Now and then

From the Sydney Morning Herald this morning.

Paris-style train plan for city

Jacob Saulwick October 6, 2011

RAIL services on the north shore, inner west, Bankstown, Hurstville and north-west lines would operate as single-deck, high-frequency metro-style trains under a plan being drawn up by Transport NSW.

An image is then captioned “Change for the better”. “Paris style” is one way to describe using single deck carriages to increase service frequency. For another way we turn to the Sydney Morning Herald of three summers ago.

Secret plan for return of red rattlers

Linton Besser Transport Reporter
November 14, 2008

THE CityRail network is to be converted to single-deck trains – which could cost $5 billion in signalling work and billions more for new trains – despite a $9.5 billion contract for 626 double-deck carriages that are yet to be delivered.

Forty-four years since the first double-deck trains arrived in Sydney, the Transport Minister, David Campbell, has confirmed to the Herald secret plans to begin buying single-deck trains.

The decades old, deafeningly noisy diesel machines where the doors could be opened mid journey were returning because new trains might be single-deck, and it’s a secret plan. Thankfully the plan is now Paris Style instead.

I really do feel for the pubic servants who put in all the hard work trying to develop good policy, or ministers that make good faith attempts to implement it. Here substantially the same idea is squeezed through vastly different prisms and given vastly different treatment, by the same “quality” newspaper. I don’t know whether it’s because of the journos mood, or an attempt to appeal to audiences prejudices about the capability of government or a no sacked subeditor. If a paper can have a news section that verges so dramatically in the portrayal of a single policy, it’s not a quality paper.

But I guess that  quality transport coverage now merely means “We didn’t attempt to ruin the minister’s private life over a personal vendetta”.

About Richard Tsukamasa Green

Richard Tsukamasa Green is an economist. Public employment means he can't post on policy much anymore. Also found at @RHTGreen on twitter.
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12 years ago

1. Mood of journalist
2. Attempt to appeal to prejudice about a Government
I also propose:
3. Active attempts by the editorial staff of the paper to become involved in the political game-playing

Savvas Tzionis
Savvas Tzionis
12 years ago

Here is the bottom line for cities that, post WWII, decided to create car dependant suburb’s.

Public Transport will NEVER be ‘solved’.

Unless these suburbs are all bulldozed and replaced with medium/high density housing, public transport in these zones will always be a money sucking adventure.

Yet, the alternative, more and more car’s, is a long dead end road which, when reached, I shudder to think what the outcome will be (we have some idea by looking at LA and some Asian cities).

So, lets start bulldozing!!!

12 years ago

I’ve no idea what you’re on about, Richard.

The “red rattlers” were electric, not diesel. The 2008 “plan” died, as it should have, and so will this one. According to the SMH report the hope is that sending 28 commuter trains an hour over the harbour bridge will provide sufficiently more capacity than the existing 20 double deck trains per hour, postponing the need for a second harbour rail crossing. Yeah, right.

A subsidiary hope is that commuter train lines could be established outside the grip of the railways unions, organisations that seem monumentally resistant to change. This is apparently easier than taking over the union control.

Planning on Sydney rail transport has been a dog’s breakfast for years, with projects regularly announced, postponed, changed and cancelled.

Last month it was announced that extension of the existing light rail line another 6 kilometres from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill cannot be finished until 2014, despite the fact that the track all exists, has been refurbished and is ready for rolling stock. And the cycleway that was to be built beside the track has been postponed indefinitely.

The SMH was extremely critical of the previous (Labor) government’s transport plans and I think it is being pretty even handed here.

12 years ago

According to the SMH report the hope is that sending 28 commuter trains an hour over the harbour bridge will provide sufficiently more capacity than the existing 20 double deck trains per hour, postponing the need for a second harbour rail crossing. Yeah, right.

The trick is that the single-deck trains have less seats and more standing space, thus allowing you to pack more cattle into the car. Also, they supposedly don’t stop for as long (but stopping for a shorter time fundamentally doesn’t fix the problem that old people, wheelchairs, etc are slow no matter how the train is arranged).

See also the old:

vs the new:'Trapolis_100

I’m tempted to think maybe buying trains from France (probably built out of parts from China) might be cheaper than using Goninan to build them locally. I’m also tempted to think that they might have a go at arguing there’s no need for a guard on the “metro” trains (thus significantly reducing the operating cost).

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
12 years ago

“I really do feel for the pubic servants”

This could be misconstrued, Richard.