Melbourne's Airport Rail Link was just confirmed/announced and the type of services that will eventually run are now clearer:
- 10 minute frequency
- trains routed via Sunshine, Footscray then into the MM1 / Metro tunnel currently under construction then out to the south-east so about 30 stations on Melbourne's network will have 1 seat journey access to the airport all other lines can transfer at Sunshine, Footscray, State Library (Melbourne Central), Town Hall (Flinders Street) or Caullfield.
- 11 minutes to Sunshine, 18 minutes to Footscray, 22 minutes to Arden (first of the MM1 tunnel stations), 24 minutes to Parkville, 27 minutes to State Library (Melbourne Central), 29 minutes to Town Hall (Flinders Street), 32 minutes to Anzac (back of the Shrine of Remembrance, serving St Kilda Road).
- trains will form south-eastern services to either Pakenham or Cranbourne (not clear which line will link up with which, because Sunbury line services will also use the tunnel and link with either Pakenham/Cranbourne too).
- 2022 build start date, expected completion in 2029
- this timeframe aligns with the Suburban Rail Loop expected construction and opening dates... i.e MARL opens at same time (roughly) as SRL - you'll be able to get a train to Clayton from the airport and then switch to get to Monash if you work in that area etc.
- the Sunshine route allows Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo regional services to connect with the 10 minute airport frequencies there, rather than having to travel into the city and back out again. La Trobe valley Vline services can transfer anywhere along Pakenham-Caulfield segment.
- the trains themselves will be the new HCMTs which are under test at the moment: they're longer (7 cars versus 6 cars, could be expanded to 10 cars in future if need be - the tunnel is being built to cater for 10 car trains but only use 7 car from the get-go) and therefore have higher capacity.
- just an FYI: the MM1 / Metro Tunnel will open circa 2025 and Pakenham/Cranbourne will be routed through to Sunbury, this project announcement today, effectively piggy-backs off that work and forms another branch on the western side of the mega-long railway line that'll be created by joining Pakenham/Cranbourne-Sunbury in 2025 when the tunnel opens.https://www.theage.com.au/national/vict ... 56gl2.html
edit, in case you dont know what an HCMT is, here's a vid of one under test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oiz714GW44k