Proposed Timtables for CityRail/Sydney and CountryLink/NSW

  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Central Station Options:

In this post I'm going to run through some of the options for terminating Pendolino style trains from the South Coast at Central.

The Pendolino series trains (European version) have a car length of 26m (but cab ends don't need to be on the platforms), and come in odd numbered sets.  A 7 car trains is 180m long, but only need 130m of platform length, so are comfortably supported by the suburban platforms.  A 9 car train is ~230m long, but needs a 180m of platform.  20m longer than a standard Sydney suburban platform.  A "top & tailed" train is 14/16/18 cars long, or 364, 416 or 468 metres long, needing platforms 314, 366 or 418 metres long, 25m longer if the cab needs to be on the platform.

So these are the options as I see it, very few of them are mutually exclusive:

Option 1:  Platform 26/27 (that old one)

Short (sub 100m) tunnels, then a connection to the Illawarra Main down, and a facing crossover a bit further south somewhere.

This could cross the Airport down on the level (terminal arrivals would oppose Airport Down movements), be built 6-8m lower and "fly under" the airport down, or the Airport Down could be rebuilt as a flyover.
Optionally, the road could be lowered 6m and "fly under" the Airport Down.

Option 2: Platform 21 and/or Platform 23

Extend Platforms 21 and/or 23 to 180m.
Re-install crossovers on the flying junctions with bi-di signalling (UP Illawarra main for platform 21, DOWN Illawarra main for Platform 23)
Crossovers on the Illawarra Main at Cleveland St: trailing for platform 21, facing for Platform 23

Platform 21 departures oppose Sector 2 via Sydenham UP services.
Platform 23 arrivals oppose airport DOWN services.

Option 3: Platform 4 (or 1, and/or 5) at Sydney Terminal.

  • Remove the crossovers from the mains to the suburban section & replace with a high speed facing crossover.
  • Extend platform 4 (and optionally platform 5) to be 400m long, installing an exit to Regent St, and access to the Devonshire St Tunnel
  • Upgrade the points connecting the Illawarra Dive

The downside to this approach is  this will oppose current Interurban operations & Horsnby - Strathfield - Central peaks services (destined to become more common).  

On the plus side, it supports 400+ trains.

Option 4: Prince Alfred Terminal

A new terminal in the location of the Prince Alfred Sidings

  • Airport DOWN is rebuilt as a flyover

The biggest issue with this is how far the southern end of the platform is from many of the interchange locations.  It could be nearly a km from there to the passenger's next journey.

Option 4b: Prince Alfred Terminal/Chalmers St Elevated terminal

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  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Amplification options:

My preferred option: Oatley Bypass

  • This rebuilds the old pre-1890 alignment (1:40 grade IIRC).  
  • It reduces transit time of all Hurstville - Sutherland services (that don't service Oatley) by 90 seconds
  • Allows a South Coast train to advance a timetable slot (3 minutes)

The Oatley Park section is built in a cut & cover tunnel.

Option 2: Como Bypass

Allows South Coast trains to advance a timetable slot (3min gain), but no performance gains.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Helensburgh Options:

As I see it, there are no ideal options here.  All have potential show stopping issues.  But equally this is very low hanging fruit: the current alignment here is so unsuitable.

Option 0: Twin tunnels from Waterfall to Thirroul (White)

  • Potential access and evacuation problems
  • Potential mine subsidence issues
  • 21.5km long (each), reduces route length by 11km
  • Too expensive

Option 0.1: Single Bore tunnel from Waterfall Sth to Coledale (Purple)

  • Potential access and evacuation problems
  • Potential mine subsidence issues
  • 15.5km long (each), reduces route length by 10km (plus 2km of other deviations)
  • Too expensive

Option 1: Helensburgh Bypass (as discussed above)
  • Potential mine subsidence issues
  • Compliance issues with pylons within the Royal National park, and pylons and a tunnel portals within the Garrawarra State Conservation area.
  • 5km long, reduces route length by 5km (plus 9km of other deviations further reducing route length by 3km)

Option 2: Recommission Cawley and old Metropolitan Tunnels (Blue above)
  • Compliance issues with regard to legacy tunnels
  • Approach roads to Cawley Tunnel require 200m radius curves.
  • 5km long, reduces route length by 4km (plus 10km of other deviations further reducing route length by 3km)
  • Too slow to implement my proposed timetable, it would need more amplification within Sydney, and tighter tolerances.  (Or the terminus brought back to Albion Park)

Option 2a: Rebuild Cawley and old Metropolitan Tunnels with broader approach curves (skin coloured)
  • Approach curves will still be 500m radius, not exactly high speed
  • On the plus side: no mine subsidence or conservation compliance issues
  • Still too slow to implement my proposed timetable, it would need more amplification within Sydney, and tighter tolerances.  (Or the terminus brought back to Oak Flats)
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

My latest re-working of the project cost:

  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Patronage and Capacity Discussion:

In the past I've used the ETR 610.  I've upgraded to a new reference set: ETR 675, the latest version of the Penodlino used by Italian Operator NTV:

Seat Layout:

  • Default Seat Capacity is ~480 in 2 classes in a 7 car train
  • An all 2nd class config would be 564.
  • Removing the toilets and luggage space would add a further 11 rows of seats, for a capacity of 608 seats (22 rows to 25 rows in most cars)
  • Using an NIF seat pitch another 10 rows, or 648 seats.
  • A 9 car train would have an extra 172/200/216 seats
  • Using an OSCAR configuration, 7/9 car trains have a max seating capacity of 810/1080.

The format I'll select for capacity assessments is 640 for 7 car train, 860 for a 9 car train.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Patronage and Capacity Discussion: Part 2

The published "by Line" data has proved completely useless, as it does not correlate at all with the OPAL "ON/OFF" data.  The issue is all trips from Redfern to Central could be on any number of suburban or interurban lines, so get allocated to each.  As a consequence, a bit more than half the assigned patronage to each line are actually suburban movements.

Using the ON/OFF data from a week in November 2017, Annual patronage South Coast line patronage is ~4.4mil trips pa.  

The Sutherland Shire (Pop 220k) 13.6mil trips pa.  Peak Seat capacity is 9 trains an hour (and 2016 loading data suggests an average loading of ~100% at Sutherland), or ~7500.

The Campbelltown Local Government(Pop 160k) area 9.4mil tpa, or 10.4mil tpa including the Leppington line.  (Camden + Campbelltown pop is 240k).  Again, peak total usage from this catchment is ~7500.

With a population of 280k, Shellharbour and Wollongong LGA would be reasonably expected to generate a patronage of between 14 and 17 mil trips pa.  Kiama (20k) and Nowra (~40k) would add another 1 to 1.5mil trips pa).  Peak load could be anywhere from 5000 to 10000 trips per hour.  

The single deck fleet has a reduced ability to cope with greater than 100% loadings.

How can this be done?

The system base load capacity is a 30min frequency service on the two routes/stopping patterns (ie Shellharbour Jtn, all to nth Wollongong then Central, Conniston, all to Coledale then Central)

This is a capacity of 2600 seats per hour.

All 9 car trains on this pattern is 3440.

The next step is to "top & tail" trains.  A 15 min peak frequency on both routes.  Trains combine and split at Thirroul.  A 7+9 combo set has 1500 seats, or 6000 per hour.  

Then, increasing service frequency to 10min boost this to 9000.  This would require 6 rather than 4 slots in Sydney, or potentially 24 tph through Wolli Creek to Erskinville Jtn, which - give South Coast trains won't stop anywhere where, is not as unreasonable/impossible as it sounds.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Here is my latest thinking on fixing the Thirroul to Waterfall issue:  A "Helensburgh Bypass".

This is all of 5000m long.  It bypasses just over 10km of legacy route.

Heading north, it comprises:
1600m of short span (25m span) viaduct, with a couple of 50-100m long spans over the Hacking River.
600m tunnel (Portals within the Garrawarra State Conservation area)
600m viaduct (200m short span, 300m long span, with ~100m bridge over Wilsons Creek
1000m of "level" surface route, partially adjacent/within the current formation
500m viaduct (200m short span, 200m long span, with a 100m bridge over Cawleys Creek).
600m tunnel (Portals withing RailCorp formation)

Overall gradient required is 1:50, with a 1:40 max.

I think this bypass is an extremely viable option.

Your dream of pendolino's however is just not going to happen.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I think this bypass is an extremely viable option.

Your dream of pendolino's however is just not going to happen.

Thank you.

But given the way the NSW EIS process works, the Pendolinos are much more likely to get up than a surface railway through a national park subject to mine subsidence.  

The Pendolinos just need the phrase "success of the West Coast Main Line" to float around the RTBU tea room enough to reach the ears our rail system's English Management - (unless they are all LNER men Smile).
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Here is a Youtube of a slide presentation I made re this project.  I made it essentially to show my 11yo how to use Impress/PowerPoint, but one or two here might find this of interest.

And my fingers are killing after all that cello playing.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I thought I'd post my incomplete ideas on this project.  It's something I pick at now and then, but have lost interest since moving away from Goulburn.

Sydney to Canberra: Better Rail Service

There have been over 100 proposals over the past few decades, yet the service remains as it did in the 1930s

This proposal takes a mixed approach, faster tilting trains, modest route re-alignments and better operating practices.

Sydney Terminal ($0)

Uses platform 23, already Bi-Di signalled.

Macquarie Fields Overtaking facility

2000m new track
Re-align SSFL west
2 new crossovers & some bi-di signalling
New platform for the "new" alternate UP road

Strictly speaking this is not needed, as Glenfield could be used for overtaking, but not without breaking sectorisation.

Wentworth Deviation ($950m)
  • Douglas Park to Almyrton  
  • Predominantly along the Hume Freeway median
  • 37km,single track only, dedicated built high speed/250kph passenger route
  • Bypasses 58km and 76 curves of legacy alignment
  • Transit time of 11 minutes vs 65 minutes for the current route.
  • New station at Wilton
  • Optional new station at Bargo/Avon Dam rd
Key engineering features:
  • Alpine Tunnel
  • Pheasants Nest Bridge

Mittagong to Goulburn ($280m)
Split the double track corridor,
  • dedicated ARTC freight line (Current main down)
  • dedicated MSR PAX line (Main Up) to Carrick. main down from Towrang
Selected curve easing, route shortening and deviations
  • 28min transit time from Moss Vale to Goulburn (vs 55min now)
  • Restore old alignment at Marulan and Werai
  • Curve easing at Penrose and Wingelo
  • Towrang Bypass (10km)

Mossy to Goulburn

Goulburn to Canberra ($460m)
Upgrade and electrify the line from Goulburn to Canberra
Relay the (140kph max) light rail and sleepers of the below Class 1 standard track south of Goulburn (~67km IIRC)
Selected Deviations
  • Tarago Bends (6km)
  • Mt Fairy (2km)
  • Bungendore (3km)
  • Kowen Forest (3km)
Overpass/Underpasses to replace the level crossings at Bungendore and Tarago
Crossing loop east of Molongolo Canyon

South of Goulburn

Wentworth Deviation

Goulburn Parking

Central Terminal

Rail Runner

Previous Proposals

.Perth Median

South of Goulburn

Molongolo Canyon

Mossy to Goulburn

Canberra Parking

Queanbeyan Parking

Mac Fields

Bundanoon Bypass
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Western Metro "Lite"

This is my Western Metro "Lite" alternative proposal.

1) Integrate Olympic Park line into the main network off the (restored) Inner West Line

  • 900m of new track, 250m tunnel connecting the Inner West Down to the Up Flemington Goods
  • An island platform on the Up Flemington Goods & associated road

  • A new road connecting the Up Flemington Goods to the Homebush Bay Down West Fork (all 500m of it)
  • A new station at Pipita, designed to be determined, but at it's simplest is a single side platform

The idea is the Inner West, however it is constituted, has a single track extension at Homebush.  The line could conceivably operate with a 6 min headway, but a train every 10min is both reasonable and achievable.

The stopping pattern could be Homebush-Flemington-Pipita-OlympicPark  OR

The former operates OP as a mono directional loop (as currently), the latter as single track with OP as a crossing loop, terminating at the Lidcombe Dock.

This would require the opening up of another 6-12 CBD slots somehow, but exactly how is OT.

Also, it would be better if this were some SD dedicated short haul dedicated format, but the extent to which that is possible depends on how other aspects of the network are enhanced to support it (if at all).
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

CBD Enhancement options:

This diagram outlines what I see as the two reasonable heavy rail augmentation options.

1) Western Express.  Mine is a lite version vs the project proposed by the Rees/Kenealy Gvt.  Two new stations only, one at Central and one at Wyngaroo Hall beneath Kent St between King St and Market St, both a short (under 200m) walk to Wynyard or Town Hall

This features 240m platforms for 12 car trains.
The new underground route is all of 2000m long, mostly under streets and within the protected corridor.

2) Eastern Express.  At it's simplest it's 1 block of L on Wentworth Ave, 250m of new tunnels under Whitlam Square, 950m of track in existing disused tunnels through a refurbed St James.  There is an option to extend this through to Bridge St - the pilot tunnels for the "Inner City Circle" built in the 1950s.

Each of these projects adds at least 20 slots, arguably 30 for the Western Express.

Either one would greatly improve the service options to all parts of the network, but IMHO both would fully resolve the disparity between terminal and collection capacity, and then we'd be in a position to consider greater traffic class segregation.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Sydney's likely future:

An expanded Metro & Western Metro:
* Richmond - CBD - Bankstown - Liverpool Badgery's Creek Airport
* Western Metro

Four heavy rail sectors:
Northern, including Central Coast terminating at Central
North Shore - St Mary's/Schofields
Campbelltown - Airport - City Circle - Inner West - Cabramatta
Sector 1 (As is, Not shown)

  djf01 Chief Commissioner

My current preferred option:

Western Express
Eastern Express
Connect Olympic Park to Inner West

Heavy Rail Commuter (NIF or better)

  • Western Express built for 240m trains
  • Western Express trains run express Parramatta - Central - Wingaroo Hall Terminal in 15 mins
  • Western Express branches into two feeder routes at Westmead
  • Eastern Express runs express Revesby - Central - St James [- Bridge St] in ~15 minutes
  • Eastern Express branches into two feeder routes at Glenfield

Short Haul/Metro

An optional extension of Inner West to Rhodes is also considered here

S-Bahn Routes:

The weakness of this scheme is Liverpool "direct" (via granville) is only half a pattern, as is the main North.

Several shuttle/feeder services are included:

  • Liverpool - Bankstown, alternating between express and stopping.
  • Bankstown - Lidcombe
  • Liverpool - Parramatta
  • Epping - Strathfield (Platform 1)  This is as a feeder service for NW metro, allowing skip stopping of less major stations on main north.

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