Sydney Metro West
Sydney Metro West is a proposed rapid transit railway line in Sydney, Australia, linking the Sydney CBD with Westmead. The railway line will run parallel to the existing Main Suburban and Main Western railway lines, with the main aims of doubling rail capcity between the CBD and Western Sydney, and relieving overcrowding on the Western Line. It will also be a separate line to the other two Sydney Metro railway lines, the Sydney Metro Northwest and Sydney Metro City & Southwest.
|Sydney Metro West|
|Type||Rapid transit line|
|Planned opening||Late 2020s|
|Owner||Transport for NSW|
The line was first mentioned in a discussion paper released in September 2016 that investigated new rail projects to service Western Sydney and the proposed Western Sydney Airport. Media reports indicated the project had found favour with Transport for NSW and the New South Wales Government.
The line was announced by the Baird government as an official project on 14 November 2016. Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, the Bays Precinct and the Sydney CBD were announced as initial station locations, with up to 12 stations being considered. The preferred alignment was scheduled to be announced in late 2018, while the line is expected to open in the second half of the 2020s. The government will use a value capture scheme to help pay for the project. The contributions from value capture are expected to amount to between 10 and 15 percent of the capital cost. Construction was originally planned to begin by 2022.
During the state election campaign in March 2019, the Liberal/National coalition government announced a funding of $6.4 billion to the project and commitment to start construction earlier in 2020, if re-elected. The Labor opposition also announced its commitment to fund the project if it won the election, at the expense of cancelling other announced transport and road projects such as the Western Harbour Tunnel & Beaches Link. The coalition government was subsequently re-elected in the election that month. In June 2019, the 2019-2020 New South Wales state budget reaffirmed the government's commitment and funding of $6.4 billion over four years to the project, with construction to be fast-tracked to start in 2020.
On 21 October 2019, the locations of seven stations were announced and confirmed. Initial work is expected to start in 2020, with tunnelling to begin in 2022. The line is expected to open to the public by 2030.
When the project was first announced, up to 12 stations including Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, the Bays Precinct and the Sydney CBD were announced as initial station locations. In March 2018, the government expanded the project scope, including:
- an additional station at Westmead
- a new station that will connect to existing stations either at Concord West or North Strathfield.
- an interchange at the western end of the line, connecting with the existing railway stations at either Westmead or Parramatta
Other options for new metro stations include Camellia/Rydalmere, North Burwood/Five Dock, Kings Bay (Five Dock) and Pyrmont. Media reports indicate that Martin Place will be the main CBD interchange. During the state election campaign in March 2019, the government announced new stations at Five Dock, North Burwood and North Strathfield.
October 2019 announcment
A stabling and maintenance facility and a service facility will be built at Clyde, adjacent to the Auburn Maintenance Centre, and Silverwater respectively. The Clyde facility will be on the site of Sydney Speedway, which will be demolished, and will be accessed from the main tunnels via the former Carlingford railway line corridor. As of October 2019, the government is still considering further stations at Pyrmont and Rydalmere.
Parramatta Light Rail
The metro project serves a similar area to the Parramatta Light Rail, whose stage 1 alignment runs between Westmead and Carlingford. Stage 2 of the light rail project was initially deferred, then redesigned and truncated from Strathfield to Sydney Olympic Park via the suburbs to the north of the Parramatta River.
In the 2000s, there were two previous proposals to link Sydney CBD to Western Sydney via a new alignment. The first of these was the Western Fast Rail which was proposed by a private consortium, linking Wynyard and Penrith stations. The second proposal was the West Metro, first announced by Premier Morris Iemma in 2008 as a possible future route in the Metro Link proposal. The proposal was carried forward to the Sydney Metro project announced by Iemma's successor Nathan Rees in 2009. It is important to note that the Sydney Metro project is a different and separate project to the current Sydney Metro, which was first proposed by the new Liberal government in 2011.
Western FastRail was a proposed $2 billion privately-funded underground and above-ground train line that would link central Sydney with Western Sydney independent from the CityRail network. Western FastRail was being backed by a consortium led by businessman and former union leader Michael Easson, which includes Dutch bank ABN AMRO and Australian construction company Leighton Holdings. The project was prompted by congestion on Sydney's westbound trains and roads, the growing importance of Parramatta as a business centre, higher petrol prices, public opposition to tolled roads and environmental concerns. An unreleased government document leaked to The Daily Telegraph suggests that such a train would eliminate the need of around 18 million car trips per year, reducing between 34,000 and 45,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions being put into the atmosphere.
The proposal was first made on 11 April 2002 when Col Gellatly, the state's top civil servant and director-general of the Department of Premier convened a meeting of Treasury secretary, John Pierce, the Transport NSW director-general, Michael Deegan, and the State Rail Authority chief executive, Howard Lacy. Before them consortium leader Michael Easson made a presentation for a privately financed rail line linking Sydney's far west with the city. For a $8 return toll on top of the normal fare, trains travelling at 160 km/h could carry up to 16,000 commuters an hour to the city in 28 minutes, taking 11 minutes from Parramatta to the city. The proposal depended on the construction of two tracks from St Marys to Penrith, as well as taking over existing CityRail tracks between St Marys to Westmead. Costed at $2 billion, it was deemed extraordinarily cheap, and in December 2003 the Government formally rejected the unsolicited proposal.
In March 2005 the proposal was again brought up, and again in December 2006 by then federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd during a visit to Penrith should the Australian Labor Party win the 2007 Federal Election. The plan received approving comments by the NSW State Government. In September 2007 the proposal was again shown to the NSW Government. Under the proposal, the project is proposed to be funded by the private sector, with Fastrail’s assets being returned to the NSW Government after 30 years.
On 18 March 2008, the NSW State Government announced SydneyLink, which included plans for the West Metro. . Premier Morris Iemma was asked about the Western FastRail proposal, and said that "the proposal on Penrith has got to stack up," and "the work that has been done shows that it does not stack up, for a number of reasons." On 25 August, the State Government made a public announcement that it had ruled out the project two weeks earlier due to cost concerns, with the head of the consortium saying that the Government has failed to adequately review the proposal.
It was proposed that two 26 km tunnels will link Sydney (possibly Wynyard station or a new nearby station to be built as part of MetroPitt) with Parramatta, with high-speed trains traversing across the distance in eleven minutes at speeds of up to 160 km/h. The line would continue above-ground to Blacktown in six minutes, and onwards to Penrith in a further eleven minutes. At the time, journeys on existing CityRail lines take up to three times as long.
The SydneyLink project was a massive infrastructure scheme announced by the state government led by premier Morris Iemma on 18 March 2008. The centrepiece of the scheme was "Metro Link", a future rapid transit system of underground, privately operated, single-deck, automated trains. One of the possible future metro lines was the West Metro, from the Sydney CBD to Parramatta and Westmead. After Nathan Rees replaced Iemma later that year, the West Metro was incorporated into Rees's Sydney Metro project, announced in 2009. The West Metro would be the second stage 2 of the project, and would extend CBD Metro (stage 1 - Central to Rozelle) from Central westward to Olympic Park. Stage 5 of the project would further extend the line westward from Olympic Park to Parramatta, planned for completion in 2024.
Rees' Sydney Metro project was cancelled in February 2010 by the government led by newly-appointed premier Kristina Keneally. Keneally said "We've listened to the community and made a tough decision," and pledging to reimburse tenderers and property owners for losses incurred as a result of the work that had occurred to that point. Keneally announced a $50 billion transport plan to replace the metro project, including a new heavy rail line under the CBD. Legislation to remove references to the Sydney Metro Authority was enacted later that year. Keneally's altnernative was the CBD Relief Line, which would be heavy-rail bypass of the existing city-centre stations. Keneally lost office just over a year later in the 2011 New South Wales state election, and the relief line was cancelled by the incoming government led by premier Barry O'Farrell.
The metro line will pass through several suburbs that will not be serviced by the line. These include Rozelle, Leichhardt and Rosehill. With the pending closure of the Carlingford railway line, none of these suburbs will be serviced by either metro or heavy rail once the metro is completed. The line will also pass through Pyrmont and Silverwater, which have only been noted as potential metro stops.
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