Melbourne Rail System 5 Year Plan – Doncaster

The Doncaster line is probably the most important new line proposal in my plan. It should have been built 30 years ago, and to this day remains a symbol of the lack of investment in Melbourne’s public transport system. Commonly cited reasons for its non-existence generally go along the lines of “we couldn’t possibly afford it, it would cost billions.” Yet, the DOI’s own 2002 Northern Central City Corridor Strategy, available here, costs the line to Doncaster Hill at $430 million in 2001 dollars. That’s $495.2 million in 2006 dollars. That costing excluded any intermediate stations between Victoria Park and Doncaster Hill, but these wouldn’t cost much when compared to the total cost, and would only be required at Chandler Highway, Burke Road, Bulleen Road and perhaps underground at Macedon Square shopping centre.

The demand is there, the construction cost is low and the Eastern Freeway is about to be flooded with yet more congestion once Eastlink opens. God only knows why the Doncaster line isn’t happening…


8 Responses

  1. The cost of the useless myki project would have better been spent building the doncaster line.

  2. Damn right Anthony – myki was originally going to cost about $494 million, and it looks like the costs will blow out further because of technical problems. This is pretty much the same cost as the entire Doncaster line!! I know which project I’d prefer and which one has the greater marginal benefit to society. I’ll be posting about the problems with myki soon…

  3. […] that Myki’s $500 million pricetag hasn’t been spent on something more useful, like a railway line to Doncaster? I don’t have a problem with ticketing reform per se , but I don’t think it’s the […]

  4. If Myki solved fare evasion, it would be good value for money. But it doesn’t. Don’t forget that this government also spent half a billion on a fancy roof for Southern Cross which also blew out and had features cut. I cannot for the life of me understand why money is wasted while the system fails and half of Victoria can’t even use it ? A Doncaster line would get my vote any day. Followed closely by a Rowville line, which would fill another gaping hole in Melbourne’s ailing public transport infrastructure.

  5. […] Myki is going to be two years late anyway. Just consider this though, $1 billion could build the Doncaster line twice. […]

  6. I have spent a few years in treasury working on major projects, the common feature of which was ‘cost revision’. where revision is a synonym for increase.

    so can I just say that if something so apparently simple as a roof can blow out to half a bil, the prospects of bringing in a rail line to dandenong on budget are slim… this is where you need to accept that adding up the costs of the components of a project can be a misleading guide to the total cost of a project.
    There is some great work by economist Henry Ergas available on the web on contracting models for major projects (mainly defence but it all applies). he’s a smart guy and if he is in despair then so am i.


  7. Thanks Jason. I agree that major projects can blow out substantially, often for reasons beyond the control of the parties involved. It’s just when you see Perth getting 70km of rail to Mandurah for $1billion and Vic Roads delivering projects on time and on budget (Westgate upgrade excepted!) you have to wonder why Victoria can’t do the same for rail. I’ll have a look for some stuff by Henry Ergas – should be a good read.

  8. Will be great to see this completed, 5 years is a long time

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