All aboard: date set for opening of METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link

It's all systems go for the $1.86 billion METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link, which is set to begin operations on 9 October.

This opening date announcement comes as testing and commissioning enters its final stages, with driver training now underway.

The METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link, to be known as the Airport Line when it opens, is jointly funded by the Australian and Western Australian Governments, and will be the first passenger rail line to Perth Airport.

The project will deliver three new train stations at Redcliffe, Airport Central and High Wycombe, increasing public transport options for Perth's eastern suburbs and foothills area.

This will support domestic and international tourism by improving access between the city and Perth Airport, and create new residential and commercial opportunities around Redcliffe and High Wycombe Stations.

It's anticipated an average of 20,000 passenger trips will be made each day on the new rail line in its first year of service, increasing to 29,000 by 2032.

The Airport Line will be supported by an enhanced bus network connecting surrounding suburbs to the new train stations, adding an additional 26 new buses to the network, as well as 1.7 million annual bus service kilometres to the Transperth network.

Contracts have also been awarded for the next stage of works on the METRONET: Byford Rail Extension and Victoria Park-Canning Level Crossing Removal projects, which are jointly funded by the Australian and WA Governments.

The $625 million contract for the next stage of the METRONET: Byford Rail Extension has been awarded to MetCONNX Alliance to design and build the project, which will create better transport connections for Serpentine Jarrahdale - one of the fastest growing areas in Australia.

The MetCONNX Alliance consists of Laing O'Rourke, Pritchard Francis Consulting and Kellogg Brown & Root.

The METRONET: Byford Rail Extension will deliver:

  • a new ground-level Byford Station with around 400 parking bays, a bus interchange, and pedestrian connections;
  • elevated rail through Armadale, with a new elevated Armadale Station; and
  • removal of eight level crossings at Armadale Road, Forrest Road, Church Avenue, Seventh Road (pedestrian level crossing), Byron Road, Eleventh Road, Thomas Road and Larsen Road - with works already underway on the Thomas Road project.

The $701 million Victoria Park-Canning Level Crossing Removal project main works contract has been awarded to the Armadale Line Upgrade Alliance (Acciona Construction, BMD Constructions, WSP and AECOM).

The Victoria Park-Canning Level Crossing Removal project includes:

  • replacing five level crossings at Mint Street, Oats Street, Welshpool Road, Hamilton Street and Wharf Street with elevated rail;
  • four new elevated stations at Carlisle, Oats Street, Queens Park and Cannington; and
  • creation of around six hectares of versatile public space and better community connections through elevated rail.

In addition the Australian and WA Governments recently committed an additional investment of $175 million for the removal of the William Street level crossing and an elevated Beckenham Station, which will be added to the scope of the contract once planning is completed.

These projects will see Perth's first major elevated rail through sections of Victoria Park, Canning and Armadale, with up to 14 level crossings removed for good.

They are also expected to create more than 8,500 local jobs, kickstarting development opportunities in and around the new stations.

The planned 18-month shutdown of the Armadale Line to facilitate the transformation of the rail infrastructure will now commence in late 2023.

Postponing the shutdown is necessary given workforce and supply chain issues in WA's booming economy, and to allow more time to prepare for the increased scope of the level crossing removal project.

The changes to the shutdown timing will result in the opening of the METRONET: Byford Rail Extension and the METRONET: Thornlie-Cockburn Link moved to 2025 – once the new elevated Armadale Line is operating.

The changed time frame ensures commuters are only impacted for one AFL football season instead of two, and also avoid major events such as the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Comments attributable to Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese:

"Our Government is partnering with the McGowan Government to deliver billions of dollars of upgrades and improvements to road and rail projects around Western Australia, creating and supporting thousands of local jobs.

"As a former Infrastructure Minister, I know how important access to affordable and accessible public transport is and I'm really pleased this important METRONET project will start operating later this year. 

"I look forward to visiting Perth and riding on the new Forrestfield-Airport Link later this year."

Comments attributable to WA Premier Mark McGowan:

"October 9 will mark an important milestone in our massive METRONET expansion of Perth's public transport network.

"The METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link will be a game-changer for people in Perth's eastern suburbs.

"METRONET is providing the infrastructure our suburbs need, reducing congestion on our roads and delivering thousands of jobs right across Perth."

Comments attributable to Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:

"The Australian Government is proud to be supporting this crucial transport link for Perth, which has not only supported jobs through its construction but will provide a long-lasting boost to domestic and international tourism.

"Investment in key infrastructure such as the METRONET link to Perth Airport is critical for the State's economy and tourism sector, while also ensuring Western Australians are better connected to the rest of the nation and the world.

"This investment from the Australian Government will greatly enhance and streamline access to Perth Airport and better integrate it into the city's public transport network."

Comments attributable to WA Transport, Planning and Ports Minister Rita Saffioti:

"Today's announcement has been many years in the making and I want to thank everyone who has played a part in delivering this project, which will fundamentally change how people travel to and from our airport.

"The METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link has been one of the biggest and most complex public transport infrastructure projects our State has ever undertaken, including the delivery of an 8.5-kilometre rail tunnel that travels underneath the Swan River.

"We expect in the first year of service, we will see around 20,000 passenger movements everyday on the rail line, which will increase public transport options for Perth's eastern suburbs and foothills area, as well as for visitors and residents going to and from the airport.

"I look forward to jumping on a train when operations begin in October."