NSW Government unveils plans to upgrade Sydney Trains with next generation signalling

NSW Government unveils plans to upgrade Sydney Trains with next generation signalling
Alastair TaylorJune 11, 2018

The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday the 10th of June foreshadowed another 2018 NSW budget initiative that would see an upgraded signalling system rolled out to existing Sydney Trains railway lines.

Starting with the T4 Illawarra and T8 Airport line, a new signalling system will be rolled out that will allow trains to safely travel closer together which in turn allows trains to run more frequently.

It will be a progressive change and the new system isn't expected to be in use until the 2020s and the amount to be allocated over the forward estimates in 2018's state budget is $880 million.

Sydney Trains chief Howard Collins said that the new signalling system could theoretically allow trains to run every 90 seconds, however trains won't be running on that kind of frequency any time soon.

The Premier said that after the initial upgrades have been installed, it is expected the T4 Illawarra line will see an extra 5 services in the peak and the T8 Airport line will see an extra 8 services in the peak.

"Digital signal and control" system is how the new system has been described; similarly the Victorian Government refers to the signalling upgrades for the Melbourne Metro tunnel and the new cross-town line as "high capacity signalling" - in essence, these two terms used by different state governments refer to signalling that will employ a moving block system, most likely using Communications-based train control (CBTC).

Sydney Metro, as it will be operationally independent of the rest of the Sydney Trains network, will use a CBTC system - Alstom and its Urbalis 400 system were selected as part of the Operations, Trains and Systems contract.

NSW Government unveils plans to upgrade Sydney Trains with next generation signalling
Safety distance (safe-braking distance) between trains in fixed block and moving block signalling systems - wikipedia

Moreover, the New South Wales Government has announced it will extend its Public Transport Access upgrades program in the 2018 state budget.

The Premier announced a further $133 million will be allocated in the budget and then used for accessibility upgrades at a further 11 stations around the Sydney and regional networks.

North Strathfield, Kingswood, Hazelbrook, Wyee, Blayney, Mittagong, Clarendon, Hawkesbury River, Wahroonga, Taree, Roseville and further upgrades to Glenbrook, Beecroft, Millthorpe and Como stations will be the beneficiaries of the money to be allocated in the budget.

Since 2011, including the $133 million announced by the Premier, $2 billion has been spent on accessibility upgrades across stations, wharves and interchanges in New South Wales.

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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