[SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

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[SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Muttley »

SMH wrote:Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Linton Besser Transport Reporter
July 30, 2008

THE Iemma Government was warned a month before it announced the $12 billion north-west metro line that it would damage the NSW economy and should not proceed, in a damning top-level report commissioned by the Treasurer and buried by the Premier's office.

The document, obtained by the Herald, demolishes the metro proposal and the "optimistic" assumptions underpinning it. It raises serious questions about the key transport commitment on which Morris Iemma has staked his Government's future.

Written by Jim Steer, a world-leading transport consultant and executive with Britain's former Strategic Rail Authority, the Sydney Transport Review report says the planned 38-kilometre Euro-style subway - from Rouse Hill to St James Station - is too long to be viable as a metro, is predicated on a poor business case and will do little to alleviate the CityRail congestion crisis.

"As it stands, it would seem that more harm than good would accrue to Sydney and its economy from proceeding with the project," it says.

The Transport Minister, John Watkins, briefed Mr Steer in London last December. In January Mr Steer was flown to Sydney, provided with all the north-west metro project data and reports, and given a tour of the city by helicopter.

By late January he had briefed the Treasurer, Michael Costa, and the bureaucrats running the project. When Mr Iemma's office learnt of his findings it ensured the report was buried and Mr Steer's appointment cancelled.

A month later, the Premier forged on with the announcement, claiming it was "the biggest day in the history of public transport in NSW".

The Steer report was the culmination of a push by Mr Costa to have the north-west metro moved off the agenda. Yet it was the only independent review undertaken at that time, and it strongly criticised the proposal's inferior network planning, and warned that Mr Iemma's transport agenda might be leading Sydney in the wrong direction.

Among the criticisms is that the north-western half of the metro would service a low-density and fairly affluent area that is wedded to its cars. With 30 kilometres of tunnel, it would be hugely expensive with no guarantee of high patronage, the report warns. Elsewhere in the world, metros are specifically designed to move people between high-density residential areas and employment centres such as the CBD.

The report says: "The business case for the north-west metro is weak, reflected in a poor benefit-cost ratio. In fact, the evidence presented to the review, with a set of explicit, yet fairly optimistic assumptions, suggests that the project benefits are substantially outweighed by its costs.

"In such circumstances, there would have to be good reasons not present in the appraisal work to date that create the case for proceeding to implementation."

The report also suggests the project could be at risk of an enormous cost blow-out.

It says that the capital cost for the project is estimated at $7.2 billion in 2007 dollars "excluding any explicit allowance for 'optimism bias' ", which is a documented tendency for large-scale infrastructure projects to be undercosted by governments.

On top of this, the project's costings had been based on the unit prices of the Epping to Chatswood line and only "limited work" had been done on comparing these with other metro systems around the world: "The comparators chosen in the work that has been done are not necessarily the most appropriate to the circumstances in Sydney.

"At this early stage of the project it would be wise in decision-making and any budget setting to assume that OB [optimism bias] of perhaps 40 per cent should be applied," the report states. "Clearly, this change would further worsen the benefit-cost appraisal as it stands."

Mr Steer is lauded around the world for his part in a dramatic turnaround by a dysfunctional British Rail in the 1990s.

In February, Mr Costa's spokeswoman, Heather Gilmore, told the Herald that Mr Steer had been appointed to ensure "that public money is spent wisely". But the Steer report found the north-west metro was not a wise investment.

In May, the report was missing from a box of documents provided to the NSW Parliament's upper house that had used legislation to "call for papers" on the project. Only now has it been revealed the report warned that the project was threatened by "high-risk patronage".

"The north-west metro concept stretches into a 30-kilometre tunnelled route into low-density, high-income suburbs, remote from the congested western corridor, the busiest in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area," the report says. "It would be a brave decision to assume that car users in the low-density north-west can be converted to metro users in large numbers."

Crucially, the centre for transport planning and product development, the government agency responsible for the metro, recognised there were serious flaws.

"The journey times achievable by metro are acknowledged by [the centre] to be somewhat ambitious, with journey speeds of 62 kmh over the route," the Steer report says.

" [There is also] an assumption of a very high frequency - three-minute intervals throughout. It is acknowledged that this would not be achieved in practice over the whole length of the route … It is likely that these assumptions are leading to modelled estimates of transfer to metro over an unrealistically broad area, especially from car."

The Government expects the north-west metro to attract 25 per cent of its demand from a shift from private cars, which the Steer report calls a "high proportion".

"Demand models sometimes significantly overestimate the propensity to mode shift."

The other key problem is the "dispersed nature of the demand pattern". "Instead of a route of perhaps 15 kilometres, as envisaged in the [centre for transport planning] conceptual work, the north-west metro is a much longer route … While the 'inner' catchment of the north-west metro (Epping/Ryde-CBD) is in an area of relatively high residential density, the outer sections are not … As [the centre for transport planning] initially postulated, metro would probably work better with radial routes perhaps of 15-kilometre length, each fashioned into cross-city routes."

The metro undoes more than a decade of planning that went into establishing links between residential development in the north-west and employment growth in the Macquarie Park corridor.

"Scarcely 4 per cent of the new jobs in the 'northern corridor' would be served uniquely by the planned metro," the report says. There is also a weak prospect for "off-peak travel demand".

It recognises a key concern: "There is a risk of overcrowding on the CityRail network as demand is rising at rates, if they continue, [that] will lead to a serious deterioration in … reliability." But the metro failed to address Sydney's busiest corridors, and "its ability to relieve what will become very congested CityRail routes is limited".

Justin Kelly, a spokesman for the Premier said: "Mr Steer's work did not adequately address the question of how to deliver on the Government's election commitment to deliver rail services to the north-west by 2015. The Government has a clear commitment to deliver rail services to Castle Hill by 2015 and Rouse Hill by 2017. So when advice was received that took it away from the plan we'd outlined to the people of the north-west, it was never going to be accepted.

"Mr Steer's report was requested as part of considerations for the budget committee of cabinet and as a result is classified 'cabinet in confidence' and exempt from standing order 52 in the upper house."
No surprise here
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Windy »

Repeat after me...

"Costa is f**ked" "Costa is f**ked" "Costa is f**ked" "Costa is f**ked" "Costa is f**ked" "Costa is f**ked" "Costa is f**ked" "Costa is f**ked" "Costa is f**ked" "Costa is f**ked"

The near still-born that is the Chatswood-Epping Rail Link should have gone all the way to Parramatta like it was initially proposed, which would have meant that we wouldn't have L-sets running up and down that line now or in the future, but 8 car sets on duplicated track! I am disgusted at the inner workings of this overtly corrupt government, a legacy of the Carr days, and what many seem to have mentioned as a throwback to the similarly corrupt Wran Government days. It is unfortunate that uner Iemma's term that he has been left holding the baby after Carr's well-timed exit, but a a more headstrong Premier would have not bungled or selected such a dysfunctional cabinet.
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by tonyp »

^^
In every other respect Windy I'd agree with your assessment of Costa but for once I can't see that he's done anything wrong in this case. The whole proposal needs profound questioning. The government's priorities need even more profound questioning.
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Windy »

I think Costa was on the money for trying to shoot down the Metro idea, although did he do it because of the potential to score greater political points in the safe seats? Or was he just being his alleged obstructive self? If his attitude towards the PCRL was indeed true, then I don't think my assessment of Costa isn't too far off. Admittedly, the line from Chatswood to Epping could go in 2 directions. North-west or West.
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by tonyp »

Windy wrote:I think Costa was on the money for trying to shoot down the Metro idea, although did he do it because of the potential to score greater political points in the safe seats? Or was he just being his alleged obstructive self? If his attitude towards the PCRL was indeed true, then I don't think my assessment of Costa isn't too far off. Admittedly, the line from Chatswood to Epping could go in 2 directions. North-west or West.
Yes who knows what Costa is thinking except that if he is thinking of retirement that is a good thing!

The EC line could go in both directions - which is basically what was going to happen for a while. My suggestion for a metro route would be city-Ryde-Epping-Parramatta. Would get more counter-commuting rather than just one way and fit better into Metropolitan Strategy.
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Windy »

I reckon we stick with expanding the Cityrail network.
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Simes »

Windy wrote:I think Costa was on the money for trying to shoot down the Metro idea, although did he do it because of the potential to score greater political points in the safe seats? Or was he just being his alleged obstructive self? If his attitude towards the PCRL was indeed true, then I don't think my assessment of Costa isn't too far off. Admittedly, the line from Chatswood to Epping could go in 2 directions. North-west or West.
I'm of the opinion the line should continue from Epping through to Rouse Hill, I remember Costa carrying on about the cost of taking the line through to Parramatta - from memory it was tunnel from Epping to Carlingford? Would a surface alignment be possible?

And Windy, Costa and his leanings would make you look like a hippie up a tree! If only someone had hit him with a 44 class at Lithgow when he was a loco driver.....
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Volvo Super Olympian »

Windy wrote:I reckon we stick with expanding the Cityrail network.
But the gov decided not to, as demonstrated by the chopping of Parramatta-Epping section of the original proposal for Carlingford Line? It would've made travelling from Parramatta to Chatswood so much easier.

Just look at the whYte elephant link, how many years ago did they invest in building that stretch?

I reckon NSW should have its own representing animal, called the White Elephant, rather than the kangaroo :lol:
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by tonyp »

Windy wrote:I reckon we stick with expanding the Cityrail network.
Yes absolutely that first - particularly the developing crisis between Central and North Sydney.
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by tonyp »

Simes wrote: If only someone had hit him with a 44 class at Lithgow when he was a loco driver.....
Yes that's one for the list of great lost transport planning opportunities for Sydney :twisted:
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Dave Wilson »

It's interesting how the right wing of the Labor Party blew Scully out of the water and now he's turning the guns back on them (ABC News today) Hope he scores a few direct hits on Iemma
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by jaseee »

"He said that untangling the CityRail network was a stressful responsibility."

How the hell is it stressful? What they are doing, or have done already in terms of clearways is peanuts! It doesn't take that much thinking to come up with those projects...Perhaps if they had like 50 projects, then maybe, but the 10-15 they have is hardly stressful...more is needed. What they are doing will only fix some of the problems.
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by sydney3000 »

Your quote comes from

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/mr- ... 09570.html
He said that untangling the CityRail network was a stressful responsibility.
"As you know, one problem causes many problems elsewhere," he said.
"It is just awful. I tell you, it was miserable in the end.
"God, I was glad to get out of transport after 5½ years."
"Going to work, I just had to drag myself by the collar. It really was tough going and I'm not sure a metro will fix that."
The whole section shows that the guy shouldn't have been in the job in the first place and by holding onto it, against his own inner voice, he held back the entire state from progress for 5½ years. He clearly didn't have the skills, aptitude and attitude to deal with public transport. Others love these sort of "unsolvable" issues but never get a crack at it. He was clearly in over his head, looked at the scenario and instead of concentrating on sub-sections for many small manageable gains was overwhelmed by the entire scenario and hence achieved nothing at all.

Life is made up of "one problem causes many problems elsewhere" and I can't believe he said this because if he doesn't know how to deal with this scenario he won't even qualify to work at McDonalds. Should I prepare the burger, the fries or the milkshake first?
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Clint »

The “problems” on the Cityrail network start with services like the all stations to Ashfield trains, which clog up other services by carrying only a handful of people. What a waste of an 8 carriage train that is hardly used by residents of the inner west except for a few peak services, when most of them use buses anyway.These trains could carry more people by running to Blacktown, Penrith, Liverpool or Campbelltown, areas that do need more services in both peaks and off peaks.

I saw nothing wrong with the original proposal of a heavy rail line to the North West. If heavy rail can get people from Penrith or Campbelltown into the city, then it sure can get passengers from Rouse Hill or beyond into the city. At least give residents the rail services they deserve, well designed and thought out, not a deranged idea thought up to meet a political purpose.

It’s true “one problem does cause many problems elsewhere” and the better Iemma and his cronies are out, the less problems they may cause for NSW citizens.
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North-West Rail Line won't be built, be it metro or heavy ra

Post by Newcastle Flyer »

Volvo Super Olympian wrote:Just look at the whYte elephant link, how many years ago did they invest in building that stretch?
But when it first opened, how many trains used it, as opposed to now.
Windy wrote:"Costa is f**ked" "Costa is f**ked". . .
Agreed, but then what did the opposition do in the area to build a train line/improve public transport in the area when the Liberals were in power? Better still, what did they do public transport overall.
Windy wrote:...but a a more headstrong Premier would have not bungled or selected such a dysfunctional cabinet.
My opinion it is time for Iemma to go, but then it will still be the same party, but if he must go, just so long it isn't Frank "dollars" Sartor.

Here is my idea for the area (The connecting Parramatta to Carlingford isn't shown.) And light rail or metro from the city to either West Ryde or Epping via Drummoyne.
Castle-Hill-Line_600x.jpg
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by kitkat271 »

*Yawn*

I guess somebody leaked this in the hopes of derailling (excuse the pun) the whole NW rail line/metro project ... I seriously don't think we'll see a train of any sort roll into Castle Hill again until 2117 ...
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Volvo Super Olympian »

kitkat271 wrote:*Yawn*

I guess somebody leaked this in the hopes of derailling (excuse the pun) the whole NW rail line/metro project ... I seriously don't think we'll see a train of any sort roll into Castle Hill again until 2117 ...
Well, I don't see any derailment to the project if it was all going to be a dream anyways!

Having living in Sydney for 10 years, enough has been seen throughout the years to determine for something like the NW metro to come true, is harder than one person to win the lotto jackpots.
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Rail Bus »

It is all very well for CDC to run Double Decker buses to the Hills district along our already over-congested roads, but this does not eliminate the fact that a true rail line is needed. Windy, as usual, you are quick to blame the existing NSW State Government. Often this is rightfully so, however I don't overly like the idea of letting Dr Nelson's crowd run the show either. :evil: Both sides of politics in this country are about as useful as a fan in a blizzard; just like you, Windy! :lol: I think it is a fairly well known fact that this Government is run/controlled by Iemma, Cost, and Sartor. They are not interested in transport of any sort, only in lining their pockets with wads if $100 notes. This is why, many years after the idea first came to light, Sydney still does not have intergrated ticketing for its Public Transport, and roads are still built two-lanes wide each way, and as a money-loosing (allegedly) toll road that is already at maximum capicity the day it opens. :evil:

When are the idiots of this state going to learn that road transport is NOT the answer to our transport problems? :?: On the same token though, this "Metro Rail" proposal is an utter joke! Why build a seperate rail system that is in no-way connected with the existing Cityrail network? :? It is high-time that this state was run by people whose sole interest isn't rorting the state of BILLIONS of dollars, whilst destroying everything that means anything to the blue-collar working class people of the past 200+ years? (That rules you out, Windy!) Do I sound confused? You bet I'm bloody confused! :? :? :?
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Glen »

Rail Bus wrote:Windy, as usual, you are quick to blame the existing NSW State Government. Often this is rightfully so, however I don't overly like the idea of letting Dr Nelson's crowd run the show either. :evil:
Err... I think you are confusing the State Government with the Federal Opposition?
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Andrew »

Windy wrote: It is unfortunate that uner Iemma's term that he has been left holding the baby after Carr's well-timed exit, but a a more headstrong Premier would have not bungled or selected such a dysfunctional cabinet.
I think meek, submissive and somewhat inept senior public servants, too scared to be 'out of step' with their respective minister due to their employment contracts are just as much to blame for the absurdities this Government continues to inflict on its people.
.
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Windy »

Glen wrote:
Rail Bus wrote:Windy, as usual, you are quick to blame the existing NSW State Government. Often this is rightfully so, however I don't overly like the idea of letting Dr Nelson's crowd run the show either. :evil:
Err... I think you are confusing the State Government with the Federal Opposition?
Oh the sweet sweet irony of if all! :lol:

Given that Bob Carr's Government "successfully" ran NSW to the point of ruin, I wholly blame him. However, Iemma, AS I SAID EARLIER, has done precious little to turn things around.
Windy

Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Windy »

Rail Bus wrote:Windy, as usual, you are quick to blame the existing NSW State Government. Often this is rightfully so, however I don't overly like the idea of letting Dr Nelson's crowd run the show either. :evil: Both sides of politics in this country are about as useful as a fan in a blizzard; just like you, Windy! :lol:

<other parts of useless rant snipped>

It is high-time that this state was run by people whose sole interest isn't rorting the state of BILLIONS of dollars, whilst destroying everything that means anything to the blue-collar working class people of the past 200+ years? (That rules you out, Windy!) Do I sound confused? You bet I'm bloody confused! :? :? :?
I'd like to think that I am both a capitalist (I am a business co-owner, and I have my own ABN for my own business interests), a professional (with a full-time job and annual salary), and I do work within the bus industry (which puts me in more of a working class category as well). Oh, and I might just mention that my family have been running a farm in Inverell for the past 32 years, and that I've spent some time out in the sun on those paddocks... but no, that's hardly blue collar or primary industry... oh no, definitely not!

Therefore, I do take exception to your personal attack, and would kindly ask you to prove what you have achieved in your lifetime, considering you are some 8 years older than me? Oh, and preferably without the excesses of emoticons that litter your usual pointless rants which do waste 5 seconds of my life as I scroll down to the next response that follows your inane ramblings...
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Rail Bus »

Windy, I'd love to sit and entertain, but as usual I have to think WORK tomorrow, so sleep is fast calling! You, on the other hand, only make insipid and unfounded remarks about people and businesses of which you know nothing about. :X Put simply, you are an academic. You think something looks good "on paper" but cant see the wool for the sheep! Baaaaaaa! :lol:
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Windy »

Well, I'm glad you decided to quit while you were behind, Jason. I do also believe that you were trying to make the analogy of "seeing the wolf in sheep's clothing" rather than the "wool from the sheep" seeing as where there is wool, there generally would be sheep, or lambs, or ewes, or shearers.
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Re: [SMH] Metro a $12b disaster, says buried report

Post by Simes »

As far as politicans on both sides of the bear pit, they're both as useless as each other - also it's both their obsessions with balancing budgets and not wanting to borrow to pay for infrastructure, the obsession with "public private partnerships" is testament for this, they've been shirking on their responsibility to provide and maintain infrastructure since the 80's, then selling off everything not nailed down (or indeed some things that are). Although I don't see the Macquarie line as a white elephant at all

jaseee wrote:"He said that untangling the CityRail network was a stressful responsibility."

How the hell is it stressful? What they are doing, or have done already in terms of clearways is peanuts! It doesn't take that much thinking to come up with those projects...Perhaps if they had like 50 projects, then maybe, but the 10-15 they have is hardly stressful...more is needed. What they are doing will only fix some of the problems.
Probably because you would have every vested interest group trying to add their 2 cents to the equation or get their pound of flesh, from the NIMBY's who think a turnback would fade the curtains to the union who wanted to protect some bludgy perk that would disappear as a result of something or other.....
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