The biggest problem with Sydney’s train system is just about every train other than those on the Illawarra / South Coast train run between Redfern and Strathfield. Whenever there is an incident on this stretch of track – despite the fact there are 6 lines (3 in each direction) it cripples the network.
What Sydney needs is decentralisation of the network and development of alternative routes to cope with the chaos that ensues when there is an incident between Redfern and Strathfield.
For example – why is it that a train from Kingsgrove to the airport ends up being delayed or cancelled due to an incident nowhere near the area? And for me, commuting to Central Coast, if my regular train can’t get through to Strathfield, then an incident in that area will also affect the alternative route via the North Shore line as trains on that line also originate from Western or Northern lines travelling between Strathfield and Redfern.
It wouldn’t take much – using existing infrastructure and junctions including the freight lines close to it to upgrade say the Bankstown line so it could be used as a back up to get Northern, Western and South Western line trains out of the city bypassing the Redfern to Strathfield Stretch.
As for the North Western line, absolutely it should be built to carry existing trains if need be and it absolutely should connect to the Richmond line allowing Richmond trains to get out there without having to go through Strathfield.
The connection with the Richmond line should also allow trains to go down the line towards Blacktown or onto Penrith as an alternative Western route in a similar fashion to the way you can drive via the M2 and M7 to reach the M4.
While ever the majority of the network is dependent on Redfern – Strathfield, there will always be chaos whenever an incident occurs. In past months I have been stranded for hours or very late home to the Central Coast just because of an incident between Strathfield and Redfern – one time a fatality, another a signal issue due to storms – I mean look at the storms we can get in Sydney – they are only going to get worse!
Not only do we need future proofing but we need the system to contain redundancy so trains can be re-routed to get to where they are going and get people home.