This week in transport (20 April 2014)

Posted: April 20, 2014 in Transport
Tags: , , , , , ,

Monday: Opal rolled out to 24 bus routes on Upper North Shore

Opal cards can now be used on 24 bus routes operating in the Kuring-gai and Hornsby region. These include all routes between 556 and 599. It can also be used on the 333 bus route between the Sydney CBD and Bondi Beach, as well as all trains and ferries. The next buses to become Opal ready are expected to be in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, with Opal readers to be rolled out to all buses by the end of 2014. Light rail is to become Opal ready in 2015.

Wednesday: Road upgrades and new rail line for Badgerys Creek Airport

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced $3.5bn in funding for roads around the proposed site of Badgery’s Creek Airport, with $2.9bn to be provided by the Commonwealth and $600m by NSW. A corridor for extending the current South West Rail Link through to the airport and then up to the Western Line will also be preserved, including a tunnel and cavity for a station under the airport runway. While the roads are mostly funded by the Commonwealth and expected to be completed in time for the airport’s opening in the middle of next decade, the rail line is not expected to be opened until after the airport is completed and will have to be funded entirely by the NSW Government.

3 major road improvements - The Northern Road, Bringelly Road, and a motorway along Elizabeth Drive - as well as a rail line from Leppington through the airport and through to the Western Line, are planned to support an airport at Badgerys Creek. Click to enlarge - the image is quite large. (Source: Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.)

3 major road improvements – The Northern Road, Bringelly Road, and a motorway along Elizabeth Drive – as well as a rail line from Leppington through the airport and through to the Western Line, are planned to support an airport at Badgerys Creek. Click to enlarge – the image is quite large. (Source: Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.)

Thursday: Gladys Berejiklian to stay on as Transport Minister

The Premier Barry O’Farrell’s surprise resignation on Wednesday has resulted in the Treasurer Mike Baird replacing him as Premier. The Transport Mininster Gladys Berejiklian becomes Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, but retains the Transport portfolio. There was speculation that she may have made a run for the top job or given the Treasurer’s position.

The new Premier Mr Baird has been a strong supporter of the state’s “asset recycling” policy, where state owned assets are sold off in order to fund the construction of new assets. It is speculated that the sale of the state’s electricity poles and wires could raise as much as $30bn in proceeds that could fund infrastructure projects like the North West Rail Link, Second Harbour Crossing, and light rail from Parramatta to Macquarie Park or Castle Hill, but the outgoing Premier Mr O’Farrell had been uncomittal about taking privatisation of the poles and wires to the next state election.

Thursday: Final Waratah train delivered to Sydney

The last of the 78 Waratah trains has been delivered to Sydney, almost 3 years since the first one began carrying passengers and almost 4 years since the first test train arrived. The Waratah trains now make up almost half the Sydney Trains fleet, operating on all lines except for T4 (Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra) and T6 (Carlingford).

Friday: Randwick Council to provide $68m in funding for light rail

Randwick City Council has announced its intention to provide $68m over 5 years for the CBD and South East Light Rail project. It is also pushing for the line to be extended to Maroubra Junction, from the current terminus in Kingsford, as well as for additional new parking spaces to replace those that will be lost as part of the project. The light rail line has previously received a pledge of $220m in funding from Sydney City Council. The project is estimated to cost $1.6bn and will be completed by 2019/20.

 

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Comments
  1. Alex says:

    The upgrades to The Northern Road, Bringelly Road and Elizabeth Drive may have some interesting implications for traffic levels and therefore toll collection on the southern half of the M7.

    I hadn’t realised that the Northern Road was going to have so much spent on it. There could be considerable movement of traffic going West to South and vice versa to the new links to miss either part of the M7 by taking Elizabeth Drive, or to miss it entirely by taking The Northern Road and Bringelly Road or going all the way on The Northern Road.

    It’s interesting also that the potential rail corridor is shown as T intersection, with provision for the line extending from the SWRL to head south as well as north. I doubt that this would be built any time soon but it does illustrate that one of the issues with the SW Growth Centre will be the need for internal transport linkages between Leppington as the rail terminus, the residential areas in the south and the airport and the industrial areas in the north-west.

    The north-south dichotomy in the planning of the growth centre I think was reinforced by the logic of concentrating most of the industrial land in the north west to serve a potential airport and to act as a noise buffer zone between the airport and the residential areas.

    Without the airport the industrial lands might have been a bit more dispersed and it probably would have made more sense for any extension of the SWRL to head south. Now the airport is likely to be built the priority will be for it to go northwest – and despite the lines on the map I don’t think a southern extension is likely any time soon.

    Finally, regarding the eastern suburbs light rail: I hesitate to say anything in case I reopen the argument regarding whether it should be built or not, but if it is going ahead there does seem to be a good case to extend it to Maroubra Junction both as a destination in its own right and also to provide a second location for a bus-LR interchange.

  2. Ray says:

    It’s interesting to note that the north/south rail corridor appears to connect with the disused Dunheved industrial rail line at St Marys, which presumably would ultimately connect with the North West Rail Link through Marsden Park to Rouse Hill. However, there will obviously have to be further investigation to establish where an interchange station between the incompatible heavy rail and NWRL rapid transit systems will be located. The airport itself is probably the most logical location.

    Another alternative (which I am not necessarily advocating) would be to convert the South West Rail Link and its extension to the new airport to rapid transit operation along with the East Hills Line Express tracks extended from Revesby to Glenfield, which in turn would connect with the proposed rapid transit line to Hurstville at Wolli Creek. That would then create a continuous rapid transit orbital loop from a new CBD link and cross harbour tunnel via the NWRL and the Badgerys Creek airport to the SWRL. Sydney Trains’ services from Campbelltown to the city would still be maintained via the centre track pair on the East Hills Line via the Sydney Airport Rail Link. Although this isn’t my preferred option (I’d still prefer it being integrated with the current Sydney Trains’ network), if the current plan for the NWRL proceeds, which appears to be inevitable, then I would rather see a continuous link without any interchange being required, despite the obviously greater cost. This would also have an impact on the direct rail connection between Badgerys Creek and Sydney Airports, so not ideal.

    I am somewhat puzzled by the rail corridor extension south to Narellan, where there is no existing rail line and it’s still a fair distance to the South Line at Campbelltown. Perhaps their thinking is to link up with the abandoned rail corridor between Camden and Campbelltown.

  3. michblogs says:

    One would think that a cavity for a station would be more useful under the terminal, than under the runway. I certainly would not be keen on dragging my stuff up to a km from the terminal to the runway, or a station underneath it.

  4. michblogs says:

    The Camden-Campbelltown railway no longer exists as a corridor that can be re-used.

  5. > I am somewhat puzzled by the rail corridor extension south to Narellan, where there is no existing
    > rail line and it’s still a fair distance to the South Line at Campbelltown. Perhaps their thinking is to
    > link up with the abandoned rail corridor between Camden and Campbelltown.

  6. Tandem Train Rider says:

    I agree. Hard to see who would use such a line and why. I guess it’s a bit like the PRL, build the second crossing west, in this case west of Paramatta, to get people to Macquarie Park and North Sydney from the Campbelltown region.

    Personally, I think they need to be thinking longer term, and reserving a corridor south west to the Napean River, to cater for the time it’s inevitably developed as more suburbia.

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