Sunday, June 3, 2012

Second rail harbour crossing back on the agenda

The Sydney Morning Herald has again reported that a new harbour crossing is back on the agenda.  The SMH reports that the advice to Gladys Berejiklian is this is needed for natural growth and the NWRL.  Well, sort of.  It is only needed in this or the next decade because of the NWRL.

It was always disingenuous and/or dishonest to suggest that the NWRL without a second harbour crossing was a reasonable policy, but it was a winning strategy at the 2011 NSW election.  In my opinion Infrastructure Australia was absolutely correct to rebuff the current NWRL plan.

Some people have suggested that signalling improvements could delay the need for this.  Well that may be, but it would not come cheap and nor would it remove some remaining conflicting moves particularly at Macdonaldtown.  Signalling improvements also would not help to remove the south line from the need to pass the platform faces between Summer Hill and Macdonaldtown - these lines are slower than the centre pair of tracks, which are slower than the northern pair of tracks.  There needs to be a study on the bang for buck of this particular option.  Personally, I believe it will defer the need for track amplifications only slightly so should not proceed.

What about single deck?  Well while you might have more trains, the number of seats on the line would be reduced for sure.  It is unclear whether or not the number of standing spaces would be increased by enough to compensate, but I think it is fair to say that reduced seating is against what Sydneysiders want.  There are similar issues with increasing the number of doors per carriage.

The SMH also reports that the "City Relief Line" is dead.  Well, that's creative politicking right there.  Transport for NSW report that all options feature a "CBD enhancement" which is basically the city relief line by another name.  As for the suggestion the under the harbour line might connect to the Illawarra, that is insane, and a waste of web bandwidth to debunk.

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