Sue Day


When Size Does Matter

Posted on: February 26th, 2013

The WSPTU is an apolitical, independent umbrella group made up from Western Sydney public transport consumers. It includes representatives of local groups and individuals working on public transport issues in Western Sydney.

At the February WSPTU Policy Forum we met with members of Ecotransit. They outlined their concerns about the current plan to make the North West Rail Link (NWRL)  tunnels smaller than the ‘standard loading gauge’.

The current planning is to make the NWRL tunnel s 1.3 metres in diameter whereas the other tunnels, currently used by Cityrail (Sydney Trains), are 1.6 metres in diameter.

This means that the NWRL tunnels will be too small to allow a conversion to allow the other Sydney Trains rolling stock to use the lines if needed in the future.

They also described how the current planning will not incorporate any ‘stub’ tunnels in the project, not planning for any junctions to create new lines or to join the service into the rest of the network if needed into the future.

We believe that this is not a prudent way to use our State investments and is potentially building inefficiency and/or redundancy into the new system. It is obvious that things change over time, and it may be that at some stage the NWRL may need to be reconfigured to allow for the needs of commuters and the community at that time.

Since the beginnings of the railways in NSW different parts of the network have changed between private and public ownership and operation and this may happen again in the future. Even being operated by the private sector does not preclude the need for the network to be reconfigured or expanded at some stage. Making a decision to purposely make the tunnels for the NWRL forever incompatible with the rest of the rail network seems needlessly reckless.

WSPTU recommends:

* That the NWRL tunnels be bored to a size of 1.6 metres, or to potentially accommodate the loading gauge and infrastructure compatible with the rest of the Sydney Trains rolling stock

* That the NWRL construction include stub tunnels and junctions to allow joining the NWRL into the Sydney Trains network at different points, especially allowing for a future Parramatta to Epping link, if people in the future decide this.

This is a Vision that the Government can achieve.. This is what we need a Government to do think about… THE FUTURE NEEDS OF OUR CITY..

We need to put pressure on the Minister to amend the scope of this project before the tenders are awarded.

please leave your comments.  I’m interested to know your thoughts




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