The first of the new driverless trains that will eventually service the $8.3 billion Sydney Metro Northwest next year is now undergoing testing.
The train is currently at Sydney Metro HQ at Rouse Hill, where testing is underway on commissioning systems, including passenger information displays, lighting and door operation. Acceleration and braking operations for the train are also being carried out at different speeds on test track.
The 6-car Metropolis train was delivered to Sydney in September last year and is the first of 22 that are being built for the Metro Northwest by the French manufacturer Alstom in India.
Under the contract awarded to Alstom in 2014, the manufacturer is also delivering Urbalis 400 communications-based train control, Iconis control systems and Smartlock 400 computer-based interlockings for the Metro project.
The trains – driverless, automated, and remotely monitored – are 170 metres long and feature three doors per carriage, which will allow for speedier boarding and alighting at stations.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said that these new trains would boost rail capacity by up to 60 per cent.
“Metro rail services start in the booming North West region in the first half of next year, where customers will have a train every four minutes in the peak in each direction,” the premier said.
Train testing will eventually be expanded and carried out at Cudgegong Road Station, before later moving on to the elevated skytrain section of the Metro line. Trains will then finally be tested through the new twin 15-kilometre tunnels running between Bella Vista and Epping.
“Safety is Sydney Metro’s number one priority and the testing is being done in close consultation with the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator,” state transport minister Andrew Constance said.
The Northwest section running from Rouse Hill to Chatswood forms the first section of a 66-kilometre line that, once the second stage of the project is completed, will extend under Sydney Harbour, through the CDB and onwards to Bankstown. Thirty-one new stations will eventually be constructed in the duration of the project.
The second City/Southwest stage of the Metro line is expected to be complete by 2024 and is estimated to cost somewhere between $11.5 to $12.5 billion. A further line, extending from the CDB to Parramatta via Bays Precinct and Olympic Park, is also being planned. While no funding has yet been committed for this latter project, the government expects it to be complete in the second half of next decade.