Sydney Metro – Closure of Epping-Chatswood Line

Sydney Metro – Closure of Epping-Chatswood Line

 
The State Government has announced that the Epping-Chatswood rail line will be closed for several months from September 30th. Additional bus services will replace the trains during this time, leading to major concerns about how this will exacerbate the already serious congestion on Epping's roads and parking. Besides the additional buses, it is anticipated that the inconvenience of a split bus-train journey, and the prospect of commuters having to stand for much of it, will lead some to switch from public transport to private cars.

This scenario may continue for many years after the Epping-Chatswood line is re-opened, as it will be necessary for many travellers to change trains at Chatswood. Combined with the prospect of having to stand during the journey, this may again result in some commuters switching to private transport.

The Berejiklian Government’s multi-billion dollar project is underway to build the Metro Northwest from Rouse Hill to Chatswood via Epping. This is to be completed during 2019 and there are plans to extend it with the Metro City and Southwest by 2024. This project includes the controversial conversion of the rail line between Epping and Chatswood and the Sydenham to Bankstown rail line, to extend the Metro from Epping. Luke Foley, Leader of the Opposition, has pledged to cancel the conversion of the Sydenham to Bankstown rail line if elected in 2019.

The Metro will provide driverless trains with single-deck carriages and limited seating for passengers. The Government is promoting it as an improvement as it will provide more frequent train services. The Metro is being built by a private company and many are of the view it will be privatised once completed,  potentially resulting in higher fares. Many are also concerned about having a fully computerised train system.

From the 30 September 2018 the rail line between Epping and Chatswood will be closed for seven months to allow its conversion for the Metro. That is the line, which was opened in 2009 for $2.4 billion under a Labour government, will be changed so the heavy rail carriages can no longer run through its tunnels. This also means the Epping to Chatswood rail line will no longer interconnect with the current Sydney rail network. Passengers using the Metro will need to change trains at Chatswood, to go to Sydney’s CBD, until it has been extended via a tunnel under the harbour. Passengers will also see glass screens installed on platforms amongst many other changes.

During the Epping to Chatswood rail line closure there will be more than 110 bus services running every hour during peak periods to replace the trains. There will be additional routes, bus lanes and extended turning lanes to support these changes.

In February 2018, Epping residents were surveyed on the temporary parking removal to make way for Transport for NSW’s temporary bus zones. These locations included:

  • Western side of Pembroke Street between Smith Street and Langston Place
  • Eastern side of Essex Street between Crandon Road and Epping Road
  • Eastern side of Langston Place between Pembroke Street and Epping Road
  • Western side of Oxford Street in front of the Epping Community Centre (School of Arts)

Local doctors in Pembroke Street expressed concern with the removal of parking from the front of their surgery as this will make access to their surgery difficult for people who have poor mobility and for emergency vehicles. Local residents also expressed concern that a bus zone will be placed in the Essex Street’s right hand turning lane, which is likely to attract a great deal of traffic.

Details of the finalised bus zones and timetables are yet to be announced.

You can read more on the State Government's website and FaceBook pages.  You can also find information about the bus services here.