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Action for Public Transport (N.S.W.) Inc.

Sydney Metro West early consultation

posted Tuesday 5 September 2017
Transport for NSW called for public submissions on the early planning of Sydney Metro West, which is to be Sydney's second metro railway line. Readers will be aware that Bradfield planned Sydney's railway about a hundred years ago. Thanks to his foresight and good work, Town Hall railway station was opened in 1932 with two of the six platforms in use. Two more platforms were used from 1954 when the City Circle opened and two more in 1979 as part of the Eastern Suburbs railway. Today's station is the busiest Sydney station in peak hours, handling many tens of thousand passengers each hour. Unfortunately, today's planning doesn't seem to look as far forward. Authorities seem to assess station locations more as development possiblities than as transport facilities.

Action for Public Transport submitted as follows:

WHO WE ARE

Action for Public Transport (NSW) Inc. is a transport advocacy group active in Sydney since 1974. We promote the interests of beneficiaries of public transport; both passengers, and the wider community.

STRATEGIC APPROACH

Integration with other parts of public transport system

In our view, the West Metro route and station locations should be designed to create a "network effect". West Metro should provide convenient interchanges with the light rail and heavy rail system, other metro lines, and major bus routes at a number of points. Connections with other Metro lines and the existing rail system should ideally be cross-platform, that is, a passenger should be able to alight from Metro West, and cross the same platform to get onto a connecting train service. If this approach is taken, the effective coverage and usage of the West Metro will be maximised, as will the coverage and usage of the existing system. The whole will be more than the sum of its parts.

Distance between stations

Note that the carriages used by Sydney Metro are optimised for shorter trips insofar as they have reduced seating and more doorways compared with existing Sydney double-deck carriages. Also note that typical metro systems around the world only have a few more kilometres of track than they have stations (there is an informative table in the Wikipedia article entitled List of Metro systems), that is, the average spacing between stations is generally less than 1500 metres and sometimes much less. For example, the Paris metro has 302 stations but only 214 kilometres of track.

Similarly, the stations on the Metro West route should not be too far apart. It should be easy to walk to metro stations, as it is in Paris and Tokyo. Regrettably, stations on the North-West Metro line between Cherrybrook and Victoria Cross are not particularly close - there is a 6km gap between Cherrybrook and Epping and another between North Ryde and Chatswood compounded by the absence of a stop for RNSH and the nearby educational facilities.

Civilising Parramatta Road

Despite the sales pitch, the widened M4 (stage 1 of Westconnex) has done nothing to civilise Parramatta Rd. Public transport offerings remain poor despite the then Minister for Planning requiring two lanes to be set aside for public transport. Significant residential development is taking place in a degraded environment.

The West Metro has the potential to provide a serious public transport option, enabling less focus on through traffic. In combination with wider footpaths and tree planting, this would make walking and outdoor dining an attractive option along much of Parramatta Rd and dramatically improve its amenity. Hence, we favour the West Metro following the line of Parramatta Rd for a substantial portion of the route.

SUGGESTED STOPS

Stops should be spaced so as to facilitate access to stations on foot, for the maximum number of intending passengers. The Bankstown line from Sydenham to Punchbowl is a good example of appropriate spacing; the spacing on the North-West line from Cherrybrook to Victoria Cross is a bad example.

From Parramatta in an easterly direction – Olympic Park, then North Strathfield, to interchange with heavy rail; then to a Parramatta Rd alignment. Indicative stop spacing would be Homebush, Leicester Av/Concord Rd intersection, Wentworth Rd/Burwood Rd intersection, Cheltenham Rd, Harris Rd near Moorebank College, Croydon Rd, Frederick and Ramsay intersection, then Leichhardt North (light rail connection).

After that the line should take the railway goods line route to The Bays Precinct, with a stop on Victoria Rd (allowing connections with series 500 buses) before heading to the city. There should be a stop in Pyrmont/Ultimo (connecting again with light rail). Within the city we would envisage a stop at Pitt St. metro station providing cross-platform interchange with the north-west metro. It is not too late to redesign Pitt St station to be stacked double-deck.

The line should not terminate in the Sydney CBD; it should continue into the suburbs to avoid constructing a terminal station in the CBD. Various possibilities exist - it could continue east and south to provide relief to the CBD & S-E light rail. Or it could turn west and south serving trip generators such as Haymarket, Broadway, Sydney University, RPAH etc all of which need underground transit services. Especially note that converting the existing Bankstown railway to driverless metro will be a disaster for the whole line because services will have to be suspended for a long period, probably over a year, which extensive earthworks are undertaken to straighten curved platforms. In particular, Sydenham station cannot be straightened without taking an area out of the adjoining busy Railway Parade. The West Metro could provide some relief to the existing Bankstown line if extended from the Newtown area to perhaps Campsie. This would not require interrupting Bankstown services.



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