Passenger Rail

Inquiry into Sydenham to Bankstown conversion released

The New South Wales upper house Transport and Customer Service Committee has delivered its report into the conversion of the Sydenham to Bankstown line from heavy rail to metro.

The conversion is part of the Sydney Metro CBD and South West project and will involve heavy rail services terminating at Bankstown and driverless metro services running from the city to Bankstown, via Sydenham.

The inquiry has found that the conversion should not proceed, and that the Sydney Metro CBD and South West project should not proceed beyond at Sydenham, where new tunnels meet the existing rail network.

Abigail Boyd, chair of the Committee and NSW Greens Spokesperson for Transport & Infrastructure said that the full business case should be released.

“The case for the South West Metro project has not been made out. If the government was confident that the project would stand up to scrutiny, they would have released the full business case long ago.”

The NSW government has only released a summary business case for the project and the Committee found that the government and its partners had not been able to make the case for the project.

A spokesperson for Sydney Metro said that the project is well underway and consultation has been ongoing since 2011.

“Following feedback, significant changes have been made to the Bankstown Line metro upgrade, including reduced closures during construction and retaining the heritage character of stations.”

Boyd recommended that other rail projects be funded instead of the conversion, including digital signalling upgrades.

“The South West Metro must terminate at Sydenham, with the billions saved being redirected into funding new rail links to communities in Sydney that currently have none,” said Boyd.

In a dissenting statement the Liberal and National party members of the committee stated that the NSW government would deliver the South West component of the metro project as well as upgrade trains and infrastructure on the Sydney Trains network.