Whichever way you look at it, Sydney Metro is one of our biggest and most important projects that will change how Sydney moves forever. We explore the what, where, when and why of the metro revolution and count down to next year when our world class, fully-automated trains start providing faster, safer and easier trips for customers.
Fast forward to 2024
Sydney will have 31 state-of-the-art metro stations along 66 kilometres of standalone railway tracks stretching from Rouse Hill in the North West, through Chatswood, under Sydney Harbour, through the city centre and on to Bankstown in the South West. And work will be well underway to extend west to Parramatta.
High tech, fully-automated (driverless) trains will help take the pressure off the Sydney Trains network, meaning we can redistribute services to other areas. Together, this new connected rail network will increase the number of services across Sydney to up to 200 an hour in the busy morning peak, compared to 120 today.
Metro trains will run every four minutes during the peak and, at its ultimate capacity, every two minutes in each direction under the Sydney CBD. Customers won’t need a timetable — they’ll just turn up and go.
In the South West, customers will save more than an hour a week in travel times between Central and Bankstown. Add to that the highest standards of safety, accessibility and comfort and it’s clear to see Sydney Metro is a total game-changer.
With services starting between Chatswood and Rouse Hill in the first half of next year, this highly anticipated public transport transformation is just around the corner.
The first of Australia’s driverless metro trains was delivered to Sydney Metro HQ at Rouse Hill last year. Ten trains are now being put through their paces to get ready for customers, with 22 to be delivered all up.
Fast and reliable? Tick. Metro trains will run at 98 per cent on-time reliability. Three double doors per carriage means passengers can get on and off faster, while the automated train control system means less time between trains and less time waiting at stations.
Accessible? Absolutely. Features will include wheelchair spaces, storage areas for luggage, bikes, prams and more. Platforms will be seamlessly level with trains, and all metro stations will have lifts.
Safe? Without a doubt. Safety, like for all of us in Transport, is the number one priority for Sydney Metro. Each train has 38 security cameras, emergency help points and platform screen doors, like the ones you see in Singapore and Hong Kong, to keep people and objects like prams safely away from the tracks.
Customer service assistants will be on hand day and night throughout the network and the whole operation will be constantly monitored by expert train controllers.
Michael’s Metro journey
Michael Burden has been part of the Sydney Metro journey from the very beginning.
“I was originally working with a construction partner but then I got the opportunity to jump the fence and take on the role of skytrain delivery manager,” Michael said.
The elevated skytrain section runs 4 kilometres from Bella Vista to Rouse Hill. It’s the most visible section of the new railway, soaring an average 13 metres in the air parallel to Windsor Road. It includes a cable-stayed railway bridge — similar to Sydney’s Anzac Bridge — and is set to become a local iconic landmark for the north west.
“I can safely say it’s the best project I’ve ever worked on.
“It’s not just what we’re doing – bringing public transport to areas that really need it — but it’s also how we’re doing it that I’m proud of.
“Our ethos is to maximise the value we deliver to customers, the general public and the city, with safety always top of mind,” he said.
As a resident of the North West himself, Michael is eagerly anticipating the start of services next year, and is currently enjoying his role as Senior Project Manager for Barangaroo’s metro station.
“I’ve lived in the North West since high school and having a rail line out here has been talked about forever,” Michael said.
“It’s great to know that by the time my son’s in high school he’ll be able to take advantage of a frequent train service right on our doorstep… and I had a hand in making that happen,” he said.
Metro fast facts
• A train every four minutes in the peak — customers won’t need timetables, they’ll just turn up and go.
• While we upgrade the Epping to Chatswood line to get metro ready, Station Link bus services will run at least every six minutes in the peak to keep customers moving.
• Metro trains will be washed in seven minutes using recycled water with at least 80 per cent of the water reused.
• There will be continuous mobile phone coverage throughout the Sydney Metro network.
• Sydney Metro will boost Sydney’s economy by $5 billion each year.
Making Metro a reality
Building a new rail network on a scale not seen for 100 years, and one that goes right through Australia’s biggest city, is a massive undertaking. Planning, engineering, working with industry and the community, and of course construction, has been going on nonstop since 2011. As we count down to the opening next year, here are some of the next steps in making metro a reality.
Functional, beautiful places for the community
One of the other great things about Sydney Metro is the role it will help to play in creating functional and beautiful places for the community to visit, shop and play.
Take the recently unveiled design of Castle Hill Station for example. Not only will it be a major transport interchange when it opens in the first half of 2019, it will also support a vibrant residential, retail and entertainment precinct. Underground it will include a direct pedestrian link to Castle Towers Shopping Centre and above ground, the Arthur Whitling Park will have play areas and sculptures.
Station skylights will cast patterns of natural light and colour which will change with the time of day and act as lanterns at night.
Short term pain, long term gain
In order to ride the dream in less than a year, we need to shut down the line between Epping and Chatswood for about seven months to get it metro ready. We know it’s going to be disruptive for train commuters, but the benefit next year will be almost four times as many services than we currently run in the peak. To keep locals, uni students and workers moving, we’re setting up Station Link — a high frequency, turn up and go bus service.
• Starts 30 September 2018
• Hot pink, fully accessible, air-conditioned buses
• Services at least every six minutes in the peak
• More than a thousand extra services a day
• A direct service to Macquarie University from Epping Station.