I see three options:
- Light Rail along the Southern/Hobart Line as laid out in the Riverline proposal (which this City Deal thing appears to be a review of?). Expensive but high quality public transport along the corridor but lots of infrastructure unknowns (Intercity Cycle Path and so on)
- Some sort of lower cost commuter rail proposal. Diesel railcars running to Macquarie Point, minimal passing loops, low cost stations. Keeps the corridor in use for conversion to light rail or electric commuter rail later on (once all the other problems are ironed out)
- Let the rail corridor degrade and spend some money on other potentially higher return public transport investments like a rejigged bus network, a couple of Bus Rapid Transit lines, an electric bus rollout and so on.
And for $hits and giggles, why not look at bringing back the Hobart Tramways?
1. Yes, LR would be costly, opened in section CBD to say Claremont, twin tracks. Follow NSW approach, OH on open tracks, battery or ground pickup for street running. City loop following one way streets.
Bike track would need to be removed.
Extension beyond Claremont every 5 years in sections as funding follows.
Yes, it would be attractive for those who need to travel in this corridor.
2. Low rail cost option. Some years back I went to Vancouver and saw the Westcoast Express (google Westcoast express, vancouver) commuter service and promoted in this group as an option. It was quickly dismissed by some as great for there, but not Hobart despite the similarities.
- its a single track used by freight and pax
- Starts around 40-50km out from City
- Follows a long narrow residential area with some green spaces in between
- 8 stops
- No freight in peak our
- city station terminus is called Waterfront on edge of CBD next to old Port
- walk/Bus/Metro connection through city (at the time it was also terminus station for new Metro)
(sounds very familiar to Hobart a few years back doesn't it?)
- The service is 6 trains per peak directional flow only spaced at 30min intervals
(yes there are 6 physical trains running 30min apart that terminate and are stowed until PM return home)
- Trains were diesel, pulled by loco one way, pushed by loco in reverse, no shunting.
- Buses run counter peak and off-peak, weekends and holidays
- Commuters have or used to have option of emergency insurance where for a small annual fee they will provide a taxi ride home for free up to a few times a year at any time of the day.
For first 10 years it was operated by a private contractor which used to publish the annual operating costs, revenue, subsidy etc, which was getting very minimal prior to tranfer to Vancouver Tranlink.
Honestly this service in 2003 when I went to Vancouver had Hobart solution written all over it.
For Hobart same deal
- Trains stored say Briton/ New Norfolk etc
- Stations along the corridor to Hobart Yard
- Island platform where the old station used to be
- storage yard prior
- Trains leaving Bridgewater every 30min from 5:30am, return from 4pm (today, if bridge is not available, then trains from from say a storage yard and first stop at Granton)
- Freight services suspended during this period (not hard then, easy now)
This whole thing could have been set up with say $20-30m + rolling stock. No signally, no over head, existing track apart from yards. MTCE centres using existing Tasrail locations.
If you want to get really keen, do a Auckland Britomart and build a lower cost and cover tunnel into the city with the station under Franklin Square, 1 block from the Mall and basically cut and cover under Macquarie Steet.
3. Trams will not return as like everywhere else there is limited support for returning to the days of trams and cars sharing the road space unless controlled intersections and limited other locations, look what they have done in Sydney and GC and even Adelaide extensions.