I entirely agree with Luke Foley's position. The Rapid Transit extension across the harbour and conversion of the Bankstown Line will do absolutely nothing to address congestion on the heavily patronized Western Line from Strathfield to the CBD. Think what could be achieved in upgrading the existing network, particularly from the West, if the $10.4 billion earmarked for the Rapid Transit second harbour rail tunnel could be at their disposal.
The conversion of the Bankstown Line to Rapid Transit is a complete waste of money, when with minimal expense in upgrading signalling, the same level of service frequency could be achieved AND seating capacity could be doubled with the continued use of double deck trains. The direct Liverpool via Bankstown services would no longer be possible because of the incompatibility with the Rapid Transit system. The only reason why the Bankstown Line was chosen as an extension of the North West Rapid Transit across the harbour is because it is the only line left to connect with, when all other potential options were eliminated for one reason or another. It's got nothing to do with any objective transport planning, but merely another compromise to justify the extension of the privatized Rapid Transit concept.
If the North West Rapid Transit is destined to remain an isolated glorified shuttle service between Rouse Hill and Chatswood, then so be it. It's just another example of a poorly conceived privatized rail project, like the Airport Line, where the taxpayers of NSW will ultimately have to pick up the tab.
In any event, there's no guarantee that the lease of the poles and wires will realize anything like the $20 billion that Mike Baird is suggesting. If they fail to achieve that outcome, what is their Plan B?