Thirroul rail tunnel would be considered under Labor government

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 20 Feb 2019 15:45
  arctic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Zurich
Is this new tunnel not going to have operations on it as well. Will it not have freight and passenger trains going up and down. Will it not need exhaust stacks for diesel trains, will it not need overhead and tracks and signalling just as the metro has. So before you go saying it will be cheaper you should think again. This tunnel is longer and larger and will have some issues that the north west metro never had.
simstrain
You missed the point.

In the case of the NW Metro there is an additional Contract to operate the additional trains and staff the additional stations on it for I think 15 years, since its a brand new line. Its not part of the construction cost but the cost is loosely included in the "MW Metro Cost"

Which additional operational contract would be needed for a new Thirroul tunnel since its an upgrade of an existing line? the trains already exist as do the employment of the drivers etc. No stations to staff and operate.

Cheers

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  Transtopic Assistant Commissioner

I'm not sure what he is getting at either.

Simple.  I'm just following the current TfNSW rail doctrine.  After all, the NWRL Metro proves "customers" are more than happy to stand on trains on a route so long it was previously thought unthinkable.

TfNSW will have no problem re-specifying this as a metro project.  Initially just Waterfall to Thirroul as a stand alone Metro, including a new stop at the housing development at Maddens Planes requiring support for a 15% gradient those hopeless old DDs can't do.

In Stage 2 Waterfall to Sutherland will be re-built as metro, with 2 new stations at both Yarrawarra and the Hanrob Dog Training Academy.  This won't be able to proceed until:
  • Maldon-Dombarton is completed to get freight trains off the corridor (or at very least, all that freight traffic converted to more efficient road transport)
  • Neighbouring sections of the Royal National Park are "re-zoned" to allow redevelopment of appropriate density for a metro corridor.

Stage 3 will add Sydenham-Hurstville to the Metro System as previously planned/proposed.

Stage 4 will "complete the missing link" and connect the Sutherland-Thirroul metro to the Hurstville-Rouse Hill metro, allowing passengers to stand all the way from Wollongong to Rouse Hill and only change trains once.  The short dwell times will mean the train will be just as fast as the current service, yet still make more than 60 intermediate stops!

The rails will be removed from the "Como Bridge Eyesore" (put in a new 10km tunnel), to allow it to be widened into a 4 lane tollway to deal with the "unprecedented increase in demand" for road space.

Of course the Cronulla line will be a self contained branch and the whingers will just have to get used to changing trains, same as those whingers at Carlingford did.

But in any case, the line will be truncated to the new "Woolooware Golf Club Interchange" to connect with the Cronulla Beach Light rail project as a way of rejuvenating this "dilapidated area".  This project will include by relocating the Cronulla Surf Lifesaving Club to Doonside and "creating a new community" on that old wasted Cronulla station site by building six new Opal and Grenfell towers.
djf01
The scary thing is that you could be right, judging by the current government's strategy.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The scary thing is that you could be right, judging by the current government's strategy.
Transtopic

I am right.  

The plan was leaked to an Illawarra Mercury Journo friend of mine (I help him with some of the technical aspects of rail reporting), who hasn't been allowed to publish it yet.  I was told they were waiting till the elections were over, so I'm not sure what's still holding it up.

NB, I'm obviously exaggerating a bit.  The Surf Club is actually moving to Bundeena, but I have it on good authority they seriously did consider announcing it would be moved to Orange after the by election result!
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Also, your Armchair Operators contribution video said "400k people given new practical access to the Sydney Labour market" and talked about lower unemployment in the area, would you agree that it would be better to have a Wollongong Labour Market so people can work in the same area they live in ...
No, I would not.  

If this were so, why not just cancel the existing trains service?  

And why bother with suburban rail?  Just have a better Dapto labour market and there is no need for trains at all.  Or (heaven forbid) even roads!
I'm a little confused by this response?

What are you serious about and what are you being sarcastic about?

If Wollongong could be an independent city with it's own labour market and it's own public transport/suburban rail network, ...

My view is that transport links are a good thing.  They are infrastructure that allows economic activity that otherwise would not occur.

Whenever anyone advances the argument "the people of West Dapto should just get a job in West Dapto", what they are really doing is viewing transport links themselves as a problem.  In other words it's "solving" the transport "problem" by denying any need for it.

In the case of the argument you are running for better local rail services, transport links are a good thing, and I support it.  

But it makes no sense to me to do this at the expense of the longer transport links rail has traditionally serviced, and in my view is much better suited to deliverin
djf01
Well I'm not advocating against transport links, nor am I saying "the people of West Dapto should just get a job in West Dapto", but I'm saying that people living in a Wollongong suburb should be able to get a Wollongong suburb, commuting to Sydney should not be the normal thing to do, but with such a high unemployment rate for areas outside of Sydney, it is becoming the normal thing.
Wollongong residents getting a job in Wollongong should be the normal thing, and even then, there will still be those who need to commute to Sydney for whatever reason so I am not saying not to upgrade the Thirroul-Waterfall line, I'm just saying not, if possible, to do something so expensive that there is no money leftover for other public transport projects.
And considering that we have a government that flat out refuses to build any public transport infrastructure outside of Sydney, that is an issue.

Currently Sydney is the only place where you can get a job and take public transport, housing is very expensive there, and if you live elsewhere, a family needs to own 4 cars, so whether you live in expensive housing in Sydney or cheaper housing elsewhere, the cost of living is expensive regardless.

So upgrade Thirroul-Waterfall, but not at the expense of local transport, or better yet, actually start investing in local transport outside of Sydney.
My fear is that a new Thirroul-Waterfall line will close the existing line and turn it into a rail trail on the counts of 'low patroange' even though patronage is low due to the terrible service (1 train per hour on weekdays, 1 train per 2 hours on weekends, and terrible connection other trains), and then I fear they will close the Port Kembla line on counts of 'low patraonge' even though patroange is low due to terrible service (1 train per hour) and the fact that it terminates in the middle of nowhere even though it has the potential to be extended through Warrawong and Shellharbour and connected back to the main line.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Well I'm not advocating against transport links, nor am I saying "the people of West Dapto should just get a job in West Dapto", but I'm saying that people living in a Wollongong suburb should be able to get a Wollongong suburb, commuting to Sydney should not be the normal thing to do, but with such a high unemployment rate for areas outside of Sydney, it is becoming the normal thing.
Ethan1395


This is where I completely disagree with you.  On one hand you are arguing for better public transport links within a "suburban" region, but at the same time solving the "problem" of inter-regional transport by saying "users shouldn't need to make the trip at all".

I think you could just as easily substitute Penrith, Campbelltown or the Sutherland Shire in your statement above.

My view is that big cities *are* big cities because there are economies of scale.  Generally, the bigger the city, the higher the cost of living, but each individual's earnings potential is higher again.  The only thing that really limits a city's growth is it's geography, and the quality of the transport links used to overcome those limitations.

It's no accident most of the mega-cities of the world have great PT, and whilst it's easy to argue an alternate cause and effect, it's pretty few (if any) of the world's mega cities could function without great public transport linking in the surrounding populations and allowing them to function as a whole.


My fear is that a new Thirroul-Waterfall line will close the existing line and turn it into a rail trail on the counts of 'low patroange' even though patronage is low due to the terrible service (1 train per hour on weekdays, 1 train per 2 hours on weekends, and terrible connection other trains),
Ethan1395


Patronage is low Thirroul-Waterfall because next to no-one lives there.  It's less than 3% of the Wollongong LGA and barely 1% of South Coast line catchment (Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama) even ignoring the Shoalhaven.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Well I'm not advocating against transport links, nor am I saying "the people of West Dapto should just get a job in West Dapto", but I'm saying that people living in a Wollongong suburb should be able to get a Wollongong suburb, commuting to Sydney should not be the normal thing to do, but with such a high unemployment rate for areas outside of Sydney, it is becoming the normal thing.


This is where I completely disagree with you.  On one hand you are arguing for better public transport links within a "suburban" region, but at the same time solving the "problem" of inter-regional transport by saying "users shouldn't need to make the trip at all".

I think you could just as easily substitute Penrith, Campbelltown or the Sutherland Shire in your statement above.

My view is that big cities *are* big cities because there are economies of scale.  Generally, the bigger the city, the higher the cost of living, but each individual's earnings potential is higher again.  The only thing that really limits a city's growth is it's geography, and the quality of the transport links used to overcome those limitations.

It's no accident most of the mega-cities of the world have great PT, and whilst it's easy to argue an alternate cause and effect, it's pretty few (if any) of the world's mega cities could function without great public transport linking in the surrounding populations and allowing them to function as a whole.


My fear is that a new Thirroul-Waterfall line will close the existing line and turn it into a rail trail on the counts of 'low patroange' even though patronage is low due to the terrible service (1 train per hour on weekdays, 1 train per 2 hours on weekends, and terrible connection other trains),

Patronage is low Thirroul-Waterfall because next to no-one lives there.  It's less than 3% of the Wollongong LGA and barely 1% of South Coast line catchment (Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama) even ignoring the Shoalhaven.
djf01
We had this same discussion with Ethan regarding the need for extra stations to be built in quite a few locations around NCLE, and the CCL, and while he titled that discussion to include the Illawarra. there was not much discussion for the Illawarra.

Ethan, the main parts of your arguments that were pointed out in the other discussion apply just as much in this one as the CCL line and Newcastle.  If you look at an areal map of the region you can see that in many respects the area from Approx WGNG down to Kiama and beyond to Bomaderry has a lot of similarities to NCL, but the Illawarra area at least still has a steel works and coal loader and other wharfs in operation, as the escarpment moves away as you head down the coast, there is a reasonable amount of land and new developments taking place, and they are further away from the line, likewise south of Dapto you have Lake Illawarra separating the coastal strip side from the rail line side of the lake, think Lake Macquarie in NCLE and how it causes issues there.

The narrow strip from WGNG to Thiroul has not had any great amount of residential expansion done to it for years owing to the terrain, there are no longer the coal mines, brick works and the like that littered that area that provided work, and many people who worked in those businesses walked to work and few caught trains, except to Sydney even back then.

The steelworks is nothing compared to how it used to be either and certainly not the population growth as a result of closures and the like.  All the steel workers who got off the train at Lysaughts, Cringilla and Port Kembla usually came from North of WGNG and why the workers trains existed often full in the shift change times, while there is a triangle near Coniston for trains to head down to Bombo, Kiama, Bomaderry or to Moss Vale those who lived in those areas it was faster to drive and many in fact rode push bikes to get the steel works and other industries on the PTK branch.

When I was a driver at Ptk, I lived at Werri Beach, depending on the traffic, time of day, holiday weekends and direction the wind was blowing when I rode a Motor bike to the depot it could take between 25 - 45 minutes on average sometimes more though, and that was through Windang not the highway, today there is a great by pass of most of those towns, and like in NCLE area, its very much more convenient to drive and faster ATM for local needs.

If the tunnel is built it will cost heaps, but how long into the future before its really needed?  Minimal improvements could be readily done from Waterfall down to approx. Otford by eliminating many of the curves but some increase in grades may happen, Helensburgh Station also could be moved further south a bit just to the southern side of the Helensbugh tunnel but it would be costly as a few bridges and deep cuttings would not be cheap. Fast trains stopping WGNG, Thirroul, Burg, Waterfall Sutherland, Hurstville Redfern, ESL could save a degree of time. and make options open for those south of the gong.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Well I'm not advocating against transport links, nor am I saying "the people of West Dapto should just get a job in West Dapto", but I'm saying that people living in a Wollongong suburb should be able to get a Wollongong suburb, commuting to Sydney should not be the normal thing to do, but with such a high unemployment rate for areas outside of Sydney, it is becoming the normal thing.
This is where I completely disagree with you.  On one hand you are arguing for better public transport links within a "suburban" region, but at the same time solving the "problem" of inter-regional transport by saying "users shouldn't need to make the trip at all".

I think you could just as easily substitute Penrith, Campbelltown or the Sutherland Shire in your statement above.

My view is that big cities *are* big cities because there are economies of scale.  Generally, the bigger the city, the higher the cost of living, but each individual's earnings potential is higher again.  The only thing that really limits a city's growth is it's geography, and the quality of the transport links used to overcome those limitations.

It's no accident most of the mega-cities of the world have great PT, and whilst it's easy to argue an alternate cause and effect, it's pretty few (if any) of the world's mega cities could function without great public transport linking in the surrounding populations and allowing them to function as a whole.

My fear is that a new Thirroul-Waterfall line will close the existing line and turn it into a rail trail on the counts of 'low patroange' even though patronage is low due to the terrible service (1 train per hour on weekdays, 1 train per 2 hours on weekends, and terrible connection other trains),
Patronage is low Thirroul-Waterfall because next to no-one lives there.  It's less than 3% of the Wollongong LGA and barely 1% of South Coast line catchment (Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama) even ignoring the Shoalhaven.
djf01
When I say "users shouldn't need to make the trip at all", I'm saying that people who live in Wollongong or Newcastle should be able to get a job in Wollongong or Newcastle, I'm not saying that they HAVE to get a job in the same city they live in, but they certainly should be able to, our cities which are not Sydney should not be vast fields of unemployment. I also am not solving the problem "users shouldn't need to make the trip at all", the Sydney links should still be upgraded, but our other cities should be able to function as well, you know, cities (key word = city, not town).

Obviously the bigger the city, the better the public transport, and that is why Sydney is getting things like the Metro, but that is no excuse and that does not mean the public transport needs to be as bad as it is outside of Sydney, I'm not saying that Wollongong or Newcastle should get a metro, just a usable service on a usable frequency, and not to waste existing infrastructure but to make use of it.

Instead what we currently have is the government paying money to run an obligatory unusable service that is only patronized by students, the elderly, and the unemployed, instead of paying more money to provide a service that people can actually use and do something about the cost of living. Is there seriously any difference in for a family of 4 living in say Campbelltown or Penrith on the outskirts of Sydney and have access to a train leaving every 15 minutes and only owning 1 car, or living in Newcastle or Wollongong with unusable public transport and needing to own 4 cars?
People want higher wages to match the higher cost of living, but apparently raising wages any further decreases job growth, so why not tackle the cost of living instead?

Regarding patronage on Thirroul-Waterfall, it will never be grand due to the low population (I would only suggest 30 minute frequencies for this portion of the line), but it can certainly do a lot better than it's doing now with it's hourly frequency (2 hourly frequency on weekends), stations like Stanwell Park and Austinmner have the potential to get decent patronage.

Well I'm not advocating against transport links, nor am I saying "the people of West Dapto should just get a job in West Dapto", but I'm saying that people living in a Wollongong suburb should be able to get a Wollongong suburb, commuting to Sydney should not be the normal thing to do, but with such a high unemployment rate for areas outside of Sydney, it is becoming the normal thing.


This is where I completely disagree with you.  On one hand you are arguing for better public transport links within a "suburban" region, but at the same time solving the "problem" of inter-regional transport by saying "users shouldn't need to make the trip at all".

I think you could just as easily substitute Penrith, Campbelltown or the Sutherland Shire in your statement above.

My view is that big cities *are* big cities because there are economies of scale.  Generally, the bigger the city, the higher the cost of living, but each individual's earnings potential is higher again.  The only thing that really limits a city's growth is it's geography, and the quality of the transport links used to overcome those limitations.

It's no accident most of the mega-cities of the world have great PT, and whilst it's easy to argue an alternate cause and effect, it's pretty few (if any) of the world's mega cities could function without great public transport linking in the surrounding populations and allowing them to function as a whole.


My fear is that a new Thirroul-Waterfall line will close the existing line and turn it into a rail trail on the counts of 'low patroange' even though patronage is low due to the terrible service (1 train per hour on weekdays, 1 train per 2 hours on weekends, and terrible connection other trains),

Patronage is low Thirroul-Waterfall because next to no-one lives there.  It's less than 3% of the Wollongong LGA and barely 1% of South Coast line catchment (Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama) even ignoring the Shoalhaven.
We had this same discussion with Ethan regarding the need for extra stations to be built in quite a few locations around NCLE, and the CCL, and while he titled that discussion to include the Illawarra. there was not much discussion for the Illawarra.

Ethan, the main parts of your arguments that were pointed out in the other discussion apply just as much in this one as the CCL line and Newcastle.  If you look at an areal map of the region you can see that in many respects the area from Approx WGNG down to Kiama and beyond to Bomaderry has a lot of similarities to NCL, but the Illawarra area at least still has a steel works and coal loader and other wharfs in operation, as the escarpment moves away as you head down the coast, there is a reasonable amount of land and new developments taking place, and they are further away from the line, likewise south of Dapto you have Lake Illawarra separating the coastal strip side from the rail line side of the lake, think Lake Macquarie in NCLE and how it causes issues there.

The narrow strip from WGNG to Thiroul has not had any great amount of residential expansion done to it for years owing to the terrain, there are no longer the coal mines, brick works and the like that littered that area that provided work, and many people who worked in those businesses walked to work and few caught trains, except to Sydney even back then.

The steelworks is nothing compared to how it used to be either and certainly not the population growth as a result of closures and the like.  All the steel workers who got off the train at Lysaughts, Cringilla and Port Kembla usually came from North of WGNG and why the workers trains existed often full in the shift change times, while there is a triangle near Coniston for trains to head down to Bombo, Kiama, Bomaderry or to Moss Vale those who lived in those areas it was faster to drive and many in fact rode push bikes to get the steel works and other industries on the PTK branch.

When I was a driver at Ptk, I lived at Werri Beach, depending on the traffic, time of day, holiday weekends and direction the wind was blowing when I rode a Motor bike to the depot it could take between 25 - 45 minutes on average sometimes more though, and that was through Windang not the highway, today there is a great by pass of most of those towns, and like in NCLE area, its very much more convenient to drive and faster ATM for local needs.

If the tunnel is built it will cost heaps, but how long into the future before its really needed?  Minimal improvements could be readily done from Waterfall down to approx. Otford by eliminating many of the curves but some increase in grades may happen, Helensburgh Station also could be moved further south a bit just to the southern side of the Helensbugh tunnel but it would be costly as a few bridges and deep cuttings would not be cheap. Fast trains stopping WGNG, Thirroul, Burg, Waterfall Sutherland, Hurstville Redfern, ESL could save a degree of time. and make options open for those south of the gong.
a6et
I don't know why my old topic had little discussion about the Illawarra, I know that I personally had a lot more to say about Newcastle.

Anyway, I think if public transport is unusable for local needs, the location of the railway and stations will have little impact on development. However, the Wollongong area does have the advantage of having a CBD that is central and has shopping, hospital, and education all located relativity nearby with stations already in places - as opposed to Newcastle where the CBD is dead on a peninsula and the locations I just mentioned are all located in a different suburb, usually near the railway line, but without a station, as a result, public transport in Wollongong has higher patronage than that of Newcastle, but poor service frequency and connection times keep it from being what it could be.

Of course with the poor level of service provided, driving will be more convenient for those who have access to it, but why should this be? if driving has apparently such a bad environmental impact? (I more look at other issues relating to cost of living and employment). If people are worried about the cost of living, why not make public transport a genuine option for those living in cities? I mentioned earlier that the average family has the choice of living in Sydney and paying for expensive housing but getting away with only owning 1 car, or living in Wollongong or Newcastle and paying for cheaper housing, but needing to own 4 cars - the end-result is the same: a high cost of living and people needing higher wages to keep up with it, yet apparently raising wages will stop any job growth.

Anyway, onto what you said about the tunnel, that is what I was saying to djf01, why do something to expensive when cheaper improvements are possible, the Thirroul-Waterfall segment of line only needs to match the travel time of the car, not exceed it, as the train is already faster each side of the Thirroul-Waterfall line.
Upgrade the line with a cheaper solution, and and save some money to improve local services, don't just focus on Sydney, give people a choice of where they want to live if they want to take public transport and get a job, lower the cost of living in the process, and mabye take some pressure of Sydney while doing so.

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