Melbourne Airport Rail Link


Prospective pipeline

Credibly proposed


Under procurement

Preferred bidder announced

Recently closed
Melbourne Airport Rail Link

Prospective pipeline

Greenfield (construction) or brownfield (government asset divestment) projects needed or likely to occur within the next five years, but is not formally proposed by a state, territory or major local government.

Credibly proposed

The project or divestment is supported by a state, territory or major local government, is subject to studies or other processes (such as pre-feasibility or scoping studies or business case development), and is likely to proceed to formal announcement.   


The project has a firm commitment and timeline from a state, territory or major local government, but has not yet entered the market.

Under procurement

The project or transaction is under procurement (such as a call for Expressions of Interest, requests for tender, or another offer to the market).

Preferred bidder announced

A preferred bidder has been selected and is in exclusive negotiations.

Recently closed

Projects that have progressed to contractual close remain on ANZIP for 12 months.

ANZIP is focused only on major infrastructure activity, above the following thresholds:


Construction projects: > AUD$300m

Investable greenfield & brownfield: > AUD$100m

New Zealand

All greenfield and brownfield projects and divestments: > NZD $100 million

STATUS: Prospective pipeline
TYPE: Greenfield

The Melbourne Airport Rail Link (MARL) is a proposed rail transit service between the Tullamarine Airport and the Melbourne CBD.

In 2005 the Victorian Government reserved land for a rail link to Melbourne Airport, which spurred off an existing freight corridor that runs between the Sunbury and Craigieburn lines.

Known as the Albion East Design, the design includes new track along the Sunbury line, which connects to Southern Cross Station and could alternatively run through the Melbourne Metro Tunnel. This design was re-recommended in Public Transport Victoria’s 2013 Melbourne Rail Link Study. However, Infrastructure Victoria cautions that further work to examine alternative network configurations for accommodating the line is warranted.

Assuming the use of the Melbourne Metro Tunnel, estimated journey times between the Airport and the CBD along this route would be 30 minutes, with a train every 10 minutes.

Infrastructure Victoria notes that the MARL could potentially use new 10-car High Capacity Trains (HCT2), and could possibly receive "beneficiary charges" if there is substantial uplift in land values around the rail line.

Melbourne Airport has included the MARL in their 2013 master plan, which sets a goal of having at least 30 per cent of trips to the airport by public transport in the long term.

The Victorian Government announced in the 2017/18 State Budget $10 million to develop a MARL plan in partnership with the private sector. The plan will undertake a detailed assessment of the best route for an airport rail link, estimated cost and how best to fund and deliver it.

Funding for the plan is to come from the Federal Government's Asset Recycling Initiative, following the lease of the Port of Melbourne. 

The Federal Government, in the 2017-18 budget, announced $30 million would be put towards a business case with the Treasurer noting the project could supported through the $10 billion National Rail Program, subject a positive business case.

In November 2017, the Victorian and Commonwealth governments met with industry and formally commenced the business case study, which will look at:

- potential corridors for the rail link;
- existing and future rail upgrades across the metropolitan network; and
- proposals from private industry.

The study will build on previous studies to examine potential transport improvements for Melbourne Airport, along with new detailed transport planning and analysis.

Infrastructure Australia lists Melbourne Airport to CBD public transport capacity as a proposed initiative that is of medium term importance.

Last reviewed: 01/12/2017

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