"With 94 per cent of tracks already laid, Metro rail services will start in the North West region in the first half of next year."
Sydney has taken a step towards a fully-automated metro system, after the New South Wales capital received the first of 22 six-car trains for testing ahead of the Sydney Metro Northwest 2019 launch. The £4.5bn ($8.3bn AUS) deal makes way for Australia’s first fully automated train next year, when it will provide commuters in the north west of the city with four trains every hour and eight new stations. By 2024, there will be two trains every minute that will serve 31 new stations and around 40m (66km) of track.
The Alstom-manufactured trains are fitted with three double-doors per side to make boarding and alighting easier than before, with bigger windows, LED lighting and security improvements, including constant CCTV monitoring and emergency intercoms.
Controlling the train will Alstom’s Urbalis 400 CBTC (computer-based train control system). @Alstom, which last week announced it has completed the first all-electric train for India as part of the country’s 100% electrification mission, said Sydney’s trains will be more efficient as they will minimise the amount of time trains stop at stations and times between each service.
The New South Wales government announced in 2016 that it had approved further funding for the Northwest rail project that would close to double the number of trains in operation that – along with the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project – would make room for an additional 100,000 daily peak-hour passengers. As reported in in SmartRail World, the then Treasurer, Gladys Berejiklian, jointly unveiled the news after tunnels for the Northwest network had been completed 10 months early.
Speaking at the launch of the latest trains, Berejiklian, who since 2016 has been promoted to the role of New South Wales Premier, said: “With 94 per cent of tracks already laid, Metro rail services will start in the North West region in the first half of next year. Sydney Metro will then be extended under Sydney Harbour, into the Sydney CBD (Central Business District) and beyond to Bankstown in 2024.”
Not everyone shares Berejiklian’s positive outlook for Sydney’s multibillion dollar investment. A ReachTEL poll published in The Sydney Morning Herald showed that just over 44% of respondents in its 1,521 survey thought their commute wouldn’t improve despite the spending. More than half thought more investment would help, with 57% of the opinion that the government was under-spending on the rail and road networks.
The government’s eventual plan is to carry out a major overhaul of the entire network for its Future Transport Strategy 2056, so that 70% of Australians could reach their place of work or study within 30 minutes.
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