WORK is now under way on Perth's $1.96 billion Forrestfield Airport Link (FAL) following the turning of the first sod last week at the site of the future Forrestfield Station, which will be one of three new stations delivered as part of the project.
Premier Colin Barnett said the FAL project was a key 2013 election commitment that would be delivered by the Liberal National Government in 2020, creating a vital rail corridor linking Perth's eastern suburbs to the central business district.
"The Forrestfield Airport Link will provide a much-needed 20-minute public transport link between Perth's CBD and the eastern suburbs, and importantly will service future projected growth of residential and business developments planned along the rail route," Mr Barnett said.
The FAL project will create an 8.5-kilometre rail line, from a spur on the Midland line east of Bayswater Station, largely underground to Dundas Road in Forrestfield. It will include three new train stations, including two underground at Belmont (near Brearley Avenue) and Airport Central (Perth Airport T1/T2) and another aboveground at Forrestfield.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the Forrestfield Airport link will get people from the airport to the city efficiently—so they can get to work or home quicker.
"Eight of the 8.5 kilometres of the project will be built underground, minimising the impact on Perth and its residents," Mr Chester said.
"The project will be an impressive engineering feat, travelling 26 metres under the Swan River, providing opportunities for new jobs with local businesses.
State Transport Minister Bill Marmion said 20,000 daily boardings were expected to be taken as a result of the project.
"Building the rail line is an important step in improving public transport in Perth's eastern suburbs and reducing congestion in the metropolitan area," Mr Marmion said.
Preliminary works are underway at the Forrestfield end of the rail line, with relocation of key utilities complete and work set to start on the entry points to the rail tunnels before the end of 2016.
Two tunnel boring machines will arrive from Germany in mid- 2017, when drilling will begin.
Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher said the Forrestfield Airport Link would enhance the economic benefits of the airport by improving access to the CBD for visitors to Perth.
The $1.96 billion FAL project is jointly funded with the Western Australian Government committing $1.47 billion and the Australian Government providing $490 million.