It has recently been announced that the promised plans of double deck services from the North West all the way to the CBD are to be revised. They are going back to a North West metro, single deck, and only running as far as Chatswood as a first phase.
Firstly, this means that the upper Northern Line will need to revert to running via Strathfield. Unless it is going to take paths through Town Hall platform 3 from the Western Line it will also mean that the upper Northern Line will terminate at Sydney Terminal. The only question raised with this is if there is enough capacity between Redfern, Central and Town Hall. Well in the AM peak 4/6 Bankstown line trains add to this capacity. This should be relatively simple to expand to the other two with a timetable review. This capacity should be relatively easy to provide in the AM peak, and the PM peak is far less congested. Reversing the direction of the Bankstown line around the city circle full time may well be a reasonable option, as might Melbourne weekend style Bankstown-Town Hall-Museum-Bankstown full time.
Secondly, it means no expansion to Railcorp and in fact a slight contraction as they will be removed from the Epping-Chatswood Rail Link. In my opinion, this is real positive to the proposal. I'm really not sure how long we can go having Railcorp consume $3 billion per year and rapidly rising.
Thirdly it means an interchange at Chatswood for trains which are allegedly already full. However, they aren't as full as trains on other lines and the upper Northern Line passengers are to be removed from this patronage. It will also be possible to increase the numbers of trains on the North Shore by up to 6 per hour. There will be plenty of capacity for passengers from the North West who will have a cross platform interchange at Chatswood, much like Glen Waverley line peak hour passengers in Melbourne who need to interchange at Richmond to reach city loop stations. Hardly the end of the world.
All in all the first phase of these changes is quite good, which is something I will not say about the second phase in my next blog post.