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City Loop, Melbourne facts for kids

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Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Authority logo

The City Loop (originally called the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop or MURL) is a mostly-underground, partly surface-level and partly elevated subway and rail system around the central business district of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The loop includes the city's two largest (both above-ground) stations: Flinders Street and Southern Cross (formerly Spencer Street); and three underground stations: Flagstaff, Melbourne Central (formerly Museum) and Parliament.

Melbourne's 15 radial suburban railway lines feed into the Loop at its northwestern and southeastern corners. The underground section of the Loop follows La Trobe and Spring Streets along the northern and eastern edges of the CBD's street grid.


City Loop interior
Inside a section of bored tunnel
Parliament Platform 3
Parliament Station platform

The Loop was opened gradually between 1981 and 1985. Queen Elizabeth II toured Museum station during her 1981 tour of Australia.

Two short documentary films, Loop and Action Loop, were commissioned by the MURLA to advertise the new railway to Melburnians, as well as abroad. (These videos can be downloaded from the Department of Infrastructure).


The total length of tunnels in the Loop is 12 km (7.5 mi) with 10 km (6.2 mi) of circular tunnels, and 2 km (1.2 mi) of box tunnels. The four tunnels have an average length of 3.74 km (2.32 mi), with a further kilometre of track connecting with surface tracks. Some 900,000 m3 (1,200,000 cu yd) of earth was removed and 300,000 m3 (390,000 cu yd) of concrete poured to form the stations and line the tunnel walls. 30,000 tonnes (33,000 short tons) of steel reinforcement were used, with another 10,000 tonnes (11,000 short tons) used temporarily during construction.

The final cost was $500 million and resulted in reversing a 30-year trend of falling suburban rail patronage.


The layout of the City Loop is effectively four balloon loops which operate one way during the morning and the other way in the afternoon.

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