T4 and SCO post NIF and T3 Metro conversion

 
  Totoro Locomotive Driver

If my local line (T9) became a permanent all stations route, it would pretty much force me to get out and change at the earliest possible interchange point for a faster/express service. Be that Central express services at Strathfield, or Metro at Epping (Which is fine for me, but I know others can’t stand the idea of interchange.)

Frequency is important, but for those of us who work long hours every day, the single most important consideration is to spend as little time commuting as possible. Hopefully the timetable wizards will keep that in mind.. Smile

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  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Not sure where this metro comparison has arisen from. Sure, metro does some things better than Sydney Trains, but the dwells are longer with ST simply because the trains have greater capacity per unit length and therefore have more passengers per train movement.
scadam

The comparison is because we have both types of trains now and the difference between them is observable. To meet the frequency of 24tph it is going to require dwells that DD's are just not capable of in the Sydney underground. This greater capacity is just one of the reasons why my point is valid that the signalling upgrade isn't anything more then a marketing gimmick. 60 years of operation show that DD's take longer to dwell and signalling isn't the issue.
  scadam Station Master

The comparison is because we have both types of trains now and the difference between them is observable.
simstrain
We won't have a proper comparison until the city section of the metro opens. I'm picking Victoria Cross northbound in the PM to have the worst dwell on the system.

To meet the frequency of 24tph it is going to require dwells that DD's are just not capable of in the Sydney underground.
simstrain

We can obviously manage 20 trains just fine, and the current operating margin is 60 seconds. If the new signalling can safely reduce this to 30 seconds then we don't need the dwell times to get any shorter at all.

60 years of operation show that DD's take longer to dwell and signalling isn't the issue.
simstrain

Yes, we have all agreed that a fully loaded double deck train will have a longer dwell than a single deck metro train. The signalling isn't a magic bullet that will fix all the problems, but to say it's irrelevant is questionable.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I'm not sure what you mean by operating margin but if that is the minimum gap between operating trains in the underground then 30 seconds is already achievable. Mind you that is when the trains are dawdling or waiting in the tunnels because the train ahead is still stuck at the platform. It is the in platform performace where all the time is lost and that isn't changing or getting better with the stations we currently have in the CBD or a new signalling system. The low average speed is another issue with achieving any improvement in this regard.

I'm watching Phil's latest video on the underground Central and Redfern stations and the trains are taking 1 minute to get in and out of the platform with the opening and closing of doors. The dwell is not shown but considering the limited amount of people getting on and off the train in the video that would not be representative of actual dwell performance.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
The current signalling allows for headways of 120 seconds together with a dwell time of 60 seconds at the CBD stations, which accounts for the 180 second frequency or 20tph.  The new digital signalling will reduce the headways to 90 seconds with the same dwell of 60 seconds, which equates to a 150 second frequency or 24tph.  ATP/ATO will allow the trains to travel closer together at faster speeds more safely.  It's certainly no marketing gimmick as suggested by simstrain.  The metro has the same headways of 90 seconds and station dwells of 30 seconds, giving it its 30tph.
  scadam Station Master

I'm not sure what you mean by operating margin
simstrain
The headway is governed by (1) dwell time at the busiest station, (2) the minimum safe operating distance or time between trains and (3) an operating margin to allow for late running and avoid a cascading delay. Last I heard, the operating margin was set at 60 seconds, although this was mentioned in conversation so I'm not 100% certain if this is still accurate.
  Griffinrails Official Locomotive Driver

Location: Dunno. (help i'm lost)
(sort of off topic) I've heard news that the Port Kembla branch will be closing for passengers in 2026? Is this true? Also, what will happen for the local Wollongong services then? Will they disappear like in Newcastle?
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
(sort of off topic) I've heard news that the Port Kembla branch will be closing for passengers in 2026? Is this true?
Griffinrails Official
Sounds like a foamer rumour. Haven't heard anything to suggest it is true. Would also be a pain for the railway given how many trains they stable at Port every night.
  alleve Station Master

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
I remember reading that in a government report, although I don't remember which one or where to find it. Iirc the plan was to replace the Port Kembla branch with a bus service due to very low patronage. The railway would remain open for freight and for train stabling, but passenger services would cease and the stations would close. I don't remember the time frame that was given
  Griffinrails Official Locomotive Driver

Location: Dunno. (help i'm lost)
Hopefully it doesn't happen, it's the only trace of industrial passenger trains left.
  ExtremeCommuter Station Master

Been watching this topic for a while, but never saw it necessary to contribute until now

SCO services would continue on the Local to Sydney Terminal.
Transtopic
Agreed that South Coast Line (unrelated, but why is the South Coast Line SCO and not SCL?) should terminate at Sydney Terminal, it's an intercity service and logically should terminate at the intercity platforms instead of continuing down the Eastern Suburbs line and having the seats will with suburban passengers.

Only one big problem with using the local though, how would the train stop at Wolli Creek? that station should it definitely one of the poorest designed stations on the network, it should had had extra surface platforms and Platforms 1/2 should have been an island with a direct lift to the surface platforms (with the concourse as an intermediate), as it stands Wolli Creek is a station with the most stairs, slowest lifts, and tightest connections.

But unfortunately it is too much of an important station to skip for SCO services, being an interchange for the T8 and the airport, SCO trains should also stop at Sydenham for interchange to Bankstown/Liverpool, and the metro, and for that matter, NOT stop at Redfern due to close proximity to Central, and maybe consider not stopping at Hurstville.

Departing Wolli Creek, trains would be timetabled at 150 second intervals. The trains not stopping at Tempe will make up 30 seconds to Sydenham. At Sydenham, trains would depart in pairs 120 seconds apart, with 180 seconds between pairs. The leading train would run express to Erskineville. The second train would slow down to stop at St Peters, using up that 30 second advantage it had (plus 30s dwell), so by the time it reaches the ESR turnout, it is once again 150 seconds behind the train in front.
scadam
Are you suggesting one train stop at Erskeville and the other stop at St Peters, this would create a situation where one needs to catch two trains to go one stop, yes one-stop passengers are rare, but stopping patterns like this lead to a confusing and complicated network.

It's bad enough we have trains that terminate at Homebush, but at least it's not like pre-2017 where a Homebush resident would need to catch 2 trains to go 1 stop to Flemington Markets.

(sort of off topic) I've heard news that the Port Kembla branch will be closing for passengers in 2026? Is this true? Also, what will happen for the local Wollongong services then? Will they disappear like in Newcastle?
Griffinrails Official
The Port Kembla Branch has every low patronage but there is potential to extend it through Warrawong, Windang, and Shellharbour City Centre and link back to the main line and create a very useful local service, closing the line for passengers would be a waste of this potential.

I do fear for the Wollongong local service, the layout of Wollongong is perfect for suburban rail, but the hourly frequency and lack of connections keep passengers away, it would definitely be a sad day to see local stations have their weekend frequency cut to once every 2 hours (like in Newcastle) and further cement the fact that NSW is a state with 801,150 km2 of land with ONE liveable city (Sydney).

One promising thing is that local stations are getting upgrade in recent years, Fairy Meadow just got an upgrade, and Towradgi currently has one under construction, with another planned at Bellambi, it's also most like something good is being planned for local assets that are not Sydney-centric,


then again Adamstown in Newcastle also recently got upgraded with there is nothing planned for that city, all it's ever been there is cutbacks, and it even got an eye-sore of a platform extension for intercity trains, even though it's a local station that should be served by local trains.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Agreed that South Coast Line (unrelated, but why is the South Coast Line SCO and not SCL?) should terminate at Sydney Terminal, it's an intercity service and logically should terminate at the intercity platforms instead of continuing down the Eastern Suburbs line and having the seats will with suburban passengers.

Only one big problem with using the local though, how would the train stop at Wolli Creek? that station should it definitely one of the poorest designed stations on the network, it should had had extra surface platforms and Platforms 1/2 should have been an island with a direct lift to the surface platforms (with the concourse as an intermediate), as it stands Wolli Creek is a station with the most stairs, slowest lifts, and tightest connections.

But unfortunately it is too much of an important station to skip for SCO services, being an interchange for the T8 and the airport, SCO trains should also stop at Sydenham for interchange to Bankstown/Liverpool, and the metro, and for that matter, NOT stop at Redfern due to close proximity to Central, and maybe consider not stopping at Hurstville.


ExtremeCommuter
In answer to your query about the acronym for the South Coast Line, all of the Intercity line acronyms are based on their destinations without including 'Line', i.e. SCO, CCN, BMT and SHL.  I agree that it is sensible for all Intercity services to terminate at Sydney Terminal.  It remains to be seen whether peak CC services via the North Shore Line will continue as they will likely be 10 car D-sets once they become operational.

On the question of SCO services stopping at Wolli Creek on the Local, this has been discussed at length on other threads and although new platforms might be feasible, I suspect that it won't happen.  SCO passengers wishing to interchange to the Airport Line will be able to interchange at Hurstville on the same platform to a following Cronulla/Waterfall semi-express service to Wolli Creek.  Not ideal I know, but relatively seamless.  SCO services should definitely stop at Hurstville and Sydenham.  Not sure about Redfern, but it will become an increasingly important destination for Sydney University students and workers in the Australian Technology Park.  You could legitimately classify it as a CBD station now.
  scadam Station Master

Departing Wolli Creek, trains would be timetabled at 150 second intervals. The trains not stopping at Tempe will make up 30 seconds to Sydenham. At Sydenham, trains would depart in pairs 120 seconds apart, with 180 seconds between pairs. The leading train would run express to Erskineville. The second train would slow down to stop at St Peters, using up that 30 second advantage it had (plus 30s dwell), so by the time it reaches the ESR turnout, it is once again 150 seconds behind the train in front.
Are you suggesting one train stop at Erskeville and the other stop at St Peters, this would create a situation where one needs to catch two trains to go one stop, yes one-stop passengers are rare, but stopping patterns like this lead to a confusing and complicated network.

It's bad enough we have trains that terminate at Homebush, but at least it's not like pre-2017 where a Homebush resident would need to catch 2 trains to go 1 stop to Flemington Markets.
ExtremeCommuter
I'm not suggesting that this should occur all day. It would only be during the peak hours and only in the peak direction, when there would be a train every 2.5mins. Anyone on the 'wrong' train can step back onto the following service at Sydenham.

This leaves only the following journeys affected: St Peters to Erskineville in the AM, and Erskineville to St Peters in the PM. The walking distance between these two stations is less than 1km, so anyone who is physically able would already be making this trip on foot rather than relying on the train every day.

People who are not physically able and want to make these oddly specific trips during peak hours can either catch the bus or double back at Redfern by crossing the platform.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Double decker multiple units were pioneered on the Sydney suburban back in the 1960s and these are spreading around the world, being increasingly ordered for the busiest non-metro passenger heavy rail lines with a large enough loading gauge. Greater capacity and passenger comfort are given as the reasons.
One of those is the Paris R.E.R where 30 double decker trains are run per hour.
  Totoro Locomotive Driver

Double decker multiple units were pioneered on the Sydney suburban back in the 1960s and these are spreading around the world, being increasingly ordered for the busiest non-metro passenger heavy rail lines with a large enough loading gauge. Greater capacity and passenger comfort are given as the reasons.
One of those is the Paris R.E.R where 30 double decker trains are run per hour.
Myrtone
Double decker trains are great for longer distance commutes with fewer stops, but for shorter trips, single decker metro style trains really can’t be beat in terms of getting people on/off quickly and efficiently. Smile The nominal (pre-COVID) experience of being seated on a Sydney DD in peak hour was one of having to climb over two other seats, then pushing your way up/down the stairs and out of a crowded vestibule packed tighter than a clown car. I.e. not great. It would be downright scary were it to be replicated in COVID times. The comfort of sitting down just doesn’t add up against those other problems.

The faster we convert all of the suburban Sydney trains services to single decker Metro, the better imo.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Double decker trains are great for longer distance commutes with fewer stops...
Totoro
Sydney is low density and commutes within the metropolitan area can be quite long. Think of all the trains running to and from the outer suburbs that run express in the inner suburbs.
Metro proponents like to claim that a lot of people in the Northwest aren't travelling all the way to the city but between stations in the Northwest? So what are buses doing on the M2 tollway?
Is the metro really popular for shopping trips, such as to Castle Towers?
The faster we convert all of the suburban Sydney trains services to single decker Metro, the better imo.
Totoro
All suburban services?
  scadam Station Master

So what are buses doing on the M2 tollway?
Myrtone
I think 607X and 610X won't be going anywhere. Other than their terminus connections at Bella Vista / Castle Hill, they serve entirely different catchments to the metro. That being said, there could be a strong case for diverting these buses to Macquarie Centre and Macquarie Park full-time, with a peak-hours-only extension into the city via Lane Cove Tunnel.

The faster we convert all of the suburban Sydney trains services to single decker Metro, the better imo.
Totoro
Double deck allows more passengers per train movement. This enables a mix of fast and slow services on the same track pair (e.g. West Local between Granville and Redfern). If there is less capacity per train movement, you need to run more trains. By way of example, the inner west ('T2') all stops trains might need to run every 10mins instead of every 15mins if a conversion to single deck was made. However, this wouldn't give the express 'T2' trains ex Leppington enough of a gap to run express between the all stops trains.

The main obstacle for any metro conversion is the fact that the most 'metro-like' sections of the existing Sydney Trains network are fed by long-distance service from the west, south-west and south. The Eastern Suburbs Railway is fed by Cronulla and Waterfall services ('T4'); the Airport line is fed by services from Campbelltown ('T8'); and the North Shore line is fed by the Western and Northern lines ('T1', 'T9').

A compromise could be trialling single deck trains for (say) the all-stations trains ex Homebush or Parramatta, travelling around the city circle then to Revesby via the Airport. However, this would mess with the working timetable, because these runs would need to be exclusively operated on this pattern only and not integrated with any Leppington or Macarthur services (there is plenty of this in the current system of working). A big hassle for limited overall benefit.
  alleve Station Master

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
IMO there isn't a single DD train line in Sydney that could be converted to metro without some sort of problem or large expense.

The T4 would probably be the best candidate, but it honestly doesn't need it. As a T4 commuter, I can honestly say things are fine the way they are, and the work needed to upgrade the line to metro (quad tracking to separate freight and the SCO) would not be worth the minuscule improvements on what is Sydney's most efficient train line. The T4 will have the capacity it needs after the express and local tracks are switched and when the ETCS goes in.

Metro works best in Sydney on lines which target high density areas, and only high density areas. The Parramatta line is a great example of this. The western airport line... not so much. Metro has the potential to be something great, but sadly politics gets in the way far too much, and we get left with projects like the Bankstown metro, which gives high capacity to Sydney's least used major line. They're not even converting the full line, introducing yet another shuttle service. Putting metro on a suburban line isn't a good idea.
  PeeJay Junior Train Controller

Location: Riverstone NSW

The faster we convert all of the suburban Sydney trains services to single decker Metro, the better imo.
Totoro


Oh hell no! Sydney suburban is far too big for that. Rouse Hill to the city by metro is pushing the levels of discomfort people are willing to take. I live out that way and only take the metro when I'm in a hurry. I'd rather spend the extra 20 minutes or so and drive to Riverstone.

Having said that, the metro is awesome and we need more of it, it just sucks for anything over 30 mins.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
IMO there isn't a single DD train line in Sydney that could be converted to metro without some sort of problem or large expense.

The T4 would probably be the best candidate, but it honestly doesn't need it. As a T4 commuter, I can honestly say things are fine the way they are, and the work needed to upgrade the line to metro (quad tracking to separate freight and the SCO) would not be worth the minuscule improvements on what is Sydney's most efficient train line. The T4 will have the capacity it needs after the express and local tracks are switched and when the ETCS goes in.

Metro works best in Sydney on lines which target high density areas, and only high density areas. The Parramatta line is a great example of this. The western airport line... not so much. Metro has the potential to be something great, but sadly politics gets in the way far too much, and we get left with projects like the Bankstown metro, which gives high capacity to Sydney's least used major line. They're not even converting the full line, introducing yet another shuttle service. Putting metro on a suburban line isn't a good idea.
alleve
Very true.  The new metro lines have already compromised Sydney Trains' services by taking over the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link, the Bankstown Line and the new cross harbour link which was meant to allow for an increase in services on T3 and T8 as well as the Northern Line, North West Rail Link and a possible future Northern Beaches Railway.

Part of the justification for the ECRL was to allow Upper Northern Line services to be diverted from the Northern Line via Strathfield to the CBD via the North Shore Line to offer some relief on the congested Inner West corridor.  Instead, with the metro taking over, those Upper Northern Line services are now diverted back via Strathfield, with peak hour services terminating/starting at Central because of the lack of paths available through the CBD and across the Harbour Bridge.

The Bankstown Line conversion and its linking with the new cross harbour tunnel cuts off any option for additional Sydney Trains' services, such as for T8, as they will not be compatible.  The Bankstown Line metro is unlikely to ever warrant more than 15tph, so half the capacity of the new cross harbour link from the south is wasted, unless there is a change of heart about branching of metro lines.

Turning to T4, the merging of the Hurstville all stoppers and Cronulla/Waterfall semi-express services will deliver up to 24tph between Wolli Creek and Bondi Junction, which is probably more than a single metro line would provide.  If you converted the Main to metro from Hurstville to Bondi Junction, then where do the Cronulla/Waterfall services go?  What benefit would there be in conversion?  I'd suggest none.

No, there's no place for further metro conversions as compromises have to be made as demonstrated with the Bankstown Line conversion.  Better to stick with building new fully segregated metro lines to areas not currently serviced by rail.
  alleve Station Master

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
The Bankstown Line conversion and its linking with the new cross harbour tunnel cuts off any option for additional Sydney Trains' services, such as for T8, as they will not be compatible.  The Bankstown Line metro is unlikely to ever warrant more than 15tph, so half the capacity of the new cross harbour link from the south is wasted, unless there is a change of heart about branching of metro lines.

Turning to T4, the merging of the Hurstville all stoppers and Cronulla/Waterfall semi-express services will deliver up to 24tph between Wolli Creek and Bondi Junction, which is probably more than a single metro line would provide.  If you converted the Main to metro from Hurstville to Bondi Junction, then where do the Cronulla/Waterfall services go?  What benefit would there be in conversion?  I'd suggest none.

No, there's no place for further metro conversions as compromises have to be made as demonstrated with the Bankstown Line conversion.  Better to stick with building new fully segregated metro lines to areas not currently serviced by rail.
Transtopic
The Bankstown Line conversion was purely political (in a move that completely failed due to the Covid response against the South-East and the seeming lack of one against the Eastern Suburbs. There is a lot of resentment in the South). Sure, it helps by removing the T3 from the City Circle. That's a great benefit, but a benefit that doesn't mean anything until the T2 has its express and local services segregated like the T8 does between Wolli Creek and Revesby. If they truly wanted to fix things they'd be investing in quad track between Redfern to Lidcombe, Cabramatta to Liverpool. This would allow two main stopping patterns much like the T8 has: All stops to Liverpool via Regents Park, Limited stops to Leppington via Granville. Until this happens, T2 capacity won't increase much, because its biggest limitation is sharing tracks with itself, not sharing tracks with the T3. It's also worth noting that the Govt's failure to extend the metro by only two stops means that there will also be a new shuttle service competing with the T2 between Regents Park and Lidcombe, although I'm sure it could be timetabled to have negligible impact.

The T4 would presumably operate the same way as a metro as it currently does, with all services past Hurstville being all stops due to the lack of quad track. The biggest issue with a T4 metro is that freight and SCO trains use the T4's tracks. They would need entirely new double track between Waterfall and Wolli Creek.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Oh hell no! Sydney suburban is far too big for that. Rouse Hill to the city by metro is pushing the levels of discomfort people are willing to take. I live out that way and only take the metro when I'm in a hurry. I'd rather spend the extra 20 minutes or so and drive to Riverstone.

Having said that, the metro is awesome and we need more of it, it just sucks for anything over 30 mins.
PeeJay
I agree with the first part about ST not being converted but definitely not about the metro being uncomfortable. It's seats are no less comfortable then a waratah train. It's average speed is 20km/h faster then ST and so the comfort thing is actually in the metro's favour since the journey is shorter with that service.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The metro is not less comfortable because the seats are less comfortable but because there are fewer of them, so fewer people get a seat.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The metro is not less comfortable because the seats are less comfortable but because there are fewer of them, so fewer people get a seat.
Myrtone

Aside from opening day the system has never had such a load on it. If you want a seat you can get one especially past epping. It has 15 trains an hour which the Richmond line certainly doesn't get and even when the cbd metro is opened the capacity can be increased and standing would be for a short time only. ST services can have people standing for much longer then what the Metro will.

As for standing I have often had to stand on an ST train from Town Hall or Central to Granville and sometimes even to Fairfield so I'm not buying that more people standing bull jive at all.
  BaysideManny Train Controller

The metro is not less comfortable because the seats are less comfortable but because there are fewer of them, so fewer people get a seat.
Myrtone
I am from Victoria and I do not understand the opposition to Sydney Metro. It is better than anything the Victorian Government is hoping to do. I can understand the reservations of converting the Bankstown line to Metro. I can also understand why the NSW Government is doing so.

Just compare what the previously unserved NW Suburbs of Sydney now have in terms of rail provision, with the previously unserved SW Suburbs of Melbourne are getting.

NW Suburbs of Sydney

36km of Railway, 8 new stations running from Tallawong to Chatswood, with Interchanges with Sydney Trains at Epping and Chatswood, served by trains every 4 mins during the peak and every 10 mins off peak. Operated by Automated 6 car electric trains. From 2024 the service will be extended through the CBD to Bankstown, with a capacity of 30 trains per hour.

SW Suburbs of Melbourne

28km of Railway, 2 new stations from Deer Park to Wyndhamvale. served by 3 car velocity DMU's served by trains every 10 mins during the peak and every 20 mins off peak.

So whilst Sydney gets a game changing Metro network capable of moving thousands of extra commuters, Melbourne gets a pathetic low frequency by-pass. Just a dirt cheap way of providing a suburban service to Tarneit and Wyndhamvale at very little cost to the Vic Government.

Think Sydney Metro is a bad idea, I just don't get it.

Mannie

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