Minister's answer undercut by cabinet documents on Sydney-Wollongong rail tunnel

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 28 Jun 2017 13:46
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Well you'd better dig a tunnel from Central to the Gong because either the alignment isn't suitable or the stations are too close together .

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  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Well you'd better dig a tunnel from Central to the Gong because either the alignment isn't suitable or the stations are too close together .
BDA
huh?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
A few comments
- Sims, you previously stated it was impossible to build a tunnel as ground is unstable, which it's not and this report obviously doesn't agree.

- Sims, you previously stayed you cannot reuse the original tunnel because it's "old" yet some of the original tunnels are still in use. Engineering wise as long as there hasn't been any significant ground movement it's fine to use. The original tunnel from near Waterfall to Helensbourgh is potentially ok. But let's assume not.

- of the 8 stations to be bypassed. A maxi taxi wouldn't be filled for all morning peak at 5 of those stations.

Helensbourgh is the major source of traffic followed by Stanwell Park.

- Freight should not be considered relegated to the existing line as this adds cost to the network and reduces the payback for the tunnel costs.

Suggestion
- The crow flys distance from Waterfall to Thirrul is roughly 20km. Assume tunnel is 16km continous.

- Build the tunnel single track to minimise costs but easy to duplicate in future. Close existing line.

- passing loop (1km in length) in centre roughly were Helensbourgh is. Include underground station. Extraction fans at each end of loop deal with diesel exhaust (done elsewhere).

- Stanwell Park is less than 10min via back road to likely new station for Helensbourgh.

- The above easily allows for 30min service and extra in peak. Off-peak they can run freights.

- Close the existing line where not used by coal mines. Convert to rail trail.

One final thing.

Yes Quad north of Sutherland is required to improve frequency of service. Another discussion.  But 1hr 20min for 70km of travel is really dark ages crap and needs to be resolved and a bittle neck for growth.This is worst line in Sydeny for average speed.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

- The crow flys distance from Waterfall to Thirrul is roughly 20km. Assume tunnel is 16km continous.
RTT_Rules

I had no idea it was so close as the crow flies.


passing loop (1km in length) in centre roughly were Helensbourgh is. Include underground station. Extraction fans at each end of loop deal with diesel exhaust (done elsewhere).
RTT_Rules

I don't think the crossing loop is necessary.  A 15km tunnel has a 7 min transit time for an H set, and less for something faster obviously.  That allows a peak 15 min frequency.

Close the existing line where not used by coal mines. Convert to rail trail.
RTT_Rules

You sold me on it with that last point!
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
For Helensbourgh station it would likely be an expanded cut or cut and cover. Won't make much difference to make wider for extra track and station anyway.  Just depends on what sort of TBM is used. A larger double track or individual tracks.
  Spletsie Chief Commissioner

Unfortunately over recent decades governments have prioritised roads over rail investment.
The cost of the tunnel is money they would rather spend on roads.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Unfortunately over recent decades governments have prioritised roads over rail investment.
The cost of the tunnel is money they would rather spend on roads.
Spletsie
Govts generally follow what people want and vote for.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
You are asking Governments to split spending priorities between metropolitan and outer areas , where do you think most of the votes are ?

The jobs simply aren't outside metropolitan areas any more and you can thank the death of manufacturing largely for this . Its forced more and more people to travel into Sydney and like it or not the quickest most direct route is often by road . Obviously the F6 is straighter and faster and the ride is parked in your driveway .

The real answer is decentralization , the jobs closer to the people . Somehow the polies esp the green slimes couldn't prop up employers in the Gong/Pt Kembla/Nowra so now the transport Piper has to be paid .
With the current population size and growth in Sydney competition for anything is fierce - and there is no easy answer to this .
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

> Govts generally follow what people want and vote for.
Fwiw, i think the hallmark of modern politics is a divergence from stated populist policy positions and implemented policy.

This current crop of Liberals have set a new low in Australia, but i think Trump epitomizes it perfectly.  Campaign on rhetoric you know is popular, but implement policy to suit you're financiers or yourselves.

Trains are very popular.  It politically impossible to cut services.  But there is little appetite to extend services because there is no vested interests with sufficient political donation capability asking for it.  The road construction lobby is another matter.

I think the lack of effective rail development in nsw over the past 30+ years highlights the falicy of rrt_rule's statement.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

》The real answer is decentralization , the jobs closer to the people .
I disagree.  Wollongong is as close to the Sydney cbd as Penrith as the crow flies.  Whats missing is the modern infrastructure to integrate the Illawarra ppulation into the Sydney market.  

Rail is an important missing piece, the lowest hanging fruit imho.  

The Illawarra needs a propoer Freeway  up Bulli Pass and direct to Parramatta/M4 as well imho.

I fear though we are seeing funding allocated to an F6 tollway extension as a means of funnelling customers into Westconnex
  8041 Junior Train Controller

Build the tunnel.

Quad Waterfall to Hurstville.

Cut existing line at Stanwell Pk viaduct.

Extend Sydney trains to Stanwell Pk (outer suburban. Does that still exist?)

Coalcliff to Thirroul becomes heritage electric rail operation. Maybe extended to Pt Kembla. Depot at Coalcliff.

Run proper Sth Coast expresses. Central, Hurstville, Sutherland, Helensburgh(new), Thirroul, Wollongong, Dapto, Kiama. With all stations trains in between.

More development in Wollongong, Dapto, Albion Pk areas.

Build Maldon to Dombarton.

Forget about the freeway. Which would undoubtably be a tollway anyway and end up costing far more than all of the above..
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Build the tunnel.

Quad Waterfall to Hurstville. - yes

Cut existing line at Stanwell Pk viaduct. - no

Extend Sydney trains to Stanwell Pk (outer suburban. Does that still exist?) - no

Coalcliff to Thirroul becomes heritage electric rail operation. Maybe extended to Pt Kembla. Depot at Coalcliff. -no

Run proper Sth Coast expresses. Central, Hurstville, Sutherland, Helensburgh(new), Thirroul, Wollongong, Dapto, Kiama. With all stations trains in between. yes

More development in Wollongong, Dapto, Albion Pk areas.

Build Maldon to Dombarton. yes

Forget about the freeway. Which would undoubtably be a tollway anyway and end up costing far more than all of the above.. - no.
8041

Coal trains from the coal mine still need to use the current route so it can't be closed down and the existing stations can be provided with local connecting services to Waterfall and Thirroul if a new rail bypass is built between these 2 stations.

F6 extension needs to be built. No if's or but's about it.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I would have thought that minds could realize that you can't have express services running between all stations snails . And what happens when you throw a few freighters into the mix ?
The Gong etc is not Sydney Metropolitan and don't tell anyone but Sydneys west doesn't have a Pacific Ocean or an Illawarra Escarpment on its doorstep .
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/benefits-from-a-wollongongtosydney-rail-upgrade-would-exceed-costs-cabinet-told-20170713-gxalvh.html


See I told you.
8041
Not sure of the M-D line is worth building but I'd start with the tunnel and go from there.

As mentioned by others the Quad nth of Sutherland needs to also occur to increase services but are the South Coast trains in peak all 8 car sets? If not train growth is an option as well before the costly Quad.

My 2030 vision for the ESR to South Coast and Southern suburbs line is
- South Coast tunnel

- Quad (no need for extra platforms), with the exemption of Mortdale as I would extend the all stopper to Mortdale and include St Peters and Eskinville and remove from these stations from the other lines and this way the Sutherland and Waterfall services can run all to Mortdale and thus simply the operation of the line.

- Relocate South Coast Platforms to unused underground above the ESR. This enables almost the complete segregation of the ESR and Southern suburbs and South coast from the rest of the network.
- Extend the ESR to Bondi Beach (2 stops) or North Bondi (3 stops) with a stop at Bondi
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
By International standards, and even by Australian standards, it's terrible.  60kph average for an "express" rail service.  Anything under 100kph *average* is sub par..

Sydney isn't like other international places. This is what we have and we have to deal with it. Stop bringing up what international places are doing.
simstrain
OK let's hop across to Perth which, last I heard, is in Australia. How would Transperth services run on this line if everything was up to scratch? Assuming Waterfall-Coledale was realigned, most of the rest of the line is pretty straight or gently curved like the Perth lines. Perth trains have a max speed of 130 km/h, Oscars 130, Endeavours 145 km/h.

Sydney-Thirroul vs Perth-Mandurah: both 70 km, with 5 intermediate stops on the NSW line and 10 intermediate stops on the Perth line. Sydney-Thirroul now takes 1hr 16min, Perth line takes 51 mins (**with 5 more stops**).

Thirroul-Kiama vs Leederville-Warnbro: both 50 km with 10 intermediate stops. Thirroul-Kiama now takes about 55 mins, Perth segment (which includes slowing down and winding through the city underground) takes 41 mins, not including 2 mins wait at Perth Station.

Kiama-Bomaderry vs Mandurah-Wellard: both about 30 km with 2 intermediate stops. Kiama-Bomaderry now takes 27 mins, Mandurah-Wellard 21 mins. (On the latter time they could turn the Endeavour around to run an hourly service instead of having to call in a bus.)

So, with a straightened line between Thirroul and Waterfall and whatever other touching up the line and signalling need, Transperth could run a Sydney-Bomaderry service in about 1hr 55 mins, plus changeover time at Kiama (which should be minimised on the present terrible gaps). That's about 40 mins faster than the present horrible south coast service, if you subtract the Kiama changeover.

Even without the work north of Thirroul, a service of Transperth quality could do the Bomaderry-Thirroul section about 20 mins faster (excluding the Kiama changeover time). That's something NSW Trains could try to accomplish right now without track realignment, but they just can't seem to manage it. Why not?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Nice example
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Pathetic example , Perth is NOTHING even remotely like Sydney in every imaginable way .
Don't believe me , go and have a look . And no not on Google maps ....

Oh and quad Como bank , have a look in that area too ....
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Pathetic example , Perth is NOTHING even remotely like Sydney in every imaginable way .
Don't believe me , go and have a look . And no not on Google maps ....

Oh and quad Como bank , have a look in that area too ....
BDA
I've spent a lot of time in Perth and know its railways in great detail. There is no terrain in Perth like Waterfall to Thirroul but the line profile over the other approx three-quarters of the south coast line is not unlike the profiles you find in Perth. If you knew Perth (which you don't seem to), you'll be aware that it's not exactly a flat, featureless plain at all. Suggest you acquaint yourself with the curve and gradient diagrams for the south coast too.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Don't need to , drove it on and off for quite some years . As far as Dunmore anyway . And you ?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The point is the line waa built for steam trains, we'll the original alignment waa down graded to steam. Steam finished 50 years ago when are we at least going back to the orginal alignment if not an improved one? Yes Sydney is hilly, but it has a much larger population to pay for it.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Don't need to , drove it on and off for quite some years . As far as Dunmore anyway . And you ?
BDA
Then you'll know it's reasonably straight to gently curved south of Thirroul and north of Waterfall.

My analogy was posed as a hypothetical to invite informed response from the knowledgable people on this forum as to what level of performance is possible and what isn't and what is needed to raise the level of performance to Perth standards. I'm not looking for dismissive putdowns thanks, otherwise I wouldn't bother posting.

This is about the approx 75% of the line north of Waterfall and south of Thirroul, not (for a change) about those more extreme curves on about 25% of the line that we already know need bypassing. It seems that most of the debate focusses on those curves, arguing somehow that therefore performance can't be raised on the entire line, when in fact most of the south coast is relatively the straightest of all the lines out of Sydney.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The point is the line waa built for steam trains, we'll the original alignment waa down graded to steam. Steam finished 50 years ago when are we at least going back to the orginal alignment if not an improved one? Yes Sydney is hilly, but it has a much larger population to pay for it.
RTT_Rules

A new alignment yes. The original alignment no. Sydney is hilly and this line is not for Sydney but Wollongong. Does Wollongong have the population to pay for it?
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
In all honesty if you really want to know about that part of the world ie Waterfall down to Austy I suggest you take a drive through the back roads to get an idea of the geography down there . The current grade book makes the Illa look easy past Loftus bank but its not and also not a very stable place . Also the illa is NOT an EMU pass only line .
As a kid I walked much of the original line exploring tunnels cuttings etc , the gradients are far worse along it and some parts have been built on .
There is no easy answer and the quarter of the line that isn't flash very likely won't change . The sheer cost would be crippling and you can take is as granted that even the people who travel through that area won't want to pay higher taxes etc to make it happen .  
Where the state and federal governments failed us in NSW is that when newer better roads were built they ignored the opportunity to build rail routes along side them . The roads were built with a clean sheet approach and the only way rail will ever escape the old stone/steam aged alignments is to do the same thing .
There is not the political will to do this and there is only so much public property that governments can sell off to say we're cashed up . Buying votes and saving face is what taxes often go towards .
If you could get a frank and honest answer from the Pollies they'd say if you need to commute from one end of the Illawarra Railway to the other often you're living in the wrong place and that's your choice .
The socially engineered answer is for the majority to move into high density living within close proximity to shops transport and jobs . Welcome to living in a tower over a shopping complex over a railway station .
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Where the state and federal governments failed us in NSW is that when newer better roads were built they ignored the opportunity to build rail routes along side them . The roads were built with a clean sheet approach and the only way rail will ever escape the old stone/steam aged alignments is to do the same thing .
BDA
The old DMR offered to incorporate a rail line to bypass the Picton curves when they built the motorway from Menangle to Bargo but the railways turned them down.

South Coast is a different situation. The railway is on the edge of a scarp in an area undermined by mining for kms inland (which also affects the roads). It's a difficult one, but there is a seemingly workable design for a tunnel bypass. The problem is that the government prioritises a motorway all the way from Bomaderry to St Peters over and above it.

Having people commuting from the interurban areas to Sydney actually suits state planning agendas. Sydney is running out of space and affordability for people to live and long-distance commuting eases this pressure. It's just that in the case of the south coast they seem to prefer this commuting to be by road because the railways never seem to be able to lift their performance even on the majority of the line that could carry a faster service. I think the government has given up on the state railways as being a hopeless case too difficult to resolve.

That doesn't mean that the people who use them should give up fighting against this and trying to improve the situation.

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