Transportation Planning Casebook/Sydney Metro-Greater West

Sydney metro western Sydney airport as known as Sydney Metro Greater West is a new metro line proposed and planned to connect Greater Western Sydney and the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport by 2026 (i.e. when the airport is planned to open). The completion of this line is also a step in the direction of key commitment towards realising 30-minute city of the Western Sydney City Deal, a 20 year agreement between the Federal, State government and 8 local councils.

This line will provide fast, safe and easy metro service to the communities of Western Parkland and is anticipated to be the transport spine for the Western Parkland City’s growth for coming generations. The Sydney Metro Greater West project will have:

  • Stations at Western Sydney Airport and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis;
  • A station at St Mary's, with interchange facility to existing station and provide a connection with the rest of Sydney’s rail system;
  • Fully-automated driverless trains with fast, frequent services.[1]

This line is the stage 1 of the North-South Rail Link (connecting Macarthur in south-west to Schofields in north-west via Western Sydney Airport) to connect with T1 North Shore, Northern & Western Line City Line at St. Marys.

Annotated List of Actors edit

Stakeholder Concerns / Issues
Australian Federal Government
  • Finalised the location of Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird Walton) airport in 2014.
  • Signatory of Western Sydney City Deal.
  • Federal government is contributing through its Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.
  • Announced $3.5 billion contribution to project.
New South Wales Government
  • Metropolitan planning through Greater Sydney Commission.
  • Identification of Land corridor, Project viability and impact on communities through Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW).
  • Impact on Environment & Heritage (Identifying rail corridor jointly with NSW Transport) though Department of Planning and Environment.
  • Announced a contribution of $2 billion over the next four years to the project
Local councils
  • Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith and Wollondilly local councils
  • Western Sydney City Deal to transform Western Sydney
  • North-South Rail Link key infrastructure piece of the City Deal
Sydney metro
  • Accountable for delivering the metro service – from planning and construction to operations and integrating metro rail into the public transport network.
Western Sydney Airport Co. Ltd.
  • North-South Rail Link shall be crucial for the new airport as this will be the only rail link to connect to the main T1 line and Aerotropolis in initial years of airport operation.
  • Any delay will reduce the overall connectivity significantly.
Residents and landowners
  • Land acquisition for rail corridors.
  • New jobs and businesses opportunities in the area.
  • Better and fast public transport facilities.
  • Noise, pollution and traffic inconveniences during the construction phase.
Local Businesses
  • Investments for new business in anticipation of growth in the region for better connectivity and new residences.

Timeline of Events edit

Timeline Event
  • The site at Badgerys Creek was finalised as the location of Sydney’s second Airport by the Federal government
  • The Australian and NSW governments undertook a joint Western Sydney Rail Needs Scoping Study (the Scoping Study) to determine the long-term needs, timing and service options for passenger rail to service both Western Sydney and Western Sydney Airport.
Late 2016-2017
  • Community & industry discussions by Transport for NSW. More than 1000 responses received including 120 written submissions.
  • Scoping study completed and identified long term rail network for western Sydney as
  1. North-South Link via Western Sydney Airport
  2. East-West Link to Greater Parramatta via Western Sydney Airport to connect the three cities
  • Signing of Western Sydney City Deal.
  • Land Corridor Identification study and community feedback by Transport for NSW
  • Geotechnical and survey investigation started and in progress
  • Strategic engagement- Stakeholder & industry engagement, preparation of the business case is underway.
  • Project development and assessment -Procurement
  • Commence construction
  • Completion in line with Western Sydney Airport Stage 1 and start operations.


Maps of Rail Route edit

A full North-South metro link between Schofields and Macarthur via Western Sydney Airport has been proposed. In the first stage, the portion in between proposed Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis to St. Marys (connecting T1 Rail Line ) having interchange at both the ends is being taken up for implementation, the line will pass through Werrington, Kingswood, Caddens, Orchard Hills, Luddenham suburbs, however, stations other than St Mary’s, Western Sydney airport and Aerotropolis are yet not known.

Map showing the tentative alignment of proposed North-South link of metro in Greater West.[2]
The projects of Sydney metro in operation and in pipeline.[3][4]

Policy Imperatives edit

Western Sydney’s Growth. edit

Future Transport Strategy 2056 (NSW Government, 2017)[5] edit

The Future Transport Strategy 2056 is a long term master plan for directing the plans for transport improvement and investment in Regional areas NSW and Greater Sydney considering a 40 years horizon from 2016. This plan envisioned to grow the transport network to cater to the needs of 12 million people (expected population in 2056) making 28 million trips a day. Based on this plan the scoping studies[6] for identifying the preferred network for catering to the needs of the Western Sydney and upcoming Western Sydney Airport were undertaken for addressing various policy issues through a joint initiative of Australian and NSW Government in 2016. The scoping studies report [7] was published in March 2018. The factors requiring the rail network in Western Sydney were analysed.

Population growth - Western Sydney edit

The population of Western Sydney is around 2 million (2016) and it is expected to grow to 3 million by 2030. The population growth is expected in western suburbs like Blacktown, Greater Parramatta, Campbelltown, Liverpool and others. Coupled with urban renewal. This will lead to an increase in transit demand and will put pressure on existing public transport infrastructure.

Greater Sydney population densities 2016
Indicative population density 2056

This growth will pose the 2 challenges:-

  • Ensuring the transport network has the capacity to support population growth in established areas
  • Ensuring transport services are integrated with the planning of new land releases and areas of urban renewal.

These challenges induce the requirement for providing the fast, efficient and highly reliable transport corridor to be developed.

Jobs growth - Western Sydney edit

About 300,000 residents (2016) of Western Sydney travel long distances mainly towards CBD for jobs or study, these numbers are further going to increase, with higher population growth rate the job deficit will grow to 340,000 in 2056 in case there is no intervention by the government. The areas of economic activity in western Sydney have the capacity to grow, the businesses often cite poor connectivity and lower-quality transport connections as a barrier to relocate to Western Sydney. While the initial construction phase at its peak would be expected to generate over 3,000 jobs, the airport itself would be expected to deliver nearly 9,000 direct jobs in the early 2030s, with that number expected to increase to over 60,000 by 2063. This means an airport will create jobs closer to where people live and help reduce the number of Western Sydney workers who currently experience long commutes by travelling out of the area.

Though the connections to the Sydney CBD will continue to be important, improved transport connections across Western Sydney will unlock Western Sydney’s full economic potential and offer people a greater range of choices as to where they live and work.

Jobs growth in Greater Sydney region from 2016 to 2056

Growing Demand leads to congestion on Bus & Road Network edit

Road network edit

The Greater Sydney’s suburban railway network is covering a large geographical area, however, many parts of Western Sydney are not well served by rail due to Western Sydney’s large geographical area and its relatively low population densities.

Currently, the rail transport demand for Western Sydney is being fulfilled by T1 North Shore, Northern & Western Line, T2 Inner West & Leppington, T3 Bankstown Line, T5 Cumberland Line and T8 Airport & South Line. Ridership during peak hours is expected to double from 2016 to 2056. Without investment in the new rail network, higher demand on existing network shall downgrade performance.

A private car is currently the predominant means of transport within Western Sydney, with about 80 per cent of the 900,000 road trips. On average, people living further away from the Harbour CBD own more vehicles and drive more than those living closer to the Harbour CBD.

This, in turn, will shift the additional demand to the Road networks, leading to road congestion. Below is the indicative road congestion in 2056 AM peak, without rail.

Indicative road congestion in 2056 AM peak, without rail
Bus services edit

Bus services play an important role in providing transport options for Western Sydney residents. Bus services in Western Sydney consist of local services connecting to local centres and railway stations, suburban services providing end-to-end access between centres and rapid services using bus priority infrastructure, such as T-ways. Currently, there is over 170 km of bus priority infrastructure in Western Sydney.

Many of the heaviest demand corridors in the 2030s will be related to Western Sydney, the figure below shows the forecast bus demand in Western Sydney in 2056 without rail links, with red indicating demand to be higher than seated capacity.

Indicative bus demand in 2056 without Rail

Western Sydney Airport (second airport in Sydney) edit

Catchment areas during initial years of operations of Western Sydney Airport

The Australian Government in 2014 announced that Badgerys Creek will be the site for Western Sydney Airport. This will be a catalyst for economic growth in the region for decades to come, creating new businesses and jobs across a range of industries, including transport and logistics, hospitality, education, research and professional services. It will also ensure the growing population and local businesses have access to the domestic and international aviation network.

The operation of the airport is expected to start in 2026. The airport is expected to serve approximately 10 million passengers a year within five years after opening. The airport will initially have a single 3.7-kilometre runway and will be a full-service airport capable of handling the full range of international, domestic and freight aircraft. As it grows over time, a second runway will be needed when demand approaches around 37 million passengers a year, which is expected around 2050. Around 2063, Western Sydney Airport could cater to approximately 80 million people per year.

As the Kingsford Smith Airport (first Airport) shall continue to operate, in initial years the demand for the Western Sydney airport will be mainly from the Western Sydney area. By 2040 it is forecasted that Kingsford Smith Airport shall achieve full capacity, then the Western Sydney airport shall cater to the increased traffic which will induce higher growth rates for the new airport thereby increasing demand for transit from the new airport.

Origin and destination of Western Sydney airport users.

When Kingsford Smith Airport will reach full capacity the Western Sydney airport shall start serving passengers from Eastern Harbour City and inner suburbs at then the Western Sydney rail links shall be more important.

Given the primary catchment for Western Sydney Airport will be within Western Sydney until around the 2040s, the short term transport priority for the airport is to support connections to the airport within the region which can be done by connecting the airport to the rail network in greater west. However, as Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport reaches its long-term aircraft movement capacity around the 2040s, Western Sydney Airport will need to cater for more passengers who live in the broader Greater Sydney basin and not just Western Sydney. By the 2060s, passengers from the Harbour CBD and Greater Sydney’s inner suburbs could account for almost half of Western Sydney Airport’s forecast 80 million passengers. To support this growing catchment in the long-term, transport links between the Harbour CBD and Western Sydney Airport will become more important at then.

Globally about 20% of the ground transportation is shared by the rails connected to airports. In case of Sydney’s Kingsford Smith airport which is served by T8 Airport & South Line between the Harbour CBD and Macarthur, has a 20% ground transport share for the rail which is higher in context of Australian airport, this is partly because of increasing congestion around Sydney airport. This is 9% in the case of Brisbane airport due to lower level of road congestion and low car parking charges. Considering 20% patronage to Rail transport, it is estimated that initially, 1 million airport passengers will be travelling by rail, this will be 2 million in 2030 and 16 million in 2060.

Along with the railway, the NSW government is also building two motorways towards the new airports. These include the M10 Outer Sydney Orbital and the M12 Western Sydney Airport Motorway. It is expected that these may put a balance on both public and private transport.

Metropolis of three cities and Western Sydney City Deal edit

A Metropolis of three cities[8]

The construction of the metro linking the Aerotropolis, Western Sydney Airport and St Mary's with the T1 Rail network is also a step towards the realization of the vision of The Greater Sydney Region Plan, A Metropolis of Three Cities. This is a vision of the future where most of the residents living in the three cities are able to reach within 30 minutes to their jobs, education and health facilities, services and great places. The three cities[9] envisioned are

The Eastern Harbour City:- It is the established eastern harbour city, this area has well-established transport links and is the economic hub of NSW, it is envisioned to build this city around its strong sectors of finance, professional, health, education and innovation.

The Central River City:- With Greater Parramatta at the core, Central River City covers the areas of Camellia, Rydalmere, Silverwater and Auburn and the Sydney Olympic Park with an economy centred on health, education and research institutions as well as finance, business services and administration.

The Western Parkland City:- This is areas of Greater Western Sydney around new international Western Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis along with areas of established centres of Liverpool, Greater Penrith and Campbelltown-Macathur. The vision of this city is focused on developing strong trade, freight, logistics, advanced manufacturing, health, education and science economy leading to knowledge-intensive jobs close to areas of high population growth.

The Western Sydney Planning Partnership (Planning Partnership) is preparing the draft Land Use and Infrastructure Implementation Plan, for which the Draft Western Sydney Aerotropolis Plan, Western Sydney Aerotropolis Discussion Paper on the proposed State Environmental Planning Policy and Draft Western Sydney Aerotropolis Development Control Plan were put for public exhibition and comments February–March 2020.[10] The rezoning of the land will present a development opportunity for the residential and business area. Quality connectivity will be essentially required for the success of these new areas being developed.

Western Sydney city Deal:[11][12][13]- Signed between the Australian government, NSW government and the local governments of the Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith and Wollondilly for making third metropolis city i.e. Western Parkland city a fully realised 21st-century city over the next 20 years. The City Deal is built on the Australian Government’s $5.3 billion investment in the Western Sydney Airport, which will be a catalyst for economic activity and job growth, providing long-term employment opportunities for local residents and meeting Sydney’s growing aviation needs. The core objectives of the deal are

  • Realising the 30-minute city by delivering public transport for the Western Parkland City
  • Creating 200,00 jobs by supercharging the Western Parkland City
  • Skilling our residents in the region and initiating new education opportunities
  • Respecting and building on local character, enhancing liveability and improving the quality of the local environment
  • Innovative approaches to planning and delivery of housing
  • Getting on with delivering the Western Parkland City through enduring tri-level governance

The implementation of the Greater west metro link is a step taken by the governments towards the realization of the goals of the Western Sydney city deal and the metropolis of three cities.

Case Narrative edit

The scoping studies [14] identified that the North-South link in Western Sydney via Sydney Western airport and Feast west link from link connecting Western Sydney airport and Central city will significantly improve the rail network in the Western Sydney region.

The first stage of North-South Link from the Western Sydney Aerotropolis via Western Sydney Airport to St Mary's is proposed to be taken up for construction in 2021 such that it will be ready to connect the Western Sydney airport and the Aerotropolis to Sydney’s Rail network at st Mary’s. This link is supposed to enhance cross-regional rail capacity in Western Sydney connecting growth areas in the north-west. Importantly, this link would provide onward rail connections to strategic centres such as Penrith, Liverpool, Greater Parramatta and Campbelltown. Over the longer term, it will be a key element for structuring and shaping the significant growth of Western Sydney along the rail line and would mark as a step forward in improving Western Sydney’s transport network. It will also broaden Greater Sydney’s focus from the Harbour CBD and opens new possibilities for homes, jobs and investment in Western Sydney. The Scoping Study also shows that if delivered around the opening of Western Sydney Airport in 2026, the North-South Link could provide a range of city shaping and economic benefits and can be economically viable if demand at the airport grows from 2026 onwards.

At the present stage, the survey investigations for finalizing the alignment along with geotechnical investigations are underway.[15] The tentative cost for a full north-south link is estimated to around $15-$20 billion,[16] in the first stage it is estimated around $3.45 billion to shared by both federal and State government in 50:50 ratio. billion.[17] However, the actual estimated cost can be ascertained after the finalization of design and alignment.

Discussion Question edit

  • Will the Airport and local resident/ workers around the area be able to generate enough for rail transit demands for the line to be Economical viable?
  • Should the Line be an Express line or have stations in between the end stations?
  • Why not a dedicated freeway connecting M-4 and M-7 from the airport be preferred to Metro?
  • Will the metro link to Aerotropolis increase the competitiveness to relocate from the existing residences and business around Sydney?
  • Is the Metro connectivity critical to the success of Western Sydney airport or vice versa?

References edit

  1., Project Overview: About Sydney Metro Greater West, retrieved on 10.04.2020
  2., retrieved on 17.04.2020
  3., retrieved on 15.04.2020
  4., Sydney Metro annual report 2018-19 retrieved on 13.04.2020
  5., retrieved on 12.04.2020
  6., Western Sydney Rail Needs Scoping Study Discussion Paper retrieved on 12.04.2020
  7., Western Sydney Rail Needs Scoping Study OUTCOMES REPORT retrieved on 12.04.2020
  8., retrieved on 15.04.2020
  9., retrieved on 12.04.2020
  10., retrieved on 13.04.2020
  11., retrieved on 14.04.2020
  12. retrieved on 13.04.2020
  13., Western Sydney city deal, retrieved on 14.04.2020
  15., retrieved on 12.04.2020
  16.,retrieved on 10.04.2020
  17., retrieved on 15.04.2020