Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sydney Rapid Transit - our concerns

The NSW Liberal/National Government announced last week that they will be extending the currently under construction North-West Rail Link (NWRL) from the end of the line at Chatswood to the city and onwards to Bankstown.

Of course all this hinges on the Liberal?National government winning the general election next March with the mandate to lease 49% of the poles, wires and remaining electricity generators.

Now whilst we don’t want to call the result for the Election next year, because lets be honest here, even 24 hours can seem like a lifetime, but it would seem on this basis the Liberal/National Government will get back into office albeit with probably a minority.

But to get the to the nitty gritty, there are issues with this plan for the second harbour train tunnel because it would seem they have announced this without doing any ground work to see if the route is viable or not.

So what are the issues with this proposal? Well the issues namely relate to the new link taking in the existing Bankstown line and converting it to rapid transit. The issues are:

  • between Redfern and Sydenham the Bankstown line utilises the East Hill line tracks which are used for express purposes. The issues namely relate to how this will effect the East Hills, South-west and Cambelltown/Macarthur line and whether the government is planning to build new track between Redfern & Sydenham to seperate the East Hills line Express services and the rapid transit lines. This would also have an impact on a number of properties between Sydenham and Erskineville, as they would have to be brought and demolished for this to occur.
  • How will the Rapid Transit utilise the current Bankstown Line stations. 
  • What modifications would need to be done to the stations to allow the trains to fit into the platforms given they are smaller than the current double decker rolling stock.
  • How long would the Bankstown line be out of action for the conversion from heavy rail to rapid transit
  •  When is the upgrades due to occur and how lone will it take in total
  • Would the Government need to build a bigger interchange station at Bankstown to allow people to interchange between the rapid transit line to the heavy rail suburban Sydney Trains service?
  • With the new stations to be built in the city, how will the interchange be possible between the current Town Hall Station and the to be built Pitt St Station, being they will be on top of one another (according to the fact sheets released by the Government).
  • Would the rapid transit be extended to Hurstville like it was originally planned to do so?

Of course these concerns are on top of the current issues surrounding how people with disabilities or requiring assistance will be able to get aboard the rapid transit trains being they will be driverless and not have any guards on board. It is also believed that there will be little if not no Public Service Attendant (also known as station staff) at stations according to various reports also released by the current incumbent government.

We have sought comment for these issues but are yet to receive any word back.

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