Councillor's push to link Wollongong's beach and CBD with light rail system

 

News article: Councillor's push to link Wollongong's beach and CBD with light rail system

A light rail system could run through Wollongong's main street in the coming years, connecting the beach to the CBD, if one city councillor gets his way.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The retailers have been struggling because of the lack of people coming into the CBD.  Locals I speak with say there cannot be bothered anymore.

Others I speak to say the CBD was already in decline.

Why to believe?

Building a light rail service in that city would expect to have all the issues Newcastle had when they deployed.

Councillor's push to link Wollongong's beach and CBD with light rail system

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  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The retailers have been struggling because of the lack of people coming into the CBD due to the train line being gone.  Locals I speak with say there cannot be bothered anymore.

Others I speak to say the CBD was already in decline and the rail line removed finished it off.

Why to believe?
bevans

In Newcastle maybe.  Not in Wollongong Smile.  There hasn't been a train to the beach there in living memory.

  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The retailers have been struggling because of the lack of people coming into the CBD.  Locals I speak with say there cannot be bothered anymore.

Others I speak to say the CBD was already in decline.

Why to believe?

Building a light rail service in that city would expect to have all the issues Newcastle had when they deployed.

Councillor's push to link Wollongong's beach and CBD with light rail system
bevans
The thing with retail shopping is that people still spend that money, its just the location that varies.

Newcastle CBD is not the most central of locations, which is why it died. Forcing people to shop where its logically doesn't make sense is ridiculous. The LR may however help with redevelopment of the CBD encouraging more redevelopment increasing the residential population and this would likely drive more retail and other entertainment options in the area.

To add further insult to the Wollongong proposal, its a trackless proposal. I thought they already had a trackless option, called the bus network.
  Ethan1395 Junior Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Building a light rail service in that city would expect to have all the issues Newcastle had when they deployed.
bevans

The Newcastle Light Rail can not be used as a fair comparison to anything - it's a 2.7km line of frequent public transport (PT) on a peninsula in a 300+ square km sprawling city full of the worst public transport in the developed world of a city of it's population and size, services are infrequent (as low as once every 2 hours on some services), unreliable, lack morning/evening services, and passes major locations without stopping.

With that being said, things in Wollongong are a little different, services are poor, but not unusable compared to those in Newcastle, but would need improvement to make any light rail service get good patronage, mainly more frequent local services between Stanwell Park (at which point, might as well run all the way from Waterfall) and Port Kembla, and duplication and new local services and stations between Kiama and Wollongong (which would then speed up express trains as they would not need to stop at every stop.

If they are going to go to the effort to build the light rail though, it would have to go a greater distance than just the CBD to the beach and stadium to be worthwhile, a good option would be to run along the Port Kembla railway line, then through Warrawong and Shellharbour and connect back to the main line around Shellharbour Junction.


The thing with retail shopping is that people still spend that money, its just the location that varies.

Newcastle CBD is not the most central of locations, which is why it died. Forcing people to shop where its logically doesn't make sense is ridiculous. The LR may however help with redevelopment of the CBD encouraging more redevelopment increasing the residential population and this would likely drive more retail and other entertainment options in the area.
RTT_Rules
In the case of Newcastle, the places where people spend money are in locations which are too expensive for small business to operate as the rents in the suburban shopping centres are far too high and the streets are completely unfriendly to pedestrians and PT users meaning foot traffic is minimal.

At least Wollongong has the advantage of having a CBD that is actually central, and shopping, entertainment, health, beaches, education are all located pretty close to each other and to the existing Wollongong and North Wollongong railway stations.
Compare this to Newcastle where each of these faclities are located in a different suburb, often next to the existing railway lines, but with no stations and/or pedestrian access.
Even if the light rail in Newcastle does bring retail and other entertainment to the CBD, there is no way to actually get to said CBD without driving making the light rail useless, the main thing people talk about when talking about the Newcastle CBD is the lack of parking.

To add further insult to the Wollongong proposal, its a trackless proposal. I thought they already had a trackless option, called the bus network.
Seems like they are all trackless proposals these days;
-if it's going to run with traffic through the same traffic lights, on bus like frequencies, with no (or little) morning and evening services, then it's a bus, no matter what way they spin it.
-if it's going run in a dedicated lane through dedicated signals, on train like frequencies, with full morning and evening services, then the 'trackless tram' is not a bad idea to saves costs, but it's yet to be proven.



With everything being said, realistically, what are the chances of this councillor's desire to be fulfilled? current government policies see two catergories of populated areas when it comes to PT planning; capital city or country town, obviously capital cities need PT and country town can't justify it, meaning that non-capital cities like Newcastle and Wollongong often don't have sufficient PT with no plans to fix it.
Taking Newcastle for an example, it has an international airport, a 30,000 student university, a 30,000 seat stadium, and much more, but when it comes to the government and public transport, it's a country town.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Ethan is right in that light rail in wollongong would not be the same as in Newcastle. At $6-8 million per kilometre expect the trackless tram option to get up. CSELR might be completed but after the PLR there will be no more light rail except for an extension to the cselr maroubra and further south and maybe connecting to the g:link on the gold coast.

Metro and Trackless tram is what will happen moving forward in Sydney. Trackless tram (light rail bus or whatever you want to call it) is significantly cheaper and can be built much faster.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Trackless tram is $6-8 million per kilometre
Newcastle light rail was $80 million per kilometre
CSELR was $120 million per kilometre.

If you understand maths then you know where this is going. Brisbane in particular is perfect for trackless tram. The O-bahn could be converted to the concept in Adelaide. The Tways in western Sydney can utilise it particularly well.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
Trackless Tram cost estimates may as well be made from fairy dust until one is actually built in this country. Quite a lot of the project costs for trackless trams are shared with light rail: both have stations, electrical infrastructure for vehicle charging at terminals and/or stations, civil works including precision roadbase preparation to ensure a smooth ride, and maintenance depots. I can tell you with pretty high confidence that those projected costs will rise to a significant proportion of the cost of Newcastle Light Rail ($80 million/km as you have stated).
  barryc Chief Train Controller

Location: Waiting for a train to Canungra
A quick reference to Google maps confirms what I thought. Marine Drive to Wollongong Central (Cnr of Crown and Keira Sts) is between 1.5 and 1.8 km depending on the route you take.  Even the next logical terminal points, the Railway Station overpass (Piccadilly) or Wollongong  Base Hospital are only 2.0km and 3.1km respectively.  If they want to increase public transport they just need to run more bus services.

I think John Dorahy may have had too many knocks in his football career to make him come up with this idea although I wouldn't mind catching a tram up Crown St to Mt Keira Road every time I go to visit my Mum.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Trackless Tram cost estimates may as well be made from fairy dust until one is actually built in this country. Quite a lot of the project costs for trackless trams are shared with light rail: both have stations, electrical infrastructure for vehicle charging at terminals and/or stations, civil works including precision roadbase preparation to ensure a smooth ride, and maintenance depots. I can tell you with pretty high confidence that those projected costs will rise to a significant proportion of the cost of Newcastle Light Rail ($80 million/km as you have stated).
LancedDendrite

What a load of crap. The Liverpool to Parramatta T-way cost about $11 million per kilometre and the north west t-way about $13 million and this came with significant road upgrades to boot along those corridors and included tunnels and bridges. Western Sydney has already spent the money and upgrading and extending these for trackless tram will not be anywhere near as expensive vs trying to put light rail in which will require digging up all of the existing road to lay track on.

Brisbane is in a similar situation since they have many kilometres of busways there and putting some trackers on to the pavement in addition to a charging point is going to be significantly cheaper then trying to lay steel rails in the road.

There are many railway stations near a beach along the south coast line and the only exception is the eastern side of lake illawarra. Many people are able to walk to either the beach or the train line in Wollongong. Light rail is not the solution. More buses for now with an eye on trackless tram in the future.

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