In March 2009, the Public Transport Authority commissioned GHD to define a preferred route for a high speed narrow gauge passenger railway between Perth and Bunbury. The key objective of the study was to designate a corridor that is suitable for trains operating at speeds up to 200 km/h that would minimise environmental impacts, social impacts, community severance and property acquisition.
Factors to be considered include general engineering feasibility, environmental, social and heritage issues, geotechnical and engineering considerations, risks to rail operations and impacts on existing road network, stakeholder inputs and costs.
The service would follow the existing Mandurah line in the median of Kwinana Freeway to Anketell, then follow Kwinana freeway and Forrest Highway to Lake Clifton. The project would require the construction of 140 kilometres of new track.
Rail travel timesRail travel times between Anketell and Bunbury have been modelled, using an initial maximum train speed of 160km/h, and giving total journey times of:
Route optionsThe study examined the route options previously identified by PTA as well as a number of alternatives. The options included one via the medians of Kwinana Freeway and Forrest Highway to Lake Clifton and several through Mandurah. South of Lake Clifton, options included one via Old Coast Road; via the Leschenault Peninsula, and via state forest east of Old Coast Road.
Environmental assessmentA desktop analysis of the initial route options was conducted to eliminate those which were not environmentally feasible. Several route options were identified as having substantial environmental constraints, to the extent that environmental approval would be extremely difficult to obtain, or would include onerous conditions which threaten the viability of the railway. More detailed assessments, including field surveys, were undertaken of the potentially successful route options.
Rail Alignment GeometricsThe concept is based on providing a dedicated railway for a high speed passenger train. The railway must be designed in accordance with relevant safety codes and regulations. The train will initially operate at speeds up to 160km/h between Anketell and Bunbury, with allowance for future upgrades to 200km/h. The final approach into Bunbury CBD would be at street level. In this section, the train will be limited to a speed consistent with the adjacent road traffic lanes.
StationsBunbury park & ride station
The preferred option for a park & ride station is in the Australind Bypass at Eaton, close to the future Bunbury outer ring road. The station would provide car parking, passenger facilities and facilities for TransWA coaches.
Bunbury central station
The preferred location for the Bunbury central station is at the Koombana Drive / Casuarina Drive / Blair Street intersection. The station will provide for walk-on passengers, and allow for transfers to the public transport service.
Alternative central station – Wollaston
Should access to the preferred central station not be achieved, it would be possible (though not desirable) to construct a line from the park & ride station connecting with the existing terminal at Wollaston (as used by the Australind service). This would require a new railway between Australind Bypass and South West Highway.
Order of costsConcept level cost estimates have been prepared based on the conceptual designs of the railway, structures and road modifications. The estimate has been prepared on the basis of conceptual designs only, and submitted to the PTA.