Monday: South West Rail Link to open next year
All stations and track on the South West Rail Link (SWRL) have now been completed, with 95% of signals and 80% of overhead wiring installed. The new line, which connects Glenfield to the South West Growth Centre and can be extended to a future airport at Badgerys Creek, is currently 12 months ahead of schedule and will open some time next year. It is also $100m under its $2.1bn budget. However, both the timetable and budget is still well above the original planned $688m cost with a 2012 completion date.
Tuesday: Bus depot sale rumours confirmed
Bus depots at Neutral Bay and Waverly could be up for sale, either as a land sale or by selling the air rights above them. Then Finance Minister (and now incoming Treasurer) Andrew Constance said that “proceeds will be invested back into public transport services and infrastructure” (Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Investors queuing up for sale of prime Neutral Bay bus depot). This follows initial rumours from earlier this month.
Thursday: Opal exands to more buses in Sydney’s East
Five bus routes, 326, 327, 355, 361 and L24, will go-live with Opal over a two-week period from Monday 28 April. Opal enabled buses will have stickers identifying them (see image below). Pensioner Excursion Tickets, which entitle users to unlimited travel for $2.50 will no longer be sold onboard buses from 1 June 2014. However, pensioner Opal cards have not yet been released to the public, nor have concession Opal cards. Pensioner Opal cards will become available at some point in 2014.
Thursday: Transport Minister talks up light rail and harbour rail crossing
The Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has used the strong increase in demand for the Inner West light rail extension to Dulwich Hill to predict that the CBD and South East Light Rail may struggle to meet demand when it opens in 2019. The light rail line saw a 30% increase in patronage in the week following the opening of the extension. The comments were made in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald in which she also noted her intention to begin the 2nd Harbour Rail Crossing project before the North West Rail Link is completed in 2019 and that the main beneficiaries of a Harbour Crossing will be user of existing lines due to the increased CBD capacity that it will provide. Many lines currently run at below their maximum capacity due to constraints in the network once trains reach the CBD.
Saturday: Transport Sydney receives its 2,000th comment
First time commenter AK left the 2,000th comment on this blog when posting in the comments section of the Badgerys Creek infrastructure and noise impacts post. He raised concern about aircraft noise and whether there is enough demand from Western Sydney to warrant an airport at Badgerys Creek.