Airport line, Perth

The Airport line is a commuter rail service on the Transperth network, in Perth, Western Australia, that officially opened on 9 October 2022,[1][2] with regular services commencing the following day. It is 25.4 kilometres (15.8 mi) long, and goes between High Wycombe and Claremont, via Perth Airport and Bayswater. The section between High Wycombe and Bayswater uses all new infrastructure, built between 2016 and 2022. In contrast, the section between Bayswater and Perth shares infrastructure with the Midland and Morley–Ellenbrook lines, and the section between Perth and Claremont with the Fremantle line.

Airport line
Overview
Service typeCommuter rail
SystemTransperth
LocalePerth, Western Australia, Australia
First service9 October 2022
Current operator(s)Transperth Train Operations
Route
TerminiHigh Wycombe
Claremont
Stops20
Distance travelled25.4 km (15.8 mi)
Line(s) usedEastern Railway
Forrestfield–Airport Link
Technical
Rolling stockTransperth B-series trains
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC from overhead catenary (+ rigid rail)
Track owner(s)Public Transport Authority

The new infrastructure between High Wycombe and Bayswater was constructed as part of the Forrestfield–Airport Link project, the purpose of which was to provide a rail service to the airport and to the areas east of the airport. It consists of 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) of twin-bored tunnel; the longest bored tunnels in Perth. As part of the project, three new stations were constructed, namely Redcliffe, Airport Central, and High Wycombe.

HistoryEdit

Forrestfield–Airport LinkEdit

In 2004, Perth Airport's twenty-year Master Plan proposed a rail link to connect with the Midland line between Bayswater and Ashfield stations near Tonkin Highway. The proposed link would have continued above ground parallel to Tonkin Highway to Great Eastern Highway, after which it would have continued along Brearley Avenue to the current domestic terminal. A future extension would have taken it underground from the domestic terminal to terminate at the international terminal. There would have been stations near the intersection of Tonkin Highway and Great Eastern Highway (named Redcliffe station), and at both the domestic and international terminals.[3]

In December 2012, the opposition Labor Party proposed an airport rail link as part of its Metronet scheme.[4] The proposed route would have branched from the Midland line after Bayswater and followed Tonkin Highway until Epsom Park, after which it would loop around the outskirts of the airport runway to near the airport parking, before continuing east and then terminating at Dundas Road.[5] There would have been three stations: Airport West/Redcliffe on Tonkin Highway near Ryans Court, Perth Airport near the intersection of Horrie Miller Drive and Palridge Road, and Forrestfield/High Wycombe in its current position.[5] There would have been a short tunneled section between Perth Airport and Forrestfield/High Wycombe stations underneath a future runway, with the rest above ground.[5]

In February 2013, the Government of Western Australia responded with an alternative proposal that would instead run in a tunnel under the existing runway to allow directly serving both airport terminals.[4][6] The proposed link would also branch from the Midland line at Bayswater and have three stations, with one on either side of a station serving the main terminal.[6] Its stated advantages included avoiding requiring a shuttle bus between the terminals and the stations.[6]

In December 2013, the Government of Western Australia announced its intention to construct a railway line to Forrestfield via Perth Airport.[7] In August 2014, the scheme was endorsed by the Cabinet.[8][9][10]

The state government formally approved the project in August 2014.[11]

In March 2015, it was announced five parties had lodged Expressions of Interest to build the line:[12]

A shortlist of Forrestfield Connect, JHL Joint Venture and SI-NRW Joint Venture was announced in April 2015.[14] In January 2016, the SI-NRW Joint Venture was named as the preferred tenderer. They were awarded the $1.176 billion contract for the design, construction, and 10 years maintenance, in April 2016.[11] Construction on the project commenced on 3 November 2016.[15][16][17]

The first tunnel boring machine (TBM) started tunnelling from High Wycombe on 30 July 2017. The TBM was named Grace, after a local girl who was undergoing treatment for leukaemia.[18] The second TBM started tunnelling from High Wycombe in October 2017. This TBM was named Sandy, after sandgroper, a digging insect native to Western Australia, and a nickname for Western Australians.[19]

 
Airport Central station under construction in May 2020

In December 2018, Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced that the project's opening had been delayed to mid-2021 due to numerous problems encountered by the project, including a sinkhole, flooding, the TBMs moving slower than expected and two workplace incidents related to the project. Despite this, the project budget of $1.8 billion remained the same.[20]

On 18 February 2020, TBM Grace reached the Bayswater tunnel dive structure, the end of the tunnel.[21] On 20 April 2020, TBM Sandy reached the Bayswater tunnel dive structure, marking the completion of tunnelling for the project.[22]

Originally conceived as the Forrestfield–Airport Link,[23] the rail service was renamed Airport Line. Additionally, Belmont Station was renamed Redcliffe Station and Forrestfield Station to High Wycombe Station.[24]

After initially denying that construction was behind schedule, Saffioti said in May 2021 that the planned completion date of the line had been again pushed back, this time to the first half of 2022. She put the delay down to the COVID-19 pandemic causing a delay in the production of steel and other materials, however the project will still come in on budget due to contingencies in the contract.[25][26][27]

In July, the head contractors commenced legal action against GHD Group, alleging it was negligent in failing to prepare an adequate design concept. The contractors, Webuild and NRW claimed they suffered a loss in the construction of the railway line as a result of GHD breaching the tender design agreement.[28]

On 16 July 2021, track laying was completed. Installation of the overhead conductor rail and overhead line equipment is still continuing as of July 2021, as is the final fit-out of the three stations on the line.[29][30][31]

The tunnel received its first train on the morning of 28 March 2022 in order to test the tunnel's ventilation system with a driver and a group of engineers on board.[32] An interview with Saffioti on 3 April 2022 had the minister reiterate the intention to have the line open by the end of June 2022.[33] Following the state budget on 12 May 2022, the government changed its position on the line's opening date, with it now saying the line will open some time later in the year.[34][35] The Auditor General stated that the estimated completion date is July 2022.[36] Driver training began on 8 August 2022.[37] On 16 August 2022, the official opening date was announced as 9 October 2022, with regular services commencing 10 October.[1][38][39] A family fun day occurred on 9 October at High Wycombe and Redcliffe stations and Transperth travel was free that day.[40]

Other worksEdit

To allow trains of the Airport line to turn around at Claremont, turnbacks were installed at Claremont Station. The station also underwent an upgrade. The work for the turnbacks was completed in May 2021.[41]

To aid with Airport line operations, a turnback will be installed west of Bayswater Station. Bayswater is also undergoing an upgrade.[42][43]

The Caledonian Avenue level crossing between Meltham and Maylands stations closed on 15 April 2022 as the addition of the Airport line would make this level crossing too busy.[44]

RouteEdit

The new Airport line diverges from Transperth's existing Midland line near Bayswater Station and runs in twin-bore tunnels, initially paralleling the Tonkin Highway, then running under the Swan River to reach Perth Airport.[45] It continues in tunnels under the airport, before emerging to terminate at a new bus-rail interchange at High Wycombe.[9][10]

From Bayswater in the other direction, the Airport line shares infrastructure with the Midland line towards Perth. West of Perth, the line continues, sharing infrastructure with the Fremantle line until Claremont, where the Airport line terminates.[46]

 
Transperth system map, with the Airport line highlighted

StationsEdit

The new Airport line services three new stations, as well as the stations between Bayswater and Claremont that used to be serviced by the Midland and Fremantle lines only.[9][10][47]

Key
Icon Purpose
§ Special events station
Station Distance from Perth[48] Fare zone[49] Suburbs served Opened Connections
km mi
High Wycombe 16.0 9.9 2 High Wycombe 2022 Bus transfers
Airport Central 13.5 8.4 2 Perth Airport 2022 Aviation transfers
Redcliffe 10.8 6.7 2 Redcliffe, Perth Airport 2022 Bus transfers
Bayswater 6.8 4.2 1 Bayswater 1896 Bus transfers
Train transfer to the Midland line
Meltham 5.5 3.4 1 Bayswater 1948
Maylands 4.5 2.8 1 Maylands 1896
Mount Lawley 3.2 2.0 1 Mount Lawley 1907
East Perth 2.1 1.3 1 East Perth, Perth 1969 Transfers to the AvonLink, MerredinLink, Prospector, Transwa coaches and Indian Pacific
Claisebrook 1.3 0.8 1/FTZ East Perth, Perth 1883 Train transfers to the Armadale/Thornlie line
McIver 0.7 0.4 1/FTZ Perth 1989 Train transfers to the Armadale/Thornlie line
Perth 0.0 0.0 1/FTZ Perth 1881 Bus transfers at Perth Busport
Train transfers to Australind, Armadale/Thornlie, Joondalup and Mandurah lines
City West 1.6 1.0 1/FTZ West Perth 1986
West Leederville 2.7 1.7 1 Subiaco, West Leederville 1897
Subiaco 3.6 2.2 1 Subiaco 1883 Bus transfers
Daglish 4.9 3.0 1 Daglish, Subiaco 1924
Shenton Park 6.0 3.7 1 Shenton Park 1908 Bus transfers
Karrakatta 7.6 4.7 1 Karrakatta 1886
Loch Street 8.0 5.0 1 Claremont, Karrakatta 1954
Showgrounds§ 8.7 5.4 1 Claremont 1954
Claremont 9.4 5.8 1 Claremont 1886 Bus transfers
Train transfer to the Fremantle line

ServiceEdit

Since 10 October 2022, Airport line services operate every 12 minutes during peak and every 15 minutes outside peak and on weekends and public holidays. At night, services reduce to every half hour or every hour. A few services in the early morning and at night only run between Perth and High Wycombe, with the rest of the services running the full length of the line.[50] In 2017, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that she would like the Airport line to operate earlier than 5 am to cater for FIFO flights.[51] However, the operating hours later revealed had the first train depart Perth bound for High Wycombe at 5:12 am on weekdays, 5:45 on Saturdays, and 7:08 am on Sundays and public holidays. These operating hours have been criticised as not meeting early morning FIFO flights,[52] but the government says that the Airport line meets 80% to 85% of all flights in and out of Perth Airport, and that the line needs to be free for maintenance at night. The 12 minute peak frequency required the Midland and Fremantle lines to reduce their peak frequency from every 10 minutes upon the Airport line's opening.[53]

Rolling stockEdit

The Airport line is operated by Transperth B-series trains. The government ordered 10 additional B-series trains from DownerBombardier for the Airport line, the last of which entered service in June 2019.[54][55]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b McGowan, Mark; Saffioti, Rita (9 October 2022). "All aboard as new METRONET Airport Line opens". Media Statements of the Government of Western Australia (Media statement). Western Australia: Government of Western Australia. Retrieved 9 October 2022. The METRONET Airport Line is officially open with the very first train pulling out of High Wycombe Station this morning.
  2. ^ Davis, Ashleigh (9 October 2022). "Forrestfield-Airport Link project launched after a two year delay". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  3. ^ "Public Transport Link Option, 2024 Masterplan, Perth Airport". Westrailia Airports Corporation. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  4. ^ a b Hendrigan, Cole; Newman, Peter (28 February 2013). "Ring around the rail in the Western Australian election". The Conversation. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  5. ^ a b c McGowan, Mark (29 January 2013). "WA Labor will build METRONET, including a rail line to the Airport". Facebook. Archived from the original on 6 September 2022. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  6. ^ a b c "Liberals unveil $1.9 billion airport rail plan". ABC News. 10 February 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Treasurer Troy Buswell says airport link could be built entirely underground". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  8. ^ Barnett, Colin; Nalder, Dean (9 August 2014). "8km Forrestfield–Airport Link tunnel revealed". Media Statements of the Government of Western Australia (Media statement). Western Australia: Government of Western Australia. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  9. ^ a b c "Perth airport rail link approved". Railway Gazette International. 13 August 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "Forrestfield–Airport Link" (PDF). Public Transport Authority (WA). August 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  11. ^ a b "About". Forrestfield–Airport link. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  12. ^ EOIs received for Forrestfield–Airport Link Government of Western Australia 18 March 2015
  13. ^ Forrestfield–Airport Link EOI open Minister for Transport 29 January 2015
  14. ^ Kakulas, Vetti (30 April 2015). "Perth Airport rail link: Firms short-listed for design, construction". Perth Now. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  15. ^ Preferred respondent for new rail line announced Public Transport Authority 18 February 2016
  16. ^ Forrestfield airport rail link to be built by Italian firm ABC News 18 February 2016
  17. ^ Construction starts on Forrestfield–Airport link Government of Western Australia 18 November 2016
  18. ^ "TBM Grace is a go!". Metronet. 30 July 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  19. ^ "All systems go with second TBM". Metronet. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Perth Airport link delayed by one year after sinkhole". ABC News. 18 December 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Breaking new ground on Forrestfield–Airport Link". Metronet. 18 February 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  22. ^ "Tunnelling complete on Forrestfield Airport-Link". Metronet. 21 April 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  23. ^ "Forrestfield Airport Link > Home". Forrestfield–Airport Link. Public Transport Authority. 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  24. ^ Community names new Metronet station High Wycombe Minister for Transport 26 June 2020
  25. ^ "Joint media statement – METRONET Bayswater Junction hits the switch". Media Statements. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  26. ^ Hastie, Hamish (7 May 2021). "WA's biggest rail project to be nearly two years overdue after more delays". WAtoday. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  27. ^ Law, Peter (4 May 2021). "McGowan Government refuses to deny completion of Perth's airport rail link could be pushed back to 2022". The West Australian. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  28. ^ Burton, Jesinta (8 July 2021). "Webuild, NRW sue GHD over $1.86bn Airport Link works". Business News. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  29. ^ Stone, Caitlyn (16 July 2021). "Forrestfield–Airport track complete". Business News. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  30. ^ "Joint media statement – Track laying complete on METRONET Forrestfield–Airport Link". Media Statements. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  31. ^ Lowther, Amber. "Major Step Forward For The Forrestfield–Airport Link With Last Piece Of Track Laid". Hit. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  32. ^ "Forrestfield–Airport Link: First train in the tunnel". Youtube. PTA WA. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  33. ^ "Exclusive: Inside the new Airport train line". Facebook. Flashpoint WA on 7. Archived from the original on 3 April 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  34. ^ "METRONET powering ahead with record $6 billion investment". Media Statements. 12 May 2022. Retrieved 14 May 2022.
  35. ^ Zimmerman, Josh (14 May 2022). "Forrestfield–Airport Link faces yet another delay as McGowan Government unable to confirm completion date". The West Australian. Retrieved 14 May 2022.
  36. ^ "2022 Transparency Report: Major Projects" (PDF). Office of the Auditor General. 17 June 2022. p. 13. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  37. ^ Law, Peter (9 August 2022). "Forrestfield–Airport Link closer to finally opening as train driver training begins". The West Australian. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  38. ^ "All aboard: date set for opening of METRONET Forrestfield–Airport Link". Media Statements. 16 August 2022. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  39. ^ de Kruijff, Peter (16 August 2022). "Long-delayed $1.9b Forrestfield–Airport rail link to open in October". WAtoday. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  40. ^ "Family fun day and free travel to mark opening of new Airport Line". Media Statements. 7 September 2022. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  41. ^ "All aboard at Claremont Station". Metronet. 28 May 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  42. ^ "New Bayswater Station". Metronet. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  43. ^ "Bayswater Station Associated Rail infrastructure" (PDF). Metronet. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  44. ^ "Caledonian Avenue Level Crossing closed for good". Metronet. 22 April 2022. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  45. ^ "Forrestfield–Airport Link Rail Route". Public Transport Authority. 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  46. ^ "Project overview" (PDF). Forrestfield–Airport link. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  47. ^ "Construction overview". Forrestfield–Airport Link. Public Transport Authority. 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  48. ^ "Manual – Rail Access" (PDF). Public Transport Authority. 30 August 2021. p. 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 September 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  49. ^ "Transperth Zone Map" (PDF). Transperth. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  50. ^ "Airport Line Train Timetable" (PDF). Transperth. 10 October 2022. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  51. ^ "Perth rail expansion: New line to fit in with FIFO". PerthNow. 23 April 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  52. ^ Law, Peter (27 February 2020). "FIFO workers catching early flights unable to use Perth's $1.8 billion underground train line to airport". The West Australian. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  53. ^ "Planning underway on Airport Line connecting bus and train services". Media Statements. 22 September 2021. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  54. ^ "Rail Route". Forrestfield–Airport link. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  55. ^ "More EMUs for Perth". Rail Gazette International. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2022.

  Media related to Airport line, Perth at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 31°56′05″S 115°52′51″E / 31.93475°S 115.88089°E / -31.93475; 115.88089 (Airport Line)