In the near future, the NSW government is actively seeking expert guidance on possibility for the extension of $25 billion Metro West rail line towards the east, starting from Sydney’s CBD. A recent interim report on Sydney’s $65 billion metro rail projects has proposed that transport officials assess the viability and station alternatives for a potential extension of the Metro West rail line connecting the CBD and Parramatta.
As per the existing plans, the Metro West rail line’s eastern end will have its last station situated under Hunter Street in Sydney’s CBD, with additional tunnels under The Domain for train turn-back purposes.
The consideration for an eastern extension has been prompted by lobbying efforts from Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and federal minister and Sydney MP Tanya Plibersek. They advocate for the state government to construct a station at Zetland, an inner-city suburb within the highly populated Green Square precinct.
Mayor Moore highlights that the original design of Metro West included an extension to Zetland, emphasizing the necessity of a station in the inner south to alleviate congestion and cope with the growing demand for public transportation.
The statement emphasizes that they had previously communicated to the previous government and now reiterate to the new government the urgent necessity to improve and expand public transport networks.
The previous Coalition government had abandoned the idea of a Metro West station at Zetland in 2018.
Although the interim report does not specify an eastern route for Metro West, long-term plans have previously identified potential rail corridors from the central city to Randwick, Malabar, and La Perouse.
In parallel, the government recently committed to converting a section of the T3 Bankstown rail line to accommodate driverless metro trains, at an additional cost of $1.1 billion. This conversion will impact tens of thousands of train commuters, who will need to rely on buses for a 12-month period starting from the third quarter of next year.
The Interim review indicated the possibility of up to a year’s delay for the yet-to-be-contracted work on Metro West, which is the country’s largest public transport project, to fund the additional $1.1 billion required for the Bankstown line conversion.
Completion date for the Extension of $25 billion Metro West Rail Line
However, the review cautioned that modifying “procurement timings” would likely lead to Completion date to be delaid until late 2034 despite being scheduled opening date of 2030 and could escalate the project’s overall cost. In the past, Sydney Metro has explored various scenarios that could potentially postpone the Metro West rail line
Premier Chris Minns mentioned that the review is exploring alternative funding options, and the government plans to disclose more information about Metro West and other projects by the end of the year.
Amid the ongoing bus driver shortage, Transport Minister Jo Haylen stated that the government had been proactively planning for 12 months before the Bankstown line closure. The aim was to establish dedicated bus routes, including express services, to assist commuters affected by the project. However, she acknowledged that the closure would be disruptive for passengers along the Bankstown line during the 12-month period.
Despite the anticipated disruptions for commuters, Liverpool’s Liberal mayor, Ned Mannoun, stressed the necessity of converting the Bankstown line into a fully-fledged metro train link. He acknowledged the inconvenience but emphasized that substantial investment in public transport was crucial to accommodate the region’s population growth. According to him, the temporary closure represents a step backward for the sake of significant progress in the future.