Skip to content


Nearly one million additional people made Melbourne their home in the 10 years to 2016, more than any other Australian capital city. While central Melbourne experienced growth in the CBD and inner-city, most of the population growth took place in the middle and outer suburbs.

Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing city, with strong population, economic and jobs growth. In the coming years, our transport system will face continued pressure as we continue to grow.

The Suburban Rail Loop is a proposed underground rail network connecting Melbourne’s suburbs. Development Victoria was engaged in the planning process for the proposal of the Suburban Rail Loop.

The Suburban Rail Loop would change the way that people move around Melbourne. Modelling indicates it would become our busiest line by 2051 with around 400,000 passengers per day.

With at least 12 new underground stations, the Suburban Rail Loop would reduce pressure on the existing rail network, and connect the Monash, La Trobe, Sunshine and Werribee National Employment and Innovation Clusters (NEIC) with key precincts such as Box Hill, Burwood, Broadmeadows and Melbourne Airport.

This would help to transition Melbourne's rail system from a radial to a polycentric model, and increasing train usage.

Polycentric rail network

A polycentric rail network will provide more jobs in strategic areas. Currently train trips in Melbourne make up only five per cent of all weekly travel. Polycentric train systems in London, New York and Singapore make up 21%, 12% and 19% respectively.

The project would deliver:

  • Up to 90km circle line connecting our suburbs
  • Connecting every major rail line from the Frankston to Werribee, via the Airport
  • At least 15 new station connections, including 12 underground stations
  • Slashing travel to the airport to around 45 minutes from Cheltenham and 25 minutes from Box Hill
  • Attracting 150,000 new public transport trips by 2051
  • Taking around 200,000 vehicle trips off major roads by 2051
  • Creating an estimated 20,000 jobs during construction


A Suburban Rail Loop would ease demand on existing lines and shift Melburnians out of their cars.

More than 20,000 jobs are forecast to be created as a result of the project during construction.

Victoria’s economy would receive a boost due to investment in growth precincts as well as travel time savings across Melbourne.

A Suburban Rail Loop corridor would connect key precincts in Melbourne’s suburbs that have been identified as places for population and jobs growth, as well as centres for health, education and innovation.

This includes at least 10 hospitals, five universities and TAFEs, two technology precincts and four major shopping centres.

Victorian commuters would benefit from potential regional interchanges at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine.

These direct connections into growing economic precincts outside the central business district would provide all Victorians with better access to economic opportunities as well as world-class education and health services.

Economic benefits resulting from enhanced business productivity and labour supply particularly associated by connecting National Employment and Innovation Clusters (NEIC), health and other precincts along the corridor and enabling more interconnectivity between new and existing rail lines.

Urban renewal benefits in precincts along the corridor with increased liveability as more people take advantage of living and working in a highly accessible area with high amenity.

Transport benefits associated with improved transport travel times, public transport frequencies and increased capacity along the corridor, and lower reliance on the existing radial rail network and roads resulting in improvements more broadly across the transport network.


A Strategic Assessment that supports the potential development of a Suburban Rail Loop has been released.

Three potential corridors were considered for the project, reflecting the places of state significance set out in Plan Melbourne.

A project of this scale — amongst the largest in the world — would take many years to build, with the first sections forecast to take around a decade of construction.

Planning will commence in 2019, with work on the first sections underway by the end of 2022. State, Commonwealth and private sector contributions, as well as value capture, would be needed to fund the project.

The Strategic Assessment identified potential next steps, which would require further funding:

  • Development of a full business case
  • Detailed technical and planning work to develop the project scope and assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of the project
  • Market engagement with industry to inform the business case development; and
  • An extensive stakeholder consultation process
  • Detailed technical and planning work would be needed to develop the project scope and assess the economic, social and environmental impacts
  • The Suburban Rail Loop would deliver significant urban renewal outcomes for Melbourne, improving access to jobs and providing opportunities for new industries to develop.

Was this page helpful?

Project timeline

  • Full business case commencing early-2019
  • Geotechnical investigations 2019–2021
  • Community consultation 2019–ongoing
  • Detailed planning & staged approvals 2019–ongoing
  • Procurement commencing 2020
  • Target project commencement end-2022


Most of Melbourne’s rail network was built between 1860 and 1930, constructed by private land owners wanting to unlock the value of their land, and Melbournians escaping the city for land and property in these areas.

The network evolved as a radial system, developed over time to support the transport of people to and from their homes in the suburbs to jobs in the central city. This radial system will face future pressure as our outer suburbs continue to grow.

Updated on 11 October 2021