 2020.

The 8.5km rail link will include dual tunnels branching off the existing Perth to Midland line. The underground system will run under the Tonkin Highway and the Swan River to a station about 700m from the domestic terminal. It will then continue under the airport runway to a new station about 400m from the international airport and remain underground all the way to Forrestfield, where a new rail station complete with TransPerth bus terminal will be built near the marshalling yards.

The three new stations will also have 3 000 parking bays.

Residents in Forrestfield, 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 rail link is expected to start in Forrestfield in 2016, with the rail link carrying its first passengers in 2020.

An original plan showed only 4km of underground line, but last Tuesday the ABC reported that State Cabinet had signed off a new, longer underground route.

Mr Barnett said the Government would turn to asset sales to help pay for the airport line.

Among assets that are being considered for sale are the WA TAB and hospitals.

Mr Barnett said pleas to the Federal Government for financial assistance for the rail project had fallen on deaf ears, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott preferring to focus national infrastructure spending on road projects.

‘For the first time people will be able to catch a train to the airport and importantly, this will also open up a new rail corridor to the eastern suburbs and Perth Hills, allowing a 20-minute rail journey into Perth city,’ Mr Barnett said.