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What is Doncaster Rail?
For many years Manningham Council has been advocating for some form of mass rail transport. Manningham is the only metropolitan municipality without a train or tram service.
In late 2010, the Victorian State Government appointed consultants URS to undertake a feasibility study for a heavy rail line to Doncaster.
In March 2013, their draft ‘Doncaster Rail Study Phase One Recommendations Report’ was released. The draft report recommends a rapid Transit Line along the Eastern Freeway as the preferred route alignment. Such a route could be expected to carry 56,000 passengers per day by 2013. However, the draft report fails to recommend that the line extend as far as Doncaster Hill.
Manningham Council believes a route that extends to Doncaster Hill, would be the preferable option; preliminary estimates by Council indicate that the entire Doncaster rail line could be built for less than $1.5 billion.
The draft report also identified a number of rail network capacity challenges that would need to be addressed before a rail line to Doncaster could be introduced to the network. These challenges include measures to increase the number of trains that can be operated on the busy South Morang and Hurstbridge group of lines.
Unknown at this stage is the Government’s commitment to proceed with Stage 2 of the study. Stage 2 should consider a more thorough assessment of the final alignment, along with funding, timing and staging of the Doncaster Rail line. This was expected to have commenced in 2013.
The Doncaster Rail project has been ignored by successive governments and Council is calling for bipartisan support and for the project to be delivered well within fifteen years.
The lack of public transport options has consistently been listed as a major issue for the people who live and work in Manningham.
Doncaster Rail Advocacy Steering Committee (DRASC)
Between 2013 and 2015, the community advocacy group, DRASC, was established to:
- Advocate to Manningham’s community members to engage and energise them to seek from the State Government to improve public transport in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne through the provision of a heavy rail link to Doncaster.
- Strongly advocate to the State Government for it to complete the Doncaster Rail Link as an essential transport infrastructure project for Victoria.
Since the committee commenced in March 2013, DRASC has achieved the following notable accomplishments:
- The collection of over 4,000 petition signatures which were submitted to the Victorian Parliament in October 2014.
- Advocated to the State Government to release the final Phase One study report in late 2013.
- Established the ‘We Support Doncaster Rail’ brand, with over 9,000 ‘likes’ to the campaign’s ‘Yes to Doncaster Rail’ Facebook page.
- Community advocacy at several local markets and festivals, including the very prominent annual Warrandyte and Templestowe Village festivals.
- Distributed thousands of factsheets, flyers, posters and signs throughout the community.
- Hosted a number of key advocacy campaigns, which attracted wide-spread attention, including three (3) individual four-day stalls at Westfield Doncaster in January and September 2014 and September 2015.
- Hosted the Doncaster Rail Forum, on 20 February 2014, which included presentations from key transport advocates from the PTUA, Monash University and Council and attended by over 100 people.
- Maintained a significant online media presence via the ‘Yes to Doncaster Rail’ Facebook page, the dedicated Doncaster Rail website and an online digital competition.
- Facilitated the installation of the very popular 3D ‘virtual’ subway station at MC², which generated significant community and media activity around this throughout 2015.
Integrated Transport Advisory Committee (ITAC)
From 2016, advocacy on Doncaster Rail will continue through the actions and objectives of ITAC. This Committee is comprised of a mix of representatives from the local community, council officers and Councillors. The key objective of this committee is to advocate and achieve improvements to all forms of public and private transport modes, including light and heavy rail (Doncaster Rail), buses (Bus Rapid Transit), cycling, walking and any vehicle/bicycle sharing-schemes.