Victor P Taffa
As our population increases and ages the expansion of all heavy railway networks throughout Australia is essential in order to meet these growing pressures over the next few decades.
In a series of articles The Southern Thunderer investigates a number of issues that spells out why Governments of all persuasions must meet the challenges ahead and instead of deferring or abandoning railway expansion realise the positive impact that this will have on our economy and society as a whole.
The plans for expansion of our railways were included in the Detailed Overview Report as written by myself and distributed in the first instance in January 2001. On 26 February 2009 all of the plans became accessible via the internet. The website address is www.isput.com.au
The Detailed Overview Report will be used as a template for individual websites of Railway expansion that will be progressively launched for every State, Territory and a National focus.
Many of the plans for Sydney are simply a revival of routes laid out by John Bradfield during the 1920’s and there are routes that were drawn up during the 1910’s. The second article focuses on LEGISLATION.
The following pieces of legislation while are designed for the requirements for New South Wales would also be used as a template for every State, Territory and a National focus.
The New South Wales Minister for Transport would work in close consultation with the New South Wales Minister for Railways for the enactment of the following pieces of legislation:
Some of the following pieces of legislation that would be required are as follows:
1) Railway Construction Act
2) Railway (Land Development) Provision Act
3) Transport Timetable Co-ordination Act
4) Transport Zonal Ticketing Co-ordination Act
5) Transport Zonal (Ticketing) Dissolution Act
6) Transport Zonal Multi Use (Ticketing) Act
7) Transport Zonal (Operations) Dissolution Act
1) The Railway Construction Act would allow for the construction of above/below ground railway lines wherever the need arose. There would be no requirement to obtain the permission of a local government council and the Department of Urban Affairs and planning. The Railway Construction Act would not however operate once a railway line had been constructed and the type of development that would occur along the route of a new railway line would be governed by existing procedures.
The Railway Construction Act would not avoid the need to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement into the construction of a new railway line. The new act would require the Department of Railways to engage in the same EIS process that currently exists. Once the new railway was constructed, the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning would resume its function in determining the style of development that was to occur along the new rail corridor.
2) The Railway (Land Development) Provision Act would encourage the construction of a new railway line in an area where large tracts of land were being subdivided into new suburbs. At present new suburbs are being established without the provision of a railway line. At the time of subdivision, the developer would pay a levy on the value of land at that time in the form of railway bonds. Of course the value of land once a railway line is built increases, so the levy would be easily absorbed into the cost of development. Payment in the form of railway bonds gives the developer an opportunity to recover the original levy paid and gain positive recognition for contributing towards the construction of the new railway line.
Had the same constraints that apply today to the construction of new railway lines applied when the present rail network was being built, then Sydney would never have got a rail or tram network built.
3) The Transport Timetable Co-ordination Act would ensure trains, trams, buses and ferries met each other at scheduled interchanges and thus encouraged the use of public transport. Sydney had a tramway network second to none and there was a requirement that the tram had to wait for the train to arrive before departing.
4) The Transport Zonal Ticketing Co-ordination Act would ensure train, tram, bus and ferry fare structures were co-ordinated in size and mode across Metropolitan Sydney thus encouraging the use of public transport and reducing Peak Hour traffic congestion. Similar coordination of ticketing zones would be implemented for regional and rural New South Wales.
5) The Transport Zonal (Ticketing) Dissolution Act will dissolve all existing ticketing zones for both private and public train, bus, coach and ferry services across New South Wales. Currently there is a myriad of zones that are confusing for all concerned to manage and discourage the use of public transport. This Act will allow for a modern system of pricing to be introduced that would be reflective of the needs of the travelling public in the twenty-first century.
6) The Transport Zonal Multi Use (Ticketing) Act will enable new ticketing zones to be introduced that are responsive to the demands of a modern society in the twenty-first century. Current ticketing zones do not cater for the use of different modes of transport by passengers and tourists. All transport operators would see an increase in revenue from fares collected because new ticketing zones would be multi Zonal and thus encourage the use of different modes of transport by passengers.
7) The Transport Zonal (Operations) Dissolution Act would allow for new bus feeder services to be introduced as new Railway lines are constructed. The current Zonal Operations have been in place since the 1930s and this situation arose because Private Bus companies fought for patronage against the Trams. Bus and Tram conductors existed in those days and were at the front line of the patronage battles. On-board conductors are no longer employed. In the 1930s, car ownership was not universal. Also the population of Sydney was very different to that of today.
Minister for Railways
- With a comprehensive Rail expansion programme over the next 30 years, there will be a need to have a Minister for Railways at the Cabinet Table as well as a Minister for Transport.
- The Minister would have a single Department which would incorporate the Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation.
- Currently the Transport Minister is responsible for Trains, Buses, Ferries, Hire cars and Taxis. This Ministerial workload is enormous and there would be great advantages on many fronts to split the Railways from the Transport Portfolio.
- Current legislative requirements place too many hurdles in the way for new railway lines to be built and so the NSW Parliament in order to construct new railway lines would need to enact new legislation. During the construction phase of the existing rail network, no doubt there was special legislation in place as well as a Department of Railways and a Minister for Railways. While the reintroduction of a Minister and Railways Department may not be necessary, there is a need to enact special legislation to enable the smooth construction of railway lines.
- During the Olympic Games, special legislation was enacted for the sole purposes of the Olympic Games and so too new legislation should be enacted for the construction of new railway lines.
Timetabling and Ticketing:
New rail lines with ‘Y’ and ‘Diamond’ links and rail grade separations are built into the current network so that services can operate more frequently than at present. The abolition of printed timetables will make for a more effective and highly patronised rail network and thus provide for new and innovative services that are currently on offer.
The travelling public should be able to go to their railway station and to catch a train without having to wait an inordinately long period of time for it to arrive.
In Switzerland there are sayings such as:
‘People set their time by the time that trains arrive.’
‘Swiss trains run like clockwork.’
If trains operated on the principle that there is no printed timetable and that a train will arrive with a great deal of frequency then this idea will sink into the mind of the public’s consciousness that a train will arrive quickly and frequently and within a short timeframe people will use the railways in greater numbers and this will in turn increase the need to build new railway lines.
Timetabling schedules without a printed version will be as follows:
- Sydney Metropolitan Lines: 5 minutes in Peak Hour, 15 minutes in Off-Peak & Weekends.
- Newcastle & Hunter Lines: 15 minutes in Peak Hour, 15 minutes in Off-Peak & Weekends.
- Illawarra Lines: 15 minutes in Peak Hour, 15 minutes in Off-Peak & Weekends.
- Country Lines: 30 minutes on every line.
All lines will have express, intermediate and all station services operating.
Electronic Ticketing & Internet Sales:
Immediate introduction of an electronic ticketing system for all modes of transport, public and private.
Enable commuters to purchase rail, bus and ferry tickets on the internet. Tickets could still be sold through the usual outlets.
Railway line construction does not remove the need to maintain or upgrade roads. However given the large expansion of residential areas over many decades without a railway line it is quite apparent that there is a bias against the construction of railway lines.
The difference between the cost of construction of roads and railway lines is marginal.