The $1 billion Rail Infrastructure Alliance (RIA) works package will build two entrances at each end of the Metro Tunnel in Kensington and South Yarra, as well as a new platform at West Footscray.

Thousands of passengers on the Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham lines will pass through the entrances each hour, before heading underground into twin nine-kilometre tunnels onboard High Capacity Metro Trains.

Around 50 workers are currently preparing the sites for construction, with more than 150 workers set to be onsite by the end of October.

A consortium comprising John Holland, CPB Contractors and AECOM will deliver the RIA, in partnership with Rail Projects Victoria and Metro Trains Melbourne.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said, the Metro Tunnel will completely transform Melbourne’s rail network, delivering a turn-up-and-go train system that will compare favorably with the great cities of the world.

“The Metro Tunnel will see more trains running across Melbourne’s rail network- improving reliability and slashing travel times to some of the city’s key employment, education, health and tourism destinations.”

Turnbacks will be built at West Footscray and Hawksburn stations, allowing services to start and end at these stations during timetabled peak periods for the first time, instead of travelling further down the line.

Public spaces near the eastern tunnel entrance, including South Yarra Siding Reserve, will also be rejuvenated as part of these works before being returned to the local community once tunnel entrance works are complete.

The Metro Tunnel will help reduce delays, cancellations, waiting times and overcrowding across the metropolitan network by giving Melbourne’s three busiest lines (Cranbourne, Pakenham, Sunbury) a new underground pathway through the city, thereby freeing up space in the City Loop for the benefit of other train lines.

The Metro Tunnel will create capacity for an additional 504,000 peak passengers each week across the network.

Around 1000 people will work on the RIA package, including almost 100 apprentices, trainees and engineering cadets. The majority of RIA works are expected to be finished in line with the completion of the tunnels and stations, ready for opening by the end of 2025.

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