Rapid growth in demand for rail transport in the Sydney Basin is leading to passenger crowding and displacement on major parts of the Sydney rail network. Demand for rail trips in Greater Sydney increased signiﬁcantly from 300 million trips in 2015, to 420 million trips in 2018 — an average of 7.6% growth each year.
Current forecasts predict that demand on the North Shore, Inner West and South, Airport and Illawarra lines will exceed capacity in peak times by 2021. The Western Line is expected to reach capacity in peak times by 2031.
Without signiﬁcant additional capacity, crowding during peak periods will substantially impact on the reliability of the key lines by the mid-2020s.
In addition, signalling systems are reaching the end of their effective life, with unsustainable maintenance costs and high risk of asset failures, which could lead to passenger and operational disruption. Long travel times due to worsening congestion and reduced reliability will result in nationally signiﬁcant losses in productivity.
Potential solutions to accommodate the strong future growth in rail patronage could include signiﬁcant investment in new services, advanced signalling, infrastructure upgrades and additional ﬂeet.
In June 2020, we listed More Trains More Services Stage 2 as a Priority Project. The proponent is investigating options for the remaining sections of the network.
Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).