The Thornlie to Cockburn rail line was a step closer after Premier Colin Barnett committed to build the $520million project if re-elected in March’s state election.
It’s the Liberal party’s first major election commitment in the Perth’s south eastern suburbs and would see the first cross city rail line since the Armadale to Fremantle line was closed in the 1960s.
Construction of the line would begin in 2019 and would be completed in 2023.
The 17.5km line would run from the existing Thornlie rail spur and include two new stations at Nicholson Road and Ranford Road.
The stations would include bus interchanges, combined parking for 1,400 cars and bike storage.
Mr Barnett said this line had been in the planning for more than 20 years with some parts like the tunnel to the Mandurah line under the freeway already constructed.
“It’s estimated the new line will result in 3,000 passenger boardings across the stations each weekday on average,” he said.
He said land around the new stations would become urban precincts, with a mix of housing, apartments, retail outlets and other businesses.
“Not only will transport be vastly improved through areas like Thornlie, Canning Vale and Jandakot, but development around the new stations will create thousands of jobs,” he said.
The project required a complete reconstruction of the freight rail line to fit both freight and passenger rail in the rail corridor.
Transport Minister Bill Marmion said the new line would give passengers more choice and would complement the Perth stadium.
“One of the useful things about this line is people heading to Mandurah wont have to catch the line into Perth then the Mandurah line,” he said.
Member for Southern River Peter Abetz said he had been campaigning for the rail line since 2008 and was delighted at the announcement.
Labor’s Federal Member for Burt Matt Keogh said the announcement was just matching Labor’s commitment to build the same line through its metronet public transport plan.
He said Mr Barnett’s track record on rail provided no confidence for local residents.
“It has taken the Liberal Party years to recognise that congestion through Canning Vale is reaching crisis point and that residents need this vital transport link,” he said.
“At the 2008 election Mr Barnett promised to build a line to Ellenbrook. Nine years on and Ellenbrook residents are still waiting.
“Then in 2013 Mr Barnett committed to the ‘fully-funded, fully-costed’ MAX light rail – only to walk away from the project after spending $25 million on studies.”
Mr Barnett conceded his governemnt’s MAX light rail commitment was a broken promise.
“We reconsidered that project and yes call it a broken promise if you like, that was,” he said.
He said when the party came into power in 2008 they walked away from the Ellenbrook line because it didn’t’ ‘stack-up’.
He also said they were delivering on promises like the Forrestfield airport line.
Thornlie resident Nigel Williams welcolmed the announcement.
“I would use it, we have friends down (in Mandurah) but its just good to have an extension there,” he said.
“We’ve been waiting for it for years, it’s great they’ve managed to find the money and get it done.”
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