NSW gets on with its new metro phase 3, VIC still stuck on phase 1

NSW gets on with its new metro phase 3, VIC still stuck on phase 1
NSW gets on with its new metro phase 3, VIC still stuck on phase 1

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Since 2013 when the first contract for Sydney Metro Northwest was signed by the New South Wales Government, there have been two further announcements that deal with the new metro network's expansion.

Sydney Metro Northwest is phase 1, Sydney Metro City & Southwest is phase 2 and in the 2018 NSW state budget announced recently, $28 million will be allocated to finalise the business case for the Western Metro - let's simply call it phase 3.

The NSW Government has chosen to break the link with the existing railway network by selecting a rail technology platform that will operate independently of the Sydney Trains network.

The NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian has overseen, whether in her current role as Premier or in her former role as Minister for Transport, a very large amount of new metro lines either proposed or under construction - 66km of new or upgraded track for the first two phases and approximately 20-25km with the Western Metro / phase 3.

And it's no secret there's more to come based on the joint announcement with the Federal Government on the Western Sydney City Deal and new rail lines to the Badgery's Creek airport.

In 7 years, the NSW Government has almost completed the first phase; is advancing toward full-blown construction on the second phase, and is now even 'reserving' money for the third phase.

The Andrews Government in Victoria had an election pledge to remove 50 level crossings across metropolitan Melbourne and has kicked off the Melbourne Metro tunnel and upgrades to the Pakenham/Cranbourne lines which includes an entirely new and separate fleet of trains.

The Level Crossing Removal program is vast and will occupy a lot of government time if the Andrews Government is re-elected in November (and you could also argue beyond the list of 50, if an ongoing program is set up and executed, that work will continue for another decade or more).

We first saw the second metro tunnel appear on maps under the previous Liberal Government, however, this year, we now see routes and stations appear on structure plans for Fishermans Bend.

Yet we've not had a commitment to the build, unlike the time when the Andrews Government announced $1 million for a Rowville Light Rail line.

The Prime Minister threw $5 billion into the mix for a Tullamarine airport rail line - and the planning work for that is expected to be completed soon, or at least, the Federal Government wants it done before the Victorian election in November.

Spring Street announced funding for a light rail business case from Caulfield through Monash and potentially out to Rowville and similarly there's a study on 'speedier' Geelong rail services on the cards as well.

Yet still no commitment to the second metro tunnel from Clifton Hill to Newport. 

Infrastructure Victoria gave it a negative BCR albeit with one giant asterisk that states there's no model for calculating the benefits of redeveloping the vast Fishermans Bend area (and thus, that benefit was not factored into the preliminary BCR) which the second metro tunnel will directly service.

It'd be remiss of me to not acknowledge the NSW Government has a 3-year head start on the Victorian Government when it comes to laying out a decade's worth of city-shaping rail projects however we're still left with one question in Victoria.

Where to next?

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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Melbourne Metro Melbourne Metro 2 Sydney Metro

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Adam Ford's picture
"that's contingent on it going through their property development, rather than the alignment that connects it with the state's three other largest cities."

If that's a reference to Maribyrnong, that's completely wrong. The Albion route is now the preferred one. To go via Maribyrnong, you need to tunnel.
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theboynoodle's picture
"that's contingent on it going through their property development, rather than the alignment that connects it with the state's three other largest cities."

That's not quite true, is it. That's their supposed preferred route. It is, I believe, also the quickest and/or most direct route. So it's a viable option for consideration on that basis, with the added bonus of connecting the future residents of that development (a good thing, yes?). The value the federal government might unlock by having rail to their property would be significant, but not $5b worth of significant. There's no suggestion that the funding won't be forthcoming if a different route is chosen.
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tayser
Receiving funding from the feds is 99% irrelevant when it comes to communicating a long-term vision through something like a network development plan update, however!

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George D
It's worth mentioning that for the last few years NSW has had almost half of all Federal Government infrastructure spending and so has had a lot more to play with.

The difference is explained by the fact that Victoria has fewer marginal seats, and a Labor Government.

As for the Federal Government's airport rail... that's contingent on it going through their property development, rather than the alignment that connects it with the state's three other largest cities.
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