Transportation Planning Casebook/Sydney Metro (CBD and Southwest)


Video Link - Introduction to Sydney Metro[1]

Sydney metro is an automated rapid transit system and is Australia’s biggest public transport project.  It is broken into 3 stages of construction;

  • Stage 1: Northwest ($8.3 billion)
  • Stage 2: CBD and Southwest ($11.5-12.5 billion)
  • Stage 3: West (estimated $10 billion)

This wikibooks page will focus on stage 2.

The CBD and Southwest Metro involves 30 km of metro rail starting from Chatswood in the Northshore, under the Sydney Harbour to Sydenham in the CBD, finishing out southwest in Bankstown. New metro stations will be created between Chatswood and Sydenham, while the 11 existing stations between Sydenham and Bankstown will be upgraded to account for the new metro.  The metro is expected to clear the public transport bottleneck by increasing the number of trains per hour from 120 to 200, which can account for 100,000 additional passengers.  In regards to the Southwest, this equates to 15 trains per hour for Bankstown station or 1 train every 4 minutes during peak hour.[1]  

Annotated List of Actors

Company Works
WSP Geotechnical Site Investigations
CPB, John Holland & Ghella Design & Construct of tunnels and stations

Sydney Metro which was created by and is owned by Transport for NSW to manage the procurement, planning and delivery of the Sydney Metro network.

Other Actors include:

  • Community residents along the Sydney Metro corridor
  • Local councils located along the Sydney Metro corridor

Detailed List of Actors


  • Geophysical Testing[2]
  • Marine borehole investigations[2]
  • Mapped seabed levels using echo sounding/bathymetric data[2]
  • Mapped seabed features using scan sonar[2]
  • Mapped subsurface layers and assessed geological conditions using seismic reflection profiling[2]
  • Mapped subsurface seismic velocity distribution to confirm depth of rock[2]

CPB, John Holland and Ghella

  • Excavation of 15.5 km of twin tunnels using 5 TBMs[3]
  • Construction of 57 cross passages between tunnels[3]
  • Excavation of 6 underground metro stations[3]
  • 1 crossover cavern to allow trains to cross from one track to another[3]
  • Design and construct precast concrete segments to line the tunnels[3]
  • Demolition and removal of existing buildings[3]

Timeline of Events

Event Time Detail
Announcement is made to extend Sydney Metro from Chatswood to Bankstown 2014 A 30 km extension of metro rail from the end of Sydney Metro Northwest at Chatswood through CBD and Southwest to Bankstown is announced. It is also announced that it is due to open for passengers in 2024 with 7 new metro stations and 11 upgraded stations.[4]
Project scope consultation with communities for Chatswood to Sydenham June 2015 Information was shared with public regarding the project proposal and feedback obtained. The proposal consisted of a new 15-kilometre twin tunnel track that would run from Chatswood through Sydney CBD to Sydenham.[4][5]
Industry engagement Between June and December 2015 Industry engagement commenced while preparing for the Environmental Impact Statement and it included meetings with key stakeholders, NSW and Australian departments, industry associations, peak bodies and the local government.[4]
Community engagement April 2016 While preparing for the Environmental Impact Statement, meetings were set up with communities, local councils and relevant government agencies to seek for feedback.[4]
Environmental Impact Statement exhibition for the Chatswood to Bankstown line May 2016 Around 560 submissions were received. CPB contractors and UGL were awarded a contract as a joint venture by the NSW Government to deliver the project providing a revenue of $1.376 billion.[1][6]

Sydenham to Bankstown upgrade planning starts Late 2016 The T3 Bankstown line between Sydenham and Bankstown is planned to be upgraded and converted to metro standards. This will include the conversion of 10 stations along the planned route.[7]  
Project approval-Chatswood to Sydenham project 10 January 2017 Included an approval for the construction of a 16.5 km new track between Chatswood and Sydenham, including 15.5 km of new twin tunnel tracks under Sydney Harbour and CBD. An approval was also granted for building 7 new metro railway stations at Crows Nest, Victoria Cross (North Sydney), Barangaroo, Martin Place, Pitt St, Central (new underground platforms), and Waterloo.[8]  
Chatswood to Sydenham construction starts 22 June 2017 Construction starts and it is estimated to cost $10–11 billion.[3]
Submissions and preferred Infrastructure report for Sydenham to Bankstown metro upgrade on exhibition July 2018 This report is based on the collation of all the feedback that was received during the Environmental Impact Statement exhibition. This document also outlines the preferred infrastructure and changes to the project as discussed in the EIS. The changes proposed that are outlined in this document are pending planning approval.[1]
Tunnel boring starts 2018 5 tunnel boring machines are being used to deliver the project between Chatswood and Sydenham. A special TBM was used for the section under Sydney Harbour Bridge due to the ground and rock conditions found within the bottom of the harbour[9]
Project approval - Sydenham to Bankstown 19 December 2018 Sydney metro received the planning approval to upgrade the T3 Bankstown line between Sydenham and Bankstown to metro standards[1]
Sydenham to Bankstown upgrade construction starts 2019 Signalling and infrastructure upgrade between Sydenham to Bankstown begin. Simultaneously, station upgrades/ construction starts[3]
Scheduled completion 2024


The Sydney Metro CBD and Southwest project is currently ongoing and is scheduled to be open for passengers in 2024.[1]

Maps of Locations

Map of Sydney Metro (as a whole) and 3 stages;

  • Stage 1: Northwest
  • Stage 2: CBD and Southwest
  • Stage 3: West

(This wikibooks page focuses on the CBD and Southwest)


Comparison of depth of Sydney Metro (CBD and Southwest) line beneath Sydney Harbour and other tunnels in Sydney


Clear Identification of Policy Issues

There was significant backlash from Sydney's West, in particular the suburbs north of Bankstown, such as Berala, Regents Park and Chester Hill, which were some of the 9 stations that will lose direct trains towards the city, and would result in passengers having to interchange at Lidcombe/Bankstown. A submission report for the Sydenham - Bankstown metro indicated that 91% of submissions to the project opposed the metro. A 'Restore Inner West Line' protest rally for Public Transport was conducted on the 20th of October between 10-11am at Regents Park station where they stated they did not want the metro and wanted faster trains along the existing line instead.[11]

The Labour party wanted to cancel the Southwest Metro, and instead focus on improving the existing Sydney Trains line by adding another $3 billion. They also wanted to focus fast-track construction of the West Metro by spending $8 billion. The Sydenham to Bankstown metro has been largely criticised by the unions who stated that it was "effectively privatising a state asset" since the metro would be privately operated.[12]

Another issue for the community was how people would be transported during the 3–6 months of testing of the Southwest Metro. As of date, the proposed solution consists of providing commuters with 3 options;

  1. Temporary bus route stopping at all 11 affected stations
  2. Express bus route stopping at limited number of stations
  3. Buses from closed stations to T1 or T2 lines

Sydney Metro are currently undecided and require further feedback from the rest of community on what they prefer.[13]

Other actions taken by Sydney Metro in order to increase community-metro communications involved the following;

  • Visited properties affected next to stations
  • Online surveys to gain feedback on alternative transport arrangements during construction period
  • Conducted community information displays and meetings with local councils, key stakeholders and government agencies
  • Talked to customers at stations and handed out flyers
  • Informed 70,000 properties of project updates[13]

Additional Issues:

Types of Issues Source of Issues
Air Quality Dust from:
  • Asbestos removal procedures
  • Demolition activities
  • Jackhammering on site
  • Concrete pouring
Noise & Vibration Demolition noise
Visual Amenity Bright flashing light from excavators and night work
Traffic, transport and access
  • Difficult for pedestrians to use the street
  • Construction trucks and message signs were blocking driver's view causing a safety hazard
  • Trucks parking in private spaces and business drop off zone
  • The relocated bus stop was not safely positioned
  • Activities in no-park zone such as traffic control
  • Individuals' health were affected by dust from multiple construction sites and constant noise
  • Peoplw were forced to purchase medical grade air purifier
  • Business around the construction site requests for money for cleaning
  • Dust accumulated on large building and requested it to be cleaned[14]

Noise and vibration is the most common issue from the communities, below is the noise and vibration monitoring results and analysis (listing from most severe to least severe)

Location Source of Issues
Pitt Street Station
  • Refrigeration system of the monitor on the site
  • Demolitions activities
Victoria Cross Station
  • Demolition activities
  • Daytime hammering
Barangaroo Station Results show that other dominant sources found around the site
Marrickville Dive Traffic is the dominant source of noise
Crows Nest Station
  • Traffic
  • Roadway saw cutting
Martin Place Station
  • Demolition activities
  • Drilling
Chatswood dive Traffic is the dominant source of noise
Waterloo station Traffic is the dominant source of noise[14]


The Sydney Metro was designed to combat the issue of maximum public transport capacity which was expected to be reached over the next few years. As of date the NSW government has won another term in government, and the project is expected to go ahead as planned. The government has initiated a lot of communication with community to minimise the negative feedbacks for the project. Overall it is going to address the increase in population and hence increase in public transport use. Therefore, this project is beneficial to the community.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think the 3 options of bus replacement is a good solution to the 6 months of metro testing? What other solutions are there?
  2. Why do you think the metro tracks were designed to be steeper and trains one story instead of two story?
  3. How else could Sydney Metro have approached the union problem?
  4. What alternatives are there to a metro?

Complete References of Cited (primary and secondary) Documents

  1. a b c d e f
  2. a b c d e f
  3. a b c d e f g h i
  4. a b c d
  13. a b
  14. a b