Doncaster Rail Study

trainIn mid-2011, Yarra Council welcomed the State Government's announcement of a $6.5 million study into establishing a rail link between Doncaster and the city.

Council has campaigned for years for the creation of a rail line to Doncaster as the only real, long-term way to ease traffic congestion in Hoddle Street and other Yarra streets.

Council believes the 600,000-plus people who live in the Doncaster region need a real choice about how they travel rather than leaving them dependent on cars which pollute and congest the Yarra community.

Project Timeline - 2011

In September 2011, independent consultant URS Australia was appointed to technically assess the feasibility of rail to Doncaster and to seek community ideas and input.

Project Timeline - 2012

The study team conducted community consultation in early 2012. The team developed three route options. Please find below more information on each of the options. 

In June 2012, Yarra Council decided that its preferred option was Option 1: Rapid Transit.

Project Timeline - 2013

In the first half of 2013, The State Government released the draft phase one study report for the Doncaster Rail Study for comment.

In its submission to the State Government, Yarra Council remained committed to the rail link's alignment along the median of the freeway reserve. However, Council also believed the study report contained a number of failings and outlined its concerns in its submission.

Council's full submission is below:

pdf format Doncaster Rail Study Phase 1 - Submission by Yarra Council (1.13 MB)

Other Melbourne Councils including Manningham, Whitehorse, Boroondarra, Maroondah and Banyule were also expected to make submissions on the phase one study report.

Here is a link to submissions made by Manningham City Council and the City of Boroondarra.

Doncaster Rail alignment options

Here is more information on:

Option 1: Rapid Transit
Option 2: Local Access 'Stopping All Stations' theme
Option 3: Orbital Network: 'South to Box Hill' theme
Council's preferred option - Rapid Transit


Option 1: Rapid Transit

This option provides for fast transit, with few stations along the route. It would likely follow the route of the Eastern Freeway as much as possible.

Access to the Central Business District (CBD) could be provided by tunnelling beneath Fitzroy, to either Melbourne Central or Flagstaff station via Parkville (the university / hospital precinct).

Alternatively, the route could terminate at Victoria Park station, and allow passengers to change trains to the existing Clifton Hill group lines.

As the route would not follow a developed residential area along some of its eastern section (where it would follow the freeway), this option would probably require 'Park and Ride' carparks near the stations. Closer to the inner city areas it would tend to contain 'kiss and ride' elements.

It would also require excellent bus service connections to be effective.

This is the medium cost option, currently estimated to be of the order of $2-3 billion.

Option 2: Local Access 'Stopping All Stations' theme

This option would involve the route connecting up with Kew Station. It provides for the greatest customer catchment along its route (being closer to residential areas), with a large number of stations along the route.

It would be a slower service to the city, but could still be attractive to patrons.

Access to the CBD could be provided by tunnelling beneath Richmond, to either Melbourne Central, or beneath Kew to connect into the Burnley train services, and deliver passengers to the CBD at Flinders Street, not requiring a change in train.

Passengers would be able to easily walk to stations from surrounding residential areas

It would also provide connectivity to existing public transport services, hopefully encouraging some "outward" travel to connect to the stations.

It would resemble the existing train network in style, but would be predominantly located underground.

It has been identified as the highest cost option, probably in the order of $5 billion. 


Option 3: Orbital Network "South to Box Hill" theme

This option would connect Doncaster passengers to the existing network at Box Hill Station (the closest existing train station to Doncaster).

Passengers would travel from Doncaster to Box Hill station where they would catch trains on the existing Lilydale/Belgrave lines. 


Council's preferred option - Rapid Transit

At its 5 June 2012 meeting, Council resolved that it supported the Rapid Transit concept for the rail line.

Council felt this option was the only concept that would not duplicate existing public transport services or potentially attract community opposition due to its location near homes, businesses or sensitive environmental areas.

Council believes the Rapid Transit option is the only concept that will provide people in the Doncaster area with a fast and efficient alternative to the car for city-bound trips.

It is Council's preference to see the Doncaster Railway line connect to the existing Melbourne Metro system's Parkville extension. 

Council resolved that it supported any necessary upgrades to the existing Melbourne Metro system to accommodate the new line and that it hoped to see further investigation and development of the Rapid Transit concept.  

More detailed information and maps of the three options are available on the Doncaster Rail Study website. If you have any queries, you can contact the Department of Transport on 1800 078 387 or email

Further information
Jane Waldock
Manager - Strategic Transport and Environment
9205 5733

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