Single deck metro-style trains will be introduced to the Sydney rail network and the new North West Rail Link will be privately operated under a major shake-up announced by the NSW Government.
The government's 20-year plan for the rail network includes planning for a second harbour crossing and promises to deliver more frequent services and increased train capacity.
Key to the new plan are so-called "rapid transit trains" - single deck metro-style carriages that will operate on the yet to be built North West Rail Link, and be introduced on the Bankstown Line and on the Illawarra Line between the CBD and Hurstville.
The new rapid transit system will see more frequent services on those lines, and will result in a 60 per cent increase in the number of trains that run into the CBD and increase capacity to west and southwest Sydney, Premier Barry O'Farrell says.
"Train travellers have told us they want more frequent services and increased train capacity and that's what they will get," Mr O'Farrell said today.
"This is a long-term transformation of our rail network - introducing rapid transit to the system to deliver major increases in capacity and frequency for greater Sydney."
NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the North West Rail Link would be privately operated, with non-timetabled services running every five minutes between Rouse Hill and Chatswood, where passengers would have to change for trains into the CBD.
"The trains operating on the North West Rail Link will be a new generation, single deck service - delivering a fast, safe and reliable journey for commuters," Ms Berejiklian said.
"There will be no need for a timetable - customers will just turn up to one of the eight new stations proposed for the northwest and catch the next train."
She said boring machines would begin work on the North West Rail Link in 2014, with expressions of interest for the construction contract to be called for later this month.
The line is expected to take between five and six years to completed.
Ms Berejiklian would not set a timeframe for the building of the second harbour crossing.
The second crossing would be constructed under the harbour, the Transport Minister said.
Ms Berejiklian said the 20-year rail strategy, which is part of the draft Transport Master plan to be released later in the year, also included timetable changes which would contribute to a 60 per cent increase in services across all parts of the network.
"The plan addressed bottlenecks that severely limit the number of trains that can travel into the CBD from the north, west and south during peak periods, meaning more trains per hour for people right across the network and faster trips for intercity customers," she said.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-transport-shakeup-plan-for-single-deck-metrostyle-trains-and-second-harbour-crossing-and-20120620-20ngm.html#ixzz1yIt03yme