An adbridged history of the campaign to restore train services in the West of Bankstown area as of August 2022
Since 2013, the Restore Inner West Line community action group has been fighting to restore direct train services on the City to Liverpool via Regents Park and City to Bankstown via Regents Park routes.
Our members have made hundreds of requests and provided Transport for NSW with years of opportunity to release evidence for improved reliability to the Sydney Trains Network as a result of the 2013 timetable cuts to services from the West of Bankstown area.
Transport for NSW has not been able to provide a single document despite our multiple GIPA requests (which has cost our members thousands of dollars) to demonstrate that removing the City to Liverpool via Regents Park and City to Bankstown via Regents Park routes are justified.
The NSW Government even directly refused to restore train services when a motion was raised in Parliament in 2015 by the Member for Bankstown Tania Mihailuk.
The 2017 Sydney Trains timetable change resulted in the T2 Inner West Line extended from Homebush to Parramatta despite, Transport for NSW claiming in 2013 that there was no capacity for the line west of Homebush which necessitated the removal of City to Liverpool/Bankstown via Regents Park services.
In 2019, Restore Inner West Line & Save T3 Bankstown Line community action group co-convenor Roydon Ng presented evidence in NSW Parliament during the Legislative Council Inquiry into ‘Sydenham to Bankstown line conversion’ containing the Transport for NSW plans (secretly drawn up with the 2013 timetable changes) to shutdown Sydney Trains stations in the West of Bankstown area once Sydney Metro Southwest opened in 2024.
Evidence was also presented to NSW Parliament showing that the 2013 timetable cuts to trains were in fact designed to facilitiate the original implementation of Sydney Rapid Transit (now known as Sydney Metro Southwest) to Lidcombe and Cabramatta Station beyond Bankstown, and potentially on the Inner West Line to Homebush.
Following extensive community pressure leading up to the Parliamentary Inquiry, then Sydney Trains CEO Howard Collins was forced to announce that Transport for NSW would consider restoring direct trains to City from the West of Bankstown area which were removed in 2013.
However, Mr Collins also said in the Parliamentary Inquiry that while stations west of Bankstown would not be immediately shutdown after Metro Southwest and replaced with bus services, he indicated that rail services was only a plan for the short-term future.
In 2020, in response to the Parliamentary Inquiry recommendation that direct trains to City be restored for all stations West of Bankstown, Transport for NSW for the first time formally acknowledged that such services could operate using currently available infrastructure.
Again following extensive community pressure, the additional renewed support of local Members of Parliament and Councils in passing resolutions in support of restoring the direct train to City from West of Bankstown, Transport for NSW announced that the City to Liverpool via Regents Park route would be restored in 2024 and a shuttle would operate between Lidcombe and Bankstown, but the direct train between Bankstown and Liverpool would be removed.
Furthermore, Transport for NSW does not believe that running trains between Lidcombe and Bankstown is worthwhile and has been investigating options to fast track the shutdown of Birrong and Yagoona Station.
Transport for NSW also indicated that development of the 2024 Sydney Trains timetable would commence in 2021. But as of August 2022, Transport for NSW has confirmed that no draft timetable exists and it does not know when the promised restoration of City to Liverpool via Regents Park route services would be implemented.
Information obtained under GIPA request however show that Transport for NSW appears to be more focused on the long-term Future Transport Strategy rather than the short-term/temporary partial restoration of direct trains to City from the West of Bankstown area.
The Planning for Rail Services in West of Bankstown project team is investigating options for the West of Bankstown area including replacing trains with bus, light rail, or bus rapid transit between Bankstown, Lidcombe, and Cabramatta.
Transport for NSW is also giving consideration to remove the restored T2 Inner West Line “City to Liverpool via Regents Park” in the 2030s, which is cause for significant concern among residents and commuters in the West of Bankstown area.
We are not opposed to improved connections with Parramatta and in fact have called for the a direct train from Bankstown to Parramatta using the western fork of the Lidcombe Junction.
The Restore Inner West Line & Save T3 Bankstown Line community action group will continue to fight for our local communities to ensure that we have adequate and accessible public transport.