West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has officially fired the starting pistol on construction of a rail link between Perth Airport and the CBD.
The 8.5km line, which stretches from the city to Terminals 1 and 2 at Perth Airport and then onwards to Forresfield in the city’s east, was expected to be completed in 2020 at a cost of $1.96 billion.
The Premier turned the first ceremonial sod at Forresfield station on Thursday.
The WA government said drilling for the mostly underground rail line was expected to start in mid-2017, when two tunnel boring machines were expected to arrive from Germany.
In the meantime, the construction of the entry points to the rail tunnels was due to begin before the end of the year.
The line featured three new stations – one above ground at Forresfield at the end of the line, while Belmont and Perth Airport T1/T2 were underground.
The deepest tunnel point under the Swan River was 26 metres, the WA government said, while the average depth under the airport apron and runways was be 15 metres.
“The link will not only benefit people living in the new rail corridor, but will serve airport passengers and tourists alike and will leave a great first impression for visitors to Perth,” Premier Barnett said in a statement.
Perth Airport’s Terminals 1 and 2, on the eastern side of the airfield, handles all international flights, as well as Virgin Australia, Alliance, Tigerair Australia and Regional Express domestic flights.
Meanwhile, Qantas and Jetstar’s domestic flights operate out of Terminals 3 and 4 on the western side of the airfield.
Perth Airport has said previously it hoped to eventually have all flights operating from the eastern side of the airfield some time in the next decade.
The WA government posted a video of the new rail line on YouTube.