Metro and Harbour Crossing (part 1): Introduction

Posted: June 21, 2012 in Transport
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The NSW government yesterday announced its biggest change to Sydney’s train network. I will put up some more about this tomorrow. Today I’m just going to outline the changes. The Northwest Rail Link will be connected up to the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link and operated privately. This new line will run as a shuttle and use single deck metro trains running every 5 minutes in a high frequency turn up and go manner. This is what we can expect trains and stations on the Northwest Rail Link (NWRL) to look like: As the new line will be separate to the rest of the network, this means they will not be connected to the CBD. The government had previously promised direct services into the city, and so this represents a broken election promise. This was reiterated by Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian herself in 12 December of last year:

Jacob Saulwick Twitter 20 June 2012

Instead, the government will fast track a Second Harbour Crossing, linking Chatswood to Redfern. The NWRL will then connect up to the Bankstown Line and also continue through to Hurstville, all on frequent, rapid, single deck trains. This is what the Sydney Trains network will build up to: Eventually it will be separated into 3 tiers: NSW Trains (blue), Sydney Trains (yellow) and a future single deck metro system (red):

Sydney 3 tier train network

This proposal would split Sydney up into 3 tiers for long, medium and short trips. Click on image for higher resolution. (Source: Sydney’s Rail Future, Transport for NSW)

These sorts of trains (single deck metros) are best suited for where there is a high turnover of passengers, with lots of people getting both on and off, which is why it is being introduced in the Global Economic Arc of Sydney CBD-North Sydney-St Leonards-Chatswood-Macquarie Park-Norwest. Premier Barry O’Farrell and Ms Berejiklian were quick to begin selling the new plan, which would include:

  • An increase in CBD capacity by 60%, equivalent to 100,000 passengers per hour.
  • Frequent and rapid services on a new single deck metro line.
  • A privately operated line with timetables and fares set by the government, in line with the rest of the network.
  • A simplification of the rest of the network, continuing to split it off into separate sectors so that problems in one sector do not spill over into others.

Opposition Leader John Robertson and Shadow Transport Minister Penny Sharpe criticised the announcement, pointing out that:

  • The promised CBD link is not there and passengers will need to change onto North Shore or Northern Line trains which average peak hour use of 110% and 150% of capacity respectively.
  • The NWRL will be privately operated, despite Mr O’Farrell having said he “went to the election with a platform of promises and rail privatisation was not one of those policies”, further pointing out that the other privately run line (the Airport Line) charges a premium of up to $11 to use its stations and so “there is every chance that passengers will be forced to pay higher fares”.

Media reports

Sydney transport shake-up: plan for single deck metro-style trains and second harbour crossing, Sydney Morning Herald

NW rail line won’t reach Sydney CBD, ABC News

  1. […] Metro and Harbour Crossing (part 1): Introduction […]

  2. […] Metro and Harbour Crossing (part 1): Introduction […]

  3. […] Rail Link (NWRL), that it’s single deck, that it wil require more transfers, that it will require an expensive second harbour crossing. These are legitimate issues that are raised, which in my opinion when considered as part of the […]

  4. moonetau says:

    Presumably they mean a deep crossing under the harbour: beginning at St Leonards and surfacing at Central. Or have really deep stations in the city and North Sydney. Is this a possibility, given that the deepest part of the harbour is in the vicinity of the Bridge.

  5. No one really knows. In the case of a Second Harbour Crossing, the government made the announcement and then basically admitted to not having done its homework. There is no official estimate of when it will be built or how much it will cost, let alone the exact alignment.

    Not this government’s finest moment.

  6. moonetau says:

    LIke many others I think they should revert the two lanes on the eastern side of the bridge as they were before 1958, then quad the lines from Chatswood to St Leonards and tunnell to North Sydney. Double the rail capacity of the Bridge for a fraction of the cost of a deep harbour crossing.
    BTW checked the deepest part of the harbour and it is 47m.

  7. Done the right way, reclaiming 2 lanes of traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge for rail could take enough cars off the road to actually increase average speed for those cars left over in the remaining 6 lanes. Of course, relying on it being done right could be considered a big assumption.

    Alternatively, a second Harbour Tunnel for cars could be built to compensate for the loss of those 2 lanes. I’ve yet to see how this would be more expensive than building an under the Harbour rail crossing.

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