Sydney Metro seeking industry contribution to potential Pyrmont station

The NSW government is increasingly closing in on confirming Pyrmont as a station for the new Sydney Metro West line, which will run from Westmead via Parramatta to the Sydney CBD.

While stations have been confirmed at Westmead, Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, North Strathfield, Burwood North, Five Doc and The Bays in Rozelle, a question mark has hung over a station in Pyrmont.

This week, Sydney Metro released an invitation to participate to the private sector for a potential Metro station at Pyrmont. The market engagement process aims to provide feedback on the scope for financial and/or non-financial contribution from the private sector and/or commercial beneficiaries to a station in Pyrmont.

The engagement will include written submissions and one-on-one meetings with selected participants. The invitation to respond names landowners, business, other private sector and commercial entities as potential participants.

This engagement with the private sector follows the release of a planning strategy for the Pyrmont Peninsula, which includes multiple mentions of a potential station. The station would support the strategy’s vision for a connected and low-carbon peninsula. The strategy hopes to realise the benefits of a new station by making Pyrmont a “destination, rather than a point where journeys start”.

Announcing the strategy on July 31, Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said that options were still being considered for the station.

“We’re still working through the potential for a Metro station in Pyrmont, but it has progressed to the next stage of the process.”

A new Metro station has previously been touted as a way to extend the Sydney CBD and connect the two peninsulas.

Constance said that further connections to Western Sydney would be required.

“Connecting Pyrmont with Western Sydney would encourage jobs, investment and economic growth. My job is to ensure the area is easily accessible and has the right transport options in place.”

EIS for Sydney Metro West released, Rydalmere station dropped

The NSW government has released the first environmental impact statement (EIS) for Sydney Metro West, scrapping a proposed station at Rydalmere.

The EIS provides more detail on the route which will connect the Parramatta and Sydney CBDs. The EIS covers the section from Westmead to the Bays Precinct.

A separate EIS will be released for the section from the Bays Precinct to the Sydney CBD, with the location of a station in the CBD still to be confirmed. A station in Pyrmont is still listed as “optional”.

With the removal of the optional station at Rydalmere, the distance between consecutive stations Parramatta and Sydney Olympic Park would be between eight and nine kilometres, depending on the alignment. Most metro systems globally have an average distance between stops of between 1.2 and 1.3km.

The EIS outlines where the main works will be undertaken for civil construction works, including tunnelling, and excavation for stations. Major work sites will be established at Westmead, Parramatta between Macquarie Street and George Street, Clyde – where a stabling facility will be built, Burwood North, and the Bays Precinct. Two tunnel boring machines will each begin at The Bays and Westmead, with all four being extracted at the site in Sydney Olympic Park.

Releasing the EIS, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said that Metro West is a “once in a century” project.

“It’s been almost 100 years since the Harbour Bridge transformed Sydney. Now this underground Metro is going to be the modern day game changer for our city, serving us for decades to come.”

The EIS proposes to ease the pressure on the existing heavy rail system from population growth in Western Sydney, which is forecast to grow to 3.2 million people by 2036, by diverting commuters from the T1 Western Line, T9 Northern Line and the T2 Inner West and Leppington Line.

The EIS estimates a drop in customer numbers at some of Sydney’s busiest stations. It finds that there will be a 32 per cent fall in customer numbers on the T1 Western Line at Parramatta by 2036, a 36 per cent reduction at Strathfield, and a 35 per cent reduction at Redfern. This will cut crowing by roughly 30 per cent at North Strathfield, Strathfield, Redfern, and Burwood stations.

In addition, Sydney Metro West proposes faster travel times between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD, with services targeted to take 20 minutes. The line will also increase the number of services, from 56 trains an hour to 116, increasing capacity from 65,440 customers an hour to 157,600 customers.

The NSW government has released an expression of interest for contractors to deliver the twin tunnels between Westmead and The Bays.

EoIs released for Sydney Metro West

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has announced that the Sydney Metro West is progressing to the next stage.

“Sydney Metro is now in a position to progress procurement with the release of the expressions of interest,” said a Transport for NSW (TfNSW) spokesperson.

The announcement covers tunnelling work for the Metro West line, which would connect the Sydney CBD and Parramatta in 20 minutes, via the Bays Precinct, and Sydney Olympic Park, and then terminate at Westmead. The contract covers two twin tunnels of almost 50 kilometres, first announced to industry in October.

“Industry was asked to register their interest in October 2019 and 21 national and international participants worked with Sydney Metro to refine the tunnelling procurement strategy and scope of works,” said the spokesperson.

The two tunnelling contracts will comprise twin tunnels from Westmead to Sydney Olympic Park, and from Sydney Olympic Park to the Bays.

Companies listed as responding to the initial register of interest on the NSW government eTendering site include Boygues Construction, CPB Contractors, FCC Construcción, McConnell Dowell, and Obayashi Corporation.

“The process also allows new parties to request access to the EOI documentation,” said the spokesperson.

Tunnel boring machines are expected to begin in 2022 and construction will lead to a number of jobs across Sydney, said Constance.

“Now more than ever, infrastructure projects like Sydney Metro West support jobs, communities and the economy – Sydney Metro West will create more than 10,000 direct new jobs and 70,000 indirect jobs, with thousands of these jobs being generated by these new tunnelling contracts,” said Constance.

The Western Sydney Business Chamber welcomed the announcement for its potential to stimulate the city’s economy.

“I have no doubt that Sydney Metro West will be our ‘Hoover Dam’ project – a massive construction project over many years that put thousands of people to work and will stimulate economic activity across the route,” said David Borger, executive director of the Western Sydney Business Chamber.

Borger encouraged the NSW government to proceed with other rail projects, such as Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2.

“Western Sydney’s infrastructure deficit is going to be a key way that we build our economic recovery and get our people back to work. The best thing the NSW Government can do is push forward with its transport plans and get building as soon as possible.”

The construction of Sydney Metro West is to support the forecast the 40 per cent more train trips required in the next 15 years. In addition to stations at Westmead, Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, the Bays Precinct, and a yet to be finalised location in the Sydney CBD, there are confirmed stations at North Strathfield, Burwood North and Five Dock, with optional stations at Rydalmere and Pyrmont. A stabling and maintenance facility will be built at Clyde.

“We need to be going full steam ahead on this project so that we are ready to get digging as soon as possible. I encourage the NSW Government to resolve the issues of the outstanding station locations at Rydalmere and Pyrmont as soon as possible,” said Borger.

Sydney Metro West line service facility under question

Sydney’s Inner West council is condemning a NSW government proposal to build a large ventilation stack for the Sydney Metro West line next to a community pool in Leichhardt.

The planned ventilation outlet is intended for a section of the rail line which runs through the tunnels between the Bays Precinct near Rozelle and Five Dock. It would be located adjacent to Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre as well as meters away from the popular Bay Run walking and cycling path.

“Leichhardt Pool had nearly 800,000 visits last year and the Bay Run is enjoyed by thousands of people daily. To propose a smokestack slap bang in the middle of this area is complete madness,” Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said.

While every train station along the metro line will have fresh-air ventilation, three standalone facilities will be built for parts of the mostly underground rail line where there are long distances between stations.

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and the council have held initial discussions around the potential site for a ventilation facility, but are yet to decide on its location. Detailed design work will be undertaken once the site is confirmed.

“Services facilities, which are required to service the rail tunnels, are intended to be as unobtrusive as possible within their surrounding environment,” TfNSW said.

“Sydney Metro will aim to minimise impacts on the community wherever possible.”

However, the Inner West council says that it has received early advice that the air quality, noise and vibration impact from construction will force the pool to close “which will have a devastating effect on our learn to swim classes, hydrotherapy programs and local sporting clubs”.

Of the council’s five pools, two are already closed for refurbishments. The council has also already supported plans for a new landscaped water park with BBQ facilities and shaded recreation space at the site of the proposed ventilation stack.

Aside from the possibility of Leichhardt, the two other proposed sites are at Silverwater – on the corner of Silverwater Road and Derby Street – and at Clyde, near Parramatta, on a site occupied by Sydney Speedway and other businesses where a stabling yard for trains is planned.