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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
The backers of a second railway on the Harbour Bridge believe
passengers would flock to a new service, which would bring
much-needed capacity to the city's overstretched lines.
The scheme is under serious Government consideration, though
details of its possible route are scarce. It is likely that a new
station would be built near East Darling Harbour, alongside a site
identified by the Government for a one-kilometre long park next to
office buildings on the old Patrick stevedoring site.
It is understood the consortium that has been working on the
project, led by Westpac and Leightons, has undertaken detailed
analysis on possible rail corridors and some buildings might have
to be acquired or demolished.
One option, supported by consultants working on the Government's
task force for the revitalisation of Parramatta Road, would take
the line south from the Harbour Bridge through Glebe to link up
with the rest of the network at Newtown station.
The long-term strategic plan for rail, prepared in 2001 for
state cabinet by the former co-ordinator general of Rail, Ron
Christie, argued for a Metro-style service with single-deck
carriages through a second North Sydney station to Crows Nest,
Naremburn, Willoughby and Chatswood. It might later be extended to
In 2001 Mr Christie said "operational paralysis" would afflict
the network unless the Government adopted his plans, which called
for five new lines, 80 new stations and expenditure of $22 billion
on carriages and maintenance over 10 years.
"I am convinced that, without this level of minimum urgent and
essential expenditure, the system will not cope, services will
remain unreliable, on-time running will remain unacceptable and the
effects on safety cannot be ruled out," Mr Christie warned.
The second harbour crossing idea has emerged in the wake of the
Government's decision to suspend planning for the M4 East
extension. The Roads Minister, Michael Costa, pushed for the road
to be shelved pending a reassessment of transport needs to take
account of traffic growth caused by the expansion of the Port
Botany container terminal.
A truck-only tunnel from Port Botany to the M4 is one option
being pursued by an integrated transport committee as part of the
Government's metropolitan strategy for the next 25 years.
But a new rail link, expanding choked city centre lines, is one
of the committee's most pressing priorities.
Since the Christie report was delivered, the network has become
A driver shortage last year led to scores of services being
cancelled at short notice; a new timetable was scrapped weeks
before it was due to begin; and on some days not a single train was
The Government is spending $1 billion on untangling intersecting
lines and has promised to make all carriages air-conditioned by
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