Construction has begun on Melbourne’s Suburban Rail Loop East (SRL East) project with work forging ahead at all six station sites that will connect major employment, health, education and retail destinations in Melbourne’s east and south east, while reducing travel times for commuters.

SRL East is part of the Suburban Rail Loop project that will deliver a 90km rail line linking every major train service from the Frankston Line to the Werribee Line via Melbourne Airport.

SRL East map

SRL East map (Victoria’s Big Build)

SRL East will deliver twin 26km rail tunnels and will feature six new underground stations, including four with interchanges to existing stations at Cheltenham, Clayton, Glen Waverley and Box Hill, as well as new stations at Monash and Burwood. A transport super hub at Clayton for regional passengers, and a train stabling facility and power supply substation at Heatherton are also part of the project.

Architectus is leading the design of all six stations to be rolled out for SRL East as well as the Linewide Design Strategy for all the future stations. The studio has been working in collaboration with the AJM Consortium (Aurecon, Jacobs, Mott McDonald) and the Suburban Rail Loop Authority (SRLA) to develop the Concept and Reference Design and SRL East Business Case.

“The design is highly user-centred, focusing both on passengers and the growing community that will develop around the station. It features inviting generous, public space surrounding the station entrances, which lead to an intuitive, light-filled concourse, and at the platforms, screen doors will enhance passenger safety and help to make the stations more sustainable. The station surroundings will include an integrated interchange for bus services, improvements to local roads, and a commitment to cycle networks and active transport,” Architectus said in a statement on the SRL East project.

According to a project update from Victoria’s Big Build, the construction crews are making great progress building the tunnel boring machine launch site in Burwood, with 25m-deep concrete piles being installed and excavation to begin shortly. Detailed survey work and site investigations will continue as crews prepare for tunnelling in 2026. Construction of SRL East is also creating up to 8000 direct jobs, the update read.

The AU$3.6 billion Tunnels South contract to build the tunnels between Cheltenham and Glen Waverley has been awarded to an international consortium of CPB Contractors, Ghella and Acciona.

SRL East is scheduled to open in 2035.

Photo: Initial construction works at Burwood Station (courtesy Victoria’s Big Build)