23 more Alstom trains for Sydney Metro

Alstom will deliver signalling and 23 more driverless trains for the Sydney Metro City and Southwest project, after the Northwest Rapid Transit (NRT) consortium’s public private partnership was extended to the new line last week.

The state on November 22 announced it had approved Sydney Metro’s decision to exercise a pre-agreed extension to the existing NRT PPP, which was awarded in 2014 for the operation of trains and signalling along the Sydney Metro Northwest line, which opened earlier this year.

The extension means the consortium will operate along the entire 66-kilometre line between Rouse Hill and Bankstown, once the Sydney Metro City and Southwest portion opens between Chatswood and Bankstown in 2024.

Alstom’s portion of the news, worth around $570 million, makes it responsible for the project management, design, supply, manufacturing, testing and commissioning of 23 six-car fully-automated Metropolis trains, along with its Urbalis 400 Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling system.

Alstom will build the 23 new trains at its manufacturing centre in Sri City, India, as it did with the 22 Metropolis trains operating on Sydney Metro Northwest.

The contract also includes an option to purchase more trains if required.

“Sydney Metro has been a game changer for the travelling public of Sydney and Alstom is delighted to continue to be a part of this iconic project,” Alstom’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand Mark Coxon said. “It strengthens Alstom’s position as the market leader for the supply of railway technologies in Australia.”

The extension news came as Sydney Metro Northwest reached more than 11 million customer journeys, in just its first five months of operation.

NSW transport minister Andrew Constance said expected operational issues in the first few months of operation were becoming less frequent, with 99 per cent of train services delivered in September and October.

“Like all new railways right around the world, there has been a period of bedding in and we apologise to our customers for the small number of issues that have occurred,” he said.

“Performance has been improving on a month-to-month basis as we settle in the new service and integrate metro rail with the community and Sydney’s wider public transport system.”

Andrew Constance demands build of metro train yard within 2 years

NSW transport minister Andrew Constance yesterday publicly criticised the secretary of his department, after the secretary expressed doubts about a two-year time frame for the build of the new Sydney metro train yard.

Secretary Rodd Staples told a budget estimates hearing on Monday that the Sydney Speedway track in Western Sydney, which will be seized by the state government in 2021, could take more than two years to convert into a train yard for a new Sydney Metro line

“When I spoke to the bureaucrat (Mr Staples) overnight he said ‘I was just concerned about the planning approval process’. Well no, get on with it champ,” said Constance, according to a transcript of Ray Hadley’s 2GB radio show.

“I don’t want to publicly denigrate a good secretary but he’s just got to get on with this … This is not a complex build. I mean, it is a clay track.

“Even the pits, I mean It’s just asphalt being laid on the ground in an open space so they can do the work to the cars.”

“Two years to build a speedway? For goodness sake. They built Newcastle light rail, the construction, in a 12 month period. So I’m pretty confident we can put a clay track down, build some stands for the fans, put in a pit. I mean this is not complex work. And the best thing about this is there’s already dedicated motorsports at Eastern Creek so let’s go find the site and get on with it old mate. So that’s what I’ve said to him.”

When asked to comment by The Australian, the secretary stated: “I look forward to continuing to deliver the government’s $55.6 billion transport infrastructure agenda.”

Sydney Metro hits ‘one-millionth journey’ mark

Over one million commuters have travelled using the North West Metro within two weeks of the service’s launch, according to figures from the New South Wales Government.

The automated North West Metro opened on Sunday May 26 and runs for 13 stations between Tallawong and Chatswood. It transported an average of 72,000 patrons on weekdays, a statistic referred to by NSW Premier Gladys Berejikian as a “huge result for a brand new mode of transport”.

“The success shows just how much commuters appreciate the delivery of this game-changing project, which connects the area by rail like never before,” Berejiklian continued.

Line data gleaned from Opal found that May 29 had the busiest morning peak (23,330 trips) while May 28 had the biggest afternoon peak (27,542 trips) across over 3,400 metro train services. May 30 was the busiest day overall since the Metro’s launch, recording 75,876 trips.

The service launched on time at a cost of around $7.4 billion ($1 billion under budget). The service has suffered from a few initial technical issues, including a breakdown between Cherrybrook and Epping and a train that failed to stop properly at Chatswood station.

“As with any comparable railway of this scale around the world there have been some minor teething issues and we thank customers for their patience as we continue to fine tune the system,” said NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance.


Sydney Trains brings carriage occupancy indicators to stations

Commuters at certain Sydney rail stations will now be able to see how crowded trains are in advance thanks to the introduction of occupancy indicator screens.

The indicator screens will indicate carriages with seats, standing room only carriages and completely full carriages using a colour-coding system. Red indicates that a carriage is full, amber indicates standing room only and green means that seats are still available.

The data is determined by weight sensors on the carriages that can indicate how many commuters are in each carriage and where spaces are still available. The technology is now brand new, but it is the first time the data has been made available at stations. Commuters previously had to access the data through the Transport for NSW Trip Planner (which launched in May last year), or other travel apps such as TripView, TripGo and Transport for NSW’s Opal app.

“The carriage capacity indicator has been available on real-time apps for more than a year and it has proven to be a great way for customers to quickly find out where seats are available on a train,” said NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance.

The station displays are currently usable at stops with Waratah trains, including the T1 North Shore and Western Lines. The system is one of several implementations being made at certain stations in preparation for the launch of Sydney Metro’s North West line on May 26.

The 36km North West line, which started construction in 2011, will run across 13 stations from Tallawong to Chatswood.

“When Metro opens in a week people are going to have to adjust to a whole new way of getting around Sydney, including transferring onto the existing rail network at Chatswood to get into the city,” Constance said.

“These capacity indicators will help passengers know where to go on the platform to get onto the train quickly and easily.”

Sydney Metro Northwest opening confirmed for end of May

The New South Wales Government has confirmed that the long-awaited Sydney Metro’s North West line will open to the public on Sunday May 26.

The 36-kilometre line, which stretches from Tallawong to Chatswood across 13 stations, started construction in 2011 and was delivered on time and $1 billion under budget, according to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“This is an exciting time for the future of public transport. Thousands of commuters will have access to world class metro rail,” Berejiklian said.

The trains on the North West line are driverless and have no timetables, with a train promised every four minutes in each direction during peak times (to be increased to every two minutes in future). This automated system has undergone over 180,000km of testing prior to the public launch of the service.

The line also incorporates 4000 car parking spaces for commuters, and mover 1,500 weekly services have been added to bus timetables to support links to the Metro’s stations.

The state government has referred to the project as Australia’s first “fully accessible railway”, that being a a railway with lifts at every station and no gaps between the platform and the train.

“The true mark of a progressive global city is a reliable and world-class public transport system and the North West Metro is a key component that will advance the quality of public transport in Sydney,” said NSW Business Chamber Director of Policy, Advocacy and Influence Chris Lamont.

“This is the beginning of a revolutionary way to move large numbers of people around the city and conveniently link them to employment and educational hubs.”

Early works are continuing on the Sydney Metro project’s other component, Sydney Metro City & Southwest, which comprises a southerly line from Chatswood to Sydenham.

The full Sydney Metro project comprising 31 stations across 66km is expected to be completed in 2024.

“The new generation of driverless trains have now completed more than 180,000 kilometres of testing and final commissioning is underway,” said NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance.

“Sydney Metro is Australia’s first fully accessible railway which will deliver fast, safe and reliable travel.”