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Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Sydney

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Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Sydney

Postby tonyp » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:13 pm

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/cru ... 52g6i.html

'Crush capacity' warning for buses to Sydney's northern beaches
Matt O'Sullivan

August 13, 2019 — 12.00am

Sydney commuters will have to endure a far greater number of crowded buses on many routes within the next decade, especially those to the northern beaches which will be in danger of easily hitting "crush capacity".

The warning comes in Infrastructure Australia's latest report card, which confirmed Sydney's public transport has become more crowded over the past two years.

The nation's top infrastructure adviser forecasts substantial growth in demand for public transport in Sydney over the next 12 years as more people opt for trains and buses due to congested roads, rising parking costs, and more apartments built along rail lines.

Sydney's bus services are predicted to become more crowded.

And it predicts trains to the city's west and south west will become more crowded by 2031.

Bus priority lanes along the congested Military, Spit and Pittwater roads on the north shore are forecast to result in commuters opting for buses such as the B-line services to get to and from work.

"As a result, services using the northern beaches bus corridor are forecast to be operating well in excess of crush capacity all the way from Dee Why to North Sydney in 2031," the report warns.

A standard 45-seat bus is deemed to reach crush capacity when it is carrying 60 passengers.

Passenger demand for buses travelling along busy Victoria Road, as well as the bus-only T-way route from Parramatta to Liverpool, is expected to rise for similar reasons.

"Bus priority measures on these routes mean that they are forecast to offer proportionately faster travel, relative to worsening conditions for driving," the report said.

With Sydney's population forecast to grow from 4.9 million to 6.4 million by 2031, the independent infrastructure body makes the case for further investment by the federal and state governments in the transport network.

Green Square station is under increasing pressure from a population surge in surrounding suburbs.

Sydney has eight of the 10 most congested roads in Australia during the morning peak, the worst of which is a stretch of the Gore Hill and Warringah freeways.

On the rail network, the T8 Airport Line between the fast-growing precincts of Green Square and Mascot in Sydney's south, and a stretch of the same line from Revesby to Panania, is one of the "most challenged by demand growth".

The T2 Inner West line, and the T5 Cumberland between Merrylands and Parramatta, are also at risk of operating above "crush capacity" by 2031. On trains, crush capacity is defined as six people standing for every 10 seated.

Infrastructure Australia predicts new metro train services, such as the $12 billion line from Chatswood, under Sydney Harbour to the CBD and beyond, will reduce the likelihood of crowding on trains through the north shore and Bankstown rail corridors.

While commuters can expect it to become harder to find a seat on trains by 2031, the opening of several metro lines over the next decade means few of Sydney's train lines are forecast to be operating above "crush capacity".

Standing in carriages will become more common for commuters because the metro trains have fewer seats than Sydney's double-deck trains. However, the report said the greater frequency of metro trains meant they would be less crowded.

The state government expects to start construction on a $20 billion metro line from Sydney's CBD to Westmead near Parramatta next year, and complete a metro line from St Marys to the new $5 billion Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek by 2026.


The official and industry enthusiasm for "one size fits all" little buses with only two doors and a high floor (and no more artics) comes home to roost. When is somebody going to wake up? The B Line double deckers have little advantage being so slow and with long headways resulting in quite low route capacity. One day I think that a metro line to the northern beaches will be added to the list of future projects.

At least it looks like completion of the intial metro projects will substantially ease the crush capacity pressures on the Sydney rail network. As for street public transport, unless they make a major move to buy lots of artics, we will have to keep plugging away for more tram projects.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Transtopic » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:00 pm

tonyp wrote:https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/crush-capacity-warning-for-buses-to-sydney-s-northern-beaches-20190812-p52g6i.html


At least it looks like completion of the intial metro projects will substantially ease the crush capacity pressures on the Sydney rail network. As for street public transport, unless they make a major move to buy lots of artics, we will have to keep plugging away for more tram projects.

I wouldn't bet on that. The metro alone isn't going to solve the problem and as I've said on another thread, Metro West is going to do bugger all for T1 Western Line capacity and overcrowding west of Parramatta. There will still need to be continuing investment in the Sydney Trains network, which will include amplifications and junction remodelling, in tandem with the metro expansion to achieve any significant improvement in capacity pressures. The one size fits all metro strategy is flawed.

With regard to street public transport, let's see if the government has learnt any lessons from the C&SELR project disaster in the implementation of the Parramatta Light Rail, before embarking on any more light rail projects.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby tonyp » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:55 pm

I think Metro West will do heaps for capacity if people other than those in its catchment are prepared to interchange to it, which I suspect they will for the faster journey. The suburban system needs to ultimately phase over to single deck trains like the new Melbourne ones - same capacity but far better performance, crowd handling and dwells, with three doors, but still more seating than the metro trains. As John Dunn pointed out in Melbourne, they won't be able to operate among double deckers because the latter will slow them down, so such a project will need to be in tandem with greater line separation. The Eastern suburbs/Illawarra line would be an excellent starting point for a single deck conversion though. Ultimately the double deckers need to be deployed only on long distance expresses which is the role they are most suited to.

The government (that is, TfNSW) will have learnt from its initial tram projects and it will be much better in the future. Don't forget, it started out as an agency completely devoid of expertise and also actively anti-tram for decades. That has since been largely reformed. The worst thing now is that the bus sector in NSW is inflexible, including being completely incapable of thinking big. Sure, the mode by its nature has natural capacity limitations, but it still has more unutilised capacity potential (as European operations demonstrate). Policy directions, like not buying more artics and front door only loading, are, in the face of the capacity crisis that Sydney now faces (and now highlighted by IA) just completely and utterly nuts. The next thing that the government needs to do after reforming and developing the train and tram expertise is to put a big broom through its bus sector and clean out the dead wood.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Transtopic » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:44 pm

tonyp wrote:I think Metro West will do heaps for capacity if people other than those in its catchment are prepared to interchange to it, which I suspect they will for the faster journey. The suburban system needs to ultimately phase over to single deck trains like the new Melbourne ones - same capacity but far better performance, crowd handling and dwells, with three doors, but still more seating than the metro trains. As John Dunn pointed out in Melbourne, they won't be able to operate among double deckers because the latter will slow them down, so such a project will need to be in tandem with greater line separation. The Eastern suburbs/Illawarra line would be an excellent starting point for a single deck conversion though. Ultimately the double deckers need to be deployed only on long distance expresses which is the role they are most suited to.
This response should probably be on the Metro West thread, but you still don't get or are unwilling to accept my contention that it won't help capacity constraints WEST of Parramatta, where the greatest overcrowding occurs. For the umpteenth time, more commuters get OFF at Parramatta than get ON, so there is residual capacity from Parramatta to the CBD. Think it through.

The only way to improve capacity in peak hours west of Parramatta is to add more services, but there are limited options for them to continue through to the CBD, other than on the Main tracks to Sydney Terminal, just as some Northern Line semi-express services currently do in peak hours. That capacity will quickly dry up with the demand for more CCN and Blue Mountains Intercity services. What then?

Terminating these extra Western line services at Westmead or Parramatta to interchange to the metro is just not practicable. It's not even going to be that much faster anyway, depending on your destination, so why would you bother changing? The current fastest journey time from Parramatta to Central is 25 mins and there is the potential to significantly reduce this time further, particularly when ATO is progressively introduced. It will be more than competitive with the metro, running an express service compared with the all stations metro. It will require further amplification of the existing network between Parramatta and the CBD. Don't even think about extending the metro along the Western Line corridor to Blacktown, as the current planning suggests that it will be extended in a different direction to Badgerys Creek Airport, not that I agree with that either.

The prospect of SD trains being re-introduced to the Sydney Trains network is unlikely for the foreseeable future. So let's put that to bed. With a relatively new all DD train fleet, it will be at least 40 to 50 years before introducing SD trains is contemplated, if ever. The only exception I would make is to introduce a compatible SD fleet to service the airports with a specialised express service similar to the Hong Kong Airport Express.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:58 am

Look, my personal opinion on the matter is, I really feel like they’re making a mistake with the one size fits all approach to new buses.

While I appreciate we are getting a heap of new buses (could be 100 new buses in 2019 for STA alone if we get to fleet number 3060 and I acknowledge this is significant), I note these buses are all the same as each other no matter where they’re delivered - seating layout inside is mostly the same and with either now only Volvo B8RLE or Scania K310UB chassis, they even sound the same. It’s only the actual body (Custom, Volgren or Bustech), the outer shell, that varies.

The 14.5m Scania’s that will very soon finally be history are being replaced with 12m Scania K310UB CB80’s, completely different buses - while the latter provides wheelchair access, the bus comes at a significant capacity reduction. I honestly miss the older days when we had buses delivered for actual niche purposes - the shorter Mark V’s for smaller backstreets, the Scania L113CRB as a smaller version of the 14.5m L113TRB, Bendy buses built for the Northern Beaches (Long journeys, long distance between stops, so 1.5 door and heaps of seats), the entire Metrobus project with the custom seating layout. Does anyone remember Gladys’ document “Sydney’s bus future” when she was minister? I remember there was a diagram in there proudly listing different sizes of bus and the purposes they served (when Deckers were listed as “on trial”). It’s honestly sad to see that’s clearly been binned.

Now everything delivered is the same - “one size fits all.” Except it doesn’t really, because that peak hour 394 service from Circular Quay that’s usually always been a 14.5 L113TRB is now one of those shiny new Scania K310UB Custom CB80 and you see the bus is already at overcapacity set-down-only much much quicker....no. I don’t think that’s progressive.

As for the remaining bendies, in and out of the Northern Beaches, I fear for their future. My gut tells me they will leave Sydney well well before their life expiry and face a Boris Johnson style sell-off cull. Where double deckers will never go (eg 333 Bondi Road NIMBY’s) I predict they’ll be replaced with the same shorter Scania K310UB or Volvo B8RLE.

If not, see how they’ve very progressively removed bendy buses (their most prominent operating area) off Metrobus routes. They’ve done it very slowly, very gradually and subtly so you don’t really notice it as a knock on effect. M40 eg, was being talked about. Used to be bendy’s 100% all day, now only during peak hour. The Metrobuses that Transit Systems took over, even like, M10, M30. On weekends and some weekday off peak hours, they’re all standard 12m buses too.

I love our bus network and, sorry to wade into this debate again, if we compare to Melbournes bus network, I’m very proud of ours and the area of coverage - but at least they haven’t mindlessly closed themselves off to new bendy buses where appropriate, and I’d say their road infrastructure is even worse than Sydney’s.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby tonyp » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:28 am

"The Sydney bus system - proudly reducing capacity and productivity since 1949" (date of start of closure of the Ryde Line). It's like some sort of collective insanity - the more Sydney grows, the more they reduce the capacity of the bus system. I struggle to work out where it's coming from other than it's somehow inspired by London Transport, with the ultimate objective of running the bus system with a fleet of 10,000 little double deckers. Is it about jobs for bus drivers because there will be plenty of them with those numbers of buses and I hope they can find the money for that? Are they going to move all of the road traffic out of the way to let this mass of buses through?

You can't compare with Melbourne because Melbourne has a fleet of 500 equivalents of artics, double artics and triple artics called "trams" to do the heavy lifting, so they can afford to use mostly 12 metre rigids to do what is basically outskirt work feeding the tram and rail systems. They can't replace the artics on the Bondi service because the alternative will be a non-moving conga line of little buses all the way along Bondi Rd (like George St was) or inefficient and slow double deckers than can't exchange passengers fast on such a high turnover service. I think we'll be just sitting it out until some collective sense hopefully returns to the administration of the bus system one day.

Edit: I'll make that "since 1939", the date of closure of the Manly tram system. How good would it be to still have that now, connected across The Spit. Instead of the B Line with its 100 passenger, slow-loading, slow-moving double deckers, we could have had 200+ passenger, quick-loading trams at least at the same headways with over twice the capacity. Likewise Bondi Beach - once 250 passenger tramsets moving 7,000 people per hour, now, even with artics, struggling to move up to 2,000 per hour. At least some effort could be made to recover from this disaster using the reserve potential that a bus system has, but they don't even seem to want to do that. So the alternative is to painfully rebuild the tram lines - and metro lines where the population has grown/is growing beyond the capacity of a tram system. We're now finally in a position of recovery from decades of neglect, but the bus system still isn't pulling its weight and that seems to boil down to lack of expertise in the transport administration.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby STMPainter2018 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:33 pm

Transtopic wrote:This response should probably be on the Metro West thread, but you still don't get or are unwilling to accept my contention that it won't help capacity constraints WEST of Parramatta, where the greatest overcrowding occurs. For the umpteenth time, more commuters get OFF at Parramatta than get ON, so there is residual capacity from Parramatta to the CBD. Think it through.

The only way to improve capacity in peak hours west of Parramatta is to add more services, but there are limited options for them to continue through to the CBD, other than on the Main tracks to Sydney Terminal, just as some Northern Line semi-express services currently do in peak hours. That capacity will quickly dry up with the demand for more CCN and Blue Mountains Intercity services. What then?

Terminating these extra Western line services at Westmead or Parramatta to interchange to the metro is just not practicable. It's not even going to be that much faster anyway, depending on your destination, so why would you bother changing? The current fastest journey time from Parramatta to Central is 25 mins and there is the potential to significantly reduce this time further, particularly when ATO is progressively introduced. It will be more than competitive with the metro, running an express service compared with the all stations metro. It will require further amplification of the existing network between Parramatta and the CBD. Don't even think about extending the metro along the Western Line corridor to Blacktown, as the current planning suggests that it will be extended in a different direction to Badgerys Creek Airport, not that I agree with that either.

The prospect of SD trains being re-introduced to the Sydney Trains network is unlikely for the foreseeable future. So let's put that to bed. With a relatively new all DD train fleet, it will be at least 40 to 50 years before introducing SD trains is contemplated, if ever. The only exception I would make is to introduce a compatible SD fleet to service the airports with a specialised express service similar to the Hong Kong Airport Express.


Transitopic's right TonyP. And if I could let off some steam, to put it bluntly, your views are VERY biased, at risk of being un-practical and close to delusional. Double Deck trains have a strong place in our city's train network. They are not going anywhere! Bottom line cut and dry. Stick to talking about trams; you're good at that topic. :)
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby tonyp » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:54 pm

Righto then. Double deck trains have a strong place in our city's long distance express network. There, I fixed it.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Transtopic » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:18 pm

tonyp wrote:Righto then. Double deck trains have a strong place in our city's long distance express network. There, I fixed it.
Well you're partly right, but as the DD fleet will be around for some decades, it will continue to service all-stations inner city routes, much to your displeasure no doubt. It would be a waste of money converting or duplicating the inner city lines to metro, without any real benefit. Better that new metros service inner and middle ring areas which don't have a rail service and there are plenty of those.

It's time this myth about DD trains contributing to slow dwell times was blown out of the water. There are only three stations on the whole Sydney Trains' network, Central, Town Hall and Wynyard, where dwell times are significantly increased. This has more to do with the inadequate legacy station design and the lack of alternative interchange options, than the trains themselves. The fact that the DD trains are grossly overloaded, because of the lack of further amplifications through the CBD over the decades, allowing more services, only contributes to this perspective.

During the early stages of investigation into increasing the capacity through the CBD, an option of converting the Suburban tracks from Central to the North Shore via the Harbour Bridge to compatible SD operation at higher frequencies was considered, but it was found to be unworkable, because the CBD stations as they were couldn't handle the extra load. It would be the same with metro, without additional track capacity and stations, to take the pressure off the existing stations. The new CBD metro on an additional line will ease interchange congestion at the existing Central, Town Hall and Wynyard Stations, reducing dwell times for the DD network in the process, but the same outcome would have been achieved regardless of which mode was employed. The metro is not some magic bullet as its proponents like to make out. I can hardly imagine the RAPT in Paris converting existing RER suburban lines through Central Paris to metro. They each serve a different, albeit complementary, purpose.

The thing that really sticks in my craw, is the misinformation and spin that the LNP government engaged in when justifying the building of the North West Rail Link as an incompatible metro service and compromising existing Sydney Trains' services in the process by taking over the Epping to Chatswood Rail Line. Their major justification was that the metro could run 30 tph with an overall line capacity of 39,000 passengers per hour compared with the existing maximum frequency of the DD trains of 20 tph or 24,000 passengers per hour. Of course they compared apples with oranges in understating the crush loaded capacity of a DD train compared with a SD metro train. They also conveniently neglected to mention that a DD train at its potential crush loaded capacity could run at a higher frequency on a new line with upgraded signalling and modern station design, increasing its overall line capacity, compared with what currently exists. They also overlooked the potential increase in frequency and line capacity on the existing network as it stands, with the introduction of ATO. It's interesting to note that in recent times the purported line capacity of the metro has gradually increased, while that of the existing network has reduced.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby STMPainter2018 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:43 pm

Transtopic wrote:Well you're partly right, but as the DD fleet will be around for some decades, it will continue to service all-stations inner city routes, much to your displeasure no doubt. It would be a waste of money converting or duplicating the inner city lines to metro, without any real benefit. Better that new metros service inner and middle ring areas which don't have a rail service and there are plenty of those.

It's time this myth about DD trains contributing to slow dwell times was blown out of the water. There are only three stations on the whole Sydney Trains' network, Central, Town Hall and Wynyard, where dwell times are significantly increased. This has more to do with the inadequate legacy station design and the lack of alternative interchange options, than the trains themselves. The fact that the DD trains are grossly overloaded, because of the lack of further amplifications through the CBD over the decades, allowing more services, only contributes to this perspective.

During the early stages of investigation into increasing the capacity through the CBD, an option of converting the Suburban tracks from Central to the North Shore via the Harbour Bridge to compatible SD operation at higher frequencies was considered, but it was found to be unworkable, because the CBD stations as they were couldn't handle the extra load. It would be the same with metro, without additional track capacity and stations, to take the pressure off the existing stations. The new CBD metro on an additional line will ease interchange congestion at the existing Central, Town Hall and Wynyard Stations, reducing dwell times for the DD network in the process, but the same outcome would have been achieved regardless of which mode was employed. The metro is not some magic bullet as its proponents like to make out. I can hardly imagine the RAPT in Paris converting existing RER suburban lines through Central Paris to metro. They each serve a different, albeit complementary, purpose.

The thing that really sticks in my craw, is the misinformation and spin that the LNP government engaged in when justifying the building of the North West Rail Link as an incompatible metro service and compromising existing Sydney Trains' services in the process by taking over the Epping to Chatswood Rail Line. Their major justification was that the metro could run 30 tph with an overall line capacity of 39,000 passengers per hour compared with the existing maximum frequency of the DD trains of 20 tph or 24,000 passengers per hour. Of course they compared apples with oranges in understating the crush loaded capacity of a DD train compared with a SD metro train. They also conveniently neglected to mention that a DD train at its potential crush loaded capacity could run at a higher frequency on a new line with upgraded signalling and modern station design, increasing its overall line capacity, compared with what currently exists. They also overlooked the potential increase in frequency and line capacity on the existing network as it stands, with the introduction of ATO. It's interesting to note that in recent times the purported line capacity of the metro has gradually increased, while that of the existing network has reduced.

Again, hitting the nail on the head. I'm not anti-metro, but it's a mode of rail that needs to service appropriate areas, like Stage 2 of the current line will (or possibly a line to the Northern Beaches). It should not be built at the expense of extensions to the existing DD rail network, especially in areas where single deckers do not suit and will be packed from day 1. I'm still of the firm belief that the North-South line through Badgery's Creek and the Camden region should NOT be built as a Metro, mainly because the distances will be too large and the population will grow too big (I should know as I live in said area). This is a region that NEEDS double decker trains, and the powers that be need to be convinced as such. One mode should not replace the other; they need to co-exist.
Last edited by STMPainter2018 on Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby tonyp » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:29 am

STMPainter2018 wrote:Again, hitting the nail on the head. I'm not anti-metro, but it's a mode of rail that needs to service appropriate areas, like Stage 2 of the current line will (or possibly a line to the Northern Beaches). It should not be built at the expense of extensions to the existing DD rail network, especially in areas where single deckers do not suit and will be packed from day 1. I'm still of the firm belief that the North-South line through Badgery's Creek and the Camden region should NOT be built as a Metro, mainly because the distances will be too large and the population will grow too big (I should know as I live in said area). This is a region that NEEDS double decker trains, and we the powers that be need to be convinced as such. One mode should not replace the other; they need to co-exist.

I wasn't going to continue responding to the train side of this thread because board members will quickly become bored members following yet another discussion between Transtopic and me, considering that both of us will disagree until the cows come home and all of our points have been well-stated and restated. But since you've joined in, it's clear that you need some technical backgrounding.

A feature of the arguments about the metro in Sydney that seems to have emerged is that the people who actually use it are generally over the moon about it (yes I've both spoken with some of them and followed the internet chat), while the opponents live elsewhere or are transport enthusiast ideologues who have a rigid view, devoid of any lateral or practical thinking, about what sort of technology should be used for what job. So one group seems to intuitively understand it while the other group doesn't. No prizes for guessing which group is which.

I do admit that having previously used the Perth system a lot gave me a fast track (pardon the pun) insight into the benefits of applying the metro as a solution in Sydney. Not only does the metro deliver more capacity, but it delivers faster journeys while retaining the convenience of all stops, like Perth. Furthermore, the longer the distance, the greater the journey time saving over the suburban system that has to skip more and more stops the further it goes in order to retain some vaguely respectable journey time. This method (express vs local train mix) creates two classes of commuters. Those lucky enough to have destinations at major stopping stations get a quicker trip while those who need the intermediate stations get a slow trip and often a transfer as well. The anti-metro brigade of course uses only the express suburban trains as an example to compare, because the stopping services don't have a good look at all by comparison. The fact that the metro - with stops, like Perth - delivers faster journeys over longer distances than so-called express suburban trains (as I've shown many times before in comparison tables) is particularly damaging to the anti-metro arguments, but I find that if you try to present evidence of that fact, the response is generally along the lines of stick your fingers in your ears and go la la la la. Australian rail fans are a tough mob to break down!

What most local railfans don't seem to understand is that, unlike any other suburban commuter rail system in Australia, both Perth and the Sydney metro are rapid transit (high performance) systems under different names (Perth's is often described as an S Bahn), which is exactly the type of system you need in our spread-out Australian cities - embodying both high average speed AND convenience, not separating them into two different classes of travel. High performance is about high average speed, not absolute high speed, and journey time replaces distance as the yardstick. And it doesn't matter where you apply that, whether it's across the outer western suburbs or in the inner city, it's the same result every time. A metro train will get you between St Marys and Macarthur faster than a suburban train that also stops at all stops, just as it does, say, between Epping and Chatswood. The suburban train has to miss stops to try to match the journey time.

It's not that local railfans should be unfamiliar with the concept of the high-performance train, even before Perth. The XPT is such a train but it is simplistically regarded as a high-speed train, which it isn't. It shortened journey time by means of high performance (notably acceleration and cornering ability) achieving a higher average speed. Similar to the reason a Prague tram with a maximum speed of 50 km/h achieves a quicker journey (with all other parameters being the same) than a Sydney tram with a maximum speed of 80. Or the former Sydney trams that stopped at every stop, while the buses that replaced them have to skip stops or semi-express in order to match the journey times of the former tram system. Acceleration, deceleration and dwell.

There are those who believe, in contradiction of the laws of both physics and crowd movement, that a heavier, two-door double deck e.m.u. can achieve the same performance. When they do, give me a call. Meanwhile, as elsewhere in the world, double deck trains are best used on long-distance expresses to suburban fringe and interurban regions where they can actually make some use of high maximum speeds like 130 or 160 km/h. The more they stop, the worse they get because high acceleration/deceleration capability (and dwell) are more important with regular close stops and if the station spacings are less than about five km, a maximum speed over 100 km/h is pretty generally useless. Very long station spacings in Australian suburban areas are basically only seen on Perth's Mandurah line. On the Sydney suburban system the only example would be Heathcote-Waterfall. Sydney must be the only city in the world stubbornly persevering with the slow task of running double deckers on short-stopping services.

So where are your "appropriate areas" for metro? If quick journey time and the convenience of all stops are primary considerations, as they should be if you are at all respectful of your customers, the appropriate areas are all over the Sydney basin, from the Pacific Ocean to the Hawkesbury/Nepean River.

I'll add parenthetically since it keeps coming up, I'm not an advocate of wholesale conversion of the suburban system to metro. That's an impossible and unnecessary task in the short to medium term. I'm saying that the suburban system should not be extended and that no more double deck suburban trains should be built. As the various train classes age and come up for replacement they should be replaced by single deckers if that can be done on a line by line basis. However, I do strongly believe that the capacity of the system should be enhanced (including track amplification) so that long-distance express trains can get good paths through the local trains in order to get to their outer service areas faster - including being able to use that 130 km/h+ capability. I do actually have a very positive view of how double deckers can be used, it's just that y'all think I don't!
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Fleet Lists » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:02 pm

Again you leave no doubt in your final paragraph that you are anti double decker. Many us of us have different opinions.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby tonyp » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:12 pm

Fleet Lists wrote:Again you leave no doubt in your final paragraph that you are anti double decker. Many us of us have different opinions.

No I'm not. Like double decker buses, I simply have a view about their inappropriate use. I've always considered them the best solution for capacity (including seating capacity) on long-distance express services, both outer suburban and interurban. They now need improvements in supporting infrastructure to enable them to make use of their 130 km/h+ maximum speed potential to raise their average speed.

The way things are at present, it's rather embarrassing for them that it takes them the same time to express between Penrith and Central with only three stops (49 km, about 50 mins) as a metro train will take to traverse the same distance (47 km, 50 minutes) between Tallawong and Central with seventeen stops. That's a pretty awful performance for an express train and to accomplish even that, unlike the metro, it misses important centres (like Westmead, Burwood and Redfern). Commuters with those destinations have to detrain somewhere and change to a slow local service (the "two-class" commute), unlike the metro. In these circumstances I fully support the ramping-up of double decker performance on long runs. Even so much that their average speed can be so high that they can afford the time to stop at centres like Burwood without significantly degrading the journey time. This is my vision for the deckers.

I'll offer a lifeline to those who perceive "inappropriate use of metro" in middle to outer suburbs - ignoring for a moment the capacity issue (which you can't actually ignore as the population grows). As my comparative tables have shown, the journey time advantage of the metro per similar number of stops increases with distance. Down at about 13 km (say Homebush distance) the metro (and Perth system) has about a 5-6 minute advantage. For a 20-25 minute total journey it's actually not a big deal running this with double deckers because five minutes difference in less than half an hour is not going to matter a lot to many commuters. So you can leave your double deck system intact in the inner suburbs, which is why I don't feel there's any hurry to convert it, at least on journey time grounds.

Moving further out however, the journey time advantage of the metro improves with distance: 10+ minutes after the 30 km mark (say Glenfield/Blacktown/Cronulla) and more like 15 minutes out past 45 km (say Schofields/St Marys/Campbelltown) - all given a similar number of stops. These differences are getting too big to brush off and suggest that metro is in fact the mode for medium to longer distances, especially for those unlucky enough to need to use the stops that are skipped by the semi-express suburban trains. Metro is definitely better for them.

That's likely why people in the NW are very happy with their metro. Just imagine, if it was a double deck line, it would be slower and to compensate for this the operator would introduce expresses among the services and - just like the suburban system - you'd have commuters cooling their heels at stations like maybe Crows Nest, North Ryde, Cherrybrook standing on the platform watching in frustration as expresses roar past, or, in the other direction, having to detrain at a "major" station and wait for a following stopping service. Rapid transit turns all that traditional operating logic on that head.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Linto63 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:42 pm

Surely it has not escaped your attention that no matter how many essays you write on the subject, that many have continued to disagree with your point of view and in all probability will continue to do so. You are more than entitled to your opinion, but do we need to have it rammed down our throat on a weekly basis? You have probably convinced those who you are going to convince and will only continue to cause arguments with those that don't, so perhaps it is now time to just let it go.

If you want meaningful policy change enacted, this isn't going to be the place from which it originates. I'm sure Constance's minders monitor many sites, I doubt the ATDB is one of them.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby tonyp » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:51 pm

Naturally people can draw their own conclusions but those conclusions should be based on evidence, rather than wild assumptions, of which there have been plenty during this whole debate. I have presented that evidence from public timetables and other sources.

I don't need to run my figures past Transport people because they already know these things (was involved in input to this a decade ago). It's one of the reasons they chose to introduce metro to the Sydney transport system.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Transtopic » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:00 pm

STMPainter2018 wrote:I'm not anti-metro, but it's a mode of rail that needs to service appropriate areas, like Stage 2 of the current line will (or possibly a line to the Northern Beaches). It should not be built at the expense of extensions to the existing DD rail network, especially in areas where single deckers do not suit and will be packed from day 1. I'm still of the firm belief that the North-South line through Badgery's Creek and the Camden region should NOT be built as a Metro, mainly because the distances will be too large and the population will grow too big (I should know as I live in said area). This is a region that NEEDS double decker trains, and we the powers that be need to be convinced as such. One mode should not replace the other; they need to co-exist.
I agree that the North/South line through Badgerys Creek is inappropriate for a high capacity metro service. It's only expected to achieve 20% of the patronage to and from the airport anyway. The Aerotropolis, when it's fully developed, may in fact exceed the patronage for the airport, but it still wouldn't warrant a metro service in what will remain a low density outer suburban region. A Sydney Trains DD service could more than adequately service the region and with more seats for longer distances.

As I mentioned previously, the most obvious first stage of connecting a rail link to Badgerys Creek is to extend the SWRL from Leppington, with a further extension to the Western Line at St Marys. Extending the SWRL to the new airport offers an immediate fast express service to the Sydney CBD as well as servicing the south-west region from Liverpool to Campbelltown. An isolated metro connection to St Marys does neither. It will service the outer Western Suburbs, but it hardly provides a direct connect with the CBD. By extending the SWRL from Leppington all the way through to St Marys via the Aerotropolis and airport, it will satisfy all of these needs, while maintaining an integrated network.

Proposed future extensions to the North and South or even more direct to Parramatta are a long way off and are by no means guaranteed to be ever built. NSW's past history of rail projects never coming to fruition is testimony to that. A North/South line as a metro could end up being an orphan.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby STMPainter2018 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:05 pm

Linto63 wrote:Surely it has not escaped your attention that no matter how many essays you write on the subject, that many have continued to disagree with your point of view and in all probability will continue to do so. You are more than entitled to your opinion, but do we need to have it rammed down our throat on a weekly basis? You have probably convinced those who you are going to convince and will only continue to cause arguments with those that don't, so perhaps it is now time to just let it go.

If you want meaningful policy change enacted, this isn't going to be the place from which it originates. I'm sure Constance's minders monitor many sites, I doubt the ATDB is one of them.

Again, you put it far better than I ever could. Needless to say, I do disagree with Tony on the issue of what mode of train is best for Sydney. And that's based on my personal experience of actually LIVING in Sydney and frequently using public transport. It may be all well and good to repeat the same skewed stats and theories from one's peaceful, coastal paradise all the way down in Nowra, but as I have said a few times before, theory is very different to practice. And again, as someone who actually still LIVES in Sydney, I cannot see how Tony's stats can be applicable to this city. Especially when its commuters are stupid and its main transport agency totally incompetent. And it's getting a little tiring hearing these bullet points constantly repeated:

- All the problems will be solved with more doors.
- Passengers are happy to stand extended periods.
- Crammed full trams are what should be expected.
- (Implied) Recovery time is wasted time.
- Prague does everything better than the rest of the world, especially Australia.
- Buses do this, that and the other better.
- Double ended trams are inefficient and everything can be solved with loops (even if significant legacy systems in Europe are
going double ended, as well as every new system).
- Single deckers have a better flow effect and therefore more suited to Sydney (despite population being too large and clueless).

And it's not like I COMPLETELY disagree, the problem is knowing whether this all applicable to Sydney in actual PRACTICE. And I don't think it is. We are not Europe, we're never gonna be Europe, so lets stop pretending like we are/should be. When it comes to transport planning in Sydney, you have to set your ambitions and expectations really low. That way, one can constantly be surprised when something competent actually happens. Works for me every time! :D
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Merc1107 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:07 pm

STMPainter2018 wrote:- Prague does everything better than the rest of the world, especially Australia.
STMPainter2018 wrote:And it's not like I COMPLETELY disagree, the problem is knowing whether this all applicable to Sydney in actual PRACTICE. And I don't think it is. We are not Europe, we're never gonna be Europe, so lets stop pretending like we are/should be.
No we are not Europe. If, however, our transport system has issues that have already been solved elsewhere, why should we reinvent the wheel? Why not use the solutions others have already found, and apply them to our unique context? (Are these issues entirely unique to Australia? I doubt it).

STMPainter2018 wrote:When it comes to transport planning in Sydney, you have to set your ambitions and expectations really low. That way, one can constantly be surprised when something competent actually happens. Works for me every time!
What good can come from having low expectations and ambitions? None; certainly not the sort of drastic need for improvement you allude to when you describe your State's main transport agency as "totally incompetent."
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Transtopic » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:24 am

tonyp wrote:The way things are at present, it's rather embarrassing for them that it takes them the same time to express between Penrith and Central with only three stops (49 km, about 50 mins) as a metro train will take to traverse the same distance (47 km, 50 minutes) between Tallawong and Central with seventeen stops. That's a pretty awful performance for an express train and to accomplish even that, unlike the metro, it misses important centres (like Westmead, Burwood and Redfern). Commuters with those destinations have to detrain somewhere and change to a slow local service (the "two-class" commute), unlike the metro. In these circumstances I fully support the ramping-up of double decker performance on long runs. Even so much that their average speed can be so high that they can afford the time to stop at centres like Burwood without significantly degrading the journey time. This is my vision for the deckers.

This is one of the rare occasions where you and I will agree. The performance of the Sydney Trains and Intercity express services is inadequate. The XPT between Penrith and Central as well as Parramatta and Central with the same number of stops, believe it or not, is even slower by 3 to 4 minutes, which is incredible. However, where you and I differ, is that it's not because of the train's performance characteristics compared with a metro train, but the unwillingness of the bureaucrats and their political masters to actually improve travel times to match the potential performance of the current rolling stock, even with the current infrastructure. It's not the trains themselves. If they employed the same zealotry in improving the performance of the DD network, as they have towards the metro strategy, then we might see some improvement. Of course that wouldn't suit their agenda, where the metro has to be portrayed as being far superior, to justify its implementation.

I don't agree that an all stops service for longer distance trains is warranted, when express services could potentially be speeded up significantly. Our early rail planners were streets ahead of the current lot in recognising that there was a need to separate long distance express services from the slower all-stations services through the inner suburbs. Hence provision was made very early on for future quadruplication on the main trunk routes. There is some valid criticism that Western Line express services don't stop at Burwood, which is a strategic centre and employment hub in the Inner West. However, it suffers the ignominy of being adjacent to Strathfield, which is a smaller centre, but a major rail junction. The same principle applies in respect of Eastwood and Epping on the Northern Line. Eastwood is the major retail/commercial centre on the Northern Line between the Parramatta River and Hornsby (until recently overtaken by Rhodes from Strathfield), but the previous longstanding CCN Intercity services no longer stop there, but at Epping only which is a smaller centre even with all of the redevelopment which has been taking place, because it is an interchange station with Metro Northwest.

tonyp wrote: That's likely why people in the NW are very happy with their metro. Just imagine, if it was a double deck line, it would be slower and to compensate for this the operator would introduce expresses among the services and - just like the suburban system - you'd have commuters cooling their heels at stations like maybe Crows Nest, North Ryde, Cherrybrook standing on the platform watching in frustration as expresses roar past, or, in the other direction, having to detrain at a "major" station and wait for a following stopping service. Rapid transit turns all that traditional operating logic on that head.

Of course the people from the North West, which didn't have a rail service, would be happy with the metro compared with the previous bus service, although I gather that's not a universal opinion. They would be equally happy with the NWRL as part of the existing DD network, as they wouldn't know the difference, even if was allegedly slower. They could have had a direct journey to the CBD via the North Shore Line, albeit at a lesser frequency, without the need to change at Chatswood. The subsequent extension from Chatswood to the CBD as part of the existing network would be icing on the cake.

The real test for the metro's acceptance will be when the Bankstown Line conversion is implemented, as commuters compare the higher frequency and lack of seats with the previous Sydney Trains' service.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby moa999 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:47 am

Any future line must be driverless, unless a government is totally beholden to vested interests.
It adds a minimal amount to construction cost, but drastically changes the revenue to operating cost dynamic.

Then we can have a separate debate about SD v DD, 2 or 3 or 4 door, transverse seating, 80 v 100 kph etc.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Linto63 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:33 pm

Transtopic wrote:The XPT between Penrith and Central as well as Parramatta and Central with the same number of stops, believe it or not, is even slower by 3 to 4 minutes, which is incredible.
Hardly surprising, the XPT is slower than the EMUs off the mark and dwell times are longer. While the XPT may have a higher top end speed, because it is pathed between local services, there is no point at running at top speed only for it to end up crawling behind an all stops, hence it travels no faster than suburban trains through Sydney.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby tonyp » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:24 pm

In fact, if one goes back to the timetables of the 70s and 80s when the suburban and interurban services were at their best performance (but not timekeeping, which was the problem!), the XPT was the fastest performer on the western line. The journey time differences for all trains in the same 1984 timetable were actually small compared to today, so in fact have slowed very little, but were broadly about 50 minutes for interurbans and 45 minutes or so for the XPT. In those days the stops were at Strathfield and Parramatta for both services and the railways still had some pride in the XPT as a new train. If an interurban stopped at Blacktown too, the time was 51 minutes.

Looking at my 1979 timetable, even the old Central West Express covered it in 50 minutes and the mail trains in about 54 (all stopping at Parramatta and Strathfield). The e.m.u s weren't actually that fast off the mark and since looking at cab videos with speedometers recently, I see that the V sets take about 1.5 minutes to reach 100 km/h compared to a bit over a minute for a modern H set and 40 seconds for a Sydney metro train. No wonder a mail train hauled by a 46 could give a V set a run for its money!

It seems to me that the next step should be to raise the speeds along this line (together with the Campbelltown via East Hills line) to 130 to 160 km/h, which probably explains the spec of the NIFs. I've ridden an XPT out to Penrith at 160 so I know it's possible. It's all a victim of the timekeeping slowdown by the previous Labor government, Waterfall and the subsequent over-conservative attitude that's since become institutionalised in Sydney Trains. Never ascribe to political malice what an organisation can do to suppress its performance all by itself.

So that's the journey times (still leaves commuters on all-stops/"lesser" suburbs services in a miserable hole). Then there's capacity which is the thread subject.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Linto63 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:16 pm

May not be a case of just changing the signboards though, increased speeds can require significant changes to the signalling. Yes XPTs did some 160km/h demonstration runs on the Western line when introduced in the early 80s, but this would have been under a signalling block with no other trains on the line. The problem of having to be pathed around stopping services remains, so short of intercity services gaining a dedicated line like the Regional Rail Link in Melbourne, any gains would be marginal.

The slowing down of services was done to add robustness, having a timetable with too tighter margins just end up causing more problems.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby tonyp » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:46 pm

I don't think the XPTs/Explorers are much affected by stopping services as they generally have their own lines separate from local tracks. They're not really interfered with by interurbans as they tend to have the same stops across Sydney as the interurbans.
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Re: Infrastructure Australia crush capacity warnings for Syd

Postby Linto63 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:57 pm

XPT/Xplorers share tracks on much of the Northern line only being segregated between West Ryde and Epping. At the time the XPT is heading west it is the morning peak with semi-fast suburbans using the fast lines. On the Southern line, only the section from Turrella to Revesby is free of stopping services.
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