Sorry, trying to live in the past is not the way of the future and your approach to solving employment reeks of the a 3rd world country.
Assume there is 2000 train drivers and guards in Sydney Trains. Average annual employment costs $200kpa x 2000 = $400mpa, imagine what the govt could do with $400M and how many jobs would be sustained in doing so.
If I want to buy a carton of milk or a T-shirt or a TV, I will buy it were convenient. PT will not increase the sales, just change where I actually buy it.
I would challenge your so called definition of "wealthy" by Australian standards as what you are saying basically means anyone with a job is wealthy which I'm sure many would be offended by.
No one will get off at Western Metro Olympic Park to catch a train for 5min plus waiting and walking time to catch a train with more stops to the city and likely standing only from Lidcombe in peak but even if there is a seat, the time taken to change trains would exceed the travel time on the Metro to the city.
I read somewhere, maybe here maybe Rail Digest about the poor pedestrian access to the south coast stations. I tried to find the old 2016 Sydney Trains Compendium to get the station ridership numbers on WWW, but I think I downloaded it previously however I cannot seem to find it and so far I haven't been able to work out the OPAL data access yet to see what the numbers are.
Perhaps whats needs to be done is do a detailed desk top study to look at each station and identify the strengths and weaknesses to its success or failure in getting users and how to improve and other new station options. Then present this to the local members providing a list fo best bang for your buck. Its not hard if you know the area and realistic.
There was talk years ago of closing the entire Newcastle branch and running the sparks to Warabrook, I'm glad it didn't get that far, but the island platform would help. OR move Broadmedow to the junction.
30min to all Fassifern and all to Telarah on a reasonable close to clock face timetable isn't too much to ask. For 30min to Fassifern two sets would be required to do the local run to supplement the existing 60min all stopper and probably delete the Cardiff stop for the express.
Suburban Shopping centres are not attractive for PT users. People want to take a car to take home the shopping.
The problem is not just drivers and gaurds loosing their jobs, it's the fact that there is already not enough jobs for the population, there are 647,000 people receiving the Newstart Allowance, and there are roughly 15 job seekers for every available job. There is already a silent crisis and imagine throwing a few train gaurds and drivers into the mix (they can't all move on to other positions). We shouldn't be automating or outsourcing until we can think of a solution to this. Do you have any suggestions.
As for foot traffic and small businesses, what I have observed in Sydney is that even in primarily residential suburbs, a number of cafes, take away stores, bakery's etc (not so much where you would buy a T-Shirt or carton of milk) pop up around the local railway station or bus stop. With no one using PT in Newcastle (because it's unusable), small local businesses are much fewer.
I didn't even imply that someone is wealthy just because they have a job! I was saying that if family is already paying for rent/mortgage, two cars for mum and data, water and energy bills, phone/internet, home maintenance, and groceries, and then they can afford to pay all of the associated costs of two more cars for the children, BEFORE
they are even able to get a job, they are relatively wealthy - not every family can afford this, leading to the issue of needing to come from a rich family to have a better chance of getting a job in Newcastle.
Obviously PT is not a charity and can't just exist to help disadvantaged people (although this is a benefit), but in a city of almost half a million, it should be reasonable to expect to be able to take some form of PT to work, but the PT in Newcastle is almost completely unusable, did you here about the latest bus cuts? Newcastle has all the other features you would expect in a city (international retailers, 30,000 student university, 23,000 seat stadium, airport with jet services, etc), just no usable PT and no jobs.
Few would use the Olympic Park service after the Metro West comes, but as I was saying, obligations would keep an infrequent service running as I imagine the procedure for shutting down services outside of major events would be a complicated one, some might
take advantage of this service (not enough to justify it's operation), and anyone travelling from what's left of the Bankstown Line. Once again, you wouldn't be able to justify it's operation, but the procedure of shutting down services might be complicated.
Even if the services ceases, there is no reason to be running 8 carriage sets now.
A user named djf01 talked about poor pedestrian access to the south coast stations, if you would go the Wikipedia article for a station, it lists the daily patronage in 2013. South Coast local stations have patronage compared to the Carlingford Line and Newcastle local stations have bugger-all patronage.
Obviously and unfortunately, it doesn't list what patronage is local and what is Sydney-bound.
There definitely needs to be a study to look at each station and identify the strengths and weaknesses to its success or failure in getting users and how to improve and other new station options. But to simply dismiss the need for stations at suburban shopping centres by saying people want to take a car to take home the shopping, as shopping centres also employ many people.
I would still push for 20 minute frequency for Newcastle local services to have the best chance for attracting passengers, and make sure a local suburban service terminates at Fassifern just before the Sydney-bound express come through for better connections. They should use the old Toronto platform to terminate locals to keep the main line clear.