OK, my Nostradamas hat back on, here his my latest thinking on how the network *will* (not should) look in 2030, prepared using the absolute latest in computer graphics technology:
After the "success" of the NWRL, the outrage at the adverse effects on CityRail, and the unaffordablity of the second crossing:
The "Rapid Transit" (RT) will be extended across the bridge and along the Suburbans to Westmead.
The Western Line will be rolled into Sector 2.
The Richmond Line will be rolled into the Cumberland line.
A new isolated Northern sector will be created.Routes:
RT: Westmead - City - Hornsby
Westmead - City - Chatswood
Central - Epping
Central - Berowa
Central - Central Coast (inc Newcastle)
Penrith - City Circle - Airport - Campbelltown
Leppington - Granville - City Circle - Sydenham - Leppington
Lidcombe - Bankstown - City Circle - Bankstown - Liverpool
Richmond - Parramatta - Campbelltown
As nowFleet Details:
- The trains will be 8 cars, 6 doors, ~240 longitudinal seats with ~300m^2 of standing space in a form factor compatible with the NWRL specification.
- The system should have a capacity of ~28kPAX/hr (28tph with an average standing load of 2.5/m^2), achieved primarily because of better signalling and the absence of the need to adhere to a timetable.
- Platform screens at Town Hall and Central will boost platform capacity and PAX throughput "a bit".
- New privatised Stabling and Maintenance facility build on the decommissioned Flemington site.
- Mostly H sets with a few Ts, mostly out of Hornsby
- All A sets (on the 3 suburban routes) out of Auburn, and Ms on the Cumberland line (maintained out of Everleigh)
Ms on the Cumberland line is for safety (ie they don't meet evacuation standards in the city tunnels) and because they can operate in 4 car trains.
- All Ts, plus Hs for the South coast commuter runs out of Mortdale & Everleigh.Operations:
The new system will effectively isolate the main north, which will operate 3 basic routes: Epping, Berowa & the Central Coast (including Broadmeadow). All PAX will be expected to change to RT et either Hornsby, Epping, Strathfield or Central to complete their journey.
The remainder of the Western Line will be added to Sector 2. PAX for the city will be expected to do a cross platform transfer at Westmead. Western trains will continue to the city stopping at every station on a true milk run. Penrith - City will be >90 min, but that's OK because no-one is expected to make the entire journey by this mode, they are expected to transfer to RT at any of Westmead, Lidcombe or Strathfield.
Similarly Richmond line trains can all got to Campbelltown on that basis (PAX for the city will change @ Westmead).
Equally, PAX from the main south travelling to Nth Sydney are encouraged to switch to RT at Granville/Paramatta rather than Central.
Dubbo XPT will need to access Sydney Terminal via the Bankstown line and the Y at Lidcombe. Western Freighters will need to access Chullora the Lidcombe Y too.
Mountains trains won't have access to Sydney Terminal either, so the few remaining V sets will run around the Y at Granville and turn back at Liverpool. Again, PAX expected to change for RT @ Westmead.
On the Main South, PAX can get a direct train to the city from Campbelltown, or they can get the first train that turns up and change at Glenfield if need be.
The Carlingford line will be isolated, so that will probably precipitate it's conversion to LRT/tram, and interchanging with HR & RT at Granville. No doubt the freight at those yards at Auburn will be redirected to the roads.
RT will operate the Olympic Stadium route, with the Lidcombe shuttle typically but some western trains during special events.Capacity:
Total Peak Hour Capacity of the system will likely be ~130kPAX to the City & Nth Sydney (CityRail does ~100k now, probably has capacity for 120k). Even though there are a lot more interchanges, this design distributes them across the network and away from Town Hall and Central much more than now.
How rapid RT turns out to be is an interesting question. Definitely faster than the DDs doing all stops milk runs, but I suspect safety requirements of these under-strength NWRL capable vehicles will restrict their allowed operating speed to a max of 80kph.
All northern trains stopping all stations Epping-Strathfield will encourage interchange to RT at Hornsby or Epping rather than at Central or Strathfield, including city bound PAX from between Epping and Strathfield encouraged to travel via Epping.
From the outset passenger loads on RT will be at least 2/m^2 from Parramatta through to Chatswood, and while certainly practical, it's unlikely to be popular given people complain about 1/m^2 loadings now. I expect this "demand management feature" will ensure this system is able to cope up till 2040.Costs:
It's a surprisingly cheap system to implement. For a 180min route trip run they'll need ~90 trains plus a few spares, which is 75 new trains (after you count the NWRL order) or anywhere from $2-$4bil ifor 600 vehicles of rolling stock. Only a few crossovers, newer signalling and platform screens are needed on the infrastructure front. No doubt this will be funded by deferring the renewal of the T set fleet which will be due by then.
Operating costs are likely to be either in line or higher than current $/pax km because:
- There will be more trains/PAX than now
- There will be similar crew : PAX ratios, but more "drivers" on the increased number of trains.