North West Bus Changes from May 26

There will be a number of changes to bus services across the North West to coincide with the opening of Sydney Metro Northwest on Sunday May 26, 2019. These include a number of routes that have been rerouted to service new metro stations as well as more frequent services to better connect surrounding communities to Sydney Metro.

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A number of changes to T-Way services are occurring due to the opening of Sydney Metro Northwest – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Continue reading “North West Bus Changes from May 26”

Lack of Planning in Sydney Transport

Recently our editor was invited to present a speech to the Sydney Branch of the Lions Club on a topical issue as part of the annual Lions Club International “Youth of the Year competition. The speech presented was titled “Lack of Planning in Sydney Transport” It won first place in its division, being the best presented on the night.

Here at Transport NSW Blog we believe that Transport is one of the most topical issues that can be discussed within our communities as it affects almost everyone. Everyone needs to be able to get from point A to point B, between their homes and their jobs or other important parts of their community.  The speech takes a look at the issues that Sydney faces from a transport planning perspective and talks about the lack of long term planning that is entrenched within our transport bureaucracy and the ways that this issue affects our community. It also makes a case for why we need to develop a long term bi-partisan transport masterplan for Sydney and New South Wales.

Please see below for a transcript of the speech.

Continue reading “Lack of Planning in Sydney Transport”

2019 Federal Election

The 2019 Federal Election is being held on Saturday May 18, 2019. Transport is typically considered a state issue, but many transport projects right across the country are pushed and funded by the federal government, including projects here in NSW. The incumbent Liberal National Coalition led by Scott Morrison is up against the Labor opposition led by Bill Shorten.

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Bill Shorten (Labor) is looking to take government from Scott Morrison (Liberal National Coalition) – AAP

Both parties are coming to the election with a number of cornerstone commitments in the transport space. We will make it very clear from the outset that we don’t accept road projects as transport projects and as such we do not include these commitments. The funding that both parties are proposing will go towards projects that have been deemed to be High Priority or Priority infrastructure initiatives in the near to medium term by Infrastructure Australia.

 

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Both parties are promising to fully fund Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird-Walton) Airport – WSROC

The Liberal National Coalition is running on a very status quo campaign this election. They have proposed just over $18 billion in funding over 10 years for transport projects at this election, including;

  • At least $5 billion to fully fund and building the Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird-Walton) Airport
  • $3.5 billion in funding for a North-South rail link between St Marys and Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird-Walton) Airport
  • $40 million on assessments for fast rail corridors
  • $9.3 billion for Inland Rail

This current Liberal government has a mixed record on Transport. After being first elected in 2013, then PM Tony Abbott announced that he would refuse to fund any public transport projects. There was the cancellation of more than $4 billion of planned investment in public transport infrastructure in the 2014 budget, including projects that had been positively assessed by Infrastructure Australia. Under PM Malcolm Turnbull, there had been a return to some expenditure on public transport, however this has still be very paltry when compared to past governments.

Currently Deputy PM Michael McCormack is the federal Minister for Transport, however we often get long periods of radio silence from him on transport matters.  Perhaps the best achievement on transport made during the life of this government was the Western Sydney City Deal. This allowed for co-ordinated investment with the state government in the Western Sydney Airport precinct. Despite this investment their record is still poor, with over $5 billion in previous transport commitments yet to be delivered.

Labor is running one of the largest policy based campaigns in Australian history, and this also extends to their commitments on Transport. Labor is promising an extensive funding splurge of around $22 billion in their first term of government.

  • At least $5 billion to fully fund and building the Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird-Walton) Airport
  • $3 billion in funding for a North-South rail link between St Marys and Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird-Walton) Airport
  • Additional funding for an extension of the South West Rail Link from Leppington to Western Sydney Airport
  • $3 billion in funding for Sydney Metro West between the Sydney CBD and Parramatta, doubling rail capacity
  • $50 million for a High Speed Rail authority to finalise track alignment, start land acquisitions and finalise an updated business case for an East Coast high speed rail line
  • $1 billion for land acquisitions in Southern Sydney for an East Coast high speed rail line
  • $9.3 billion for Inland Rail
  • Independent inquiry into the Inland Rail route to address concerns over changes made that advantaged rich landholders over farmers

Under the previous Labor government of 2007-2013, there was a record investment in urban public transport infrastructure as well as the reconstruction of over one third of our current rail freight network. Anthony Albanese will be Minister for Transport in a new Labor government, should they be elected. Under the previous term of government he oversaw the creation of peak body Infrastructure Australia and was a fierce advocate for investment in public transport infrastructure.

The commitment to high speed rail is an interesting one from Labor. Whilst it is an often trotted out concept that often goes nowhere, it is impressive that they have committed over $1 billion dollars to the important area of property acquisition, that realistically needs to be occurring right now to future proof for an actual HSR line in the future.

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Labor is promising more to more than double the funding for Sydney Metro when compared to the Coalition – Transport NSW Blog Collection

This election, the Liberal National Coalition is going to the election without a commitment to fund some of the most important infrastructure projects across Australia, Sydney Metro West and Brisbane’s Cross River Rail. Both of theses projects have been assessed to be high priority in the near term by Infrastructure Australia for near term construction. On the other hand, Labor has promised to partially fund both of these projects.

Sydney Metro West is a proposed new rail line between the Sydney CBD and Parramatta, which is designed to take pressure off of the existing T1 Western Line. It will double rail capacity along the Parramatta-CBD corridor. Despite being assessed as a high priority initiative for construction within the next five years and the project likely requiring federal government support, the Liberal party has promised no funding astroturfing all over a 10 year period for this project. Labor has promised $3 billion for the project.

Cross River Rail is a new rail line through the Brisbane CBD, designed to take pressure of the existing Merivale Bridge and CBD rail line. This project is of interest to NSW transport as it is the only way to increase rail access to the Brisbane CBD and this lack of access detriments NSW rail services. This currently means that XPT services in the Far North Coast region have to operate at undesirable nighttime hours for arrival and departures into Brisbane, a situation which can only be fixed with Cross River Rail. Further, there are numerous local benefits for Cross River Rail.  Labor has promised $2 billion for the project.

Beyond these two projects, there are a number of non-NSW specific projects that the Coalition has failed to promise funding for, and history shows that even when the Coalition promises projects they don’t necessarily deliver. Additionally, there should be great skepticism taken with any 10-year funding plan from either side of government, as there ability to deliver these sort of promises is typically very low when it is not a bipartisan measure. As the entire offering from the Coalition is based on a 10 year plan, with little to no money actually being delivered this term, it is hard to see what transport benefits will actually materialise with a re-elected Coalition government.

Labor is promising more, sooner. All of Labor’s promises are fully funded in their first term of government rather than relying on longer term estimates of spending. This allows them to demonstrate that they are actually committed to their promises and they weren’t just an empty promise that can be repeated election after election. Additionally, the experience and expertise that Anthony Albanese will bring to the role will be of great benefit to the wider Australian transport landscape, particularly his work as Transport Minister and with Infrastructure Australia.

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Anthony Albanese will be the federal Minister for Transport if Labor wins the election. He previously served in the role between 2007-2013 – Bidgee via Wikimedia Commons

There appears to be a wider compelling case for a change of government at this election and this extends into the transport realm. Labor has a better transport platform and a more experienced team that is more likely to deliver.

Featured Bus Route – April 2019

For this month our featured bus route is Route 740 operated by Busways Western Sydney. It operates between Plumpton Marketplace and Macqaurie Park via Quakers Hill, Stanhope Gardens and the M2 Hills Motorway.

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Originally operated as Route 750, this route was one of many new routes introduced upon the opening of the new Hills Motorway on 27 May 1997. Predominately these were new express direct CBD trips from the Hills District, taking advantage of the new bus lanes provided to allow for a quicker trip from the North West into the CBD. In addition to these services, Busways began a service to connect Western Sydney to the new employment hub in Macquarie Park. Route 750 began as a service between Mt Druitt and Macquarie Centre via Blacktown, the M2 and Epping Station in 1997. By February of 1999 most trips had been altered to operate between Emerton and Macquarie Centre via Quakers Hill, the M2 and Epping Station, whilst some trips retained the destination of Mt Druitt via Blacktown. Also at this time, selected weekday services began operating as far as the University of Western Sydney Penrith Campus during semester.

On 27 July 2002, Route 750 was spilt into two different routes both showing the same route number. The existing Emerton to Macquarie Centre via Quakers Hill service was retained but had all non peak hour services cut. There was also an end to Mt Druitt via Blacktown and University of Western Sydney diversion services. A duplicate route 750 began at this time and operated between St Marys and Hebersham, with semester time extensions to the University of Western Sydney in lieu of the other route 750. This duplicate arrangement latest until January 2004, and caused some slight confusion in the shared section between Emerton and Hebersham.

From 28 January 2004, the current operating scenario of route 740 was set up. Still opertaing as route 750, the service was curtailed to operate along the current Plumpton to Macqaurie Park via Quakers Hill, Stanhope Gardens and the M2 Hills Motorway. This decision was made due to the poor patronage of the route west of Plumpton. Additionally the duplicate service was ceased at this time without the provision of a replacement.

In 2009, the Ministry of Transport review of Region 1 bus services came into effect. It suggested wide ranging changes to bus services across Sydney, but the only change suggested for this route was a change in number from 750 to 740, a change which was adopted and Route 740 replaced Route 750 in its entirety form 11 October 2009.

Since then, there have been two changes to Route 740. From 17 January 2011, the service was rerouted to skip Epping station and run express along the M2 all the way to Macquarie Park. Later, on 29 October 2011, the service was extended from Macquarie Centre to Macquarie Park.

Currently, Route 740 is operates a weekday peak hour only service, with service between 6am and 10am towards Macquarie Park, and service between 4pm and 8pm towards Plumpton Marketplace. Services during these times operate every half and hour in direction of peak. There are also two anti peak services, operating between 5pm and 6pm towards Macquarie Park and between 7:30am and 8:30am towards Plumpton Marketplace. The service is operated by Busways Western Sydney from their Blacktown depot. It is primarily operated by standard 12m buses, however double decker services are provided on select services.

After 22 years in service, route 740 will be withdrawn after the last service on May 24 2019, as part of changes to bus services for Sydney Metro Northwest.

 

 

Photos – Out with the old and in with the new

There are currently a number of generational changes occurring in NSW transport. Things that have seemingly been around for ever are suddenly there no more, whilst brand new things now appear in their places. Today we bring you some pictures of these changes.

Buses

The old Scania L113TRBs with Ansair Orana 14.5 bodywork are finally reaching the end of their working life, with a number now starting to be retired from both the State Transit and Transit Systems fleet. These tri-axle buses have a higher capacity than standard buses and are 2.5m longer at 14.5m long, compared to 12m for a standard bus.

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These buses have been most commonly seen on State Transit routes 288, 292, 392, 400 and L94 as well as Transit Systems route 420. You can still find them on those routes until the last of the type is retired later this year, after 26 years of service.

These buses are being replaced by a batch of buses from the revived Custom Bus. After going into receivership last year and closing down their production line, Custom Bus (previous Custom Coaches) was purchased by the Dunn Group (owners of Telfords) and set up a new production line to produce their popular CB80 series 2 model. The CB80 series 2 on a Scania K310UB chassis are currently entering service with State Transit to replace the old buses.

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Some have criticised this choice for the replacement of the older Scania as they are only 12m long standard buses, reflecting a reduction of capacity when compared to the 14.5m long buses they are replacing.

Trains

Friday saw the last regularly scheduled run of a S set on the Sydney rail network. This will be a second retirement for the 40 year old trains, which were originally removed from all lines except the Olympic Park shuttle back in 2014. They were forced back into service as part of the controversial November 2017 timetable, which led the government to order 41 new Waratah trains.

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Despite the end of timetabled running, 8 sets have been retained for emergency operation, and due to the Tangara Upgrade Program which is currently taking place, it is expected that these sets may be used on the T6 Carlingford and T7 Olympic Park lines in the coming weeks and months.

Deliveries of the first batch of 24 new Waratah Series 2 trains have now been completed, with all 24 trains now in service. These trains can now be found across the network, with all 24 sets being included in the latest run changes that started today.

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The remaining 17 Waratah Series 2 trains were ordered as part of a seperate order and will begin deliveries later this year. The trains are distinctive due to their orange fronts and minor interior modifications.

Perhaps most excitingly, Sydney Metro is now one step closer to opening. The brand new line between Chatswood and Tallawong has been undergoing full timetable testing and its approval is in final stages at the regulator. Today also marks the start of a number of changes designed to make the transition of Metro into the network seamless, with more trains on the North Shore and changes to connecting bus services.

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Sydney Metro will be the first driverless train system in Australia, with 22 driverless six car Alstom Metropolis trains operating along the new line once it opens, with services every 4 minutes in peak hour. All the stations along the route have been fitted with platform screen doors and allow for level boarding.

So out with the old and in with the new appears to be all the rage at the moment. Despite all the change, most of transport will stay the same. We have also confirmed that at this stage, it is the intention that both the Scania L113TRBs with Ansair Orana 14.5 and S sets will have an example preserved as part of the heritage transport fleet.

Service Changes from 28 April 2019

From Sunday 28 April 2019 there will be some changes to train and bus services to allow for the integration of Sydney Metro into the wider transport network as well as to match service levels to customer demand.

Key adjustments being made include additional services along the T1 North Shore Line, and renaming the T1 Northern Line to the T9 Northern Line. Some bus routes in the Upper North Shore area will be adjusted to better connect with train services, additional services will be added in other areas and some bus routes across Sydney will be renumbered.

Continue reading “Service Changes from 28 April 2019”

Federal Budget and Budget Reply deliver for NSW Transport

This week we saw both the Federal Budget and offical budget reply handed down in Canberra, with both documents acting as pre-campaign launches for the federal election that is coming up in May. Both the Coalition and Labor are promising billions of funding for new transport projects here in NSW, as well as around the country.

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Josh Frydenburg and Bill Shorten are both promising big for Transport in NSW – ABC

The incumbent Coalition government has promised that the state’s infrastructure boom will be further boosted with $7.3 billion for new rail and road projects. This includes a major investment of $3.5 billion for stage 1 of the the new North-South Metro line between St Marys and Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis via the new Western Sydney Airport. $50 million will be spent from the Urban Congestion Fund for new commuter carparks in Gosford, Panania, Hurstville and Woy Woy. A further $40 million has been set aside for detailed assessments of potential fast rail corridors in NSW, including from Sydney to Wollongong and Sydney to Parkes. $950 million has been earmarked for road upgrades. Most of the funding promised comes from forward estimates and will be delivered over four years.

In their budget reply, Labor criticised the government for only including the money for projects in forward estimates, where it claims they will not actually have to deliver on their promises. As part of the reply, Labor has committed to funding all of its major infrastructure projects in its first budget to be handed down later this year if it wins office. This will include $3 Billion for Sydney Metro West between the CBD and Westmead via the Bays Precinct, Sydney Olympic Park and Parramatta and at least $500 million for an extension of the South West rail link from Leppington to Western Sydney Airport via Bringelly. This will come alongside an investigation into funding for stage 1 of the the new North-South Metro line and promises for funding for a high speed rail planning authority.

It is a very good sign that both parties are providing funding for parts of the state governments major railway infrastructure plan. Both parties are promising funding for a rail line to the new Western Sydney Airport and the Coalition is spending big on reducing congestion. One criticism to come out of the budget on the transport front was the lack of funding for the Sydney Metro West project by the Coalition. This is a project that will likely need federal funding to get off the ground and given it has been brought forward by the state Coalition government, out seems odd that their federal counterparts would not want to support the project.

No matter which party wins the next federal election, it looks like New South Wales will be getting plenty of federal funding for its planned rail projects, leading to better transport outcomes.

Two Years

Today marks two years since Transport NSW Blog was first set up in a library during a lunch break. In those two years that library has since become a fitness centre, but this blog has grown into a wonderful community of people who read, comment on and share the posts about transport that get posted here.

Thank you to all 7000 individual IP addresses that have visited us and for all the 17000 views on 233 posts across over 63363 words that have been published on Transport NSW Blog.

The past year has been crazy. We ran our massively popular and successful NSW State  election coverage, that proved only half as controversial as we expected and we saw even more photos and community contributions than ever before.

We want to see even more of your community created content, even more discussions on transport and loads more buses in the coming year. Let us know what bus route you want to be featured next month or your ideas for what we should post!

To another two years of transport posts, a massive shout out to all my loyal email subscribers and those reading this on their browser.

Conor Magee
Editor – Transport NSW Blog

Featured Bus Route – March 2019

As requested, we once again return to State Transit Region 9 in the Eastern Suburbs for our featured bus route this month. Route 314 operates between Bondi Junction and Coogee via Charing Cross and Randwick Junction.

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A Route 314 service terminates at Bondi Junction – Transport NSW Blog Collection

The Cross-Country tram line was one of a very few tram lines in Sydney that did not operate to or from the Sydney CBD. Instead it followed the Coogee line from Coogee Beach to Randwick Junction, then traversed through North Randwick to connect up with the Bronte line in Waverley. From there it travelled along the Bronte line to Bondi Junction, with some services continuing onto Waverley Depot or Bondi Beach. It began operations in 1887 and was electrified in 1902.

In 1954, the decision was made to replace the Cross-Country line with bus services. From the November 14, 1954, Route 314 bus services replaced the line between Bondi Junction and Coogee Beach. It followed a very similar route to the previous tram line, with slight alterations away from tram only corridors in North Randwick and Coogee. Route 314 saw a large increase in frequency upon the opening of the Eastern Suburbs rail line to Bondi Junction in 1979, when it was designated one of the feeder bus services to the new line. This meant it was one of the few routes in Sydney allowing for  multi-modal ticketing to be used on the service, which was a first for the time. Since then Route 314 hasn’t undergone many changes, only receiving small deviations from its original 1954 routing and successive timetable changes throughout the decades.

Today Route 314 operates a full time service between 6am and 11pm seven days a week. It has co-ordinated timetabling with route 313 (also between Bondi Junction and Coogee via different route), with each route operating every 30 minute on Weekdays and Saturdays and hourly on Sundays, This allows for a consistent 15/30 minute frequency on the Bondi Junction to Coogee corridor between 8am and 5pm. The service is operated by State Transit from its Waverley depot.