This week in transport (9 November 2014)

Posted: November 9, 2014 in Transport
Tags: , , , ,

Monday: Sydney Trains CEO outlines achievements and future plans

The Sydney Trains CEO Howard Collins has outlined his achievements during his year and a half in the job. These include: a shake up of senior management positions, a new timetable, the introduction of the Opal card, 78 new Waratah trains brought into operation, an end to the “no forced redundancies” clause in employment contracts, and consolidating maintenance facilities from 127 to 12. Looking to the future, Mr Collins said he believed Sydney Trains could operate 30 to 35 trains an hour, compared to the current limit of 20, if signalling were upgraded. He also looks forward to the opening of a $100m operations centre due to open in 2017 or 2018.

Monday: Third tunnel boring machine in the ground for NWRL

A third tunnel boring machine (TBM) has begun digging the third of four holes that will form the twin 15km tunnels between Epping and Bella Vista. The Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian used to occasion to point out how the project was running ahead of schedule, saying that “the NSW Liberals & Nationals came to government promising the first of the four massive North West Rail Link tunnel boring machines would be in the ground before the end of 2014 – now we have three machines underground digging, well ahead of schedule”.

Artist's impression of the proposed Cherrybrook Station. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

Artist’s impression of the proposed Cherrybrook Station. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

Tuesday: M5 East duplication plans announced

The planning application has been lodged for the New M5 East tunnels as part of WestConnex Stage 2, which will run almost entirely in tunnels between the King George’s Road interchange at Beverly Hills through to St Peters. The tunnels will initially be 2 lanes in each direction, but built to accommodate 3 lanes in each direction at a future date. The new tunnels will also be taller than the existing M5 East tunnels, at 5.3m in height.

The existing tunnels have been criticised for being built too narrow and too short in order to save money on construction costs, but limiting longer term capacity in the process. The new tunnels are set to open in 2019.

Thursday: Trains begin running on SWRL

Train testing and staff training is now underway on the South West Rail Link (SWRL), with services between Leppington and Liverpool to begin early in 2015, possibly as soon as January. Millenium trains will run on the line every half hour between 5AM and midnight.

No decision has yet been made on where SWRL trains will go. Options include Parramatta, City via Granville, City via Bankstown, or City via East Hills (an outline of some of these options can be seen here). The Government will monitor passenger movements in determining how and when it does this. All of this is complicated by the fact that much of the future demand on the SWRL will come not from existing residents, but from the hundreds of thousands of new residents that may not finish moving to the area for decades to come.

Friday: Passenger train disruptions up 60% due to freight breakdowns

An increased focus on transporting freight via rail has been blamed for the blowout in passenger train disruptions in recent years. The ABC reports that 2,191 passenger services were disrupted last year due to freight train breakdowns. This is up 62.5% on the 1,348 figure from 3 years prior. This is despite the number of freight train breakdowns remaining steady during this period.

The Sydney Trains CEO Howard Collins has called on the Federal Government to help ease this problem by funding more freight rail upgrades. The Federal Government has ruled out funding urban commuter rail projects, but has been willing to fund freight rail projects. Mr Collins also pointed the finger at the ageing freight train fleet, which at an average age of 36 years is much higher than the UK’s 13 years or the USA’s 8 years.

  1. PeteD says:

    It is quite possible that the SWRL will end up running the South Line (and perhaps the Cumbo line services), and then freeing up the line to Campbelltown for more East Hills trains.

    Cross-platform transfers are relatively simple, so if they can try and manage that for either SW route, it would make sense.

  2. Ray says:

    If Howard Collins believes that the Sydney Trains network could upgraded to 30 to 35 trains per hour with improved signalling, then he’s clearly at odds with the Transport Minister’s line that only aw new “state of the art” rapid transit system could operate at this level of frequency, although I have my doubts whether this would be achievable on T1 through Town Hall and Wynyard.

  3. @PeteD –

    In the short to medium term, I think you’re right. There are enough South Line services that terminate at Liverpool that can be easily extended to Leppington which makes this operationally easy. These services are quite packed during peak hour into the city, but given a cross-platform transfer at Glenfield provides a faster journey into the city I think that should dampen the crowding effect.

    However, in the longer run (10-20 years from now) an extension of the line to Badgerys Creek and conversion of the Bankstown Line to the SRT network is likely to change this. SRT will remove Bankstown Line trains from the City Circle, which frees up slots on the existing Airport Line. That will then allow direct train services between the 2 airports, which will then continue on to the CBD.

  4. JC says:

    Good to see that, a year or so along, the Herald has noticed that the submerging of Newtaown and St Peters in M5 and M4 traffic (at best) for 4 years from 2019 to 2023 is the big political elephant trap for Westconnex – and with any luck will be its undoing.

  5. MrV says:

    A train every 2 minutes on the city circle? Not without some heavy escalator capacity to get people off the platforms at Wynard and Town Hall.
    Also I suspect even with the best signalling system if the train in front is at a station the following train will be proceeding very slowly. And surely you have to retire the K,C and S sets, those things just don’t get off the line in a hurry.

  6. > train every 2 minutes on the city circle? Not without some heavy escalator capacity to get people off the platforms at Wynard and Town Hall.

    That problem is solved by having trains with only 2/3rds the capacity of the current ones.

  7. If you terminated additional T1 trains from the Main and Suburban tracks at Sydney Terminal and utilised the additional platforms at Strathfield then you could perhaps expand capacity on the Western and Northern Lines. All youd need to do is upgrade signalling between Strathfield and Central.

    That’s a bit of me thinking out loud, and i can see some limitations to the proposal. But it’s by no means out of the question.

  8. Frosty18 says:

    @Bambul Hey in your opinion what would be the best option for where the SWRL trains will go ?

  9. @Frosty18 –

    Im personally agnostic about the SWRL’s integration into the network in the short term. But in the long term it makes logical sense to send trains to the city via Green Square. This will link up both airports, while capacity is freed up by Bankstown Line trains shifting to the Sydney Rapid Transit network. They can go elsewhere too (such as to Parramatta via the Cumberland Line), but they should operate via Green Square at a minimum.

  10. @Frosty – AFAIK the original operating plan for the SWRL was peak 8tph: 4 via East Hills, 4 via Liverpool. The former needed 10 new train sets (and used 4 unused slots on the City Circle), the later 2 new train sets with the rund being extension of current Main South (via Liverpool) services.

    The non-extension of the A-set order means Sydney Trains doesn’t have the rolling stock to implement via East Hills even if they wanted to – and probably fair enough given the likely demand from just greenfield two stations.

    @Bambul & the out loud thinking: SydneyTrains have stuck a toe in the water with this concept by boosting Main North peak AM with two Epping to Sydney Terminal 4 car T set trains. There is no doubt that capacity – in terms of trains – can be boosted by turning more suburban trains at Central terminal. The risk is though that the bulk of those PAX will simply wander over to platform 16 and exaserbate the primary capacity constraint on sector 3. Not only do we end up with almost as many passengers shoehorning onto existing services for the final 2km of their journey, we force a whole bunch of them to interchange at the network’s most congested platform.

  11. shiggyshiggy says:

    @tandemtrainrider99 if only there was some way to increase the capacity and frequency of sector 3………

  12. MrV says:


    Thanks for the humour!

  13. Ray says:

    @ttr99 – You’re correct in stating that the concept of running more suburban trains into Sydney Terminal via the Main tracks from Strathfield, such as the am peak Epping starters, has the potential to increase capacity on Sector 3 (T1). But aren’t we going backwards with this concept?

    Bradfield’s original plan, following public agitation, was to AVOID the need to transfer to trams at Central by building the city underground railway allowing direct suburban services to access the CBD proper (a visionary concept at the time). While on the face of it, it sounds like a quick fix for increasing capacity on T1, you quite rightly make the valid point, so far not raised to my knowledge, that passengers transferring to Platform 16 to complete their journeys into the CBD will only exacerbate the congestion. It solves nothing. There is also the political backlash to overcome from Western and Northern Line commuters (assuming it’s just not the North) who feel that they’ve been short changed, compared with the level of service they previously enjoyed.

    The Government’s proposed Rail Futures program, with a now inevitable Rapid Transit second harbour crossing, implies that capacity will be freed up on the City Circle to allow an increase in services from T1 to be diverted via the flying junctions at Central. Putting aside the Sectorisation issue, it all sounds very good in theory, but I don’t think they’ve thought it through. It just complicates the operational procedures. Unless there is a direct grade separated link from the Main to Suburban, allowing parallel running into Platforms 16 and 17 at Central, there is no prospect of increasing capacity. So far this hasn’t been mentioned in the latest plans, although it had previously been canvassed in earlier proposals. In any event, the surplus capacity on the City Circle is likely to be taken up with increased services from the South West.

    Upgrading signalling on T1 could potentially increase capacity from the current 20 tph to as high as 28 tph, but the reality is that the current CBD stations couldn’t cope with that level of passenger throughput. That’s the limiting factor which can’t be easily resolved. On the other hand, a new CBD rail line with modern station infrastructure would be able to cope, even with double deck trains, which the Government has consistently failed to acknowledge.

    The only plausible scheme to increase capacity on T1, is to resurrect the Western Express proposal. Regardless of what happens with the Rapid Transit extension, this is what future governments are going to have to confront sooner or later.

    Sydney led the world with its hybrid suburban/metro operation through the city centre and then leap frogged the world with its double deck concept. It’s now time we aspired to leading the world again rather than following.

  14. I think there’s been some underestimation of Central Station as a destination in its own right. In 2012 during the morning peak, about as many passengers exited Central (38,450) as either Town Hall (42,030) or Wynyard (37,930). The other 4 CBD stations accounted for about 30,000 exits in total. Source:

    If only a fraction of these passengers changed over to trains that terminated at Central, then this would free up space on CBD-bound trains. This is not a large scale fix (only additional CBD capacity can do that), but it’s more than a band aid solution. In the short term, doubling both the length and frequency of the Epping to Central trains from 4 car trains every 30 minutes to 8 car trains every 15 minutes would be a good start – and also likely necessary during the ECRL shut down in 2018/19. In the long term, improved signalling could squeeze in an additional 8 trains per hour (from 20 to 28) with about 7,000 extra seats per hour, for which there is demand given the nearly 40,000 passengers who travel into Central each morning peak.

    Lengthening trains bound for Central, as per the Western Express, from 8 to 10 carriages could also squeeze a bit more capacity.

  15. > Thanks for the humour!
    Thanks. It’s a gift. Completely unintended, I’m always making people laugh.

    > But aren’t we going backwards with this concept?

    > Upgrading signalling on T1 could potentially increase capacity from the current 20 tph to as high as 28 tph

    Based on my understanding of how the Bradfield signalling works, I’m completely convinced they could got to 24tph now (at the expense of some timetable reliability). This would probably not translate to a 20% capacity increase though, as the 24tph would break down at lower boarding levels than the current 20tph. A lot of the curent long dwell times are not boarding issues, but padding deliberately included to ensure higher on-time running.

    The biggest issue with 24tph is both public and working timetables could not be expressed in whole minutes. The DoT doesn’t want to be bombarded with complaints about trains running 15s late, and the union don’t want their staff to be held accountable for the same.

    > The only plausible scheme to increase capacity on T1, is to resurrect the Western Express proposal.

    I disagree with this. I think there is more low hanging fruit yet to even be considered.

    Firstly, the 70% PAX distribution efficiency could probably be addressed simply by adding some more stairs near the ends of the key platforms. The station layouts were designed to channel PAX through one or two entry points – entirely to reduce the cost of station staffing and revenue collection. Even if this were still a valid argument (and we’re comparing a few extra staff against a 10 figure capital project) the point is entirely mute now we have OPAL.

    Secondly, better/larger platforms (rather than just better stairs) at TH & Wynyard would improve things too. I think this could be achieved with a new Platform 3 at Town Hall (built to the west of the existing one, probably on a new alignment, but possibly not), allowing either a new platform 2 to be built where platform 3 is today – or even have the Shore UP road at TH dual sided. At Wynyard routing the Shore UP through platform 2 instead of platform 3 effectively doubles platform capacity.

    Thirdly, if we are undertaking a program of station upgrades, I think extending them to 200m (ie 10 car trains) becomes more practical. New platform 3 built at TH to 200m. After commissioning new longer platform2 built where platform 3 is today. At Wynyard Platform 2 is (re)built to 200m then commissioned. Platform 3 is then extended, and commissioned by re-routing the Down Shore through it from Platform 4. Beyond that, most of sector 3 (bar the ECL) surface platform extension to 200m doesn’t require re-alignments.

    And then there is tighter signalling. Moving block signalling decreases practical headway by 10-15sec over the current arrangements, but mid-platform traditional fixed block signals could cut headways by almost as much, in the 5-10 sec range. (this is from memory, so I might have this wrong). As you know the RER A achieves 30tph with higher densities than we have in Sydney, and a fixed block signalling system. Their DD stock has an 8-10s dwell/boading time advantage over ours (at the expense of per train metre passenger capacity). But their trains are 220m vs our 160s (or 200 at 10 car), giving them a 2 to 6 sec headway disadvantage.

    > If only a fraction of these passengers changed over to trains that terminated at Central, then this would free up space on CBD-bound trains.

    Agreed *but* …
    – You need to be very careful with the Central barrier numbers. There are a lot of services at Central outside the barriers, and next to none inside. I’ve seen no data on this, but I’d wage a very large slab of those movements are people crossing the barriers on periodical tickets to go to the loo (or whatever). I know when I commuted on V sets I almost always crossed the barriers as part of my interchange at Central in the PM, and often in the AM too.
    – The risk is the extra interchanges will *decrease* total passenger throughput on sector 3.

    We may well come out ahead here, but even if we do, what is really happening is we are running more trains and asignificantly increasing operating costs but not really delivering much benefit.

    BTW, while I’m on a rant, I’ll talk briefly about KPIs.

    The NSW DoT is big on using “cost per trip” as it’s core metric. This is highly disadvantagous to rail, and part of the reason it’s seen as a such a problem. But it’s also encouraging planners to build unecessary interchanges. Someone travels on a single train from Penrith to Wynyard and the cost of the trip (to the provider) might be $12 say. But if we can get the guy to interchange somewhere, he might get to do another trip that costs $4. Even though the cost to taxpayer of his total journey has gone up to $16, DoT can claim cost “per trip” has been cut 33% from $12 to $8. “PT trips have increased 30% in the last 5 years!” Well of course it has, even though end to end journeys are exactly the same. Don’t underestimate how big an impact this is having on our “planning” process.

  16. Ray says:

    @Bambul – Central Station is obviously a destination in its own right, but there is still large scale interchange to CBD and North Shore bound services. It’s not just the congestion on platforms, or even in the trains, that is an issue, but the transfer of a mass of people between platforms. It would be preferable if interchanging could be kept to a minimum. Running additional suburban services into Sydney Terminal is only going to exacerbate this problem.

    That said, this is probably the only solution to increasing capacity from the Western and Northern Lines in the short term. I agree with you that increasing the length of trains and frequency of the additional am peak Epping to Central services to 4 tph has some merit when demand warrants it. It would be possible under the current timetable. Whether they would have the rolling stock available is another matter. However, it doesn’t address additional services in the pm peak. A longer term strategy nonetheless is still required.

    @ttr99 – Increasing passenger throughput for Town Hall and Wynyard stations has already been studied in detail over the last couple of decades by Railcorp and State Rail before it. I don’t think it’s just a matter of adding extra stairs or platforms. It seems that whatever works may be contemplated, it would require a lengthy shutdown of the stations causing massive disruption to rail services through the CBD. It’s only going to add a marginal increase in capacity anyway. It’s just too hard and they have instead looked for alternative solutions, such as the new harbour crossing and CBD rail link.

    I get the impression though, either rightly or wrongly, that the government thinks that their new Rapid Transit plan is all that’s needed to address the capacity constraints on the existing network. It is implied that additional capacity for the Western/Northern Lines will be provided by diverting some services to the City Circle, but as I said earlier, this surplus capacity is likely to be taken up by services from the South West. So far, there have been no specific works proposed to the existing network to increase capacity from the West. It seems they have put all their eggs in the Rapid Transit basket.

    As I said in my previous post, I believe the only option now left is to resurrect the Western Express proposal. This can’t be ignored. With upgraded signalling on the Main from Strathfield to the city, it could potentially run at least 24 tph, if not more, which would allow for a minimum of an additional 16 tph above the current 8 tph Intercity services. The line should also be extended from Wynyard to Barangaroo Central, or even Millers Point.

  17. JC says:

    […I believe the only option now left is to resurrect the Western Express proposal.] As always too little too late – this could have provided a solution and been done cheaply by using the tracks from Mortuary station to Darling Harbour – now lost to the “goods line” vanity – and incorprated into the redevelopment for Darling Harbour and Baraangaroo by cut and cover on vacant land with the new stuff planted on top – but both projects now too far advanced for this – and then on uder the harbour when/if needed. But hey, foresight and coordination clearly not strong points in the NSW body politic – especially when there are Packer millions on offer.

    Once we accept that in an ideal world we would not be stepping back to the Victorian world of mainline termini but that 2nd best is better than nothing, there are other cheaper ways round the problem of stopping services at Central e.g. revisit the LRT option from Sydney terminus north via Castlereagh street (a much easier option than trekking to Platform 16) or Sussex St/Hickson Road; making the transfer from ST to the George street LRT easier – possibly running some services as a shuttle from Central to Circular Quay via the ST loop; tunnels to facilitate changing at Redfern; or even Converting Castlereagh Street to a busway. Many of these would also have the positive benefit of slowing (and therefore discouraging) vehicle traffic in the CBD.

  18. Simon says:

    As usual, I mostly agree with Ray. Although I’m not convinced that the 2nd Harbour Crossing is a foregone conclusion.

    ttr, You seem to think that the Town Hall station box can be increased in size. It’s not clear that this is the case. I don’t have any hard evidence either way, but would certainly be interested if anyone did.

    Bambul, only the mains would terminate at Sydney Terminal, not the suburbans. I assume that this is a mistype.

    I reiterate: WEX/CBD enhancement is the only feasible plan for dealing with organic growth.

  19. @Simon –

    Yes, only trains from the mains can go into Sydney Terminal. I was probably thinking of trains that move from the mains to the suburbans, which could instead remain on the mains to boost capacity on the suburbans.

  20. TandemTrainRider says:

    @Simon & @Ray

    I think the WEX would be a solution *if* the NWRL used the Beacroft alignment. As it stands, the SHB will be a bottleneck that can’t be addressed by south side enhancements alone.

    Hence my preference to beefing up the capacity of Sector 3 through various incremental improvements.

    There is already spare south side capacity – it’s (obviously – to anyone who understands the network’s topology :-)) just hard to utilise effectively.

    I’ve been trying to find some diagrams of TH. As I understand it it’s built as a cage/bridge structure essentially within the roadway perimiter. Re-alinement work – or any substantial work for that matter – is out of the question. I’d really like to know what the setbacks are between the Down shore road and the western pillars of the TH box. Provided permission to build a new platform to legacy rather than modern standards then a replacement platform 3 could be constructed without re-alignement or even significant disruption to ongoing operations.

    And as for disruption from adding new stairs:
    – firstly, I’m unfamilliar with any investigations into such proposals.
    – Are new stairs at the northern and southern end of the platforms more or less disruptive than the installation of the mid-platform lifts?

  21. Ray says:

    @ttr – I’m trying to be open minded, but I still can’t see how your suggested revamp of Town Hall Station would be feasible. I don’t think there is any prospect of expanding outside of the existing station box, including building a new Platform 3. Just getting equipment in to carry out such major reconstruction without disrupting existing services would be a challenge in itself.

    When you suggest building new stairs at the northern and southern ends of the platforms, I presume you’re referring to the top level (platforms 1,2 &3). There are already 4 sets of stairs for each platform with intermediate stairs to platforms 4, 5 & 6 below. If you build additional stairs from each end of the platforms, they would exit outside of the station box concourse above. This would probably require road closures on George St to extend the station box north and south to accommodate the expanded station concourse. With the Light Rail project on George St due to start construction next year, it’s just not an option. Detailed investigation into expanding Town Hall and Wynyard has already been carried out in numerous studies and it’s been found to be not just feasible while trying to maintain a reasonable level of service.

    I don’t quite get your point about the WEX being a solution *if* the NWRL used the Beecroft alignment. If you’re suggesting that directing trains from the NWRL to the city via Strathfield would make the WEX viable, I think you’re misguided. It would only reduce potential capacity from the existing Northern and Western Lines. In any event, it’s no longer an option anyway. It is the very decision to transform the NWRL and by implication the second harbor crossing into a Rapid Transit operation that makes the WEX the only viable alternative to expanding capacity on the existing network, particularly from the Western Main.

  22. MrV says:

    Totally out of the box question and massively improbably, but what are the possibilities of digging underneath the existing town hall. station? i.e. from the platforms at the bottom you could take an escalator down to a large concourse which links all the platforms from below with exits into some of the neighbouring buildings.
    Even if not built right away when the neighbouring buildings are demolished/renovated provisions could be made.

    Would be a hell of an engineering feat.

  23. Ray says:

    @MrV – It would be too deep and there wouldn’t be space to run escalators through the platforms above to reach the main concourse.

  24. Simon says:

    I don’t get TTR’s enthusiasm for a via North Strathfield route for the NWRL either. Perhaps he can explain it? All it will mean is that the via Strathfield route is even more capacity constrained and also the Harbour Bridge remains underutilised. Wasn’t the latter one of the main arguments in favour of building the ECRL? Seems all that is forgotten now there is talk of a new rail line, it is OK to make the exact opposite argument and no one wants to denounce the porkies being told by the NWRL advocates as such. The other point in favour of a MQP alignment is more people will be getting off on the way to the city than with a via North Strathfield alignment. That’s a great thing.

  25. > I don’t get TTR’s enthusiasm for a via North Strathfield route for the NWRL either

    The idea is increasing total system capacity on the south side is easier and cheaper than building the second crossing, and has the additional benefit that this new capacity can be applied to all the other constrained routes as well.

    Even with the newest timetable there are still 8 free slots on the south side (I’m no expert on the new timetable so feel free to correct me here). One of the valid criticisms of the original DD NWRL was lack of capacity on the SHB for all the new services.

    Via MQP means a chunk of PAX from the Hills (4000PAX/hr peak? Who knows really) are crossing the bridge – the most contrained part of the network – needlessly. The proposed solution? Second crossing.

    Alternatively if they run via Nth Strathfield this adds to the congestion on the western line. But the solution to that (*after* using up the 8 free slots) is the WEX.

    This is why I say the WEX “needs” the Beacroft alignment to be viable. Without it, the SHB route still has to cope with all of the city bound NWRL & Shore Traffic, which as we all know is probably ill equipped to do.

    Now I should point out this is *not* my preferred solution.

    My preferred solution is an integrated NWRL (via MQP) and boost the capacity of sector 3 between Strathfield and Chatswood to handle 30kPAX/hr in each direction.

  26. michblogs says:

    There are already stairs at the southern end of the Town Hall platforms. How close to the end of the platform do you need the stairs to be ?

    More stairs at the northern end of the platform would be an improvement.

  27. Ray says:

    @michblogs –
    < There are already stairs at the southern end of the Town Hall platforms.

    I presume you're referring to the stairs leading to the concourse in a northerly direction, which is one of the 4 which I alluded to earlier. I think what tandemtrainrider 99 was getting at was constructing new sets of stairs from either end of the platforms towards the tunnels in the respective opposing directions of the existing stairs.

    Interestingly, I was reading the original Christie Report, which proposed extending the concourse in a northerly direction (towards the QVB) and constructing new high capacity escalators from the northern end of the platforms, but nothing has ever come of it. Perhaps it just wasn't feasible.

  28. > Interestingly, I was reading the original Christie Report, which proposed extending the concourse in
    > a northerly direction (towards the QVB) and constructing new high capacity escalators from the
    > northern end of the platforms, but nothing has ever come of it. Perhaps it just wasn’t feasible.

    I think the issue is no politician wants to be associated with commissioning a $500mil set of stairs.

    And yes, stairs at the far ends of platforms as Ray describes is what I was thinking of.

    BTW, this is what I think would be done re a new platform 3 at TH. It’s called “thinking outside the box” :-).

  29. MrV says:

    Just a thought. With parts of George St to be converted into a pedestrian mall it would be silly to not reassess the station entry points.

  30. Simon says:

    Umm, TTR I’m very surprised you are saying that the Bridge to the city in the AM peak is the most constrained part of the network. You should know better. In fact, Town Hall #3/Central #16/Wynyard #4 is the most constrained part. Sending more trains via North Strathfield actually makes things worse here and is a key failing of the plan to convert the ECRL to a format which cannot accept Sydney Trains rolling stock.

  31. Ray says:

    @Simon – Undeniably!

  32. TandemTrainRider says:

    > Umm, TTR I’m very surprised you are saying that the Bridge to the city in the AM peak is the most constrained part of the network.

    Fair call. But I really just got my tenses wrong. I was thinking post the (well used ?) NWRL.

    And as I keep saying, sending more trains via Nth Starthfield is appropriate *If* there is a WEX (and visa versa).

  33. Simon says:

    A few other points ttr.
    1) I disagree that the via Strathfield route needs ANY additional passengers to justify the WEX. It’s justified on current passenger flows. Then throw in organic growth and you have something that’s needed quite desperately.
    2) Interesting thought on Town Hall #3. Sounds like what you’re thinking of might be an additional platform face to the existing #3 track. Serving peak flows only, it certainly makes a bit of sense. Not sure how much additional capacity you would see without significantly reducing the numbers of people interchanging from Central (i) terminators at Central #16 though.
    3) There might be an additional 4k/hr pax from the NWRL but nearly 4k/hr less from the upper northern line over the bridge if the conversion plan goes ahead. Hmm.

  34. Ray says:

    Just an observation. The Government so far hasn’t outlined any detailed long term strategy to improve the capacity and operational efficiency of the existing network, such as a Clearways Stage 2 program, other than a vague commitment without any detail, to increase capacity on the Western Line. They seem to be putting all their eggs in one basket, suggesting that the new Rapid Transit expansion will fix everything. That’s not going to happen for at least a decade anyway, if ever, so what is their strategy to address more immediate constraints on the network in the meantime? Nothing as far as I can see. It will be interesting to see what the Labor Party proposes in the lead-up to the State Election.

  35. QPP says:

    >>if the conversion plan goes ahead<<

    There is no doubt that it will

  36. @Ray – I recall that vague mentions of track amplifications and improved signalling have both been raised by the government. However, there is only speculation as to what exactly these improvements are.

  37. todd says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter

    @tandemtrainrider99 re your comment about commuters coming from nwrl stealing capacity on the north shore when they could go via strathfield. There was research done that justified the current plans that showed 75% of journeys starting west of Epping will end at or before Chatswood.

    I’m really sorry I can’t remember what the research was – I’ve spent twenty minutes looking for it. I am reasonably certain it was released though on (or just before) 6 Sept 2012 if somebody else knows what I’m looking for.

  38. Simon says:

    Fully agree with Ray. However both sides of politics have supported inaction on fixing up Sydney Trains. Still with guards in the 21st Century? 3/5 passenger rail systems in Australia have eliminated them. The other held back by the lack of ATP. Shouldn’t the biggest system be able to move beyond a two man crew?

    Todd, I’d be very surprised if it was 75% by Chatswood. Might be 50% by the bridge, which is cheating because people getting off at North Sydney significantly outnumber those getting on.

  39. Simon says:

    I guess I should have said “no effective action” rather than inaction above. Both sides have done counter productive and never ending restructures.

  40. @Todd –

    Hi, thanks for your comment! The figures touted by the government are 33% of passengers reaching their destination by Chatswood and 42% by North Sydney.

    Mind you these are projections. The actual figures may be less, they may be more.

    My hope (and let me repeat that it is my hope and not prediction) is that the NWRL/SRT will change the way the global economic corridor North of the Harbour functions and we see a densification of jobs along major train stations on it – particularly at the Macquarie and Norwest Business Parks. Both have large amounts of surface parking that can be utilised for high rise office blocks.

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