Preferred consortium announced for Melbourne Airport Rail work package

Monica Gameng   |   September 30, 2022
Train to Melbourne Airport (cr: Victoria's Big Build)

Just days after the release of the Business Case and the announcement of a new station, Victoria’s Melbourne Airport Rail development has marked another milestone as joint venture partners CPB Contractors and John Holland announce their selection as preferred contractors for the project. 

The Sunshine Systems Alliance is comprised of CIMIC Group member CPB Contractors, John Holland, AECOM, KBR, Alstom, Metro Trains Melbourne, V/Line and Rail Projects Victoria. 

The Alliance will now commence detailed planning and design for the first major works package along with early works. 

“We are excited to have the opportunity to contribute our infrastructure expertise to the Melbourne Airport Rail project, which is a transformative project for Victoria, providing the first connection between Melbourne Airport and the state’s regional and metropolitan train network. This is city-shaping infrastructure that will generate significant economic benefits for the people of Victoria,” CIMIC Group Executive Chairman Juan Santamaria said. 

“Our teams in Victoria have demonstrated significant rail expertise on brownfield projects such as the Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project’s Rail Network Alliance and the Caulfield to Dandenong level crossings removal project. Our people are experts in construction and are committed to ensuring Melbourne Airport Rail is delivered safely, to schedule and with minimum disruption to local communities,” CPB Contractors Managing Director Jason Spears said. 

The Sunshine Systems Alliance will undertake works such as: 

  • Major improvements including a new, accessible second pedestrian concourse and new forecourt area at Sunshine Station 
  • A new forecourt area and car park improvements at Albion Station 
  • Construction of an elevated flyover at Albion separating airport trains from metropolitan and regional services 
  • Relocation and implementation of rail systems, modifications to substations, and protection of existing utilities 

“This is an historic and transformative project for Victoria, and we are incredibly proud to be part of the preferred consortium to deliver the first package of works. 

“Along with our partnership on the city-shaping Metro Tunnel, John Holland is thrilled to be involved in delivering another major rail project as part of the Victorian Government’s Big Build program,” John Holland CEO Joe Barr said. 


The Business Case for Melbourne Airport Rail was recently released and it highlighted a wide range of economic and connectivity benefits that the project will deliver. 

Not only will the new rail line take passengers from the CBD to the airport in just about 30 minutes, but it will also help maximise connections to Melbourne’s booming west and south-east regions as well as to the State’s major regional centres at Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Gippsland via Sunshine Station and the Metro Tunnel. 

“Melbourne Airport Rail will benefit all Victorians by providing seamless connections to get people where they need to go safer and sooner,” John Holland Executive General Manager – Rail & Transport Steve Butcher said. 

The Business Case also estimates the project to cost around $8-13 billion as outlined in the 2018 Sunshine Route Strategic Appraisal. 

Melbourne Airport Rail is expected to support up to 8,000 direct and indirect jobs that range from engineers and planners to construction workers and local suppliers. During peak construction period, the project is anticipated to create 1,880 net additional jobs across the State, providing a significant boost to Victoria’s economy and jobs market. 

Hundreds of opportunities for apprentices, trainees and cadets will also be provided through the Victorian Government’s Major Project Skills Guarantee. 

The proposed scope of works for Melbourne Airport Rail include: 

  • A new premium station at Melbourne Airport with services every ten minutes 
  • Major improvements to Sunshine Station, including a new, accessible second pedestrian concourse with escalators and lifts for better passenger connections between regional, metropolitan and Melbourne Airport trains 
  • New twin tracks rising over Anderson Road through to the start of the Albion-Jacana corridor, elevating the rail line over the Sunbury corridor, Ballarat Road and St Albans Road (less than 2 kilometres) 
  • A new forecourt area, extra bike cages and some minor modifications to car parking around Albion Station 
  • Twin tracks continuing at ground level along the Albion-Jacana corridor, including a new rail bridge to cross over the Maribyrnong River alongside the existing heritage bridge 
  • A new station at Keilor East 
  • A new rail bridge to cross over the Western Ring Road (M80) 
  • Changes to existing road bridges, pedestrian and cycling connections and other rail infrastructure upgrades – such as new signalling and power systems – along the length of the route 

Subject to relevant State and Federal Government approvals, major construction on Melbourne Airport Rail is due to commence in 2022, with the new rail line opening in 2029. 

Source: CIMIC Group; CPB Contractors; John Holland; Victoria’s Big Build – Melbourne Airport Rail 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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