Melbourne Airport Guide
Qantas Airways Melbourne Flights
Air New Zealand Melbourne Flights
Etihad Airways Melbourne Flights
American Airlines Melbourne Flights
British Airways Melbourne Flights
Singapore Airlines Melbourne Flights

Trains to and from Melbourne Airport (MEL)

Melbourne Airport is the second largest airport in Australia, and is found approximately 23 km, or 14 miles northwest of the city centre. The airport is also known as the Tullamarine Airport, due to its location nearby this suburb of Melbourne, and has the official airport code of MEL. The ‘Tulla’ nickname for the airport is mainly to distinguish it from the other three smaller airports found in the Melbourne region, which includes Essendon Airport, the former international airport of Melbourne. Buses and taxis provide frequent and reliable transport from the airport for arriving passengers, and for passengers on departure flights, but there is no train station at Melbourne Airport. However, buses take passengers to the railway station in Melbourne from where trains are available.

Although Melbourne is a major airport in Australia, and a hub for many airline companies, such as Virgin Australia, Qantas, Tiger Airways Australia and Jetstar, a direct connection with railway transport seems to be somewhat in the distant (or never) future. Back in the 1960’s, a rail link for the airport was considered. This rail link would have been connected to the Craigieburn Suburban Line, which was back then, known as the Broadmeadows railway line. Little progress was however made in relation to these plans and the airport continued its operations without rail access.

In 2001, the subject of a railway line to Melbourne Airport was again investigated. The state government considered planning a heavy rail link under the Linking Victoria program, and Melbourne Airport looked forward to this possibility once again. The most preferred option considered this time was a connection to the Albion Goods Line. This part of the train system passes close by to the airport’s southern areas. Similar to the plans in 1960, another option considered was a branch off the Craigieburn Suburban Line to the east. However, doubts with regards to the viability of trains at Melbourne Airport led to the project being deferred until at least 2012.

Data from extensive research showed that the majority of Melbourne Airport’s passengers were very happy travelling to and from the airport by taxis and cars, and this was one of the reasons why the project was delayed. Another reason was the poor patronage of similar links in Sydney and Brisbane. Sydney Airport, the largest in Australia, has a private rail link, known as the Airport Link, to the city centre that was built just in time for the Sydney Olympics. Although it is a stunning construction of engineering genius, in a nine kilometre tunnel some 23 metres underground, it took a few years to become financially sustainable. The latest year however, should prove to be Sydney Airport’s railway system’s busiest year yet, with seven million passengers.

In July 2008, trains at Melbourne Airport were said, by the Premier of Victoria, to be a possibility in three to five years. The airport was also planning for a section of the railway to be underground. However, in 2010, the newly appointed State Minister of Public Transport, Martin Pakula, announced that there will be no rail connections for Melbourne Airport, and instead, new freeway options were being considered. This statement was however short lived, as the new government, appointed at the 2010 Victorian State Election, once again placed a railway line to Melbourne Airport on the transport agenda, and promised that planning of its construction will occur in the near future. Melbourne Airport and its passengers will simply have to wait and see if the train system linking to the airport ever becomes a reality.

Although no rail link exists at Melbourne Airport, within Melbourne city, trains and trams play a major role in public transport of the region. Melbourne is well know for having one of the world’s greatest urban tram networks, operated by the private company of Yarra Trams. When many other cities demolished their tram networks years ago, Melbourne struggled to retain theirs, and it is now a most valuable part of the city. Melbourne also boasts an extensive train network of impressive size and efficiency. The trains are operated by the company of Connex, and offer seventeen routes to all corners of the metropolis. The trains run frequently at all times of the day, and are considered as a very popular and comfortable way of travelling.

The Skybuses available from Melbourne Airport take passengers to the Southern Cross Station in central Melbourne, from where connections can be made to the Yarra Trams, V/Line Regional and suburban trains of the Melbourne Metropolitan, as well as to other interstate train services. Perhaps in the future, Melbourne Airport will boast its own railway station, from where passengers can enjoy quick train connections to all areas of the city.