We welcome the NSW Government announcement for a review led by Ms Carolyn Walsh into the Sydney rail network focusing on governance and accountability, asset management and planning, reliability, and resilience.
Over the past decade, the Sydney Trains Network has been significantly impacted by neglect through the deliberate diversion of resources to questionable projects such as the Sydney Metro Southwest conversion of the Sydenham to Bankstown line.
As commuters in the West of Bankstown area, we call upon the Review to accept public submissions and examine the changes to rail services along the T3 Bankstown Line introduced in 2013 including the impact of reduced reliability on the entire Sydney Trains Network resulting from the conversion of Sydenham to Bankstown into Metro.
The 2013 Sydney Trains timetable changes including terminating the T3 Bankstown Line at Lidcombe Station as part of initial plans to convert the entire line into Sydney Metro Southwest.
Transport for NSW has been unable to provide any evidence of improved reliability to the Sydney Trains Network arising from the 2013 Sydney Trains timetable changes for the T3 Bankstown Line and the removal of the T2 Inner West Line’s City to Liverpool via Regents Park service.
We remain concerned that despite Sydney Metro Southwest no longer continuing beyond Bankstown, loopholes within the Transport Administration Act are being taken advantage of by Transport for NSW and Sydney Metro project teams to plan the closure of stations in the West of Bankstown area (e.g. Birrong and Yagoona) with bus replacing trains in the long-term NSW Future Transport Strategy.
Removing the direct train to City Circle via Inner West Line from the West of the Bankstown area and forcing commuters to interchange at Lidcombe Station (and Birrong Station) has failed to achieve any purported reliability benefits to the Sydney Trains Network.
Even Transport for NSW has acknowledged in 2020 that the restoration of the direct train to City Circle via Inner West Line could be achieved using the currently available Sydney Trains Network infrastructure.
It is in the best interest of the community and the entire Sydney rail network, that Transport for NSW ceases further cuts to the T3 Bankstown Line and focuses on restoring direct trains from Liverpool/Bankstown to City Circle via Regents Park/Lidcombe and Sydenham.
The underinvestment in the Sydney Trains Network over the past decade ought to be urgently rectified with funding for digital signalling upgrades for the T3 Bankstown Line and T2 Inner West Line, similar to the systems being implemented on the T8 Airport Line.
Please see the map of the optimal T3 Bankstown Line and T2 Inner West Line routes to receive signalling upgrades which provide the same if not a higher level of service at a fraction of the cost (compared to Sydenham to Bankstown Metro).
See the Restore Inner West Line & Save T3 Bankstown Line Submission for Sydney Trains Review 2023 for more information.