Infrastructure NSW released an update to its infrastructure plan in November 2014. Unlike the 2012 report, this one puts a greater emphasis on rail. Here is a (belated) overview of the main recommendations for the rail network.

Sydney Trains/NSW TrainLink (p. 34)

Major upgrades will focus on the T1 Lines, which are expected to see stronger growth in demand than other lines. These include lengthening of platforms, to allow longer trains to stop at certain stations; amplification of track, akin to adding more lanes to a road; and improved signalling, which allows more frequent train services without compromising safety.

The longer platforms will primarily benefit intercity train services, with new intercity trains to be 12 cars in length compared to the current 8 car trains. Meanwhile, the business case for improved signalling is expected to be completed over the next 18 months.

No specific details are given on where track amplifications will occur. A commonly touted corridor is on the Northern Line between Rhodes and West Ryde, which would upgrade the entire Strathfield to Epping corridor up to 4 tracks. This would allow service frequencies to be increased along this corridor while still maintaining a mix of all stops and express services. Such capacity improvements are necessary for Upper Northern Line trains that currently reach the city via Chatswood to instead be diverted via Strathfield when the Epping to Chatswood Line is closed down for upgrades as part of the North West Rail Link project in 2018.

Sydney Rapid Transit (pp.37-38)

Construction on a Second Harbour Rail Crossing is to begin in 2019, with completion in 2024-25. It has a BCR (Benefit to Cost Ratio) of 1.3 to 1.8, meaning that every $1 spent on the project will produce benefits of $1.30 to $1.80. The total cost will be approximately $10.4bn, with $7bn to come from privatisation of state electricity assets and $3.4bn from existing funding already committed. Additional stations will be considered at Artarmon, Barangaroo, and either Waterloo or Sydney University; which the report recommends partly being funded by beneficiaries of the new stations, a concept known as “value capture” (p. 146). The current plan has the line connecting to Sydenham Station via tunnel, rather than utilising the existing corridor between Erskineville and Sydenham which has been reserved for an additional pair of tracks.

Proposed new stations include Artarmon (not shown), Barangaroo, and either Sydney University or Waterloo. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

Proposed new stations include Artarmon (not shown), Barangaroo, and either Sydney University or Waterloo. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

Improving efficiency (p. 35)

Transport for NSW will further investigate the effectiveness of off-peak pricing and improved shoulder peak services on spreading demand. The report notes that, following the October 2013 timetable changes, improved frequencies during the shoulder peak periods (the time immediately before and after peak hour) saw 5% of peak hour journeys shift from peak hour to the shoulder. Transport for NSW notes that this represents “more than two years of patronage growth”, adding however that “this option is not ‘cost free’: additional rolling stock may be required to provide these services on some lines”. Despite these concerns, it is likely that improved efficiency can at the very least defer the need for more expensive capital expenditure to expand the rail network.

Light rail (p. 40)

Two light rail projects are discussed, the first being and extension to the existing Inner West Line out to White Bay where significant urban development is planned; which the second is an extension of the proposed CBD and South East Line to either Maroubra (1.9km), Malabar (5.1km), or La Perouse (8.2km). Neither of these extensions have funding attached to them.

Potential extensions to the CBD and South East Light Rail to Maroubra, Malabar, or La Perouse. Click to enlarge. (Source: Infrastructure NSW, State Infrastructure Strategy Update 2014, p. 40.)

Potential extensions to the CBD and South East Light Rail to Maroubra, Malabar, or La Perouse. Click to enlarge. (Source: Infrastructure NSW, State Infrastructure Strategy Update 2014, p. 40.)

Freight (pp. 62-63, 65)

A Western Sydney Freight Line is mentioned, as is a Maldon to Dombarton Railway and associated improvements to the Southern Sydney Freight Line (SSFL). The latter would link up Port Kembla to the SSFL in South West Sydney, thus removing freight trains from the T4 Line in Southern Sydney. Such a move is likely a prerequisite for increase passenger frequencies on the T4 Illawarra Line as well as extending Rapid Transit Services from Sydenham to Hurstville at some point in the future.

The Maldon to Dombarton Railway would allow freight trains to travel between Sydney and Port Kembla without using the T4 Line through Hurstville and Sutherland. Click to enlarge. (Source: Infrastructure NSW, State Infrastructure Strategy Update 2014, p. 65.)

The Maldon to Dombarton Railway would allow freight trains to travel between Sydney and Port Kembla without using the T4 Line through Hurstville and Sutherland. Click to enlarge. (Source: Infrastructure NSW, State Infrastructure Strategy Update 2014, p. 65.)

Commentary: What’s missing and what’s next?

No mention is made of a rail line to the Northern Beaches, the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link, an extension to the T4 Eastern Suburbs Line, or a CBD bus tunnel. The last 2 of these projects were proposed by Infrastructure NSW in its original 2012 report, designed to eliminate the need for light rail through the CBD. With the NSW Government opting to go ahead with the surface light rail option, both of these projects appear to have been dropped by Infrastructure NSW.

Infrastructure NSW’s combatative approach also appears to have been dropped replaced with a more cooperative approach to transport planning with Transport for NSW. Whereas in 2012 the Infrastructure NSW report was seen as an alternative to the Transport for NSW Transport Master Plan, and an alternative that focussed more on road based transport rather than rail based transport; this 2014 update reinforces, rather than contradicts Transport for NSW. It’s difficult to look past the departure of Infrastructure NSW’s inaugural Chairman and CEO, Nick Greiner and Paul Broad (both strong advocates for roads and road based transport), when looking for a reason why this may have happened.

Looking towards the future, the $20bn privatisation of 49% of the electricity distribution network in 2016 will provide funding for a decade – in particular to fund the construction of the Second Harbour Crossing, $7bn from privatization money is to be added to the existing $3.4bn allocated to it, with construction to begin in 2019 and the project completed by 2024-25. If the Premier Mike Baird has his way then construction will begin in 2017, potentially fast tracking this project to 2023. This would be 4 years after the opening of the NWRL, a welcome change to delays and deferrals that NSW has become used to.

Additional expansions of the transport network that come after that are currently unfunded and uncommitted. These include any extension to the North West and South West Rail Links, light rail to Maroubra and White Bay, and the Outer Western Orbital Freeway.

One option is that the remaining 51% could be sold off to pay for it. Alternatively, these projects could be funded out of consolidated revenue, built at a slower pace than would otherwise be the case. Following the coming decade of strong additions to Sydney’s stock of infrastructure, this may be an acceptable option. Either way, the 2015 election will not settle the debate over privatisation. This will be an issue that will remain on the table for decades to come.

  1. Frosty18 says:

    I think the Waterloo station should not be built on SRT but on the existing Airport Line. It does mean the Airport Line has to be shutdown for at least 3 months but allow a station to be built at Sydney Uni.

  2. I’ve heard rumours there’s a Bradfield era station already at USyd, under the Engineering building.

  3. Ray says:

    Just a few observations –

    Sydney Trains/NSW Trainlink –

    The proposal to construct longer platforms at certain stations to accommodate an increase in the number of cars for Intercity trains sounds like a partial restoration of the WEX concept, although restricted to Intercity services and terminating at Central. It could also potentially be extended to outer suburban express services terminating at Central. However, that’s assuming that older suburban rolling stock, including the Oscars, could operate with 3 x 4 car sets. Waratah sets, being indivisible, would be excluded.

    I agree that the most likely corridor for amplification is the Northern Line between Rhodes and West Ryde. Upon completion of the first stage of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Program, this will be the missing link in completing full quadruplication of the Northern Line between Strathfield and Epping. The Epping to Thornleigh Third Track now under construction will also offer greater flexibility for down services on the steep incline to Hornsby. There may also be the opportunity for the Feds to chip in as part of the next stage of the freight corridor upgrade.

    The only other amplifications that I can think of on T1 would be from St Marys to Penrith and extension of the Richmond Line duplication, although I doubt if they would have the same benefit as upgrading the congested Lower Northern Line.

    With regard to upgraded signalling, the obvious candidate would be the main lines between Strathfield and Central Terminal, which should be able to accommodate at least 24 tph. Unfortunately, I don’t think the suburban lines would be capable of increasing line frequency from the current 20 tph because of platform congestion at Central, Town Hall and Wynyard.

    Sydney Rapid Transit –

    As regular bloggers will be aware, I am not a fan of the Sydney Rapid Transit concept. However, as it is now a fait accompli, at least as far as the CBD via the second harbour rail crossing, we have to make the most of it.

    The major flaw in the government’s initial proposal to extend the rapid transit to incorporate the existing Bankstown Line, is that there is a huge gap between Central and Sydenham without any intermediate stations in a high density area which would typically be a natural catchment for such a high frequency service. It now seems that there is a reassessment underway looking at alternative alignments via Sydney University and Waterloo. However there still needs to be more stations along this inner city corridor. I still think that they would be better off in utilising the existing unused surface reservation for additional tracks between Erskineville and Sydenham at a substantial saving compared with the underground option. It shouldn’t make any difference to the operational integrity of the rapid transit system.

    I also feel that the second harbour tunnel alignment should be via Barangaroo. It’s a no-brainer!

    Light Rail –

    The extension of the South East light rail route from Kingsford to La Perouse via Maroubra Junction is a logical progression of this line. It is located in an exclusive right of way (the previous tramway reservation) and would cost considerably less than constructing such a link within an existing road corridor.

    Future Funding Options –

    Selling off State assets to fund infrastructure seems to be the flavor of the month and a quick fix at present for governments struggling to raise funds and at the same time balance their budgets. There is a limit to how far this strategy can go. You can’t keep flogging off the family silver indefinitely to fund future State infrastructure. What’s next? The water utilities, the Police Force, the Fire Brigade or the Ambulance Service! How absurd this would be.

    Both major parties have to come to terms with the fact that sooner or later they are going to have to develop alternative strategies to raise funds for ongoing infrastructure needs. Public Private Partnerships still have a role to play, but they are not appropriate in all circumstances. Previously, governments borrowed funds at interest rates lower than what was available to the private sector and this may be an avenue which may need to be reassessed.

  4. Simon says:

    The report does make some sensible comments but doesn’t emphasise issues like the slowness of the current rail services enough. Nor issues with the fare system, including the airport rail station surcharge.

    Not sure why Ray thinks everything is a fait accompli. There is an election in 2.5 months and a week is a long time in politics.

  5. RichardU says:

    A lot hinges on the second harbour crossing and the sale of the electricity assets. Government has changed hands at record speed in Victoria and federally it could happen there too. I have seen too many sure thing projects vanish over night to be prepared to expect any of these plans to happen on time.

    Rapid transit (which is just spin speak so long as there are passengers to pick up and set down) requires a lot of balls to fall in the right places otherwise there will be a lot of unhappy customers. And the people who inflicted it will be long gone and collecting their pensions regardless.

  6. Ray says:

    @ Simon –

    Perhaps I should rephrase my comments about the proposed Sydney Rapid Transit concept being a fait accompli.

    It certainly is as far as the North West Rail Link is concerned as it’s well underway and there’s no going back. I’ll concede that its extension from Chatswood via a second harbour crossing to the CBD is by no means certain, although it’s the most likely option, otherwise the NWRL will end up as a glorified shuttle service. If Labor was unexpectedly to win the forthcoming election (I agree that even a week can be a long time in politics) they would be faced with the dilemma of permanently terminating the NWRL at Chatswood and thereby making the need for a second harbour rail crossing questionable, or reverting to their previous plan for the WEX. I know you favour this option and I agree with you. There is also the option of terminating the NWRL at Epping, leaving the current Epping to Chatswood Rail Link intact, although it is probably a bit late for that as contractual obligations have already been entered into and road headers are driving connecting tunnels from the Epping Service Centre to the existing stub tunnels.

    If the Coalition is returned to government, then they will claim this as a mandate to lease the poles and wires and utilise the resulting funds to extend the NWRL Rapid Transit from Chatswood to the city.

    However, its further extension and conversion of the Bankstown Line to rapid transit operation is another matter entirely and is by no means assured.

  7. QPP says:

    I think I agree with Ray on the current state of play, although I would be stronger on the possibility of terminating the NWRL at Epping. This isn’t going to happen – firstly the whole PPP contract would need to be rewritten and secondly you’d have to work out what that would actually mean in terms of new underground construction and how the systems would interface underground at Epping. There isn’t time to design and construct that from scratch. Any party that goes to the polls in March saying they will “save the ECRL” is lying. Yes Greens, that means you

    Second Harbour Crossing isn’t a fait accompli but the LNP pitch will be quite clear – vote for us and we’ll part lease the poles and wires and use the capital in part to make this next project happen.

    To be honest, once the NWRL is in place it makes the logic for the next project not irresistable but much stronger

    On a broader issue, I really do question the purpose of Infrastructure NSW. I can’t help thinking that the focus on proposed/possible projects is completely the wrong remit. We have too many parties doing that as it is, the overpoliticisation of transport projects in Australia is one of the major factors that makes infrastructure provision so problematic, add in the hundreds of armchair experts who are all so sure their preferred projects/thought bubbles are the right one and there’s already too much in the mix.

    I would much prefer it if Infrastructure NSW focused on broader strategic aims/requirements, set against the backdrop of federal plans, examination of the various proposals that are in play, and on how to obtain better efficiency/productivity in terms of use of existing assets and taxpayer funds

  8. Simon says:

    I think the problem with the plan of terminating “Rapid Transit” at Epping and leaving “Sydney Trains” untouched is that decision will forever be blamed for low patronage on the line. A far better option is to allow both types of trains through the tunnel, with Rapid Transit terminating at Chatswood/St Leonards and upper Northern Line trains running through to the CBD. Everyone wins.

    Regarding re-election of the Lib/Nat government, I agree that is likely but there is also the matter of their getting their agenda through the upper house. Obviously, if they repeat their last election performance and get another 11 MLCs, that will give them 22 out of 42 and they’ll have both houses. I sincerely hope this does not occur.

  9. QPP says:

    >>A far better option is to allow both types of trains through the tunnel, with Rapid Transit terminating at Chatswood/St Leonards and upper Northern Line trains running through to the CBD. Everyone wins.<<

    That can't happen either though – the DD rolling stock will not be compatible with the platform screen doors, the power system, comms and signalling systems that are being installed in ECRL, quite apart from the track & timetabling configuration issues

    There is no question of the NWRL doing anything other at this stage than the published plan – exclusively SD trains through to Chatswood. Sorry

  10. @Simon –

    Repeating the 2011 result of 11 LNP MLCs seems quite unlikely. But by just winning the election they are virtually guaranteed 8 MLCs. Anything but the narrowest victory would be 9 MLCs. Add the 2 CDP MLCs who have promised to vote for privatisation and you get 22, which is a majority in the Legislative Council.

    It’s mathematically possible for the LNP to win, but not obtain a working majority with the CDP for privatisation, but it’s a very narrow window. Alternatively, the ALP could win. But I don’t think even the ALP is considering a 2015 win at this point.

  11. Simon says:

    It’s still mathematically possible for minor parties to prevent the LNP from getting 9 MLCs. I probably won’t be convinced to lose hope for this until 29 March 2015 or perhaps even later.

    QPP – There is no rule that states rapid transit/driveless needs platform screen doors. Vancouver’s Skytrain didn’t have them on a greenfield construction in spite of driverless operation. It’s desirable but not mandatory.

  12. QPP says:

    It’s not just the PSDs though – there are lots of other system that preclude the ECRL tunnels being run as a dual mode operation

    It’s not going to happen. Regardless of what takes place on 28 March. That ship has long since sailed

  13. Simon says:

    Qpp, other places in the world can do it and it should be possible in Sydney. Even if it is unlikely to actually happen.

  14. QPP says:

    I’m not saying it’s not physically possible

    However, to do so cuts across many of the advantages in having a non-integrated configuration (redundancy, capacity of the NWRL, safety if you include PSDs) and would involve a lot of extra cost (notably in now having to engineer a significant interface between the NWRL control system and the rest of the network, when they are currently totally separate) for almost no benefit

    There’s also the massive issue of having to renegotiate the entire NWRL PPP deal, from a very weak negotiating position. The whole deal is structured on the networks being separate and NWRL being free to run through ECRL without any interaction with the existing network. Changing it throws a lot of stuff into the air including journey times and capacity – critical to the financial side of the deal

    So, it won’t happen. Thinking anything differently is deluding yourself. And any political party that goes to the polls saying otherwise is lying

    “Unlikely” is way too weak a word

  15. Simon says:

    The main “advantage” which it cuts across is avoiding involving Railcorp.

    Capacity is not a problem and since when has the LNP cared about journey times?

  16. RichardU says:

    You mean like renegotiating the Telstra/NBN deal? When it comes to governments, I would not assume contracts can never be re-negotiated even if it means the non-government party comes away with a much better deal. It’s only taxpayers’ money after all.

    Isn’t the deconstruction of ECL scheduled for 2018? That’s a long way off in these interesting times.

    Won’t the Liberals’s seeking a mandate for the sale of the poles and wires be somewhat of a wildcard? With their arrogance in Newcastle at the moment, I can’t see them winning any friends there.

    As to fixing this will benefit only people who have no rail service now and the Epping to City people via Chatswood who are quite happy with their existing service at the cost of everyone else who foregoes benefits to fix a problem made by people who won’t then be in office.

  17. QPP says:

    Just because the ECRL conversion isn’t physically happening until 2018 doesn’t mean the opportunity exists before then to change tack: The whole configuration of the NWRL is predicated on it being converted to sole use by the new system and it’s baked into the contract

    This isn’t just a simple contract you can renegotiate at the cost of a few dollars: It is a 15 year transport concession. The OTS contractor has based all their proposal on the ECRL being converted, in order to meet the specified requirements on capacity, journey times and futureproofing for further expansion of the network; this then feeds into the rolling stock that’s required, the size of the depot, the design of the control system and everything else that’s gone into the mix. Renegotiating it would be a huge job and waste a ton of money

    A proposal to run mixed mode in the ECRL would also introduce significant risks: The most obvious one being the presence of vehicles under the control of 2 separate control systems in the tunnel, with one of those control systems being part automated (ie with drivers) and the other fully automated (driverless). That’s a massive risk, and one you’d have to do some serious engineering to overcome. Hundreds of millions of dollars by the time you’d got through all the implications I would expect. And it would still be inherently less safe than what’s proposed whatever controls you engineered (and managed to get accredited for)

    Then you’ve got increased operating and maintenance costs through having two signalling systems in the ECRL, plus issues with possessions and accessing for maintenance (eg it would force NWRL possessions to be coincident with the main network config possessions). Interfacing of two power systems, two communications systems, etc etc etc

    It’s a very large spend indeed (much change out of $1bn? I doubt it), and would have the following negative impacts:
    a) Cuts the available capacity of the NWRL – no way you could run at 30tph with mixed mode
    b) Increases journey times – these are predicated on the faster SD trains and shorter dwell times through screen doors etc
    c) Significantly hampers the ability to extend the rapid transit system without more additional spend as the augmentation (futureproofing) plans are made with the current configuration as part of the plan
    d) Delay to the opening of services on NWRL. Don’t know for how long, possibly 2 years by the time you’ve worked through the engineering and reworked the contracts

    The positive benefits would be:
    a) Allows people from Epping to Hornsby to still have their single seat journey. At the expense of future flexibility and a heck of a lot of taxpayer dollars. Sound likely?

    Keep convincing yourselves if you like guys, but this is a done deal and has been for 2 years.

  18. Simon says:

    It also has the advantage of not congesting the via Strathfield route which I would consider a considerable one. After all, wasn’t moving trains away from via Strathfield one of the main justifications of the $1-2bn spent on the ECRL?

    You seem to be saying that you might as well build another tunnel.

  19. michblogs says:

    A lot of this work is a bit sloppy.

    Maldon is a “major centre” ?

    The Inner West tramway is a “railway”, not “light rail” ?

    When I worked in infrastructure planning, you’d get told off for bungles like that. Now it all looks like it has been done by Irish backpackers.

  20. michblogs says:

    Some of the lines in Beijing have screen doors. Some don’t. Screen doors are not mandatory just to have single deck trains.

  21. QPP says:

    >>It also has the advantage of not congesting the via Strathfield route which I would consider a considerable one. After all, wasn’t moving trains away from via Strathfield one of the main justifications of the $1-2bn spent on the ECRL?

    You seem to be saying that you might as well build another tunnel.<<

    No. I'm just telling you the reality of why the existing plan for NWRL won't be changing regardless of elections

    I get that you don't like NWRL, but you shouldn't let that cloud your judgement of what will happen

    No skin off my nose if you don't want to accept it, I'm just telling it like it is

  22. RichardU says:

    @ Simon The justification of single deckers are that they are “rapid”. If they are anything like the Paris Metro, they may feel rapid because you have to hang on for dear life when standing (and you will be doing a fair bit of that) as they rapidly accelerate and come to a stop and even when there are holdups between stops. But they still have to stop at stations. “Frequent” possibly but since there will be no timetables, we won’t easily be able to check that promise without a stop watch.

    I think at one stage Gladys said they would go at 130K. But Smoking Joe says our grandchildren will make 150 and some pay 50% of their income in tax, so we know how politicians feed the chooks. And he’s the Treasurer.

  23. RichardU says:

    Whatever happens, we should not forget the LNP promised NWRL would not be a privatised single-deck service and that they don’t break promises


    “Ms Berejiklian said that commuters changing at Chatswood for services to the city would not have a problem, because the government would be able to run as many as 24 trains an hour from Chatswood to the city by the time the north-west rail link opened in about 2019.”

    Trains arriving that quickly in the city have to have a place to go when they leave the city. Is that covered? Are we still hearing this promise?

    Ms Berejiklian has a capacity for brushing issues (like inconvenient court decisions) aside with glib sound grabs when they don’t suit.

    Does the contract for the operation of NWRL provide for a guaranteed completion date for the second harbour crossing? Presumably that deal is commercial in confidence and we will never be privy to it.

  24. Simon says:

    RichardU, to my knowledge they made no promise before elected that double deck trains would run on the NWRL or that they would run to the CBD without interchange. If you know differently, please post a link.

    I don’t think the doomsayers about the congestion at Chatswood will be proven correct because so few people will be using the NWRL that it won’t matter. Virtually certainly less than what come down the ECRL from the upper northern line.

    Not at all sure what your last paragraph from your second last post is on about?

    QPP, if the upper northern line can’t use the ECRL even after the 2nd harbour crossing that is a pretty poor outcome which I don’t think has had enough traction in the press. If the 2nd harbour crossing goes through the upper northern line ought to be able to be dual access or converted to “rapid transit”. You’re telling me the latter is unlikely in your view which means that the former becomes the option.

  25. RichardU says:

    Penny Sharp seemed to think the promise was as I paraphrased it from the link I included.

    My point was politicians drop statements into interview grabs which sound good to the audience they are addressing. They deserve to be reminded of them from time to time.

  26. Simon says:

    The promise was inferred but never stated. I think it’s a stretch to say that it was a promise.

  27. Okay, so I have a couple of ideas.

    First, the line should travel via Barangaroo and Sydney Uni, and could run parallel to the existing Bankstown Line instead of taking over; SRT trains would make local stops, while the existing Bankstown Line would run non-stop from Sydenham to Bankstown, with the accept of Bansktown itself, and Punchbowl (possibly also Marickville). From there, double-deck service would still continue to Lidcombe or Liverpool as it does now. Option 2 would be to terminate the Bankstown line at Cambramtta as somebody else on here proposed and re-extend the Inner West Line to Bankstown to prevent the loss of heavy rail on the Lidcombe branch (new tracks would still be needed for this, but it would be cheaper).

    Second, the tunnel under Sydney Harbour presents a problem. The floor is about 50m deep, so a tunnel under the floor would ned to be at at least 55m deep. Another option (which would also cut costs) would be to use a prefabricated tunnel on resting on the floor of the harbour. Made out of sealed concrete segments, the tunnel would be lowered one segment at a time onto the floor from a barge, then “sewed” together by engineers. Once the tunnel is fully complete and buried under a pile of concrete, gravel and sand, the segments would have their sals removed and would become a proper tunnel. This would be a modern version of San Francisco’s Transbay Tube. It would reduce the time and cost needed to build the line, as well as the depth of the tunnels under the CBD.

    Light rail:
    The Carlingford line has very low patronage outside race days at Rosehill, so we should consider the possibility of converting it to light rail, which could extend all the way to the NWRT and connect with the Parrammatta light rail system.

    Longer trains:
    In terms of 12 car trains, these new trains could come in sets of either six or twelve cars. Instead of running them via the North Shore, I would personally re-route them via the Northern Line at Epping, allowing for an extra four (minimum) suburban trains via the Harbour Bridge. SWRL trains, and a few outer suburban trains, could also be lengthened; in this case, I would resurrect an old plan to build a new underground link from Central to Wynard (but re-route it to Barangaroo) to create a new terminus for outer suburban trains and some inter cities, in he new development, reliving pressure at Wynard station and potentially allowing more frequent trains on the City Circle.

    Dedicated freight lines would be built allowing, more passenger trains across the network as a whole.

  28. Alexsg says:

    I agree with QPP – whatever we think of the NWRL it’s a fait accompli, at least as far as Chatswood. And we can forget about any notions about sharing the Epping to Chatswood section either, irrespective of who wins the March State election.

    What isn’t set in cement however is what happens after Chatswood, especially if Labor were to win either in March or in 2019. I speculated in a post in my blog last year about what Labor’s election platform should be, assuming the government’s current policies continue:

    In summary, they could decide not to extend the line at all, or commit to building the harbour crossing and Bankstown conversion as promised by the current government but do the job better/faster/cheaper etc, or decide on a different alignment across the harbour and in particular offer an alternative to the current Bankstown line proposals (eg, build a Parramatta Road metro).

    My most Machiavellian suggestion for the ALP was that they should promise to extend the NWRL from Chatswood not to the city but across the north side to Neutral Bay as part of a long-term and suitably vague promise to extend it to the northern beaches, combined with a proposal to build the second harbour crossing as a heavy rail double-deck line to meet this “North Sydney” metro. The heavy rail line would provide additional capacity for the heavy rail system much like the proposals for a Central to Wynyard relief line but extend this across the harbour to the metro interchange.

    There would be some practical advantages to this proposal but from Labor’s perspective the real benefits would be political and not practical, depending on how much they want to disrupt the current government’s own political agenda for the introduction of single-deck trains, while not being seen as too negative. In addition any inconvenience with changing trains would be continue to be borne by predominantly LNP-supporting electorates, with Labor able to conviently remind them who caused this in the first place.

  29. Simon says:

    walterarmstrong, why on earth would a tunnel be built to duplicate the Bankstown line but with no stations?

    Carlingford line as light rail has real issues at both ends of the line. I reckon it will be better left as is. Just put on some more buses and limited stop ones at that rather than the silliness people are on about which will not likely ever happen.

  30. JC says:

    Carlingford light rail is no-brainer – it has be be cheaper to run and provide a better service than the current arrangements if it ran within the existing format witout any changes i.e. Clyde to Carlingford – and has potential from minor adjustments (e.g. cord to allow it stop at Granville rather than Clyde) to eventually forming the base of a Parramatta LR system.

    Other no-brainers are for the SRT to stop at Barangaroo, and to extend the Kingsford LR – at least to
    Maroubra J.

  31. Simon says:

    Carlingford light rail to Parramatta via Clyde or Granville would be slower to operate and more expensive to implement than any decent bus service and still wouldn’t go to Epping or Eastwood. Totally pointless! To have any merit you need to chop off Rosehill and run straight into Parramatta via George St/Hassall St. Which then leaves Rosehill unserviced except on Race Days. I guess not a huge problem.

    I still expect there to be far more worthy projects around.

  32. Alexsg says:

    @walterarmstrong – have a look at the original Parramatta Council feasibility study and other documentation:

    This proposes running parallel to the middle section of the Carlingford line between Camellia and Dundas – or taking over this section of the existing line if heavy rail services cease operation – as part of a line running from Westmead/Parramatta to Macquarie Park.

    This is a more sensible solution than trying to turn the full length of the existing line into light rail. The section from Clyde to Rosehill could be retained as heavy rail, or closed. The Carlingford stub could either be closed or retained as a single track line converted to light rail to run as a branch of the Westmead-Macquarie Park line and used to turn around services to provide higher frequency on the Dundas to Westmead section.

  33. JC says:

    This has all been canvassed before (see post of 28.10.14). We all (well mostly) agreed that that via Eastwood is the best route for a Parrmatta-Macquarie link.

    But ripping out the Dundas-Carlingford track and the Camelia-Clyde/Granville track – which is already there, electrified etc and could provide useful branches, future extension potential, greater connectivity, savings on operation of heavy rail on Clyde-Rose Hill etc would be perverse. (noting that race meetings happen on weekends when there would be spare LRVs).

  34. Simon says:

    The forecast for the Doncaster line is that it will remove about 1000 car trips per day from the roads. What is the forecast for the NWRL as presently planned? And the one for the CSELR? I’m not aware such forecasts exist.

  35. Ray says:

    The hoardings around the NWRL station construction sites have statements splashed across them saying “12,000 cars off the road in the peak”.

  36. Simon says:

    Right, yes, but you wonder what napkin that number was written on. Is there a similar quality number for the CSELR? I can’t recall it.

  37. @Simon –

    There is one for the CSELR. I’ve been having computer issues, so can’t find the relevant planning document. Though I wouldnt put too much faith in projections (I used to, but have distanced myself from them over time). It’s not that I don’t trust the forecasters, but rather that there are so many variables involved and there is a large margin of error involved.

    Ultimately it isn’t forecasts that determine how many cars will come off the road, but actual figures in 2019 (for both the NWRL and CSELR).

  38. Simon says:

    I’ve had a look at Sydney’s Light Rail Future and didn’t find it. Can you give me a pointer?

  39. @Simon I never said nothing bout a tunnel duplicating the Bankstown line; it would all be above ground. The RT tracks could run on the outside of the existing tracks. And in terms of the Carlinford light rail, I am not familiar with the area and was just suggesting a better way to use the line. But the Carlingford Line is under-utilised and in the long term, converting it to light rail would be more efficient and cost-effective than maintaining a single track line with hourly trains, a benefit that would far out way the cost of conversion in the long term.

  40. @Simon –

    It’s in one of the supporting documents (the 500 page one, from memory). I’ve moved to a new computer and am having internet problems; so I don’t have it saved and can’t find it myself.

    From memory, it’s expected for a small but significant patronage to come from a mode shift away from cars and to light rail, though most of it comes from a bus to light rail mode shift.

  41. Simon says:


    Isn’t that a bit misleading? What about people deterred from using transit (oohh, are we allowed to call it that?) by the forced interchange and no access to George St.

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