Action for Public Transport (N.S.W.) Inc.
|P O Box K606
|Haymarket NSW 1240
|27 June 2016
NSW Department of Planning and Environment
23-33 Bridge Street
Submission on SSI 15_7400 EIS
Sydney Metro Chatswood-Sydenham
Action for Public Transport (NSW) is a transport advocacy group which has been active in Sydney since 1974. We promote the interests of beneficiaries of public transport; both passengers, and the wider community.
We make the following submissions on the EIS. We oppose aspects of the proposal.
For the reasons given above, we submit that the proposal should be rejected and redesigned to better suit Sydney's needs. Public participation should be a core part of the process.
The proposal is called Sydney Metro but that is a misnomer.
Metro systems are supposed to facilitate shorter trips around the CBD and inner suburbs. They use trains with limited seating, correspondingly generous standing room and multiple doors in every carriage. Metro trains travel quite short distances between stops. A typical average inter-stop spacing would be about 1 kilometre although many systems have closer stations (Paris Metro averages 700 metres). Metro systems have multiple lines, with interchange stations designed to make line changing an efficient process for large numbers of passengers.
Sydney badly needs a metro system; the new line should be designed to address that need. A good start would be a plan showing this first metro line among other lines, with interchanges, and adequate stations for the huge unserviced gaps in our inner railways. This need not degrade the service planned for Waterloo.
Inner areas of Sydney that need underground rail service:
- Neutral Bay
- Taylor Square and Darlinghurst
- University of Technology and Broadway
- The Bays
- Forest Lodge and most of Glebe
- Sydney University around Eastern Avenue
Middle-ring areas of Sydney that need underground rail service:
- Lane Cove
- Gore Hill medical, educational and media facilities
- Northbridge and Willougby
- Bellevue Hill
- Charing Cross
- the region east of Sydenham [unless the Eastern Suburbs railway is completed at least as far as Kingsford]
- Marrickville Metro shopping centre and Enmore
- North Marrickville
- Croydon Park
- South Strathfield and Belfield
- most of Ryde
The EIS hints at future metro expansion in just two ways. One is a possible later extension from Bankstown to Liverpool. The other, on page 122, is a mention of stub tunnels to be built south of Waterloo and north of Victoria Cross. We are not told whether these stubs are to point east or west so perhaps the EIS's authors don't think they matter. And the stubs are not shown on any maps in the EIS.
Neither the Rouse Hill leg nor the Bankstown leg will require as many trains as the Harbour crossing is capable of carrying. The capacity is claimed to be 30 eight-car trains per hour whereas only 20 six-car trains are to run. Harbour crossings are expensive and should be fully utilised. The EIS should show how this surplus capacity is to be used.
We understand that the worst capacity shortage on Sydney's suburban railway will be the western lines, and in particular the lines between Strathfield and Central. Easing that shortage is an obvious possible use for a branch of this railway or perhaps a second Metro line. The EIS however gives no consideration to the matter.
The Macquarie line is to be shut down for seven months' conversion in 2018-2019. Rail services will be replaced by buses in peak-hour traffic which will be much slower than trains and less comfortable. The passengers won't be happy. The resentment generated could well make shutting down the Bankstown line politically impossible, especially as the platform straightening required at most stations will amount to additional disruption.
Also, travellers might realise that the proposed Bankstown conversion would result in permanent disadvantage from the extra changing required by passengers travelling through Bankstown on trips such as Liverpool-Central or Yagoona-Punchbowl.
Therefore, planning of this stage of Sydney Metro should not assume the line will necessarily continue west of Sydenham.
It is noteworthy that the EIS recognises, in the paragraph about stub tunnels on page 122, that construction disruption should be minimised.
- The Metro should also be built in a way that does not degrade rail services to Erskineville and St Peters or anywhere else. This objective should be spelled out in the EIS. Sydney Metro should enhance the Sydney Trains network, not break it up.
- Because the area south of the CBD is so far from the Cudgegong Road depot, there should be a facility for stabling metro trains within closer reach of the southern terminus. Otherwise, overnight shutdowns and morning startups will be lengthy procedures that constrain the overnight maintenance window.
- We are well aware of the plan to double the population around most of the Bankstown line stations. We think the best application of Sydney Metro to cater for the resultant additional demand for travel would be a completely new south-west line from the CBD, possibly extending as far as Liverpool.
- No business case for the proposed Metro has been published. It should be - billions of public dollars are to be spent. The project should not proceed unless and until there is a business case.
No seating plan or carriage dimensions have been released for the carriages to be used in the railway. The EIS is incomplete without an assessment of passenger comfort.
There are no plans showing how the huge numbers of passengers which the Metro claims to be able to carry can get into and out of the stations.