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The Bullet Train

 

Country Link XPT power car

THE Turnbull Government has put the brakes on a fast train along Australia’s East Coast, saying it won’t bite the bullet on funding because the sheer cost doesn’t make it “a sensible priority”.

Major Projects Minister Paul Fletcher said the government had no plans to spend “billions” building a high-speed rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane.

This is why Sydney and Melbourne offer far, far nicer commutes than London

By Kat Houston

Everyone has good days and bad days on their commute. I’ve had days where a crazy woman has abused the people in front of and around her, as well as the ones inside her head, all the while gesturing for me to get out of her way (excuse me, but we’ve all been waiting).

That’s in London, though. And there are some cities where your probability of experiencing a pleasant ride to work on a regular basis is a bit higher.

For a Sydney slicker, the daily commute can include not only bus or train, but also skimming through crisp blue waters on the morning ferry to your workplace, or strolling across the Sydney Harbour Bridge (bucket list anyone?). If everyone started their workday with a sea breeze, I think we’d be a lot more Zen and a lot less hateful.

That pleasant ferry journey, favoured by my friends living on Sydney’s north shore costs you A$5.20. In all, you can spent as little as $50AUD (roughly £25) per week on travel costs. (In London, a zone one and two monthly travel card costs £123.) All in all, not too shabby for a commute where you can almost always find a seat.

Sydneysiders have pretty good “commutiquette”, too, particularly on the buses, which account for approximately half of the public transport commutes. They’ll form an orderly queue, and then as many people will board as possible; once the buses are full, they’ll fast track straight to the city centre. This doesn’t alarm city goers, as the congested buses are both frequent and a bargain at $2.70 (£1.35). I’ve heard gallantry may still be alive down there as men often allow women to board before them.

 

Source: www.citymetric.com

Sydney Light Rail Construction Schedule – May 2015 – Video

Major construction of the CBD and South East Light Rail will begin at Moore Park in September 2015, with construction in George Street beginning in October 2015.

Cutting edge technology delivering Sydney’s light rail – Video

A detailed video model of utilities under George Street is being used to prepare for construction of the new light rail line between Circular Quay, Randwick and Kingsford. The model is the result of the most detailed investigation ever undertaken of utilities in the Sydney CBD. It is one of a range of high-tech measures being used by the NSW Government since early 2013 to ensure construction of the project can occur as quickly, and with as little disruption, as possible. These investigations include more than 3,500 pit surveys and investigations via more than 200 trenches along the 12 km alignment.

Light rail vehicle testing on Inner West Extension – Video

Testing of Sydney’s new-look light rail vehicle fleet on the Inner West Light Rail Extension has been underway over the last week.
Testing will continue as the project team prepares the new network and vehicles for service. Most of the testing to date has been done at night between Lilyfield and Dulwich Hill, after the passenger services on the existing line have stopped, however daytime testing on the new network is now also underway.

Sydney Light Rail Investigation Work – video – Nov 2014

A 24-hour timelapse of Sydney Light Rail service investigation works at George Street and Goulburn Street from Sunday 9 November to Monday 10 November 2014.

George street light rail fly through – video

The NSW government have announced that the George street light rail will extend to Sydney’s south east and will begin construction in October.

Light rail schedule still under construction

George Street. Source: wikipedia.commons

George Street. Source: wikipedia.commons

By Joe Bourke

Shadow Minister for Transport Ryan Park has renewed calls for Transport for NSW (TfNSW) to release the construction schedule of the CBD and South East Light Rail.

The project, which is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the world, is set to begin around this Spring and will have a major affect on traffic and businesses along the route.

Mr Park said now is the time for a “full community awareness campaign” about the exact disruptions.

“This is something that can’t be done just once with an ad in the paper,” he said.

“It’s got to be be done regularly and frequently, all the way up to and including during the time when major construction is set to start.”

A TfNSW spokesperson told City Hub that the specifics of the construction schedule would be released “in the very near future”.

According to the spokesperson, the time taken has been in order to create the “most accurate schedule possible”.

“The alignment will be divided into individual zones and work will be carried out in stages to minimise the impact to residents, businesses and commuters. There will be additional fees should ALTRAC occupy any zone for longer than the agreed schedule and incentives for them to finish early,” they said.

“The NSW government has detailed plans in place to communicate the changes to the public and coordinate traffic and public transport changes throughout the construction process.”

“The construction process will have a significant impact but the benefits will last for generations to come.”

City of Sydney councillor Angela Vithoulkas is the owner of Vivo Cafe on George Street, and has been campaigning for the construction schedule to be released for some time.

Clr Vithoulkas will attend a business reference group committee meeting on Thursday, where business owners will officially meet the consortiums behind the construction.

Despite the ongoing consultation, Clr Vithoulkas said small businesses felt like they were being forced to “shoulder the economic burden” of the project without assistance.

“Every negative word they may hear on concerns from the business or small business community is being counterattacked with ‘Sydney still needs to stay open for business and we we all need to come together to make this happen’,” she said.

“Well it’s the retailers on the ground, it’s everyone that has a shop and some kind of business presence on the ground. We are the ones shouldering the burden and yet we are not being assisted.”

Clr Vithoulkas also said that although the concerns about what would happen to the heavy traffic on George Street had taken precedence in the media, the “economic drought” that will hit businesses would be a much more “drawn out, violent war”.

The TfNSW spokesperson said that the congestion in Sydney was currently having a “major” impact on the city’s economy.

“Sydney’s congestion is already having a major financial impact on the city’s economy. The transport network is straining and without major change will grind to a halt.”

Despite offering incentives to ALTRAC for finishing the project early and charging fees for overstaying in certain zones, there are no plans by TfNSW to compensate businesses for disruption caused by construction. But Clr Vithoulkas has called for an amendment to the Retail Leases Act 1994, which she said would be a “win-win for all”.

“The government has already made it clear that they won’t be providing compensation for business owners along the construction routes,” she said.

“Amending the Act would go some way to supportingsmall business and the financial and emotional toll that the construction process is going to place on their ability to trade and continue to provide jobs to their employees in the long-term.”

When City Hub asked Mr Park about possible compensation, he said it was something that should be considered, but that “what businesses really want to know is when, where, how, and who they can talk to if they are having issues”.

Source: www.altmedia.net.au

Secret report warns of Sydney light rail safety fatality risk

by Jacob Saulwick

Sydney’s new tram line from the city to the eastern suburbs is projected to cause more than one fatality a year, according to secret research commissioned by the state government.

A confidential risk assessment obtained by Fairfax Media says the biggest danger from the new line, which will run down George Street and along other busy surface streets, is the possibility trams will hit other trams, cars at intersections, or pedestrians.

The risk assessment by consultancy Arup highlights the number of intersections to be encountered by vehicles on the line to run between Randwick and Kingsford and Circular Quay, and slated to be built over the next four years.

“The risk profile for CSELR [CBD and south east light rail] equates to 1.14 equivalent fatalities per year,” says the risk assessment, obtained by Fairfax Media.

Another factor in the analysis by Arup, which was prepared in February and which runs to more than 200 pages, is the speed Sydney’s new trams are expected to travel.

According to the study, trams on the new light rail line will pass through 23 traffic intersections at “high speed” (up to 70 km/h), 17 traffic intersections at “medium speed” (up to 40 km/h) and six intersections at low speed (less than 25 km/h).

However the risk analysis prepared by Arup might be somewhat cautious.

The analysis says Sydney’s existing light rail line, which runs from Central Station to Dulwich Hill, would be expected to cause one fatality every five years. But there have never been any fatalities on this line.

Asked for a response, a spokeswoman for Transport for NSW said light rail was in general one of the safest modes of transport and, in the case of Sydney, the tram line and general traffic would be widely separated.

The light rail line is also expected to replace hundreds of daily bus services, which are over-represented in casualty figures.

Three pedestrians died after collisions with buses in Sydney’s central business district between 2010 and 2014. On George Street, which is where the new tram line is to run, one pedestrian died after being struck by a bus in 2011, while there have also been 20 injuries in the past five years.

Safety concerns about the new light rail line were raised last year after the government revealed trams on the line would be 67 metres long – some of the longest in the world and double the length of the longest tram currently running in Sydney.

The Transport for NSW spokeswoman said the fatality risk quoted was from a “draft version of the report.”

“A major communications campaign will happen in the lead up to the opening of light rail, so all road users can take the relatively simple steps that will keep them safe,” the spokeswoman said.

“In general, light rail experiences lower injury and crash rates than other transport options including private vehicles.”

The Baird government faces a race against time to alert commuters and businesses ahead of major traffic and transport changes in the city when construction of the light rail project begins.

Bus routes from across the city will need to be change.

For instance buses that currently run from Parramatta Road or Anzac Bridge down George Street will soon no longer be able to. The most recent communication from Transport for NSW is that construction should start in September or October.

Source: www.smh.com.au

Federal budget 2015: Joe Hockey budget snubs new road, rail lines in Sydney and NSW

Tony Abbott might want to be the “Infrastructure Prime Minister” but there was nothing new to show for it in Tuesday’s budget.

The WestConnex motorway, roads around Badgerys Creek and a commitment to finishing the duplication of the Pacific Highway by the end of the decade remained the government’s major transport commitments for Sydney and NSW.

There was no new funding for public transport initiatives, despite renewed calls for a rail line to Badgerys Creek airport.

And even though Joe Hockey banked $1.5 billion from the Victorian government’s refusal to build a new urban motorway, the Treasurer did not redirect any of that funding to NSW.

Mr Abbott is committed to spending federal funds on urban road projects only, not public transport.

And his road commitments in Sydney are clear. The federal government has chipped in $1.5 billion in grant funding and a $2 billion loan for the WestConnex motorway through Sydney’s inner west, and $405 million for the NorthConnex project under Pennant Hills Road.

Early works on both toll roads are due to start soon.

The government is also committed to a new airport at Badgerys Creek, but has not finished negotiations with Sydney Airport Corporation over its right to build it.

Federal funding will almost certainly be needed to help build the airport, though it was not forthcoming on Tuesday.

There has recently been a growing number of calls for a train line to be built to Badgerys Creek when it opens, in about a decade.

New NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has said he would like to work with Canberra over funding for a train line, and Qantas has said a rail link was necessary for the airport to be successful.

But these pleas went unheeded in Mr Hockey’s budget, which nevertheless maintains $2.9 billion previously committed for an upgrade of local roads around Badgerys Creek over the next 10 years.

Mr Hockey has used the refusal of the Victorian Labor government to build the East West Link motorway to save $1.5 billion previously committed to that toll road, though the Treasurer says the federal government remains committed to the motorway.

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