The Sydney Metro is the NSW government’s new metro rail project that would privatise two lines on the Sydney Trains network and fail to expand access to new areas of the city.
You can read Mehreen Faruqi’s Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece on Sydney Metro HERE.
You can read Mehreen Faruqi’s Guardian Australia opinion piece on transport privatisation HERE.
The Greens’ Transform Transport campaign is available HERE.
Archived Information on the North West Rail Link (now Sydney Metro Northwest):
The NSW government is finally building the long-awaited North West Rail Link. This is an overdue public transport project, and the Greens are supportive of building a rail connection to the north west.
However, there is an enormous ‘catch’ that could make the whole $8.3 billion project redundant:
The government is proposing to spend the money constructing a single-deck, driverless “metro-style” train system, instead of standard double-deck Sydney Trains that have the capacity to integrate with the rest of the network.
In addition, the existing Epping-Chatswood line will have to be retrofitted to support single-deck trains, meaning less seating and an unnecessary change at Chatswood for city-bound public transport users from the north west.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has tried to justify the single-deck decision as a way of cutting “dwell times” and increasing capacity. But what’s the whole story?
- Even if metro-style trains cut dwell times (which is doubtful in itself), their inability to integrate with the existing network will mean that this line will operate separately and isolated .Similar to the failed Sydney Monorail, the North West Rail Link would exist as an independent infrastructure experiment.
- If the new single-deck trains are to run all the way to Chatswood, the new Epping-Chatswood line, only opened in 2009, will have to be retrofitted for the metro-style services. The government has not yet announced how the existing Epping-Chatswood services will be replaced while the line is being “converted”, which could take up to 12 months.
- Travellers from stations north of Epping (Normanhurst to Cheltenham) will no longer be able to go directly into the city via Chatswood, instead having to change at either Epping or Chatswood. Only a flexible, integrated double-deck line could enable direct trains from both the North West and Hornsby into the City via Chatswood.
- Single-deck trains have less space for seating, meaning commuters will have an uncomfortable journey over long distances. This also disincentivises people from using rail, which will only be an attractive transport option so long as it is reliable, frequent, and pleasant.
- Independent Fairfax Media analysis has shown that the City-bound change-over at Chatswood will be chaotic, crowded, and potentially inoperable without increasing peak-hour double-deck services coming down the North Shore Line. The government has not yet released plans for how Chatswood will handle thousands more commuters changing trains every day before the mythical second harbour crossing is built.
- The line is being constructed as a public-private partnership: a business model that over the past decade has resulted in such overpriced, underutilised infrastructure fiascoes such as the Cross City Tunnel, the Lane Cove Tunnel, and the Airport Rail Link.
- The entire project has been shrouded in secrecy. Transport for NSW has refused Freedom of Information requests for government documents concerning the interchange at Chatswood, subsequently coming under fire from the NSW Information Commissioner.
All of this wouldn’t be a complete disaster if the government were building tunnels big enough for double-deck trains to be installed in the future. But currently, the plans are to drill tunnels 40 cm too small for standard Sydney Trains rolling stock.