VIDEO: Sydney Metro bids thanks and farewell to the Sydney Monorail, Transport for NSW (31 Aug 2017)

This is an updated version of a previous post from March 2016.

Below is a list of all the railways that Sydney might expect in the near future. It only includes heavy rail (i.e. Sydney Trains or Sydney Metro, but not light rail) and includes both new lines or extensions to existing lines. Railways must have been proposed by the state or federal government, so any railways proposed only by local councils or lobby groups are not included nor any railways mentioned exclusively in internal government documents not intended for public release. Also excluded are railways previously announced but since cancelled.

Under construction: Sydney Metro Northwest

The current incarnation of this line was announced in 2010, with construction commencing in 2014. It is scheduled to open in 2019. This line consists of 23km of new track between Epping and Cudgegong Rd near Rouse Hill as well as the conversion of the existing 13km Epping to Chatswood Line (opened in 2009) to metro operation.

A line with a similar alignment was originally announced in 1998 (connecting to the Northern Line at Eastwood rather than Epping), but cancelled in 2008 in favour of a metro line that was itself also cancelled. It has previously been known as the North West Rail Link and Sydney Rapid Transit.

2015-02-20 NWRL

Alignment of the Sydney Metro Northwest from Cudgegong Rd to Chatswood. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

Under construction: Sydney Metro City and Southwest

This line was announced in 2014, with construction commencing in 2017. It is scheduled to open in 2024. This line consists of 13km of new track between Chatswood and Sydenham as well as the conversion of the existing 17km Bankstown Line between Sydenham and Bankstown to metro operation.

Sydney Metro City and Southwest Alignment 2016

Sydney Metro City and Southwest alignment. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

Announced: Sydney Metro West

This line was announced in 2016, with no date currently set for construction to commence. It is scheduled to open in the second half of the 2020s, though the government is understood to be keen to fast track a 2026 opening date. Stations have been confirmed for Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, the bays precinct, and the Sydney CBD.

Four options are currently being considered, with a Metro Rapid option firming as the favourite providing the highest benefit-cost ratio. This option involves a 20 minute journey between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD, with trains travelling between 10 stations at up to 130km/hour, with a benefit-cost ratio of 2.5.

UPDATE: However, the favoured option appears to be the Metro Local South. This option involves a 25 minute journey between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD, with trains travelling between 12 stations at up to 100km/hour, with a benefit-cost ratio of 2.3 when the sale of air rights to development above stations is taken into account.


Planned route of the 2008 West Metro, which may be indicative of the future Sydney Metro West. Click to enlarge. (Source: Railway Gazette)

Announced: Leppington to St Marys extension

Technically not yet announced, the government is understood to be about to announce an extension of the existing T2 Line from Leppington to the T1 Line at St Marys via a new Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek. Previous investigations into an extension of the South West Rail Link from Leppington also included a Southern extension to Narellan. This extension provides the greatest potential for a freight rail connection to the new airport, whereas a metro connection would be unlikely to provide the opportunity for freight trains to reach the new airport.

2014-05-04 swrl-extension-corridor-map

The proposed corridors for an extension of the SWRL through to Badgerys Creek and beyond. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has indicated her preference is for a rail connection after the airport opens and further commented that “Some major airports around the world take up to 10 years to build a rail line”. With a 2026 scheduled opening date for a Western Sydney Airport, this would suggest a 2026-36 opening date for an airport railway.

Meanwhile, Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced his support in April 2017 for a North-South rail connection, but went further in calling for it to be completed in time for the opening of a Western Sydney Airport in 2026. So although there is a difference in opinion on timing, there is now bipartisanship support for a rail line connecting the airport to Leppington and St Marys.

Proposed: Cudgegong Rd to Marsden Park extension

Work on preserving a corridor to extend the Sydney Metro Northwest began before construction on the line had even begun. Two options were considered: a Northern extension to Riverstone and a Western extension to Marsden Park via Schofields. The latter option was chosen with the potential to extend it further to the Mount Druitt area, although the corridor is to be reserved with mode neutrality. In other words, it could be both as an extension of Sydney Metro, but it could also be built as even bus rapid transit/light rail or even heavy rail with double deck trains from the T1 Western Line at Mount Druitt or St Marys.

NWRL Extension Corridor Options

Two options exist for linking the NWRL to the Richmond Line. One goes North West to Vineyard, the other continues west through Schofields and towards Marsden Park. Click to enlarge. (Source:

Proposed: Bankstown to Liverpool extension

This proposal would see the Sydney Metro extended from the currently planned terminus at Bankstown out to Liverpool.

Such a line could link both Bankstown and Liverpool to Bankstown Airport, allowing for potential redevelopment of the current airport site. That would be in line with the Government´s pattern of building new transport infrastructure in places that enable new developments, including Waterloo, Sydney Olympic Park, the Bays Precinct, or the proposed redevelopment of Long Bay Prison. It would also provide connections between Liverpool and the Sydney CBD via Bankstown that are set to be lost once the Bankstown Line is converted to Metro services by 2024.

VIDEO: Sydney Metro: Future Options – Bankstown to Liverpool (Transport for NSW)

Proposed: Parramatta to Western Sydney Airport extension

A Western extension to the Sydney Metro West, this line would link up Parramatta with a Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek. With the airport and metro line each scheduled to open in 2026 or later, much of

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called for a rail link to the airport to be built by the year 2046, but not necessarily ready to open simultaneously with a Western Sydney Airport. However, this was before the NSW Government opted for a North-South rail link from Leppington to St Marys, which is set to be announced jointly with the federal government.

2016-03-12 Parramatta Fast Rail Route

Potential alignments for a fast rail connection from Parramatta to a Western Sydney Airport at Badgeries Creek and the Sydney CBD. Click to enlarge. (Source: Parramatta City Council, Western Sydney Airport Fast Train – Discussion Paper, page 12.)

Proposed: City to Long Bay extension

An Eastern extension of the Sydney Metro West, this line would link up the Sydney CBD to the South East along a former tram reservation on Anzac Parade. To this date, there is no official government proposal for this line, only an unsolicited proposal from 2016.

However, Infrastructure NSW has been investigating the Anzac Parade corridor since 2014. The plans would involve the sale of the Long Bay Prison for redevelopment, which itself would help to fund the construction costs of a rail line down that corridor. This is in line with similar plans for Waterloo, the Bays Precinct and Sydney Olympic Park where new metro lines would support redevelopment that would in turn be enabled by the new metro line.

So far, this corridor has been investigated for an extension of the currently under construction light rail line out to Kingsford. Despite this, the close correlation between the unsolicited proposal and line actually being planned at the moment are close enough that an extension to La Perouse via Long Bay appears like a good proxy for official government policy.

  1. There is still no proper rail link between Epping and Parramatta, after Costa cancelled it nilly willy.

    The proposed Parramatta light rail ends in Carlingford

    Here is my analysis:

    Sydney planning chaos: New Planning Review makes no provision for light rail at Epping station (part 2)

    Sydney planning chaos: New Planning Review makes no provision for light rail at Epping station (part 1)

  2. Ray says:

    I don’t think there’s a snow flake’s chance in hell that the Parramatta Light Rail will ever be extended from Carlingford to Epping. Although it’s allegedly being investigated, there are just too many obstacles to construct it to the congested Epping Town Centre, without going underground, which would be prohibitively expensive for light rail. The better option would have been to choose the route from Dundas on the Carlingford Line to Macquarie University via Eastwood, which is along existing wider carriageways, such as Kissing Point Road, including the Eastwood County Road reservation. It was the preferred option in Parramatta Council’s original feasibility study, but disappeared off the radar when Transport for NSW got involved.

    If the light rail proceeds as proposed to Carlingford, then an alternative longer term option may be to construct a new metro link from Macquarie University to Parramatta along the more direct and faster route via Eastwood, avoiding the Carlingford Line Light Rail altogether. However, whether it would be practicable to branch with the proposed North West Metro tunnels between Epping and Macquarie University may be an issue.

  3. tjejojyj says:

    Parramatta light rail doesn’t even make Bambul’s list. I see on their website – the EIS for Stage 1 is currently being exhibited, until October 23. Is it going to happen? Have they sorted out the funding with the value capture taxation?

  4. @tjejojyj –

    The second sentence of the first paragraph outlines the scope of this post. It explicitly states that light rail is not included, only heavy rail and metro railways.

  5. JC says:

    So many billions and so little benefit. No sign of cost effective projects that could deliver real benefits e.g a high capacity/frequency amplification with longer double deck trains with limited stops from Penrith to the CBD – sort of the old CBD relief project with higher capacity and near metro frequency. It would be a nice change for planners to look at where the needs are as their starting point.

  6. Ray says:

    I agree that more funding should be allocated for upgrading and extending parts of the existing network, particularly to speed up and increase frequency and capacity for outer suburban and Intercity express services through the inner city. We need a Clearways 2.0 program.

    This goes against the ideological grain of the current State Government which deludingly favours investment in metros to solve all the shortcomings of the rail network. They are being poorly advised by self serving consultants and bureaucrats and I believe that in time it will come back to bite them.

    Metros certainly have their place, especially for introducing rail for inner-city short haul services to new areas which currently don’t have a rail service. In hindsight, the CSE Light Rail project should have been built as a metro, as it would also have avoided the current congestion caused by buses clogging up streets and the disruption being experienced by its construction. A South East Metro would also have provided infinitely more future capacity than the LR, which by current reports is likely to reach capacity almost from the day it opens.

    The proposed Bankstown Line conversion to metro IMO is a complete waste of money and it would have been more cost effective, albeit more expensive, to invest in a new metro corridor such as the SE as an example. There are others as well.

    One of the Government’s primary justifications for extending the Metro North West to Bankstown is that it removes the Bankstown Line from the City Circle, freeing up additional pathways for other existing Sydney Trains’ services. This is true, but there are also other alternatives, such as diverting the Airport Line from the City Circle, which would free up just as many, if not more, pathways. But that would involve actually spending money on upgrading and extending the existing network, which is anathema to them. It’s all very well to buy new Waratah DD trains, but unless that is matched by a meaningful investment in the existing infrastructure, then their potential benefit won’t be fully realised.

  7. The Guy21 says:

    @Ray I agree on Clearways 2.0 here are some possible projects

    Homebush-Lidcombe Sextup ( Extend Inner west tracks to lidcombe allowing Olympic park trains)
    Sydenham- Erskinville sextup (Allows overtaking on the east hills/ Illawarra line)
    Rhodes- West Ryde Quaduplication. (Faster and more frequent trains)
    MacArthur Fourth platform
    Westmead turn back (Trains to turn back at Westmead, not Parra)
    Pennant hills- Berowra Additional track ( New dedicated track for freight trains)
    Berowra Stabling ( more trains)
    Cabramatta- Liverpool Passing loops
    Revesby-Glenfield Quaduplication
    St. Mary’s-Werrington Quaduplication

  8. Ray says:

    @The Guy21 – Agree with all of those, with perhaps some reservation about Sydenham – Erskineville Sextup and Westmead turn-back.

    In the case of the former, assuming the Bankstown Line conversion to metro proceeds, platforms 1 & 2 at Sydenham will be taken over by the metro. If the East Hills Line express tracks were extended as an additional track pair from Wolli Creek Junction, they would have to go underground through Sydenham with new platforms, before surfacing along the current reserved corridor to Erskineville. Although it would be expensive, it could be feasible, but not the best outcome. It would have been preferable if the metro platforms had been undergrounded, leaving the surface platforms for Sydney Trains’ future expansion plans.

    Now the problem is, how do you integrate the additional track pair beyond Erskineville with the existing tracks into the CBD?

    One possible solution is to slew the new track pair to merge with the current Illawarra Local north of Erskineville Junction (which I think was the original intent) and at the same time slew the Illawarra Local in parallel to the Illawarra Main. In conjunction with this, the opportunity should be taken to install a high-speed turnout from the Illawarra Main to the Eastern Suburbs Line and, a preferably grade separated connection, from the new track pair to the Illawarra Dive, allowing direct access to Sydney Terminal without conflicting movements for South West Suburban and Regional services.

    However, for this arrangement to operate effectively, the Airport Line would have to be diverted from the City Circle and the Illawarra Main connection from the flying junctions at Central to platforms 21 and 23 restored.

    The 3 track pairs from Erskineville would then link up with Illawarra Main and Local through to the City Circle and the Eastern Suburbs Line. In an ideal world, each track pair should have an exclusive pathway through the CBD, but that’s probably asking for too much. In many ways, it’s a shame that the former Labor Government’s Metropolitan Rail Expansion Program (MREP) linking the North West to the South West through the CBD, never got off the ground as it would have resolved many of the current congestion problems through the CBD and provided for future capacity.

    With regard to the Westmead turn-back, the problem here is that the proposed extension of T2 services between Granville and Parramatta on what is now the Western Main tracks, diverge at the underpass between Parramatta and Westmead, with the Down track feeding into platform 4 at Westmead and the Up track into platform 1. There is no direct crossover possible between the Down and Up tracks at Westmead for terminating trains without crossing the centre tracks creating serious conflicting movements. Parramatta would have to remain as the terminating station.

    The Rhodes-West Ryde quadruplication project should also include the reinstatement of the short length of the Up Relief Line through North Strathfield to merge with the Main Line just south of the flyover junction to Strathfield. This would allow for unimpeded access from the Relief Line for Intercity and Regional trains to Strathfield Station without being held up by suburban trains accessing the flyover from the Main Line. The previously proposed remodelling of the junction layouts at Strathfield should also be brought back onto the agenda.

    Other potential Clearways 2.0 projects worthy of further consideration are the construction of flyovers or underpasses from the Western Main to Suburban tracks at Homebush and from the Illawarra Main to Local at Wolli Creek to eliminate, or at the very least minimise, conflicting movements. These were projects recommended in the original Christie Report.

  9. The Guy21 says:

    @Ray also about your Idea of the Sydenham-Erskinville Sextup It is an excellent Idea. No idea why they got rid of that project. Another project that should also be under consideration is the Chatswood-St Leonard’s Quaduplication, It could have shaved some money of Sydney metro and Help the crowding problems at chatswood for stage 1.
    By the way what’s the point of the strafield Junction rebuild?

  10. Ray says:

    @The Guy21 – As far as I can recollect, the Chatswood – St Leonards quad was part of the extension of the North West Rail Link to the CBD. In the rebuild of St Leonards Station, there are 4 platforms, with the centre track pair used by Sydney Trains as part of the North Shore Line. The original plan was for the centre track pair from Chatswood, being the ECRL, to dive underground south of St Leonards to a new station at Crows Nest and continuing to North Sydney, then under the harbour to the CBD. The outer track pair at St Leonards would form the North Shore Line tracks.

    With the metro coming onto the agenda, the quad to St Leonards was abandoned and the metro lines dived underground north of Mowbray Rd to a new Crows Nest Station roughly halfway between St Leonards Station and Crows Nest Junction (the intersection of Pacific Hwy, Willoughby Rd and Falcon St). There may have been some issue with the steepness of a dive from St Leonards to Crows Nest, but nonetheless it would have been preferable if the metro lines, from the centre track pair at St Leonards, had proceeded to a potential Crows Nest Station at or south of the main road junction. St Leonards is a major business district and also adjacent to the Royal North Shore Hospital. The proposed Crows Nest Station is not as convenient, particularly for the RNSH, and IMHO is a major failing of the metro line station locations. Metro stations should have been located at both St Leonards and Crows Nest.

    With regard to the Strathfield Junction remodelling, I understand that it involved the rebuilding of the junction of the flyover and main lines at North Strathfield with the Down North Main passing under the flyover to connect directly with the Down Relief Line, probably in conjunction with the extension of the Up Relief Line which I mentioned earlier. This would allow parallel operations of the Main (centre) tracks to and from the flyover and the Relief (outer) tracks to and from platforms 1,2 and 3 at Strathfield without conflicting movements. I don’t know whether this is still on the agenda.

  11. James says:

    Hi Transport Sydney – Great summary of the current projects.

    Just one question – For the Sydney Metro West, you mentioned that the Metro Rapid was the preferred option, However, in the article you linked, it states that “The preferred option – Metro Local South – along which driverless, single-deck trains would run takes in the Bays Precinct at Rozelle, Lilyfield, Concord and Silverwater.”

    Did you use other sources to analyse that the Metro Rapid was the preferred option?

  12. @James –

    You are indeed correct. What I meant to say was that Metro Rapid has the biggest BCR. The post has been edited to clarify that point and correctly mention that the Metro Local South is indeed the current alignment favoured by the government.

  13. The Guy21 says:

    @Ray thanks for that extra info. The strafield junc. rebuild, Rhodes- west Ryde quad, pennant hills- Berowra extra track and Berowra Stabling should be one project.

  14. Richard says:

    Whenever I look at the sydney rail map I see potential for a line (perhaps an extension of the Northern line) heading south from Strathfield through Lakemba and Kingsgrove to Hurstville. Joining Northern, Western, Bankstown, Airport and Illawarra lines in one go. It would mean people on Northern, Western and Bankstown lines could avoid going to Central to get to the Airport.

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