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Old May 4th, 2005, 04:40 AM   #1
hkskyline
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Sydney Rail Passenger Volumes Fall

Rail passenger numbers fall by half a million in two years
Jonathan Pearlman
03 May 2005
The Sydney Morning Herald

The number of people travelling by train has been steadily declining for the past two years, CityRail figures show.

The State Opposition said the decline indicated people were choosing to travel by car because trains are late, dirty and unsafe.

"There is no doubt over the last four years people have simply been walking out on the train system," the Opposition transport spokesman, Peter Debnam, said yesterday.

"They know the trains are often late, they won't get them to work on time, they won't get them home on time, they are frequently dirty and the train system remains a crime hot spot."

The figures, published on CityRail's website, showed there were about 21.06 million passenger journeys in and around Sydney in February. This was 150,000 fewer than in February last year and about 530,000 fewer than in 2003.

But a spokeswoman for RailCorp, Helen Willoughby, said the decline was caused by external factors such as hosting the Olympics and job levels.

"If you look at the 10-year pattern of train patronage it goes up and down all the time," she said.

"Leading up to the Olympics patronage rose but when employment levels in the CBD dropped it fell."

Ms Willoughby said customer surveys showed passengers were more concerned about reliability than safety or cleanliness.

The Transport Minister, John Watkins, said the new timetable and new carriages would lead to a rise in passenger numbers.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 02:12 AM   #2
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They just dont' get it.
I don't really care if the train is not the cleanest. What I hate is the 30min service on many lines during the day and on every line at the weekend.

Getting to work I spend 25 minutes actually on the trains trains I catch and a further 20-25 minutes *waiting*. It's a little worse on the way home.

Regular trains are the way to get people to use them
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Old May 5th, 2005, 05:18 AM   #3
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^
no kidding. Service every half hour is crap.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 07:42 AM   #4
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the rail system is crap the government really isnt doing that much....
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Old May 5th, 2005, 11:44 AM   #5
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It was bound to happen.

Mismanagement and the lack of infrastructure upgrade have realy taken their toll.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 09:47 PM   #6
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New South Wales to Invest A$34.7 Billion on Infrastructure Projects

UPDATE:Australia's NSW To Spend A$34.7B On Capital Works
By Owen Brown
24 May 2005

SYDNEY (Dow Jones)--New South Wales, the most populous state in Australia, announced Tuesday plans to invest A$34.7 billion in the next four years - at an average rate of A$24 million a day - on road, rail and other major capital works projects.

Treasurer Andrew Refshauge, delivering his first budget since his appointment to the chief finance portfolio, said the planned spending on capital works was a 30% increase on the A$26.6 billion invested in the previous four-year period.

The boost in spending for capital works comes amid concerns that capacity constraints such as transport bottlenecks could reduce the overall pace of Australia's continued economic expansion which has begun to lose steam after almost 15 years of sustained growth.

"Capital expenditure by the entire New South Wales public sector in 2005-06 will be at its highest level ever in real terms," Refshauge told New South Wales Parliament. "Not only are we investing for today. We are planning for tomorrow."

In Australia, public infrastructure spending is constitutionally the preserve of the state jurisdictions rather than the federal government.

Concerns raised by the Reserve Bank of Australia in February about capacity constraints have already prompted several state governments to foreshadow increased spending particularly on transport.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006, the ruling Labor administration in New South Wales plans to spend more than A$8.2 billion on infrastructure, a 15% increase compared with the previous fiscal year.

Among the public works planned by the government and public trading enterprises are A$195 million to upgrade power transmission lines in rural New South Wales, A$268 million to buy new suburban rail cars and A$66 million to widen the Great Western Highway, a key arterial route into Sydney.

Refshauge said the 2005-06 budget is forecast to achieve an operating surplus for the general government sector of A$303 million, narrowing from a revised A$569 million surplus in 2004-05.

The budget also projects economic growth of 2.75% in the state in 2005-06, a pickup in pace from 2% in both 2004-05 and 20003-04. Unemployment is estimated to hold steady at 5.25% although consumer prices are expected to tick up to 3% in 2005-06 from 2.5% in 2004-05.

Land Tax Threshold Reinstated

The lower-than-forecast 2004-05 operating surplus stems from temporary pressures such as a downturn in the property market, above-estimated pay raises for public sector workers and a reduced share of the revenue generated by the goods and services tax, or GST, according to the budget.

That continued reduction in the operating surplus forecast in 2005-06 is expected to eventually reverse course, widening to A$481 million in 2006-07, A$544 million in 2007-08 and A$965 million in 2008-09 but still below the peak of A$1.75 billion in 2002-03.

Total general government spending is budgeted to rise 6.4% year on year to A$40.6 billion or about 12% of gross state product in 2005-06. This compares to a 6.8% year on year increase in general government sector revenue to A$40.9 billion.

New tax measures announced in the budget such as lifting the insurance stamp duty to 9% from 5% and restricting the duty exemption for refinancing mortgages will raise an additional A$180 million.

The government also plans to reintroduce a land-tax free threshold of A$330,000 to be indexed annually. Unimproved land values above that threshold are to be taxed at a rate of 1.7%.

On a net lending basis, the government is forecasting a A$979 million budget deficit in 2005-06, narrowing to a A$569 million shortfall in 2008-09.

The capital works program is expected to raise net debt from A$17.0 billion in 2004-05 to A$25.8 billion in 2008-09.

International ratings agency Standard & Poor's said the increased capital spending and reduced operating surplus in 2005-06 shouldn't endanger the state's AAA credit rating.

Standard & Poor's Director of Public Finances Brendan Flynn said the state's strong balance sheet provides the government with room to raise net lending to fund capital works projects.

"They can afford to borrow a little bit to fund capital spending," Flynn told Dow Jones Newswires.

Flynn said the reduction in the operating surplus to A$303 million is the "one chink in the armor" as it leaves the state, which is already one of the highest taxing jurisdictions in Australia, potentially exposed if there is a sudden change in its financial circumstances.

"But if you take a really broad measure and include the energy companies and the unfunded superannuation (pension) liabilities into the mix it's still a pretty strong position," he said.

Explaining the funding strategy for its major capital works projects, Refshauge said the increased spending in the next four years will be partly financed by total state sector net debt of A$8.7 billion.

State-owned power utilities including Energy Australia and Country Energy will be responsible for some of the additional investment, totaling about A$1.52 billion in 2005-06.

Water utilities will spend A$406 million on capital projects in 2005-06, a A$170 million increase compared with the previous fiscal year, including A$199 million by the Sydney Catchment Authority to improve collection and storage facilities, Refshauge said.

Additional government spending is also directed at public hospitals, schools, law enforcement agencies and emergency services, he said.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 01:40 AM   #7
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Indeed.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 07:34 AM   #8
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The buried report that predicted transport disarray
Joseph Kerr
1 June 2005
The Sydney Morning Herald

COUNTDOWN TO CRISIS, CAMPAIGN FOR SYDNEY, A HERALD PROJECT

A 2001 study laid out what CityRail needed, writes Joseph Kerr.

Four years ago the state's top rail official, Ron Christie, warned that Sydney's rail network faced "strangulation" and "operational paralysis" because of a lack of essential maintenance and infrastructure spending in recent years.

He called for $20 billion in essential maintenance by 2011 and up to $30 billion in spending on new additions to the CityRail network by 2020, and said a new underground railway through the CBD was essential by early next decade.

"My overall finding is that the system is not capable of consistently attaining public expectations because key infrastructure has not been adequately maintained, particularly over the last four years," he wrote in 2001.

"The inner city lines will all be saturated [by between 2011 and 2015] or so, and there will be a need for a new, alternative route through the CBD, from Eveleigh to St Leonards," wrote Mr Christie, widely credited for delivering Sydney's flawless transport system during the 2000 Olympics after being given extensive powers over rail.

"This project is regarded as being of the highest priority. Without it, the metropolitan rail system will face strangulation and progressive operational collapse," he wrote.

Key stations like Town Hall were operating at "saturation capacity", with 180,000 passengers converging on the CBD during the morning peak, he wrote, while the Harbour Bridge needed another set of train lines within 10 years to avoid a network meltdown.

Since promoted by the Government to head the advisory board of the Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator, Mr Christie said the CityRail system was approaching gridlock and was facing "extreme day-to-day sensitivity ... to even the most minor of disruptive incidents."

That analysis, reported by the Herald in February 2002, proved prescient, coming ahead of last year's run of network failures prompted by ailing infrastructure, driver shortages and the fallout from the 2003 Waterfall crash.

The Government has already cut services in the hope of making the remaining trains run more reliably, and will do so again in September when it introduces a new timetable.

Mr Christie predicted the problems would only grow as Sydney's reliance on its rail network developed. He expected about 40 per cent more people, or 400 million passengers a year, would be using the system by 2021.

He also revealed the scale of the problems facing the CityRail fleet, as some trains in the network in 2001 were commissioned in the early 1960s. The Government has moved to buy 498 new carriages to replace the oldest trains on the fleet over thenext five years at a costof $1.5 billion.

But the Government baulked at the large expansion of the network called for by Mr Christie. The then transport minister, Carl Scully, declared that the new city underground line could wait until about 2020.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 09:44 AM   #9
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******* depressing. This whole issue makes me feel ashamed.

"Carl Scully, declared that the new city underground line could wait until about 2020."
This guy needs a ******* bullet, but of course, he knows more about the issue than the head rail advisor official... ugh!
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Old June 1st, 2005, 11:09 AM   #10
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Sydney's average weekday rail usage is around 55,000? Thats quite shocking. How does that compare to the other cities in Australia?
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Old June 1st, 2005, 11:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick-taylor
Sydney's average weekday rail usage is around 55,000? Thats quite shocking.
Where does that figure come from? It's closer to 750,000.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 11:37 AM   #12
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I thought it hovered around 950,000.

But it is sad that the Sydney train network is in such a mess, The whole system needs to be redesigned, It needs to be designed to be overhauled over the next decade, Slow and steady, The system shouldn't be so damn centralised, It should be more flexible and versatile.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 12:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cee_em_bee
I thought it hovered around 950,000.
Yeah, that's probably right for weekdays.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 10:29 AM   #14
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Subways and rail in Sydney

What is the latest with the subway system/ rail network in Sydney? I have heard that it is pretty bad, with trains only coming every 30 mins, and trains being quite late, etc. Is it going to be a reliable service soon w/ more frequent trains, etc? I am in Portland, OR, and we have a pretty good Light rail system in place...but only 3 lines, and 2 more in planning, so it's growing. But the lines we have are excellent (on time) and get pretty decent usage. In the mornings and afternoons is standing room only. And trains come every 5 mins or so during rush hour, sometimes even more frequent depending on where you are at in the city. Closer to the CBD they have a couple lines that share a rail and it is very frequent during rush hour. During off peak times (late at night, etc) the trains come every 10-15 mins or so, and a little more frequent as you're closer to the CBD (because of the two lines sharing one rail).

Anyway, I'd like to see what people in Sydney, or people who have visited, have to say about the Rail network there. Also, is it like San Fran or NYC where you don't really need a car?
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Old October 6th, 2005, 12:03 PM   #15
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Sydney Doesnt exactly have a subway system, rather a suburban system similar to Toronto's GO system, the Overground in London, or the Sbahn in Germany.

The system has had a new timetable introduced which has brought the late running down considerably, and in several points the trains are now running early.

The system is well used, abeit primarily during peak hours on most lines with ~300million trips per year - which is the highest in Australia by a significant margin.

In the CBD, you have a train every 3-5minutes on all lines, and every 4-10min in off peak. This is what trails down to 1/2 hourly at the extremitites of the system. (depending on the line etc)

It is possible to live without a car in Sydney, but you really would want to live in the Inner to Middle ring suburbs, as these are the suburbs which are dominated by STA bus services (the government operator) and CityRail. The outer suburbs would be a joke without a car. PT isnt that great there.

I do know quite a few people who live without cars, and we all live along the Illawarra line (blue line heading south on the map)

If you want more info just ask.
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Old October 6th, 2005, 12:13 PM   #16
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Personally, i've never had any major issues with the rail system in Sydney, although i dont rely on it that much. From my experiences its clean and relatively reliable, and its only improved with the new time table. I never really have to wait too long.

Hopefully in the coming years there will be that expansion into the NW ans SW suburbs, aswell as a new line through the city. This will bring alot better PT to the outer-suburbs that as you said, are car reliant.
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Old October 6th, 2005, 11:00 PM   #17
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I have a question about sydney's system. Since it is a combination of Commuter/Subway rail does it have a severe bottlenecking problem when coming into the city centre?

what type of stock do the cityrail trains run on?
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Old October 7th, 2005, 04:49 AM   #18
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CityRail Sydney use an all double deck fleet.

It's not really a subway network. It has a handful of stations underground, but its nothing like London, New York, Tokyo etc.

The CityRail fleet in Newcastle (North of Sydney, 2nd biggest city in NSW) use diesel railcars, with electric trains to Sydney.

http://www.cityrail.info/aboutus/trains/index.jsp
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Old October 7th, 2005, 09:36 AM   #19
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Thanks for the info guys. From the rail map it appears there are a lot of lines. Is the system as extensive as the map makes it out to be? It looks like it is a pretty nice setup. Also, you say it's not a subway, is it primarily above ground then? More like a light rail system?
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Old October 7th, 2005, 09:58 AM   #20
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No its not like light rail, its like a suburban system. The city circle goes underground for a few km's. The rest of the system is on its own tracks, ie, not intersected by roads. As a result it can work unhindered.

I find the system to be quite extensive for the inner suburbs. There are areas missing however. The northern beaches do not have a line, due to tricky geography. However, there are good bus services here. Also, the eastern suburbs does not have a full line, it only goes to Bondi junction. But again, buses fill this area.
The north-west and south-west growth areas also do not have lines extended yet. These are the new suburbs being built, and as a result, are very car reliant.

There is a big plan to extend these lines out into these suburbs, both north west and south west, while running a new underground line through the city and a new area of the north shore to increase the inner city coverage and capacity. Apparently it will be the biggest rail expansion in 50 years or something, costing about $8-10billion.
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