The way they've gone about the airport line is even worse. Their strategy for the St Marys connection is expensive, and inconvenient - any airport passenger will have to change trains and mix with commuters on one of the busiest train lines in Australia.
If it were me, I would extend the SWRL as an interim. Three new stations, less than 10km of double track. Yes, airport passengers would have to mix with commuters, but it'd be a hell of a lot cheaper to build, and it'd be a one-train journey. The main connection would come later - an extension of the Parramatta metro to Blacktown, before heading down to the airport. This extension would be build alongside the rest of the Parramatta metro, for the same 2030 opening date.
The St Marys - Airport link is basically a metro version of the Cumberland line. A great idea, sure, but is this really what we want to prioritise? Not at all.
As I keep banging on, the SWRL extension to the new airport is the most obvious and cheaper interim measure for a rail connection, before the broader western rail connections are warranted. That doesn't make it any less justifiable.
The Western Sydney Rail Needs Scoping Study Outcomes Report is a fraudulent document which seeks to justify the acceptance of the Outer Western metro option as a first stage compared with the cheaper and more appropriate SWRL extension. Infrastructure Australia called them out, but to their discredit, the Feds ignored their advice. Another rort, for which taxpayers are liable, when a cheaper option in the short term is available?
The longer term extension of Metro West to WSA is unlikely to go via Blacktown, which is on a north-westerly alignment, compared with a more direct route to the south-west. I don't think there's any chance that it would be built at the same time as Metro West, which would now appear to be pushing into the early 2030s.
A significant omission in the Outcomes Report in their assessment of the SWRL extension, was that no mention was made of its superior and more centrally located connection with the broader rail network compared with St Marys, nor importantly, providing a more direct and faster connection to the CBD without the need to interchange. It could also provide a more direct interim connection with Liverpool and Parramatta via the Cumberland Line as well as to Campbelltown/Macarthur with an interchange at Glenfield. The current upgrades to the existing network with digital signalling and ATO will significantly reduce journey times which would be equivalent to a metro service. As a side benefit, there's also the prospect of directly connecting Sydney's two airports with the CBD. Introducing an airport passenger friendly compatible SD service is not out of the question.
A major problem with the St Marys - Airport link, and its further extensions, is that it is introducing yet another incompatible sector on Sydney's rail network. The proposed North-South metro link will not be compatible with the current metro lines, as it will operate wider rolling stock and will be limited to 4 car trains, as will the station infrastructure. Only 3 car trains will operate initially. There will be no through running from Metro Northwest and interchange will ultimately be required at Schofields.
Just to throw a cat amongst the pigeons, I would advocate that the metro connections with the new airport be scrapped altogether and that the previously proposed SWRL extensions to St Marys and Narellan (and beyond) be reinstated. This was always the intended scheme until the metro usurper came onto the scene. The existing Rossmore stabling yard would service this sector and there would be no need for a separate metro stabling yard. A continuous Cumberland Line circuit could be instigated connecting the Airport and Aerotropolis with Liverpool, Parramatta, Blacktown and St Marys, as well as a direct link with the existing Sydney Airport and the CBD. What does it take to knock some sense into these neanderthals?
The existing Metro Northwest could ultimately be extended from Tallawong to St Marys for through services without the need to interchange at Schofields.