Light Rail: a victim of its own success
From: Dudley Horscroft
Date:

I have just come across an article under the above heading on the "Transport Sydney" blog, dated 28 February, of interest to me. I
have added the following text.

"You said: "One was that the studies into these corridors began with a transport solution (light rail) for a particular corridor
first, then tested whether it would be viable (yes) second. They should have identified a congested corridor first, then identified
the ideal transport solution(s) second."

They did identify a corridor where light rail was justified - Parramatta Road out to University. This was killed when the original
WestConnex study proposed the entire rebuilding of Parramatta Road with a two lane hole in the middle. So attention was transferred
to the SE suburbs routes. One of the important reasons for the proposal was to get rid of diesel buses in George Street, noisy and
productive of carcinogenic fumes. The option was trams or trolleybuses - the latter were not considered viable, still requiring the
same man power with no increase in capacity. Logic would have had the SE tram route operating via Elizabeth Street, but the need to
get rid of the buses in George Street was considered paramount.

If only TfNSW would have done its job. Instead it seems to have designed a system with as many faults as possible. I attended the
Light Rail Conference some two years ago, and when the TfNSW representative was on stage, asked him why the CSELR was costing
double at least any other tramway in the world. He replied that "I suppose it is a NSW thing" (or words to that effect) to the
shudders of the bystanders around me. (The extension of Boston's Green line is up near the CSELR costing per mile, but that
includes rebuilding a heavy rail line as well!)

The Kingsford line should have continued to Maroubra Junction - a better place for an interchange between bus and tram, and the
Randwick line to Coogee, avoiding the need for a bus shuttle from the beach to Randwick.

Tony Bailey is right in that RMS should be required to provide tram priority at all signalized intersections, estimates are that
this would cut ten minutes off the proposed end to end timing. And Alex, "while you may be able to get down to 2-minute headways
this would effectively turn George Street into a light suburban rail corridor, which wasn’t the intention." No, nobody had any
intention because nobody thought. But given that there will be a substantial tram only section, the upshot is that George Street
WILL become a "light suburban rail corridor" which is all to the good. There will be room in the corridor for service from Central
Colonnade to CQ, and for the additional tram service from Norton Street via Parramatta Road, and from a couple of its branches, to
rid Broadway and Parramatta Road of almost all buses. Time this was looked at again."

For your info, if thought worthwhile reading.

Tony P, when back from Perth, could you (or anybody else who has the details) confirm that TfNSW is planning a timing for CQ to
Kingsford much slower than in tram days, and by how much, and any official estimate of how much the delay is due to RMS insistence
on not allowing full tram priority at signalized intersections?

Regards

Dudley Horscroft


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