This week in transport (30 March 2014)

Posted: March 30, 2014 in Transport
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday: NWRL months ahead of schedule, O’Farrell calls double deck trains a mistake

The tunnel boring machines for the North West Rail Link (NWRL) will be in the ground by October, 2 months ahead of the original “end of 2014” deadline. The NSW Government had previously committed to begin construction of the NWRL in its first term of government, which places a deadline of the March 2015 state election.

The tunnels for the new line will be too steep and too narrow for the existing double deck rolling stock to run on, a controversial decision that will save $200m in constructions costs. Opponents have linked this move to the 1855 decision that resulted in different 3 different rail gauges being used in different parts of Australia as it will create completely independent sectors of the rail network. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell countered by saying that “one of the decisions I think state governments got wrong decades ago was to move to double-decks, instead of matching what’s happening in Paris, in London, where single-deck were retained”, adding that single deck trains “can carry more people, travel more quickly, and disembark those people more quickly without people having to come down those difficult steps that exist on our double-decks and that delay people at railway stations”.

Wednesday: Opal to rollout to entire rail network by April

The Opal electronic ticketing system was rolled out the remainder of the Sydney Trains network on Friday 28 March, with 150,000 Opal cards now registered for use. It is currently scheduled to be rolled out to all NSW TrainLink stations progressively on 4 April and 11 April, which will complete the rollout to ferries and trains. The rollout will then move on to buses, which are scheduled to have Opal readers installed by the end of 2014, and light rail, which are currently scheduled to have Opal readers installed by 2015.

An adult Opal smartcard. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW)

An adult Opal smartcard. Click to enlarge.
(Source: Transport for NSW.)

The lack of Opal readers or poles to hold readers installed at the new light rail stations suggests that readers will be instead installed directly inside the trams themselves. However, given that the current fleet of trams is being replaced, and that the new trams are not expected to arrive until early 2015, this further suggests that the light rail rollout is unlikely to be completed earlier than 2015 unless the new trams arrive earlier than is currently scheduled.

Thursday: Federal Government links Medibank Private sale to Badgerys Creek infrastructure

The $4bn expected to be raised from the sale of Medibank Private could go towards funding infrastructure, particularly infrastructure required for a Second Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek. Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has encouraged states to follow this policy of “asset recycling”, where state owned assets are sold off in order to fund the construction of additional assets in the form of infrastructure. The NSW Government has done this, with part of the proceeds of the sale of Port Botany funding the initial stage of WestConnex.

 Thursday: Inner West Light Rail extension to Dulwich Hill opens

The 5.6km extension to Sydney’s sole light rail line opened on Friday 28 March, with trams now running between Dulwich Hill and Lilyfield before continuing on to Central Station via Pyrmont. EcoTransit co-convenor Gavin Gatenby wrote on the history of how the line came to be a reality, while Lachlan Drummond wrote a review of the line itself after riding one of the new trams from Dulwich Hill into Chinatown and back.

Friday: Transurban buys Cross City Tunnel for $475m

Toll road operator Transurban has acquired Sydney’s Cross City Tunnel (CCT), solidifying its ownership of toll roads in Sydney. The CCT had been in voluntary administration since September 2013 for the second time since opening in 2005. It first went into receivership in 2007 and was bought by the Royal Bank of Scotland for $700m, much less than the original construction cost of $1bn. Shortly after returning to receivership in September 2013, the senior debt of the CCT was acquired by Transurban in November 2013 for $475m, effectively making Transurban the new owners of the toll road. Transurban owns a large number of other toll roads in Sydney, including the M2, M7, M5, and Eastern Distributor, as well as the currently under construction M1 to M2 tunnel (formerly known as F3 to M2). Analysts predict that this will allow Transurban to operate the CCT with lower maintenance and operational costs than the previous operators.

 

 

 

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Comments
  1. Joni says:

    The NWRL is being rushed through in order to gain reelection by BOF but it’s not in the best format for the public and will cause us all long term pain. Who would want to stand in a shuttle train for possibly 25 minutes and then have to change trains at Chatswood anyway to fight for a seat again?

    Re the Dulwich Hill light rail extension, did they say in the media it will take 40 min to Central? How long does it take to Central by heavy rail from Dulwich Hill?

  2. shiggyshiggy says:

    Joni we all know you don’t like BOF and the NWRL, we get it.

    I also don’t like BOF.

    However, it has become pretty clear that both these lines are not necessarily about going into the CBD (yet) and they are being built this way for many reasons, of which re-election is but one. I can’t speak in detail about the NWRL(others no doubt will) but the IWLR will be used by people wanting journeys within the Inner West and the lower CBD. For that it is very useful. I live in the Inner West and will find this line very useful for going to Leichhardt and Haberfield, as well as China Town. I couldn’t really do that before, so there is not much to compare this line to.

    I lived in London for a few years, I regularly had to stand on my journey’s on the tube, sometimes for longer than 40 minutes! This was surprisingly common place. The cheapest way to get to Heathrow is via the Piccadilly line, which can take up to an hour. I used to stand for the whole journey WHILST holding my back-pack. I am not a superman. This also appeared to be pretty standard.

    On my visits to New York the same took place. Standing for 20 minutes is hardly taxing for the majority of transport users. For those who have mobility issues there is seating, and if there is not enough for them then we have an issue.

    Studies have shown that a degree of standing is good for you, lowers your chances of cardio-vascular disease and diabetes.

    Maybe the plan for standing is to make transport users healthier?

  3. Joni says:

    Maybe for the able bodied it will be OK. For the elderly, pregnant, people with chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and parents with children, standing that length of time will be nightmarish.There won’t be enough seats and if you don’t qualify as “disabled” such as people in the categories above, it will mean a tough ride. I prefer the current seating configuration. The population is ageing, so seating will become more of an issue and with no stairs to sit on (which I’ve used when seats have all been taken) people will try and sit on the floor.

  4. shiggyshiggy says:

    Wait. If they aren’t qualified as disabled? Then they should have no problem standing. There will be seating for pregnant women, the elderly and the infirm. If there isn’t enough, then that’s a different story.

    Many other train systems have even longer standing times for passengers. I’ve experienced at least two. It was not that bad. In fact I ended up preferring to stand; far easier to get off often crowed trains that way, plus you don’t have to get up for one of the above less able-bodied passengers.

    Why are these very elderly and very disabled people travelling all the way to the CBD in the business rush hour anyway? Is this really the best time for them to travel, and the best use of these travel hours?

  5. Joni says:

    You can have issues standing for long periods of time but not meet the disability criteria e.g. rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Have you ever been heavily pregnant? People don’t always give up their seat for pregnant women and pregnant women work and travel, you know. I’ve seen frail, elderly people standing next to me when the able bodied sitting down were not offering their seats.

  6. shiggyshiggy says:

    Well that is an issue of culture and enforcement, not the amounting seating. If you are so concerned about such behaviours, which from your comment appear to be happening right now in our current system, then you should advocate for penalties for those who do not vacate their seats for those less able-bodied.

    Once again, there will be seating for those less able-bodied.

    Why are the frail and elderly travelling during rush hour?!?

  7. Joni says:

    I don’t think the trains with few seats are confined to running at rush hour, are they?

  8. shiggyshiggy says:

    Right, but the seat crunch is when the train is at its most full, which is during rush hour. I find it very doubtful that someone with health or mobility issues will struggle to get a seat post the business rush hour.

  9. Joni says:

    People with some diseases such as multiple sclerosis or early stages of rheumatoid arthritis can still work and travel during peak hour but will find it hard to stand even though they don’t look disabled. I personally know them.

  10. shiggyshiggy says:

    Right. Once again, there will be seating. It is intended for such people. Enforcement is the problem. You admitted as such that the present system creates problems for those less able-bodied.

    It sounds as if you really don’t have much of an issue with the NWRL, just the culture of selfishness of Sydney PT users.

  11. Joni says:

    I doubt that there will be enough seating, and it can’t be enforced as these people don’t have an obvious disability or condition and don’t yet qualify for disability provisions. I do have major issues with the NWRL in its current form i.e. not compatible with the heavy rail network, deliberately privatised, disconnected as a shuttle service, and it cutting off a 100 year old direct Northern line route so that residents will no longer be able to travel to Wynyard without having to change trains several times. They get all the burden and no benefit at all.

  12. shiggyshiggy says:

    I don’t think there are solutions to your problems. I think you would find fault with any potential solution. The proof is in the fact that you say the CURRENT system is problematic for ‘infirm’ users! You also keep moving the goal posts for who is, or what constitutes disabled. NOW it is someone who doesn’t look disabled, and ALSO appears unable to ‘prove’ medically that they have a disability….that is just fanciful. Its a story about magic from a children’s book. If you can’t prove you are disabled, you aren’t disabled. The end.

    Standing is perfectly fine for the vast majority of people. Yes, sitting is more comfortable. But reclining is even more comfortable than sitting. Should trains have beds for the very, very sensitive in our society? I prefer to lay down……where is my Sydney Trains paid for day-bed?!

    I would also like a train guard to peel grapes for me while I recline.

  13. Joni says:

    If you had multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons, Rheumatoid arthritis, you need a seat to travel to work without feeling unwell. The people with those conditions are disabled but not disabled enough to get disability provisions under current legislations. It’s not as black and white as you think.

    The current system has great seating most of the rime and standing may occur between one or two closely spaced stations only. The NWRL is going backwards as it will force most passengers to stand for more than 2 stations that are spaced far apart.

    It also prevents direct travel to Wynyard for every user at every time of the day, not just peak hour,which again raises mobility issues and is a backwards step.

    Maybe you need to graduate from reading children’s books.

  14. rails says:

    I think the comments by BOF are ridiculous but to be fair I don’t know if that was just a snipit of his statement and he said more than that headline. Sydney does not need all Single Deck trains any more than it needs all Double Deck trains, it needs a mix of both, the right tool for the right job. We will be getting that which I think is great.

    On the subject of seated passengers its not nearly as bad as what is being made out, people form the NW wont be standing, it will be those getting on on the ECRL and lower North shore stations standing for their shorter trips. These are not going to be 250 seat trains like a true Metro, they are more like heavy rail Single deck trains.

    I did some numbers quickly while posting on another forum. I based it on the totals for each line of 20tph for Double Deckers and 30tph for Single Deckers. I think the 30tph is a low number for a new single decker network but its what has been presented.

    Stage 1 to NWRL to Chatswood via Macquarie Park:
    (Double Deckers would run all the way to the CBD via the North Shore line)

    Single Deck seated: 7,200
    Double Deck Seated: 5,712

    Single Deck Total: 15,600
    Double Deck Total: 7,200

    Stage 2 Total for the NWRL to the CBD via North Sydney for each type:
    (Maximum – No Northern Beaches line or upper Northern line trains)

    Single Deck seated: 18,000
    Double Deck Seated: 19,040

    Single Deck Total: 39,000
    Double Deck Total: 24,000

    Stage 2 Total for the NWRL including Northern Beaches and upper Northern lines:
    (Includes 12 tph Single Deckers to the Northern Beaches and 6tph upper Northern line Double Deckers )

    Single Deck seated: 12,000
    Double Deck Seated: 13,328

    Single Deck Total: 26,000
    Double Deck Total: 16,800

    However this relies on running 32 tph through the RTN which I think they will have to do to balance out the numbers on either end and provide enough capacity. If they have to stick to 30 tph it is as follows:

    NWRL:
    (Single Deck = 18 tph NWRL and 12 tph Northern beaches)

    Single Deck seated: 10,800
    Double Deck Seated: 13,328

    Single Deck Total: 23,400
    Double Deck Total: 16,800

    or

    NWRL:
    (Single Deck = 20 tph NWRL and 10 tph Northern beaches)

    Single Deck seated: 12,000
    Double Deck Seated: 13,328

    Single Deck Total: 26,000
    Double Deck Total: 16,800

    What the numbers here don’t show is the the fact that the RTN allows a whole new branch from North Sydney for the Northern Beaches and the Double Decker solution does not. It only supports a direct trip to the CBD via the North Shore for the upper Northern line (a sticking point for many on here I know). Under the current RTN plan it uses existing capacity on the Mains to get the upper Northern line to Central where passengers change trains to the CBD centre (unless you see some form of capacity increase at the Central end (e.g. sending the Single Deck RTN to the inner west, a west metro, the WEX/CBD relief line or the Western FastRail). You could of course create a branch for the Beaches using the Double Decker line but there are issues with that path via the spit and it would have a limited number of trains, not the right mode for that line.

  15. rails says:

    I am also not sure the NWRL is being rushed, Single Deckers to the NW has been around as a plan for nearly a decade, its been chopped and channeled a fair bit. Although the previous NWRL had substantially less seating than the current plan, some of the arguments against that project were very valid but don’t apply in the same way to this plan.

  16. MrV says:

    @shiggyshiggy
    I think you may be onto something here. Maybe those flag wavers on the platforms could fan the customers when they aren’t flagging trains?

    Yes I agree, single deck trains are fine in the rest of the world and will be so for Sydney.

    Something like these trains in madrid with 4 doors/carriage, still plenty of seats for disabled or elderly people.

    What is missing is the second harbour crossing. The plans to convert the existing Epping-Chatswood tunnel from double deck to single trains is a stupid waste of both time and money in my opinion and they would be better off with building a new metro line (such as the old Anzac line) which would minimise the disruption and provide better network/interchange options.
    But hey that is what StateGovt/Sydney Trains/Cityrail/Railcorp have specialised in over the years – wasting time and money to acheive nothing.

  17. Ray says:

    I think rails comparisons between single and double deck operation are ridiculous. What he conveniently neglects to acknowledge is that a new cross harbour and CBD rail link would also allow for an increased frequency for double deck operation to at least 24 tph if not more (the RER double deck operation in Paris is able to operate 30 tph). Considering a double deck train provides double the seating of a single deck train and I suggest greater overall capacity including standing, how can you with a straight face suggest that single deck provides greater line capacity? It’s a fraud perpetuated by vested interests who want to entrench their entitlement to future contracts.

  18. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > I think rails comparisons between single and double deck operation are ridiculous.
    I think it’s the first of April.

  19. JC says:

    There’s lots of unhelpful mis-information on this…

    As others have pointed out, BOF is wrong. Paris does have double deck trains (with 3 sets of doors for easy loading/unloading meaning lots of stairs so it’s hard to see how they gain capacity), and they work with near metro headways apparently successfully (as do Sydney trains most of the time).

    Lots of other European cities (Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Prague) use double deck stock. It is an increasing trend. There have even been suggestions in the UK (where many lament the historic decison for relatively low loading gauge that preclude dd use in Britain without lots of bridge raising). They are generally used in regional/outer-suburban services (rather like the NWRL). In Berlin they are integrated with the near-metro s-bahn services.

    Single deck doesn’t have to be seat-poor metro style stock (like the rather attractive Madrid examples that I would love to see on the inner-west line). Berlin s-bahn, London Metropolitan Line are examples – but you only have to look at trains in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to see trains with good access, multiple doors – but still with plenty of seats to cater for loads except at the height of the peak.

    “For the elderly, pregnant, people with chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and parents with children, standing that length of time will be nightmarish” – presumably so is climbing stairs.

  20. QPP says:

    >I think rails comparisons between single and double deck operation are ridiculous. What he conveniently neglects to acknowledge is that a new cross harbour and CBD rail link would also allow for an increased frequency for double deck operation to at least 24 tph if not more (the RER double deck operation in Paris is able to operate 30 tph). Considering a double deck train provides double the seating of a single deck train and I suggest greater overall capacity including standing, how can you with a straight face suggest that single deck provides greater line capacity? It’s a fraud perpetuated by vested interests who want to entrench their entitlement to future contracts.<

    I lie somewhere between you two I think. Comparisons with the RER are pretty specious, a substantial part of the issue with the capacity of the existing network on a tph basis are constraints surrounding the existing highly bottlenecked route between St Leonards & Central. Some of these constraints (tight curves/steep gradient between Nth Sydney & St Leonards, v.steep gradient into Wynyard off the bridge, inadequacy of Wynyard & Town Hall stations) can't realistically be improved.

    Obviously with a new harbour crossing you can start with a blank(ish) sheet of paper and yes, you could improve frequencies even with a double deck service but you'd not get near RER abilities, you're still going to have some sever gradients to contend with as the topography demands it.

    OTOH, single deck can only offer greater line capacity if the headway & therefore frequency improvements are major. Yes, they will be able to accelerate and decelerate quicker and yes, they should have less dwell time, and propogated through train paths this can mean significant improvements, but to the extent that a greater line capacity is provided? Not convinced.

    However, neither do I think it will be significantly less. And contrary to received wisdom, I for one am glad it will be a separated service. "Flexibility" sounds great on paper, in reality what it results in is timetable & train path congestion where everything is reduced to the lowest common denominator of the slowest stock, and even more reliance on the desperately creaking central train control system. More separated and discrete services, lessening the "house of cards" effect? Bring it on. One of the more important changes being brought about by the NWRL IMO

  21. QPP says:

    >I doubt that there will be enough seating, and it can’t be enforced as these people don’t have an obvious disability or condition and don’t yet qualify for disability provisions. I do have major issues with the NWRL in its current form i.e. not compatible with the heavy rail network, deliberately privatised, disconnected as a shuttle service, and it cutting off a 100 year old direct Northern line route so that residents will no longer be able to travel to Wynyard without having to change trains several times. They get all the burden and no benefit at all.<

    The last sentence reeks of the BS put out by the likes of the "Save Beecroft & Cheltenham Alliance", and the second to last one is disingenuous at best. The Northern Line route that has been in place for 100 yrs, of course, not being that using the ECRL but the one via Strathfield to Central, which you will still have. The difference being, of course, that you will have to change *once* (several times?) to get to Town Hall or Wynyard

    On the seating question I also think you're overdoing it. Opponents of the NWRL operational mode like to use the time for the journey from Rouse Hill as an example of how long people will be standing, but in the outer reaches the trains aren't going to be packed, are they? Using the Castle Hill or similar (would have to check the passenger projections for each station to really work it out) journey times would be more honest. No one *wants* to stand, but the reality is not everyone will be, and certainly not for those sort of durations. On the busier double deck lines plenty of people spend most of the journey standing and some of those are for long periods, so it's not like the NWRL will be unique.

    And yes, standing for disabled/elderly/pregnant people etc is undesirable, one would hope that people are considerate enough to give up their seats, as is expected (and generally happens) now.

    Regardless, it's not like the operational mode of the NWRL is going to be reconsidered now in any event. I can understand people who are against it (the operational mode) being upset about that, but I wouldn't want them to have any belief there was a chance of it changing. 2 years too late for that

  22. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > egardless, it’s not like the operational mode of the NWRL is going to be reconsidered now in any event. I can understand people who are against it (the operational mode) being upset about that, but I wouldn’t want them to have any belief there was a chance of it changing.
    > 2 years too late for that

    On the contrary, I think it’s a near certainty this will be fixed by forcing all/most of sector 3 into the NWRL format.

  23. QPP says:

    Well, yes. But the NWRL mode isn’t going to change, that was my point. It’s not going to be changed “back” to a double deck line, it’s not going to be made integral with the rest of the network.

  24. Simon says:

    Are you always so optimistic, TTR?

    Joni, congratulations on pissing off even those that agree with you. Which is most of us.

  25. Joni says:

    The NWRL may be changed back or upgraded at taxpayer expense.

  26. rails says:

    First off TTR needs to either add something worthwhile or STFU, you’re stupid sniping is wasting bandwidth. It makes posting here a waste of time. You used to be a reasonable poster but now you’re just becoming a whiny little brat throwing their toys out of the cot because the Government is not doing what you want. I expected more considering your persona on RP. So either properly dispute my posts with facts or don’t comment at all. I am always open to correction but not crap like is being dished up on this site lately.

    Ray,

    There is nothing ridiculous about my comparison at all, just because you don’t like it. The comparison is based on the exact numbers that the Government has provided for these two links, both train numbers and capacity, not what you (or Eco-Transit) think it should be. Are you arguing that the integrated Cityrail model will run up to 30 tph? Or are you talking about a whole new line? You cant just say that a new DD link should be running up to 30 tph because the RER does it, there is a lot more to it than that. Then you have to consider the rolling stock. It can also be equally argued with the fact that the Single Deck equivalent line should be running much more than 30 tph, how many tph does the Paris Metro run? How about other Metros around the world? There are restrictions on the path of any rail line that runs from Chatswood to Redfern via either reserved corridor and that means you wont match what other lines run letalone current Cityrail working pracitices and requirements. You certainly wont match the ability of the RER with Cityrail rolling stock.

    So maybe your argument would be that the new line should be completely separate from Cityrail, that is not the comparison I made because everyone seems to be arguing that the issue with the RTN is lack of integration with the Cityrail network. The integrated line would be running A sets not any other kind of double decker trains, that is a different argument and I think it has more merit actually. If cost effective, a Double Decker line with all new stock, automated, privately run and completely separate from the existing network would work as long as the train numbers stacked up, the right rolling stock was used to deal with dwells and they could handle the grades that will be common on this line (NWRL, ECRL, Spit, under the harbour). This wouldnt help the upper Northern line which is your concern though so you would have to go back to the integrated plan for that. However I think long term (if you inc the branches) for this line 30 tph in either Double Deck or Single Deck will not be enough, 36-40 tph is what we should aim for but as I said my numbers are based on the information released now. However after the 30tph number was shown by TNSW they moved to automation with the justification of being able to run more tph, so we should see a higher number on the RTN than the 30 tph I based those figures on (I am tipping 32-34 tph).

    With your capacity argument you’re disputing what I said without any numbers or facts to back it up. What is this Double Decker you speak of that has double the seating of a the proposed Single Deckers for the RTN? In the best form (A set) a cityrail train has seating for just over 900 passengers. How many are seated in an RER train with its 3 doors? TNSW are saying that their Single Deck RTN trains will hold about 600 seated passengers per train. 900 is not double 600. TNSW list the total capacity of the RTN trains as 1300 passengers, a Cityrail A set train tops out at 1200 and as a person that catches these trains everyday even an A set is an awful place to be with less than that, I know from experice outsidde of Australia that Single Deckers deal with this load much better. Total capacity is better with the Single Decker model. For that you have to not only consider the NWRL but the path from Epping to Redfern and how your choice affects that path and its needs.

  27. Joni says:

    Simon, you are way too easily upset if someone’s opinion differs to yours.It’s a discussion and others’ points of view are valid and permissible.

  28. QPP says:

    >The NWRL may be changed back or upgraded at taxpayer expense.<

    Don't hold your breath. It's just not going to happen. I'd be surprised at this stage if you'd get any change out of $100m for doing it, and that potential bill keeps going up. No state government is going to choose that course given recent history

  29. Joni says:

    I mean given the history of other projects like the M2 which was upgraded at considerable expense later, despite experts advising that it should be built with additional lanes from the start, it’s possible that there will be a later upgrade.

  30. QPP says:

    Extending road tunnels when you can run contraflows off peak and work behind protection in peak hours is one thing; expanding rail tunnels that are what – 20x longer? – and you can’t work as flexibly with rail traffic as road traffic, different scenario. You’d have to close the service for years, strip everything out of the tunnel, dig it bigger, re fit it.

    Outside the tunnel section you’d have some major reconfiguration to do as well. Massive, massive work.

    I’m just trying to be realistic. No government’s ever going to do it. Even at this stage it’s too late

  31. Joni says:

    What might happen if there’s a change in government, could this stall the project?

  32. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > Are you always so optimistic, TTR?
    Obviously not :-).

  33. QPP says:

    I don’t think so, by 2015 it will be too late

    All major contracts will have been signed with contractors on board and working (including, of course, the big one, the PPP concession – getting out of this alone will cost 10s of $ms at any stage, regardless of what you end up paying them for abortive work, bid/upfront cost reimbursement and closing down)

    TBMs will be in the ground and driving. Some big orders for long lead rail systems gear will have been placed by the OTS contractor

    A decision to change post election would mean renegotiating all of those contracts on top of stopping work like the TBM drives (and presumably pulling the machines out). Bear in mind the burn rate of those contractors will be $ms per week, so deciding to stop/change is one thing, what to? Coming up with an alternative will not be a short process, it’s not just a question of saying it will be double deck trains – got to rethink the whole operating model. Under the gun of contractors running up big bills on the taxi meter, I guess you’d have to terminate all of those major contracts which will be expensive, whilst you work out what it is the new proposals will be. Then when you’ve worked out those new proposals, you’ve got to go and do loads of redesign, get new planning approvals, go through another procurement process, etc etc etc. And incur a substantial delay in delivering the service, maybe 3-5 extra years minimum??

    I don’t know how much all of that would cost but I figure it would have to be a 9 figure sum. After the NW/CBD Metro debacle, how realistic is it that a government (especially a Labor one) would choose to spend that sort of cash on stopping & changing the project?

  34. Joni says:

    Thanks for such a comprehensive answer QPP :-)

  35. Simon says:

    It may be possible to go with a compatible single deck format post election though. I agree going with double deck is likely to be difficult.

  36. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > a substantial part of the issue with the capacity of the existing network on a tph basis are
    > constraints surrounding the existing highly bottlenecked route between St Leonards & Central.
    > Some of these constraints (tight curves/steep gradient between Nth Sydney & St Leonards, v.steep
    > gradient into Wynyard off the bridge, inadequacy of Wynyard & Town Hall stations) can’t
    > realistically be improved.

    The curves and grades are unlikely to much – if any – form of capacity constraint. Separations need to be greater on down grades to cope with increased stopping distances. But total headway is line separation *plus* dwell time. Stations on grades or descents into stations can sap capacity in this way, but curves and grades in general, not really.

    On Sector 3 the critical grade is the decent to Wynyard, but there is a 200m+ buffer (and a slight ascent IIRC) which is enough to prevent this being an issue here. This is no accident BTW, this was part of Bradfield’s design engineering when the system coped with much tighter headways than today. Where there is a real potential problem is Woolstoncraft and Waverton. I’ve been a long time advocate of closing thsoe stations, but even those – with substantially shorter dwell times than the other adjacent stops – don’t really present a capacity problem because the extra stopping time @60kph is only ~20sec which is more or less how much less a small station dwell can be assumed to be. (Curved platforms probably come into it too I suppose).

    > You certainly wont match the ability of the RER with Cityrail rolling stock.
    I wouldn’t be so sure about that.
    For starters, the comparative door ratio is not 3:2, it’s 13:10 (RER MI09 vehicles are longer). Now this does not mean the MI09 has a flat 30% fast boarding rate. The centre doors of the MI09 have 4 channels vs CityRail’s (and the Mi09 end doors) 3. But countering that is 75% of the MI09’s standing space is in the door ways, vs ~40% for CityRail. It’s boarding performance degrades more rapidly under load the CityRail. (I wish I had some hard numbers for this). That said, even with a 130% better boarding rate, that equates to a 14s saving per dwell (46s vs 60s). Lets say 15s over 24tph for the CityRail Format that’s 6 minutes or at best an extra 3tph. (135s vs 150s headways is 11% train capacity).

    With it’s extra stairs, the MI09 has a lower total capacity (per metre) than a CityRail train. Roughly 9% of the car is taken up by stairs vs ~5% with CityRail. Further, CityRail trains have 3+2 seating on the decks vs 2+2 in Paris (partially offset by more standing space) and I believe CityRail also has a tighter seat pitch (achievable because the decks are longer). In all, a CityRail train has at least 5% – but arguably up to 10% – greater train capacity. 111/105 => 5.7% greater line capacity at absolute best (but probably closer to 3%, and possibly as low as 1%) – subject to the rider that the RER format degrades under load worse than CityRail.

    @rails – IIRC the quoted standing:seating ratios for the RER A are ~50:50, vs ~33:67 for CityRail. The longest RER Line A route BTW is ~50 minutes, though most are 30 or less.

    I’m not for one second suggesting the RER format is not superior in almost every way to CityRail’s, just pointing out that the differences aren’t as great as people think. There are other factors at play.

  37. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > I agree going with double deck is likely to be difficult.

    It could be done: 3rd rail power and a pointier roof profile for the top deck – and probably lower line speeds. But this means fleet renewal – and not just for the NWRL, you’d need a new fleet for (at least) half of sector 3. I can’t see it happening.

    > After the NW/CBD Metro debacle, how realistic is it that a government (especially a Labor one)
    > would choose to spend that sort of cash on stopping & changing the project?
    I can’t see Labor making any rail promisses at all at the next election. And I think the Libs have learned from the Labor mistake: they arn’t going to backtrack on anything.

    The next change of course has been deffered to the time someone needs to commit to the second harbour crossing, and by then the options will be reduced and – in my view – less palitable.

  38. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > Then when you’ve worked out those new proposals, you’ve got to go and do loads of redesign, get
    > new planning approvals, go through another procurement process, etc etc etc. And incur a
    > substantial delay in delivering the service, maybe 3-5 extra years minimum??

    They didn’t go through any planning approvals process when they switched to metro.

    I doubt it needs to be that complicated. Pull out the TBMs, retool them, send them back in again. 6 months. $1bil in compo? Probably. But cut the line back to Rouse Hill, drop the 2nd Kellyville station and ditch the maintenance and stabling facility – will probably save at least that much.

    As for the PPP, I’d like to see them handed a fleet of H sets and be told to make that work driverless – or at least fully automated, and put some real pressure on the rail unions :-).

  39. rails says:

    > They didn’t go through any planning approvals process when they switched to metro.

    I think you will find that the NWRL was already put through NSW planning as a Single Deck Metro originally and not as a Cityrail Double Deck line. There was some work originally done prior to 2008 I think but it was only formalised as a Single Deck line by the previous Government and not changed. However all the various NWRL stages under this Government certainly went though a number of approvals with the planning department, they are all listed on their website.

  40. Joni says:

    News just at hand about the lack of seating on the Inner West line–will this be the NWRL?
    Less than a week after opening, Sydney’s newest piece of public transport is already sometimes too crowded for all the people that want to use it.

    The tram that runs from Central Station into the inner west was once a boutique line, almost always offering a seat to the relatively few commuters catching it between Lilyfield, Pyrmont and Central.

    But after the extension of the line from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill opened last Thursday, the trams are filling up so much it can be difficult to fit everybody on.

    On Tuesday the driver of at least one morning tram had to ask people to get off and wait for the next service. The crowds were also thick on Wednesday morning, despite limited marking of the new service.

    “It is a great thing, but we just need more trams,” said Beata Bajorek, who has been catching the service from the new Arlington stop at Dulwich Hill since it opened.

    “I think people have been really waiting for it to open,” she said.

    The popularity of the extension means it is unlikely the state government will allow school students to travel on it for free.

    Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has said she would ask her department to investigate doing so, but with so many schools along the tram corridor it is likely that free travel would just increase the morning crush.

    Another commuter at the Glebe stop, Lucy, said she could not get one one tram on Tuesday. “They wouldn’t let us get on because it was so packed,” she said. “They were talking about it being unbalanced.”

    Before the extension to Dulwich Hill opened, commuters who got on at the stops near Lilyfield and Glebe could regularly get a seat. But by the time the trams arrive at Lilyfield after picking up passengers at the nine new stops, it is tightly packed standing room only.

    The popularity of the line to Lilyfield was given a massive boost in 2012 when Ms Berejiklian allowed the use of pensioner tickets and MyMulti cards on the tram.

    When she opened the line last Thursday, Ms Berejiklian was unable to say how many people she thought would use the new line, but said it was expected to “ramp up” over time.

    Amanda Holt, who catches the tram from Lilyfield to Haymarket, said the line was a “great service” but frequencies needed to improve.

    “The drivers have been really good for the first few days when they have seen it packed,” she said. “They have asked people to wait for the next tram.”

    Trams are running at 10 minute frequencies on the new line. The government has leased four extra trams from Spain. It has also purchased another 12 vehicles, though these are still being delivered. Three will soon undergo testing.

    Ms Berejiklian said the government would monitor patronage closely.

    “I am pleased the new Inner West Light Rail Extension is proving popular with customers,” she said.

    Also on Tuesday, two vehicles had to terminate at Lilyfield and Taverners Hill. A Transport for NSW spokesman said the vehicles had returned to service and “this appears to be a small teething issue during an otherwise successful first week of operations.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/dulwich-hill-tram-extension-proving-too-popular-20140402-35y81.html#ixzz2xhipbyTw

  41. Simon says:

    Not likely Joni. At the proposed service frequency of 12/hr in peak it is hardly likely to reach full seated load let alone people being booted off. Unless you’re referring to Chatswood.

  42. MrV says:

    @Joni,
    On the contrary, good thing the new trams have less seats, otherwise even more people would have had to miss out. The obvious solution is to increase the frequency, they need to roll out the extra trams ASAP.

    @Everyone else.

    I wanted to also mention the idea of running the city circle or even the North Shore Line through TH/Wynard at anything better than 3min headways appears to be a near-on fantasy. As far as I can see from experience the only way they have made ontime running more ‘reliable’ is by slowing the timetable down. Take the additional dwell at Central for example.

    The other thing is show me the system running at 3min headways from 7am in the morning to 7pm at night nonstop and I will believe the system is capable of proper 3min headways. At present they rely on the gaps of 10mins+ in the timetable in order to get trains back to time for the afternoon peak, otherwise everything would be a shambles.
    Not a day goes by where you don’t see trains crawling at walking pace into the city circle or across the bridge. What a joke.

    Also can someone tell me why after bailing out Downer/EDI for the Waratah trains they didn’t order more so they can finally get rid of the mobile trash and urine cans, otherwise known as S and K sets? Some of these units you can smell before they arrive.

    It seems simple economics that the more units you buy the cost of production comes down. Surely the maintenance costs on the S/K sets would be better spend elsewhere?
    Seems like Transport NSW is going to have to build yet another trainset (and stuff it up all over again) before the S/K can be completely retired.

  43. MrV says:

    @QPP

    Good of you to mention the stair issue, you only need to watch people of limited mobility (but not limited enough to stay in the vestibule area) hold everybody else up to see the issue with them.

    Also getting rid of the poles in the middle of the entranceways would do alot to maximise the load/unload by encouraging the first people on the train to not cling to these poles like leeches and block everyone else.

  44. Joni says:

    Simon and MrV,I have my doubts about the proposed frequency promised for the NWRL. It’s easy to promise something and then…”Sorry for the inconvenience but we’re scaling back services to 3 an hour due to XYZ” and there’s not a thing we can do about it. Especially in private hands. The photo of the passengers in the SMH story link I posted above shows significant crowding.

  45. Simon says:

    Perhaps you should compete in whinging Olympics. I’m sure even if you got your way you’d find something to whinge about.

  46. Joni says:

    Whingeing, not “whinging” – perhaps you’d win a medal in the spelling Olympics?

  47. JC says:

    Just to try to bring the discussion up out of the playground and into serious boys’ toys….

    “The tunnel boring machines for the North West Rail Link (NWRL) will be in the ground by October,”….

    What happened to the tunnel machines used for Chatswood-Epping and the Airport lines? Were they trashed? Did they sell them on ebay? Are they (like the channel tunnel machines) still parked in a siding? There seems to be real scope here for continuity of investment.

  48. MrV says:

    @Joni
    I think by the time NWRL is finished through to Chatswood, plans should be underway to address the harbour bridge issue. If people can see the intent and concrete steps being taken then it willl be more palatable to citizens
    Maybe I am an optimist after all …

  49. Ray says:

    In response to Rails, I still think your comparisons between single and double deck operations are ridiculous. For starters, you’re comparing 12 tph for single deck on the NWRL under your hypothesis, with 6 tph for double deck, What about comparing like with like? You appear to suggest a seating capacity for single deck of 600 passengers. Where do you get this figure from? I have yet to see any publically released data to clarify what the actual mix will be between seated and standing passengers on the single deck rapid transit trains. The only figure I’m aware of is an overall capacity of 1300, which I suggest is crush load capacity (against around 1750 for double deck).

    From my viewing of the NWRL promotional videos, there appears to be a mix of 2+2 and longitudinal seating for the rapid transit trains. Sydney’s earlier single deck rolling stock, with 3+2 seating and longitudinal seating in the end saloons and only 2 doorways had a seating capacity of around 600, so I can’t imagine the new rapid transit trains would approach anything like this level. My guess would be that it would be between 400 and 500. That suggests standing room crush load capacity for both modes of around 800. That equates to double deck having double the seating capacity to the proposed rapid transit trains.

    However, in the real world, we’re not just talking about crush load capacity. CityRail/Sydney Trains accepted level of crowding on the double deck stock is 135% of seated capacity, which in round figures is about 1200. To make a valid comparison with single deck, you have to apply the same principle. Applying a conservative ratio for single deck of 200% of seated capacity for a reasonable level of crowding, that would equate to 900 passengers, which is a more realistic appraisal of the relative carrying capacity of normal single and double deck operation. Do you seriously believe that a crush loaded single deck train would be any easier to load and unload than a moderately crowded double deck train? I think not! You also have to ask the question, why are so many overseas cities adopting the double deck option for their suburban rail systems (as distinct from metros) to increase capacity? I don’t think they’re stupid. This is one question O’Farrell and Berejiklian haven’t been able, or are unwilling, to answer.

    In response specifically to some of your comments, it’s not a question of me not liking your opinions, the fact is, I just disagree with you, which is different.

    Let me make it clear that my comments were in relation to a new cross harbour and CBD rail link. They had nothing to do with the existing rail network, apart from my preference for it to be integrated with the new link. It has already been acknowledged that trying to increase capacity with a higher frequency using single deck trains on the existing CBD network is not feasible because of the constraints at Town Hall and Wynyard. Making comparisons with the existing capacity of 20 tph through the CBD is irrelevant.

    I wasn’t suggesting that a new link be operated by double deck stock at 30 tph, equivalent to the Paris RER. I was merely pointing out the potential that may be possible. In fact I suggested a more conservative 24 tph or more (24-26 tph), which could be easily achievable on a new line with upgraded signalling and modern station design which would be common for both single and double deck operation. There may be issues with steep gradients for double deck stock, but that could easily be addressed with more powerful traction motors, if not all powered cars. In any event, new rolling stock, whether single or double deck, is going to be required anyway. By my reckoning, line capacity for single and double deck would be about the same (single deck 30 x 900 = 27,000 v double deck 24 x 1200 = 28,800). If you want to compare crush load capacity, the difference is more stark (single deck 30 x 1300 = 39,000 v double deck 24 x 1750 = 42,000). The only alleged disadvantage with double deck stock is the excessive dwell times at the most congested CBD stations at Central, Town Hall and Wynyard. Dwell times for double deck would not be as much an issue at new properly designed CBD stations. So why create so much upheaval and extra expense in converting parts of the existing network to rapid transit single deck operation, including the ECRL, when there is no demonstrable advantage?

    I have previously outlined my proposal for a new cross harbour and CBD rail Link, integrated with the existing network. Without wishing to regurgitate the whole concept, the new link which I propose would continue as an extension of the NWRL/ECRL from Chatswood via St Leonards, Crows Nest, Victoria Cross (North Sydney), under the harbour, then linking with the existing unused underground platforms 26 & 27 at Central via the Pitt St corridor. From Central it would continue underground to Redfern and then split to link with the Illawarra Local at Erskineville and the Western Main at Macdonaldtown/Eveleigh. The link with the Illawarra Local would connect directly with the East Hills Line express tracks at Wolli Creek Junction (as it now does) and the link to the Western Main would provide additional through CBD services for the Western and Northern Lines without the need to terminate at Central (i), and also avoid the need to cross over to the suburban tracks at Eveleigh. Completion of the Sydenham to Erskineville sextup would also be an essential prerequisite to separate the Bankstown Line from the Illawarra tracks and connect it directly with the City Circle.

    Under this scenario, the only sector which would have to be capable of operating to its maximum capacity (say 24-26 double deck tph) would be from Chatswood (or later Victoria Cross if a Northern Beaches Line is added) to the Eveleigh Junction south of Redfern linking to the Illawarra Local and Western Main. Multiple lines would feed into the central spine of a new rail link from both the north and south.

  50. SimonL says:

    Even if you take rails’ figures seriously, I’m sure Sydneysiders would prefer the double deck solution with its more seats.

  51. QPP says:

    >>I doubt it needs to be that complicated. Pull out the TBMs, retool them, send them back in again. 6 months.<<

    6 months? Not a chance

    It will take you that just to get them out in the first place. To "pull a TBM out" you have to dismantle it underground and remove all its component parts up the tunnel, which is a very difficult and expensive piece of work to do, mainly because lifting and handling big pieces of metal down the hole is so hard. It's what has to be done in the (rare) cases of TBM main bearing failure, which is why main bearings are so highly specced and controlled. No one wants to be in the position of having to do that if they can avoid it

    "Retooling" is also more complicated than you make it sound. You'd have to change every part and every system on the main shield – the main bearing, cutter head, the shield can itself, the spoil removal system, the erector. This stuff represents about 60% of the cost of the average TBM despite only being the front 10% of its length. You could probably reuse most of the back up gantries (with a bit of upgrading of the systems mounted on them) but they're a small part of the cost

    It takes about 12 months, going fast, to engineer and manufacture a TBM from scratch, engineering and refitting one wouldn't be any quicker, plus you've got to extract the thing in the first place and allow yourself time to engineer all the other ramifications of changing the operational mode of the railway, which again has to be measured in years rather than months

    That was the reason for my wild stab in the dark as to a 3-5 year delay in actually delivering a changed operating rail system. I think anyone believing this sort of change could be effected with a matter of months delay – regardless of cost – is living in dreamland to be honest

  52. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > I think anyone believing this sort of change could be effected with a matter of months delay –
    > regardless of cost – is living in dreamland to be honest
    I won’t deny that. I know it isn’t going to happen. If only because the ALP won’t win the next state election, and even if they did, they wouldn’t implement a change tunnel diapmeter policy – even if they took it to the election.

    That said, you seem to be suggesting that removal is difficult because a TBM is too big to fit inside the tunnel it makes.

  53. QPP says:

    >>What happened to the tunnel machines used for Chatswood-Epping and the Airport lines? Were they trashed? Did they sell them on ebay? Are they (like the channel tunnel machines) still parked in a siding? There seems to be real scope here for continuity of investment.<<

    TBMs are very occasionally reused (after a refit) but not very often, despite people often thinking it would be a good idea

    This is partly because the timing from project to project rarely works, but more because the requirements of every project are different – different ground conditions, different groundwater regime, different gradients/curves that have to be coped with, different length of drive, different lining designs. These different requirements mean the systems on the TBM are bespoke designed for the specific project and you'd need to re-engineer them for use on a different project.

    Also the significant wear parts (main bearing, cutter head, cutter tools, can, most of the spoil handling system) are generally fit for the bin after the drive for which they have been designed, and this represents a large chunk of the cost. Main bearings, for example (the bearing on which the cutter head rotates) are designed for 50% more hours than the drive they are due to complete requires but they're so critical you couldn't take the risk of trying to re-use them.

    You can add in to that the fact that technology marches on quite quickly, so when the time comes to make a buying decision for a new project, do you:
    a) Buy new, with something that's up to date and can be bespoke designed from scratch for the job
    b) Spend about the same money buying something old and refitting it with all the usual difficulties you would expect from a refurbishment job

    No-brainer really, even though it seems wasteful.

    The TBM industry is less wasteful than you would assume as most machines are bought from the manufacturer with a guaranteed buyback. You pay the manufacturer (about $10m in today's prices) to design, manufacture, test, ship, erect and commission the TBM (frankly compared to the amount of construction work you get for the same sort of sum I think that's a bargain, there's a massive amount of R&D, metal and hi-tech systems and 12 months' hard work for that), and he agrees to buy what's left of it back for about 10-15% of the purchase sum at the end of the job.

    He'll then strip the TBM back in his works, reusing all the systems that can be re-used (as per the above reply, things like back up gantries and back up systems – grouting system, ventilation system, lube system etc – are the easiest to do this with) and scrap the rest, but of course scrap steel gets re-used and made into something else afterwards. So it's not like the machine is going to landfill or anything

  54. QPP says:

    >That said, you seem to be suggesting that removal is difficult because a TBM is too big to fit inside the tunnel it makes.<

    The cutter head and shield is too big to get back down the hole once the lining has been erected behind it, yes. So you have to take it apart and take it back in bits. It wouldn't be so hard if you could get lifting gear in to do it in big bits but of course, as it's a confined space, you can't. So you have to break it down into pretty small pieces to remove it.

  55. QPP says:

    @Joni:

    >>News just at hand about the lack of seating on the Inner West line–will this be the NWRL?<1000 pax) of long length (6-8 cars +), requiring a separate right of way, with infrequent stops (>1-2 km intervals) and with vehicles of such a weight and travelling at such a speed as to make operating via simple/line of sight signalling systems impossible

    Contrast this with light rail, vehicles of capacity about 250 max, 2 cars long, travelling at low speeds and stopping frequently, to the point where they can be operated in shared spaces and/or with simple signalling/train control systems

    It seems to be a very Sydneyside thing that sees only double decker trains as being “true” heavy rail.

    Disclaimer: Given my comments on this blog I should perhaps state my position on the NWRL operational mode. I don’t think it is necessarily the optimal system, and starting from a blank sheet of paper it’s probably not the one you’d design. However, we are not starting from a blank sheet of paper and I understand why the government is doing what it is. I support the separation of the lines (from the rest of the network) and it being run as a separate system more than I do the size/shape of the rolling stock. IMO one of the biggest problems with the legacy network is the concentration of it – both in lines into the CBD, and in train control with everything being reliant on a pretty creaky central control system, so one major problem on the network has the power to affect a large part of the network. In that respect I don’t agree with the public perception that “flexibility” and “integration” are good things, I think a future state where we have a more diversified and interconnected (rather than integrated) network would be better. In that respect I get why the govt has been pushing the single deck thing so hard – I think it forces future governments to bite the bullet and push through a second harbour crossing and then extend the metro network onwards rather than procrastinate as they have done for 20 years

  56. QPP says:

    @Joni:

    >>News just at hand about the lack of seating on the Inner West line–will this be the NWRL?<1000 pax) of long length (6-8 cars +), requiring a separate right of way, with infrequent stops (>1-2 km intervals) and with vehicles of such a weight and travelling at such a speed as to make operating via simple/line of sight signalling systems impossible

    Contrast this with light rail, vehicles of capacity about 250 max, 2 cars long, travelling at low speeds and stopping frequently, to the point where they can be operated in shared spaces and/or with simple signalling/train control systems

    It seems to be a very Sydneyside thing that sees only double decker trains as being “true” heavy rail.

  57. QPP says:

    Weird. Please ignore the above post, I don’t know what happened here. What I tried to post was this:

    @Joni:

    >>News just at hand about the lack of seating on the Inner West line–will this be the NWRL?<1000 pax) of long length (6-8 cars +), requiring a separate right of way, with infrequent stops (>1-2 km intervals) and with vehicles of such a weight and travelling at such a speed as to make operating via simple/line of sight signalling systems impossible

    Contrast this with light rail, vehicles of capacity about 250 max, 2 cars long, travelling at low speeds and stopping frequently, to the point where they can be operated in shared spaces and/or with simple signalling/train control systems

    It seems to be a very Sydneyside thing that sees only double decker trains as being “true” heavy rail.

  58. QPP says:

    I give up!

  59. Ray says:

    The NWRL is now so far advanced with contracts in place that I don’t think there is any prospect of changing the tunnel configuration to accommodate double deck trains. For better or for worse, we’re stuck with it. QPP has already concisely demonstrated the impracticability of modifying the TBMs, which will be in place, to bore a larger diameter tunnel.

    The only way out of this mess, as Simon suggested, is to make the single deck rapid transit trains compatible with the existing network, allowing them to operate side by side with the double deck trains (which was the original intent within the transport bureaucracy). This could still be possible. Whilst the NWRL is proposed as an automated, driverless system, there should be no impediment to it being integrated with the existing network with manual control beyond the limits of the automated sector. Although it’s not ideal, it would at least maintain an integrated network with a mix of single and double deck operation.

    One question which I would like to be answered is, can anyone provide an example of where a legacy suburban rail system has been successfully converted into a stand alone pseudo metro/rapid transit system?

  60. JC says:

    One question which I would like to be answered is, can anyone provide an example of where a legacy suburban rail system has been successfully converted into a stand alone pseudo metro/rapid transit system?

    The Paris RER is an example that contributors here seem to like to quote.The Newcastle (UK) Metro is also an example – albeit on a more modest scale and which trains that are actually LRVs. (Incidentally a model that could be considered seriously for Sydney)

  61. MrV says:

    @Ray
    Why do you place value on having trains compatible with the existing network? I think trying to mix differing rolling stock on the same line and having the entire network integrated is what is causing the issues! Look at the speed of S/K sets v Waratah when in the city circle (I’ve seen ships get off the line faster than these units). Also when the lines are seperate there can be no confusion about where the train actually goes!

    A totally seperate line that is automated will be far and away superior. And it won’t come to a grinding halt when some control center at Strathfield controlling the majority of the network is struck by lighting, fire drill, or controllers take a 10min break to celebrate Cheryls 50th.

    @ Everyone else

    As far as capacity for single deck goes. The CAF Series 8400 for example has a capacity (6 car set) of 1200 with approx 160 seated (107m train length).
    Cost per train was ~8-10 million Euro.

    Compares favourably to A-Set 163m for 8 car train.
    Cost per train was ~34Million AUD. (NSW Audit figures)

    Seats but at what price?

    I like the idea of the full boa layout. Doors between carriages are such a waste of space, and also money in terms of additional construction expense and maintenance issues.
    Remember how poor cost recovery is in Sydney.
    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2013/02/21/do-public-transport-fares-cost-too-much/

  62. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > can anyone provide an example of where a legacy suburban rail system has been successfully
    > converted into a stand alone pseudo metro/rapid transit system?
    Closest I can come up with is Sydney, 1923.

  63. michblogs says:

    The people who say “standing is good for you”, are normally the people who sit down to work all day.

  64. michblogs says:

    If you wanted to back away from the single deck plan , after implementation had commenced, one way to do it, would be to run the single deck line only from Rouse Hill to Epping, and make Epping instead of Chatswood the main interchange location.

  65. @Michblogs –

    Given the lack of turnback platforms in the underground part of Epping Station (which as only 2 platforms, compared to 4 at Chatswood), how can you prevent the single deck trains from blocking the double deck ones from getting through?

  66. Ray says:

    @JC –

    The Paris RER isn’t exactly the sort of network I was thinking of. Whilst it does operate a continuous suburban service through central Paris, just as Sydney’s suburban rail network does, none of its network has been taken over and converted to exclusive metro operation like the separate Paris Metro.

    @TTR –

    Good one TTR. This is a very valid point, which most so called experts continually overlook. Sydney, thanks to Bradfield, was decades ahead of every other major world city, with a hybrid combined suburban and inner city metro system, avoiding the need to change modes to reach the centre of the city, just as the Paris RER does. It is still as relevant today as it was back in the 1920s. There’s no need to change anything. The Paris RER is as close as you can get to the current Sydney Trains network and that is the model on which Sydney should follow, or should I say continue to lead.

    The MTR which operates Hong Kong’s metro system (as well as Melbourne’s suburban system) has had a disproportionate influence on the future direction of Sydney’s rail network and they obviously have a vested interest in promoting their concept of how the network should develop. You can’t compare Hong Kong with Sydney. Hong Kong has a population of 6-7 million in an area the size of inner Sydney. Hong Kong’s MTR is a new metro system servicing a high density inner city area. Singapore’s metro system is the same. Neither has substantial legacy suburban rail operations. These are the last examples on which to base Sydney’s future rail network.

    Can anyone else offer an example of where part or whole of a suburban rail system has been bastardised to create a separate stand alone pseudo metro system? I doubt if there are any.

  67. Tandem Train Rider says:

    @Ray – From what I’ve read, Bradfield was heavily influenced by the Nth American transit systems.

    His goal was not unlike that of the Sydney’s Rail Future project: he wanted to create a new largely isolated system “rapid transit” type system from a legacy suburban (steam in Bradfield’s case) system – with a different loading gauge no less. The parallels are eerily similar.

  68. rails says:

    Ray,

    You clearly didn’t pay much attention to my post. I compared the train numbers from the various options presented by the Government for paths (so the NWRL in either form, the Northern Beaches line, MREP with upper Northern line, etc) this included the train details of existing rolling stock and what TNSW said they will be providing.

    However I also showed the exact numbers if running both lines completely in each form for the direct comparison first up based on the maximum tph we KNOW can be run. Sure you can say you can run 26 tph DD or I could say you could run 40 tph SD but that is not the numbers confirmed for these options.

    In the first option I chose 6 tph DD and 12 tph SD because that was the option before the Government with the space left on the existing North Shore corridor, I even made the point of mentioning that the DD ran all the way to the CBD and the SD did not.

    You may believe they can get 26tph DD through a new tunnel under the harbour and through the CBD (basically your plan is MREP which is what I compared with) but that is not what TNSW seems to think and I don’t think you can do it either, especially running it in Cityrail guise with current work practices, rolling stock and the planned station locations and configurations for the two reserved corridors but you’re entitled to that opinion.

    In the end the numbers are what they are so I am not sure why people would doubt them unless they have their own barrow to push (which is most posters on here…). You can hypothesize that they Government won’t deliver what say they will and you may be right but I used the numbers they provided and put them forward, simple stuff.

  69. rails says:

    Ray, you also don’t seem to understand (or at least acknowledge) is that Sydney is hybrid rail system, its not just a suburban system like you seem to claim because clearly the suburban function is what matters to you. Most cities have a three tier system with a Metro, Suburban and Interurban component, that is what they are trying to give Sydney as well and I support that.

  70. Simon says:

    MrV, I also see significant value in keeping a Cityrail format ECRL. Without that, to fully utilise the existing North Shore Line, you’d need an all stopping service all the way to Hornsby. That wouldn’t allow Coast via Shore through – they’d need to go around via Strathfield. Of course, it is unlikely that the demand will rise to that level at least in my lifetime. On any level though, the existing route will be underutilised with the ECRL conversion.

    Sending the Upper Northern Line trains via Strathfield will bring those tracks closer to capacity. There isn’t that much room for growth there. Ultimately, this plan will bring forth the need for additional trackage between Parramatta and the city. The second harbour crossing will compete for funding with this need.

    It will be pretty inconvenient to get between Cheltenham and St Leonards, for example.

    Including the quad to St Leonards from day 1 would help with the loading concerns. I personally think that the loading concerns aren’t really that valid because it is unlikely that significantly more people will use the NWRL than used the upper northern line in the past.

  71. MrV says:

    @Simon,

    I think I mentioned it on another post, my preferred option by far is to complete the NWRL to Epping as currently planned. Have Epping as an interchange with the DD trains and then continue the metro line based on the old ANZAC line proposal to the city.
    Converting the ECRL is a waste of money, and nobody seems to cite a good example of anyone doing this, furthermore it creates the issues at Chatswood and really is only half a plan without a second harbour crossing
    A new metro line using the ANZAC corridor (or a modification of it) would increase the network options for everyone in Sydney, not just those in the North. Furthermore it can be opened in stages as it makes its way nearer to the city. This would would by far reduce the network disruption that is going to occur with the ECRL proposal and allow it to start revenue service earlier.

  72. Simon says:

    But that would require additional platforms at Epping, which aren’t planned. As pointed out by Bambul (I think).

  73. Ray says:

    The original North West Metro proposal had planned new underground platforms at Epping on the western side of Beecroft Rd as part of the redevelopment of the Epping Town Centre, with connecting pedestrian links under Beecroft Rd to the existing station. The line was not intended to link directly with the ECRL, as the whole concept was to be a completely segregated network.

    In fact, this section of the North West Metro from Epping to Rouse Hill was that which had previously received Planning Department approval and which the Coalition government relied upon to develop its current proposal for the NWRL. However, that plan was modified by connecting the NWRL instead directly to the ECRL. The narrower tunnels came later out of left field. Although an overwhelming number of submissions during the subsequent Environmental Assessment process took issue with the narrower tunnel configuration, the government completely ignored them as they were obviously determined to push ahead regardless.

    Bambul has previously posted a link to the Draft North West Metro Preliminary Environmental Assessment, which details the station layout at Epping, under the heading “NW Metro, NWRL, 2nd Harbour Crossing discussion” (Nov 4, 2013).

  74. QPP says:

    >>Can anyone else offer an example of where part or whole of a suburban rail system has been bastardised to create a separate stand alone pseudo metro system? I doubt if there are any.<<

    In London, the East London Line (converted late 90s to 2005 ish) has a few of those characteristics

    Thameslink (in the final stages of conversion) and Crossrail (about half way through, the above ground bits from Maidenhead to Paddington and from Liverpool St to Shenfield) both have even more I think. Thameslink possibly the closest I can come up with.

    But then, that's probably only because London is the city whose PT system I know best

  75. Ray says:

    QPP, to the best of my knowledge, the examples you have quoted are still essentially an extension of the overground (suburban) rail system through London’s city centre, something which Sydney achieved in the 1920s. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it remains integrated with the rest of the overground network, which Sydney’s proposed rapid transit system would not. The difference is that London, unlike Sydney, already has a separate underground system servicing inner London, which has no direct connection with the overground apart from interchange stations. They’re not an example of confiscating parts of an existing suburban network to create a segregated pseudo rapid transit/metro system. Any other suggestions?

    Hypothetically speaking, IMO, the best outcome for Sydney would be to construct the NWRL as an extension of the ECRL with integrated double deck operation, avoiding the disruptive conversion of the latter to rapid transit operation. Having regard to the limitation of pathways on the North Shore Lines to the CBD, the NWRL could have a minimum of 6 tph in the peak through to the CBD (Upper Northern Line redirected to the city via Strathfield) with additional services terminating at Chatswood, pending future extension under the harbour to the CBD.

    Whilst I liked the concept of the North West Metro, I have some reservations about its extension beyond Epping to what is a low density outer suburban area, which is not what could be regarded as a typical rapid transit/metro catchment area. Although obviously considerably more expensive, I would like to see the southern half of the North West Metro from Epping to St James along the Victoria Rd corridor constructed before a second harbour crossing from the North Shore to the CBD as the genesis for a segregated metro system which could initially be extended to the south eastern suburbs, basically mirroring the original Anzac Line concept.

  76. QPP says:

    >>Although obviously considerably more expensive, I would like to see the southern half of the North West Metro from Epping to St James along the Victoria Rd corridor constructed before a second harbour crossing from the North Shore to the CBD as the genesis for a segregated metro system which could initially be extended to the south eastern suburbs, basically mirroring the original Anzac Line concept.<<

    No argument from me on that score Ray. I don't think CBD/NW Metro was perfect, but it was better than the current NWRL config, and had the huge advantage of opening another corridor into the CBD for transport

    I agree metro probably isn't best suited to the long distance low density suburbs out Rouse Hill way. However suburban DD isn't best suited to a lot of the more inner journeys it is used for either – as earlier, if you were starting from a blank sheet of paper you wouldn't design it like this, but we are where we are.

    That's why I generally support the NWRL config, despite some reservations. I think it is important to open up (albeit in the future, but at least the config means future govts have less option to do nothing) another corridor into the CBD, and it's important to get people used to the concept of separate interconnecting systems rather than get obsessed with everything having to be integrated, as this exacerbates some of the existing problems

    I would be much happier if the government of 10 years ago had not lost courage with the original Anzac Line/NW Metro proposals, and carried it through. That decision to cancel was incredibly costly – wasted 100s of $ms, put the development of the rail system 5-10 years back, failed to provide another corridor into the CBD, and lost an opportunity to introduce Metro on a route that actually suited it a lot better than the NWRL.

  77. Simon says:

    On the NW Metro, I never really understood why this was scaled back. Perhaps because it wasn’t popularly supported. I did hate the longitudinal seating aspect.

  78. rails says:

    The NWRL Metro via Rozelle had a heap of issues I’ve mentioned on here before, it was incredibly expensive with all those water crossings, it dumped around 40- 50% (depending on who you believe) of its passengers at Epping to use the ECRL which was limited to between 4 – 6 tph (plus Epping is worse to Interchange than Chatswood), the actual passenger numbers on that path did not even warrant the capacity of a Metro line or a Heavy Rail line and it was using smaller 5 car trains (with longitudinal seating a possibility) and these trains could not be extended based on the selected station locations). So how can that solution be better for the NWRL based on the arguments put forward here? Other than the fact that it protected the upper Northern line…

    The ECRL is wasted as is, why leave it that way when they are seriously increasing residential and commercial density here (about to take over North Sydney as having the most office space after the CBD). The CBD/ Lower North Shore/ ECRL need a Metro style line and this is the best chance of getting it. I see the NWRL made the news again for getting more density as I mentioned on RP many times:

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/brad-hazzard-expected-to-reveal-highrise-plans-for-north-west-rail-link-20140407-3694h.html

    I also note that the tph discussion was the basis of a recent article, although they were less generous than what I put forward above having only 4 tph to the CBD from the NWRL:

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/the-hills/metrostyle-trains-will-move-more-people-on-the-north-west-rail-link/story-fngr8i1f-1226872100601

  79. Ray says:

    Rails, if you have really been sucked in believing the political spin being put out by this government trying to justify their rapid transit plan for the NWRL , then you must believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

    The thing that really sticks in my craw is the secretiveness surrounding the whole process. It took a challenge by the Sydney Morning Herald to the Supreme Court to force the government under FOI to release reports with regard to overcrowding issues with the interchange at Chatswood Station. So far, there is no detailed publically released information to substantiate the claim that single deck trains carry more passengers than double deck, other than a sweeping statement that single deck carry 1300 in total and double deck 1200, which really stretches credulity.

    The North West Rail Link Overview Report released with great fanfare for community consultation by the newly elected Liberal Government in July 2011 proposed the link as a double deck operation integrated with the existing (then) CityRail network. There wasn’t the slightest hint that it would be turned into a rapid transit shuttle service from the North West to Chatswood. Yet, this is what mysteriously emerged out of left field, when the government’s submission to Infrastructure Australia to transfer funding from the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link, promised by the then Gillard Government, was rejected. No consultation, just an edict that this is the way it’s going to be. The whole community consultation process for what was proposed initially was a farce and bore no resemblance to what eventuated. The smaller tunnel diameter and steeper gradient also subsequently slipped in without any consultation. If the government was so confident that it had adopted the right strategy for the NWRL, why has it resisted calls for it to be more transparent and release reports supposedly justifying their position, particularly in privatising the project? I have been around politics for long enough now to smell a rat.

    I’m fully aware of the issues with regard to the original North West Metro proposal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they couldn’t be addressed. It was never given a chance for the ramifications to be publically debated to determine one way or the other whether it would be feasible. The now defunct Sydney Metro Authority had subsequently proposed a North West Metro as a future extension of the failed CBD – Rozelle Metro, but with an amended route via Macquarie Park to Epping instead of via Top Ryde and Eastwood, notwithstanding the fact that the earlier Preliminary Environmental Assessment for the North West Metro had favoured the latter route, with their reasoning clearly expressed. I acknowledge that they were proposing shorter 5 car trains, possibly with longditudinal seating, but these are issues which could have been debated and amended. I did after all preface my remarks in stating that my preference was purely hypothetical.

    As for potential patronage along a Victoria Rd corridor, I don’t think you appreciate that there is going be an exponential increase in high density residential development in Eastwood, Top Ryde, Monash Park and Gladesville as well as the already high density areas in Drummoyne, Rozelle and Pyrmont. The Macquarie Park precinct is already well catered for with the ECRL. You say the ECRL is wasted, but I suggest it would be waste of time and expense in closing down a basically brand new rail line for an extended period to convert it to a questionable incompatible rapid transit operation.

  80. JC says:

    “it would be waste of time and expense in closing down a basically brand new rail line for an extended period to convert it”…

    Interesting point – I had (naively) assumed that the line changes would be minimal (same gauge, power supply, signalling etc – possibly installation of platform doors) so it would not need to be closed for long if at all. This opens up a possible new avenue for debate.

  81. Joni says:

    Very well written, Rails.

    Totally agree, the so called “consultation” is the biggest joke ever and a slap in the face for people who genuinely are trying to be involved and make valid suggestions. For example, a few weeks ago there was a “community consultation” session about the work being done at Cheltenham Oval and suddenly we see that the only children’s playground in Cheltenham is now going to be demolished as well as the netball courts ( which we were told about).

    We attended the “consultation” meeting to ask where the replacement playground will be only to be passed from person to person and finally referred to council. Council of course blames the NWRL, the NWRL blames Transport NSW and so on. We’re talking about a $50,000 temporary playground as there is now nowhere else for the kids to play till at least 2019 when they’ve “promised” a replacement playground!

    The consultants who are swarming over the project “consulting” are being paid this amount to fake concern and ignore emails and letters. The conglomerates building this would spend that much on employee toilet paper…why so stingy?

    The way this suddenly redesigned, not-compliant-with-election-promises link has been forced on people without consultation is diabolical.

  82. QPP says:

    @JC

    Pretty sure NWRL is a completely separate automated (or can be automated) train control system, ETCS Level 2 type affair, which means a complete refit of the signalling and train control systems in the tunnel

    Also believe there are platform & OHW alterations required to accommodate the different rolling stock, and as far as I understand it the ventilation and fire safety systems are a refit as well due to different fire strategy/scenarios with different stock, frequencies, operating modes.

    Which just leaves the Perway and traction power supply, I guess

  83. QPP says:

    On a general point re: community consultation, it’s incredibly difficult for governments to do it for major infrastructure projects

    Do it too early and it just becomes a free-for-all in terms of everyone’s idea of what they think the infrastructure should be and do. NWRL is a case in point, trawl through various websites and you’ll get 50 or 60 versions of how it should be done, most of whose proponents are very adamant about why they are right.

    Do it too late and you’re not really consulting on the development at all – just minor mitigation of the impacts or urban design/landscaping impacts.

    Add to that the likelihood that communities most impacted tend to be overwhelmingly anti any development, especially in this city. Or at least those who are anti tend to have a loud voice.

    Was it really an election promise by the LNP to do the NWRL as an integrated DD part of the network? I’m not convinced. It was an election promise to build the NWRL and its operational mode did change some time between late 2011 and mid 2012 to the current plans, I agree.

  84. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > Was it really an election promise by the LNP to do the NWRL as an integrated DD part of the
    > network? I’m not convinced.
    IRRC (an important rider because I’ve neither the inclination nor required determination to find out for sure) was the LNP’s policy was for a *direct* connection to the city, but without specifying a mode.

  85. Simon says:

    Well said Ray.

    wrt the underutilisation of the ECRL, a large part of the problem is buses not feeding rail on the Upper Northern Line. Part of the problem with that is fares. You could easily get to 6tph, perhaps 8tph if that point were sorted. That would be similar to many other lines on the network. Removing the Epping bus overpass also didn’t help – it may have been underutilised, but that was largely because of the fares, and the politics/culture.

    wrt NWRL as double deck, I believe it was implicit but not actually stated. Gladys herself has commented publicly that she expected to build it as double deck but was persuaded otherwise.

  86. Joni says:

    I’m not a fan of Labor but this speech by Penny Sharpe Shadow Minister for Transport cites broken promises re the NWRL. http://pennysharpe.com/topics_interest/nwrl

  87. QPP says:

    Yeah, no offence but I’m not taking the claims made by an opposition pollie as gospel truth that such a commitment was made……

    I don’t think it matters *that much* either way if they did so promise. Personally I think the important part of the commitment was actually building it, but then I guess I would say that as it matches my stance on the matter (ie the fact of a NWRL is more important to me than the mode of it)

  88. QPP says:

    >>IRRC (an important rider because I’ve neither the inclination nor required determination to find out for sure) was the LNP’s policy was for a *direct* connection to the city, but without specifying a mode.<<

    I guess they could argue they are still planning a direct connection to the city, but only once the second harbour crossing is built – see "Sydney's rail future" document

    Dollar to a cent that once the procurement of NWRL is complete, that will be Rodd Staples's next gig, early planning/project development for the next stage…….

  89. michblogs says:

    To facilitate a larger mode share for public transport, it needs to service more places. One of the reasons people don’t use it, is because for so many potential trips, it is not available. Or not available at plausible time and cost.

    That’s why you need more corridors. Not more services on the same corridor.

    The metro should have been built from Epping via Top Ryde and Gladesville to the CBD and Kingsford.

    Spending a billion dollars trashing all the brand new infrastructure of the ECRL is one of the most gratuitous wastes of money that I have ever seen.

  90. michblogs says:

    “Given the lack of turnback platforms in the underground part of Epping Station (which as only 2 platforms, compared to 4 at Chatswood), how can you prevent the single deck trains from blocking the double deck ones from getting through?”

    This is the sort of idiocy which occurs so often. How about… umm…. building two more platforms ?

    People seem to have no sense of proportion when it comes to costs. Some minor obstacle costing 50m or 100m to avoid, becomes “prohibitive”, therefore, you have to spend 6000 million to do the whole project in some other completely different, less useful, way.

    The word “prohibitive” tends to be a giveaway. The person using it tends to either be a moron, or trying to scam you somehow.

  91. rails says:

    Ray, sorry fella, your argument has been far from persuasive, when you rely on an opening like that you are not really making a point. I have not seen any direct challenges to the points I’ve made, just bluster. I’ve said before unlike a lot of posters here i have nothing invested here, I couldn’t give a toss really if the NWRL is SD or DD other than understanding what we need for our city. I have no barrow to push so I can actually assess what is being put forward with an open mind, some others here cant say the same.

    However you re very wrong about the expansion along the Victoria rd corridor, why don’t you go have a look at what is actually happening there, the only tall building proposed for that whole corridor short of Top Ryde has been rejected (the Balmain leagues site that was meant to be on top of the Rozelle Metro station). There is nothing even close to what will be happening along the path of the RTN from North Sydney to Chatswood to Macquarie Park to Rouse Hill. There is no way the existing North Shore/ ECRL will work for what they want along here either.

    The Victoria rd corridor is constrained for major development and even the independent report provided for the proposed CBD Metro to Rozelle that compared all the corridors showed that Victoria rd could not support a Metro line even with development, that is why the previous Government would not release it until forced to do so, because they did not do their homework after they made the announcement and got found out. The line that topped the list for a new Metro rail line based on passenger numbers was actually the Northern Beaches corridor. The NWRL was up there though.

    As for your comments about community consultation? Please, look what happened last time a NSW Government let the local Beecroft/ Cheltenham NIMBYs have their say, no NWRL at all… How about the ECRL? Its just rubbish from people looking after themselves. The Government got this right. One benefit of keeping the same staff in TNSW, they learned a lot over the last 20 years and know who to ignore.

  92. Ray says:

    @ rails. Ho hum!! I don’t give a toss what you think either rails.

  93. Simon says:

    michblogs, a pretty fair suggestion. In fact, it probably isn’t too late to add in two more platforms at Epping but doing so would go against the unstated goal of weakening Sydney Trains.

    I dug up some info on the NW Metro plan, here: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/northwest-metro-rail-disaster/story-e6freuzi-1111117906366

    $12 billion seems like a bargain compared to the $8bn for stage 1 NWRL. It serves far more people, also importantly it serves people who aren’t already using public transport. It’s an even bigger bargain when you add in the 2nd harbour crossing.

    What is with wanting put two more tracks into an already well served corridor when that service already has significant room for growth? The existing tracks would go under utilised for the foreseeable future, one of the main justifications for the ECRL as I recall.

    40-50% changing at Epping? Not unless PT mode share for North Sydney-Macquarie matches the CBD. Even if it happens that way, is it really that much of a problem? The ECRL trains are underutilised now and I wouldn’t mind getting a few more people on them.

    I can remember reading that every car trip that is converted to a PT trip will cost the state $80. I think that’s fantastic if that’s the bar PT projects need to clear. No reason to collect fares any more or wait 15 minutes for a train or bus across most of the network.

  94. Ray says:

    Simon and michblogs, I don’t know whether you saw my earlier post where I mentioned that the original North West Metro proposal provided for 2 additional underground platforms at Epping on the western side of Beecroft Rd with connecting pedestrian links to the existing station.

    Although I still have reservations about the NWRL being a “metro” operation beyond Epping, it now seems that this is so far down the track that it is inevitable. So accepting that the NWRL will be a “metro” operation from at least Cudgegong Rd to Epping, it should still be possible to reinstate the original separate underground platforms at Epping where the line would terminate instead of at Chatswood, leaving the ECRL intact. This was the concept plan previously approved by the Planning Department.

    Passengers from the North West would have the option of interchanging to double deck trains at Epping for a direct service to the city via either the ECRL or the Northern Line via Strathfield. Upper Northern Line services direct to the city via the ECRL would be maintained. Additional services (at least 2 tph initially) could be provided on the ECRL by constructing a turnback facility in the stub tunnels north of Epping Station which are currently intended to connect to the NWRL.

    Although the interchange of passengers at Epping would not be as convenient as the cross platform tranfers at Chatswood, it would avoid any potential overcrowding issues by spreading the passenger flow between the above ground and underground platforms and also avoid the disruptive, costly and unnecessary expense in converting the ECRL for metro operation. The new underground platforms at Epping would act as a temporary terminus for the NWRL pending its future extension further south to the city along the Victoria Rd corridor. The integrity of the Sydney Trains network would also be maintained. The downside is that it’s all a bit back the front, with single deck metro trains servicing the outer suburbs and double deck, the inner suburbs.

    I agree that 40-50% of passengers changing at Epping from the NWRL to the ECRL to access Macquarie Park and North Shore destinations is a bit of a stretch when the overwhelming majority of North West bus services travel direct to the CBD. Even if the current plan for the NWRL comes to fruition, I suspect that many will change at Epping to Northern Line services, where they’ll have a better chance of getting on a connecting train than at Chatswood.

  95. QPP says:

    >>Although I still have reservations about the NWRL being a “metro” operation beyond Epping, it now seems that this is so far down the track that it is inevitable. So accepting that the NWRL will be a “metro” operation from at least Cudgegong Rd to Epping, it should still be possible to reinstate the original separate underground platforms at Epping where the line would terminate instead of at Chatswood, leaving the ECRL intact. This was the concept plan previously approved by the Planning Department.

    Passengers from the North West would have the option of interchanging to double deck trains at Epping for a direct service to the city via either the ECRL or the Northern Line via Strathfield. Upper Northern Line services direct to the city via the ECRL would be maintained. Additional services (at least 2 tph initially) could be provided on the ECRL by constructing a turnback facility in the stub tunnels north of Epping Station which are currently intended to connect to the NWRL.<<

    I think that would be (far) worse than the current plans though. A rapid transit metro service for the outer section through low density areas, then transfer to a DD suburban service for the journey through the inner parts of the city? It would be perverse. More than a "bit" back to front IMO

    Objection to the conversion of the ECRL appears to hinge on two things:
    a) Perceived waste of money as it was only constructed <10 years ago
    b) Loss of direct connection through the ECRL to the city for the Northern Line (although direct connection to Central via Strathfield would still be there)

    On the other hand, the entire metro proposal would appear to fall apart if the ECRL is not converted, as it is supposed to be the first section of a loop across a second harbour crossing and then through the Inner West.

    So again, it's just not going to happen

  96. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > A rapid transit metro service for the outer section through low density areas, then transfer to a DD
    > suburban service for the journey through the inner parts of the city? It would be perverse. More
    > than a “bit” back to front IMO

    The core criticism of the current NWRL plan is it not?

    I find the idea of “needing” another 2 platforms at Epping a bit ridiculous. Epping already has more platforms than Wynyard. If we’re going to build 2 new platforms anywhere they should be at Town Hall.

  97. Simon says:

    Ray, not sure why you want to turn around Macquarie Park trains at Epping? Is that to prevent slowing down interurbans from increased frequency between Epping and Hornsby?

    I love the idea of extra platforms at Epping. Gets around some of the main criticisms of the NWRL. In fact, continuing via the Victoria Rd corridor as planned in the NW Metro would still be a good and seemingly viable option. I’m sure Rails will have some bluster about that though.

  98. QPP says:

    >>The core criticism of the current NWRL plan is it not?<<

    Yes, but it makes it worse, not better. The *long term* plan is, after all, to continue the metro through to the CBD via a second harbour crossing. Just operate it as a Rouse Hill-Epping shuttle and that goes out of the window

    NWRL makes much more sense as part of the long term plan, that's a (large) part of why they are doing what they are, it effectively commits future governments to following through along the general lines of "Sydney's Rail Future".

    I thought that was obvious tbh. You could see it as ensuring long-term commitment, you could see it as a "poison pill" if you're that way inclined but that's clearly why the tunnels are being driven at the diameter they are. Saving money never had anything to do with it, although for some reason this seems to be what the media & public believe?? Odd

  99. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > NWRL makes much more sense as part of the long term plan, that’s a (large) part of why they are
    > doing what they are, it effectively commits future governments to following through along
    > the general lines of “Sydney’s Rail Future”.

    You can believe that, if it gives you comfort.

    I’d suggest the second crossing “is being done” to address the problem of the incompatible format the selection of which was chosen in the first place to (at least in part) avoid the second crossing.

    If the plan is so good, then there is no reason for the poison pill. It’s only there because they know the plan dones’t make sense. The current plan could be implemented without any additional cost without sacrificing backward compatability should a future government chose to head in that direction.

  100. QPP says:

    Can’t agree. It’s too many twists and turns down the cynical road.

    The “incompatible format” was chosen to ensure that it makes little sense not to continue expanding that format, of that I am sure (and close enough to the conversation to be sure that was the thinking)

    The plan isn’t brilliant, that is why the “poison pill” is there. But (in the eyes of TNSW planners, and I do hear them and get where they are coming from) it is making the best of a bad job

    Ensuring backward compatibility, given the record of NSW governments, is liable to ensuring they just don’t bother with a second crossing at all. Too big a choice, too much money to spend, too many other distractions to waste the cash on instead of making the strategic choice

  101. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > Ensuring backward compatibility, given the record of NSW governments, is liable to ensuring they
    > just don’t bother with a second crossing at all. Too big a choice, too much money to spend, too
    > many other distractions to waste the cash on instead of making the strategic choice

    Leaving aside the fact that I agree with them (ie too much money, too big a choice for second crossing), does anyone really believe NWRL tunnel size is going to make a difference when that decision gets made?

    I’d suggest the new format is going to compromise the benefits of a second crossing and consequently greatly decrease the chances of it getting funded.

    If you accept that the new format is more efficient than the old format – as many here and in the government believe (I’m clearly not one of them) – then the rational thing to do is convert sector 3 to the new format and thus defer for another decade (or ten) the second crossing.

    Ultimately I think that’s the road we’re heading down, intentionally or otherwise. The fact is a near-all-standing 3 door metro is barely less efficient than the current DD format, and there are substantial benefits in integrating NWRL and North Shore operations – probably more than whatever inefficiencies the metro brings.

    At some point someone is going to have to chose between $2bil on a larger SD fleet (and we’ll need to replace the Ts by then anyway) or $20bil on a new cross harbour tunnel that won’t be finished until the opposition are back in power again, I have a pretty fair idea which way that decision will fall.

  102. Ray says:

    QPP, there is really little difference in a NWRL metro terminating at either Epping or Chatswood in terms of operating in a low density area. The journey to the city still has to be completed by double deck train through the higher density inner city area. Although I don’t agree with the concept of metro style trains servicing low density outer suburban areas, I’m resigned to the fact that this is probably what’s going to happen. If that’s the case, then I would prefer that it be ultimately extended to the city as a separate network to Sydney Trains along the Victoria Rd corridor without confiscating any of the existing infrastructure including the ECRL. I don’t buy into the arguement that the intent behind the current shuttle service plan is to force a commitment to build a future 2nd harbour crossing and extend it to sections of the current network. It’s a pretty preposterous idea. If the NWRL metro initially terminated at Epping (at separate underground platforms), it could still be extended to the city via the Victoria Rd corridor and beyond to create a new metro network.

    In answer to Simon’s query, my idea behind turning around some trains (DD) on the ECRL at Epping is to provide additional services for those passengers transferring from the NWRL. The Upper Northern Line from Hornsby to Epping is unlikely to warrant any more than 4 tph in the peak, which would continue to run direct to the city via the ECRL. With the spare capacity available on the North Shore Line, there could be at least 6 tph from Epping to the city via the ECRL, which would require the additional trains to start from Epping. It wouldn’t be possible to terminate and turn around these additional trains at the Epping underground platforms without blocking the paths of the trains to and from the Upper Northern Line. Hence my suggestion to construct a turnback facility in the unused stub tunnels. The options for those transferring from the NWRL metro trains at Epping would be to at least 6 tph (2 starting empty) via the ECRL direct to the city and up to 8 empty tph starting from Epping to the city via Strathfield (4 tph terminating at Central). I don’t think the NWRL metro in it’s initial stage to Epping would warrant any more than 8 tph. The option would always be there to extend it towards the city in the future.

  103. rails says:

    Strange comments on here, comparing the $12b for the NW Metro in 2008 dollars to the $8.2 b for the NWRL in 2013 money, then expecting that $12b figure to be accurate! When they actually did some real work instead of just announcing something the CBD metro from Central to Rozelle went from a claimed $2b to $4.7b to $7.2b in (2009 dollars), so that is just one component of the line, no connection from Rozelle to Epping (with long more water crossings) and no NWRL component, the cost for the NWRL part would be similar so the argument is that you can build the rest of the line for about $4b? Yeah ok… Top posting there.

    People are completely ignoring the facts about what the RTN network is intended to be (but happy to believe that projects that never even got off the ground before being scrapped are completely viable and cheap) no consideration of where the current and future development will actually be, what is needed for the network long term and where passengers actually want to go,its all about the bloody upper Northern line, one of the least utilised lines on the network, its ridiculous.

    The figures are available but apparently posters on here and the Beecroft NIMBYs know better, its all just a conspiracy, well in reality very little posted here is based on facts, its all just a whinge from people with selfish motives or who want to protect the legacy of Railcorp and I feel sorry for the posters who actually have some idea what they are talking about and are trying to properly contribute and the blog owner who is a really knowledgeable person.

  104. SimonL says:

    I agree with Rails on one thing. The line may not have been built for $12bn. The inflation point is not worth worrying about though.

  105. Ray says:

    @TTR. As I was saying!

  106. rails says:

    Inflation between 2008 and 2013 is just under 13%, Calculate how that affects $7.2b, or $12b etc.

    There are some striking inaccuracies in that “fact check” (not surprising considering who they used for advice) but I couldn’t be bothered raising them with the ABC however a few others have contacted them with no response. TBH I don’t really care any more, lol.

  107. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > here are some striking inaccuracies in that “fact check” (not surprising considering who they used
    > for advice)

    Of all the stupid partisan pieces of BS you’ve come up with in the past few years Rails this one takes the biscuit. Whatever flaws there might be in the ABC report, it’s 1000 times more accurate than the unsubstantiated BS you endlessly tout on this and every other forum you attend. The ABC report was primarily (though corroborrated by numerous experts more knowledgable than anyone here) based on the Neil Douglas’ leaked report to the NSW government which brought to their attention – if not your’s – some inconvenient truths.

  108. SimonL says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that doesn’t take Rails seriously.

  109. rails says:

    Yawn, another rant. I seem to have hit a raw nerve here TTR, I am starting to wonder who DJF01 is actually. I have to laugh at the fact you think what I post is unsubstantiated when I read the drivel posted here. I go out of my way to back what I say up with facts (even if you guys dont believe the source) which is not something that people here can claim. Anyway I repeat what I said above, I really don’t care anymore. It will end up how it ends up and I wont lose any sleep over what you or Simonl think of me, lol.

  110. Joni says:

    I think everyone here has a valid point and we can agree to disagree with each other and not be immature about it.The NIMBY tag that some posters are using possibly aimed at me is meaningless because everyone is a NIMBY when something they feel strongly about in their local area is being ruined.

    On another point, now that BOF has resigned, what if Gladys takes the role, and the new Transport Minister doesn’t like the way the NWRL is headed and makes some changes??
    One can only hope…

  111. QPP says:

    Don’t waste your time hoping Joni – it’s still way too late

    Not conceivable that a Premier Gladys would allow any successor at Transport to turn that on its head either, is it? You’re getting a single deck NWRL that goes through to Chatswood

  112. Joni says:

    Stranger things have happened, QPP. I’ve had experiences where we were told “something was now final and no further negotiation or input was to be considered” and then a week later it all changed! I’m always optimistic :-)

  113. QPP says:

    Yeah, I bet those things didn’t come with a 9 figure price tag though…….just sayin’. Regardless of which politician is in nominal charge, it’s the same TNSW staff. Plus the same commercial and operational logic, and most importantly (in terms of change) the same contractual constraints. Plus the same legacy dread fear of being seen to do “another CBD Metro” and pour a ton of money down the drain for no result…….

  114. Joni says:

    You have to ask in the first place WHY are transport costs in NSW so much higher than anywhere else in Australia and Internationally ?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0kIYfx0fRI

  115. QPP says:

    I can assure you it’s not through graft or payoffs to the companies that design & build the infrastructure. Most of them struggle to make any sort of return on rail projects

  116. TandemTrainRider says:

    > Yeah, I bet those things didn’t come with a 9 figure price tag though…….just sayin’. Regardless
    > of which politician is in nominal charge, it’s the same TNSW staff. Plus the same commercial
    > and operational logic, and most importantly (in terms of change) the same contractual
    > constraints. Plus the same legacy dread fear of being seen to do “another CBD Metro” and pour
    > a ton of money down the drain for no result…….

    The difference is whoever the new transport minister is *may* envisage themselves still in politics when the NWRL comes on steam. Premier Gladys might also welcome the fig leaf toansport. fix her screwup. She was really only warming the bench there. If there is a new transport minister, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the cleaners put through the DoT in the way it didn’t happen after the change of government.

    But I think it’s more likely Baird will be the next premier and Gladys will keep on warming the bench in Transport. We’ll find out tomorrow.

  117. QPP says:

    >>The difference is whoever the new transport minister is *may* envisage themselves still in politics when the NWRL comes on steam<<

    The problem with that analysis is simply the way you're so convinced it will be seen as a huge white elephant. Betcha it won't. It will just be another train line. For all the bitching up front most people will much prefer to have it than have nothing. Way of the world

  118. Ray says:

    I agree with TTR that the newly elected Coalition Government in 2011 should have put the cleaners through the DoT/Transport NSW to get a fresh perspective on the future direction of transport planning, particularly rail infrastructure, rather than virtually continuing with the same agenda as the entrenched bureaucrats under the previous Labor government. I am still perplexed why they didn’t do this. Perhaps it’s got something to do with former Premier Barry O’Farrell’s cautious approach and reluctance to upset the status quo.

    Now that Mike Baird is the new Premier and Gladys Berejiklian, the Liberal Party (not government) Deputy, it will be interesting to see if there is any change in direction in Transport policy, specifically with regard to the NWRL. Gladys will most likely retain the Transport portfolio, but new dynamics could come into play with a new Premier.

    Mike Baird is clearly in favour of privatisation and the concept of a privatised NWRL is unlikely to change. However, unlike BOF, he may realise the political fallout within heartland Liberal seats could be alleviated to a degree if the tunnels were bored to the larger configuration to allow for potential future double deck operation. The additional cost, if any, is inconsequential. This is one of the major criticisms of the current NWRL proposal. The issue of steeper gradients may not be so easily changed, but at least this can be addressed by an engineering solution with more powerful traction motors on future double deck rolling stock.

    It’s a question of whether the TBM’s, now under construction in Europe, could be modified to allow for a larger tunnel diameter, even if this means a delay in starting operation. Once the TBM’s are in the ground, that’s it!

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