Context of new $500m announcement for high speed rail Sydney-Newcastle

 
  vk3pb Beginner

Hi everyone

I read here

https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/nsw-government-commits-500-million-to-fast-rail-plan-to-improve-quality-of-life-for-residents-across-the-state/news-story/e40dfa9e43486ff817ddfc8b481a84d4

that the NSW government was going to spend $500m on uoprading the line to Newcastle.

"The funding will go to the first stage of the Northern Corridor, helping build two new electrified rail tracks between Tuggerah and Wyong, new platforms and station upgrades."

At the same time this article

https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/politics/anthony-albanese-to-pledge-500m-for-highspeed-rail-project-between-sydney-and-newcastle/news-story/7b530d248633dc78574088cf09efe801

talked about Albanese committng $500m towards high speed rail between Sydney and Newcastle as part of a broader plan for a high speed rail network on the east coast.

So there's, all up, $1 billion for rail upgrades for Sydney- Newcastle. However when I look at a map, Tuggeragh-Wyong already has two electrified tracks and the distance between these towns is not very large. I can't see how a few extra tracks would have a significant impact on the overall travel time.

More importantly however, Albanese appears to be proposing a TGV or Shinkhansen style service which would require very straight tracks and probably a lot of tunnel boring. Perrottet's funds appear to be being directed towards simply upgrading the current commuter service and it is hard to see how the current alignment with a few extra tracks at some points and perhaps an extra bridge or two will facilitate a Shinkhansen or TGV style service. In other words Albanese is proposing a brand new high speed track whereas Perrottet is proposing some modest upgrades to the existing (slow) service.

Am I reading this wrong is there a disconnect between Albaneses' plans and Perrotet's plans?

cheers Peter

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  alleve Train Controller

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
Hi everyone

I read here

https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/nsw-government-commits-500-million-to-fast-rail-plan-to-improve-quality-of-life-for-residents-across-the-state/news-story/e40dfa9e43486ff817ddfc8b481a84d4

that the NSW government was going to spend $500m on uoprading the line to Newcastle.

"The funding will go to the first stage of the Northern Corridor, helping build two new electrified rail tracks between Tuggerah and Wyong, new platforms and station upgrades."

At the same time this article

https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/politics/anthony-albanese-to-pledge-500m-for-highspeed-rail-project-between-sydney-and-newcastle/news-story/7b530d248633dc78574088cf09efe801

talked about Albanese committng $500m towards high speed rail between Sydney and Newcastle as part of a broader plan for a high speed rail network on the east coast.

So there's, all up, $1 billion for rail upgrades for Sydney- Newcastle. However when I look at a map, Tuggeragh-Wyong already has two electrified tracks and the distance between these towns is not very large. I can't see how a few extra tracks would have a significant impact on the overall travel time.

More importantly however, Albanese appears to be proposing a TGV or Shinkhansen style service which would require very straight tracks and probably a lot of tunnel boring. Perrottet's funds appear to be being directed towards simply upgrading the current commuter service and it is hard to see how the current alignment with a few extra tracks at some points and perhaps an extra bridge or two will facilitate a Shinkhansen or TGV style service. In other words Albanese is proposing a brand new high speed track whereas Perrottet is proposing some modest upgrades to the existing (slow) service.

Am I reading this wrong is there a disconnect between Albaneses' plans and Perrotet's plans?

cheers Peter
vk3pb
Albanese wants to achieve faster rail before attempting high speed rail. So his TGV plans would come after general upgrades, and for the time being him and Perrottet are on the same page (and to be honest, I can't see Perrottet being against the concept of a TGV service either). Both parties are in a race to claim credit for speeding up rail services, and both parties are throwing around claims of a one hour Sydney-Newcastle.

As far as I can tell, the two lots of $500 million are being spent on the same thing (ie $1 billion towards the quad between Wyong and Tuggerah + station upgrades). It seems some sort of agreement has been made between Albo and Perrottet (does he have a nickname?). No doubt this won't be the only upgrades to come, and as part of those there would be alignment changes (which would then presumably be part of the HSR line when/if that happens).

The quad itself won't speed up services, apart from in the sense that it will allow express trains another location to overtake local trains, and it will allow all trains to overtake freighters. Therefore, all potential speed benefits are timetable dependent, and they aren't significant. This particular upgrade appears more capacity oriented than anything else.

I'm also intrigued by Perrottet's promise of 45 minute Sydney-Wollongong (currently a 1.5 hour journey, 45 minutes only gets you to just past Waterfall). I personally think it's BS, but we may well see alignment improvements such as duplication and possibly even a very expensive Thirroul-Helensburgh bypass. It wouldn't achieve 45 minute journey times but it'd still make it a hell of a lot quicker.
  Totoro Junior Train Controller

Without knowing more, all I can say is that Perrotet’s approach makes the most sense (to me) right now. While the economic headwinds are here, let’s focus on targeted upgrades rather than building a new HSR.

If we had money for HSR, why not the northern beaches link, etc.

If the Feds want to kick in some support for upgrades of the Northern Line, that’s great (Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Stage 2 please). Hopefully the two governments won’t be working at cross-purposes, whatever they do.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I don't see anyone on this forum ever seeing a full service from Central to Wickham as HST, the cost for a start would be beyond what both the feds and NSW gov can afford, although it would provide a lot of jobs into the future.  

However, when one looks at the short north as an overall, a new line would be huge in costs especially getting the old line from Hornsby to Tuggerah via Gosford, would cost much more with little overall benefits for the cost, and the primary users would be freight and the local services to Tuggerah.  With that in mind a faster section could improve services beyond Tuggerah through to at least Morriset.

That would not be HSR but could be made into a faster rail element.

The old Tuggerah down & up crossing loops would be reinstated and to provide access for both Freight and Pax, I would suggest that the new alignments could well be extended from a point near where a Future Fowler road extension is proposed south of Tuggerah.  The Wyong clutter on roads would be removed and 4 tracks could readily be brought into service to or past the Pacific Highway overbridge to the North of Wyong.

The Wyong Road overbridge just south of Tuggerah has more than enough room for extra lines, both down and up lines to compliment the current two lines to further extend the loop.  What would be also needed is for overhead station access above the lines with lifts and/or escalators to both sides of the new lines.  Both Wyong and Tuggerah would also need to have new car parks in place.

On Google earth, one can see a lot of shadow roads, which includes the new work through Wyong main st also over the river to the south of Wyong, there is planned new road crossing across the river, which allows for 2 new bridges that would straighten the line through to and past Wyong station.  Likewise with the need for new car parks would be work on the main street and bus stop/car park on the western side.
  alleve Train Controller

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
Without knowing more, all I can say is that Perrotet’s approach makes the most sense (to me) right now. While the economic headwinds are here, let’s focus on targeted upgrades rather than building a new HSR.

If we had money for HSR, why not the northern beaches link, etc.

If the Feds want to kick in some support for upgrades of the Northern Line, that’s great (Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Stage 2 please). Hopefully the two governments won’t be working at cross-purposes, whatever they do.
Totoro
As it is they're both taking the same approach. They're both talking a big game about making HSR a reality while only doing work to achieve faster rail (which is probably as good a strategy as we're going to get). I don't think they'll be working at cross-purposes, neither get anything from trying to stuff each other, and the agreement NSW and the Feds has come to over the Wyong-Tuggerah quad is promising. I can see them doing the same for the SCO at some point.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

So not really high speed rail but basically a quadding. The real upgrade definetely needs to come from north of Hornsby and the second part of the northern sydney freight corridor.
  WimbledonW Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney

Tuggerah-Wyong already has two electrified tracks and the distance between these towns is not very large. I can't see how a few extra tracks would have a significant impact on the overall travel time.
alleve
The extra tracks between Tuggerah and Wyong will allow fast trains to overtake slow trains, with reduced loss of time to those slow trains. The quad section is roughly halfway between Sydney and Newcastle. High speed turnouts would be needed at both ends of the quad section. To allow some slow trains to terminate at Wyong the slow tracks need to be in the middle. North of Wyong there are refuging facilities for 1800m long freight trains. The length of the quad section should be as long as possible.
  YM-Mundrabilla The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
And we don't even need some fancy gauge changing gizmo!Smile
  62440 Chief Commissioner

It is about 170km from Sydney to Newcastle, a train needs to be able to run at a sustained 300k/h at least including through Sydney suburbs. It needs to be very straight but can have much steeper grades hence it has to be a completely separate line rather than an upgrade to the existing and will need substantial tunnelling. One hour? Tell him he's dreaming. You won't get much for $500m! Not even a new bridge over the Hawkebury!
  ANR Chief Commissioner

Where does the nif train fit in to any of this?
  alleve Train Controller

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
@ANR the NIF doesn't fit into this, other than in the sense that the NIF can travel at 160km/h compared to the Oscars and V Sets which top out at 130 and 115 respectively. Track straightening and quad from North Strathfield to West Ryde would be needed for the NIFs to hit higher speeds than the current trains
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
And we don't even need some fancy gauge changing gizmo!Smile
YM-Mundrabilla
Mate, I get bored of NSW discussions cos theres none of that.  Tho in NSW, there are some good alignment discussions to have.  Wentworth deviation anyone??
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
So not really high speed rail but basically a quadding. The real upgrade definetely needs to come from north of Hornsby and the second part of the northern sydney freight corridor.
simstrain

That probably makes more sense for more continuous running it is a very windy track on the short north as I remember it?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
So not really high speed rail but basically a quadding. The real upgrade definetely needs to come from north of Hornsby and the second part of the northern sydney freight corridor.

That probably makes more sense for more continuous running it is a very windy track on the short north as I remember it?
bevans
Some winding yes but also grades.  Cowan Bank for example.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
So what does this quad actually achieve?

Sounds more like they are simply returning the passing loops of the past and  making them longer so trains can pass with few delays?

Will passenger trains use it for express to pass all stopper? This happens now at Gosford occasionally.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

It is about 170km from Sydney to Newcastle, a train needs to be able to run at a sustained 300k/h at least including through Sydney suburbs. It needs to be very straight but can have much steeper grades hence it has to be a completely separate line rather than an upgrade to the existing and will need substantial tunnelling. One hour? Tell him he's dreaming. You won't get much for $500m! Not even a new bridge over the Hawkebury!
62440

This is not a vhst announcement. This is just announcing a quadding project and using HSR to get some good will towards the next election in March next year.
  alleve Train Controller

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
So what does this quad actually achieve?

Sounds more like they are simply returning the passing loops of the past and  making them longer so trains can pass with few delays?

Will passenger trains use it for express to pass all stopper? This happens now at Gosford occasionally.
RTT_Rules
Higher capacity for freight, opportunities for express trains to pass all stoppers, opportunities for all trains to pass freighters. Pretty much the same thing quadding the T9 achieves.

There are 122 D Sets, compared to 106 V and H Sets. If all Tangaras are moved to the T4 post V Set retirement, they could potentially operate more local services on the SCO*, which in addition to the increase of 16 Intercity sets would allow service frequency increases across all lines. This could potentially allow express trains to overtake locals at both Gosford and Wyong. Whether it'll actually happen remains to be seen.

The quad is more about capacity than speed, it's a far cry from the HSR Perrottet is trying to sell it as. Still, it's an improvement and sounds like just the start so I'm not complaining.

*I'm thinking Tangaras continue to operate Waterfall-Port Kembla services, and start picking up some more peak-hour Wollongong and Port Kembla services. The one Tangara run afternoon Helensburgh via Banksia service per day remains, and it should also run in the morning. Meanwhile, D Sets operate the rest of the Wollongong services and all Kiama services.
  62440 Chief Commissioner

It is about 170km from Sydney to Newcastle, a train needs to be able to run at a sustained 300k/h at least including through Sydney suburbs. It needs to be very straight but can have much steeper grades hence it has to be a completely separate line rather than an upgrade to the existing and will need substantial tunnelling. One hour? Tell him he's dreaming. You won't get much for $500m! Not even a new bridge over the Hawkesbury!

This is not a vhst announcement. This is just announcing a quadding project and using HSR to get some good will towards the next election in March next year.
simstrain

"Sydneysiders could be able to travel to Newcastle in one hour and the Central Coast in just 25 minutes as part of the New South Wales government’s plan to introduce faster rail.

The Perrottet government on Saturday afternoon announced a new $500 million commitment in the 2022-23 NSW Budget for quicker and more reliable services.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said it could take one hour to travel between Sydney and Newcastle, 45 minutes to venture from the Harbour City to Wollongong and just 25 minutes to arrive in Gosford from Central under his government’s vision."

That reads to me unambiguously that the NSW Government is proposing a VFT type of service to achieve the promised times. Jet planes take 44 minutes flying time! It reminds me of the study to achieve one hour trips Perth to Bunbury 20 years ago on about the same distance.. You have a 160 k/h service which takes 2:15 to Broadmeadow. Any improvement is good but halving the travel time? Dream on or be clearer on what you promise.
  maestro Junior Train Controller

*I'm thinking Tangaras continue to operate Waterfall-Port Kembla services, and start picking up some more peak-hour Wollongong and Port Kembla services.
alleve


I am curious as to why you would think that is a good idea?

It will never happen because...
1) Nobody wants to go back to that period in 2005/2006 when a bunch of V Sets were suddenly withdrawn for corrosion issues and they stuck T sets on the SCO line at short/no notice. This required a toilet stop at Helensburgh on every trip as the T Sets do not have toilets in them.
2) They are currently extending a bunch of platforms on the SCO line specifically for the 10 car NIF sets that they plan to run on the peak services.

It would be incredibly unpopular to take back the new, longer trains we have been promised and instead stick old, shorter, toiletless suburban stock on instead.

The shorter PK to Waterfall services aren't so bad, though.
  alleve Train Controller

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
*I'm thinking Tangaras continue to operate Waterfall-Port Kembla services, and start picking up some more peak-hour Wollongong and Port Kembla services.


I am curious as to why you would think that is a good idea?

It will never happen because...
1) Nobody wants to go back to that period in 2005/2006 when a bunch of V Sets were suddenly withdrawn for corrosion issues and they stuck T sets on the SCO line at short/no notice. This required a toilet stop at Helensburgh on every trip as the T Sets do not have toilets in them.
2) They are currently extending a bunch of platforms on the SCO line specifically for the 10 car NIF sets that they plan to run on the peak services.

It would be incredibly unpopular to take back the new, longer trains we have been promised and instead stick old, shorter, toiletless suburban stock on instead.

The shorter PK to Waterfall services aren't so bad, though.
maestro
I'm not sure why you're bringing up platform extensions, I'm not saying the NIFs shouldn't operate on the SCO, I'm saying Tangaras should take more shorter services. NIFs should and will operate to Kiama, not arguing about that.

You don't have to go back to 2005/2006 to see Tangaras on the SCO, Tangaras currently operate SCO services to intermediate termini. Examples I've caught or seen somewhat recently are the 17:32 Bondi Junction to Wollongong express, 21:55 Bondi Junction to Port Kembla via Banksia and the 4:48 Wollongong to Bondi Junction semi-express, all of which are weekday SCO services run by 8 car Tangaras.

What I'm suggesting is merely a continuation of what already exists in order to allow increased service frequency. I really don't think you're going to be able to find anyone on the SCO who'd complain about that. Take it from someone who catches the SCO. The toilets aren't a problem either. Central - Wollongong express is barely longer than a lot of Sydney's suburban services, and in the case of Central - Richmond, it's the same trip time.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Why are they calling it fast rail to Newcastle when the line has been torn out ?

I hear use of the train from Newcastle area to Sydney return has 17% less patronage since Newcastle was closed.
  Totoro Junior Train Controller

That’s being a little pedantic, isn’t it? :p Newcastle Interchange is still in “Newcastle”, surely? I quite like the LR, they just need to expand it.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Both Perrottet and Albanese are being deceitful in masquerading this upgrade to the existing line as HSR.  As others have pointed out, it's nothing of the sort.  Claims of journey times to Newcastle of 1 hour and 25 mins to the Central Coast are deliberate misrepresentations, when the proposed works will go nowhere in achieving that without an upgrade to HSR standard for the whole corridor, which will cost billions.  The average punter wouldn't know the difference between Faster Rail and High Speed Rail and may well fall for this lie.  They should be honest and tell it like it is.
  ANR Chief Commissioner

Since when were politicians honest?

I am surprised they haven't already removed one of the two existing up/down tracks and installed passing loops.
  Totoro Junior Train Controller

Fair comments re: political aspects of this.

$1B is just a drop in the ocean compared to what actual HSR would cost between Sydney/Newcastle. Both Federal & State governments need to be upfront that getting to truly “faster” rail will be a much more costly and time consuming process than just this one bridge..

I’m not even 40 yet but don’t expect to see HSR operational within my nominal working lifetime.

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