WESTERN AUSTRALIA Premier Dr Geoff Gallop announced on July 16 that the state Cabinet had approved plans to re-route the A$1·2bn rail link being built between Perth and the southern suburbs of Rockingham and Mandurah.

Instead of diverging from Transperth’s existing Armadale line at Kenwick, the 130 km/h line will now run west from Central station under the city centre and head south via the Narrows Bridge and follow the Kwinana Freeway, with intermediate stations at Canning Bridge, Leach Highway and Murdoch University. The changes will cut planned Perth - Rockingham journey times from 45 to 33 min, and Perth - Mandurah from 60 to 48 min.

Planning & Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the re-routing would delay completion by a year, but this was ’ a small price to pay for a superior public transport system and delivered within the same budget.’

The part-built Kenwick tunnel on the original alignment will be completed to carry a spur from the Armadale line as far as Thornlie, which will act as a park-and-ride railhead.