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Old April 24th, 2004, 12:31 AM   #1
Fabian
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SYDNEY: Light Rail (U/C: Circular Quay to Randwick and Kingsford)

This is the thread where we can discuss proposals relating to the expansion of light rail. There has been alot of talk of extending the network into the city's eastern suburbs as well as the inner west and even in the CBD. If any light rail projects are approved, we can discuss their construction and other related stuff here.

I'll launch the thread with this article about the CBD light rail proposal. There should be an announcement about this in a couple of weeks.

From The Sydney Morning Herald

Trams back on track
By Joseph Kerr and Alexandra Smith
April 24, 2004

Government planners are considering using money freed up from Sydney's bus and train operators to help fund construction of a light rail line through the city centre.

Putting trams back in the city centre would allow the postponement of new bus purchases, as well as work on Town Hall station, freeing funds for investment in the new light rail line.

And taking buses out of the CBD - which be possible if trams were run from Central to Circular Quay - could mean extra savings to the main bus operator. Senior planning sources said some capital works spending previously expected to flow to State Transit or RailCorp could be used as part of a funding program.

Sydney's Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, favours using money from the parking space levy. The Transport Services Minister, Michael Costa, declined to comment.

The Planning and Infrastructure Minister, Craig Knowles, has said a private-sector proposal to build a light rail line through the city will go on public display from May 18.

Mr Knowles, who unveiled a strategy for Sydney's development on Thursday, is planning public forums to discuss environmentally sustainable growth in the city's north-west and south-west fringes.

The Herald understands two alternative routes are frontrunners. One runs up and down George Street and the other up and down Castlereagh Street. Cost estimates are near $200 million, including trams and tracks.

The CBD tram could be built as a public-private partnership but should carry "no additional burden to taxpayers", Mr Knowles has said.

Paul Espie, the chairman of Metro Transport Sydney, which has the light rail concession between Central and Lilyfield, was confident "that we can meet that requirement in collaboration with the state and city council".

A spokesman for the CBD Transport Advisory Council, Ian Nicholas, said of the light rail plans: "It keeps coming, but essentially we need to know the exact route, and still we don't."

He said the council had been assured the light rail would not run through the Pitt Street Mall.

The chief executive of the State Chamber of Commerce, Margy Osmond, said the development of the Government's new metropolitan strategy was an opportunity to look at the city's public transport needs.

"Light rail should be an integral part of that plan and not just in the CBD," she said. "Light rail is not the answer for every area but there are major arterial routes in the CBD and around the city's fringe where it could increase capacity, reduce travelling times and alleviate traffic congestion."
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Old April 24th, 2004, 02:30 AM   #2
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i want to highlight something!


Quote:
Senior planning sources said some capital works previously expected to flow to State Transit or RailCorp spending could be used as part of a funding program.
I would prefer the money went directly to State Transit and RailCorp, rather than the expansion of the Light Rail. Obviously Joseph Kerr and Alexandra Smith havent travelled by trains or busses lately. there preformance is deplorable currently, and they need all the money they can get to improve the services.

I have my doubts about light rail personally. It costs a lot, and moves a fraction of the people compared to heavy rail. (Please note, im talking about the gold plated expansions of late - the MetroRail, and the Box Hill Extn). Unless it is going to be built like how they used to do it, it is expensive, and can be a white elephant. I can walk faster than the Light rail moves currently anyway!
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Old April 24th, 2004, 02:34 AM   #3
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How is a tram proposal going to run "up and down" Castlereagh street - when it's a one way street? GW SMH.

Stick with George Street, it's central, connects 4 train stations (although, do you really want to duplicate a service that already exists?) and it's probably the only city street that wouldn't be adversely affected by two tram tracks down the middle of it.

Is making it a public-private project going to be just like the overpriced tram to nowhere, I mean, Lilyfield?

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Old April 24th, 2004, 03:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
How is a tram proposal going to run "up and down" Castlereagh street - when it's a one way street? GW SMH.
I was thinking exactly the same. They could always shut the street down to cars and keep only the bus lane open with two tram lines. But the street is quite narrow, all that would result in is more traffic on Elizabeth, Pitt and George Streets.

Putting the tram line on George Street wouldn't be as bad as on Castlereagh, well, until Park Street @ Town Hall at least before it narrows down further.

Unless any more tram lines are going to be built out into the inner suburbs of Sydney, I really do not see the point of extending the tram line through the middle of the city. The money would be better off spent on bus and rail (improving capacity on the city circle) if this is what they plan to do with the light rail.
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Old April 24th, 2004, 04:33 AM   #5
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I think Sydney should go for an inner city light rail system. It frees up the streets from people who live in say Redfern and currently drive to say work in Circular Quay. (Maybe not the best example, but I dont know Sydney terribly well).
Perhaps a route down to Kings Cross and the eastern 'burbs would also help. Would there be anypoint in putting a link across the harbour and service say North Sydney then head west to Manly? It would help on foggy days when ferries cant operate.
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Old April 24th, 2004, 04:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelbourneCity
I think Sydney should go for an inner city light rail system. It frees up the streets from people who live in say Redfern and currently drive to say work in Circular Quay. (Maybe not the best example, but I dont know Sydney terribly well).
Perhaps a route down to Kings Cross and the eastern 'burbs would also help. Would there be anypoint in putting a link across the harbour and service say North Sydney then head west to Manly? It would help on foggy days when ferries cant operate.
Manly is east of North Sydney.

Trams would work around the inner west and east and a little bit of the south IMO, I'm not so sure about over to the North Shore though as that area is already covered by numerous bus and rail lines.
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Old April 24th, 2004, 04:45 AM   #7
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Oh yeh it is too. I did say I didnt know it very well
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Old April 24th, 2004, 05:27 AM   #8
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This is a positive move to bring back what worked well for the city before some stupid bureaucrat decided to get rid of Sydney trams,in the late 1950's.There are a number of options for a route.It could also go one way along Pitt St,and back along Castlereagh St.It could also go one way George St and back along Philip St and Elizabeth St.It is worth looking at what has been done in San Francisco,which has a very extensive tramway system,as well as cable cars.Have a look at San Francisco. http://world.nycsubway.org/us/sf/munimetro1.html
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Old April 25th, 2004, 05:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kota16
This is a positive move to bring back what worked well for the city before some stupid bureaucrat decided to get rid of Sydney trams,in the late 1950's.There are a number of options for a route.It could also go one way along Pitt St,and back along Castlereagh St.It could also go one way George St and back along Philip St and Elizabeth St.It is worth looking at what has been done in San Francisco,which has a very extensive tramway system,as well as cable cars.Have a look at San Francisco. http://world.nycsubway.org/us/sf/munimetro1.html
I also favour a CBD loop. I think it's the best option for the CBD. It should run up George Street to Circular Quay and then return via Macquarie Street to provide direct access for commuters and visitors to the attractions along Macquarie Street including the State Library and Parliament House, and then go back in either Castlereagh or Elizabeth Streets.
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Old April 25th, 2004, 06:13 AM   #10
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I think the whole thing is a silly idea. The CBD streets were never wide enough when the city had trams and now that there are more cars and buses using the roads, the trams will only cause further chaos in the streets. Leave it as it is! Leave the trams in Melbourne and the buses in Sydney.
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Old April 25th, 2004, 06:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie Steve
I think the whole thing is a silly idea. The CBD streets were never wide enough when the city had trams and now that there are more cars and buses using the roads, the trams will only cause further chaos in the streets. Leave it as it is! Leave the trams in Melbourne and the buses in Sydney.
Aussie Steve,on this issue you are negative and dull.The people who spend money in shops are the ones using public transport.I have ridden on trams that go through Malls in German cities,and there was never a problem.It sticks out a mile that Sydney has been half asleep for quite a time with its inner city traffic.Fabian is right about having a loop tram in Macquarie St as another alternative option.You should talk to a few backpacker tourists,and ask them what they think.
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Old April 25th, 2004, 06:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabian
I also favour a CBD loop. I think it's the best option for the CBD. It should run up George Street to Circular Quay and then return via Macquarie Street to provide direct access for commuters and visitors to the attractions along Macquarie Street including the State Library and Parliament House, and then go back in either Castlereagh or Elizabeth Streets.
Naah, very few successful tram services take one street in one direction and return via a totally different street. Such an approach will fail very easily.

It needs to go up and down the same street (either exempting trams from the one way flow, or by converting the rest of the street to two way driving). Or by banning cars, but that may be a bit drastic.

That said, I'm not in favour of this plan, as trams couldn't possibly replace buses effectively in the CBD. They just don't have the capacity that would be needed, short of something like 6 car LA Blue Line LRVs, which is essentially a 6 car high floor train that runs through a few downtown fringe and Long Beach streets.

You'd need a vehicle with a capacity of about 800 seated, 1200 total, running every 5 minutes or so, to replace just one set of those buses. Every two minutes (or two routes every four minutes) to eliminate buses from the CBD altogether. That means either the biggest trams in the world (with not much scope for patronage growth in the future), or a standard Metro line through the city centre and bus interchanges around Pitt & Broadway for the Broadway series buses, somewhere near Museum Station for the Oxford Street buses.

As for the harbour bridge buses, there are three easy options. Do Nothing is one. Another is to convert the Cahill to bus only operation (put in a loop or signpost the existing exit north of North Sydney to allow traffic in and out of the tunnel), make Lane 7 a northbound bus lane and Lane 8 the southbound bus/tram lane, and convert the top deck of the Cahill to a bus interchange, with the city circle just underneath it and a possible subway station underground near the toaster. Or run the buses past Wynyard and down Bridge Street to the new line.
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Old April 25th, 2004, 07:26 AM   #13
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Is this proposed tram for the tourists or for the public to use? If its for the general public, it has to be quick, efficient and it has to get me to where I want to go with limited time on my side.
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Old April 25th, 2004, 12:36 PM   #14
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The idea that's being bandied around is to use the Light Rail as a means to get around Sydney Buses' fleet age issues.

Instead of replacing the few hundred remaining Merc Mk2's all at once (which will only create the exact same problem in 20 years time than they have now, having bought too many buses at once), they'd cancel most or all bus services within the CBD in favour of a Light Rail line and have a bus-tram interchange somewhere near Museum Station, then scrap most of the Mk2's.
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Old April 25th, 2004, 12:47 PM   #15
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Light Rail Inner city Loop is one of the most exciting things that can happen to Sydney! This one is long overdue and all plans should be finalised asap so that construction can start when the Cross City tunnel is complete (or earlier!)....

George, Macquarie and Elizabeth Streets are destined to become the new tram routes (Pitt Street is out of the question)...
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Old April 25th, 2004, 01:03 PM   #16
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A loop would be the most colossal waste of valuable public transport dollars that Sydney's CBD would ever see.

Anyone care to put on their thinking caps and think of how many tram routes presently operate that use different streets for the up and down trips, and how many of those are successful? None remain in Australia, if there ever were any that is.

How about those who start proposing these kind of things get a clue?
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Old April 25th, 2004, 01:51 PM   #17
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The loop / circular "monothingie" route is quite successful - for tourists. The Melbourne city circle tram is extremely successful as it's free - for tourists.

As I said above, a "loop" service already exists in Sydney, it's just not as accessible as it could be. I frequently "did a Melbourne" and used the circle to get around the CBD (specifically, I stayed down southern end and was up the northern end a lot) - but I was buying those $15-made-for-tourist tickets where you can "jump on and off" [doing a Melbourne again].

Trains are frequent enough during the day (they'd just need beefing up later on), and if they made an attractive inner city fare (like $1 one trip in the circle) and made it obvious you can do it, you wouldn't need to spend craploads of money on putting trams in.

$0.02
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Old April 25th, 2004, 02:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPC
A loop would be the most colossal waste of valuable public transport dollars that Sydney's CBD would ever see.

Anyone care to put on their thinking caps and think of how many tram routes presently operate that use different streets for the up and down trips, and how many of those are successful? None remain in Australia, if there ever were any that is.

How about those who start proposing these kind of things get a clue?
I recall the tram route that went around Lake Wendouree in Ballarat at one time was single track,and I think it went one way.
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Old April 25th, 2004, 03:30 PM   #19
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Using Pitt/Castlereagh is possible because they're next to each other and both between the two sides of the City Underground, but the whole thing is flawed as we've been through before and is just rebuilding the very Central-City tram circuit that operated prior to the opening of the City Underground.

If I recall the buses are funded for (given it is over the next few budgets). This was Greiner's big buy (coincinding with the renewal of Wran's big buy of trains, unfortunately) of 400 buses so these aren't MkIIs but MkIVs and MkVs. Added to this is the need to replace the failed 14.5m Scanias with articulated buses (watch Waverley's 14.5s' trip from the Depot to Bondi Junction Interchange to do 400 runs to see how simply inappropriate they are; Artics are also more versatile so they'd allow Waverley to run them on the L82 for example) and the replacement of the delayed replacement of the original MkIII artics and the problem is compounded. But, as I said, the funding commitment has been made
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Old April 25th, 2004, 03:54 PM   #20
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In terms of the future this could be a very good idea.
I've just read that Australia's oil reserves are going to dry up within the next 5 years, so providing an easy & accesible method of public transport through the CBD could be very wise. It will not be as reliant on oil (since they would be electrical yeah?), establishing their advantage over buses which would continue to chew up dwindling oil & gradually costing more & more.

just a thought
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