Travelling in Sydney can be a nightmare! If travelling by road it’s the congestion, the bad drivers, the confusing roadways, as well as the anxiety, road rage and finally the whole parking fiasco. Travelling by train can be just as bad with the opal cards, the train delays, emergency track works, over population, line transfers, and the travel to the station and your final destination.
Well Sydney has found a hopeful solution to these issues. A metro is being introduced to Sydney from Bankstown to Tallawong. A metro is usually an underground railway system within dense city areas, such as in Paris, Amsterdam, Singapore and Melbourne. However this solution is causing a few problems while in the making.
The $51.2 billion project has a full estimated completion in 2024 with 31 metro stops, 66km of tracks and 22 trains. The network will have three types of stations; underground, open cut, and elevated, with trains arriving at stations every 7 minutes or every 4 minutes in peak hour.
The Northwest metro, Chatswood to Tallawong, is stage one and is expected to be open in 2019. The underground interchange will then open along with stage two City and Southwest, from Crows Nest to Bankstown. Finally stage three the West, from Westmead to Barangara, will be completed last. As of yet, stage three does not have an expected completion as it is still in early planning stages.
The metro stations will have some key features that will increase safety and allow faster arrival and departures. The trains run every 4 or 7 minutes so there are no timetables but they also cannot be held up to impact the next station. Customer service assistances will be at every station and interchange to help travellers and to ride the network. As well as human assistance there will also be information kiosks that provide video help.
The stations will all have wall to wall safety doors between the platform and the tracks that will be closed at all times. The doors will open at the same time the metro doors open to ensure people, prams, wheelchairs etc can’t be broken or hurt. The trains have three double doors per side of each carriage that allows for fast hop on, hop off. Between the platform and the trains there is level access allowing easier boarding for the disabled and the elderly.
To make the metro system possible, short and long term rail closures will be necessary. The upgrades will apply to tunnels, tracks, platforms and systems to ensure they are fully equip to handle the new metro system.
The Epping to Chatswood railways were closed down on the 30th September 2018 as an introductory step to the new metro system. The station is expected to be closed for 7 months with Station Link buses being used to help the thousands of commuters that use this trainline every day. Station Link services has provided 120 new pink buses to transport the stranded travelers from all stations affected by this closure. Commuters can expect a minimum of 10 minutes of delays as they’re being transported, this however depends drastically on traffic conditions as well as initial wait time for a bus.
Upgrades to the railway will allow the stations to suit the new metro systems trains, speed and safety. The development includes; overhauling all stations on the line, adding 26km of new cabling, updating power and signalling systems, and building new screen doors on every platform to ensure customer safety.
The T3 Bankstown line is also being upgraded to allow easier access, repair tracks and stations, upgrade to suit the metro system and increase customer safety. To accomplish this workers are creating level platform access onto trains and adding elevators. General overhauling to make stations suitable for metro trains will then remove the line to become a stand-alone metro line.
These upgrades will initially take place during the four annually scheduled maintenance closures with additional periodic closures. The metro program wants as little disruption as possible for daily commuters along this line, so most additional closures should take place as night works, school holiday works and weekends. There is also an expected closure late 2023 that will take 3-6 to finalise all upgrades before the metro line opens in 2024.
Further service upgrades may have future effects on Central station, Castle Hill, Waterloo Station, Pitt Street Station and many more. When travelling to Sydney ensure you know if any of your travel will be affected by these or future trainline closures. Consider all options for your travel to make sure it is as hassle free as possible.