This week in transport (11 May 2014)

Posted: May 11, 2014 in Transport
Tags: , , , ,

Monday: $100m upgrade of Wynyard Station

Wynyard Station is to receive a $100m upgrade, with improvements including:

  • An upgrade to the CBD station’s concourse and platforms, with a less cluttered concourse wider ticket gate area making it easier for customers to enter, exit and move around the station.
  • New lighting.
  • New tiling.
  • An overhaul of the retail outlets.
  • A fresh coat of paint and new signage to help customers move around the station easier.
An artists impression of an upgraded Wynyard Station. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

An artists impression of an upgraded Wynyard Station. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

The project comes as work gets underway on an $8 million major refresh to Town Hall Station. Preparations are also underway to install new two new lifts at Circular Quay Station and Museum Station.

Thursday: NSW to get 65 new trains for $2.8bn

The NSW TrainLink electric train fleet is to be replaced by 65 new trains, to be rolled out between 2019 and 2024, at a cost of $2.8bn. This will allow the existing OSCAR trains to replace the non-air conditioned S-Sets on the suburban Sydney Trains fleet, resulting in all passenger trains in NSW being fully air conditioned. S-Sets are currently held in reserve and make up 10% of the Sydney Trains fleet.

Thursday: Additional $2bn support for WestConnex

The Commonwealth Government has approved a $2bn loan for the construction of the WestConnex freeway. It has already committed $1.5bn in funding, with the loan allowing the NSW Government to borrow at the lower interest rate received by the Commonwealth Government. This will allow the M5 East portion of the project to be completed by 2019, the same time as the M4 East portion and 2 years earlier than initially expected.

Do you use public transport near Lilyfield?

UNSW Masters student Robert McKinlay is studying mode choice around the Sydney Light Rail. Part of this project is a commuter survey. If you use public transport in the Lilyfield area, please consider clicking on the link and answering a few questions to help better understand user choice and preferences around transport modes.

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Comments
  1. Alexsg says:

    $100 million is a substantial investment which implies major structural work. I assume this has been driven in large part by the Barangaroo development, but I have to agree that the station needs refurbishing anyway.

    I suppose they will finally replace the wooden escalators to the York Street entrance. I have vivid memories of the excitement of riding these as a young child, my first introduction to an underground railway. And will Wynyard retain its acknowledgement to platforms long gone in the form of the 3-4-5-6 platform numbering?

    More seriously, while the refurbs of Wynyard and Town Hall are obviously required, the pattern of Sydney’s development will continue to consolidate the primary role of just these two stations as the key CBD destinations, with all the implications for peak hour station crowding etc.

    While the long-term answer is probably the second harbour crossing and the associated additional stations, but in the interim I wonder of anyone has looked at the feasibility of putting platforms on both sides of the tracks, similar to some of the underground stations in cities like Munich?

  2. QPP says:

    I actually thought part of the scope of Wynyard Walk was to smarten up the station

    No matter, it’s long overdue. A really grotty relic

  3. MrV says:

    Alexsg,

    I agree the Spanish solution would at least be an interim measure if there is the space, and would allow pedestrian flows to be better managed.The issue of people building up on platforms waiting for trains then wouldn’t impeed people getting off trains.and trying to fight their way to a stairwell.
    Also could look at converting one of the stairs that leads up to North Shore Line platforms to a ramp, which would allow more people per minute on or off the platforms. Hard to know if there is the space however. Shouldn’t be too hard to install more barrier gates in a reconfigured layout either.

  4. Richard Ure says:

    Town Hall and Wynyard get busier and busier while Museum and St James retain their country station feel. Does anyone know where the stations for the new harbour crossing line are going to be squeezed in? Greg Smith, member for Epping, is “confident” that is only ten years away despite the Long Term Plan saying it is more like 20 years. Either way, one hopes someone knows where the stations are planned to be.

  5. QPP says:

    Routing for the Second Harbour Crossing is probably in early planning. I say “probably” because TfNSW is very secretive when it is working on the early stages of schemes. Someone here will know, they may not be able to say, though ;-)

    There is a reserved underground corridor (as in, no deep basements/underground construction permitted) from St Leonards down to the harbour, favourite for the SHC would be overground from Chatswood to St Leonards utilising the space in the existing corridor (that was provided when the ECRL was put in) and then tunnel from there, across the harbour through Circular Quay and then southwards from there.

    I have seen diagrams with a line going Circular Quay-St James – Museum to interconnect with the existing network, which may be an aspiration, don’t know where the planning is for this

    I think Smith was very optimistic (ie wrong) in saying a 10 year timescale for this to be up and running, but I’m not sure what he actually said at that meeting, which was a bit combustible. Clear plans on the table, funding in place, designs organised, delivery model decided, procurement in progress within 10 years – I can believe. But that points towards a 15-20 year timeframe for delivery into service

    One of the side benefits, ultimately, of having a parallel network is that it makes feasible sorting out the completely inadequate Town Hall & Wynyard stations, which at the moment is just impossible without a multi-billion project just for enabling works to let you take one or the other out of service for a while. But that’s 25+ years away, by which time this latest improvement will be looking pretty old itself

    I don’t buy into everything about the proposed Rapid Transit Network but I do recognise that one of the key weaknesses in the existing network is the bottleneck between Central & St Leonards, which is way beyond sensible capacity already

  6. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > I don’t buy into everything about the proposed Rapid Transit Network but I do recognise that one
    > of the key weaknesses in the existing network is the bottleneck between Central & St Leonards,
    > which is way beyond sensible capacity already

    20k Pax/hr is not way beyond sensible capacity. Not even close.

    The only real plus I see is RT will enable platform screens, and at TH especially, but also Central & Wynyard this will add another m of usable platform space.

    But ultimately the biggest problem with these platforms are insufficient entry/exit points.

  7. QPP says:

    Yes, I probably over-reached it there

    “Is of intrinsically limited capacity” would perhaps have been a better phrase to use

    Others will know what the critical parts are that drive capacity of the bottleneck. Gut feel says it’s platform congestion at Wynyard & Town Hall, gradient into/out of Wynyard on to the bridge, short station spacing Milson’s Pt-Nth Sydney, and tight reversing curves through Wollstonecraft and Waverton rather than the bridge itself, or even the signalling blocks in use

  8. Alexsg says:

    @MrV – yes, I’m just thinking out loud and I don’t know how feasible it is to build extra platforms on the outside of the tracks at Town Hall and Wynyard. Even if you didn’t enforce the approach of having separate platforms for boarding and alighting, the new platforms could be wider with better access. I suspect though that the main problem would be at the concourse level as this would also have to be widened, which could get very messy.

    @Richard Ure – there are two major reasons for the imbalance in patronage between Town Hall, Wynyard and the rest of the city circle stations and in particular Museum and St James. The first is that obviously the former service an additional line and the second is that development around the latter is inherently constrained to the east by Hyde Park, the cathedral, the Domain, etc. Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do about either.

  9. Tandem Train Rider says:

    @Alex,

    I’ll see if I can dig it up, but I’ve seen an employment distribution diagram of the CBD which suggests there is just as much employment arounbd St James, Martin Place & even Museum as there is around Wynyard and Town Hall.

    I’d suggest the higher patronage of the western stations is as much about the extra/prioritisation of services on that route – essentially to facilitiate interchange to the North Shore.

    >I don’t know how feasible it is to build extra platforms on the outside of the tracks at Town Hall and Wynyard.

    Town Hall is built inside a girder bridge structure. I’m pretty sure if you built a platform to the west of the Down Shore there would be vertical pillars within 1m from the platform’s edge.

  10. Ray says:

    What everyone seems to ignore is that a new cross harbour and CBD rail link is unlikely to connect directly with any of the existing CBD stations other than possibly the unused underground platforms at Central (26 & 27). There is certainly the prospect of new CBD stations, ie, The Rocks/Circular Quay, Martin Place and Park St having direct pedestrian links with the existing stations. The limited capacity of the existing CBD stations, Central, Town Hall and Wynyard, is not an issue in terms of a new CBD rail link. They will continue to operate at 20 tph on the existing network.

    However, a new CBD rail link will have new stations with vastly improved design features which will enable a higher frequency for the proposed Rapid Transit system AND also potentially double-deck operation (something which is conveniently downplayed by the transport bureaucracy).

    The only section of a new rail link which is likely to operate at the maximum proposed capacity of 30 tph for Rapid Transit is from Victoria Cross at North Sydney to a new underground station at Redfern. This is factoring in a future Northern Beaches Line and bifurcation to and from the south or west. A new line with improved station design, and signalling, could also potentially allow for greater frequency for double-deck operation, up to 26 tph. The overall hourly line capacity would be about the same for either mode, 40,000 passengers per hour. So why do we have to bastardise the existing rail network to achieve the same outcome?

  11. MrV says:

    I think these are the protected corridors, are there any others?

  12. MrV says:

    @TTR
    >Town Hall is built inside a girder bridge structure. I’m pretty sure if you built a platform to the west >of the Down Shore there would be vertical pillars within 1m from the platform’s edge.

    So pretty much like all the existing platforms then!

    Town Hall is on the site of an old cemetary, so perhaps it will be forever cursed.

  13. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > Town Hall is on the site of an old cemetary, so perhaps it will be forever cursed.
    I thought that was Central?

  14. nicholas says:

    Town Hall also used to be a cemetery.

    http://pastlivesofthenearfuture.com/2012/04/03/old-burial-groundsydney-town-hall-sydney-nsw/ gives a nice overview of the historical aspects.

  15. michblogs says:

    An issue for platform congestion, is the system where passengers waiting on the platform cannot catch the first available train, because it doesn’t go to their destination.

    Platform congestion affects dwell time which in turn affects whether you can have 18 or 20 or 22 or 24 trains an hour.

    For example ( this is to illustrate the concept, not a proposal I advocate ), if you got rid of the Richmond Line trains from Wynyard and Town Hall, then Richmond line passengers would not be waiting for three trains to go by before their train came, and Penrith line passengers would not be waiting for a Richmond line train to go by, before theirs turns up.

    You could do this in many ways – send Richmond line trains to Central only. Or to the city circle. Or only to Blacktown.

    The NWRL will improve this, because Macquarie line passengers can get the first available train to Chatswood, instead of waiting for theirs. But on the other hand, recently introduced Roseville Warrawee skipping scheme has made it a bit worse.

    You get this problem in London which had bifurcating lines, but you don’t get it in Beijing, where they don’t.

  16. michblogs says:

    Town Hall station is under the street, which has always been a street. The actual Town Hall is built on the site of the cemetery.

  17. michblogs says:

    ” I’ve seen an employment distribution diagram of the CBD which suggests there is just as much employment arounbd St James, Martin Place & even Museum as there is around Wynyard and Town Hall.”

    Basic observation indicates that this is fundamentally untrue.

    Draw a circle of any radius you like around Wynyard and St James.

    Half the circle around St James is the parks and the cathedral and the government buildings on the eastern side of Macquarie Street, which are not large and don’t have that many people in them. That locational situation is unlikely to materially change.

    ALL of the circle around Wynyard is filled with tall office buildings. Even on the west side which was underdeveloped 25 years ago, but that is not the case now.

    There are three lines through downtown Sydney. The city circle, the northern and western line, and the eastern suburbs line. The reason why Wynyard and Town Hall are more popular, is simple. Two of the three lines ( and in the case of Town Hall, all three of them ) pass through there. St James and Museum ( and Martin Place ), are only on one line.

    Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a breakdown of station patronage, which shows the number of daily users at Wynyard and Town Hall arriving or departing from the different lines there.

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  20. Ben Aveling says:

    What would be needed to establish the practicality of extra platforms for the existing lines at Wynyard/Town Hall? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_solution)
    I assume that maps of the space around the existing stations exist, but are they publicly available?

  21. Simon says:

    Not publicly available to my knowledge. Such a thing would only increase capacity slightly and not resolve the issues of the conflicting moves which exist currently.

  22. Ben Aveling says:

    The impact on capacity would depend on how wide the new platforms are, no? If you added two new platforms, one on each side, each as wide as the current platform, that ought to double capacity to my (possibly uninformed) thinking – and then by using the existing centre platform for disembarking the trains you get better dwell time, and less time/conflict on the station stairs because they become one way. Even if the new platforms are narrow and you only used them for disembarking, you still get better dwell time and less crowding because the existing centre platform only needs to hold the people getting onto trains…

  23. Ray says:

    I like the concept, but I wonder just how practicable it is to build the additional platforms in the constricted space available. Perhaps utilising the former tram platforms may be possible, but this would require an extensive shutdown to construct connections between the western and eastern tunnels at both ends of the platforms. It is nonetheless something that is worth investigating if it hasn’t been done already.

    However, Town Hall, which is probably even more critical in terms of congestion, doesn’t have that option.

  24. Simon says:

    Headway is affected by many factors. The time the train is stopped at the station is only one aspect of this, although it does increase the incentive to create changes such as to allow the train to enter the platform before the train ahead of it has fully departed the platform.

    Although as Ray points out, if you can’t do anything about Town Hall platform #3 then the whole exercise is rather pointless.

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