The South Cross station.

The Victoria government in Australia is investing $15bn in a major railway infrastructure, which will boost the public transport network in the state.

The investment will be used in the construction of a rail link to Melbourne Airport, a new metropolitan rail tunnel and new railway stations and bus services.

According to Victoria Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder, the $8.5bn-$11bn Melbourne rail link will reduce delays, improve reliability and boost capacity across the network by up to 30%.

"This historic project will build on the benefits delivered through the $4.1bn Regional rail link and $2-$2.5bn Cranbourne-Pakenham rail corridor projects to create the modern, efficient and safe rail network needed to support Victoria’s growth and prosperity," Mulder said.

The Melbourne rail link will deliver twin 7.5km tunnels from Southern Cross to South Yarra, underground stations at Fishermans Bend and Domain, underground platforms at Southern Cross and South Yarra Stations, train-tram interchanges at Southern Cross, Montague, Domain and South Yarra stations, and a rail link to Melbourne Airport.

"This historic project will build on the benefits delivered through the $4.1bn Regional rail link."

Approximately $685.3m will be used to remove level crossings at Blackburn Road, Burke Road, North Road and Main Road, St Albans. A further $209.5m will support the operation and maintenance of the Regional rail link, including new bus routes, while $390.4m will be used for free tram travel in Melbourne’s CBD and Docklands and travel in zones one and two for the price of a zone one fare.

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In addition, $43.8m will be invested in critical safety upgrades to the city loop, and $5.4m will see improved disability access at Geelong station.

A new Rowsley crossing loop, which will improve rail services on the Ballarat line, will be constructed for $14.3m, while $1.3m will protect the corridor for a future rail link to Avalon Airport.

Image: The interior of the Southern Cross station, Melbourne. Photo: courtesy of Bidgee.