The Australian Rail Track Corporation has engaged global leaders in sustainable solutions for infrastructure to deliver the Inland Rail Southern Civil Works Program valued at more than $1.2 billion. Read more
Forty-four years since Australia’s worst rail disaster, survivors, families, and dignitaries have remembered the Granville train crash. Read more
Face masks and coverings are becoming an increasingly common feature on transportation networks across Australia. Read more
The Narromine to Narrabri (N2N) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been released for public comment. Read more
Analysis from Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) has demonstrated the scale of the increase in infrastructure spending in this year’s NSW and Victorian budgets. Read more
Major rail projects will receive billions in funding in the 2020-21 NSW budget. Read more
The NSW government has released the South East Sydney Transport Strategy and included in the preferred scenario two new metro lines to be built by 2041 and 2056.
The Strategy outlines how Transport for NSW expects to respond to growing population in South East Sydney, an area of the city stretching from Redfern to La Perouse and to Rockdale.
The first metro line would extend from the CBD to Green Square, and Randwick and terminate at La Perouse. The second would begin at Randwick and travel to Kogarah via Sydney Airport.
The CBD to La Perouse metro line would be an extension of Sydney Metro West, and is the first Metro line to be completed, in 2041.
Metro between Randwick and Kogarah would be delivered by 2056 and would extend beyond Kogarah to Miranda.
In addition to the new metro lines, a rapid bus network would link the south east. A Transport for NSW spokesperson said that the combination was preferred over light rail options.
“After considerable consultation with Councils and other key stakeholders, two new Metro lines were considered to be the most effective means to provide for the transport needs of South East Sydney into the coming decades. Light Rail was considered, but a Rapid Bus and Metro combination allowed for better outcomes in terms of delivery and connectivity.”
The Strategy also assumes that metro will connect Hurstville and Macquarie Park and Kogarah and Norwest.
The Strategy acknowledges that current transport infrastructure in the region is not meeting the needs of the population.
Stations on the Airport Line, the only heavy rail line that runs through the region, reach capacity by 7.15am. With three in six trains arriving over capacity and four in six trains departing over capacity between 7.45 and 8.45am. With further development forecast along the line there is a need for greater capacity.
“Transport for NSW recognises that as South East Sydney continues to grow over the coming 30 years, new lines will be needed to support existing infrastructure,” said the Transport for NSW spokesperson.
The Strategy also covers the Port Botany area and while not recommending further rail to the port beyond the Port Botany Rail Line Duplication project, does set out as an objective that Port Botany has “easy access by all modes to local commercial, industrial and employment precincts.” The Strategy however does not include passenger rail to Port Botany, only recommending that Port Botany be connected via bus and private vehicle to the rest of Sydney.
The Strategy marks a shift in transport planning for the South East region of Sydney. Instead of taking a “predict and provide” approach, the Strategy identifies a vision for the region and then indicates the proposed transport infrastructure. As written in the Strategy:
“This approach recognises that continuing to accept current mode share, and in particular high levels of private car use, is not going to realise the vision, rather it will lead to increased road congestion and reduced accessibility for local residents, workers and visitors.”
Face masks are now encouraged for passengers on NSW public transport.
The change to strongly encouraging mask wearing came on Sunday, August 2, with NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant recommending masks be worn in indoor settings where physical distancing is hard to maintain, such as on public transport.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that physical distancing is still the main goal.
“People should continue to maintain their physical distance – it is our most effective weapon. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t maintain your physical distance you should wear a mask,” she said.
“It is critical the community understands masks should be used in conjunction with other measures, and not as a standalone measure.”
People are still advised not to travel on public transport if they are sick and to maintain good hygiene.
While masks will not be enforced on public transport, Transport for NSW is strongly recommending passengers wear masks.
A Transport for NSW spokesperson also said that updated mask guidelines have been issued for staff.
“Transport for NSW has made face masks available for customer facing frontline staff and is strongly recommending these masks are used at work.”
While masks were made mandatory in Melbourne on July 22, no other Australian jurisdiction has enforced a similar measure. Social distancing is also not mandatory on public transport in NSW, however heavily encouraged and promoted through the “no dot, no spot” campaign.
CEO of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Caroline Wilkie said that the rail industry thanked those who were wearing masks.
“Wearing a mask helps save lives and keeps our rail workers safe as well,” she said.
“We welcome the public support for those on the front line as they keep working to support the rest of us.”
Passenger volumes on NSW public transport were beginning to increase in May and June. Sydney Trains recorded a low of six million trips in April, while June recording 13,754,000 trips. Since the start of July, however, trips on the entire NSW public transport network have begun to decline again, by around 9 per cent.
Prior to COVID-19, in June 2019 32 million trips were taken on the Sydney Trains network.
The NSW government has announced $185 million investment to build on rail infrastructure delivery in Parkes.
The future site of the intersection of Australia’s major freight lines, Parkes is expected to play a central role in Australia’s logistics networks and supply chains.
Inland Rail will pass through Parkes, connecting Melbourne and Brisbane via regional NSW, Queensland, and Victoria, and will intersect in the Central West town with the rail line linking Sydney to Perth.
The NSW government’s current investment will fund the Parkes Special Activation Precinct, which will leverage these links to develop a logistics and intermodal hub. Parkes also has the advantage of being much more affordable than metropolitan cities, with land values at just 5 per cent of the capitals.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the investment in roads, sewer, and water connections will help grow regional NSW.
“This precinct is all about attracting money, economic growth and jobs to regional NSW,” he said.
“We know that where there is significant government investment, it attracts private investment ten-fold. This precinct could attract up to $1 billion in private investment over the next 10 years.”
The precinct will be developed by the Regional Growth NSW Development Corporation, who will lead design and construction, applications and approvals, and provide assistance for those businesses looking to set up in the regions.
The precinct stretches over 4,800 hectares of land, and can be used for purposes such as freight and logistics, food processing, warehousing, plastic and e-waste recycling, and cold chain storage.
The precinct will also focus on sustainability, as it will be Australia’s first UNIDO Eco Industrial zone. The initiative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation seeks to enhance the environmental, economic and social performance of industrial businesses through collaboration.
Work is now complete on the link between Inland Rail at Parkes and the Broken Hill rail line to Perth.