Sydney Metro City & Southwest

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Sydney Metro City & Southwest
Overview
TypeRapid transit line
SystemSydney Metro
StatusUnder construction
LocaleSydney, Australia
Stations18 (7 new stations)[1]
Operation
Opened2024 (projected)
OwnerTransport for New South Wales
Technical
Line length30 km (19 mi)

Sydney Metro City & Southwest is a 30 km (19 mi) rapid transit railway line in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia currently under construction. The project will extend Sydney Metro Northwest from Chatswood on the North Shore, to Bankstown in the city's south-west via the Sydney central business district. The centrepiece of the project is a new 15.5 km (9.6 mi)[2] twin-tunnel rail crossing under Sydney Harbour and through the city to Sydenham. Together with planned improvements to the Main Western line, the project is expected to increase capacity on the Sydney rail network by up to 60%, and allow for the movement of over 100,000 extra commuters across the network every hour.[3]

The line began construction in 2017 and is planned to open by 2024.[4] It is estimated to cost between $10–11 billion.[5]

Design[edit]

The line will act as a major extension of Sydney Metro, connecting Chatswood–the terminus of Sydney Metro Northwest–to Sydenham, with new stations at Crows Nest, Victoria Cross, Barangaroo, Martin Place, Pitt Street, Central and Waterloo.[6] At Sydenham, the line would join the existing Bankstown railway line, which would be converted to rapid transit operation between Sydenham and Bankstown. The combined route between Chatswood and Bankstown is called Sydney Metro City & Southwest.

Trackplan
To Metro North West Line
Chatswood
Crows Nest
Victoria Cross (North Sydney)
Sydney Harbour
Barangaroo[7]
Martin Place (interchange with T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line)
Pitt Street
Central (interchange with other railway and light rail lines)
Waterloo
Stabling Yard
Sydenham (interchange with T4 Illawarra Line)
Marrickville
Dulwich Hill (interchange with L1 Dulwich Hill Line)
Hurlstone Park
Canterbury
Campsie
Belmore
Lakemba
Wiley Park
Punchbowl
Bankstown (interchange with Sydney Trains services)

The original list of stations consisted of Crows Nest, Victoria Cross, Martin Place, Pitt Street, Central, Sydenham and the stations of the Bankstown line. Potential additional stations were also proposed for the industrial area of Artarmon (underground), St Leonards, Barangaroo and either the University of Sydney or Waterloo.[6][8] Barangaroo station was confirmed in June 2015 and Waterloo was confirmed in December.[7][9] The other three stations will not be included in the project.

The remaining stations served by the T3 Bankstown Line - Erskineville, St Peters and stations between Bankstown, Lidcombe and Cabramatta - will continue to be served by Sydney Trains, but more detailed plans have not been revealed.[10]

History[edit]

Metropolitan Rail Expansion Program[edit]

The Redfern to Chatswood Rail Link (RCRL) was a component of the now-cancelled Metropolitan Rail Expansion Programme (MREP) in Sydney. First announced in 2005, the line was to have started at Redfern Station, travelled under the city centre, crossed under Sydney Harbour, passed through the lower North Shore and ended at the existing Chatswood railway station. It was to have provided the centre section of a planned North West-CBD-South West rail arc connecting major areas of employment with the CBD and airport. Alternative names for the planned route have included the "Redfern to Chatswood Harbour Rail Link", "MetroPitt" and the "CBD Rail Link".

The proposal was announced by Premier Bob Carr on 15 June 2005 (shortly before his resignation), and formed part of the $8 billion Metropolitan Rail Expansion Project (MREP). The MREP consisted of the New South Wales government's $8 billion North West - CBD - South West line, including the North West Rail Link (to extend from Cheltenham to Rouse Hill), and the spur to Leppington in Sydney's South West. The six kilometre RCRL was slated to cost $5 billion, and was to include duplicated tracks on the North Shore line between St Leonards and Chatswood. It was to provide a second railway line transversing Sydney Harbour to ease congestion at Town Hall and Wynyard stations, both considerably crowded and unable to be easily expanded, and to reduce travel times between the city and the lower North Shore.

The government's previous plan of constructing an additional CBD underground line was known as MetroWest. It was to have run from Haymarket in the city's Chinatown precinct near Darling Harbour, along the western edge of the city under Sussex or Kent Street and either ended at Wynyard station or continued over the harbour 'strapped' to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This option would not have served the part of the city experiencing the fastest growth of employment, and would have necessitated the destruction of eight office buildings. A previous MetroPitt proposal, travelling further east (and under its namesake Pitt Street) and through the financial district, could also be built deeper underground, limiting the impact on existing infrastructure.

In 2006, both of these corridors were protected with planning buffers to allow the option of future construction.[11] Developers who want to excavate deeper than two metres within a 25-metre buffer zone of the corridors need to seek RailCorp's approval.[12]

In the plan the stations along the RCRL would have included:[13]

A map[14] of the protected corridors suggested there may have been the potential for another station at Macquarie Place, between The Rocks and Castlereagh Street.

In March 2008 the State Government announced that the line would be cancelled, its role to be partly superseded by future metro rail lines.[15]

Later Labor proposals[edit]

One of the metro lines announced in 2009 by the Rees state government was CBD Metro, which ran along a similar CBD alignment to the current Sydney Metro proposal between Central and Barangaroo. However, no metro lines linking the CBD to Chatswood were announced. In 2010, the entire metro project was cancelled, and the CBD Relief Line & Western Express concept was announced as replacement. The relief line was largely a return to the CBD Rail Link proposal, but used the MetroWest alignment instead. The line would have offered an alternative heavy rail link in the CBD between Redfern and Wynyard, but also did not cross the harbour into the North Shore. The relief line was cancelled by the incoming Liberal government when they won the 2011 state election.

Current proposal[edit]

Excavation of the Marrickville dive in August 2018

In 2013, a new proposal was raised to extend the North West Rail Link, by building a metro-style tunnel from just south of Chatswood Station via St Leonards and North Sydney and under the Sydney Harbour towards Central and Redfern, before joining the newly converted metro lines towards Hurstville, Bankstown, Lidcombe and Liverpool.[16] This largely renews the previous proposal for the RCRL, except with metro-style trains instead. The Hurstville extension may subsequently have been dropped.

The proposal was officially announced by the NSW Government on 10 June 2014. The proposal was contingent on funding from privatising at least 49% of the state's power infrastructure, which was secured in June 2015.[17][18] Preliminary works involving drilling to depths 70m below Sydney Harbour commenced on 9 April 2015 to find the alignment for the new Sydney Metro tunnels.[3][19] Planning approval for the Chatswood to Sydenham section of the project was received in January 2017.[20]

The incorporation of Sydenham to Bankstown into Sydney Metro has not been without controversy, with a letter written by four former rail executives John Brew, Ron Christie, Bob O’Loughlin and Dick Day[21] casting doubts on the government's claims of improved reliability as well as warning that commuters west of Bankstown face additional interchange for travel towards the City Circle.

In June 2017, a John Holland, CPB Contractors and Ghella joint venture was awarded the contract to build the twin tunnels from Chatswood to Sydenham.[22]

A contract for a major upgrade of Central station was awarded to Laing O'Rourke in March 2018. The project includes construction of two new underground platforms to serve the metro and a new underground concourse called Central Walk. The new platforms will be built beneath platforms 13-14.[23]

Tunnelling commenced in October 2018.[24]

In November 2018 a $1.376 billion contract was awarded to an unincorporated joint venture between CPB Contractors and UGL to be known as Systems Connect, which will include the laying of track from Chatswood to Sydenham as well as converting power on the Bankstown line to Metro standards and also the building of further Metro train facilities at Rouse Hill and Marrickville.[25]

Beginning in December 2019, the Bankstown Line between Sydenham and Campsie and the Illawarra Line between Hurstville and Central will be closed during certain periods in order to allow the Bankstown line to be converted and upgraded to metro standards.[26][27]

Potential extension[edit]

A scoping study into rail investment to service Western Sydney and the proposed Western Sydney Airport was announced by the New South Wales and Australian governments in November 2015.[28] The study's final report was released in March 2018 and included a proposal to extend the Sydney Metro City & Southwest from Bankstown to Liverpool. The extension is unlikely to be built for at least 20 years.[29]

NSW Upper House Inquiry[edit]

The NSW Legislative Council announced on 22 August 2019 an Inquiry into the "Sydenham - Bankstown Line conversion"[30] examining decision making in relation to the transport project. The Inquiry to be conducted by Portfolio Committee 6 - Transport and Customer Service and chaired by Abigail Boyd will report by the end of March 2020.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Transport for NSW (2017). "Project Overview". 5.1 Overview and key components. p. 56. Retrieved 10 June 2017. New metro stations at Crows Nest, Victoria Cross, Barangaroo, Martin Place, Pitt Street and Waterloo as well as new underground platforms at Central StationCS1 maint: location (link)
  2. ^ "Chatswood to Sydenham". www.sydneymetro.info. Transport for NSW. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b Walker, Ian. "Construction begins on second Sydney Harbour rail crossing". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  4. ^ Sanda, Dominica (22 June 2017). "Work on Sydney Harbour tunnels to start". News Limited. Australian Associated Press. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  5. ^ Sarah, Gerathy (4 June 2015). "Power vote means Sydney Harbour rail crossing is less than a decade away: NSW Premier Mike Baird". ABC News. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Stations and Alignment". Sydney Metro - Transport for NSW. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  7. ^ a b Budget delivers $9 billion for public transport services and infrastructure Transport for NSW 23 June 2015
  8. ^ Saulwick, Jacob (12 October 2014). "Jockeying begins over new train stations for Sydney University or Waterloo". Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Sydney Metro to rejuvenate Waterloo" (PDF). NSW Government. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Extension to Bankstown". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Iemma Government locks in future city rail corridors". Sydney Metropolitan Strategy. NSW Government - Department of Planning. 18 February 2006. Archived from the original on 11 November 2006. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
  12. ^ "Rail routes sealed off". Hill Shire Times. 20 February 2006. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
  13. ^ "Revealed: the harbour tunnel to ease rail crisis". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 June 2005. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
  14. ^ "Protected CBD Rail Corridors Map" (PDF). Sydney Metropolitan Strategy. NSW Government - Department of Planning. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2006. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
  15. ^ Besser L and Smith A. City catches fast-tracked metro. Sydney Morning Herald, 19 March 2008.
  16. ^ Clennell, Andrew (6 December 2013). "Second Sydney Harbour crossing to follow North West Rail". The Telegraph News. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  17. ^ Gerathy, Sarah; Foschia, Liz (11 June 2014). "Sydney rapid transit rail build could begin in three years, NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian says". Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  18. ^ "Funding secured: Sydney Metro to be a reality" (PDF) (Press release). NSW Government. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  19. ^ Getting down to business: Early work begins on Sydney Rapid Transit Transport for NSW 8 April 2015
  20. ^ "Signal turns green for Sydney metro extension under the harbour". Transport for NSW. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  21. ^ John Brew, Ron Christie, Bob O’Loughlin and Dick Day (July 2015). "A report dated July 2015 about the Sydney Metro and long term transport planning" (PDF). Transport for NSW: Access to Information (GIPA Act).CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ Contract awarded for Harbour Metro crossing Infrastructure Magazine 23 June 2017
  23. ^ "$955 Million Central Walk, Sydney Metro Contract Awarded - securing more NSW jobs". Transport for NSW. 7 March 2018. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  24. ^ Haydar, Nour (17 October 2018). "Sydney Metro project reaches milestone as boring machines begin to drill". ABC News.
  25. ^ Metro on track as $1.376 billion contract awarded Transport for NSW
  26. ^ "Rail line closure to force 100,000 commuters a day to catch buses". Sydney Morning Herald. 18 July 2019.
  27. ^ Sydenham to Bankstown Preferred Infrastructure Report Overview Sydney Metro June 2018
  28. ^ "Western Sydney Airport". Transport for NSW. Archived from the original on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  29. ^ "Western Sydney Rail Needs Scoping Study Outcomes Report" (PDF). Australian Government and New South Wales Government. March 2018. p. 60. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  30. ^ "Sydenham-Bankstown Line conversion". www.parliament.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 22 September 2019.