What goes on between Sydenham and Sutherland is a bit OT , even if the metropolitan Illawarra carries more people in comparison to the outer suburban electrified section ie Kiama to Waterfall etc .
The drama is that we have run out of "easy" upgrades like concrete electrification and reasonably modern signaling . No more low hanging fruit .
If the Governments really want to make the transport of people and goods better we need road and rail improvements . It really is a question of when rather than if because the population in this Sutherland - Illawarra region has more than doubled since 1970 .
I say 1970 because it was around then that the road conditions really started to improve south of Sutherland and electrification came from Sutherland south a few years later .
The highway eventually bypassed Sutherland and ran on the east side of the railway to just short of Engadine . The new road was a vast improvement over the zig zag between Heathcote and Waterfall . Some won't remember the toll on the freeway south of Waterfall but the highway beyond is still more than adequate today .
The problem now is the low ie 60km/h speed through Heathcote and the shopping center lights , Heathcote Road lights are worse . There are three sets of lights in Engadine if you include Old Bush Rd at Yarrawarra .
If you think these are trivial take a drive north of Helensburgh on the freeway one sunny Sunday afternoon . The proposed Great Southern Freeway has been talked about for at least 40 years but believe it when you see it .
And the railway , a great opportunity was wasted to improve Waterfalls layout when the line was electrified .
Pathetic signal sighting into the down refuge and a useless 25 km/h speed out the south end , the down dead end refuge just south of the road overbridge should have had direct access to the down storage sidings rather than via the down main line . And the down main line through the platform . Seriously , 40 km/h - in 2017 ? Ridiculous . You may think so what but the Inter Urbans use these lines as platform bypasses because Sydney Trains parks sparks in the mainline platform roads for extended periods . It just means Sydney Trains , once City Rail , has complete disregard for anything but its local sparks .
The route between Waterfall and Austinmer isn't brilliant but how do you straighten it out while still servicing all the current stations - and have acceptable grades .
I doubt very much that the governments would maintain a faster new route and the existing bundle of bends , and I doubt the freight operators could afford to maintain the existing part even without the wires powered up .
There is no simple we'll spend up on one mode and stuff the other because neither can carry the load on its own . I smell smoke and see mirrors here with no action in the short term .