THE Victorian State Government in Australia has committed $A 9.3bn ($US 6.55bn) to the first stage of its 90km Melbourne Suburban Rail Loop project. Trains are scheduled to be running on the eastern section by 2035 and the line is expected to carry around 70,000 passengers a day.

Laing O’Rourke has been awarded a contract for works on the first phase, with work scheduled to commence in 2022.

The initial stage of what is now known as Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) East will comprise a 26km twin-track tunnel and six stations between suburban Cheltenham and Box Hill.

The suburban rail loop is designed to allow travel between suburbs without having to go into the centre of Melbourne. The loop will run from Cheltenham in the southeast in a sweeping arc to Werribee in the west with large sections underground, and will be built in stages.

The first two sections to be built, Cheltenham to Box Hill and Box Hill to Melbourne Airport, will cost $A 50.5bn with the Cheltenham - Box Hill section expected to cost $A 30bn - 34.5bn spread over 14 years.

Three transport super hubs at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine will connect with regional services, so passengers travelling on lines outside Melbourne will not have to travel through the city centre to reach suburban destinations.

Ms Nicole Stoddart, Suburban Rail Loop Authority executive general manager rail and infrastructure delivery, speaking on ABC radio in Melbourne, said the authority had consulted with and sought advice from Crossrail in London as well as Sydney Metro.

For in-depth data on infrastructure projects across the world, subscribe to IRJ Pro.