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I'm hoping the NWRL becomes seemlessly the springboard for the second harbour crossing, ie the pax changing at Chatswood can see the other line is under construction.
That's the whole point. Doing it (NWRL) as a rapid transit system never made sense as a stand-alone, it only ever made sense as part of an expanding network with the next phase being the second harbour crossing.

Govt has always been open about this, to be fair, since they first devised the SRT plans for the NWRL
 

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Sure. I'm fairly confident it will be under way, but of course it is dependent on funding. It's refreshing that govt at least has an announced plan for how it will fund the link, but actually managing to get the poles & wires sell-off over the line will take some doing.

The fact they have a plan reflect much better forward thinking than has at times been the case

TfNSW are rolling the development team from NWRL straight on to the second harbour crossing, there are already people working on it, so if the funding falls into place they'll be ready to kick off the detailed design and plan for procurement fairly quickly
 

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You can now finally get an opal card without having to register online, though till September only at pop up kiosks at certain stations during certain times of the day. Stations and times listed in link:

http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/med...p-kiosks-now-located-28-major-sydney-stations
About time. Still cannot understand why they can't just sell them at ticket windows, how hard can it be?

Also should be an option to top up at station ticket machines. I can understand this needing to be phased in but they've had plenty of time to plan

Honestly, there are scores of cities worldwide that operate similar systems, the lessons have all been learnt, why does Sydney have to reinvent the wheel?

Still glad it is being rolled out and you can now turn up & buy one though. But for tourists and casual visitors the temporary pop-up kiosks aren't really the answer....however, selling them at ticket offices would be of course
 

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Gladys says people who are used to buying such tickets may end up having lengthy conversations with ticket office staff as to what their alternative options are, hence expect queues for a few days

She has a point (or rather, the advisers that wrote the press release do)
 

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Gladys seems to be delivering projects well:
- South West Rail Link delivered a year ahead of schedule and underbudget
- Opal card delivered ahead of schedule with minimal disruptions
- North West rail link is digging months ahead of schedule
- Train station cleanup seems to be completing well
- Waratah trains are all delivered now the most reliable fleet
- Intercity trains will be bought off the shelf and proven rather than recreating the wheel
Not sure I'd give her the credit for all of those

SWRL - already had its own momentum and little was changed
Likewise the Waratah contract had got over its major dramas before her time

I'll give her the rest though - certainly the impetus behind pushing on with the NWRL. It's one of the odder jobs I've been around in that the major deadline the project was told to drive towards was clearly a political one - TBMs in the ground in 2014. But without that I reckon it would be 6-9 months back from where it is now. I also really appreciate the backbone to go ahead with the SRT plans and plot the course of major rail improvements over the next 10-15 year. Would never have happened under the previous mob, procrastination and prevarication was the order of the day.

She has sharpened up the management of Transport Projects and has the Project Directors very much accountable to her rather than let them hide behind a committee of people, none of whom can be blamed - which is good, and I think results are being seen.

I'd also credit lots of the "less seen" work - the work the Transport planners were pushed to do to produce the long-term strategy documents (Sydney's Rail Future, Sydney's Light Rail Future etc) isn't perfect but at least it's fairly coherent and there is a strategy and a purpose now, not to be underestimated. I also wouldn't underestimate the work that has gone into getting Treasury to buy in to the concept of availability PPPs which has enabled the NWRL and CSELR to even get off the ground.

Also mostly unseen, the reorganisation of RailCorp has been very significant even if the man in the street doesn't see it. Again the change has been one of accountability and ownership, and again I think results are being seen. There are some good people in Sydney Trains but they were stifled by the culture.....a culture that is beginning to change.

Opal, I think she pushed them very hard to get it going and the rollout has been quicker than expected (although to be fair the timetable set for it was very slow so not that hard). I'm glad we finally have it but remain frustrated at the failure to deal with the ridiculous Treasury furphy of hypothecation of budgets. Get it sorted and get the multi-modal issue dealt with properly, then all you have to do is allow top-up at stations and we'll have a proper system.

I've met her a couple of times and been at a number of functions at which she has spoken and she's always impressive - very driven, totally across her brief, a clear vision of where she wants to take transport and the leadership skills to put change in place to make that happen. I'd struggle to score her less than a 9/10.

Not perfect but a sh*tload has been achieved in 3.5 years, especially when compared to the rubbish that preceded her. That's a hell of a long list of major change programmes put in place

Priority jobs for the next term if they get back in? She'll have a very clear list in her mind, you can be sure of that. Mine would be:
  • Finish Opal implementation and fix the multi-modal issue
  • Get the SHC project off the ground and running now NWRL is procured
  • Start putting some major attention into buses
  • Make sure the CSELR happens
  • Embed cultural changes in Sydney Trains and work for efficiency to reduce the subsidies we all pay
  • Attack some of the vested interests that remain in the bureaucracy - eg Transport Projects leadership has been changed, now deal with the middle management and get rid of the waste and the "cash for comments" culture

Could think of a dozen others!

Light Rail bothers me a bit. I don't think the system they have got planning approval for is optimum, word on the street is the procurement process is a bit of a mess (hence some senior management changes), I think they need to fix those two things and make some sensible plans for what might come after. But, y'know......overall her term has been very positive, shame Saulwick can't see it or give any credit for anything
 

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I don't get it. They could easily build the most elegant suspension bridge, or mini Millau Viaduct or something, which could be a landmark in it's own right, and possibly increase land values.
Part of me just wants to ******* burn the Spit Bridge down and let them deal with their quagmire. Let them come begging for a new bridge.
I think you could build a fantastic bridge over the Spit. A high level arch to give you a wide clear span, deck over the top carrying road and light rail

This sort of thing:


....in white concrete
 

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Military Road is 3 lanes each way, isn't it? Get rid of the car parking on it and do some surgery for some of the junctions (esp Spit Junction) and there ought to be space

You might struggle if you took some of it for light rail though.....

Metro would be better. I can't see it being on the agenda for a long time though. Next 10-15 years seems to be mapped out in Transport Planners' heads, after that improving rail links to/from the west has to be a high priority given where Sydney's centre of population is
 

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The plans to remove parking won't be popular with local businesses which have relied on those driving by.
Have they really? I think this is a furphy. Who drives along Military Road and has time to spot a shop that spikes an urge to buy, sees their window display, and then spots a parking space that enables them to act on that urge?

Surely it's almost no one. Your attention is (rightly) on the road and other vehicles, even if there were any parking spaces free which there hardly ever are

And if it's locals/near locals going to a shop they know and want to visit, then is it really going to make a difference to them parking a street or two back? Again I seriously doubt it.

My sis used to live in Neutral Bay, there were a couple of places on Mili Rd we used to go to, neither of us ever, ever relied on parking on the aforementioned road itself - usually the parking is full, if it isn't we din't fancy trying to back in to parallel park or all the other hassles of the street

I don't believe it would make a scrap of difference to the business of any of those shops if the parking was removed.
 

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As a local it makes a massive difference to the Neutral Bay shops when Military Road parking is temporarily removed for special event clearways. Those shoppers who would normally park on Military Road are forced to fight for a spot on the backstreets, which are already full of residents' vehicles.
That's not been my experience, I'm no stranger to the area, she's only just moved

I'm not sure when you last went to Neutral Bay but there are not streets of empty spots anywhere near the Military Road corridor.
About 6 weeks ago. As it happens I parked in one of the side streets, whilst the clearways were in, in Cremorne near Spit junction, to go to Officeworks. Easily found a parking spot (it wasn't the only one) 100m from the shop. Piece of cake

The government needs to come through with a serious solution for Military Road, not just take the cheap band aid option of removing on street parking, otherwise we'll end up with another Parramatta Road wasteland deviod of life.
Probably does need a "serious solution" although the traffic volume, the frequency of junctions (IME the cause of most congestion) etc will still be there.

My point was really that I'm not buying that any of those businesses *rely* on passing trade, as in people just being able to stop and park on a whim outside them.
 

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Well look that's one thing I'm taking Penny Sharpe and the Union's side on. The (non)ability to buy and recharge at stations is a bit of a **** up. Why is Gladys skirting around that question? Maybe issues with whoever is providing the new machines. Answered very politically I see..
Agree. There are two aspects to Opal that are very annoying: The failure to grasp the nettle of multi-modal pricing (the lessons of almost everywhere else with an electronic ticketing system being that this is the key to unlocking patronage and therefore revenue), and the senseless refusal/failure to provide Opal cards and recharge facilities at the very places they are most needed

It really isn't that hard; there are scores of examples to learn from

NSW Treasury's idiotic insistence on hypothecation of revenue streams between transport modes needs to go - it's all part of the same PT system and it's all subsidised (very heavily) by the taxpayer, way more than is received in the farebox, so the idea that by offering multi-modal journeys without the heavy flagfall one mode is "subsidising" another is preposterous. What actually happens is that people just don't bother using the PT (or one mode of the mixed mode journey) at all, so the revenue is just foregone.

Which is exactly the choice I make when I get off the train and can either walk 15 minutes, or get on the bus, and wait 5 minutes for the 6 minute journey, and pay an extra $2.30 or so for the privilege. Not a hard choice to make, but if it were without the flagfall and was an add-on for <$1, well my choice changes.....and as a taxpayer I'd rather like to push patronage and total revenue as much as possible, thanks, so I don't have to subsidise all those empty buses doing the rounds from stations quite so much.
 

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What are the options in terms of train paths for future use of the SWRL? Not sure they know what they are going to do with it yet, but then it's literally green fields out there still in the main (if not for long)
 

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What is interesting to note is that at this present time, there are really no residents living on the South East rail link. The area is currently green fields. So, the half hourly services proposed are more than appropriate.
I suppose that's one benefit of building a railway line where no one lives - free for once of endless grinding and moaning about how you are "destroying their suburb"
:D
 

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Not sure if this has been covered - back in Sydney today for the first time since August - and noticed that new orange signage station name signage (im guessing part of the image overhaul) has gone up at Concord West..
Yes, it's part of the image overhaul. It seems to be getting rolled out quite slowly

Concord West has been done because it's been substantially rebuilt by the North Strathfield Underpass Project
 

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I said you not suppose to, the escalator designer will advice you not to walk (or worse) run on its escalator, but the escalator operator also know the passenger movement is too low so will not challenge it.

It will be interesting if people are hurt or killed and insurance refuse payment.
On what grounds?

It's not even as if you get signs telling you to stand still.
 

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Do I need to do my post on fares policy again? This is why I had my original blog all those years ago, because I found myself saying the same things again and again.

MPJK - you need to realise a) Strathfield is actually a fairly long distance and b) you should be paying a fair proportion of the operating costs.
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Agreed

I think Sydney fares are pretty cheap (very cheap for long distance) by general cost of living comparisons.

In terms of a "fair proportion of the operating costs", what should be up there front and centre in the public eye is what the operating costs actually are per km. Because this is one of the biggest areas that is a problem in Sydney and it's something we all pay for in taxes. And if Gladys wants to get a bit of momentum behind change it will surely help

Farebox revenue is, what? About 20-something percent of RailCorp operating costs? I believe that's OpEx only as well, so all CapEx is straight out of the taxpayer's pocket

I don't expect PT to break even or turn a profit, very often. I accept that. But I do think we should know how much it is costing per passenger km against international comparators, and most importantly if that's up there in lights there will be pressure to drive it down
 

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No. Depending on your source, cost recovery figures quoted in the low to mid 20's in recent years for CityRail will include return of and return on capital.
I believe that's the way IPART sets fare changes but it's all done on forecasts and "return of capital" is a pretty arbitrary accounting calculation for depreciation based on nominal/assumed asset values - which is not the same thing as including capital improvements

This is illuminating:
http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/b2b/railcorp/CoMET-Nova-benchmarking-update.pdf

Would like to see that updated beyond 2011 data, it may exist somewhere.

I know I can find the actual operating costs but I have to dig around for them - that's my point really, this stuff should be a key measure and easily available to those who are paying for it

It would be especially interesting to see what the actual OpEx was over the past 5 years, compared to what the forecast was that IPART used at the start of the period. I seem to recall that IPART based their cost projections on an assumption that RailCorp could meet a year-on-year efficiency improvement of somewhere around 10%. I bet they didn't meet that
 

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@pintpot, if it helps at all, TfNSW recently released their annual reports for: TfNSW, Sydney Trains, NSW Trains, RailCorp and STA

http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/annual-reports
Thanks. I knew it was around somewhere

33% recovery in the past year from fares, which is an improvement. Op Cost of $7.95 per journey

I will have to go off and seek out the equivalent Op Cost from NWRL as it's a key comparator....
 
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