Saturday, 22 March 2014

Events NSW: the running of the juggernauts

Eddy Avenue tram rails
The third rail in Eddy Avenue begins as soon as the tracks emerge from the rail overpass - there are three tracks crossing the heavily-used pedestrian crossing. The alignment diagram for Randle Street continues the plan but there is little point in reproducing it as it has been established that the plans released to SCC have been over-ridden. I will describe it: The third rail at the Moore Park end just ends but the third rail in Eddy Avenue ends, merge left or right. TfNSW has plans for the third rail too diabolical to be disclosed.
Current Eddy Avenue bus set down stop
Setting down
Buses set down on both sides of crossing if necessary

Currently, bus services from Foveaux Street, Elizabeth Street and Chalmers Street set down passengers to the west of the crossing officially, but on either side if necessary. The 378 buses in particular are packed to the rafters when they reach here in contrast to the 380 and 333 buses which are almost empty at the Phillip Street terminus. I will include a Google Earth satellite view so you can make comparisons with the all that we know of the plans of TfNSW.
Eddy Avenue/ Elizabeth St. intersection
The revised plans of the Chalmers Street stop have been cropped so we do not know how far the duel bike lane extends along Eddie Avenue, but the figure of bike routes in the Sydney City Access brochure shows bike routes through Belmore Park which would have to be to the west of the slope up to the tram overpass. That is to say the two-way bike lanes would broadside pedestrians waiting for an opportunity to cross the tram rails as at the Chalmers Street crossing.

Gilligan's Island

Buses will be forced to set down passengers to the west of the tram overpass which is to the west of the pedestrian crossing to Central Electric Station - how far west is impossible to know since the plan of the bike lanes have been cropped. Incredibly, the alignment diagram prepared by TfNSW does not show any pedestrian crossings across Eddie Avenue despite this being one of the most heavily used crossings in NSW.

Eddy Street pedestrian crossing
The alignment diagrams appear to show a crossing of the tram rails to the east of the sandstone pillars of the tram overpass but bus passengers dumped on the island to the west of the pillars would cross the tracks where they alighted, at their own peril. Open ended pedestrian barriers are eschewed in the civilised world since pedestrians can be trapped and forced to try and outrun the trams, to the amusement/horror of onlookers, but O'Farrell is not bound by the mores of civilised society - anything could happen.


The invalidated alignment diagrams released to Sydney City Council confirm that when a juggernaut is inching slowly onto the third rail in order to turn around pedestrians from Central waiting to cross behind it will be completely blindsided, as they say in North America, to trams zipping out from under the colonnade, as mentioned in the last post. But pity the poor people on the Eddie Avenue traffic island, whether they arrived there by bus or a deleted pedestrian crossing. They must wait for the juggernaut to make its way fully onto the middle rail, wait with growing impatience while the driver opens the doors and descends on to the track (hopefully not into the path of a tram from Rawson Place), walks to the other coupled tram to the jeers of the onlookers, opens the doors of the other tram (presumably with a remote), settles himself back into the drivers seat and sets off again in the other direction. Only then can the crowds that have accumulated on the island during this charade begin to cross the tram rails behind the departing juggernaut. They will of course be completely blindsided to trams travelling from Chalmers Street to Rawson Place while the juggernaut is inching from the third rail to the outbound rail!

Events NSW

The Dodgers/Diamondbacks game on Saturday night provided another demonstration of how well the events' transportation put in place for the Olympics works. I said in the previous post that events at the SCG and Football Stadium seldom took place at the same time as peak commuter loads but that could change with the State Government spending undisclosed amounts to bring out overseas teams. The first Major League Baseball game took place at the usual times for Sydney games. The game was scheduled to start at 7:15 but was half an hour late and finished at 10:50 pm when George Street buses would have been at peak demand.
Buses fill up three at a time
 Buses were filled with passengers three at a time, and set off immediately when they were full. Most people would have had a seat when they were taken express to bus terminal directly at Drivers Road - no traipsing along narrow zigzag  ramps and across fields used as car parks. As the full buses moved off they were immediately replaced by the next three buses queued behind them.

Buses in queue
The factor limiting the number of people that could be moved in a given time was time taken for people to board the buses and show their tickets. A juggernaut with 10 doors and just one driver cannot load passengers any faster unless people going to events (many, we are told by the Premier's Department, from interstate or overseas) are forced to use Opal Cards.

Manageable queues at 5 PM
Return adult tickets cost $6 and were purchased from a caravan before joining the queue, which was easily managed on the Chalmers Street concourse. If it ain't broke don't attack it with baseball bats.
If you have balls you walk
As with local games lots of fans saved $6 and walked to the ground. The good news is that nobody was killed or seriously hurt. O'Farrell's legacy will be to make this a remarkable sporting statistic for the rest of time. It won't matter if you walk or catch a tram, everyone leaving Central Station will have to run the gauntlet of crossing the tram tracks.


  1. When I walked through Belmore Park one morning recently, I came across the extremely long queue (up to 200m) of students heading to UNSW by bus. I presume when the light rail is in operation this queue will be transferred to Chalmers Street. No doubt the light rail planners have done their homework and queuing will be reduced by loading the trams quicker than buses. Or is this being too optimistic?

    1. You will be unlikely to be walking through Belmore Park if O'Farrell obliterates the pedestrian crossing at Eddy Avenue. If everyone was forced to have an Opal Card, buses could load passengers at two doors, bendy buses at three doors and seven-segment cattle cars at five doors. Otherwise attempts to load passengers more quickly makes fair evasion endemic.
      TfNSW has announced that Opal Cards will not be rolled out on trams until next year, after the state election.