I think that whatever people say here will have no impact on detailed plans already made but as I enjoy a bit of debate may I continue.
After the GFC, Toll truck drivers in America were getting $7 per hour and wanted what we had in Australia and I saw on TV a family man with 3 kids also flipping burgers for $7 per hour also one radio caller said that it was so hard to get the dole there it was not worth applying.
Australia is about to enter its own GFC as when you cut the price of commodities by 50% you do not cut the tax but eliminate it and as an old ex coal miner who has seen three booms I have been predicting this for a couple of years. Everybody thought that the floor for iron ore would be $120 per tonne when the Chinese would close their uneconomical mines but they did not figure on A. a weakening Chinese economy and B. they would rather subsidise those mines than have civil unrest.
I believe the idea of a government is to act like a governor on a diesel to maintain stability so now is the time with approaching unemployment to build infrastructure.
I thought about what you said about a metro single being the wrong type of train and here is what I concluded.
The balance between surface rail and subway will change as land and bridges get more expensive and deep tunnels with large elevators, which can be located anywhere, become the future and even though I like the old DD trains they are not so good for tunnels because they need an emergency platform in the tunnel and they offer more wind resistance which uses more power and increases the heat problem.
A picture of a Metro style carriage I saw for the NWRL had conventional double seating on one side and perimeter seats on the other which would suit me as I like to stretch my legs out and am not too worried about sitting next to someone.
Australia survived GFC 1 because of four reasons only
1) Howard left ALP with a +$20B surplus at the end of 2007 + additional funds going into the Future Fund and zero govt debt. This left Rudd with a lot of spending options 18mths later when revenue dived and he was able to spend his way through.
2) The sudden 30% dive in the dollar at the start of the GFC also left many exporters in an excellent position to compete in a tough market.
3) The banks were healthy and with unemployment only rising slightly compared to other countries s defaults on loans were low. Australian banks also have the power to recoup a defaulted loan from other assets, in USA only the property financed against can be used and many just dropped the keys off and walked away.
4) Most Commodity prices recovered quickly.
I say most, aluminium did not and still has not recovered and hence why the aging Kurri Kurri and Geelong smelters closed as did the not long upgraded and very large Gove alumina refinery. The Chinese make aluminium and much higher cost than Australia but their market is protected. The Middle East growth during the last 10 years is also huge wipping out many western producers.
The down side of Australia's resistance to the GFC is that salaries didn't change, if anything they went up along with a rising dollar making Australia the most over pad markets in the world and hence we have seen the results finalling coming to roost in last 2 years with closure after closure. Basically if you earn more than roughly 35% of your 2003 salary and you do the same job, you are over paid. I went Expat in 2010 and the "Australian syndrome" is very obvious. OS Recruiters often don't bother with Aussie applications, guys leaving to go home to earn more money when other markets are cutting pre-GFC salaries/conditions and companies not even bothering to invite Aussie companies to tender because they know it will be expensive. I had a choice at end of 2010 having spent a year in India to go to Dubai or Australia. My wife and I know we lost money coming to Dubai, but feel that one of us would probably be jobless if we stayed in Oz.
Back to the subway.
When I said not suitable technology to run express to Paramatta.
- DD's can do 115km/hr in tunnels, certainly they used to in the Woy Woy tunnel before the speed was cut. The air gap around the train on DD's is quite reasonable because of the height of the train the sides leave a reasonable gap. The SD's can be a more tighter fit. London Tube would be the extreme case.
- I think you will find all greenfield tunnels these days have an emergency platform. I don't see why DD, SD or metro designs would make much different. If I recall Dubai has them. Not the best picture, but here http://www.durasteel.net/invictaimages/gallery/dubai-metro-10.jpg
Tunnels used for less frequent longhaul and freight may not comply with this, but when you have 500-1000 people per movement every 3-5min, the standards are probably different.
- If I recall correctly the NWRL trains are rated to 80-90km/hr which is not uncommon for this type of work as they are designed for faster acceleration and steeper climbs. Dubai Metro is 90km/hr. Its quite possible that the surface DD stock can do CBD to CBD faster as most/all the current stock is rated to 115km/hr, getting 130km/hr stock wouldn't be so hard and I think the V-sets can do it. Its up to the track and you probably can squeeze that with improvement in track infrastructure.
- The seating etc is not an issue. I agree with your statement.
With regarding future surface, yes agree, hence why NWRL is UG, on the Parramatta to city corridor the route is there now and reasonably straight. Just need to improve the efficiency of the existing track capacity to get the speed and volumes. Getting the inner west traffic off the corridor will help a lot.