The recent post on how the SWRL might work received a lot of comments, which soon went on a tangent about the North West Rail Link (NWRL) and the now abandoned plans for the North West Metro. The final EIS for the North West Metro is available here (thanks to Ray).
A few highlights from the comments section of that post:
“[The metro conversion strategy] has been developed by the same Transport planners that worked for the previous Government and the ideas are not new. The Liberals actually came in to Government wanting to expand the Double Decker network but got the same good sell that the previous Labor Government got when they pushed the same kind of single deck plans (the current plans are better though) and so they changed their mind.The conversion of the line to Hurstville was the first of the lines that the planners wanted and that was first touted years ago. They have reviewed a number of lines for conversion to Single Deckers…The Airport line to Revesby makes sense” – Rails
“starting with the first iteration of the NW metro via Rozelle, then the CBD metro to Rozelle and now the NWRL, the metro has become a solution in search of a problem. Instead of investigating high-capacity short routes in which a metro might add some value such as Parramatta Road and along the Anzac Road corridor to UNSW, the transport bureaucrats/government are pushing the metro for a long-haul outer-suburban corridor best suited to double-deck trains.” – Alex
“The thing is that both the original Anzac Metro, NW Metro and the CBD Metro were much closer to actual “Metro” trains than what we are getting now being not only Single Deck with 3 sets of doors but smaller trains with 4-5 carriages and longitudinal seating. This was in part necessary due to the route via Victoria road and through the CBD but it was what they wanted, a true Metro. The trains we are now getting for as part of the envisaged “Rapid Transit” Network starting with the NWRL are single deck and have 3 sets of doors but differ in only being slightly smaller than the Cityrail stock and 8 carriages with 2 + 2 seating offering much better frequency, faster loading/ unloading and much more standing space. These are really Single Deck Heavy Rail rather than the lighter weight “Metro” trains that the NW were originally going to get.” – Rails
“if you were to argue a line that is less suitable for running Single Deckers I actually think it would be the Bankstown line to Cabramatta but for some reason I’ve never heard anyone argue against the conversion of that line.” – Rails
“Although I don’t subscribe to the “metro” conversion strategy, I would have thought that the Inner West Line to Homebush would have been more of a priority than the IIlawarra Local Line to Hurstville, particularly when you consider the ramifications of compromising East Hills Line services from the south west.
The “metro” conversion is ideological, with the ultimate objective to split up the system to more readily make it viable for privatisation. That is totally different to a franchising model such as in Melbourne. I don’t know of many urban transport systems in the world’s major cities which are privatised. But perhaps you can enlighten me.” – Ray
“I was pretty sure that even the NW Metro was 5 carriages with the option of extending to 6 in the future but I am open to correction on that. They were physically smaller than the Cityrail trains and I am pretty sure had longitudinal seating, however that project changed a lot over time so I may be wrong. However, one thing you may not be aware of is that when they actually did the work on the CBD part of the CBD Metro and its extension from Rozelle to Epping and on to the NW, the Barangaroo station due to its location had quite short platforms that I believe limited it to 5 carriage trains. Although near the end of the CBD Metro fiasco they actually removed the NWRL from that plan altogether.” – Rails
A few other comments from the recent post on no platform 1 at Wynyard and St Leonards stations relating to a Second Harbour Rail Crossing are also relevant to this discussion, in particular on whether to go over or under the Harbour:
“Why don’t they just commission the private sector to build a new harbour tunnel(allowing the company to charge juicy toll’s) and THEN convert some lanes on the bridge to heavy rail?
Is it because of the Cahill Express-way and its connection to the Eastern Suburbs? Can’t traffic use the cross-city tunnel for the same purpose?” – Shiggyshiggy
“Another option suggested by the Fairfax Christie Public Transport Inquiry (disclaimer – I was involved in this) was to sling additional rail lines under the deck of the Harbour Bridge, which apparently is feasible and would be much cheaper than tunnelling.” – Alex
“I am pretty sure the cheapest option would be to build the second crossing as Bradfield intended, the eastern lanes of the bridge into Wynyard 1 and 2. However, if you believe the Government that the bridge itself is limited to 26 tph in Single Deck form and 20 tph in Double Deck form then its not going to be able service the potential of the Single Deck NWRL on its own let alone service two lines, you would need three crossings at least and to stop short many services. We are struggling to get a second crossing built so I cant see three being built for a long time so its obviously time to look at either a new line running under the bridge or an under harbour tunnel. A Northern Beaches line would also have much worse grades than the NWRL/ ECRL has, it requires a serious slippery dip to get through the spit area, plus it has a catchment that suits turn up and go services and thus it makes sense to be a Single Deck line.
Now it seems the under harbour tunnel will have no issue running the required tph and should be able to service two lines with one crossing, at least for the foreseeable future. I assume that a new line under the bridge deck would be the same considering the idea of both paths seem to be very similar.The trick for the bridge option would be getting it to meet either of the two reserved rail corridors through the CBD, I think this will not be easy and in particular to connect to the “Metro Pitt” corridor it may require the demolition of a number of skyscrapers, very pricey. I do wonder though if the Single Deck trains make it more viable as you could run a steeper grade to get under these building foundations.” – Rails
“Basically all the SMH report does is take MREP between Chatswood and the airport line via the reserved Metro Pitt corridor and instead of using an under harbour tunnel they replaced it with the under bridge deck idea (partly needed because of the issues running Double Deckers under the harbour). You do have to be careful with that proposal as it was a theoretical exercise, even by their own admission. They don’t know if it will work or not and as I mentioned I believe its in no way straight forward connecting to the Metro Pitt corridor at the Wynyard end (partly why MREP was proposed as a tunnel in the first place).” – Rails
“Suggest you go to Google Street view (Hickson Road) and look up at the understructure of the bridge (or go there yourself). No way is it possible to hang any rail (or road) tracks under the bridge. You effectively have a dense grid of beams all roughly at the same level, and you have the two gantries which run under the bridge to give access to all of them for maintenance. I am not sure where the rails on which the gantry hangs are located, but I would suggest they are under the long side girder, see (hopefully) https://maps.google.com.au/maps?hl=en&tab=wl” – Dudley Horscroft
“the detailed submission the Inquiry received from Australian Infrastructure Solutions Ltd proposing the under-bridge proposal indicated that it would be feasible to install two or even four additional rail lines which would sit within the supporting girder structure with relatively minor modification and that the Bridge with the recent strengthening of the hangars could take the extra weight. In fact I understand an earlier version of this proposal involving road lanes was developed and nearly adopted by the Carr government, but they got cold feet at the last minute, partly because of the incorrect perception that this was going to stretch all the way across the width of the bridge.
I don’t think it would be much more difficult to construct than your earlier suggestion to put road lanes above the current deck – and despite the opposition to the earlier under deck roads proposal it would be a lot less visually intrusive. Either way there is probably an engineering solution, though whether it is financially viable or competitive with other options remains to be seen. That’s why the Inquiry stopped short of endorsing the under-bridge option, instead recommending that the proposal be comprehensively investigated.” – Alex
Further comments can be made below.