Sydney Metro City & Southwest
|Sydney Metro City & Southwest|
|Type||Rapid transit line|
|Stations||18 (7 new stations)|
|Owner||Transport for New South Wales|
|Line length||30 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) 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.
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. 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.
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. Barangaroo station was confirmed in June 2015 and Waterloo was confirmed in December. 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.
Metropolitan Rail Expansion Program
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. Developers who want to excavate deeper than two metres within a 25-metre buffer zone of the corridors need to seek RailCorp's approval.
In the plan the stations along the RCRL would have included:
- Redfern - connecting to the metro lines to Hurstville, Bankstown and Liverpool
- Central - interchanging with all lines through the CBD
- Pitt Street
- Martin Place - interchanging with the Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line
- Circular Quay - interchanging with the Bankstown, Inner West, South & Airport/East Hills Lines
- Victoria Cross
- Crows Nest
- St Leonards - interchanging with the North Shore and Northern Lines
- Chatswood - interchanging with the North Shore and Northern Lines
A map of the protected corridors suggested there may have been the potential for another station at Macquarie Place, between The Rocks and Castlereagh Street.
Later Labor proposals
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.
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. 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. 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. Planning approval for the Chatswood to Sydenham section of the project was received in January 2017.
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 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.
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.
Tunnelling commenced in October 2018.
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.
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.
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. 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.
NSW Upper House Inquiry
The NSW Legislative Council announced on 22 August 2019 an Inquiry into the "Sydenham - Bankstown Line conversion" 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.
- 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)
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