Thursday, 28 August 2014

...there is always someone worse off.

Baird's election plan
Public Servants appointed to Transport for NSW delight in telling people that there are winners and there are losers. The big losers if Baird wins the election will be the people who live along the rail line from Bankstown to Sydenham. It was planned that they would lose access to the CBD loop stations and have access only to a station god knows how far beneath Central Station, a station adjacent to Town Hall Station and a station just north of Martin Place (see previous post). Commuters headed to destinations in the Eastern Suburbs do not at present contribute to overcrowding on the escalators at Town Hall station as they can transfer to the Eastern Suburbs line at any station along the Erskineville line, Redfern or Central.

Baird's desperate attempt to portray himself as Infrastructure Boy has changed all that. The tunnel from Sydenham to deep beneath Central station effectively makes Sydenham and Town Hall the only stations where these transfers would take place. We mortals have no idea where the Metro station under Central would be located - it is just the usual dot on an extremely vague map. Since the metro line follows a Pitt Street alignment one would expect the station to be under the country platforms - deep beneath, as the metro rail tunnels must pass under the Eastern Suburbs rail line. Rational commuters would be unlikely to ascend to the historic main concourse then down three flights of escalators to the Eastern Suburbs line platforms. Congestion on the escalators at Town Hall Station would eventually make Sydenham the preferred point of transfer. The exodus of passengers from the northbound metro line to the double-deck services at Sydenham during the morning peak and even more during the rest of the day would be even more comprehensive than the exodus of passengers from the southbound metro line at Chatswood and St Leonards. The only passengers on the 12.5km underground Metro alignment between St Leonards and Sydenham (the most expensive infrastructure project in the history of NSW) in either direction would be commuters who worked in the immediate vicinity of the Town Hall or Martin Place. This is not "for a while"; this is forever.
Sydenham station
So where will the Metro station at Sydenham be located? Underground beneath the existing platforms?

Can North Shore politicians be trusted to honour commitments made before elections?

Will a Baird government revert to type after the election and discover that a tunnel beneath the Erskineville rail lines is too expensive and does not have any cost/benefit? Will they implement Plan C as originally touted, denying train services from the southern lines any access to the CBD rail loop?

Will train services from the South Coast be denied access to the Terminal at  Central?

These are but some of the questions that will prey on the minds of the people south of the Harbour and east of Cabramatta in the lead up to the state election on 28th March.

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