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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is from smh

Stalled M4 East project gets sudden green light

WORK will begin on the controversial M4 East extension in this term of government, the NSW Premier, Morris Iemma, says, with a design and timetable for the project due out this winter.

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Previous options for extending the M4 from Concord have included a tunnel to Port Botany to help with traffic from the port expansion. Whatever plan is adopted is certain to include a large section of tunnel, and the Government will be keen to build it in a private-public partnership, despite being bitten by the Cross City Tunnel controversy.

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Mr Iemma said the Government was also considering a proposal from the private sector for a fast rail link from western Sydney to the city.

Under the plan, a consortium backed by Leighton Contractors would build a 26-kilometre tunnel between Parramatta and Wynyard, at no cost to the taxpayer, as well as extra lines between St Marys and Penrith and a new city station. The trip to Parramatta would be cut from 34 minutes to 11 minutes; it would take 17 minutes to get to Blacktown, instead of up to 45; and 28 minutes to get to Penrith, instead of up to 74 minutes.

The head of the government's office of the co-ordinator general, David Richmond, who is preparing the design and examining the rail project, said the extension of the motorway would include public transport improvements, such as bus lanes.

Professor Richmond said he was leading a group that would make a decision on the rail project within three months.

Mr Iemma nominated increased infrastructure spending as a cornerstone of the budget to be delivered next Tuesday.
All I can say is I hope they get this right because there is so much potential to improve the area of they get the staging of all this work right. I wish they would extend the light rail to Leichhardt and then back to central via Parramatta Road and develop mixed use along the strip. I believe that there are plans to do that, and they all include the light rail component however that is the part of the plan I think they will ignore.

I am concerned that they will be worried about making street scape improvements to look like they are funnelling cars into the new tunnel, but the reality is that they would improve things greatly if they turned the left lane into a fill time packing lane (with landscaped bays), the second lane into the bus lane and then finally 1 general traffic lane. This would allow the left lane to have bus bays at the bus stops and allow faster buses to drive past slower buses that are stopped. Fingers Crossed. I guess I would happily live with that arrangement rather than light rail if it meant that at some time in the future they could build a Metro corridor under Parramatta road.

Also, the mention of the western fast rail is exciting, hope that it is all developed as an integrated plan and that they are all written into each others contracts, don't want to see the fast rail excluded in the M4east contract or anything like that. If we can build the M4 East and the western fast rail at the same time and with a realistic toll on the m4 East (read: not low - western Sydney is paying nothing in tolls basically at the moment anyway) we can hopefully reduce car volumes from the west (since the rail will be faster than driving), while allowing those who do drive to not sit on Parramatta road making it undesirable as a place to live. I think Parramatta road has great potential to be a high density mixed use corridor.

Disclaimer - I currently live at Stanmore, which would be bypassed by the M4 east :D
 

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This has to happen without hindrance from petty, self-serving protests and nickel&diming over detail, but, it must be done well, to best design standards and without disrupting the locals unnecessarily: quite a challenge but not impossible.
 

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Ha ha the requisite protestors.....

Hope the rail project in its entirety is built. What a fantastic idea. Any rail infrastructure is a boon. I wonder what has prompted an early investigation into these two projects? Im confused as the NSW government has no vision. Whats going on????
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The rail project is a private proposal, so no vision required (or displayed) by the government, as it was first proposed in 2005, then resurfaced again in 2006, then was mentioned again by Kevin Rudd after becoming federal opposition leader as something he would help, and now this. This is, however, the first time that it has been acknowledged by the NSW government that they would consider saying yes. Fingers crossed.

I am hoping that they can develop some good Transit Oriented developments out there, they only way to get people out of their cars is to make rail more attractive.

Also, I think this could work well with reintroducing and increasing the frequency of the Cumberland line, extending it from the current Blacktown terminus to Quakers hill and even vineyard when duplicated, or all the way to Richmond.

This could see people from Liverpool - Quakers hill using the Cumberland line to transfer to the fast train at Blacktown or Parramatta. Would not be a bad proposition.
 

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Western Farce Rail is one of the worst things Sydney could do to try and be sustainable. All it will do is encourage urban sprawl and encourage the contiuance and perhaps furthering of the unsustainable practice of living in the far west and commuting to the CBD for work.

Parramatta Rail Link needs to be built first and also land-use based solutions to reduce the need to travel. Some *real* TOD - co-locating homes, services, transport *and* jobs in the same place to minimise the need to travel.

Essentially building WFR is a more environmentally-freindly solution than freeways. However, it does exactly what freeways do - attempt to cure the symptoms and not the cause of the problem.

Look at the bigger picture.

Disclaimer - I am not attempting to prevent/eliminate travel completely - there is a balance that needs to be made. However, projects like WFR and radial freeways upset that balance by blatantly encouraging unsustainable levels of travel.

Get Leightons to work on the PRL with extra tracks Parra-St Marys and Quakers Hill-Richmond.
 

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How many times have we heard similar announcements about this? I'll believe it when they start turning the sod, and not before.
 

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When they say fast rail, how fast that be?

and 74 minutes to penrith!? Sucks to live there
Two of my friends live in Penrith and they have told me it takes 90 mins to travel from the city to Penrith.

I would support the idea of a fast rail link from Penrith to Sydney. At the end of the day,we are trying to get cars off the road. This will reduce travel times from the city to Penrith by at least 50 %. If people want to pay for the convience of such a service, let it be.

And there is a simple solution to addressing the need for people to commute of their regions, bring employment to them. The State Government has been encouraging decentralisation of business to the suburbs including Parramatta and Penrith. People won't need to venture to the Sydney CBD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I think that this rail link, while serving sprawl, would be beneficial for a few reasons.

Firstly, it is the lesser of two evils, they may be continuing to travel long distances, but it will be in a more sustainable way. The sprawl is already there, this is just reducing the impact.

The second point is that I think this will encourage more businesses to consider Parramatta and to a lesser extent Blacktown as places to locate themselves, since they will be 'closer' to the city as far as travel goes. This brings jobs closer to the population of western sydney.

I think a big disincentive to companies locating in places like Parramatta and Olympic Park (the Fastrail site, http://www.fastrail.com.au says there is a possible station at Olympic Park) is that their current employees from the eastern parts of Sydney will not move with them, draining talent. This would increase the chance that more staff would move with the organisation out west (CBA at Olympic Park would be an example of this, many people are not happy with the move).

Sydney needs decentralised centres, but it needs fast links between them.

I also think that this could form a central fast spine that could allow developments such as Christie's Castle Hills - Hoxton Park Metro line to go ahead, further encouraging decentralisation.

 

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i just checked the shittyrail website and it still takes between 50-55 mins to get from penrith to central on a blue mountains train (ie, blue mountains timetable and it has very limited stops). 90 minutes (or more) would often be true when you talk door to door or catch a suburban train (many more stops).

this means that this fast train proposal would cut the actual possible travel time from penrith to sydney by less than half and not quite half. still, 25 minutes less travel time is a major bonus in the morning! (but it would cost ya).

i've been a fan of a full m4 east tunnel for ages. unlike other tunnels i think it would get used quite a lot because people will do anything to avoid parramatta road. it would need to be 6 lanes so as to not repeat the disaster of the m5's limited 4 lanes. maybe it would be our first tunnel success story since the harbour tunnel, the rest have not been great.

once parramatta road has less traffic it may have a chance to liven up instead of being dead, empty and boarded up.
 

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Awesome. Here's hoping the Parra-Wynyard tunnel goes ahead. Though into Wynyard? I wonder what miracle they're going to perform there to get more passengers going through that place.

And the M4 East better be a big ass tunnel. Does this mean as well they're going to duplicate the eastern end of the existing M4 (between the Olympic site and Concord)? Hopefully a lesson has been learned from the M5 East.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think the M5 East would not be half as bad as it is if it had a toll. The east hills line had a 25% drop in passengers that coincided with the M5 east opening. If they tolled it high enough, these passengers would have continued catching the train, and the tunnel would be sufficient.
 

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from the fastrail website, it looks to me like too many stops. it really should just be city - (maybe olympic park) - parra - blacktown - penrith otherwise it's not much different to the current express trains to/from the blue mountains.



travel times -



snowboard, where did you find the image below? i'd like to see the full version. is it a pipe dream or a serious long term proposal? that's the sort of rail network that will be needed out that way nowdays, if not more. i'm interested in the line to cranebrook and beyond. cranebrook is booming, and will be even more massive when all the lakes scheme is complete. also, that line passes near the adi site (llandilo) so it would be a key line for sure.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's from the Christie Report, commissioned by the government in 2001 and then promptly ignored. To give the government some credit, most of the clearways and expansion proposals are from the report.

A text copy can be found here, it is text only but has the one image of the ultimate version of the network (here).
 

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When they say fast rail, how fast that be?

and 74 minutes to penrith!? Sucks to live there
It is not about having faster trains, more about getting trains on a more direct & straighter route that will enable them to travel at there top speeds for longer. It seems that all mountains trains would be rerouted by this new tunnel (as one would expect). I am sceptical about there estimated time savings for Lithgow passengers. When all the work is between Penrith & City, how will they get any more time savings then those travelling from Penrith?

To be honest with you, I think the government should be looking at having a PPP with the FastRail consortium instead of the M4 East. Mr Rudd has already thrown his support behind the project, and it would be Mr Iemma best interests as well. The sprawl is already there, it just has to be a situation of cope with it. Build big car parks & bus interchanges (well decent stops at the front door) at these outer suburban train stations so that people can easily get to the fast train and turn the M4 & Parramatta road into less of a car park then what it already is and will be.

The project would take a number of years to fully complete, however once the tunnel drivers get going they should be able to a decent distance per day and should operate 24/7. They should also operate from both ends to eventually meet somewhere in the middle. In the mean time track work (like the Penrith - St Marys quad) & station upgrades would be completed at the same time to ensure a nice smooth opening. If anyone could provide a distance a tunnel boring machine can do per day or something like that, then we could estimate appropriately. My estimate is about 5 years which is nothing more then a wild stab.

Cheers James
 

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It's from the Christie Report, commissioned by the government in 2001 and then promptly ignored. To give the government some credit, most of the clearways and expansion proposals are from the report.

A text copy can be found here, it is text only but has the one image of the ultimate version of the network (here).
excellent, cheers! just goes to show that the governments current plans really are half-arsed. well actually, less than half-arsed consdiering how much more is proposed. every one of these lines should be getting built right now!
 
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