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:
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.