What can be done to improve suburban services in Newcastle and Wollongong

 
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Has anyone mentioned a better class of passenger, built in scum and bogan detectors, automatic deodorant sprayers, electronic countermeasures to stop loud music, dogs to savage anyone with their feet on the seats?

and that is just for a start

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  a6et Minister for Railways

It makes more sense to close some of the less used stations and extend the light rail now. It could service all the traffic generators as well as the two or three important stations left open, and provide direct transport to the downtown area.
billybaxter
The problem with that is that the LR would likely only go down main streets, also many of the locations have roads that would need improvements and widening.

People who live, especially those born in Ncle are very parochial people indeed, they would love all the options but how many would use them anyway?  LR, would have the same problems as buses do now, as to where they go to, the routes they serve and the like.  LR or trams which one basically refers to old styles and the other modern types, need to have their own routings to be a success.

I can remember the old Sydney trams and they used many main roads into and out of the CBD along with running through park areas, such as out to the SCG area, now taken over by buses.  The cost and time to build LR along with severe inconvenience to those around the areas of construction will be both a nightmare and expensive.

The bug bear of the stations between Fassifern and BMD, is that adequate alternative transport options are available and conveniently so for most in NCL area.  A new access road on the Western side of Booragul is now put in place and perhaps a small parking area is planned for the new estate there, how many will use it? but the land developer pays for that not the gov.

Out of all the stations in between, maybe Cockle Ck may get more patronage when the new estate is eventually finished, but that's some time away.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
I have said all I can say on this topic, but I believe you are wrong in a couple of areas, in one of them you finally reveal the hospital that is close by, and putting a new station no matter the facilities on it, and a lift would be need to get passengers up to the main road above the tunnel. A road into the station on the hospital side would be feasible but a huge added expense, and another set of traffic lights on a road littered with them. The distance to John Hunter hospital for rail passengers also rules out any prospect of patronage there.

The other one is not stopping at BMD, on every occasion I have travelled to Sydney and back, especially in the morning needing to be in Sydney before lunch time, also travelling on weekends both Hamilton and BMD station have a very large number of passengers getting on and off, in fact I would suggest that BMD possibly has the largest number of passengers than any other station past Wyong on the CCL.  

You want more trains to attract passengers but kill off perhaps the busiest one in the area!
a6et
When I talked about a hospital being close to the railway line, I was referring to the Calvary Mater Hospital in Waratah West, a station at the Maud St bridge could serve this hospital and the surrounding areas.
Anyway, back to John Hunter, it is too far from the railway line to walk, even if it was closer, the steep hill would prevent it, I was just saying that if there was a Garden Suburb station at the western portal of the Tickhole Tunnel, a bus could run from Charlestown Square to John Hunter Hospital via the station (assuming an entrance was built off the main road).
I really hope no one another set of traffic lights inconveniencing motorists is seen as a downside to a new station, because no one seems to mind huge multi-lane roundabouts inconveniencing pedestrians.

As for Broadmeadow (and Hamilton), even though I'm suggesting having intercity trains to Sydney not stop there, I'm still suggesting that more trains stop there than currently do, in the form of 15 minute frequency suburban services to Fassifern. Intercity trains should also still stop there for regional connections, just not at other times.
Redfern and Burwood are busy stations in Sydney, but since suburban services are convenient there, there is no need to have intercity services stop at these places due to their close proximity to Central and Strathfield (although some still stop at Redfern, they shouldn't), same concept applies to skipping Broadmeadow and Hamilton.

Has it ever crossed your mind to run this harebrained proposal past the relevant State MP's as opposed to continuously flogging the dead horse on this 'platform'?

I'm certain that you'd still reciecve a polite go away, similar to A6's

Probably academic anyway considering that the popularity vote has just taken place
gw0071
This is merely a platform to express opinion, if people like a6et are going to respond, I will politely respond back, if no one responds, neither will I.

On a serious note, no point ever contacting anyone in government, as soon as they see the words 'public transport' and '[NSW city that is not Sydney]', that would be the end of considering any proposal.

It makes more sense to close some of the less used stations and extend the light rail now. It could service all the traffic generators as well as the two or three important stations left open, and provide direct transport to the downtown area.
billybaxter
First you need to ask the question; 'why are these stations rarely used?'
You will get these answers; poor frequency, no where to catch a train to (railside trip generators have no stations), stations are inconvenient and unsafe to access, poor connection times with trains and other modes of public transport, car is required to access the station so might as well drive the entire way
Instead of closing stations due to low patronage, these issues need to be fixed to increase the patronage.

The downtown area is dead, transport needs to be convenient to travel to other areas where people actually want to go, and there lies the problem with suburban trains in Newcastle; there is the Calvary Mater Hospital, Newcastle TAFE, Westfield Kotara and Homemaker's Centre, Blackbutt Reserve, and Stockland Glendale - all have the potential to be conveniently served by rail but lack the necessary stations.

Light rail needs to be extended to places where heavy rail can't go.

Has anyone mentioned a better class of passenger, built in scum and bogan detectors, automatic deodorant sprayers, electronic countermeasures to stop loud music, dogs to savage anyone with their feet on the seats?

and that is just for a start
theanimal
Maybe being one of the most difficult places to find work might have something to do with that class of passengers?
The death of local manufacturing being the big killer for Newcastle but also the lack of public transport; no transport projects to employ people and small local businesses struggle to operate when everyone drives to the shopping centre as opposed to walking past streetside businesses when walking to or from a station.

The problem with that is that the LR would likely only go down main streets, also many of the locations have roads that would need improvements and widening.

People who live, especially those born in Ncle are very parochial people indeed, they would love all the options but how many would use them anyway?  LR, would have the same problems as buses do now, as to where they go to, the routes they serve and the like.  LR or trams which one basically refers to old styles and the other modern types, need to have their own routings to be a success.

I can remember the old Sydney trams and they used many main roads into and out of the CBD along with running through park areas, such as out to the SCG area, now taken over by buses.  The cost and time to build LR along with severe inconvenience to those around the areas of construction will be both a nightmare and expensive.

The bug bear of the stations between Fassifern and BMD, is that adequate alternative transport options are available and conveniently so for most in NCL area.  A new access road on the Western side of Booragul is now put in place and perhaps a small parking area is planned for the new estate there, how many will use it? but the land developer pays for that not the gov.

Out of all the stations in between, maybe Cockle Ck may get more patronage when the new estate is eventually finished, but that's some time away.
a6et
Regarding the people who want the options but won't use them, make it so driving is not so convenient, replace roundabouts with more traffic lights (slowing down the speed of car travel and allowing pedestrians to cross the road) and implement paid parking and tolls (which can be used to fund public transport) for those who don't need to drive, and half the adult fare (since petrol can be competitive with adult fares).

Few will probably use Booragul after the new estate goes in if they can't travel to where they need to go by train, and if the frequency remains pathetic. And Cockle Creek, few would still use it since people literally need to risk their lives to walk from the estate to the nearby station.
These issues need fixing.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Ethan, perhaps if you spell out some areas in the original post such as identifying the hospital it would help people to understand more of what you are saying/want.   The Mater hospital is closer to PT, and that includes rail transport than the RNS is too St Leonards in Sydney. The Mater hospital is also a specialised hospital rather than a general one, unless urgent bed needs are required, as such its unlikely to attract people to it even if the station was moved to where you suggest.

Thing is, there has to be reality in proposals weighted against desire.  Also penalising motorists or any other section of the community with the removal of roundabouts and replace with traffic lights, is in many ways unrealistic, but, in many areas that actually makes for better traffic flows, as the end of the M1, John Renshaw drive demonstrates especially in the peak hour traffic rather than holiday time peaks.
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

Has anyone mentioned a better class of passenger, built in scum and bogan detectors, automatic deodorant sprayers, electronic countermeasures to stop loud music, dogs to savage anyone with their feet on the seats?

and that is just for a start
theanimal
There'd be a lot of empty trains although revenue wouldn't suffer much.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Has anyone mentioned a better class of passenger, built in scum and bogan detectors, automatic deodorant sprayers, electronic countermeasures to stop loud music, dogs to savage anyone with their feet on the seats?

and that is just for a start
There'd be a lot of empty trains although revenue wouldn't suffer much.
fzr560
one could postulate that there would be a significant saving in cleaning and deoderising also
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Ethan, perhaps if you spell out some areas in the original post such as identifying the hospital it would help people to understand more of what you are saying/want.   The Mater hospital is closer to PT, and that includes rail transport than the RNS is too St Leonards in Sydney. The Mater hospital is also a specialised hospital rather than a general one, unless urgent bed needs are required, as such its unlikely to attract people to it even if the station was moved to where you suggest.

Thing is, there has to be reality in proposals weighted against desire.  Also penalising motorists or any other section of the community with the removal of roundabouts and replace with traffic lights, is in many ways unrealistic, but, in many areas that actually makes for better traffic flows, as the end of the M1, John Renshaw drive demonstrates especially in the peak hour traffic rather than holiday time peaks.
a6et
A station at Waratah West serving the Mater Hospital would not only just serve people needing to go to said hospital, but also employees, as the health sector is a large employer. And a station in that location would also serve the moderately dense residential area.
Sorry I didn't explain the hospital thing in more detail earlier.

Of course there has to be reality in proposals weighted against desire, which is why this topic is not just about rebuilding the lost lines straight away.

As for the traffic light issue, the mindset of roundabout removal and traffic light replacement is not the penalise motorists, it's the improve pedestrian safety, and as a result, public transport might become more convenient, with car travel becoming less convenient.
If traffic flow improves, that's a benefit.

-------------------------------------------------

On another note, don't forget this topic is about Wollongong too, and I traveled there last week and made a few observations.

Patroange on public transport appears greater than that in Newcastle, despite having half the population.
Although I didn't travel on suburban services, I remember passing Woonona station and seeing a decent amount of people on the platform and although the train was heading south, a large group of people were boarding the train at North Wollongong to head south (away from Sydney) in the afternoon. And after I got off said train, I saw a passing bus with a decent amount of people on it.
Patronage on suburban stations in Wollongong is equivalent to that of the Carlingford Line, which is decent considering the lower population and density, but could be improved with more frequent service and better connection times.

While I imagine a big thing that helps patroange in Wollongong is the fact that the CBD is not dead, as it has the large shopping centre, beach, and hospital, and the education facilities are located nearby in North Wollongong, both locations are served by stations.
It's also worth noting that in Wollongong, they are frequently installing traffic lights which improves pedestrian safety.

Compare this to Newcastle where the CBD is dead, only offering the beach, with shopping, education, and a hospital located far away next the railway lines with no stations, and poor urban planning makes being a pedestrian unsafe.


With that being said, south of Coniston, issues arise in Wollongong also, no local Subaru services operate on this stretch of line, forcing intercity services to stop all stations on all services.
And the worst issue is station spacing, with new stations being needed at Mount St Thomas (Figtree), something between Unanderra and Kembla Grange, Brownsville, Penrose, Yallah, and Blackbutt.
And djf01 did bring up a hole list of pedstrian issues on this stretch of line.

This is quite a sore point with me: appalling pedestrian access to Public Transport facilities.

Some notable issues on the South Coast:  

It's all but impossible to walk from Shellharbour Village to Shellharbour Junction station.  The access paths to Shellharbour Rd (the most direct way) are fenced off!  The only way is indirectly along Dunmore Rd, which has no pedestrian facilities or even access.

Oak Flats station is just under 1000m from Oak Flats Village, but there are no pedestrian facilities to get across Pioneer Drive.  It's an 800m detour for pedestrians.  It's even harder to get from Shellharbour City/Stockland on foot.  It should be a pleasant 20-30min walk, but it's not.

Albion Park village - and the 100k people living in the new housing estates there, at Mt Terry and now Calderwood, literally has no pedestrian access to Albion Park rail at all (unless you count making the 3km detour along the flood prone bike paths in Croome Park).

The only reason to use Bombo station is to go to the beach there, but it's almost a 1000m walk to get from the station to anywhere you can cross the highway, or the railway to get anywhere else.  People used to get the train then wander over the tracks informally to the beach.  All that is fenced off now.  However it does have a bus bay and a small commuter parking lot.  

East side of Ununderra is another example: a small one lane road bridge (and this is used quite a bit by tourists naively getting the train down to the Nan Tien Temple).


I think this just illustrates just how car dominated the transport thinking is.  WTF is the point of providing car only access to public transport facilities?  By definition, the people using PT arn't going to have a car with them!
djf01
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

And the worst issue is station spacing, with new stations being needed at Mount St Thomas (Figtree), something between Unanderra and Kembla Grange, Brownsville, Penrose, Yallah, and Blackbutt.

And djf01 did bring up a hole list of pedstrian issues on this stretch of line.
Ethan1395

This is what constitutes pedestrian access to Albion Park from Howards Bay (ie Yallah): a metre of freeway shoulder.  

https://i.imgur.com/Aak9aZ1.png



It should be a pleasant 20min (at most) walk to Albion Pk Station, less than 2000m away as the crow flies.

But it's not.  In fact it's not really possible to walk there at all - except perhaps illegally walking over the railway bridge.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

And the worst issue is station spacing, with new stations being needed at Mount St Thomas (Figtree), something between Unanderra and Kembla Grange, Brownsville, Penrose, Yallah, and Blackbutt.
djf01

In my view the station spacing is already fine.  Mt St Thomas sort of looks reasonable from space, but like almost everywhere else in the Illawarra, there is no reasonable pedestrian access to Figtree anyway.  Conniston station captures just as much of Mt St Thomas as any new station on the existing line would.

The only change I would make is replace Bombo and Minnamurra with a better station at Kiama Downs.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

A bit off topic, but as no-one even looks down in Armchair operators, some of you here might be interested in this slideshow I made of my South Coast Rail upgrade concept.  If it came to fruition, there would not be talk of "Illawarra Suburban Services", anymore than there would be talk of Penrith to Parramatta suburban services.  The Illawarra would *be* a suburban zone.



https://youtu.be/EfiCc3GsK94
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
And the worst issue is station spacing, with new stations being needed at Mount St Thomas (Figtree), something between Unanderra and Kembla Grange, Brownsville, Penrose, Yallah, and Blackbutt.

And djf01 did bring up a hole list of pedstrian issues on this stretch of line.

This is what constitutes pedestrian access to Albion Park from Howards Bay (ie Yallah): a metre of freeway shoulder.  

https://i.imgur.com/Aak9aZ1.png



It should be a pleasant 20min (at most) walk to Albion Pk Station, less than 2000m away as the crow flies.

But it's not.  In fact it's not really possible to walk there at all - except perhaps illegally walking over the railway bridge.
djf01

Sorry djf01, I dind't realised you responded on here, I thought the topic was done.

Anyway, that 'pedestrian acess' or lack thereof is ridiculous, the worst part is there was once a station there, and it closed in 1974 - why?

It's even more ridiculous in Newcastle where a new development has gone up within a 5 minute walk to a railway station, but the big roundabout between the two places ensures that no one is walking anywhere.

In my view the station spacing is already fine. Mt St Thomas sort of looks reasonable from space, but like almost everywhere else in the Illawarra, there is no reasonable pedestrian access to Figtree anyway. Conniston station captures just as much of Mt St Thomas as any new station on the existing line would.

The only change I would make is replace Bombo and Minnamurra with a better station at Kiama Downs.
djf01
Without said pedestrian access to Figtree, a Mt St Thomas station wouldn't do much benefit (as you mentioned, Coniston captures just as much), that is why reasonable pedestrian access is needed, building lines and stations is one thing, actually letting people access them without a car is another thing.

I still think that past Coniston, stations are spaced far too much apart, which would result in people needing to use the car to conveniently access the train, which would defeat the purposes of local services.

I defiantly agree there needs to be a station at Kiama Downs, but I would still keep Minnamurra and improve pedestrian access at Bombo and make it a request stop.

My ultimate desire would be an extension of the low patronage Port Kembla line though Warrawong, Windang, and Shellharbour and connecting back to the main line at Dunmore. Unfortunately the only option would be an expensive tunnel, and the cheapest way of constructing said tunnel would be cut and cover under the road, leading to temporary disruption but huge benefits.

A bit off topic, but as no-one even looks down in Armchair operators, some of you here might be interested in this slideshow I made of my South Coast Rail upgrade concept.  If it came to fruition, there would not be talk of "Illawarra Suburban Services", anymore than there would be talk of Penrith to Parramatta suburban services.  The Illawarra would *be* a suburban zone.



https://youtu.be/EfiCc3GsK94
djf01
I have desire to post in the Armchair operators but don't since I have doubt anyone would bother reading it.
Anyway, in your proposal, what service frequencies would you proposed for local stations like Corrimal, Fairy Meadow, and Port Kembla?

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