NSW Future Rail Plan - NWRL/Metro/Harbour Crossing

 
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
But isolating a railway and forcing all passengers to change trains isn't a particularly 'friendly' way to deal with the problem.

Saying 'we will only run to Chatswood and make you change trains so the new line can always run on time' is the cheap way of solving the problem.

Although running the NWL as a separate operation isn't the only one - they are also proposing running several branch lines as shuttles and terminating other trains at Sydney Terminal.

 That's just more of the same thinking - bugger the passenger/customer, do what ever it takes to get Service Level statistics to look good.
"matthewg"


This IS a good way of dealing with the problem.

Just taking as an isolated view, lets looks at what is proposed initially for the NWRL and what is rumored to happen for the Richmond line (run through to Campbelltown).

Scenario 1 - the old way:

With the status quo situation, you have 20 trains scheduled to run through the city from the west in the peak hour but trains often run late as you have trains from different stopping patterns on 3 branches all merging into a common track pair over the bridge (Richmond, Emu Plains, Blacktown stoppers, Lower Northern line).

From the north you have 18 trains scheduled to run from mostly 2 branches, which would become 3 with the NWRL (which would get 4tph at a stretch).

In the CBD in the evening you have congested platforms as people wait on the platform up to 15 minutes for their train to show up. 

Result:

Complicated = unreliable
Differing stopping patterns = crowded platforms
Unreliable = people building time into their travel plans for inevitable delays (like I mentioned before - there is no use having a 45 minute to work 4 days a week when it takes 60 minutes on 1 day a week - you then need to allocate 60 minutes travel time every day).

Scenario 2 - simplified:

In this situation the NWRL runs to Chatswood as a shuttle at a headway of 5 minutes. Richmond runs to Campbelltown at a headway of somewhere between 6 - 10 minutes. Northern line runs to Sydney Terminal at a headway of 6 - 10 minutes. The Western line runs Emu Plains all to Blacktown, Seven Hills (for cross platform interchange with Richmond line), Parramatta, Lidcombe, Strathfield, Redfern, Central, all to North Shore at a headway of 3 minutes (stopping pattern irrelevant as long as it is consistent and fast).

Single stopping pattern per track pair means that there are no delays at junctions and travel time becomes certain. People change to the express service where needed to get to the CBD.

CBD platform congestion is reduced as every train from the platform will go to the same destination so there is no need to hang around on the platform waiting (people are missing that this is probably one of the biggest drivers of this plan).

You can segregate train types to improve travel speeds by allowing each train type to perform to it's maximum capability - e.g. Tangaras on Richmond - Campbelltown, Waratahs on Western line which could accelerate faster and run 160kph while running express.

Result:

Increased time changing offset by reduced uncertainty of travel time and faster speeds on individual sections (45 minute trip could become two 20 minute trips with a 5 minute interchange time but actually achieve that 5 days a week - even if it becomes 50 minutes, it is still below the 60 minutes that needed to be allocated previously due to uncertainty).

There is also the travel time saving of the increased frequency - someone could finish work and head to Town Hall and have to wait average 7.5 minutes for a NWRL train under the first scenario, or wait an average of 1.5 minutes in the second, followed by an average wait on 2.5 minutes at Chatswood, for an end-to-end saving time of 3.5 minutes without even taking into account the fact that the NWRL trains are supposed to run 10% faster than DD stock would have.

-----------

Ultimately the 3 minute headway on the Western/North Shore line (which looks like it will become 2.5 minute headway with ATO) will be exhausted and this is when the second harbor crossing will be required. Of all the options for incorporating the NWRL into the network I have seen/heard so far (with the exception of the logical option of building the second harbour crossing before the NWRL as should be happening) the current government plan is one of the best.
"grog"


Great post. This should be required reading for anyone who wants to participate in this or other similar threads.

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  grog Train Controller

grog, can I ask why happens to Blue Mountains services in the above scenario?
"bernerd"


With the proviso that the above includes a lot of speculation, I presume that this would be the exception to the rule for complexity, with the 1 - 2 trains per hour slotting in between the express services (but with the same stopping pattern).

Ultimately if it were me running the system I would terminate the trains at Penrith (or Blacktown/Parramatta with spare local line capacity), but I don't feel this is something the Government are likely to dare take on!
  bernerd Junior Train Controller

Don't think a service reduction to 1-2 trains per hour and an increased journey time with all those extra stops would go down particularly well either... But fair enough.

Although I think NSW Trains wouldn't be too happy, I imagine Mountains commuters would take to their cars on droves.
  grog Train Controller

Don't think a service reduction to 1-2 trains per hour and an increased journey time with all those extra stops would go down particularly well either... But fair enough. Although I think NSW Trains wouldn't be too happy, I imagine Mountains commuters would take to their cars on droves.
"bernerd"


I am willing to bet that given the politics all the current Blue Mountains trains will still have their path - they will just have to slot into the standard stopping pattern.
  unrailed Junior Train Controller


Scenario 1 - the old way:


Scenario 2 - simplified:

You can segregate train types to improve travel speeds by allowing each train type to perform to it's maximum capability - e.g. Tangaras on Richmond - Campbelltown, Waratahs on Western line which could accelerate faster and run 160kph while running express.
.
"grog"


not liking the bill on the simplified. as the full section will need to be upgraded and serviced to meet the 160Kph speeds. and the weekend shutdowns will have the slower time table with changing trains. 

like to see the network upgraded. don't need the downgrades with the costs of the running going up and still have to change trains.

  
edit - changing the location of which train gets you home is just moving the problem from the city to other stations  on the network that may need an upgrade with the change in passanger flow and weather protection.


  PDCL Chief Train Controller

CBD platform congestion is reduced as every train from the platform will go to the same destination so there is no need to hang around on the platform waiting (people are missing that this is probably one of the biggest drivers of this plan).
"grog"


Couldn't agree more with this.  Most of the major problems Cityrail experience daily are directly attributable to having multiple paths per platform.  Platform congestion, dwell time and uneven loading of trains are all managed by having just one stopping pattern per platform.  There is plenty of spare capacity currently provided through the CBD, it's just not being used because people want to catch the express or want to go here instead of there, so really this is a way of maximising the efficiency of the existing infrastructure without spending a cr@pload of money on new tunnels under the CBD.
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
not liking the bill on the simplified. as the full section will need to be upgraded and serviced to meet the 160Kph speeds. and the weekend shutdowns will have the slower time table with changing trains. 

like to see the network upgraded. don't need the downgrades with the costs of the running going up and still have to change trains.
"unrailed"


So basically you have no issue with anything except an incidental mention of 160km/h running? Where's the facepalm emoticon when you need one.
  PDCL Chief Train Controller

Where's the facepalm emoticon when you need one.
"drwaddles"



  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
"PDCL"
8)
  unrailed Junior Train Controller

not liking the bill on the simplified. as the full section will need to be upgraded and serviced to meet the 160Kph speeds. and the weekend shutdowns will have the slower time table with changing trains. 

like to see the network upgraded. don't need the downgrades with the costs of the running going up and still have to change trains.
"unrailed"


So basically you have no issue with anything except an incidental mention of 160km/h running? Where's the facepalm emoticon when you need one.
"drwaddles"


lol. if the trains can run at 160km/h full time between Westmead and Redfern then the goverment can pay for all the network upgrades on the current list.  
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
lol. if the trains can run at 160km/h full time between Westmead and Redfern then the goverment can pay for all the network upgrades on the current list.  
"unrailed"

What on earth are you on about?

  jaseee Chief Train Controller

You can't turn or commence 20tph from Emu Plains. I was more thinking split this between Emu Plains, Penrith, Springwood and Blacktown. Starting perhaps 4tph from Blacktown would allow for 4tph to run from Mt Victoria or Lithgow.

My understanding was there was an intention to run the trains express Penrith to Blacktown. While you could serve the stations to St Marys on the outer lines, it still leaves a problem with Werrington and Kingswood. Plus, you can't turn around many trains at St Marys without blocking the line.

You could also potentially run the trains on the outer lines between St Marys and Blacktown, with the Blue Mountains trains running on the inner lines, and then the suburban trains merge back after Blacktown. That way they still wouldn't conflict with the Richmond line trains.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
lol. if the trains can run at 160km/h full time between Westmead and Redfern then the goverment can pay for all the network upgrades on the current list.  
"unrailed"

What on earth are you on about?
"drwaddles"



I believe the short version is that the likelihood of the government being able to pay for all the network upgrades on the list is about as likely as constant 160 km/h running between Westmead and Redfern, i.e. not very.

What I am talking about is the networks under the control of Transport for London, namely the Underground, Overground and DLR. Of these, the Underground is publicly operated and the other 2 privately, but they are presented as a coherent network with an integrated fare structure.
"grog"


While I shan't comment on the Overground, I must say that the DLR has been a great success, but the projects here are rather larger. It would, however, be very nice to have a DLR-esque network in the inner city.
  grog Train Controller

lol. if the trains can run at 160km/h full time between Westmead and Redfern then the goverment can pay for all the network upgrades on the current list.  
"unrailed"

What on earth are you on about?
"drwaddles"



I believe the short version is that the likelihood of the government being able to pay for all the network upgrades on the list is about as likely as constant 160 km/h running between Westmead and Redfern, i.e. not very.

"Watson374"


Yep I presume that is an accurate translation.

In response, the 160km/h comment on my part was more about the straight stretches of track further west where work would not be needed - but not really the point, the point is more around lines with a single set type being able to have a timetable tailored to that set's performance characteristics.



What I am talking about is the networks under the control of Transport for London, namely the Underground, Overground and DLR. Of these, the Underground is publicly operated and the other 2 privately, but they are presented as a coherent network with an integrated fare structure.
"grog"


While I shan't comment on the Overground, I must say that the DLR has been a great success, but the projects here are rather larger. It would, however, be very nice to have a DLR-esque network in the inner city.

I encourage you to read up on the London Overground if you are not familiar - it is the London transport success story of the last few years.

http://www.londonreconnections.com/2011/the-future-of-the-overground-part-1-tangerine-dreams/

The DLR might not be of same scope as what is being proposed in Sydney, but it is still a 34km, 6 branch network, and the point is more around the contractual and operational arrangements - showing how a multiple operator network can remain integrated and basically seamless to the customer as long as the is centralised control.

Don't get me wrong - London has a lot of challenges (particularly around capacity and past under-investment - sound familiar?) so we shouldn't be looking here for all the answers to Sydney's problems, but they are probably a good example of a city starting to catch up with those under-investments and make improvements.
  kypros1992 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sydney

http://smh.drive.com.au/roads-and-traffic/tunnel-too-small-could-make-rail-link-a-bridge-too-far-20120703-21fjy.html

"
WHEN the tunnels for the North West Rail Link are finished in just over four years, they will have an internal diameter of about 6.1 metres, too small for the type of trains used in Sydney.

The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, said the decision to bore smaller tunnels for Sydney's biggest rail project in decades was not about saving money.

But the commitment to smaller tunnels has sparked fears among some transport planners that, for the sake of a few centimetres on either side, the government could be forever locking off transport options.

This is because the size of the tunnels may not affect only the type of trains that use the North West Rail Link.
The government has also committed to connecting the north west link with another rail crossing for Sydney Harbour, so it will also have implications for the types of trains that use that crossing.

One concern is that it could limit the harbour crossing's ability to accommodate double-deck inter-urban trains, or even high-speed trains if they were introduced on the east coast.

The project director for the North West Rail Link, Rodd Staples, told an industry briefing last week the tunnels would have an internal diameter of 6.1 metres. This is about 40 centimetres smaller than tunnels bored for the Epping to Chatswood link.

It is also too small to fit a Sydney double-deck train and its overhead wiring, according to the government and several rail industry sources.

The trains are about 4.4 metres high and are powered by overhead wiring, which on RailCorp's guidelines, has to sit more than six metres above the rail.

One consultant who attended last week's industry briefing said if the North West Rail Link was built only for single-deck trains, it would be ''almost inevitable'' the second rail crossing would be limited to similar trains.

Another planner said it was crucial the second crossing allow express services from the central coast or Newcastle, using double-deck trains, or high-speed rail.

''The basic question is are we thinking about the Sydney basin, or also areas beyond the Sydney basin? If we are going to be spending so much money [on another harbour crossing] we should be,'' the planner said.

On the government's timeline, the contract for tunnelling the twin 15.5 kilometres underground for the North West Rail Link will be signed in about a year. This will allow the four tunnel boring machines it is ordering to be in the ground by the middle of 2014.

The chief executive of industry group the Tourism and Transport Forum, John Lee, said it was conventional to shape the size of a tunnel around the type of train to run through it.

''I think it has been a smart decision,'' Mr Lee said.

Ms Berejiklian said: "There will be some cost savings in building smaller tunnels, however, there will also be some additional costs like the conversion of the Epping to Chatswood rail tunnels to this new rapid transit system.''

"The second harbour crossing will be part of the rapid transit network. Fast, high-capacity, single-deck trains means we can move more people every hour than regular double-deck services.''

However, the Herald's transport inquiry of 2009 and 2010 argued against this analysis and found that double-deck trains could carry more people.

"

  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Overground seems like a brilliant success. I once read a comment that claimed the DLR was Britain's least-British railway, due to its reliability.

Anyway, I believe this restriction to 6.1m wide tunnels is disastrous, unless they're prepared to fork out even more for longer platforms. Seriously, running 30tph will not solve it all, as our platforms are shorter than most.

I believe this is a mistake and that the SMH inquiry is correct in retaining support for the deckers.
  rrroLLa Chief Train Controller

Jaseee - if you are going to start 4tph at Blacktown why not start them at Richmond? They only get two trains per hour anyway and it means they keep their city service.

Grog - I'd like to see you get 6 - 10 minute headways on the Richmond line.  That truly would be an impressive feat! (unless you meant from Schofields on, which is quite a lot of trains for those 3 stations)
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
Jaseee - if you are going to start 4tph at Blacktown why not start them at Richmond? They only get two trains per hour anyway and it means they keep their city service.
"rrroLLa"


because that defies the whole point of separating the services
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
Jaseee - if you are going to start 4tph at Blacktown why not start them at Richmond? They only get two trains per hour anyway and it means they keep their city service.
"rrroLLa"


because that defies the whole point of separating the services
"drwaddles"

But the point is pointless!

Stopping pattern rationalisation is fair enough though.

I believe this is a mistake and that the SMH inquiry is correct in retaining support for the deckers.
"Watson374"

Indeed, but they were incorrect to bag the Western Express line.  They were also incorrect to prioritise the NWRL ahead of CBD enhancement.
  KymN Assistant Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Anyway, I believe this restriction to 6.1m wide tunnels is disastrous, unless they're prepared to fork out even more for longer platforms. Seriously, running 30tph will not solve it all, as our platforms are shorter than most.

I believe this is a mistake and that the SMH inquiry is correct in retaining support for the deckers.
"Watson374"



Absolutely.  This current plan is Looney Tunes stuff.  It just gets worse, but you could see it coming.  This is the same cast of arrogant misguided characters that created the Metro fiasco.  It is totally irresponsible to use otherwise unnecessary technical specifications as differentiators.  We have been suffering from different standards in this country (track gauges, communications, ...whatever) for long enough without adding to them. Sure this is an urban railway not an interstate one, but the Herald has it right.
The whole concept that our double deckers are somehow an antiquated inferior technology, to be replaced by 'modern' trains that have barely half the seats is just nuts.  Running from an hour out of the city in an inner urban type train for an hour-long journey to the city and then tipping out two-thirds of the passengers over twenty minutes from their destination station is crazy. Greiner's comment that Sydney passengers 'need to get used to it' and that they 'need to grow up' is not only offensive but it defies both common sense and actual fact.
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
But the point is pointless!

Stopping pattern rationalisation is fair enough though.
"simonl"


Not at all. Adding another branch to the line adds somewhere else where something can go wrong - another reliability issue.
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
Absolutely. This current plan is Looney Tunes stuff. It just gets worse, but you could see it coming. This is the same cast of arrogant misguided characters that created the Metro fiasco.
"KymN"

Every time Gladys opens her mouth is Looney tunes stuff.  Yet, popular.  Just like Katter actually.

The people should have seen that they would have to pay the piper if they voted for her.
  Rails Chief Commissioner



This IS a good way of dealing with the problem.

Just taking as an isolated view, lets looks at what is proposed initially for the NWRL and what is rumored to happen for the Richmond line (run through to Campbelltown).

Scenario 1 - the old way:

With the status quo situation, you have 20 trains scheduled to run through the city from the west in the peak hour but trains often run late as you have trains from different stopping patterns on 3 branches all merging into a common track pair over the bridge (Richmond, Emu Plains, Blacktown stoppers, Lower Northern line).

From the north you have 18 trains scheduled to run from mostly 2 branches, which would become 3 with the NWRL (which would get 4tph at a stretch).

In the CBD in the evening you have congested platforms as people wait on the platform up to 15 minutes for their train to show up. 

Result:

Complicated = unreliable
Differing stopping patterns = crowded platforms
Unreliable = people building time into their travel plans for inevitable delays (like I mentioned before - there is no use having a 45 minute to work 4 days a week when it takes 60 minutes on 1 day a week - you then need to allocate 60 minutes travel time every day).

Scenario 2 - simplified:

In this situation the NWRL runs to Chatswood as a shuttle at a headway of 5 minutes. Richmond runs to Campbelltown at a headway of somewhere between 6 - 10 minutes. Northern line runs to Sydney Terminal at a headway of 6 - 10 minutes. The Western line runs Emu Plains all to Blacktown, Seven Hills (for cross platform interchange with Richmond line), Parramatta, Lidcombe, Strathfield, Redfern, Central, all to North Shore at a headway of 3 minutes (stopping pattern irrelevant as long as it is consistent and fast).

Single stopping pattern per track pair means that there are no delays at junctions and travel time becomes certain. People change to the express service where needed to get to the CBD.

CBD platform congestion is reduced as every train from the platform will go to the same destination so there is no need to hang around on the platform waiting (people are missing that this is probably one of the biggest drivers of this plan).

You can segregate train types to improve travel speeds by allowing each train type to perform to it's maximum capability - e.g. Tangaras on Richmond - Campbelltown, Waratahs on Western line which could accelerate faster and run 160kph while running express.

Result:

Increased time changing offset by reduced uncertainty of travel time and faster speeds on individual sections (45 minute trip could become two 20 minute trips with a 5 minute interchange time but actually achieve that 5 days a week - even if it becomes 50 minutes, it is still below the 60 minutes that needed to be allocated previously due to uncertainty).

There is also the travel time saving of the increased frequency - someone could finish work and head to Town Hall and have to wait average 7.5 minutes for a NWRL train under the first scenario, or wait an average of 1.5 minutes in the second, followed by an average wait on 2.5 minutes at Chatswood, for an end-to-end saving time of 3.5 minutes without even taking into account the fact that the NWRL trains are supposed to run 10% faster than DD stock would have.

-----------

Ultimately the 3 minute headway on the Western/North Shore line (which looks like it will become 2.5 minute headway with ATO) will be exhausted and this is when the second harbor crossing will be required. Of all the options for incorporating the NWRL into the network I have seen/heard so far (with the exception of the logical option of building the second harbour crossing before the NWRL as should be happening) the current government plan is one of the best.
"grog"


Another great post! I too think others have understated the need to clear congestion at the inner city platforms, speed up services and improve reliability, this is the best way using what we've got. No doubt some people will be annoyed first up but I think when everyone see's the improvement they will agree that its better then where we are now. My biggest concern is fitting NW folks on trains at Chatswood, the rate of development in Hornsby and Ku-Ring-Gai in the next 7 years will possibly fill the existing and extra trains planned before the NW passengers can get on but that is something we will have to wait and see. Long term I see many benefits in the plan with the second harbour crossing. However surprisingly, I am not in the camp of building the SHC first unless you do so using the Eastern lanes of the bridge.

However I am still unsure how it works in both the short term and long term, especially regarding the turnbacks as mentioned above and the branches past Parramatta and Chatswood where there is single stopping pattern. So short term its clear that Richmond and upper northern lines are no longer branches of the main western/ North Shore lines however how far do the changes go? I missed earlier the obvious fact that the Richmond to Campbelltown trains interchange at Seven Hills but I assume Blacktown and Gordon/ Lindfield starters are gone, so do all Western line/ North Shore trains start at Emu Plains and Berowra? I didn't think that was possible on current infrastructure. What about Blue Mountains and Coast via Shore? How do the main lines work I wonder, as in what goes where and what changes occur on the inner west/ main south and Interurban tracks? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Will the 2013 timetable overhaul mean the ECRL returns to a shuttle service and the same for the Richmond to Campbelltown line? You cant run a decent number of trains on the Richmond line yet I thought (aiming for a 10 minute service). I had already been thinking about the actual trains themselves, to squeeze the 20tph out of the Western/ North Shore line it couldn't run any silver sets. It would most likely have to be all Waratahs and that is not possible on the North Shore line yet and probably not by next year either. Would the K sets be moved to the Richmond line and the T sets the Northern line or vice versa as you mentioned? Interesting times.
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
However I am still unsure how it works in both the short term and long term, especially regarding the turnbacks as mentioned above and the branches past Parramatta and Chatswood where there is single stopping pattern. So short term its clear that Richmond and upper northern lines are no longer branches of the main western/ North Shore lines however how far do the changes go? I missed earlier the obvious fact that the Richmond to Campbelltown trains interchange at Seven Hills but I assume Blacktown and Gordon/ Lindfield starters are gone, so do all Western line/ North Shore trains start at Emu Plains and Berowra? I didn't think that was possible on current infrastructure.
"Rails"


What would most likely happen is:

Aim: 20tph on a consistent stopping pattern from Penrith to Hornsby

Short term:

Penrith - can only turnback X, therefore we have to extend (20-X) services to Emu Plains, or conversely terminate (20-X) at St Marys.
Hornsby - can only turnback X, therefore we terminate (20-X)/2 at Gordon and (20-X)/2 at Berowra

Coast via Shore - gone (I hope)

Blue Mountains - slot in between the services from Penrith

Long term

Upgrade Penrith to cater for 20tph terminating
Probably retain Gordon, Hornsby, Berowra as terminating locations. I don't think you can justify 20tph to Berowra and I'm not sure you can turn back 20tph at Hornsby. 

----

Having short runners on a segregated track pair doesn't add to reliability issues and the turnback options are needed for redundancy anyway...

Edit: Fixed me maths
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
But the point is pointless!

Stopping pattern rationalisation is fair enough though.
"simonl"


Not at all. Adding another branch to the line adds somewhere else where something can go wrong - another reliability issue.
"drwaddles"

I think you  will find that systems which are best practice still can have branching, e.g. Paris RER A.  It doesn't make sense to have 20tph at Penrith, nor does it make sense to truncate some of those trains at Blacktown, which is also impossible on the proposed operating pattern with current infrastructure.

However I am still unsure how it works in both the short term and long term, especially regarding the turnbacks as mentioned above and the branches past Parramatta and Chatswood where there is single stopping pattern. So short term its clear that Richmond and upper northern lines are no longer branches of the main western/ North Shore lines however how far do the changes go? I missed earlier the obvious fact that the Richmond to Campbelltown trains interchange at Seven Hills but I assume Blacktown and Gordon/ Lindfield starters are gone, so do all Western line/ North Shore trains start at Emu Plains and Berowra? I didn't think that was possible on current infrastructure. What about Blue Mountains and Coast via Shore? How do the main lines work I wonder, as in what goes where and what changes occur on the inner west/ main south and Interurban tracks? I guess we will have to wait and see.
"Rails"

I don't think anyone from Gladys down to the lowliest bureaucrat is sure either.

Who needs to sort out such details when we can put out a plan to give the appearance of doing something!

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