Improving the cost efficiency of Sydney Trains operations

 
  Ethan1395 Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Sydney Trains currently needs every 65c for every dollar from the government to operate, fares cover the remaining 35c.
If this was reduced to below 50% by making it's operations more efficient.
The NSW Government would have around $1 Billion more to spend on things like constructing and operating more rail lines.

Sydney metro supporters can point to the Sydney Metro as the answer with it's automatic operation taking the cost of staff out of the equation, however, this will have a negative economic impact if more existing Sydney Trains lines are reclaimed to be converted to automated metro rapid transit operation, as more existing rails staff could be out of a job, alongside the lack of seats making suburban rail travel less comfortable, and driving more appealing.

So what are some ways, without resulting in staff cuts, could Sydney Trains be made more efficient? Would the following be reasonably practicable:

  • Build new rolling stock that can be easily divided into shorter sets
    Although pre-Waratah rolling stock can be divided into 4 carriage sets, for years, trains were operated with half the carriages locked with the lights off, as it was cheaper than joining and dividing trains.

    Nowadays, all Sydney Trains suburban services operated as 8 carriage trains (exceptions being some T5 Cumberland Line services, the T6 Carlingford Line, one morning peak express services from Epping to Sydney Terminal, and weekday T7 Olympic Park shuttles outside of special events. Because of this, newer rolling stock has been designed as permanently  coupled 8 carriage sets, and older rolling stock capable of being divided rarely ever are.

    So to make Sydney Trains operations more cost efficient and lower it's electricity cost, newer rolling stock needs to be able to be easily divided into shorter 2-3-4 carriage sets, and if possible, existing rolling stock should be modified so they can be efficiently divided.

    Efficiency benefits would be less electricity being used to move empty carraiges, less wear and tear on carriages, and the possiblity for higher services frequency's, there would also be the added benefit of making late night services safer with more passengers travelling closer to the guard.

  • Incorporate shuttle services into turnbacks for existing services (*not my idea*)
    Instead of having one train perform shuttle services between a few stations all day, and another terminating nearby, waiting on the platform adding to costs and providing no revenue before returning to the city, why not link these services?

    Examples of shuttle services include the T6 Carlingford Line, T7 Olympic Park Line, and South Cost Line suburban services. In the case of the T6 Carlingford Line and T7 Olympic Park Line, trains terminate at nearby stations, T3 Bankstown Line trains terminate at Lidcome where T7 Olympic Park Line shuttle trains operate from, and T2 Inner West trains terminate at Homebush (which provides limited services further west, prior to the new timetable, one had to catch two trains to travel the distance of one station from Homebush to Flemington), not too far down the line from Clyde, where T6 Carlingford Line trains operate from.

    Instead of having these lines operate as shuttle services, T2 Inner West trains could stop all stations from the City Circle to Clyde, and then all stations to Carlingford and return to the City, instead of inconveniently terminating at Homebush. Likewise, T3 Bankstown Line trains could stop all stations from the City Circle to Lidcombe via Bankstown and turn around at Olympic Park.

  • Consider manually operated doors (*not my idea*)
    Manually operated doors have been trialed before on C-Sets and G-Sets and proved unpopular, but maybe if people were educated with the benefits, they could be trialed again.

    During peak periods and at busier stations, doors should be opened automatically, but at quieter stations, the doors should be simply unlocked and only be opened by pressing a button, an announcement should play informing passengers if the doors will be opened automatically or not, whether doors are automatically opened, or manually opened, should be at the gaurd's discretion. Doors should also automatically close after a short time when a train terminates to reduce strain on the air-conditioning.

    This would have cost benefits of less wear and tear on the doors, less strain on the air-conditioning, and potentially lower dwell times (assuming passengers can be educated with manually opening the door as it would take the guard less time when ensuring it's safe to depart, there would also be the added benefit of passenger comfort not having the door open and exposing passengers to the elements just to have no one board or alight.

  • Signage to encourage passengers to spread out along the platform to reduce dwell time
    Those in support of the Sydney Metro point to the fact that single deck trains configured will high density seating, which is true, but how much of the increased dwell time issues on our existing double deck (DD) trains related to everyone trying to board through one of 16 doors because they don't like to spread out along the platform?

    I have my doubts that those people who board trough that door close to the station entrance like walking the length of the platform when they get off the train.

    So to reduce dwell time and the costs associated with it, signage should be installed informing passengers the best place to board to be close to the exit when they get off.


Does anyone know any other ways that Sydney Trains could reduce it's operating cost without converting lines to metro and cutting staff?

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  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
A good place to start would be to identify the biggest cost items.

Inclined to think that staff (not necessarily operational) would outweigh electricity by a large multiple. Hence the attention given to reducing manpower.

Whether the balance between operational (train crew + platform staff), maintenance (perway + rollingstock) and office is optimal, I don’t have knowledge to make an informed judgment.

But that’s where I would be looking for savings/productivity. Simply because people are the biggest operational cost in most businesses.
  Rarki Station Master

Many weekend and late-night services are crowded now using 8-car trains, I don't think any savings from operating 4-car sets off-peak would outweigh the inconvenience to passengers and potential loss of revenue if it discourages people from using the train for leisure travel.

Instead of cost-cutting, I think Sydney Trains should be looking at ways to utilise their assets to generate revenue. I think the easiest source of revenue could be generated from increased advertising across the network, both at stations and on trains. There are plenty of stations on the network where bare walls could be used to accommodate billboards and posters. As a child, the steps at my local station had advertising on them, something that is missing from them today. Make more space available for the advertising agencies to utilise when the contract next comes up for renewal and increase the cost accordingly.

Increased retail space at stations is also something that should be pursued if the space is there and it does not have any adverse operational impact. The site of the former ticket office on the main concourse at Parramatta is now a chemist. I imagine that many businesses would like the opportunity to rent at a prime location with guaranteed footfall.
  Radioman Chief Train Controller

Hello All,

In Victoria , Sharfenberg ( side mounted electrical connectors ) or Dellner ( top mounted electrical connectors ) equipped trains are generally not divided as continual splitting and re-attaching increases wear on the coupling face and pins, and thereby leads to failed electrical connections.I presume NSW has a similar view.

I understand that when the Siemens Networker sets were first introduced by Connex, regular splitting and re-attaching was done during train preparation, and when Siemens found out about this practice, Connex was advised that the coupler was only intended for occasional use , such as when Sets ( 2 x 3car Unit = 1 6car set ) are divided for maintenance purposes.

I vaguely recall seeing a Circular to the effect that Siemens ( and presumably ) Alsthom Xtrapolios sets were not to be divided unless specifically instructed to do so. ( The Alamein Shuttle and Williamstown Shuttles are divided by the WTT. )

On a related matter, when the VR had 7 car trains , these consisted of a 4car Block + 3car Unit = 7car Set.

Unlike the old red Swing Door, red Tait, blue Harris and Silver Hitachi trains, the Sharfenberg and Dellner equipped trains cannot be used to push a defective freight train as the coupler shaft does not have the strength to push a heavy train and will deform under such pressure.

Regards, Radioman.
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Sydney Trains currently needs every 65c for every dollar from the government to operate, fares cover the remaining 35c.
If this was reduced to below 50% by making it's operations more efficient.
The NSW Government would have around $1 Billion more to spend on things like constructing and operating more rail lines.

Sydney metro supporters can point to the Sydney Metro as the answer with it's automatic operation taking the cost of staff out of the equation, however, this will have a negative economic impact if more existing Sydney Trains lines are reclaimed to be converted to automated metro rapid transit operation, as more existing rails staff could be out of a job, alongside the lack of seats making suburban rail travel less comfortable, and driving more appealing.

So what are some ways, without resulting in staff cuts, could Sydney Trains be made more efficient? Would the following be reasonably practicable:

  • Build new rolling stock that can be easily divided into shorter sets
    Although pre-Waratah rolling stock can be divided into 4 carriage sets, for years, trains were operated with half the carriages locked with the lights off, as it was cheaper than joining and dividing trains.

    Nowadays, all Sydney Trains suburban services operated as 8 carriage trains (exceptions being some T5 Cumberland Line services, the T6 Carlingford Line, one morning peak express services from Epping to Sydney Terminal, and weekday T7 Olympic Park shuttles outside of special events. Because of this, newer rolling stock has been designed as permanently  coupled 8 carriage sets, and older rolling stock capable of being divided rarely ever are.

    So to make Sydney Trains operations more cost efficient and lower it's electricity cost, newer rolling stock needs to be able to be easily divided into shorter 2-3-4 carriage sets, and if possible, existing rolling stock should be modified so they can be efficiently divided.

    Efficiency benefits would be less electricity being used to move empty carraiges, less wear and tear on carriages, and the possiblity for higher services frequency's, there would also be the added benefit of making late night services safer with more passengers travelling closer to the guard.

  • Incorporate shuttle services into turnbacks for existing services (*not my idea*)
    Instead of having one train perform shuttle services between a few stations all day, and another terminating nearby, waiting on the platform adding to costs and providing no revenue before returning to the city, why not link these services?

    Examples of shuttle services include the T6 Carlingford Line, T7 Olympic Park Line, and South Cost Line suburban services. In the case of the T6 Carlingford Line and T7 Olympic Park Line, trains terminate at nearby stations, T3 Bankstown Line trains terminate at Lidcome where T7 Olympic Park Line shuttle trains operate from, and T2 Inner West trains terminate at Homebush (which provides limited services further west, prior to the new timetable, one had to catch two trains to travel the distance of one station from Homebush to Flemington), not too far down the line from Clyde, where T6 Carlingford Line trains operate from.

    Instead of having these lines operate as shuttle services, T2 Inner West trains could stop all stations from the City Circle to Clyde, and then all stations to Carlingford and return to the City, instead of inconveniently terminating at Homebush. Likewise, T3 Bankstown Line trains could stop all stations from the City Circle to Lidcombe via Bankstown and turn around at Olympic Park.

  • Consider manually operated doors (*not my idea*)
    Manually operated doors have been trialed before on C-Sets and G-Sets and proved unpopular, but maybe if people were educated with the benefits, they could be trialed again.

    During peak periods and at busier stations, doors should be opened automatically, but at quieter stations, the doors should be simply unlocked and only be opened by pressing a button, an announcement should play informing passengers if the doors will be opened automatically or not, whether doors are automatically opened, or manually opened, should be at the gaurd's discretion. Doors should also automatically close after a short time when a train terminates to reduce strain on the air-conditioning.

    This would have cost benefits of less wear and tear on the doors, less strain on the air-conditioning, and potentially lower dwell times (assuming passengers can be educated with manually opening the door as it would take the guard less time when ensuring it's safe to depart, there would also be the added benefit of passenger comfort not having the door open and exposing passengers to the elements just to have no one board or alight.

  • Signage to encourage passengers to spread out along the platform to reduce dwell time
    Those in support of the Sydney Metro point to the fact that single deck trains configured will high density seating, which is true, but how much of the increased dwell time issues on our existing double deck (DD) trains related to everyone trying to board through one of 16 doors because they don't like to spread out along the platform?

    I have my doubts that those people who board trough that door close to the station entrance like walking the length of the platform when they get off the train.

    So to reduce dwell time and the costs associated with it, signage should be installed informing passengers the best place to board to be close to the exit when they get off.


Does anyone know any other ways that Sydney Trains could reduce it's operating cost without converting lines to metro and cutting staff?
Ethan1395
While I'm sympathetic with your concern about putting rail staff out of a job, it's nonetheless one of the major options to reduce costs.  It could start with eliminating guards.  It works in other jurisdictions around the world, so why not Sydney?  Admittedly it won't happen overnight as there will need to be some upgrades to the rolling stock and station infrastructure to accommodate it, but it needs to be done.  Station staff have already been cut to the bone, with many stations unstaffed, so I don't think there is much potential to cut costs there.  

Even with the proposed phased introduction of ATO on the Sydney Trains' network over the next decade, I can't see drivers being eliminated, as they will still be required to monitor the train's operations, particularly in an environment where they interreact with other lines in a complex network.  It's not quite the same as a segregated metro line.  There's also the option of drivers operating trains manually in the outer reaches of the Sydney Trains network and switching to ATO through the inner city core, as proposed for London's Crossrail.  Even the ATO lines on the Tube such as the Victoria Line operate with an "operator" who monitors the trains operations such as opening and closing doors, principally because of the public's concern about the safety of driverless operation.

I don't think there's much prospect of new suburban trains being capable of dividing into 4 car sets for the foreseeable future, as the current contract for the B Waratah sets, with further options, is for 8 car undivided sets. On the other hand, the new Intercity trains will be capable of 4, 6, 8 or 10 car operation.

Although it won't necessarily have a significant impact on costs, I agree that the introduction of manually operated doors (by the public) would be a step forward.  However, it would need a comprehensive advertising campaign together with appropriate signage on the inside and outside of cars to educate the public on its use.  It's already a fact of life (without the push buttons) on V-sets.  I can recall the first time I travelled on the Paris Metro when I was somewhat confused about opening doors, but I quickly got the gist of it.
  Toten Station Master

Some good points there, I'd add to them wider doors to allow passengers to board at a faster rate and platforms on both sides of the train to have a boarding side and a exiting side.

But the biggest would be elimination of slow points. For example a common move is to bring trains from the down suburban to down main between strathfield and homebush, bringing trains down to 25km/h over the points then back to 80 after blocking three tracks while doing so.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Does anyone know any other ways that Sydney Trains could reduce it's operating cost without converting lines to metro and cutting staff?
Ethan1395

Speed.

Speed is productivity.

Speed means either the same service with less sets (and $/hr opex).

Speed means more bums on seats of the same services.  (RailCorp used to publish co-efficient of demands for speed, havn't read a report in while to see if they still do).

I've (fruitlessly) argued this before, but I'd like to see Sector 3 run non-stop 20 tph peak Parramatta to Central in 15 minutes.  18 minutes is (sort of) possible now for ~16tph.

I think a good 5 sec, probably 10, could be shaved off the door closing time just with better/faster procedures, which amounts to several minutes over a complete run.

More precise timetabling (in 30 sec increments, not whole minutes) could also save time and increase system speed.

Use of stochastic rather than blanket timetable padding would also be helpful.

I've been also arguing this fruitlessly, but HR needs another sector: another heavy rail path into/through the city.  
Sydney Terminal may suffice for this once the Metro is finished (but it's still a poor substitute for direct services IMHO).

Longer Trains.
  Ethan1395 Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
A good place to start would be to identify the biggest cost items.

Inclined to think that staff (not necessarily operational) would outweigh electricity by a large multiple. Hence the attention given to reducing manpower.

Whether the balance between operational (train crew + platform staff), maintenance (perway + rollingstock) and office is optimal, I don’t have knowledge to make an informed judgment.

But that’s where I would be looking for savings/productivity. Simply because people are the biggest operational cost in most businesses.
SinickleBird
While I'm sympathetic with your concern about putting rail staff out of a job, it's nonetheless one of the major options to reduce costs. It could start with eliminating guards. It works in other jurisdictions around the world, so why not Sydney? Admittedly it won't happen overnight as there will need to be some upgrades to the rolling stock and station infrastructure to accommodate it, but it needs to be done. Station staff have already been cut to the bone, with many stations unstaffed, so I don't think there is much potential to cut costs there.

Even with the proposed phased introduction of ATO on the Sydney Trains' network over the next decade, I can't see drivers being eliminated, as they will still be required to monitor the train's operations, particularly in an environment where they interreact with other lines in a complex network. It's not quite the same as a segregated metro line. There's also the option of drivers operating trains manually in the outer reaches of the Sydney Trains network and switching to ATO through the inner city core, as proposed for London's Crossrail. Even the ATO lines on the Tube such as the Victoria Line operate with an "operator" who monitors the trains operations such as opening and closing doors, principally because of the public's concern about the safety of driverless operation.
Transtopic

Cutting staff may be the easiest way to initially cut costs, but it's morally wrong, omes with negative consequences, little financial benefit for the government, and little benefit for customers outside of large windows at the ends of the train, and extra standing room and a few seats where the driver's cab would go.

First and foremost, redundancy packages will need to be offered to all of the redundant former employees, and since the issue is the government having to give Sydney Trains a significant subsidy, there will be no reduction in costs to the tax payer since the government will need to pay any money saved from a reduced subsidy to the many unemployed rail staff in the form of Centrelink payments.

Then there is the flawed assumption of simply thinking they can all find another job, if someone has worked on the railway all their life, they might apply for another position claiming to have no experience required, only to make it to the job interview to be asked several experienced based questions that are not applicable to them, and if they are not good at lying, they won't be able to get another job. There is also the issue for long-term railway staff if they can only get once reference from their former long-term job when many employers demand two professional references.

And with other businesses in the game of cutting staff, there are just simply not enough jobs to go around, manufacturing is done overseas, Telstra recently accounted job cuts, and supermarkets have few staffed checkouts opened with customers bottlenecking through the self service area.

Many weekend and late-night services are crowded now using 8-car trains, I don't think any savings from operating 4-car sets off-peak would outweigh the inconvenience to passengers and potential loss of revenue if it discourages people from using the train for leisure travel.
Rarki
I don't think there's much prospect of new suburban trains being capable of dividing into 4 car sets for the foreseeable future, as the current contract for the B Waratah sets, with further options, is for 8 car undivided sets. On the other hand, the new Intercity trains will be capable of 4, 6, 8 or 10 car operation.
Transtopic
Obviously not every weekend and late-night service would be shortned as they do get filled up, but there are still ones that run mostly empty which should be shortened, most notably , those that travel towards the city late at night, I notice this a lot when travelling back from Campebelltown or Macarthur after going to the shops.
And 8 carriage Olympic Park services are just ridiculous, thankfully, the new timetable cut the train length down to 4 carriages outside of special events on weekdays, but weekend Olympic Park shuttles are operated by Waratahs.

There is the issue of rolling stock, new rolling stock would need to be ordered, and/or existing rolling stock will need to be heavily modified.
If possible, the ability to go as short as 2 carriages could prove beneficial for destinations such as Berowra and Waterfall, having the train be able to divided easily by simply pressing a button in the driver's cab would make it practical as the train could divide at Hornsby and Sutherland respectively, in the case of Sutherland, one half of the train could go to Cronulla, and the other to Waterfall. Although, like manual doors, the public would need to be educated of this so no one complains when their Cronulla services is going to Waterfall.

Shorter trains would also have a safety benefit of having more passengers travelling closer to the guard.

Although it won't necessarily have a significant impact on costs, I agree that the introduction of manually operated doors (by the public) would be a step forward. However, it would need a comprehensive advertising campaign together with appropriate signage on the inside and outside of cars to educate the public on its use. It's already a fact of life (without the push buttons) on V-sets. I can recall the first time I travelled on the Paris Metro when I was somewhat confused about opening doors, but I quickly got the gist of it.
Transtopic
Even if not a substantial decrease in costs, any decrease in costs all adds up, manual doors combined with shorter trains and linked shuttle services could all add up to a significant impact on costs.

Unfortunately educating the public would be difficult, but if it could be done, there will be less wear and tear on doors, less strain on the air conditioning when a train has terminated at Richmond or Emu Plains in the middle of summer and is sitting on the platform with all 16 doors open. It would be good if the manual doors could be sold to the public as beneficial to them, as they are not being exposed to the elements when a door is unnecessarily open.
A could place to start would be having the new Intercity Trains having manual doors, since some intercity passengers are already used to manual doors, and then maybe it could be introduced on certain lines such as the Richmond Line, before going network-wide.

Some good points there, I'd add to them wider doors to allow passengers to board at a faster rate and platforms on both sides of the train to have a boarding side and a exiting side.
Toten
How much wider can the doors get though? any increase in width would reduce seating area, I think that instead we need to encourage people to spread out along the platform.

I've been also arguing this fruitlessly, but HR needs another sector: another heavy rail path into/through the city. Sydney Terminal may suffice for this once the Metro is finished (but it's still a poor substitute for direct services IMHO).

Longer Trains.
djf01
Had the Sydney Metro been compatible with the existing suburban network, there would have been that extra heavy rail path through the city, but unfortunately not.
Having suburban trains terminate at Sydney Terminal will prove inconvenient as people will have to change at Central onto already crowded trains to travel to the CBD stations. Unfortunately, we will see this already when the Epping to Chatswood Line (ECRL) closes in September.

Would longer trains or more frequent trains be better? an extra 2-4 carriages is needed on peak-hour services to seat more passengers comfortably, but this would require platforms to be extended, which would prove difficult in the city, and on some island platforms.

With an increased frequency, I would be open to the idea of single deck staffed compatible trains with slightly wider 2x2 front-facing seats to improve comfort, and a slightly wider aisle to reduce dwell time, but only provided no seats a lost compared to current services.
  Radioman Chief Train Controller

Hello All,

re "Transtopic" comments re eliminating Guards , the problem here is that so many Sydney suburban stations are located on curves , and short of closing the station completely ( which rather defeats the purpose of having the station in the first place ), near alternative locations are generally not available. Additionally, over time Sydney trains have increased capacity by double decking the carriages , this being to retain a higher level of seating compared to other Australian cities , and Sydney's 8 car DD trains are frequently full.

Therefore the option of going over to single deck cars would require longer trains , which in turn results in longer headways, which leads to lower volume or slower services than present. Longer trains may also result in more curved platforms than currently is the case.

I think that these issues are some of the reasons for the opposition to the smaller and lower loading gauge Sydney Metro West Line Project , which will effectively prevent DD trains from ever using this line in the future , which I think is an incredibly stupid decision, as it will severely effect future modifications to the network.

Re "djf01" comment on speed and time tabling. Rebuilding junctions or reconfiguring lines to allow for higher intermediate speeds has merit, but it would be extremely costly, and the traveller may not realise that there is any improvement in overall service, as all such improvements will provide an incremental improvement measured in times of around 1 to 2 minutes , which on an overall individual journey is not much, but when spread over as a network improvement, can have significant long term benefits.

( An example of this is British Railways rebuilding of the East Coast main Line, most of the multi million pound works individually shaved between one and two minutes of the end to end schedule , but overall allowed for a significant speed increase and shorter joinery times , but the ECML projects took from around 1948 to 1978 to achieve . Will any NSW Governemnt commit to such a long term strategy ? )

Re time tables. I have been advised by a colleague who has spent quite some time working on Sydney Trains future time tables that Sydney's network requirements are very complex and all services are so interwoven that alterations to some services can have a profound effect on other services , far greater than one would initially expect.

One solution could be to simplify the network to reduce the incidence of this, but the trade off currently would be less inter connectivity and in some cases a reduced schedule and frequency. As contributors here would be well aware, suburban time table failures in Sydney cause very senior people to loose their jobs and gaining a reputation for incompetence to boot , justified or not. ( It has also caused State Governments to fall, so it is not surprising that senior people are nervous when a new time table is introduced. )

I think the other problem that Sydney ( and other suburban networks ) have is the fallibility of modern control systems. When there were numerous Signal Boxes around, system failures affected a relatively small area, and usually could be fixed, or worked around in a reasonably short time, depending on the nature of the fault. Nowadays, we rely on centrally located , electronically controlled Signalling and Train Control centres that when working are highly efficient with low ( comparable to the past ) staffing requirements. However , a major failure can close vast areas , or even the whole network down for a considerable period of time , and operational staff trying to sort that mess out and get things running in some semblance of order is a very big ask , hence why the public complains of a lack of information . Well, the people trying to fix this mess are flat out and attempting to get things running and trying to understand exactly what can and what cannot be done on a minute by minute basis. And the longer the delays , the greater the non availability of staff ( who are out of position, and due to the current mess, cannot get back into position ) being available to run particular services. ( Taxis and Uber are also not much help in this situation. )

In my view, it also does not help that "modern" equipment very quickly becomes obsolete , parts become difficult to acquire , and Governments do not want to understand that electronic systems, which can take up to 10 years to put in place, probably only have an effective life cycle of 15 or so years , have a high probability, due to their complexity and interconnectivity, of being unstable , and therefore their is a risk of spectacular failure when one occurs. Add to this, as systems are updated and modified over time , instability can be unwittingly added to. Contrast this with the old mechanical, and electro mechanical interlockings of the early to mid 20th Century which were infinitely repairable and in many cases lasted for over 70 years. ( In the case of a full mechanical interlocking a century is not unknown. )

Regards, Radioman.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

Easiest thing I would do is to create congestion charges for cars and increase tolls along with adding more toll roads.  (not new roads, changing existing roads to have a toll).  In particular during the day, while being free at night.  Use this revenue to find PT upgrades.  There will also be a natural increase in the uptake of PT.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The problem with Sydney trains is that despite running high volume large trains, it fails to make money doing so. The inner core is at capacity, but outside that most of the lines are less than 12 trains per hour because of inner congestion and hence trains are packed. One way to reduce the subsidy is to move more people, but how without major capital projects. The Metro will at least remove 8 trains per hour out of the tunnels to allow for more traffic from SW. Moving the North Main suburbans to terminate at Central Terminal will allow for more trains from Parramatta/west.

While Ethan is concerned about the loss of the roles of Driver and/or guard will have a major impact on Sydney's unemployment, the reality is that every industry has always been reducing its manning per unit of output and to object is living with your head in the sand. Reduced costs means customers and/or employers have more money to spend on other things/activities and hence sustain the employment levels. Remember Sydney trains was formerly operated which much higher manning levels than today moving less people in the past. The very move to DD was to negate the need for more drivers and guards for the same number of passengers. I think poor Ethan would be shocked to see how many roles have been automated in the back rooms of Sydney Trains over last 20-30 years. Certainly the gone were the manual track gangs of old I used to see.

Of the two crew on the trains today, the guard is likely the least disposable. The Guard is needed due to the ancient design of many of Sydney's railway stations. The driver is only a computer and automation upgrade away from being removed and in the core section this is probably becoming closer to reality today. For example T1, Chatswood to Blacktown. Train is on auto-pilot, Guard is both train operations monitor, driver gets off and operates trains on outer branches only.

While I'm sure in peak Sydney Train's balance sheet looks more favorable off-peak especially late at night running high capacity trains lightly loaded must be far less viable. Hence could a small number of smaller say 4 car sets be purchased that are designed and operated only for light loads in off-peak shuttles.

For example
- Sutherland to Cronulla and Sutherland to Waterfall shuttles with the 8 car sets only running as far as Sutherland.

The night trains would be better designed for night running, ie improved security, no locked away guard, toilets etc.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner



  • Build new rolling stock that can be easily divided into shorter sets

    No, terrible idea as its cheaper to have fixed 8 car sets.  Most of the money in a trainset is spent on the the driving cabs as these are the most complicated and important areas.  Computers, couplers, crash protection, lights etc are all here.  I could write a full essay of why its better for sydney trains to have fixed 8 car sets.

  • Incorporate shuttle services into turnbacks for existing services (*not my idea*)

    the idea in principle is okay, but outside the current shuttle services i don't know where you could put them in sydney.  

  • Consider manually operated doors (*not my idea*)

    I love this idea.  It should operate in a similar manner to the new thameslink trains in london.  At busy core stations all the doors open automatically but outside of those stations and peak times its a push button.   The amount of wasted air con, and the annoyance of the noise is frustrating considering most services do not have someone using every door at every station.

  • Signage to encourage passengers to spread out along the platform to reduce dwell time

    Agree with, and is already done to a certain extent, along with platform announcements.  

Ethan1395
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney

I've been also arguing this fruitlessly, but HR needs another sector: another heavy rail path into/through the city.  
Sydney Terminal may suffice for this once the Metro is finished (but it's still a poor substitute for direct services IMHO).

Longer Trains.
djf01
I agree.  The current metro proposal could have been a Sydney Trains' HR path through the CBD as was originally intended. It could have potentially connected with the Bankstown Line as currently proposed, but instead of the direct tunnel from Central to Sydenham, it could have connected via a short tunnel from Central to the Illawarra Local between the flying junctions and Redfern and completion of the additional tracks from Erskineville Junction to Sydenham as part of the Illawarra Line sextuplication.  It would then service the existing surface stations at Redfern, Erskineville and St Peters in addition to Sydenham of course.

The beauty of this is that it would still remove Bankstown Line services from the City Circle and allow the existing Illawarra Local tracks to operate exclusively for express services to and from Cronulla and the South Coast and South West.  The shifting of the Illawarra Local to the Illawarra Main between Erskineville Junction and the Illawarra Dive would also allow for direct access to and from the Illawarra Local to Sydney Terminal for all Intercity and Regional services without crossing conflicts. But alas, that is no longer an option.

Even with this new HR link through the CBD, whether it is Sydney Trains or the new metro, it won't be enough in the longer term.  There will need to be another line into or through the CBD to augment capacity on the Western Line.  Metro West is mooted as providing this extra capacity, but unless it is extended further west from Parramatta/Westmead along the Western Line corridor (unlikely, although it could be extended to Badgerys Creek), it won't have any significant impact on outer western services.  It will essentially be a stand alone line servicing a new rail corridor through the Inner West and potentially Badgerys Creek, which is still welcome.  

Regardless of whether the Metro West becomes reality, there will still need to be one more Sydney Trains' HR link into the CBD and probably the last.  That would be resurrection of the City Relief Line from the Main Line tracks at Eveleigh to Barangaroo along the western corridor of the CBD, or alternatively in the longer term from an express tunnel from Parramatta.  

In the interim period more suburban services from the Northern and Western Lines could be run via the Main Line tracks into Sydney Terminal utilising its spare capacity, but ultimately because of increasing interchange congestion at Central, a direct line into the CBD proper will be needed.  It's a bit like back to the future a century ago.  Don't they ever learn?

On the question of longer trains, that was considered as part of the previous Western Express (WEX) proposal with longer trains (10/12 cars) from Emu Plains/Penrith running limited stop express to Sydney Terminal.  It wouldn't be practicable to run such services through the City Underground because of the difficulty of extending the platforms.  With the existing and new Waratah suburban fleet being indivisible, that's not an option now, but it could be using the new Intercity fleet trains which can potentially be operated in 4, 6, 8 or 10 car sets.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
On the Efficiency improvement,  the St Leonards to Nth Sydney tunnel would save 9min and enable two train sets less to operate the T1 sector. Noth Sydney terminators would just continue to St Leonards via existing corridor.  This along with the new Metro would likely mean the need for services north of St Leonards would be reduced.

The previously proposed and dumped CBD relief line plus the Sydney Metro plus the future Western Metro would reduce the tangling of the various lines in the city core, ie less sharing of lines and reduce congestion on individual lines.

The key benefit of the Metro is that its very nature of not being able to mix with other lines means that the corridor will have a reliability factor 2nd to none in Australia. Similar lines OS achieve +99%. This concept needs to be applied to the legacy network over time with each new expansion project.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The problem with your theory about the metro removing 8 trains an hour is that it only actually removes 4 trains an hour from each direction of the city circle in peak hour. The T2 has 12 trains an hour and it isn't limited by the city circle but by the stopping patterns and slowness of the locals. The only way to get 20 trains an hour is if all trains run all stops to their destination which would make a journey to/from Sydney intolerably long from Liverpool.

The only solution is to run the western mains into a tunnel somewhere in to the cbd and maybe onwards and express to chatswood and hornsby which would also reduce travel times from the central coast and Newcastle. That however will be extremely expensive in the magnitude of $50 billion.
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
The problem with your theory about the metro removing 8 trains an hour is that it only actually removes 4 trains an hour from each direction of the city circle in peak hour. The T2 has 12 trains an hour and it isn't limited by the city circle but by the stopping patterns and slowness of the locals. The only way to get 20 trains an hour is if all trains run all stops to their destination which would make a journey to/from Sydney intolerably long from Liverpool.

The only solution is to run the western mains into a tunnel somewhere in to the cbd and maybe onwards and express to chatswood and hornsby which would also reduce travel times from the central coast and Newcastle. That however will be extremely expensive in the magnitude of $50 billion.
simstrain
That's true.  As a follow-up to my previous post, that's why at least one more Sydney Trains'  HR line is needed into the CBD, in addition to the proposed metro link.  

The City Relief Line, even in its initial phase from the Main Line tracks at Eveleigh, could provide some short term relief for CBD rail capacity, but ultimately an express tunnel from Parramatta to the City Relief Line will open up further capacity on the City Circle.  

An express tunnel from Parramatta to the CBD as part of the existing network will free up capacity on the Suburban tracks from Parramatta to the CBD by allowing Liverpool via Granville services to switch to the Suburban tracks from Homebush.  This would then allow for a single all stations operating pattern on the Locals from Parramatta to the City Circle up to 20tph and potentially 24tph with ATO, with perhaps intermediate termini at Homebush and Ashfield.

If an express tunnel linking to a City Relief Line ran through to Barangaroo to interchange with the metro station, then I don't think there would be a need to extend it further across the harbour.

I have a fantasy, way beyond my lifetime, that such a line could ultimately form a second City Circle loop under the harbour, by connecting with a diversion and extension of the Airport Line.  That would allow for all lines, including the metro, to have a separate path through the CBD without merging.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The western Metro will sort out Parramatta line.

If T2 was put into a tunnel before Ashgrove then tunnel to Central, Pitt Street, St James stations only. 9 to 10km in length.

Would speed T2 up by 3-5min or so.

Would enable T2 to increase from 8 trains an hour to 12 trains. 6 by Granville, 8 by Granville, 4 via Regents Park.

Inner West increase from 4 to 6 trains an hour from Homebush, another 4 trains from Ashfield.

Future extension of Tunnel to Homebush wirh only stop at Strairhfield. Enable both inner west and T2 to move to 20 trains per hour. To conflict moves, seperate lines.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The problem with your theory about the metro removing 8 trains an hour is that it only actually removes 4 trains an hour from each direction of the city circle in peak hour. The T2 has 12 trains an hour and it isn't limited by the city circle but by the stopping patterns and slowness of the locals. The only way to get 20 trains an hour is if all trains run all stops to their destination which would make a journey to/from Sydney intolerably long from Liverpool.
simstrain

4 of the 8 Bankstown line trains removed from HR are ex-Liverpool, and will likely need to be re-routed rather than removed.
Add the 4 upper northern line trains back to the south side, and there are in essence no net benefits (in terms of train capacity) of the new metro, which has been one of my main criticisms.

And I think the problems with a delivering a decent service to Liverpool are likely to be repeated if the one of the goals of the Western Metro is to be a rapid transit between Sydney and Parramatta, rather than to support re-development of high density housing along the former Industrialised Parramatta river waterfront.

My view on this is the way forward is:
High frequency, high speed, high capacity HR services between Parra and the City feed by the western half of Sector 3/T1 using the surface rail corridor.  Western Metro should then service as many new greenfield sites as is convenient and practical.  Compromising the Western Metro's utility as a metro to address unaddressed problems of legacy heavy rail isnot just foolish, it's counter productive.  (It's also a very typical NSW type decision)

Back to the topic at hand:
The poor cost recovery performance of Sydney Trains is largely down to the vastness of the network yet relatively light patronage on most of the lines.  Very few lines exceed 10k per hr in peak.

Double crewing of trains looks like an extravagance - and it is definitely an opportunity to boost productivity - but elsewhere in the world similar lines to (most of) Sydney's would have twice the number of single person crewed single decker 6 cars trains with half the seats operating twice the frequency.

In other words, DDs are a productivity/cost effectiveness booster, at the expense of service quality (ie frequency).

In my view the way to address this is to focus on improving Pax KM, not just PAX #s, however the fare structure is very flag fall centric.  NSW Transport's KPIs also bias performance measures toward trips and OTR.

I's also like to see much better very long term planning too: preservation of surface rail and other transport corridors.  I think it's ridiculous what's happened with the SWRL (and indeed the Liverpool T-Way reservation made in the 1950s).  IMHO Sydney needed a corridor protected right out to the Napean Rv /Bringelli, not multiple branches to places like Oran Park and Badgery's Creek.

Similarly, the NWRL should ultimately have considered extensions toward Cattai and Sackville - where Sydney will be post 2050.

Given what will probably happen, I think we should be looking at preserving a HR corridor north west of Hornsby (along with quadding Chatswood/Nth Sydney to Hornsby): across Gladstone Gorge to eventually open up greenfields developments through Middle Dural, Gladstone and all that area up toward Wiseman's Ferry.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

That's true.  As a follow-up to my previous post, that's why at least one more Sydney Trains'  HR line is needed into the CBD, in addition to the proposed metro link.  

The City Relief Line, even in its initial phase from the Main Line tracks at Eveleigh, could provide some short term relief for CBD rail capacity, but ultimately an express tunnel from Parramatta to the City Relief Line will open up further capacity on the City Circle.  

An express tunnel from Parramatta to the CBD as part of the existing network will free up capacity on the Suburban tracks from Parramatta to the CBD by allowing Liverpool via Granville services to switch to the Suburban tracks from Homebush.  This would then allow for a single all stations operating pattern on the Locals from Parramatta to the City Circle up to 20tph and potentially 24tph with ATO, with perhaps intermediate termini at Homebush and Ashfield.

If an express tunnel linking to a City Relief Line ran through to Barangaroo to interchange with the metro station, then I don't think there would be a need to extend it further across the harbour.

I have a fantasy, way beyond my lifetime, that such a line could ultimately form a second City Circle loop under the harbour, by connecting with a diversion and extension of the Airport Line.  That would allow for all lines, including the metro, to have a separate path through the CBD without merging.
Transtopic

Close but no cigar. The CBD relief would move all of the western line trains on to the mains and off the subs. The all stops locals would then all terminate at Homebush with T2 leppington services sharing the subs with up to 10 nothern line services an hour across the bridge.

There is no need for a new tunnel to parramatta when the western metro will provide that service. CBD relief to barrangaroo is a good idea and it could head west instead of north to hook up with the main north at eastwood or west ryde.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The problem with your theory about the metro removing 8 trains an hour is that it only actually removes 4 trains an hour from each direction of the city circle in peak hour. The T2 has 12 trains an hour and it isn't limited by the city circle but by the stopping patterns and slowness of the locals. The only way to get 20 trains an hour is if all trains run all stops to their destination which would make a journey to/from Sydney intolerably long from Liverpool.

4 of the 8 Bankstown line trains removed from HR are ex-Liverpool, and will likely need to be re-routed rather than removed.
Add the 4 upper northern line trains back to the south side, and there are in essence no net benefits (in terms of train capacity) of the new metro, which has been one of my main criticisms.

And I think the problems with a delivering a decent service to Liverpool are likely to be repeated if the one of the goals of the Western Metro is to be a rapid transit between Sydney and Parramatta, rather than to support re-development of high density housing along the former Industrialised Parramatta river waterfront.

My view on this is the way forward is:
High frequency, high speed, high capacity HR services between Parra and the City feed by the western half of Sector 3/T1 using the surface rail corridor.  Western Metro should then service as many new greenfield sites as is convenient and practical.  Compromising the Western Metro's utility as a metro to address unaddressed problems of legacy heavy rail isnot just foolish, it's counter productive.  (It's also a very typical NSW type decision)

Back to the topic at hand:
The poor cost recovery performance of Sydney Trains is largely down to the vastness of the network yet relatively light patronage on most of the lines.  Very few lines exceed 10k per hr in peak.

Double crewing of trains looks like an extravagance - and it is definitely an opportunity to boost productivity - but elsewhere in the world similar lines to (most of) Sydney's would have twice the number of single person crewed single decker 6 cars trains with half the seats operating twice the frequency.

In other words, DDs are a productivity/cost effectiveness booster, at the expense of service quality (ie frequency).

In my view the way to address this is to focus on improving Pax KM, not just PAX #s, however the fare structure is very flag fall centric.  NSW Transport's KPIs also bias performance measures toward trips and OTR.

I's also like to see much better very long term planning too: preservation of surface rail and other transport corridors.  I think it's ridiculous what's happened with the SWRL (and indeed the Liverpool T-Way reservation made in the 1950s).  IMHO Sydney needed a corridor protected right out to the Napean Rv /Bringelli, not multiple branches to places like Oran Park and Badgery's Creek.

Similarly, the NWRL should ultimately have considered extensions toward Cattai and Sackville - where Sydney will be post 2050.

Given what will probably happen, I think we should be looking at preserving a HR corridor north west of Hornsby (along with quadding Chatswood/Nth Sydney to Hornsby): across Gladstone Gorge to eventually open up greenfields developments through Middle Dural, Gladstone and all that area up toward Wiseman's Ferry.
djf01
North Shore Line

If you look at the NSL stats,

Chatswood - 2x more get off than on
St Leonard's -  nearly 3 x get off than get on (which is why the Metro should have had a stop)
Nth Sydney - 9 x get off than on

Overall,
~20,000 get off at those 3 stations, but only 10,000 get on

For the other stations south of Chatswood
~ 3500 get off but 10,000 get on.
(Milisons Point is almost equal on/off)

So it would appear Quadding south of Chatswood once the Metro is up and running is not required. Remember many will switch to the city Metro at Chatwood for a faster ride by because it goes to Martin Place, it will save them a back track from Wynyard including changing platform levels. Chatswood is cross platform change. So along with 4 extra services available from loss of ECRL traffic, the lower shore trains could be running lower capacity come mid 2020's.

As currently there are four starters from Gordon/Lindfield, the need for extra services from Hornsby above 20 trains per hour is many many years away.

However I stand by the need for a tunnel between St Leonards and North Sydney to speed up the painfully slow lower NSL.


North Main

Will these trains be pushed onto the Interurban lines as they will terminate at Central Terminal post Metro?
If this is the case, then 4 extra slots available for Western or SW trains, thats if the quad west of Homebush is up to the task.

Inner West and Inner T2
Separation of T2 and Inner West for me a major priority and a 10km tunnel from Ashfield to St James (terminating) needs to be on the books for 2030.

There is no simple fix and the use of both Inner West and Bankstown Lines, effectively limiting their services to around 4-6 trains per hour at all stations has been a half-arsed solution for decades. The Metro not running to Liverpool isn't making it better.

Western Metro and outer T2
Agree the Western Metro is not an express service for the Western Line and its mentioned a few times in the past is an express to Parramatta really needed? The current line with all its problems can do it in 18-20min. Do we need to spend billions to get 15min? Its likely this could be achieved with the current alignment through various improvements to track quality, turn-out speed, maybe slight curve easing.


An extra pair of tracks between Homebush and Lidcombe (actually not that hard) and eventually Granville is also a must to completely segregate T2 off the Western line along with the above mentioned Inner West.

With the Bankstown Metro, I think Liverpool to Lidcombe via Regents Park should take over as the major corridor for T2, only minimal traffic going via Gladsville (perhaps in short term being a shuttle to a 5th platform at Granville).

Basically T2 has become a banner for everything that is wrong with Sydney trains. A single service sharing tracks with 3-4 other services along its route and hence any one of them can cause a knock on chaos event.

NNW line corridor preserving
Good idea, however I suspect it should be a branch of the Richmond Line, not Metro. With the Metro providing a connection at Scofields.

Probably branching off around north of Scofields and heading up through a mostly undeveloped ROW through Box Hill and to Maraylya.

Glaston (not Gladstone) area is very hilly and hence low density and expensive to build a railway, so not justified.

Crewing
Agree in peak, the DD allows more efficient use of the double crew, but in quieter times, which is when I believe Sydney Trains burns the cash its a very expensive train. Also note in some other parts of the world (such Italy, Norway from personal experience) the guard is also checking for revenue/asset protection, thus helping justify their role as more than a door man and wheel chair assist.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Glaston (not Gladstone) area is very hilly and hence low density and expensive to build a railway, so not justified.
RTT_Rules

Actually, Galston, not Glaston.  Damn Autocorrect, it's had me mispronouncing it for decades.  But what do you expect from people who live in The Shire.

But in any case, I really did mean that outer northern Sydney suburb of Gladstone Smile
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
That's true.  As a follow-up to my previous post, that's why at least one more Sydney Trains'  HR line is needed into the CBD, in addition to the proposed metro link.  

The City Relief Line, even in its initial phase from the Main Line tracks at Eveleigh, could provide some short term relief for CBD rail capacity, but ultimately an express tunnel from Parramatta to the City Relief Line will open up further capacity on the City Circle.  

An express tunnel from Parramatta to the CBD as part of the existing network will free up capacity on the Suburban tracks from Parramatta to the CBD by allowing Liverpool via Granville services to switch to the Suburban tracks from Homebush.  This would then allow for a single all stations operating pattern on the Locals from Parramatta to the City Circle up to 20tph and potentially 24tph with ATO, with perhaps intermediate termini at Homebush and Ashfield.

If an express tunnel linking to a City Relief Line ran through to Barangaroo to interchange with the metro station, then I don't think there would be a need to extend it further across the harbour.

I have a fantasy, way beyond my lifetime, that such a line could ultimately form a second City Circle loop under the harbour, by connecting with a diversion and extension of the Airport Line.  That would allow for all lines, including the metro, to have a separate path through the CBD without merging.

Close but no cigar. The CBD relief would move all of the western line trains on to the mains and off the subs. The all stops locals would then all terminate at Homebush with T2 leppington services sharing the subs with up to 10 nothern line services an hour across the bridge.

There is no need for a new tunnel to parramatta when the western metro will provide that service. CBD relief to barrangaroo is a good idea and it could head west instead of north to hook up with the main north at eastwood or west ryde.
simstrain
We're getting closer.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that there are currently 16tph in the peak from the Western Line west of Parramatta accessing the City Underground through to the North Shore on the Suburban tracks.  The remaining capacity of 4tph is taken up by the Northern Line trains from Epping.  There are 2 additional semi-express tph from Epping in the peak which are forced to terminate at Central via the Main tracks from Strathfield.  

With the Upper Northern Line trains from Hornsby at 4tph being diverted to the CBD via Strathfield because of the conversion of the ECRL to metro operation, there is no room for them to use the Suburban tracks in the peak from Strathfield to the CBD and consequently they have no option but to run via the Main tracks to terminate at Central.  This is one of the compromises forced on Sydney Trains' operations because of the metro conversion of the ECRL.

It should be borne in mind that the Main tracks from Strathfield to Central also accommodate 4tph each from the Northern and Western Line Intercity services, that's a total of 8tph, and even with ATO at 24tph, potentially only leaves 16tph for Western Line suburban services, without any room for future expansion for either Suburban or Intercity services, even with a City Relief Line extension from Eveleigh.

If the Suburban tracks from Granville to the CBD were freed up to accommodate South Line express services from Liverpool via either Granville or Regents Park or both, with ATO at 24tph, that could potentially provide a mix of South Line and Northern Line services at 12tph each.  But it still wouldn't be enough capacity when additional Western and Richmond Line services over and above 16tph would still be required as well as Intercity services.  Hence in the longer term an express tunnel link from Parramatta to the CBD will be required to meet demand from the outer suburbs, particularly from the South and West.  It's a complete furphy that the West Metro will provide this additional capacity, as it will most likely be servicing a new rail corridor through the Inner West and not augment capacity for the Outer West or South Lines.  Forget about interchanging, because the public just won't cop it.

It wouldn't be practicable to run a City Relief Line along the western corridor of the CBD to Barangaroo and turn sharply left to the Victoria Rd corridor.  It should just terminate at the Barangaroo metro station.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

We're getting closer.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that there are currently 16tph in the peak from the Western Line west of Parramatta accessing the City Underground through to the North Shore on the Suburban tracks.  The remaining capacity of 4tph is taken up by the Northern Line trains from Epping.  There are 2 additional semi-express tph from Epping in the peak which terminate at Central via the Main tracks from Strathfield.  With the Upper Northern Line trains from Hornsby at 4tph in the peak being diverted to the CBD via Strathfield because of the conversion of the ECRL to metro operation, there is no room for them to use the Suburban tracks from Strathfield to the CBD and consequently they have no option to run via the Main tracks to terminate at Central.  This is one of the compromises that will have to be made because of the conversion of the ECRL to metro operation.
Transtopic

Also there are 4 intercity services an hour.

According to tripview there are currently 20 T1 Suburban services an hour between Strathfield and central between 8am and 9am across the mains and suburban lines and that includes the 2 epping-central terminators.

8 intercity services leaves 12 slots on the mains to be utilised and only 2 are currently being done for epping. The cbd relief would move that service on to the subs and 12 western line trains on to the mains. This would then leave room for 2 richmond services, 8 leppington services and 10 northern line services on the Suburban line.

The locals would then be free for all stops services and 20 trains an hour to Homebush.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Glaston (not Gladstone) area is very hilly and hence low density and expensive to build a railway, so not justified.

Actually, Galston, not Glaston.  Damn Autocorrect, it's had me mispronouncing it for decades.  But what do you expect from people who live in The Shire.

But in any case, I really did mean that outer northern Sydney suburb of Gladstone Smile
djf01
Yeah, typo on my point, Galston!

I'm now confused.
Ok, you mean the outer Suburb of Sydney up near Grafton Gladstone?
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
We're getting closer.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that there are currently 16tph in the peak from the Western Line west of Parramatta accessing the City Underground through to the North Shore on the Suburban tracks.  The remaining capacity of 4tph is taken up by the Northern Line trains from Epping.  There are 2 additional semi-express tph from Epping in the peak which terminate at Central via the Main tracks from Strathfield.  With the Upper Northern Line trains from Hornsby at 4tph in the peak being diverted to the CBD via Strathfield because of the conversion of the ECRL to metro operation, there is no room for them to use the Suburban tracks from Strathfield to the CBD and consequently they have no option to run via the Main tracks to terminate at Central.  This is one of the compromises that will have to be made because of the conversion of the ECRL to metro operation.

Also there are 4 intercity services an hour.

According to tripview there are currently 20 T1 Suburban services an hour between Strathfield and central between 8am and 9am across the mains and suburban lines and that includes the 2 epping-central terminators.

8 intercity services leaves 12 slots on the mains to be utilised and only 2 are currently being done for epping. The cbd relief would move that service on to the subs and 12 western line trains on to the mains. This would then leave room for 2 richmond services, 8 leppington services and 10 northern line services on the Suburban line.

The locals would then be free for all stops services and 20 trains an hour to Homebush.
simstrain
I agree with you on your final point, but I've added to my previous post and you may wish to comment further.

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