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The Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) is an orbital heavy rail line between Melbourne’s middle suburbs, eventually intended to link Cheltenham with Werribee.

The Victorian Government frames the SRL as the pinnacle of its Big Build. This has become the political focus of the government, representing its can-do, no-delay capacity to tackle Melbourne’s transport problems. So it is with the SRL. It was announced as a visionary project just prior to the 2018 State Election. That was it. There was no opportunity for any public examination of its merits.

The SRL is justified by the huge growth in traffic expected to flow from the State Government’s confidence that Melbourne will grow from 5.1 million today to 9 million by 2050. Much of this traffic is expected to stem from higher density housing in established suburbs. The SRL is intended to provide new public transport options from these suburbs to activity centres on its pathway.

This report argues that the likely slowdown in Melbourne’s population growth will mean the SRL will not be needed.

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