Extending Sydney’s Richmond Railway Line

Extending Sydney’s Richmond Railway Line

Branch Line Configuration An Outdated Notion

Victor P Taffa

The Richmond Railway Line opened as a single track branch line in 1864. The line extended to Richmond North & Kurrajong and closed in 1952.

The case exists to extend the Richmond Line to Mount Victoria on the Western Line. Since 2010 the Lower Blue Mountains Line has been on the ISPUT (Improve Sydney Public Transport) website of Editor Victor P Taffa.

The Western Line runs from Grand Sydney Central Railway Station to Broken Hill, New South Wales and ultimately to Perth, Western Australia.

However the Western Line winds through and across the Blue Mountains that carries Freight, Interstate, Interurban and Suburban Trains.

Glenbrook Rail Disaster

In December 1999 an Interurban Train ran into the rear of the Indian-Pacific Train at Glenbrook on the Western Line killing 7 people.

Glenbrook is in the Lower Blue Mountains. At Glenbrook the line is windy and descends steeply to Penrith.

In light of the 1999 Glenbrook Rail Disaster a new line needs to be built in a straighter alignment around the Blue Mountains.

Extending the Richmond Line to Mount Victoria and then re-entering the Western Line will enable Indian-Pacific and High Speed Rail (HSR) services to by-pass the steep windy gradient of the Western Line through the Blue Mountains.

New Suburban services would also be able to utilise the new line.

Plans to extend the Richmond Line as with a Northern Beaches Railway Line were first announced more than 100 years ago.

This plan will ease congestion for Freight, Interurban and Suburban services on the Western Line.

Lower Blue Mountains Line

The Lower Blue Mountains Line would have Railway Stations at:

  • Richmond (Existing)
  • Richmond North
  • Kurrajong
  • Bilpin
  • Mount Victoria (Existing)

The website originally lists the line at Richmond extending underground. However according to local residents, Richmond Railway Station is below sea level.

This however did not stop the local council from approving construction of a Car Park below sea level.

Richmond is 19 metres above sea level where the Hawkesbury River flows into the Nepean River and Warragamba Dam. When the Spill gates are open the Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers receives greater flows.

In light of this issue a sky train on an elevated track that skirted around Richmond will allow for the extension of the line.

  • Existing Richmond Railway Station would continue in operation,
  • New elevated Interchange Platforms would be built at Richmond.

Other Sky Trains that currently exists in Sydney includes:

  • On the Eastern Suburbs Line,
  • On the North West Line which is under construction at present.

There would be no changes to Mount Victoria Railway Station. The new line would join the Western Line via Sets of Points.

Capital City-Capital City HSR

Capital City-Capital City HSR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Speed Rail (HSR Using Japan’s Bullet Train Technology)

Long Distance Trains to use the Lower Blue Mountains Line includes:

  • Indian-Pacific services to Adelaide CBD and Perth,
  • HSR services to Adelaide CBD, Darwin CBD and Perth,
  • New suburban services.

A new, straighter Lower Blue Mountains Line enables trains to traverse this line easily and have more scheduled headway between movements.

New Suburban Services includes:

  • Mount Victoria-Richmond
  • Mount Victoria-Blacktown
  • Mount Victoria-Sydney CBD via Heavy Rail Richmond & new North West Lines

Existing Mount Victoria-Sydney CBD Western Line services would also remain in operation.

As HSR Trains are travelling at 460 Km/h given the speed, velocity and weight of the HSR, heavier tracks will have to be laid on the Richmond Line.

However this will be a good outcome for Richmond Line commuters as it will require the complete duplication of the line from Blacktown.

As one new track is laid the other or current track would be used until the new track is finished and then the second HSR standard track would be laid.

This will be a win for Richmond Line commuters with improved suburban services.

HSR services will access the Richmond Line from Grand Sydney Central Railway Station via Heavy Rail Bankstown Line and Richmond Line Extension that runs underground between Villawood and Blacktown.

Indian-Pacific services will access the Richmond Line from Grand Sydney Central Railway Station via the Western Line as currently is the case.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell 2011-14

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell 2011-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

North West Line

During the Premiership of Barry O’Farrell the Transport Department sought Public Submissions regarding the direction of an extension for the new North West Line.

Options were to Marsden Park or onto the Richmond Line.

Premier Mike Baird has since opted for another rail technology for the North West Line and this is simply a short sighted move.

The new North West Line as a Heavy Rail Line should extend over the Richmond Line towards Marsden Park and Western Sydney Airport and a Double Track Diamond Junction to serve both the Richmond and North West Lines.

Double Track Diamond Junctions have trains operating in two directions to four different points.

Sydney’s Heavy Rail Network does not have a Double Track Diamond Junction and this will provide great flexibility for the movement of services that is needed when Western Sydney Airport Railway Station opens before the first plane takes off at the airport.

South West Line

During the Premiership of Barry O’Farrell the Transport Department sought Public Submissions regarding the direction of an extension for the new South West Line.

Options were to Narellan and onto Western Sydney Airport.

The South West Line has now opened and has been integrated into the rest of the Heavy Rail Network successfully. However the South West Line should also extend to Western Sydney Airport, St. Mary’s and Macarthur on the Southern Line.

The South West Line utilises Heavy Rail Technology. It remains a mystery as to why the South West Line is Heavy Rail and there has been a bun fight over the technology to be used for the North West Line.

NSW Premier Mike Baird 2014-

NSW Premier Mike Baird

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Sydney Airport Railway Station

In the same way a Railway Line had to be open to Sydney Airport before the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, a Railway Line needs to be open before a plane takes off or lands at Western Sydney Airport.

This allows construction workers of the new airport and residents an opportunity to use new rail services ahead of airport passenger users. Railway Managers will have a greater chance to better manage any required improvements to rail services on a more gradual basis rather than wait until the new airport has opened and services provided were unable to cope with demand.

Western Sydney Orbital Railway Line

The Western Sydney Orbital Railway Line commences from the North West Line and arcs around to Macarthur on the Southern Line via Western Sydney Airport Railway Station. Western Sydney Orbital Railway Line includes:

  • North West Line
  • North West/Richmond Line Junction with Overpass
  • North West/Richmond Line Junction with Double Track Diamond Junction
  • Marsden Park
  • Old Ropes Creek Branch Line corridor
  • St. Mary’s Overhead Interchange Platforms with Western Line
  • Western Sydney Airport Railway Station
  • South West Line
  • Macarthur on Southern Line

Sets of Points strategically placed allows Sydney Harbour Heavy Rail Tunnel to serve

  • Sydney CBD
  • Epping-Chatswood Line
  • Brookvale Railway Line
  • Northern Beaches Railway Line
  • Brisbane HSR Services

Bankstown Line

Heavy Rail Bankstown Line will be extended to Western Sydney Airport that enables Passengers to access the Airport from the east.