Connecting Sydney’s airports with Sydney Rapid Transit

Posted: May 8, 2015 in Transport
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VIDEO: Infrastructure (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver)

Sydney Rapid Transit (SRT) could reach a new airport at Badgerys Creek, possibly via the existing Kingsford Smith airport at Mascot, as part of the Southern extension of a Second Harbour Rail Crossing. The idea was floated last week by the Transport Minister Andrew Constance when he said that “I think it is a case of putting all things on the table”, in which he also called on the Australian Government to provide funding for a rail line to Badgerys Creek. The Australian Government has committed $2.9bn in funding for roads to support the airport, but no money for rail.

The proposal is currently little more than a thought bubble. But if it were to happen, what could it look like and how would it build on existing plans that are already locked in?

The current plan

The North West Rail Link (NWRL) from Rouse Hill to Epping is currently under construction. It will be connected to the Epping to Chatswood Line, set to be closed in 2018 so that it can be converted, with the new Rouse Hill to Chatswood Line opening in 2019. Construction of a Second Harbour Rail Crossing from Chatswood to Sydenham will begin in 2017, and is expected to open in 2024. This will also see the Bankstown Line converted to single deck operation between Bankstown and Sydenham, also with a 2024 opening.

SYdney Rapid Transit following the conversion of the T3 Bankstown Line. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW, Rebuilding NSW Fact sheet 3, p1.)

SYdney Rapid Transit following the conversion of the T3 Bankstown Line. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW, Rebuilding NSW Fact sheet 3, p1.)

There are further plans to expand the line from Sydenham to Hurstville. Earlier plans showed the line extending from Bankstown to both Lidcombe and Cabramatta, but more recent plans show the line terminating at Bankstown and not continuing further.

Sydney Rapid Transit as currently proposed. Click to enlarge. (Source: Sandy Thomas, 1855 revisisted.)

Sydney Rapid Transit as currently proposed. Click to enlarge. (Source: Sandy Thomas, 1855 revisisted.)

Past plans

A rail line from the North West to the South West via the CBD is not a new concept. This is exactly what was proposed in 2005 as part of the Metropolitan Rail Expansion Program (MREP). This would involve the extension of the Epping to Chatswood Line via the construction of the NWRL and the extension of the then East Hills Line (now T2 Airport Line) via the construction of the South West Rail Link (SWRL). Core capacity would then be increased by building a new under the Harbour and CBD rail line, plus additional tracks from Chatswood to St Leonards; Sydenham to Erskineville; and Kingsgrove to Revesby. The difference is that the MREP proposal would use double deck trains and travel via Sydenham, therefore bypassing the existing Airport Line.

Metropolitan Rail Expansion Program. Click to enlarge. (Source: Sandy Thomas, 1855 revisisted.)

Metropolitan Rail Expansion Program. Click to enlarge. (Source: Sandy Thomas, 1855 revisisted.)

A metro line out towards Sydney’s South West was also part of a leaked 2012 report, which suggested extending SRT from Wolli Creek to Revesby. This would follow the initial conversion of the T3 Bankstown Line and then later also a portion of the T4 Illawarra through to Hurstville to the new SRT system. The latter of these two conversions passes through Wolli Creek, which would allow the portion of the T2 Airport Line to also be converted. SRT could then provide all station services on these lines, with the remaining T2 and T4 trains running express from the outer suburbs.

Previously proposed metro network for Sydney, including a line out to Revesby and the Northern Beaches. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW, CBD Rail Capacity Program Rail Futures Investigations - Engineering & Construction, p30.)

Previously proposed metro network for Sydney, including a line out to Revesby and the Northern Beaches. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW, CBD Rail Capacity Program Rail Futures Investigations – Engineering & Construction, p30.)

However, this proposal would not actually reach either airport.

How it could work

If both airports are to be connected then the entire T2 Airport Line would need to be converted to SRT between Glenfield and Central. The resultant shift of patronage from the T2 Airport Line to SRT together with the ability for SRT to reach the T2 Airport Line directly from Central without having to travel between Wolli Creek and Sydenham, eliminates the need to convert the T4 Illawarra Line to SRT. In fact, it would make more sense to maintain all station services from Hurstville within the Sydney Trains network and instead send them into the City Circle, joining the remaining T2 Airport Line trains (which would likely revert to the previous East Hills Line name, given they would no longer travel via the airport). This lifts the current capacity constraint on the T4 Illawarra Line, which along with the T1 Western Line is Sydney’s most congested.

The T2 Airport Line currently has 4 tracks between Wolli Creek through to Revesby in the West, where it drops down to 2 tracks. The line West of Revesby would need to be quadruplicated out to Glenfield, providing 2 tracks for T2 trains and 2 tracks for SRT trains. The Northern end of Glenfield Junction may also require some upgrading to prevent any conflicting moves between T2 and SRT trains, however the Southern end is flexible enough to be able to handle the merger of Sydney Trains and SRT services. From there it is simply a matter of converting the existing SWRL to SRT, while also extending the line out to Badgerys Creek or further.

Journeys from the SWRL would be limited to all stop services on SRT, which would probably take around 60 minutes from Badgerys Creek to Central (perhaps 45 minutes if SRT allowed for shorter dwell times and faster acceleration). Passengers could change at Glenfield with a simple cross platform transfer to a faster express train directly to Central (or elsewhere).

Meanwhile, the shutdown of the T2 Airport Line for SRT conversion could also be used as an opportunity to add an additional station (Doody St) between Mascot and Green Square and/or an additional station (Waterloo) between Green Square and Central. This would allow the Central to Sydenham alignment of SRT to take the Northern approach, via Sydney University; rather than the alternative proposal via Waterloo.

The proposed Doody St Station would be located between the existing Mascot and Green Square Stations on the Airport Line. Click to enlarge. (Source: EcoTransit.)

The proposed Doody St Station would be located between the existing Mascot and Green Square Stations on the Airport Line. Click to enlarge. (Source: EcoTransit.)

The 10km portion of the T2 Airport Line between Wolli Creek and Central is currently privately owned, but reverts to public ownership in 2030. Conversion would probably have to occur after 2030. However, with the initial Rouse Hill to Bankstown portion of SRT set to open in 2024 and an airport at Badgerys Creek set to open in 2026, the timing is not too far off the mark. Rail services would not be running on the day the airport opens, but they could commence a few years afterwards. This is problematic if the aim is rail on day one, but ideal timing if the aim is for a gradual increase in transport connections as airport usage ramps up over time.

  1. > The T2 Airport Line currently has 4 tracks between Wolli Creek through to Revesby in the West,
    > where it drops down to 2 tracks. The line West of Revesby would need to be quadruplicated out to
    > Glenfield, providing 2 tracks for T2 trains and 2 tracks for SRT trains.

    Not necessarily.

    The main south could revert to via Regents Park/Granville. Airport #2 & Leppington via Airport #1 all SRT with cross platform interchange at Glenfield. The Bankstown line would have to stay with RailCorp.

    It does actually solve a lot more problems than what’s currently on the table, and makes better use of the 2nd crossing capacity. The only issue is the choice of mode: you end up with DD commuter trains servicing the short haul route and acting as feeders leaving the all singing all standing metro to do the long haul regional interconnects.

  2. John says:

    The NWRL / second harbour crossing should extend to Airport/ Campbelltown/ Leppington/ Badgerys Creek, not to Bankstown as currently proposed.

    This will give much better service on the major axes of demand, with one seat travel from the north shore to the airport and from the south west to the employment centres of the lower north shore.

    The government has never properly explained the reason for wanting to send NWRL trains to Bankstown, instead of to Campbelltown as proposed in the 2005 MREP. The Bankstown proposal is so obviously inferior that I can only assume it arose from the ideologically driven desire to keep NWRL and Sydney Trains operations completely physically separate to expedite private operation. That would be easier on the Bankstown line.

    There is no need for ‘closing the airport line for SRT conversion’ or providing an extra track pair from Revesby to Glenfield. Again, I assume that these proposals reflect an assumption that the lines should be fully segregated. And again, this is just ideology – there is no physical or operational reason why it needs to be so. All that’s needed is to give the NWRL trains the controls needed to run on Sydney Trains’ lines. [note 1] The private NWRL line can share service with Sydney Trains’ Campbelltown line in exactly the same way as the the private Brisbane airport line shares service with the government’s Gold Coast line.

    Under this scenario there is no problem in relation to capacity to Campbelltown. Full service (say 20 per hour) from the NWRL to Campbelltown/ Badgerys Creek, using NWRL-compatible single deck trains, would have more seats, and far more total capacity, than the present 8 per hour peak double deck service. [note 2] All these trains would be express from Wolli Creek to Revesby. This contrasts with the ‘all stations to Badgerys Crek’ proposal described in the post. To spend billions building a line to Badgerys Creek, and then serve it only with all stations trains that take an hour to get to Sydney, would be absurd.

    The City Circle from Museum would then be turned over to Bankstown/ Revesby/ Hurstville trains. The Eastern Surburbs line could then serve only the Illawarra line beyond Hurstville, which would be an important increase in capacity there.

    Note 1. The claims you sometimes read that ‘single and double deck trains can’t run on the same lines’ are nonsense. They did in fact run on the same lines for 20 years during the conversion to all-double-deck operation.

    Note 2. At this point, can we please please please drop the silly meme that says ‘metro trains are unsuitable for long distance travel’. All we are talking about here is ‘single deck trains compatible with the NWRL tunnels’. Within that shape, you can configure the interiors for whatever compromise between capacity and comfort you want.

  3. Simon says:

    This idea has much more merit than the ridiculous partial Bankstown Line conversion. I think you’d need or at least want to add two more platforms at Kingsgrove. Main limitation is as for the MREP, it doesn’t appear very easy to connect to the Airport line near Central. I guess the engineers would give us a better answer as to how difficult it would be. Perhaps that proves not an obstacle at all. I think single deck just handling the all stopping service to Revesby would be reasonable for a long time to come.

  4. Tom says:

    The NWRL trains will be driverless and working under automatic signalling/operation. That’s why they can’t share tracks with the double deckers, not the fact that they are single deck trains.

    And you wouldn’t want to configure the NWRL trains solely on the needs generated by the distance to Badgery’s Creek – it is meant to be a reasonably high capacity train so you can just cram 2+2 or 2+3 seating everywhere you can in the train, there needs to be a reasonable amount of standing room and circulation room to minimise station stop time and to keep up the frequencies through the city.

  5. Tom says:

    *can’t just cram – no way to edit above post sorry.

  6. Simon says:

    Human driven and driverless have shared tracks in the past. That’s not a show stopper. Normally, it’s just done while conversion work is carried out though.

  7. Screen doors would not allow different trains on the same lines. Not having screen doors may inhibit driverless trains. It won’t make it impossible (it has been done overseas), but removing them opens the door for public backlashes over safety concerns.

  8. > Not having screen doors may inhibit driverless trains. It won’t make it impossible (it has been done
    > overseas), but removing them opens the door for public backlashes over safety concerns.

    It means you need larger platforms to safely handle the same loads – which are very hard to retrofit. Chatswood springs to mind.

  9. > Main limitation is as for the MREP, it doesn’t appear very easy to connect to the
    > Airport line near Central.

    AFAIK, the airport line tunnels were built with an extension to Central 26/27 in mind. There are no stubs, but there is a flat/straight section built to allow points and a fly-under.

    It’s not trivial obviously, but it’s no more tunnelling than the original plan where the southern portals would probably be west of the flying junctions, or perhaps even Redfern.

    I seem to recall this section of the airport line was relatively cheap and easy to build. It was dug out in a few months using road headers through Sydney sandstone. It wasn’t till they got to mud below sea level that they needed those custom TBMs.

  10. John says:

    Tom: NWRL trains can’t share tracks with the double-deckers because they will be driverless.

    Yes, that is the present plan. My argument is that it’s a very bad plan, because it forces an outcome that is seriously inferior: linking the NWRL to Bankstown instead of Campbelltown/ Badgerys Creek.

    Accordingly, my argument is that the NWRL trains should be fitted out as needed so that they CAN run on Sydney Trains tracks. I’m not a train designer, but I can’t imagine this would be hard.

    If it’s really impossible to design the NWRL trains for driver as well as driverless operation, I’d be glad if someone with the expertise could explain why.

    Bambul: platform edge doors would not allow different trains on the same line.

    Well, yes. So where there are different trains on the line, you wouldn’t have platform edge doors. I don’t see a problem. NWRL trains, when they’re on with-driver lines, would not require and would not have platform edge doors.

    Also remember that running trains NWRL-second harbour crossing-Campbelltown/ Badgerys Creek would be quite a few years off and will need another order of trains. There’s no particular reason why those trains need to be identical to whatever they’re planning now for the NWRL alone. This point is relevant to the question of how you fit out the interior for capacity vs comfort, as well as the matter of enabling driver operation.

  11. John says:

    Just to be clear, I meant: If it’s really impossible to design a train for with-driver and driverless operation, as appropriate on different sections of track, I’d be glad if someone with expertise could explain why.

  12. Anthony says:

    If a future Badgerys Creek is to have a rail link it should be something similar to the Gatwick Express. That is an express service directly into Central. The distance from the CBD means that having this airport as the last station on a lengthy suburban line with various stops (whether SRT or regular trains) it will take over an hour.
    This would mean it may be quicker to get an express bus into the CBD than catching the train particularly when ConnexWest and the M5 duplication occur.
    That said the idea of having the Sydney Airport line out to Revesby to be the SRT instead of the Bankstown line has merit and should be looked at.

  13. Tom says:

    Expense and complexity. You would have to have drivers get on and off at a particular station and have the trains to change to the appropriate mode as well as pay all those involved – which is a bit silly since part of the goal with SRT is to cut a significant portion of the traditional Sydney Trains operating costs.

    Any train service that goes to Badgery’s should be an express service through the Airport tunnel because it’s so far out from the CBD. SRT isn’t really appropriate for this context.

    I think the Bankstown line conversion will be fine. It will encourage increased infill as a result of more frequent and faster services to Central – it will also free up some capacity on the city circle to allow more frequent services elsewhere.

  14. Just looking at the MREP map again for the first time in years, with the benefit of hind sight it’s starting to look like an obviously superior plan to SRT, no matter how it’s finally configured.

    It creates a new dog-boned sector targeted at serving the areas where major development is being planned now, not what is happening now but planned 10 years ago.

  15. Simon says:

    What is with insistence on connecting Badgery’s Creek with Central at high speed? Completely stupid. Fly to SYD if you want to go to the CBD and aren’t prepared to spend a long time travelling.

  16. QPP says:

    ^ That comment pretty much sums up everything that is and has always been wrong in Australian public transport planning.

  17. John says:

    Tom: expense, complexity of operating trains with or without drivers according to the line.

    I see no complexity. The train would run driverless from NWRL to Chatswood or Central or wherever; the driver would hop on there, switch on the control panel and away we go.

    As for expense: remember, we’re talking about projects with a total cost of probably at least $20 billion, that will still be serving us, for better or worse, in a century (NWRL, second harbour crossing, Badgerys Creek link).

    In comparison with the total cost, the wage cost of drivers is a fleabite. It’s much more important to get the best possible long term outcomes from that huge expenditure, in terms of providing good service on the major axes of demand. [note 1]

    Note also that the important transfer which is avoided by running the NWRL to Campbelltown – change at Central to get between the North Shore and Airport/Cambelltown – is a particularly inconvenient one: a long walk plus a stair to get between underground platforms and platforms 20-23 (City Circle via Museum). I can’t see that changing (how would you bring escalators to platforms 20-23?)

    Note 1: After writing that, I did a back of the envelope calculation to see how close to the mark my intuition about ‘a fleabite’ is.

    Let’s look at the incremental cost of driver operation, compared with driverless, of a full time 8 per hr service (doubled in peak periods) running from Chatswood to Campbeltown/ Badgerys Creek in 90 minutes. Let’s assume the driver cost, including on costs, is $100 per hour (I have no idea what it is really, but that would seem to be a generous upper bound).

    About 300 trips per day times 1.5 hours per trip times $100 per hour = $45,000 per day.

    An upfront capital cost of $20 billion, at normal discount rates, is equivalent to daily expense, into the the indefinite future, of about one five thousandth of the total. One five thousandth of $20 billion is $4 million.

    Thus the driver wage cost, at $45,000 per day into the indefinite future, is equivalent to about one per cent of the capital cost ($4 million per day). It will be much less than one per cent of the total cost (since there will also be other operating costs).

    Also consider that providing a better service (one seat travel) on major axes of demand (North Shore to airport and south west to the employment centres of the lower North Shore) will attract more patronage, and that will offset part of the driver cost. At say $5 per fare, 30 extra boardings per trip would offset the driver cost completely.

    I conclude that the plan to link the NWRL to Bankstown is not based on sensible transport planning, rather it is based on an ideologically driven desire to keep the privately operated and government lines completely physically separate, regardless of the detrimental effects on the total network.

  18. Greg says:

    I actually really like the leaked idea from within TfNSW to run the airport line (Revesby to Central) as a dedicated shuttle with a new Central terminus and dedicated luggage friendly rolling stock. My requirement for this would be easy interchange with SRT – cross platform interchange located below Sydney Terminal platforms.

    For Badgery’s creek, the time to drive from the CBD with no traffic would be about 50 minutes, so this is the time that should be considered the limit, and I think it would be achievable.

    One of the good things about running an airport train is that the traffic is not going to be peaky like CBD commuter traffic, so an all day 15 minute service between the CBD and Badgery’s creek should be able to achieve a good express stopping pattern for a majority of the day without extra infrastructure (other than SWRL extension), with services possibly becoming a little slower during the peak CBD commute when things become more congested (but only in the peak CBD peak direction, and this is also when there is road congestion so the train should still be faster).

    Another thing to remember is that people requiring transport between Badgery’s creek and Kingsford Smith are likely to be a very small minority. Most people are likely to be headed to the CBD (tourists ad other visitors) or home. Visitors heading to the CBD are probably more likely to catch public transport than those who live in Sydney and have other options (long term parking, relative pick up, shorter taxi ride etc.)

    The way I would like to see things panning out:

    Early days:

    SWRL extension. All day 15 minute express service to City Circle, possibly with dedicated luggage friendly rolling stock, possibly through Airport Tunnel for airport connection, but just as likely via Sydenham to gain a couple of minutes (or if Airport line is now running dedicated service described above).Target travel time of 45 minutes, but probably closer to 50 minutes due to need for a few stops for connections to other areas of Sydney. Stops at Glenfield, Revesby (maybe), Wolli Creek (new platforms), Sydenham (maybe – for Bankstown connection, probably not likely to be very used so probably leave this one out).

    Change at Revesby (cross platform) or Wolli Creek for connection between airports.

    Later on:

    If the airport eventually developed to be Sydney’s main international gateway and Kingsford Smith became a business focused, Domestic only airport, then additional connections could be built, such as connection to St Mary’s (this could take many forms – SWRL extension, St Mary’s Western line extension, SRT extension from St Mary’s and NWRL).

    On top of this, I think an SRT extension from Bankstown would be worthwhile too (direct, via Bankstown Airport, Chipping Norton, Liverpool, Green Valley).

    This way you would have connections that serve the entire Sydney metropolitan area easily.

    The last few things are likely many decades off, but we should be thinking that far ahead to make sure we make the required reservations now.

  19. QPP says:


    >>Tom: expense, complexity of operating trains with or without drivers according to the line.

    I see no complexity. The train would run driverless from NWRL to Chatswood or Central or wherever; the driver would hop on there, switch on the control panel and away we go.

    As for expense: remember, we’re talking about projects with a total cost of probably at least $20 billion, that will still be serving us, for better or worse, in a century (NWRL, second harbour crossing, Badgerys Creek link).

    In comparison with the total cost, the wage cost of drivers is a fleabite. It’s much more important to get the best possible long term outcomes from that huge expenditure, in terms of providing good service on the major axes of demand. [note 1]<<

    The complexity isn't about whether or not there is a driver in the cab – it is mixing train control systems. Engineering that to ensure a safety case can satisfactorily be made is a very substantial exercise.

    The other issue with mixing modes is in affecting frequency and therefore capacity. To maximise frequency you need short running headways, as short as possible dwell times, AND minimised variation in both running and dwell times. That's a key part of the automatic proposition (and a big part of the requirement for platform screen doors)

    The easiest way of delivering this is by having a separated network – one type of rolling stock, one control system, one service pattern. As soon as you start introducing "flexibility" with different types of trains, bifurcated lines, and interface between control systems, you start disrupting that quite badly.

  20. John says:

    Greg: ‘People requiring transport between Badgery’s Creek and Kingsford Smith are likely to be a very small minority.’

    I don’t think we should assume this. Again I stress that we should be planning for the next century, not the next decade. A fast rail link joining the airports is a valuable property that might affect the air travel market in ways we can’t imagine now. Indeed your comment, that Badgerys Creek might become the international hub and Sydney the domestic hub, implies it.

  21. JC says:

    All intersting stuff. A few thoughts to mull over…

    The 2nd Harbour crossing/SRT could go from N. Sydney to Barangaroo, then the unused stubs/platforms at St James, then Taylor Square and links into the airport line at Green Park – then Metro terminating at Revesby. No need for new tracks or double running.

    A Badgeries Creek Express could run (say) half-hourly (should be enough for the time being), stopping at Glenfield, Revesby, Kingsgrove, Wolli Creek (see below), Sydneham and Redfern (to maximise interconnection) and finish at Central. This could be woven into SWRL and Macarthur services.

    I think the comments that there will not necessarily be a lot of inter-airport traffic are right – and it could be served by a (free) people-mover or shuttle bus linking the existing terminals (long overdue) and Wolli Creek.

    Redundant tunnel from Green Park to Central could become part of the light rail network – with intermediate stop(s).

  22. > I think the comments that there will not necessarily be a lot of inter-airport traffic are right – and it
    > could be served by a (free) people-mover or shuttle bus linking the existing terminals (long overdue)
    > and Wolli Creek.

    Maybe we could have inter-airport flights :-).

  23. John says:

    QPP: desirability of having a separate network without different trains [on the same tracks] or bifurcated lines.

    I agree. Connecting the NWRL to Campbelltown/ Badgerys Creek, instead of Bankstown as currently proposed, is generally consistent with that.

    Rouse Hill to Campbelltown/ Badgerys Creek is a pretty simple operating pattern with no opposite direction conflicting movements. [note 1] It can be completely segregated from almost all other trains providing all trains through Liverpool terminate at Glenfield. [note 2]

    Country trains could go via Strathfield and use the Southern Sydney Freight Line through Glenfield (not that I see any particular need for that, as there are so few of them). There might be a few remaining freight trains on the passenger line (to Minto, for example), but is that such a big problem?

    You would need new flyovers near Turrella to move airport trains from the inside track pair at Wolli Creek to the outside (express) track pair to Revesby without conflict with City Circle-Revesby all stops trains.

    Linking an automated to a non-automated line does of course limit the capacity of the combined line to the lower capacity of the non-automated section – say 24 per hour, compared with around 30 per hour claimed for a fully automated NWRL. [note 3] But I would argue that none of the lines involved are ever likely to need more than 24 per hour anyway. [note 4]

    QPP: ‘Ensuring a safety case [for dual operation] is a substantial exercise.’

    The proposal is to take the driverless train and simply add the controls needed to make it look like an existing train when it runs on existing lines with existing, well-proven signalling systems. The only issue I can imagine is that you would need some device to prevent it from overshooting the changeover point without changing the control system. Of course there would be a cost, but I find it hard to imagine any difficulty with the concept. And again, I guess the cost would be a fleabite in context of the total cost of a $20 billion project.

    Note 1. Same direction merging movements do not reduce capacity – you just allow some recovery time before the merge point so that trains are ready to take the next path on the merged section promptly. Of course late running reduces capacity – but that applies to a line without branches just as much as to a line with branches.

    Note 2. Losing the through service from Campbelltown to Liverpool/ Granville is regrettable, but it could be compensated by much more frequent ‘turn up and go’ services (say 8 per hour in the peak) with cross platform transfers at Glenfield.

    Note 3. ‘24 per hour’: a reasonable target with the existing signalling system, providing trains are properly designed to minimise station dwell times. The Airport-Glenfield line would need to be resignalled for closer headways. ’30 per hour’: government publicity matter speaks of capacity of ‘at least 30 per hour’.

    Note 4. Related point: a disadvantage of the NWRL to Bankstown proposal is the likely imbalance of demand on the two legs. It implies either running a lot of half empty trains to Bankstown, or having an inner south terminus for some of the NWRL trains.

    Related related point: An NWRL to southwest line creates a balanced network with capacity well matched to the distribution of demand: say 16 per hour from the NWRL to Campbelltown/ Badgerys Creek (up to 24 per hour in future to match predicted growth in demand), while City Circle via Museum serves Bankstown/ Revesby/ Hurstville. The Bondi Junction line can then be dedicated to the Illawarra beyond Hurstville, which is a useful capacity increase there.

    The NWRL-Bankstown proposal creates an unbalanced network: up to 30 per hour to Bankstown (using the government’s estimate of the capacity of an automated line), which is vastly more than that line will ever need; while the City Circle is left struggling to serve Campbelltown and Badgerys Creek (growth areas and already overcrowded), and Revesby and Hurstville. These lines together are very likely to want more trains than the City Circle can handle (Hurstville is mentioned here to be comparable to the other scenario).

  24. Greg says:

    John: I did not say that ‘Badgerys Creek might become the international hub and Sydney the domestic hub’. I said that Badgerys creek would become our international hub (read: main airport) and Kingsford Smith would become a domestic only business focused airport. These are not the same things.

    Badgerys creek would be the primary international and domestic airport for Sydney (think Heathrow in London) and Kingsford Smith would serve intercity business travel (think London City airport).

    How much traffic do you think there is between Heathrow and London City? Anyone arriving internationally and connecting at Badgerys creek would connect to a Badgerys creek domestic flight.

    That said, if someone did want to connect between airports they would be able to do so in under 50 minutes with a single connection at Revesby (cross platform) or Wolli Creek (harder transfer but faster).

  25. Todd says:

    I don’t know how many times it has to be said – Western Sydney Airport and Kingsford Smith will compete against each other and not against each other. I.e. they will both try to win passengers from each other, but they will also serve their own respective areas of Western Sydney and non-Western Sydney. Anybody who goes on with this BS that KSA will serve the business traveller and WSA will serve the low cost or some other version is completely misguided.

    The best way I can explain it is (purely fictional example) you have a Coles in Epping and a Woolworths in Eastwood. The majority of people in Epping will shop in Coles, and the majority of people in Eastwood will shop at Woolworths. There is some crossover as people will choose what they prefer, but on the whole the offering is virtually identical. And even though both shops are successful in their own right, they will still try to steal customers from the other.

    Re a train line linking the two airports – it is not a necessity. If you think of two places that have more than one airport – New York and London – neither have a dedicated rail line linking the two airports. BTW the number of people who will be transferring between the two will be minimal – and the people who do will add zilch to the NSW economy so why waste money on making it easy for them?

    In saying that, the two airports probably will end up on the same rail line when the SWRL is extended to WSA. This will be a happy accident, but certainly not a contributing factor to the success of WSA.

  26. JC says:

    I don’t think it is possible to predict the operation/sharing between BC and Mascot KSA but it will probably not be “one domestic one international” (either way) and it won’t be “one serves the east and the other the west” – it may trend towards shorthaul v. longhaul or full service v. budget or business v. leisure. In almost any scenrio, I would not expect there would be much inter-airport transfer. We should not rule it out – but I don’t hink it is worth compromising the essentially outer suburban SWRL with the (even as it is now) near-metro airport-Green Park-CBD line. Remember that Wolli Creek station is about only 1km from the international terminal – a mere step in terms of most airport visits.

  27. Simon says:

    I completely agree with Todd. BC, properly executed, will take all the dedicated freighters, some low cost carriers’ flights, perhaps all flights from small operators such as Rex looking for lower landing charges and some flights from big international carriers like Emirates (i.e. 1 out of 4 daily SYD-DXB flights kind of thing).

    Places with big inter airport transfers (e.g. Buenos Aires, AEP and EZE) do not have fully capable runways at both airports. The closest thing to an exception I can think of is Gatwick and Heathrow. I expect that the inter airport transfers between those airports is below 0.01% of patronage.

    Why it needs rail at all is not clear but if it does, high speed rail is something that is needed like a whole in the head. If we would build rail there, it should be an extension of the SWRL first with connections at Glenfield perhaps then extending to the Western Line with an interchange at perhaps Blacktown.

  28. Ray says:

    I also agree in principle with what Todd has proposed.

    I am currently in London, having come via Hong Kong, and I can see the importance of having a dedicated fast express train service from Badgerys Creek to the CBD as has been demonstrated in these two cities. It is more essential for Badgerys Creek because it is much further out. I don’t think an all stations SRT link to BC would cut it.

    While I do agree with an extension of the SRT to the Airport Line, instead of Bankstown, it should only go as far as Revesby, at least in the short term. This would allow for the existing Campbelltown and extended SWRL services from BC to continue to utilize the express tracks from Revesby to the City Circle via Sydenham. A BC Express would be part of this service being operated by Sydney Trains..

    In conjunction with this concept, the sextup between Sydenham and Erskineville would need to be completed, to allow Bankstown services to run independently to the City Circle, and the connection of the Illawarra Main to platforms 21 & 23 via the flying junctions to be restored (the Illawarra Local would cross over to the Illawarra Main after Erskineville Junction). The converted SRT Airport Line would connect directly with the new CBD rail link via the unused Central platforms 26 & 27. The opportunity should also be taken to construct additional stations on the Airport Line between Mascot and Green Square and Green Square and Central while the Airport Line is shut down for conversion, even if it is for an extended period.

    In the longer term, the SRT could be extended from Revesby to BC as a separate line, eventually linking up with an extended NWRL to form an orbital route via St Marys.

  29. Simon says:

    What Ray? You say you agree with Todd, then propose the opposite.

    Both London and Hong Kong do not have a fully capable airport much closer to the CBD and you are therefore clearly comparing apples with oranges. In fact, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find an equivalent city anywhere.

  30. JC says:

    London has both an express service from Heathrow to Paddington and is on the tube nework. While the all-stops tube seems pretty tedious, it is actually quicker to most locations in London than the “central London in 15 mins” service provided by the Heathrow Express and carries nearly twice as many passengers (18% of landside trips cf 10% for rail). Price of course may also be an issue.

  31. JC says:

    I’m still confused about the strength of feeling against the Bankstown option for SRT. I grew up on the East Hills line – and all the stations along the route are sleepy little hamlets compared to the density of employment and housing along the Bankstown line….

    And has no one noticed that with the right rolling stock you could run a near-metro service from Revesby to Olympic Park via the airport, CBD and the inner west that would be pretty much segregated from the DD network and with virtually no trackwork.

  32. > And has no one noticed that with the right rolling stock you could run a near-metro service from
    > Revesby to Olympic Park via the airport, CBD and the inner west that would be pretty much
    > segregated from the DD network and with virtually no trackwork.

    Errr, no. Unless by “the right rolling stock” you mean levitating?

  33. JC says:

    Errr no: Take 2 of the 4 tracks between Revesby and Wolli Creek; the 2 tracks of the airport link to Central; the City Circle; 2 of the 6 tracks from Central to Flemington and finish off with the excellent turning loop at OlympicPpark. Add in some off-the-shelf trains e.g. the Melboune xtrapolis and Bob’s your SRT Line 2 uncle.

  34. Greg says:

    How are the trains are going to cross the suburbans and mains in order to reach the Olympic Park line? Where are the other current City Circle services (Macarthur, South Line) going to go?

  35. Simon says:

    Flyover presumably. Although I also am unclear about the South line. It doesn’t appear to be thought of.

  36. John says:

    JC: The Bankstown line has more development than the East Hills line.

    Daily station entries in 2013 were
    – Marrickville-Bankstown: about 37,000
    – Yagoona-Berala-Carramar: about 11,000
    – Turrella-Revesby: about 20,000
    – Panania-Glenfield-Campbelltown-Macarthur: about 29,000

    Yes, Bankstown wins, but not by as much as you might think. And the Campbelltown line is where the major growth will be.

    Both Bankstown and Revesby could be adequately served by either Sydney trains double-deckers or by metro style trains at somewhat higher frequency. [note 1] But a full capacity service (say 16-24 per hour) from the NWRL to Bankstown is vastly more than the Bankstown line will ever need, and implies a lot of inefficient half-empty running (unless there is an intermediate turnback point, which raises its own difficulties).

    The more important question is: how to optimise the whole network to best serve future patterns of demand? A direct line from the south west and airport to the employment zones of the lower North Shore is a far more valuable property for the whole metropolitan area than replacing one type of train with another on the Bankstown line.

    You get the impression that the planners were briefed: ‘If we run NWRL trains through the second harbour crossing, how can we get rid of them on the south side without using Sydney Trains tracks?’ And Bankstown came up as the least bad solution.

    This puts the cart before the horse. Good planning starts with a predicted or desired future and works out how to get there. It doesn’t jump straight to a technology-driven solution and then try to reframe the problem to justify that solution.

    That would be like saying, ‘There’s a disused dam at Woop Woop – we could build a new city there to use the water!’ You do have to think about all the other things that go into deciding what is the best site for a new city.

    Note 1: The present peak frequency to Bankstown is constrained by capacity on the City Circle, but the second harbour crossing will remove that constraint.

  37. JC says:

    John: generally agree with most of your points – but a few further thoughts…

    Your counts don’t include Erskineville and St Peters, which I’m sure would buck up the Bankstown line case (noting that the SRT planners seem to have forgotten theor existence)

    CBD-Macarthur metro service is not really what is needed – express to CBD (presumably via Sydenham) and more frequent service to regional centres Liverpool, Cabramatta, Fairfield, Parramatta would serve the residents much bettter. Which means that the metro would not go beyond Revesby – and on your numbers the case then looks pretty thin.

    Purely personal opinion – but I think the longer term potential for increasing urban (residential and emplyment) density on the Bankstown corridor is much greater than East Hills; I suspect there is already considerable untapped demand.

  38. Greg says:

    JC – I agree with you on the future potential of the Bankstown line to take a great deal of growth, and I suspect that is one of the main reasons it is going SRT.

    Let’s also remember that Bankstown is supposed to be only 1 of 2 branches. Whether or not the second branch is still planned to be Hurstville is up for debate, but you can be sure that it will branch somewhere and Bankstown will only see up to 15tph SRT service.

  39. John says:

    I’d like to ban the word ‘metro’ in discussing Sydney’s rail future, because it immediately arouses a lot of misleading and irrelevant ideas.

    I guess that for most people ‘metro’ means ‘a dense network of short, separate lines, in a city with a population dense enough to support a very frequent all day service, using trains optimised for capacity rather than comfort.’

    In that sense, Sydney does not *and never will have* a ‘metro’ rail network. [note 1] Almost the entire London Underground or Paris Metro could fit into the space between Strathfield and Bondi. Sydney has a suburban network with quite a long average trip length (about 20km), whose trains also try to serve a few more densely populated inner areas (such as the inner west), with mediocre results.

    For Sydney the question is simply: ‘What are the best uses of single and double deck trains?’

    It’s not true that ‘single deck’ means ‘uncomfortable and/or unsuited for longer distances.’ It’s not true that ‘double deck’ means ‘incapable of providing frequent service’.

    Both single and double deck trains can be fitted out for whatever compromise you want between capacity and comfort. Both can be scheduled for whatever compromise you want between speed and frequency. New single deck trains can serve Campbelltown, and existing double deck trains can provide frequent service to Bankstown, quite satisfactorily, if there is some reason for preferring that (and I have argued that there is).

    I respectfully suggest it would be a poor use of scarce infrastructure funds to spend hundreds of millions converting the Bankstown line to a new operating system simply to give it a (say) 15 per hour peak service of single deck trains, when it can easily be given a 12 per hour service of existing double deck trains any time the rolling stock becomes available. [note 2] All that expense for hardly any change in quality of service, since in terms of the aim of having ‘turn up and go’ frequency, the difference between 12 and 15 is neither here nor there.

    Note 1: ‘never will have’: because building a lot of new underground lines would be wildly unaffordable and is unwarranted anyway given Sydney’s low population density compared with the old world precedents.

    Note 2: By using some of the spare paths from the City Circle via Town Hall, which currently sees only 12 per hour to the west.

  40. JC says:

    John: Again largely agree. Especially the bit about “all single deck trains have no seats and are crush-loaded” – I admit that lots of the contibutors don’t remeber red-rattlers but have they never been to Melbourne, or Brisbane, or Perth??

    But: I think “metro” is a useful concept for Sydney – but doesn’t need completely re-tooling. As you say the existing infrastructure will support 5min headways, the “metro” bit comes if this level of service is provided most of the time (not just the peak), there is a predictable service pattern without random expresses missing out stations etc, there is maximum separation but good interchange between lines, it is easy to get on and off the trains (i.e. they are single deck with lots of doors and none of that silly 3+2 seating) etc etc. That is, the service looks and feels like a metro whether the hardware providing it is a high-spec metro train, a bog standard commuter train, or a LRV.

    All of this could be done reasonably easily and cheaply on the existing inner met lines (bounded by say Banksown, Revesby, Hurstville, Epping, Parramatta, Bondi Junction) with the existing tracks, signals and stations; and new comfortable single-deck, 2+2, 3 doors per side trains and a bit of rebranding (how helpful is it that – including of the light-rail lines to be part of the same network.

    I agree that new high-spec underground lines are pretty much unaffordable and unnecessary (especially since the gaps they are needed to fill such as radial routes are still “second division” corridors). But they will need metro-level frequency and convenience of interchange to match the rail system. It would be better to have a tram (or even BRT) every 5 minutes than a train every 20 – provided I know it will come any time of the day, and there will be another working at the same frequency and reliability if I need to change.

    A transformation in service rather than hardware is what is needed to get people out of their cars for cross-town JTW as well as shopping, picking up the kids, leisure etc trips – which is the only way the Sydney gridlock can be broken.

  41. Ray says:

    Simon, I perhaps didn’t explain my comments clearly enough. I generally agree with Todd’s sentiments with regard to BC and Sydney Airport servicing their respective catchments with some obvious crossover, but essentially this would be applicable for domestic services. International services would be an entirely different matter. The point of departure/arrival would not be as critical for international passengers. Let’s not forget that a fully operational airport at BC would have a number of advantages over Sydney Airport, such as dual full length runways and the probable lack of any curfew. It is therefore essential that an express rail link from BC to the CBD is provided and in my view, this should be operated by Sydney Trains over the existing network via Sydenham. As I stated earlier, an SRT conversion should only extend to Revesby in the short to medium term, leaving the option open in the longer term to extend the SRT through BC to ultimately link up with the North West SRT forming a continuous orbital SRT route. Further branches for the spine of the SRT through the CBD via the Airport Line could be a Northern Beaches Line north of the harbour and a link as previously proposed to Miranda via Brighton le Sands and Sans Souci to the south.

  42. Simon says:

    For international passengers, what’s a 30 minute saving of a high speed network when you have to waste 60 minutes+ milling around at the airport? Pales into insignificance in my view. And besides, the second runway at BC is a long way off. I wouldn’t expect it to occur in my lifetime.

  43. John says:

    JC: ‘metro’ level of service doesn’t require complete retooling.

    Yes indeed. To give ‘metro-style’ high frequency to Sydney’s inner suburbs, there is no need whatever to spend billions on expensive new operating systems.

    Just get some single deck trains properly designed for short dwell times [note 1], allowing capacity of 24 per hour in the inner area with the existing signalling system.

    Things like driverless operation and platform edge doors are warranted where you need very high capacity (over 30 per hour). Sydney is not like that. Suggestions like the below could probably handle demand growth for many years. They don’t close off a major technology change if and when the need arises, and they don’t involve any major expense that would have to be written off prematurely when the technology does change [note 2].

    A possible pattern after the second harbour crossing, at 24 per hour per track with the existing signalling system, is:

    1. From Sydney Terminal via the main (northern) track pair: 8 per hour to Gosford/Blue Mountains (double deck trains)
    2. From Harbour Bridge via the suburban (middle) track pair: 8 per hour each to Penrith, Blacktown-Richmond, Nth Strathfield-Hornsby
    3. From City Circle (Town Hall) via the local (southern) track pair: 8 per hour each to Regents Park-Liverpool, Granville-Liverpool, and Macdonaldtown sidings [note 3]
    4. From City Circle (Museum): 8 per hour each to Bankstown, Revesby and Hurstville; or if you wish, 12 per hour each to Bankstown and Revesby
    5. From second harbour crossing: 16 per hour to Campbelltown/ Leppington/ Badgerys Creek (up to 24 per hour later as needed)
    6. From Eastern Suburbs: 16 per hour to Illawarra beyond Hurstville; or if you wish, 12 per hour to Hurstville or Sutherland and 12 per hour beyond [note 4]

    Total about 104 per hour (up to 120 when required) compared with the present 86.

    The only likely capacity pinchpoint would be North Sydney to Penrith/Richmond where, on the figures above, 16 single deck trains would replace the present 16 double deck trains. You could add some peak only double deck trains from Sydney Terminal. They could be 12 car trains subject to platform lengthening at key stations, as suggested in the former government’s 2010 Metropolitan Transport Plan.

    Note also that as the pattern above maintains four separate sectors, there is no particular need to do all of it.

    Note 1. ‘Properly designed for short dwell times’: This does NOT mean ‘like Melbourne’s or Brisbane’s’. It means at least three doors per car with a clear opening of at least 1400mm; partitions set back far enough so riders leaning against the partitions don’t block the doors; front to back seating with many handholds, straps and posts to encourage people to move away from doors; and door/brake mechanisms that absolutely minimise the door opening, closing and waiting-to-start times. There are at present no trains in Australia that are well designed to minimise dwell time.

    Note 2. assuming that the need for a major technology change would be far enough off to allow new single deck trains to have a useful service life first (or design to allow them to be retrofitted with a new control system later).

    Note 3. serving the inner west with a skip-stop arrangement: for example, each second train stops all to Lewisham then Strathfield or Lewisham then all to Strathfield. No more Ashfield or Homebush terminators, as they take up a lot of train paths to serve very few stations. You could have 24 per hour from City Circle (Town Hall) to the west, including 8 all stops to Homebush trains, if you did some things to increase the capacity of the western main line (northern track pair), but that’s a discussion for another day.

    Note 4. Martin Place could be used as a second eastern suburbs terminus.

  44. > Yes indeed. To give ‘metro-style’ high frequency to Sydney’s inner suburbs, there is no need
    > whatever to spend billions on expensive new operating systems.

    > Just get some single deck trains properly designed for short dwell times [note 1], allowing
    > capacity of 24 per hour in the inner area with the existing signalling system.

    I like the “just” :-). How much do you think complete fleet replacement would cost?

    I have an alternative suggestion:
    1) Retain the current form factor
    2) Implement ETCS Level 3 & largely automate train driving & bring allowable heady was down to 150sec (24tph) even with the current dwell times.
    3) Cut train crew size down to 1 across the whole network

    This increases the capacity of the system by 20% when expressed as passengers, not trains, and would save $300mil a year.

  45. John says:

    I’m not suggesting you would do this faster than you would turn over the fleet anyway. These are ideas for the long term.

    If you can get to the same place more cost-effectively by keeping the present trains and changing the signals, so much the better.

  46. Simon says:

    Death to your feeble plan, John. There is no way 16tph is enough for the Western Line at present, let alone reducing the seats on every train into the future rather than expanding its capacity.

  47. John says:

    I did mention this exact problem and suggest a solution. But thank you for making me think about it more closely.

    For a significant increase in western line capacity, option 1: 8 per hour peak extra 12-car double deck trains from Sydney Terminal to Penrith, superimposed on a basic single-deck service from North Sydney, would be within the spare capacity of the western main line, and would be more than 50 per cent increase in capacity over present offerings.

    You would need to institute a light rail service from Sydney Terminal to Circular Quay so that people arriving at Sydney Terminal don’t all move over to the already overcrowded suburban platforms. A reasonably congestion-free light rail service would take less than 15 minutes from Central to Circular Quay, and would be preferred by many people where it brings them closer to their destinations than the underground stations. [note 1]

    Option 2 : from City Circle (Town Hall), instead of running 8 per hour each to Granville-Liverpool and Regents Park-Liverpool, as I suggested above, run 8 per hour each to Granville-Liverpool and Blacktown. Thus 24 per hour single deck trains to Parramatta/Penrith/Richmond altogether, compared with the present 16 double deck trains. Let the Villawood line continue to be served via Bankstown, as at present. [note 2]

    Option 3: run 24 per hour from North Sydney to Penrith/Richmond. All trains to Nth Strathfield-Hornsby run to Sydney Terminal. This of course would not make Northern Line riders happy.

    Peak extra double deck trains from Sydney Terminal could also be added to options 2 and 3 to some extent, limited by the capacity of the main line between Homebush and Parramatta.

    Given the basic constraint of one western track pair from Nth Sydney to Central, can you think of other options to significantly increase western line capacity, while maintaining separate western and Liverpool sectors? [note 3]

    Note 1. This would of course need serious traffic management measures in the Central Business District so that the light rail can be reasonably congestion-free. The difficulties with this are political, not practical.

    Note 2. I suggested reinstating Lidcombe-Regents Park-Liverpool trains not so much to serve the Villawood line, which has quite low demand, but more to improve the present appallingly slow and indirect services to Liverpool.

    Note 3. Option 2, running some trains from City Circle to Blacktown, does not need to break down sectorisation. It creates a City Circle/Liverpool/Blacktown sector which can still remain separate from the Nth Sydney/Penrith/Richmond sector.

  48. Simon says:

    Or we could just build the WEX already. Seriously, why is everyone wanting to come up with something different to that?

  49. > Note 3. Option 2, running some trains from City Circle to Blacktown, does not need to break down
    > sectorisation. It creates a City Circle/Liverpool/Blacktown sector which can still remain separate
    > from the Nth Sydney/Penrith/Richmond sector.

    Not quite. The turnback and Richmond Branch are both on the Sector 2 track pair (for reasons which perplex me, these are designated “the mains”, the Sector 3 pair “the suburbans” west of Granville) at Blacktown.

    I’m sorry but I just don’t accept there is any advantage in single deck trains, and don’t really see the point of adding this to your proposal. The trade offs are between train capacity, platform length and frequency. The best that can be said about SD trains is they *might* be able to offer slightly higher frequencies, but the argument about total line capacity is total BS.

    If you are going to run large trains into Sydney Terminal, then they don’t have the same low dwell time requirements as the city underground trains. Nor are they restricted in platform length in the same way. In which case, you don’t get as much advantage from a DD format, and an off-the-shelf SD design would work pretty well.

    That said, I personally think adding the Richmond Line to Sector 2 is a sensible reform, and something like it will probably be needed as Sydney’s demographic centre continues to drift North West.

    I also remain highly sceptical that adding services terminating at Central is any sort of solution. It might allow the running of more trains, but I’m far from convinced it’ll move more people. I know the barrier counts show Central has by far the biggest peak period demand, but again I think a lot of that is probably people interchanging with periodical tickets crossing the barriers (thus being counted twice). Perhaps OPAL will give us better data on that, but I doubt we’ll see it.

    That said (again), Wynyard railway station is all of 1800m from Eddie Avenue. Most people can walk that in under 20 minutes, 15 if they are pushing it a bit to get to work on time. Sydney is just such a pedestrian unfriendly city though it’s just not possible. I think a grade separated walkway – perhaps with lateral escalators – would be quicker for most than interchanging to any other transport mode after the cost of interchanging is factored in.

  50. > Or we could just build the WEX already. Seriously, why is everyone wanting to come up with
    > something different to that?

    1) $
    2) Not Invented Here

  51. MrV says:

    Wouldn’t it be better to configure the network so that rapid transit serves the areas of denser population (ie. the inner city areas) freeing up heavy rail to run a more express-like service that calls at the two airports?

    A rapid transit system that has to make 20 stops before it even gets to Badgerys Creek is not exactly rapid.

  52. John says:

    tandemtrainrider99: single deck trains don’t increase line capacity.

    Yes. I was making suggestions about using single deck trains to increase *frequency*. I don’t claim that they increase line capacity. The government has claimed that, but that was just silly spin using unrealistic assumptions in an attempt to justify their decisions on the North West Rail Link.

    On reasonable assumptions, compared with double deck trains at 20 per hour, single deck trains at 24 per hour have about the same total capacity, but with about 20 per cent fewer seats. [note 1]

    Double deck trains are better at maximising peak hour seats. Single deck trains are better at other times – cheaper to buy and operate, and a better experience for the rider (no stairs, bigger windows and higher ceilings, better sight lines through the train which are important for people’s sense of security at night).

    Maximising peak period seats is a worthwhile goal, but it’s not the only goal for a transit system. Promoting ‘any time, any place’ travel is also important. Frequent single deck trains are better for that.

    Note 1. The most important assumption is that double deck trains cannot achieve their theoretical standing capacity in practice, because the doorways become overcrowded long before the upper and lower decks are full.

  53. > Maximising peak period seats is a worthwhile goal, but it’s not the only goal for a transit system.
    > Promoting ‘any time, any place’ travel is also important.

    The reason much of Sydney doesn’t have that has nothing to do with the size of the trains.

    It’s to do with the routes, in particular the number of collection stations compared with the number of hub paths. The increasing disparity is the reason Sydney went with DD trains

    > Frequent single deck trains are better for that.
    But not enough to make any significant difference.

    The big problem is unless you do a 100% fleet replacement, you end up with mixed/incompatible systems, and this adds another restriction on how you allocate your station ratios.

    As I see it, SD trains so no real world problem that I can see, but their introduction worsens the issues they are supposed to address.

    > Note 1. The most important assumption is that double deck trains cannot achieve their theoretical
    > standing capacity in practice, because the doorways become overcrowded long before the upper
    > and lower decks are full.

    One thing I think you should consider – especially given you specifically mentioned low dwell time SD designs – is the Sydney DD format *is* a short dwell design. More of each train is given over to standing and door space than on any other train used in Australia, and more than most systems around the world bar the highest capacity metro systems.

  54. Simon says:

    Are you sure DD is a short dwell design? Compared to three door/car/side trains in Melbourne, I’m not convinced. And especially similar DD RER trains.

  55. John says:

    >Tandemtrainrider99: Sydney double-deckers were designed for short dwells.

    The designers obviously addressed this issue and did their best, but their best is still pretty poor. Dwells of up to 90 seconds at Wynyard in the peak hour.

    Part of the problem is that during long dwells there is often a period when the bottleneck point is the stairs, not the doors. Watch how, at the end of a long set-down, people queue up in the cabins to climb the stairs, then walk freely out the doors at a rate far lower than the doors themselves can handle. [note 1]

    >Tandemtrainrider99: single deck trains may better for ‘any time, any place’ all day service, but not better enough to make a significant difference.

    I guess you’re thinking of the operating costs comparison. What about the patronage side? How many folks are there out there who might be rail customers except that they don’t like stairs,[note 2] or they feel claustrophobic, or they don’t like that unsafe feeling when they climb into the upper or lower cabin at a low use time without being able to see who’s in it already? [note 3]

    Of course existing journey-to-work customers will object to any proposal that reduces peak period seats. But a business that wants to grow the business cannot think only about its existing customers. It also has to think about people who are not its customers, and ask why they are not. My concern is that we simply don’t know how many people are discouraged from using the trains by the double deck cars. I don’t think it’s adequate to say, ‘Maximising peak period seats is such an over-riding goal that we don’t need to think about the other matters.’ It will be even less adequate in future as inner suburban densification increases the call for ‘metro-like’ service.

    Note 1. Another part of the problem is the inadequate platform space at the old city stations. This causes congestion as people getting on and off mix it with people waiting or trying to move along the platform. The second harbour rail crossing is needed not only to increase the number of trains, but also to increase the total space on inner city platforms – a point which is assiduously ignored by the Greiner/Treasury types who are keen to find reasons why Sydney rail does not need significant investment.

    Shorter headways and simpler stopping patterns can alleviate this problem to some extent, as the average wait on the platform will be shorter, thus less crowded platforms.

    Note 2. Particularly the elderly, who are an increasing proportion of the population.

    Note 3. I’m a middle-aged male, a very confident public transport use for my whole life, and even I feel that feeling.

  56. > Are you sure DD is a short dwell design?

    Not the Tullochs, but the later revisions – beyond the T sets – all have 3 channels per doorway (up – down – vestibule) – assuming they aren’t blocked of course.

    Plus, the Sydney vehicles are shorter. A Melbourne 6 car train is ~150m for 18 doors and 36 channels. An 8 car Sydney train is 160m with 16 doors and 48 channels.

    The deck well on the Sydney trains is shorter than the already short wheel base, which allows for longer vestibules and more evenly spaced doors.

    If you compare the Sydney design with almost all other DD stock around the world (the RER the obvious exception), a more typical design is to have doors at the ends of each car, longer wells/decks, and more seating with less standing.

    Personally, I think people can’t see past the double decks of the Sydney trains to see they are anything but commuter trains tweeked a bit. The reverse it true. They are metro trains tweeked a bit to support suburban ops.

    > And especially similar DD RER trains.
    Even the 3 door Parisian vehicles are 25m long, with very limited vestibule space. In effect, there are 8 channels per 25m car vs Sydney’s 6 per 20m. That’s only 7% “better” in terms of boarding rate, at the sacrifice of about the same in train capacity.

  57. > Note 3. I’m a middle-aged male, a very confident public transport use for my whole life, and even I feel that feeling.

    From Melbourne apparently ;-).

    Sydney is the only city I’ve lived in and used public transport regularly, and I’ve done so most of my life. So it’s never been an issue for me, and perhaps this is colouring my views. That said, the claustrophobia is as much about the 2+3 seating and ultra tight seat pitch as it is about split levels. This is one of the compromises to get more doorways and more standing space.

    > Dwells of up to 90 seconds at Wynyard
    This is expressing dwells in terms of time per train, not time per passenger.

    SD “solves” the problem of those people on the bottom deck by not having them there in the first place.

    > Note 1. Another part of the problem is the inadequate platform space at the old city stations.
    And this is my pet peeve in this debate. IMHO, this is the main issue: the productivity of the trains was improved by design, but the equivalent wasn’t done at the stations. But rather than address the actual problem, people want to dumb down the things that do work well to match the stuff that doesn’t.

    The biggest single issue with Sydney’s platforms are inadequate egress points, and this is the lowest hanging fruit of all. It’s not just the city platforms, it’s right across the network. Usually there are one set of barriers everyone has to churn through, and this fails to efficiently distribute PAX along the length of the trains. And this was done as a labour saving measure: to reduce the staff needed for fare enforcement. Another case of sacrificing capital productivity to achieve labour productivity.

  58. JC says:

    Lots of good stuff here. It is good to see that some contributors can see the obvious – frequency is everything; DD is great for the suburbs – but has outlived its usefulness in inner Sydney core; we need to think outside the peak; we can do an owfukl lot withb the existing tracks before we spend billions.

    A few (more) thoughts and comments….

    “‘Properly designed for short dwell times’: This does NOT mean ‘like Melbourne’s or Brisbane’s’.” these were cited as an exemple – last time I was in Melbourne (admottedly some tome ago) I really enjoyed zapping around on 3-door per side, 2+2 carriages, wghich is what I was talking about. I know there have been some changes sonce then. V. comfportable, easy on, easy off, easy to sit (if you need to and it is not peak hour).

    “serving the inner west with a skip-stop arrangement: for example, each second train stops all to Lewisham then Strathfield or Lewisham then all to Strathfield.” one of the few bits of John’s thoughts I disagree with, Inner west need a (sorry) metro-standard service. An that means (i) turn up and catch the nect train that comes and (ii) breaking the tyranny of the “all trips are to/from the CBD”; I might want to catch a train from Stanmore to Burwood etc etc.

    “Just get some single deck trains properly designed for short dwell times….I like the “just” :-). How much do you think complete fleet replacement would cost” A lot less than new trains AND new tracks. It could be phased in on a line-by-line basis.

    “An 8 car Sydney train is 160m with 16 doors and 48 channels” – I see you have finally understood the vetsibule congestion poblem!!

    “The biggest single issue with Sydney’s platforms are inadequate egress points, and this is the lowest hanging fruit of all. It’s not just the city platforms, it’s right across the network. Usually there are one set of barriers everyone has to churn through” Totally agree, presumabaly the driver for this was revenue protection; which is hopefully now reduced by OPAL; but again makes the case for sensible investment good-value investment in thinks like stations and trains rather than getting out the trian set and playing with new lines.

    “Or we could just build the WEX already.” Not incompatible with the proposals being mulled around here – it would (in due course) provide closer to CBD access for the outer-suburban services that might otherwise terminate at Central – but doesn’t remove the need to buck up the convenience and frequency in the inner core. But extra LR lines down Sussex St /Hickson Rd and Castlereigh Street – could be a cheaper short-term measure.

  59. John says:

    Further thoughts:

    Trains designed to minimise dwells: Melbourne’s three door Xtrapolis cars are the best we have, but are still far from perfect as they don’t have the other features I mentioned.

    Suggestion to create a large increase in western line capacity:

    1. The capacity of a single track is greatly increased if platforms are duplicated. Trains take each platform in turn; a train can approach platform 2 while the previous train is still standing at platform 1; thus the effect of dwell time increasing the headway is far less. Inner Sydney lines, with the existing signalling system, would handle up to 40 trains per hour (certainly at least 30) if platforms were duplicated.

    2. At the Central flyovers, provide crossovers from the Nth Sydney line to the western main line.

    3. Duplicate main line (northern track pair) platforms as follows:
    Redfern: a new platform 0 on the north side; other tracks are slewed, reusing the disused platform 9; the western main line then has platforms 0-1-2-3
    Strathfield: There are 8 platforms for 6 tracks. Rearrange tracks to give 1-2-3-4 to the main line.
    Lidcombe: new platform 0 on the north side (some resumption of the adjacent street or properties). Extend track 5 to join the lines to the east. Main line has 0-1-2-3
    Granville: build a new island platform on the south side (minor property resumption). Main line has 1-2-3-4 and continues as four tracks, up-up-down-down, to Parramatta. Granville 5-6 go to Liverpool.

    The main line from Parramatta to Central then has capacity for at least 30 per hour, and still has spare capacity for Gosford trains to join at Strathfield (providing trains only stop at the stations I’ve mentioned, of course). As many of these trains as need to divert to Sydney Terminal, consistent with the lower capacity of the line to Nth Sydney.

    Up-up-down-down from Granville to Parramatta creates some difficulty in joining up the Y link from Merrylands. Ideally, to reduce conflicting movements, you would add a fifth track through Harris Park, running bidirectional to terminate at Parramatta platform 4 which would be dedicated to that, and add a new platform 0 at Parramatta on the north side. Parramatta-Liverpool trains are then completely separate from the western line. The single track section takes no more than 2 minutes to traverse, which is not a big deal on a route that’s never likely to want more than 4 per hour.

  60. Simon says:

    Regarding JC’s comment that building the WEX is not incompatible with the comments here; well that is technically true but with the WEX most of the suggestions here would be for the distant future.

  61. Since we’re drawing lines on the map, here’s mu “WEX Lite”: the EEX – with optional extensions to Bridge Street (cheap – ish) and Baranagaroo (not so cheap)

    But it’s 1400m of viaduct, 520m of new railway tunnel, 1400m of new track in existing unused tunnel – and no new stations.

  62. Simon says:

    I reiterate my previous comment.

  63. JC says:

    @simon. WEX adresses problems for existing outer suburban commuters. While they have a hard time and deserve better, and rail congestion on the western line is real and need fixing, WEX does nothing to increase patronage or get cars off the road. The need to do someting about inner core gridlock and get Sydney moving (and breathing) doesn’t go away. It’s a different problem.

    @TTR I’m loving the EEX!

  64. JC says:

    ….but not sure about the el on Wentworth ave. May be worth another look.

  65. Dudley Horscroft says:

    I feel John has the best of the argument here. Tandemrider has some useful suggestions. Some more comments. The new trains are superb – better than Melbourne’s or Brisbane’s best – not certain about Perth as the Northern Line was still new when I rode it.

    However, someone commented on the queue of passengers waiting at the stairs to get out at the stations. Perhaps the doors are really in the wrong place? I ask you to think of shifting the doors, and probably a more generous 1500 or 1600 mm opening, right to the end of the cars. This would allow people wishing to exit at a station more room to climb the stairs and crush in the vestibule, so they could swarm out as soon as the doors are opened. Similarly when boarding, people would have more room to crush into the vestibules and then make their slower way up or down stairs.

    Re the seating, on at least one, of not both decks, rearrange the seats so that they are all facing pairs (or triplets). People have in the past stated that Sydneysiders are totally averse to travelling with their backs to the direction of travel. I have recently taken the opportunity to observe what people actually do when the trains are nearly empty. Few people bother to turn the backs over if there is more room, some do, some don’t. And people seem to be happy to sit with “their backs to the engine”. Some walked past the seats for facing the direction of travel to sit in seats facing aft. There was a slight preference for forward facing seats, but not a strong one. The preference may be stronger on the long distance trains, and I understand that noisy demands forced Country link to refit the seating so it could be reversed. When seats face each other, there is considrably more room for feet – if necessary between the feet of passengers on the other seat, and especially on a triplet, it is far easier to get in or out of a centre or window seat. Perhaps a trial on one car with the triplet seats fixed?

    Remarks about Wynyard and Town Hall – these are disgraceful! For those who use trains every day, no problem they know where they are going. For the rest of us, and visitors from elsewhere in NSW or out of state are in the same boat, the signage is appalling – if you can find it. Stairs up ro down – no telling which platforms the stairs lead to. a distinct lack of escalators – perhaps there are some, but not easy to find. There should be ample room at the ends of the island platforms to be able to dig out rock and install up and down escalators between the lower platforms and the upper platforms, and the upper platforms and the paid areas. This could be done without affecting any of the existing stairways. The uppermost ‘paid’ area should be provided with ample seating and display screens giving the details for the approaching trains for each of the six platforms, showing messages like “Next train at platform 5 is for North Sydney – go to stairs marked “5” now”. This should be timed so that passengers following the instructions would get to the relevant platform about 30 s before the train enters.

    Timetables at Wynyard and Town Hall should not be rigorously maintained. Rather, 45 s after the doors commence opening, they should commence closing, so that at 50 or at worst 55 s after the train came to a stop and the doors commenced opening the train would be ready to depart. Door operation should be fast, and hard in the initial stages, but very soft at the end, so that any passenger with hand, arm or head or even handbag caught in the doorway would be able to hold back the door to remove said obstacle. Even put a handle on the outside of the door so it could be pulled open in an emergency.

    But what John has forgotten (and presumably others) is than in a few years – and the sooner the better, there will be a near congestion free tramway operating from Central to Circular Quay. Should be fairly easy to exit the outer urban terminal platforms, walk along the Colonnade, and down the stairs escalator to Rawson Place, though certainly there would be an advantage in running some of the George Street trams via the Colonnade – easiest possible interchange short of across the platform – thinks – must make a memo of that. So the 12 car trains operating from the BM, Penrith, Parramatta, and Strathfield (8 cars from beyond Penrith, pick up and extra four cars there) and only then stopping at Parramatta and Strathfield would be reasonable.

    Oh, and another thing – the end doors (intermediate cars) on the new carriages should be removed and a full width gangway maintained (totally sealed against air loss to keep the A/C OK and prevent draughts) so as to facilitate total ease of movement from more crowded to less crowded cars.

  66. John says:

    >Dudley re front to front seating

    Disagree with front to front seating.

    1. Compared with front to back seating, front to front seating does worse at encouraging people to move away from doorways, because there are only half as many seat back corner handholds, and they are too far apart (about 1.5m) for people to move through the car while keeping a continuous hold. Melbourne’s single deck front to front cars, like Sydney’s double deck cars, become crush loaded in the doorways before the corridor space has filled. This increases dwell time.

    2. Better privacy with front to back seating. Notice how, with front to front seating, it is always a seat that shares knee space with the person opposite that fills last – and often remains unfilled even when there are standing passengers.

    Leg room is not an issue. The total pitch (lengthwise separation of seats) is about the same in both systems. With this pitch, a well designed front to back seat has more room as your legs can be partly underneath the bottom of the person in front.

    Whether you want the extra design complication of making seats reversible is a separate issue.

  67. John says:

    >Dudley on tram service from Sydney Central to Circular Quay

    If Sydney Terminal was used more by outer suburban trains to increase western line capacity, I would not regard the planned Randwick tram line as an adequate connecting service to go uptown, since:

    1. It will already be full of its own passengers;
    2. The interchange walk to Eddy Avenue is too far to call an adequate level of service.

    I envisage a new tram line from the Railway Colonnade (current terminus of the Lilyfield line) via Pitt or Castlereagh.

    More outer suburban trains on the main western line could deliver 10,000 people per hour to Sydney Terminal (in 8 x 12-car trains, for example). They would need an efficient dedicated light rail service to travel up town. For example, a 30m car carrying 200 people at one per minute would move 12,000 people. There is no way that sort of load could be carried on the Randwick line – imagine the pedestrian congestion when crossing Eddy Avenue southbound,to start with.

    All this of course would require serious traffic management in the central business district so that the light rail could be reasonably congestion-free. The problems with that are political,not practical.

    And yes, it would be costly – but not half as costly as extending the western main line into the CBD underground.

  68. John says:

    PS. The last sentence above was not a comment on TTR’s EEX proposal, which I have not been able to view for computer reasons.

  69. Simon says:

    I also disagree with the comment about facing seating increasing legroom – the exact opposite is true. Effectively, it roughly halves the available legroom for a given pitch. I guess it has the positive that bags can be placed under seats more reasonably but that is not much of a consolation.

    Now regarding JC’s comment that the WEX doesn’t promote patronage, I disagree. Firstly, it is not possible to reach Town Hall from Parramatta without traversing the diverging leg of 25km/h points somewhere. This adds 30-60s to each journey – a negative for patronage. Properly executed, the WEX would remove this limitation. Worse, it adds complexity to the operation and therefore reduces reliability. There is also the disincentive of the extreme crowding.

  70. Rails says:

    With the large order that the Government has said they will place for new Intercity trains I would expect a portion of these to be new 10 (or maybe 12) car Double Decker trains for the west. These trains would run on the promised $1B enhanced western line into Sydney Terminal. I wouldn’t expect the these trains terminating at Sydney Terminal to so much see their passengers getting on the light rail up George street, I would expect they will be changing to fast loading Single Deck SRT containing mostly seated Bankstown line passengers.

    The platforms would be located directly under the Intercity platforms so the passengers changing from the western line and Intercity trains have a seamless transfer to 15>20 TPH (30 TPH eventually) Single Deck trains straight through the spine of the CBD with new, well designed stations at Town Hall (East), Martin Place and hopefully Barrangaroo. There would also be seats freed up by departing CBD bound Bankstown line passengers should the transferring passengers wish to go to North Sydney, St Leonards, Chatswood or North Ryde and Macquarie Park and beyond. It will be faster than the existing line too.

    The SRT would be the catalyst to continue the densification of the Bankstown line corridor and when that starts to completely fill the SRT trains before Central two projects will hopefully be started or even completed:

    1. The rebuild of the existing Town hall and Wynyard stations using the SRT from Chatswood under the harbour to the CBD and Central as the stand in to allow the stations to be closed for redesign and proper rebuilds (including to meet fire safety, so a must do). Having the SRT take passengers at Central and Chatswood during the rebuild phase is really the only way you will be able to do this properly IMO

    2. A fast tunnel from Parramatta to the CBD to replace the existing Western line. No stops (although you could consider an Olympic Park station) 20 Double Deck trains perhaps first to Sydney Terminal but eventually to new platforms at Central and Wynyard and a new station at Metro West (Town Hall west). No Redfern.

    The tunnel from Parramatta to Central should be able to be done for about $2b as the stations are the expensive part. It would create a very fast link between Parramatta and the CBD (11 mins) and a proper separate sector for the Western line (containing the Penrith and Blue Mountains lines).

    The flow on effect is more capacity and faster services for the other lines:

    1. The Locals would see the Main South line running express from Merrylands to Homebush to meet the inner west line running all stations to the CBD. This would see 20 TPH with 12 TPH from Liverpool and 8 TPH from Homebush for the inner west line. You could then have 6 TPH to Parramatta and beyond on the Cumberland line.

    2. The Suburbans would host 4 TPH St Marys and 4 TPH Schofields local western line services running all stations to Strathfield and then express to the CBD and onto North Sydney/Lindfield/ Gordon to terminate. These trains are joined at Strathfield by the Northern line locals with 12 TPH onto the North Shore line to head to Hornsby/ Berowra.

    3. The Mains into Sydney Terminal would contain 8 TPH Central Coast trains (no Coast via Shore trains), and 2 TPH Richmond line trains plus I am assuming 4 TPH of the longer trains from the South Coast line that currently use the ESR.

    These changes would see a combined TPH for the Outer Western line corridor of 30 TPH (28 TPH direct to the CBD centre) and these will be Double Deck trains with most being much longer so a lot more seated capacity not to mention the speed increase. Combined with the NWRL, the West Connex and possibly two light rail projects the area will be well covered for the transport to cope with expected growth.

    Having said this, I would actually do it a different way involving a converted SRT Single Deck inner west line extended to Parramatta but I wont go into that on here…

  71. Dudley Horscroft says:

    Since writing last night, I have come to the conclusion that the Rawson Place stop is not a suitable interchange for passengers from Central. Far better to use the Colonnade. The Railway to CQ service used George Street till 1901 when the Pitt and Castlereagh lines were opened, though this was to the Old Central Station, the Colonnade not being opened till 1906.

    Note that the new trams are to be 67 m long, not 30 m. A direct Colonnade to CQ service would present empty trams to any passengers with destinations on George Street, so there in no problem with crowding onto full trams from Randwick and Kingsford. 400 places every 2 minutes gives 12 000 places per hour – ample I would have thought.

    A SRT line is unlikely to use Town Hall and Wynyard Stations – they are already crowded enough. More likely to use Martin Place as the other city station, which will mean that passengers bound for Martin Place and North Sydney change to the SRT, while passengers bound for destinations along George Street take the tram. In addition there must be a substantial number of passengers entering Central who would take one of the other rail lines out – remember the development of Green Square and other inner areas, while a fair more are bound for destinations in the region of Central and who would therefore walk. Unlikely that the tram would be overwhelmed unless there is a massive increase in ail passengers. Benefits of the Colonnade interchange is that it is virtually costless, and there are no stairs involved. Changing to the SRT involves going down stairs or escalators to a mezzanine, then further down stairs or escalators to the SRT platforms. In addition, the additional platforms at Central will cost a motza – unless the unused Central platforms are used – an even longer walk and up and down stairs/escalators. Not convenient! Of course, the Colonnade service could be available in 2018 or 2019 – the SRT is not likely till about 2029 or 2039, by which time demand may have increased sufficient to justify the line..

    Views on front to front versus back to back seating are one’s own; I firmly view front to front as being more convenient, having tried both on various railways and tramways. I find that it is necessary to sit a bit askew using front to back seating, and I am a tad under 6 ft. I have plenty of room with front to front seating.

  72. QPP says:

    No one is saying SRT stations will be at Town Hall & Wynyard, are they?

    It’s also a bit late in the day to be proposing wholesale redesigns to the config of the Light Rail (compromised though it may be) – that horse bolted long ago (maybe 2 years?)

  73. SRT through the CBD is scheduled to open in 2024. CBD stations are currently planned at Town Hall and Martin Place, plus maybe Barangaroo.

  74. John says:


    A light rail line from Sydney Terminal to Circular Quay via Pitt or Castlereagh, as part of a project to run more outer suburban trains to Sydney Terminal, would be additional and separate from the Randwick tram line.

  75. Dudley Horscroft says:

    Re QPP: Bambul has answered that Town Hall will be used, although this will add to the congestion already there – will the mezzanine be able to cope with the additional passengers, and how could the mess of the connexions between the existing platforms be fixed with another pair of platforms to take into account?

    Re QPP: A wholesale redesign to the CSELR is not needed. All that is required is a connexion from George St into Hay St to the east, as well as the one already planned to the west. It does not affect the current proposed route of George – Rawson – Eddy – Chalmers, etc.

    Re John: New lines via Pitt and Castlereagh would be vastly more expensive than the additional junction I have suggested. Further, consider the existing fuss raised about digging up George St – dig up Pitt and Castlereagh as well when George St will do the job at far lower cost.

  76. @Dudley Horscroft –

    Based on previously released plans for similar projects, the new platforms will be under Pitt St. By expanding the station, it should reduce congestion by minimising the stress on the existing station and platforms. Previous plans have the two sections connected via what is currently the underground portion of the Woolworths supermarket.

  77. Dudley Horscroft says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Bambul. I suppose it would be a bit too much to hope that a way could be found for a pedestrian subway to entrances and exits at Castlereagh Street.

  78. I forget the original source of this image, but the underground reservations largely dictate where stations will have to be. I expect the line could run entirely under Pitt St and have the new Martin Place platforms a block further west, but other than that, this is where the line *has* to go.

  79. Dudley Horscroft says:

    Thanks for that, TTR99. Looks very logical. Given the width of Pitt and Castlereagh Sts one would think that the tracks and platforms would be superimposed at the Pitt&Park station, and the new Martin Plaza station. Logic would also have entrances at each end so as to halve the foot traffic at each entrance, and incidentally make access easier for passengers even if the Martin Plaza Station is shifted a few metres south so make access at King Street easy.

  80. Simon says:

    I don’t know what Rails is smoking, but it must be pretty strong stuff!

  81. Ray says:

    Suggesting that a new light rail route should be built to service the increase in Western Line trains terminating at Central is going backwards. This is what the City Underground was meant to avoid and likewise what the WEX could avoid. The government’s current plan is half-baked.

  82. Simon says:

    The government’s plan is offensive.

  83. JC says:

    Ray: Generally agree that it is a backward step – but sooner or later we will have to break out of the mindset that the (only) objective of Sydney public transport is to provide a change-free journey to work for suburban-based CBD workers.

  84. JC says:

    John’s suggestion that “capacity of a single track is greatly increased if platforms are duplicated” looks good;great to see some lateral thinking to save $billions. I’m not sure about the suggested track/platform layouts… It is essential for this to work that the alternate trains leave from opposite sides of an island platform to prevent people scurrying over the steps – or “next train on patform X” indicators. It may also be a way of dealing with the central-terminating issue offering a cross-platform alternative within 2 minutes.

  85. Simon says:

    Forced transfers are a negative, no question. Where it is reasonable to not do so, we should.

    It is retarded to suggest that it is acceptable to take 6 out of 16 Western Line paths into Town Hall.

  86. Ray says:

    Agree with Simon. IMO, ALL suburban services (apart from Carlingford Line) should have a direct route into the CBD Centre, whether it be via the Western/North Shore, City Circle, Eastern Suburbs Line, proposed new CBD Link or WEX. It offers more options for interchanging and spreading the load, rather than focussing on Central. Sydney Terminal should be reserved for Intercity, NSW Regional and interstate services. That’s what Bradfield wanted. His ideas are as relevant today as they were a century ago. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

  87. Ray says:

    We seem to have strayed off topic a bit, but to add further to the current debate, it was interesting to note Andrew Constance’s comment that the light rail route down George St from Central to Circular Quay will be much slower than the train service. It appears that he is questioning the logic of ripping up George St, with the inherent disruption caused. It was also reported in the Daily Telegraph that Bradfield opposed the amplification of the tramway network. He favoured extension of the City Underground servicing the inner Eastern and Western Suburbs.

    Is Andrew Constance challenging the decisions made by Gladys Berejiklian? There might be a bit of payback there. It will be interesting to see what his attitude will be with regard to the closing down of the Newcastle Branch into the CBD and the establishment of a light rail line to replace it.

  88. Dudley Horscroft says:

    Re Ray at 0859: Of course it will be slower taking a tram to CQ, Wynyard or TH, rather than taking the train. But it could well be faster taking the tram to intermediate destinations, rather than taking the train and then walking. This is what Andrew told the SMH – may have also told the DT:

    “Mr Constance, who inherited the light rail project after swapping jobs with current Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian, said the city needed a shift to light rail for the extra 145,000 people projected to be soon entering the city.”

    That does not look like challenging the decisions made by Gladys.

    What is important is that the tram, stripped of the traffic congestion caused by excessive numbers of buses in George Street, will be far faster than the buses – probably even faster than pedestrians! See:

    Newcastle? We shall see.

  89. QPP says:

    I believe this government is absolutely solid and united in its overall transport plan. Significant changes to already contracted projects just aren’t going to happen.

    Newcastle? Well, who knows. The light rail plans are moving much more slowly than they should. But then the bureaucracy have recently gone through a significant restructure, and some action there as a result is likely I think

  90. JC says:

    “ALL suburban services (apart from Carlingford Line) should have a direct route into the CBD” Why? I don’t necessarily disagree, but just because it was the way the NSWGR always did it – or because St Bradfield said so 100 years ago is not a justification. Most people don’t work (or shop or go to school in the CBD) – and anyway having a good quality, comfortable and (most importantly) high frequency sevice is more important than a direct service.

    [and if your report is right, not taking advantage of what was then the best and largest tram nework in the world is the greatest crime against the people of Sydney ever]

  91. John says:

    >JC’s comment on my proposal to duplicate platforms at Redfern, Strathfield, Lidcombe and Granville, in order to increase the capacity of the western main line cost effectively:

    My proposal is specifically designed so that same direction trains leave from each side of an island platform.

    > negative comments about the idea of increasing western line capacity by running more outer suburban trains to Sydney terminal in conjunction with a light rail service from Sydney Terminal (Railway Colonnade, current terminus of the Lilyfield line) to Circular Quay:

    Maybe an underground extension into the city would be ideal, but let’s face it: it’s a daydream. The next major rail project in the city is the second harbour crossing. It’s ten years off; it does nothing to increase western line capacity; and it will certainly exhaust the political appetite for rail megaprojects for many years after that.

    In that situation, the important advantage of the Sydney Terminal + light rail proposal is that, I guess, it would cost billions less than a new underground line. In a world of limited budgets, we do have to think about costs as well as benefits. If Option B gives three quarters of the benefits for one quarter of the costs, that is a pretty strong recommendation, because it reduces the political obstacles, and you can use the money saved on other worthwhile projects.

    I don’t think Sydney Terminal + light rail is much inferior anyway. You would be looking at a two minute step-free interchange walk to reach a light rail service that might be preferred by many riders where it brings them closer to their up-town destinations than an underground station.

  92. Ray says:

    I don’t disagree with the light rail concept through the CBD, but to allow it to realise its full potential, it should be extended along the main trunk routes to minimise the number of bus routes entering the CBD. Ideally, the Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Line should have run via Elizabeth St to Circular Quay and a future Western Suburbs Line should run down George St. IMO the interchange of passengers to and from buses at Rawson Place is going to be very unpopular. I vehemently oppose any light rail solution through the CBD to service an increased number of suburban rail services terminating at Central. As I said previously, it’s going backwards.

    Those of you who continually suggest that Sydney commuters should get used to the idea of interchanging to reach the CBD need a reality check. They won’t accept it. They have been accustomed to making a single journey trip to the CBD and they will resent having to interchange to complete their journey. Interchanging within the CBD is an entirely different matter and I think it is generally accepted.

    London’s Thameslink and Crossrail projects are examples of the demand for outer suburban services to have direct access into central London, without the need to change. Paris’s RER is similarly based. Why should we go backwards, when we once led the world with Bradfield’s visionary concept of integrating a suburban rail system with an inner city metro system. As I said, Bradfield’s plan for Sydney’s rail network is as relevant today as it was during his era.

  93. > Those of you who continually suggest that Sydney commuters should get used to the idea of
    > interchanging to reach the CBD need a reality check. They won’t accept it.

    It’s not just a personal preference either, it’s a hugely expensive way of delivering services.

    Essentially, you have to provide the service twice.

    An alternate way to think of it is deciding to terminate all the busses at Rawson Place and make everyone transfer to heavy rail. That has the advantage that the rail already exists underground, and we don’t need to dig up George St. Does that make sense?

  94. Simon says:

    I doubt we will ever see the Newcastle Light Rail.

    JC @ May 28, 2015 at 8:18 PM wrote: ‘“ALL suburban services (apart from Carlingford Line) should have a direct route into the CBD” Why?’

    This question has already been answered. Interchange is a negative and it is reasonable to provide a single seat. It is the government’s plan which is unreasonable. Unfortunately, no political party ran against it at the last election.

  95. Greg says:

    That’s just not true.

    London’s Crossrail and Paris’ RER lines were built to relieve capacity pressures those cities had as a result of people interchanging to their underground from their commuter railway termini. If we have a new underground railway (SRT) there is no reason we shouldn’t run extra services to Sydney Terminal to take advantage of it’s capacity until such time as that capacity is no longer there, and then subsequently build a direct CBD connection (CBD Relief Line) only when actually needed (a decade or two later than would otherwise be the case).

  96. Dudley Horscroft says:

    Ray @0849 29th=
    “I don’t disagree with the light rail concept through the CBD, but to allow it to realise its full potential, it should be extended along the main trunk routes to minimise the number of bus routes entering the CBD.”

    Thank you Ray for this. It is what I have been saying in other areas. A couple of years or so ago I checked out the Parramatta Road timetables and found this:

    From Norton Street eastwards the M10, 413, 436, 438, 439, 440, 461, 480, 483, L38 and L39 routes run on exactly the same route to Circular Quay, via George St, except the M10 which turns off at Park St, and the 413 which turns off at Bridge St to go to King St Wharf. This is 97 buses within the two hours 0700 to 0859 inclusive.

    At Missenden Road these routes are joined by the 412, which turns off at Bridge Street with the 413. At Derwent St, they are joined by the 470. At Glebe Point Road they are joined by the 431 and 433, which run via George Street North to Argyle Square. At City Road Junction they are joined by the 422, 423, 426, 428, L23 and L28. These routes, 412, 422, 423, 426, 428, 431, 433, 470, L23 and L28, plus M 30, which turns off at Town Hall, total 140 buses in those two hours.

    At Harris Street, just west of Railway Square, route 501 joins to run to Town Hall, and routes L88 and L90 commence at Railway Square to run to Town Hall, then via Clarence St and the bridge. These add a further 18 buses on the Railway Square to Town Hall section.

    This is 237 buses from City Road Junction to Railway Square, 255 buses from Railway Square to Town Hall. At Town Hall/Druitt Street/Park Street, buses on routes 480, 483, 501, L88, L90, M10, M30 terminate or turn off, reducing the through total by 30 to 225.

    However, at Town Hall, a further 97 buses on routes 500, 502, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 510, 515, 518 and 520 join them to Bridge Street. This brings the combined total from Town Hall to Bridge Street up to 322 buses in two hours, an average of 2.68 buses per minute, or a bus every 22.4 seconds.

    Apart from the articulated Metrobuses, all buses appear to be rigids with a crush capacity of 60. A modern 60m tram would have a seating capacity in excess of 160, standing 200 +, total 360 at least, so that one tram could replace six buses (substantial saving in crew costs). Allowing for a 1:5 ratio to take account of increases in patronage, 255 buses from Railway Square to Town Hall could be replaced by 51 trams, a tram every 2 min 20 sec. These could easily fit in between the estimated 2 min 30 s of the CSELR, and still leave room for a 5 minute service from Colonnade to CQ.

    The 97 buses that turn into George St at Town Hall would be diverted via Park St to link with other routes in the Eastern suburbs, or routed via Elizabeth Street to a terminus.

    The only buses using George Street would then be the 9 per hour from Railway Square to Town Hall and the bridge.

    We do seem to have got off the subject here. TTR99 and John in the first two posts seem to have got the situation right.

    Consider the timings from BCA to the CBD and KSA to the CBD. KSA is 15 minutes. BCA with an express train should be about 40 to 45 minutes. Logically any flights from Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne, and airports closer in, would need to go to KSA, with only a 15 minutes rail travel time to add to the 90 minute or less flight time. Flights from Singapore and Perth – the air flight is so long that the 40 to 45 minutes rail journey will not be too much of a handicap. More so from the UK and Europe with air times of at least 22 hours. So BCA will end up as the international and long distance domestic airport, and KSA will become short haul domestic – and we can get rid of Customs, passports and quarantine at the new Domestic – ex-international terminal.

    So preferably there will be a train service, express from BCA with stops at Leppington, Glenfield, Wolli Creek, Airport West, Airport East and Central – which may terminate in platforms 1 to 16 or run through the disused platforms at Central via the new harbour tunnel to the North Shore and possibly Rouse Hill. A stopping service from the City Circle can run out via Sydenham, or Green Square and the airports, to Revesby, Glenfield and Leppington, with connexions at Glenfield for Leppington and Edmonson passengers to the fast trains to and from Central.

  97. JC says:

    “An alternate way to think of it is deciding to terminate all the busses [sic] at Rawson Place and make everyone transfer to heavy rail.”

    Not really – but *would* make sense would be to encourage people off the buses at Newtown, St Peters, Mascot and Green Square – as already happens at Bondi Junction and Edgecliff. This would take a lot of buses out of the CBD gridlock. But you could only do this if you converted these lines to high-frequency, easy access trains.

  98. Simon says:

    Dudley Horscroft, 461 as well as 480 & 483 terminate at Town Hall or extend to Domain.

    Now wrt KSA any suggestion that it will cease to be international is completely laughable. Look at this airport which isn’t even fully capable:
    Then there are the London airports and I’m sure others: probably Orly

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