State Transit 85th Anniversary

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Christmas Day 2017 marked 85 years of operation by Sydney’s Government bus operator, the State Transit Authority.

To mark this occasion, State Transit, Transit Graphics, APN Advertising and Townsend Signs have come together to wrap 12 buses in special liveries recalling bygone liveries and historic events over the years.

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E-Paper Comes to Sydney Airport

Following a successful trail of E-Paper real time timetables at two bus stops in the CBD earlier this year, the government has decided to proceed with the rollout of the technology.

First, they will be installed at the two bus stops at Sydney Airport, located outside the T1 International and T3 Qantas Domestic terminals. Servicing Sydney’s busiest bus route, the 400 from Bondi to Burwood via Eastgardens and Rockdale, the location was chosen as many customers boarding at these locations might not have access to apps with real time data as in many cases they have only just arrived in Sydney for the first time.

Believed to be an Australian first, the compact digital screens are a sustainable, solar powered and innovative solution to a previously paper based communication channel. Information used in the new signage comes from real-time bus data, populated by on-board GPS on each bus, giving customers helpful arrival and capacity information. The displays can also provide incident alert messaging for disruptions like road closures associated with special events like Mardi Gras and Anzac Day, or unplanned disruption like a traffic incident affecting the broader network.

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The signs show information such as Route Destination, Real Time Arrival and Loading data. Image is of test prototype from CBD. 

The technology will be installed at two airport stops ahead of the September school holidays.

Eastern Suburbs Bus Changes from September 23

From September 23 2018, there will be major service changes to bus services in the Eastern Suburbs. Route 333 will become a high frequency high capacity turn up and go service, running 24 hours. Routes 382, X79 and X84 from North Bondi and the 361 from Tamarama will be discontinued and routes L24, 380 and 381 will have major service alterations. Elsewhere, many routes will have timetable changes.

 

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Full Details of changes below;

Route Location Change type
323 Dover Heights to Edgecliff Route change
  • Route will be extended to operate between North Bondi and Edgecliff via Dover Heights (old route operated between Dover Heights and Edgecliff only)
  • In the Dover Heights area, route 323 will no longer stop at the last two stops on Military Road and the stop on Peel Rd, instead operating via Portland St, Lancaster Rd and Military Rd to and from North Bondi
  • No change to the number of trips or the operating hours
  • Route 323 has been timed to facilitate connections to F4 ferry services at Rose Bay Wharf
324, 325 Watsons Bay to City via New South Head Rd Timetable changes
  •  Additional evening services, increasing service frequency to every 40 minutes on both routes from the current 60 minutes
L24 Watsons Bay to City via New South Head Rd Route change
  • Route changed to operate between Vaucluse (Old South Head Rd) and Wynyard
  • Passengers from Watsons Bay will instead need to catch the more frequent route 324
  • The service will now serve all stops between Vaucluse and Edgecliff, then as per existing stopping arrangement to Wynyard
326, 327 Bondi Junction to Edgecliff Timetable changes
  • Very minor changes to times for some trips but the frequency of services and span of hours they operate are unchanged
333 North Bondi to City via Bondi Junction Route change
  • Peak period trips extending between North Bondi and Dover Heights have been withdrawn; customers can change to routes 323 and 380 services
  • The stopping pattern will be changed to reflect customer demand and changes to surrounding services
  • Additional services will operate throughout the week using high capacity bendy buses to address high customer demand along the corridor
333N North Bondi to City via Bondi Junction New route
  • New route 333N replaces the current 380 overnight all stops service between North Bondi and City
  • The service will run from 11pm until 6am operating at all stops
360 Clovelly to Bondi Junction Timetable changes
  • Additional off-peak and weekend services, increasing service frequency to every 20 minutes
361 Tamarama to Bondi Junction Route withdrawn
  • Replaced by route 381 (which will now operate via the Tamarama area) and the existing 360 service
370 Coogee to Leichhardt via Green Square Timetable changes
  • Additional services will operate throughout the week, increasing service frequency to every 15 minutes during the day, 10 minutes during the peak
  • This service now provides more travel options for customers across the week
Route Location Change type
379 North Bondi to Bronte via Bondi Junction Timetable changes
  • Additional AM and PM peak and evening services on weekdays with some bendy buses providing extra capacity during the busy AM peak period
  • More frequent daytime and evening services on weekends
X79, X84 North Bondi to Bondi Junction Routes withdrawn
  • X79 customers to catch 379 from the same stops
  • X84 customers to catch 333, 379, 380 or route 386/387 from nearby stops
380 Watsons Bay to City via Bondi Junction Route change
  • Route will be changed to operate between Watsons Bay and Bondi Junction only (currently operates to/from Circular Quay)
  • Customers to catch routes 333 and M40 between Bondi Junction and the City
  • Service extensions to and from Watsons Bay will commence and finish later
    across the week, operating into the evening
  • Services that do not extend to Watsons Bay will now commence and finish
    their trips at South Head Cemetery instead of Dover Heights, allowing connections with route 324
381 Bondi Beach to Bondi Junction Route change
  • Route will be changed to operate between Bondi Junction and Bronte (north), via Bondi Rd and Tamarama, to replace the withdrawal of route 361
  • In the Bondi area services will no longer operate to Bondi Beach, instead operating via Denham St, Fletcher St, Gaerloch Ave/Dellview St to Bronte
382 North Bondi to Bondi Junction Route withdrawn
  • Replaced by additional services on routes 333 and 380
386, 387 Vaucluse to Bondi Junction Timetable changes
  • Additional early AM and evening services throughout the week
  • Additional Sunday services, increasing service frequency to every 30 minutes
    on both routes every day, during the day and night
M40 Bondi Junction to Chatswood Timetable changes
  • Additional weekend services, increasing service frequency to every 15 minutes during the day
  • Additional early morning and late evening services throughout the week operating between Wynyard and Bondi Junction, operating from 6am to 11pm
891,893,898 UNSW to Central Timetable changes
  • Services better aligned to passenger demand to start earlier and finish later

Sydney’s Transport History – The Worlds Steepest Railway

Many people are surprised to hear the steepest railway in the work is right here in New South Wales. Located at Scenic World in Katoomba, the “Scenic Railway” isn’t your standard everyday train line.

The short and steep line forms one of many attractions at Scenic World in Katoomba, which also includes the worlds steepest cable car. Guests can access the line for a fee, with services every 10 minutes between 9am and 5pm.

The line was originally bulit as a freight line to haul coal and oil shale from mines on the floor of the Jamieson Valley up to the escarpment above back in 1878. From 1928, the miners began supplementing their income by operating services for passengers on weekends. This service continued until the closure of the mine in 1945.

Since then the line has operated as a tourist attraction, with multiple major refurbishments of the line being conducted. The original steam winch train used for passenger services back in 1928 was named Jessie carried 12 passengers. Jessie was replaced by the Mountain Devil, a 23 passenger electric winch trains in 1935. By 1952 these trains had been replaced by newer 28 passenger trains. Newer, larger trains were again introduced in 1974 and 1994. Most recently all the tracks and the rolling stock were replaced in early 2013. This saw the number of carriages increased to four, carrying 84 passengers.

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The railway in operation today

The line is what is known as an Incline Cable Railway, which means that the trains on the line are hauled by a cable. The line has an incline of 52° or 122% on its steepest section, which is the steepest incline on any railway in the world. In the 310 metres the line travels, it loses 205 metres in elevation whilst travelling at 4m/s.

Featured Bus Route – August 2018

This month our featured bus route is State Transit Route 324. Route 324 operates between Watsons Bay and City Walsh Bay via Rose Bay, Edgecliff, Kings Cross and City Town Hall.

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The original route 324 ran between City, Macquarie Street to Watsons Bay, running express between the City and Rose Bay began on 23 January 1950 after the closure the tram line between Rose Bay and Watsons Bay closed late in December 1949. Just five months later due to large protests, Route 324 was axed and the tram returned to service.

The service was reintroduced after the second closure of the tram line to Watsons Bay on 10 July 1960. It ran between Watsons Bay and Erskine Street Wharf. From 1966 the route began terminating at Circular Quay instead of Erskine Street. From 1979, the route was diverted to use the new Edgecliff Interchange and short runnings between Watsons Bay and Double Bay were extended to Edgecliff and renumbered 323. From 4 October 2015, the 324 was modified to operate to Walsh Bay instead of to Circular Quay as part of changes to the CBD bus network related to light rail construction.,

The route currently operates every 30 minutes through most of the day. During peak hour, services run the full length of the route every 20 minutes, alternating with a short running between Watsons Bay and Edgecliff Station also running every 20 minutes. This provides an overall frequency of 10 minutes between Watsons Bay and Edgecliff and encourages interchange to rail services.

Route 324 is serviced by State Transit’s Waverley depot. It is operated using 12.5m CB60 and Citaro bodied Mercedes Benz CNG buses.

Extra Inner West Light Rail Services

Due to the continued chronic overcrowding of Inner West Light Rail services, more frequent services will be introduced from August 6 2018.

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Inner West Light Rail – Josh Quail

Between 10am to 2pm, extra services will improve frequency from 13 to 12 minutes, in line with the schedule already in place on the popular Wednesday services. The change will mean a 12 minute frequency on all weekdays between 10am and 3pm.

The afternoon peak will be extended to offer services every 8 minutes from 3pm to 7pm.

Sydney’s Transport History – The First Government Bus

The continuous 85 years that the State government has run bus services wasn’t actually the first time that Government had run bus services. Back in 1905, the Government Railway Commissioners began a motor omnibus service.

The Government Motor Omnibus Act, 1905, allowed the Railway Commissioner the power to construct, purchase or lease motor omnibuses and operate them on routes as approved by the governor. Orders were placed for four steam buses for Clarkson Ltd, of Chelmsford, England and were bodied by Angus & Son in Newtown. This practise of importing Chassis and locally building bodies continues with the government bus services today.

The first two buses, 18 passenger single deck 1M and 2M inaugurated government bus services in Sydney on 4 December 1905. They operated between Potts Point and Taylor Square on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, a distance of just under 2 kilometres. One bus would operate the service whilst the other would act as a standby in case of a breakdown. High costs coupled with low revenue saw the service ceased by 7 April 1906.

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Bus 1M that operated the first government bus service in Sydney between Potts Point and Darlinghurst on 4 December 1905

On 23 April 1906,  double deckers 3M and 4M began their short lived life operating a 2.5 kilometre route between Dulwich Hill and Enmore. These busses were even more short lived than the original route, dealings service on 29 May 1906 due to the unsuitability of the chassis to the type of work.

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Bus 4M, one of two original double decker buses used between Dulwich Hill and Enmore in April and May 1906.

After racking up losses of more than £6600 over just six months of operation, the buses were scraped at Randwick Workshops. This left the Railway commissioner to focus on Tramway and Railway operation and the bus network to a myriad of private operator for the next 26 years.

Major construction to start at Central in August

As part of the Sydney Metro City and Southwest project, major construction work will be carried out at Central station. This work will begin in August 2018 and is expected to be completed in late 2022 ahed of the planned 2024 opening for the new line.

Transport for NSW has contracted Laing O’Rourke to deliver the new Sydney Metro platforms under Central Station and the landmark Central Walk – a new underground pedestrian concourse helping customers get around Sydney’s busiest station. The contract involves;
  • Excavation and construction of the new underground Sydney Metro platforms at Central beneath platforms 13, 14 and 15
  • Central Walk – a 19-metre wide underground concourse from a new entrance on Chalmers Street, connecting customers to suburban rail platforms, Sydney Metro platforms, the new light rail and buses
  • An upgraded north concourse with transformed pedestrian thoroughfares and feature roof.
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Diagram of the works being carried out at Central Station – Transport for NSW

The key features and benefits of this work include;

  • New underground Sydney Metro platforms, with platform screen doors to keep people and objects away from the tracks and allow trains to arrive and depart from the station faster
  • Easy interchange with suburban and intercity trains, buses and light rail
  • New underground pedestrian connections
  • Customers can use escalators to get to platforms 12 to 23 for the first time
  • New signs throughout the station to make it easier to get around.
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Artist Impression of the new Sydney Metro Platform – Transport for NSW

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Artist Impression of the new Central Walk concourse – Transport for NSW

Central Station Metro work will result in temporary changes to customer access around the station at different times. The project team will work closely with Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink to minimise disruption, and provide advanced notice and information about how to get around to customers throughout construction.

To safely complete construction activities in and near the rail corridor, work will be undertaken on the track during scheduled Sydney Trains rail closures. This ensures worker and customer safety, and allows for work on the track and platforms without disrupting trains.

Sydney’s Transport History – Double Decker Trains

Sydney has a long history with double deckers trains.  In this edition of Sydney’s Transport History, we will be delving deeper into their domination of Sydney’s suburban rail rolling stock.

In the 1960s, the tenders were called for the first double decker passenger rolling stock. Between 1964 and 1968, 120 double deck trailer carriages were delivered to the NSW Government Railways from Tulloch Limited. They were incorporated into sets with single deck power cars. Tulloch delivered a number of double decker motor cars in 1968. When coupled with the double decker trailer carriages they formed the worlds first fully double decker Electric Multiple Unit trains.

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One of the original carriages from Tulloch

In 1970, the first intercity Double Deck V-set trains entered service. At the time, these trains were described as the “most luxurious commuter stock in the world”. Delivered over 19 years, most of the newer sets are still in service.

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Intercity set V3 at Katoomba

 

In 1972, the first Comeng-constructed stainless steel double deck suburban power-cars entered service. These cars were originally paired with Tulloch trailer cars , but from 1973, Comeng Trailer cars entered service. Later in the 1970s,  A Goninan & Co constructed a number of similar cars. Whilst most of these 1970s sets have since been retired, 24 of them still operate as S sets on the T2, T3, T6 and T8 lines.

Goninan built the first air conditioned suburban trains in 1981, with 160 K sets being delivered through 1985. In 1986, similar C sets with more modern safety features were introduced.

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Three Tangaras in the the foreground, with a K set in the background at Penrith

Between 1988 and 1996, 530 “Tangara” cars were introduced. These trains marked the first major redesign for the suburban rolling stock since double decker trains were introduced were and were also the last publicly funded new train design in NSW. These new trains allowed for the fill retirement of single deck suburban services in 1993.

Millenium Trains were introduced in 2002 and have formed the basis of all new trains delivered since. These were the first passenger trains in NSW to include automated announcements and information displays. These M sets allowed for the retirement of the original Tulloch carriages.

55 four carriage OSCar sets were delivered between 2006 and 2012 that allowed the oldest V sets to be retired and some services to be increased form four to eight cars in length. The H sets allowed for the next generation features found on M sets to be available on longer Intercity services.

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OSCar set H39 and Waratah set A36 at Central Station

Waratah trains are the latest design of double decker trains to be deliver to the NSW government railways and the first model to be built outside of Australia. These Chinese built trains continue on the design of the Millennium with some m minor improvements. The original order included 78 8-Car A sets. From 2018, 24 8-Car B set trains will be introduced to replace the remaining 24 S-Set trains.

Newcastle Bus Changes from July 29 2018

Keolis Downer, the embattled company that has been operating Newcastle Transport since mid last year has finally caved into large numbers of complaints regarding its new bus network introduced in January. Some major changes will be made to the network and all timetables will be refined from July 29.

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The major changes include;

  • Extending the route 14 to connect Swansea Heads to Belmont, Charlestown, Kotara and the CBD.
  • Extending the route 41 to connect Valentine and Eleebana to Charlestown.
  • Extending the route 43 to connect Floraville and Windale to Charlestown.
  • The route 44 will now travel from Warners Bay to Glendale, Cardiff, Macquarie Hills and Kotara.
  • Routes 23, 26 and 28 will now service Marketown.

These changes will better reflect actual traffic conditions and travel patterns.

Featured Bus Route – July 2018

This month our featured bus route is route 492 from Drummoyne to Rockdale via Five Dock, Burwood Campsie and Kingsgrove. This route is operated by Transit Systems Australia as part of its Region 6 contract.

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A Scania K280UB with Bustech VST bodywork operating a 492 to Rockdale in Drummoyne on the last day of State Transit operation 30/6/18

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A Scania K280UB with Custom Coaches CB80 bodywork operating a 492 to Drummoyne in Burwood on the first day of Transit Systems operation – 1/7/18

The corridor between Drummoyne and Rockdale has been serviced by direct bus service along a route similar to the current corridor since March 1937, when DGT route 92 from Campsie to Drummoyne was merged with United Motors route 44 from Campsie to Rockdale. The route retained the 92 designation, running through from Lyons Road, Drummoyne to Rockdale Station. It was later renumbered 992 in September 1940 and again to 492 in March 1944. Since then the route hasn’t seen much change other than small route changes, including an extension to Birkenhead point in the late 70s. On July 1st 2018, the route was handed over to Transit Systems Australia from State Transit as part of the Region 6 privatisation. Prior to this, the route had been government operated for its entire 81 year history.

Today Route 492 is operated out of Transit Systems Kingsgrove depot, using a variety of buses with Scania chassis and a mixture of different bodyworks. The service runs every 30 minutes between 5am and 11pm daily, with extra services between Kingsgrove and Rockdale providing a service every 15 minutes on weekday peak hours. The service takes around an hour to operate end to end.