|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Constitution of the Authority
The Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Authority (MURLA) was constituted under the provisions of the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Act, 1 December 1970 (No. 8023 which came into operation on 1 January 1971.
The MURLA was a corporate body comprising nine members appointed by the Governor-in-Council on 1 February 1971 for a period of four years. The appointments of Chairman and Deputy Chairman became effective from the 1 February 1971 and 30 March 1971 respectively.
Functions and Powers
The MURLA was responsible for supervising and co-ordinating the planning, financing and construction of the Melbourne rail loop. The loop was to be made up of four new rail tracks under Spring and LaTrobe Streets (in four separate tunnels, the Burnley, the Caufield/Sandringham, the North Melbourne and Clifton Hill/city circle) forming a new link (a loop) in the existing railway system. Two additional tracks were to be constructed between Flinders Street and Spencer Street Stations as part of the loop with three new underground stations (Parliament, Museum and Flagstaff) to provide the northern and eastern regions of the City with rail connections to the entire suburban network. The Loop runs partly underground (through four tunnels), partly on the surface and partly elevated.
On its completion the Loop was to be fully integrated with the suburban rail network. When completed responsibility for the Loop was to be transferred to the Victorian Railway Board to be maintained by the Commissioners.
The Authority was empowered to appoint a General Manager, Secretary and other officers and staff. The officers and employees were entitled to the conditions of employment and remuneration as determined by the Authority and were not subject to the provisions of the Public Service Act, 1958.
The Authority could enter into agreements with the Railway Construction and Property Board or the Victorian Railway Board, the Council of the City of Melbourne or any other public statutory body.
The MURLA was empowered to borrow money by issuing Inscribed Stock/or Debentures guaranteed by the Government of Victoria.
Before the end of each financial year it was to prepare an estimate of the probable expenditure which became the basis of the Authority's borrowing programme. Interest, redemption payments and the administrative costs not proposed to be met by the Authority's borrowings were met by contributions required to be made by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, the Melbourne City Council, the Victorian Railway Commissioners and from the Consolidated Fund.
To fulfil its functions the Authority was empowered to acquire necessary property, to control developments adjacent to the loop and to enter into appropriate constructional agreements and financial agreements.
Prior to the establishment of the Authority, considerable planning for the loop was carried out by the Railway Construction and Property Board. The MURLA continued the planning commenced earlier by the Railway Construction and Property Board.
Construction of the Railway Loop
In December 1978, the two elevated tracks between Flinders and Spencer Street Stations were opened to rail traffic. It was the first fully operational section of the loop project handed over for service to the Victorian Railway Board.
On 14 November 1980, the first stage of the underground loop project, incorporating Museum Station and the loops servicing the Caufield-Sandringham and the Burnley group lines, was transferred to the Victorian Railway Board for operation.
The official inauguration of train operation took place on 24 January 1981.
The west booking hall of the Museum station, the south booking hall of Parliament station and the third tunnel (Clifton Hill) came into operation in 1982-1983.
In accordance with section 41 of Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Authority Act, 1970, the Governor-in-Council gave his approval for the completed section of the loop to be vested in the Victorian Railway Board. The Board was responsible for the operation and maintenance of these completed sections of the loop including Museum and Parliament stations.
Dissolution of the Authority
With the passing of the Transport Act 1983 (No. 9921) all the assets and liabilities of the MURLA were taken over by the newly constituted Metropolitan Transit Authority and the MURLA were taken over by the newly constituted Metropolitan Transit Authority and the MURLA ceased to exist. Completed portions of the loop which in previous years were vested in the former Victorian Railway Board were vested in the M.T.A. The Transport Act 1983 (No. 9921) was proclaimed to become effective from 1 July 1983.
All major construction work at Parliament station was completed in February 1984 following the opening of northern booking office near the corner of Lonsdale and Nicholson Streets.
The opening in May 1985 of Flagstaff, was the final station to be completed in the 18km of rail track in the underground Loop. The completion of the Flagstaff Station saw the end of construction on a $ 650 million Loop project.