Item 8.2 - Attachment 3

Submission on Rail Links to Parramatta


Submission on Rail Links to Parramatta

(Parramatta Epping Rail Link and Hills Rail Link)


Parramatta City Council 28 March 2011


1.  Summary

Parramatta City Council is calling on State and Federal Governments to deliver the Parramatta Epping Rail Link and the Hills Rail Link, to establish Parramatta as Sydney’s second CBD and enable the Sydney Metropolitan Region to grow jobs and population sustainably by creating a poly-centric city of cities.



2.  Background

The Parramatta Rail Link was announced in 1998 with the Parramatta to Epping section deferred in 2003.  During the 2010 Federal Government election campaign, the Gillard Federal Government promised funding ($2.1b) for PERL.  Shortly after, State Government announced plans to start work on the link in 2011.  In February 2011, a funding agreement was signed between Federal and State Governments.


Integrated Transport Plan for Parramatta City Centre (PCC 2010)

In May 2010, Council adopted the Integrated Transport Plan for Parramatta City Centre.  This included a commitment to investigating and lobbying State and Federal Governments on both the Parramatta Epping Rail (PERL) and the Castle Hill Rail Link as shown below.




























Updated Submission to Infrastructure Australia (NSW State Government 2010)

In August 2010, State Government made an Updated Submission to Infrastructure Australia (IA).  This included revised details of the Parramatta Epping Rail Link (PERL) station alignment in Parramatta from east-west to north-south and indicated a proposed southwards future extension to Hurstville.  The submission also stated that investigation of the alignment is required to determine if there is a more appropriate connection to the Carlingford Line than Rosehill-Camellia. The service for the new line would be Parramatta to St Leonards.


The IA Submission also contains details of the proposed service to operate on the North West Rail Link (NWRL).  It states that with the introduction of services on the NWRL, services on the North Shore Line will be reduced from 4 to 2 trains per hour and that half of the services on the NWRL would travel via Chatswood (4) and the other half via Strathfield (4).  The submission also states that completion of the City Relief Line (Redfern to Wynyard) will release capacity to operate NWRL services via Strathfield.


Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036 (NSW State Government 2010)

The Plan extends the global arc of knowledge jobs from Macquarie Park to Parramatta.  It also outlines the change of course of the development of Metropolitan Sydney from a mono-centric focus on Sydney CBD to a poly-centric city or city of cities model.  Parramatta is recognised as the second CBD of this poly-centric city model which provides residents with access to their nearest regional city within 30 minutes.


Strategic Rail Advice to Parramatta City Council (SKM and JE 2011)

This report commissioned by Parramatta City Council reviews several rail link options to Parramatta including PERL, NWRL and Hills Rail Link.  This advice has been used to produce this submission which has been subsequently developed by Council.



3.  Possible changes to the Parramatta Epping Rail Link (PERL)

The NSW Metropolitan Plan indicates that PERL will have a north-south station in Parramatta to allow for a future extension to Hurstville.  See Rail Links to Parramatta Regional and Metro Maps.  A north-south Parramatta station lends itself to the PERL approaching from the north rather than the east as previously planned.  In addition, the Rosehill-Camellia station is at the tunnel portal entrance which lies within the flood plain making the line extremely difficult and expensive to construct.  To this effect Council proposes that the PERL alignment be amended to consider serving Parramatta North (in the vicinity of Church St/Victoria) rather than Rosehill-Camellia. 



4.  Impact of an amended PERL

The situation has fundamentally changed since this project was approved in 2001. The link was assumed to have a peak of 6,000 people per day using it, but the University of Western Sydney (UWS) now has plans for 10,000 extra students, within 10 years, of which the majority will come by train. 

Item 8.2 - Attachment 3

Submission on Rail Links to Parramatta


Rosehill Camellia #


Rydalmere-UWS #


Carlingford #


Winston Hills #


Rail Links to Parramatta Regional Map 4 March 2011


Parramatta Epping Rail Link


Original PERL


Hills Rail Link


Future Hurstville Link


North West Rail Link

#             Potential P&R station






Northmead #






Castle Hill


Baulkham Hills


Parramatta North


Rail Links to Parramatta Metro Map

4 March 2011


Parramatta Epping Rail Link


Hills Rail Link


Cumberland Line


Western Line


Future Hurstville Extension


North West Rail Link






Item 8.2 - Attachment 3

Submission on Rail Links to Parramatta



In addition, Council’s Civic Place development will bring another 10,000 people to Parramatta city centre daily. Therefore this rail link is far more important today than it was originally.


The amended PERL alignment will:

·   Physically extend the Global Arc from Macquarie Park to Parramatta and provide direct access to jobs and university education.

·   Support 7% of the existing 90,000 daily workforce who commute to Parramatta from Hornsby to Ryde.

·   Support the planned growth in Parramatta city centre of 20,000 residents and 30,000 jobs.

·   Provide a second city centre station and relieve Parramatta station – CityRail’s 4th busiest station.  This proposed station will also support the planned growth of northern precinct of the city as well the existing high density residential and Parramatta Stadium. 

·   Significantly support urban renewal of the Rydalmere precinct together with the planned growth of UWS. The proposed new Rydalmere Technology Park will potential bring 11,000 new jobs to the region.

·   Support the existing and planned residential developments at Telopea and Carlingford.

·   Generate opportunities for significant Park & Ride at Rydalmere and Carlingford.

·   Avoid the need to connect to Sydney CBD and the subsequent need for the Second Harbour Rail Crossing as the service only extends to the North Shore.  The Western Line provides the connection to Sydney CBD thus deferring the need for Second Harbour Crossing which the North West Rail Link hastens.



5.  Impact of the North West Rail Link (NWRL)

Once the NWRL is complete, the NWRL trains will add rail congestion to the North Shore Line to Sydney CBD.  To partially address this impact, the Keneally State Government planned to operate half of the NWRL trains via Strathfield which in turn, relied upon the completion of the Western Express including the City Relief Line to create additional network capacity.  The other half of the NWRL trains would operate via Chatswood with a reduction in North Shore Line services.


If neither the City Relief Line nor the Second Harbour Crossing is complete then the State Government of the day will need to decide to whether to limit the number of NWRL services to Sydney, reduce Western Line or North Shore Line services to create the required capacity.  Consequently once the NWRL is complete then there would be a need to proceed with the City Relief Line and or the Second Harbour Crossing to provide sufficient capacity for the NWRL trains to be properly integrated into the rail network.


The recently released document, New Era In Infrastructure Investment (Property Council of Australia 2011) is misleading in ranking the NWRL as having the greatest economic value to the NSW economy.  The report is based on the report Investment In Transport In NSW (Centre for International Economics 2011) which assumes 7 large infrastructure projects are complete by 2020 (Sydney Port Freight Links, NWRL, M4 East and tunnel to Botany, Light Rail Extensions, F3-M2 Link, PERL and Western Express, City Relief Line & Second Harbour Crossing).  It is extremely unlikely that all of these projects will be complete by 2020 and the report fails to consider the economic impact of NWRL dependent projects (Second Harbour Crossing & City Relief Line) not being complete by 2020.  The report admits that the benefits of these two dependent projects have not been considered which further questions of the value of both documents in determining future infrastructure investment in NSW.


There is significant concern that if the incoming State Government proceeds with the NWRL, then the likely impact upon PERL will be that it will be deferred for 15 to 20 years while the City Relief Line and Second Harbour Crossing rail projects are delivered to solve rail congestion created by the NWRL.


The NWRL continues the mono-centric focus on Sydney CBD which will result in ever increasing commute times and costly infrastructure to connect outer suburbs (Growth Areas), some 50km from Sydney CBD.  It was planned at a time when jobs growth was focused on Sydney CBD without any regard to the future growth of Parramatta.  There is a common misconception that the NWRL will service the NW Growth Area when in if fact the Western Line (Richmond Branch) passes through the heart of it while Rouse Hill on the NWRL is on its eastern edge.


It is suggested that the Hills Rail Link be considered as:

·   It defers the need for the Second Harbour Crossing, estimated as $8b, with PERL providing a connection to Macquarie Park and the North Shore. 

·   The residents of the Hills commute in equal numbers to Parramatta and to Sydney CBD’s.

·   It creates a poly-centric city of cities linking the NW with the closest regional city and Sydney’s second CBD – Parramatta.



6.  Hills Rail Link and it’s impact

The Hills Rail Link is proposed to link Rouse Hill to Parramatta using the NWRL alignment (Rouse Hill to Castle Hill) with a new rail link to Parramatta (under Windsor Rd).  See Rail Links to Parramatta Regional Map.  From the 2006 ABS data it is estimated that 20.0% (16,758) of commuters from the Hills could travel via the Hills Rail Link to Parramatta and beyond while 20.5% (17,176) could use the NWRL to Beecroft and beyond including Sydney CBD.  It is worth noting that the 10.6% (8,576) that travel to Sydney CBD could use the Hills Rail Link in the same time (see below). But the NWRL will not benefit the 11% (9,270) that travel to Parramatta daily from the Hills.  This rail link route better connects the North West commuters to jobs in Parramatta and Sydney CBD as well students to UWS, while in reverse it connects Western Sydney residents to jobs in the North West.


The estimated commute time from Castle Hill to Town Hall via the NWRL is 50 minutes and less than 50 minutes via the Hills Rail Link.  In addition, Parramatta is only 10 minutes from Castle Hill via the proposed Hills Rail Link.


The Hills Rail Link will:

·   Support growth in Parramatta city centre of 20,000 residents and 30,000 jobs.

·   Provide interchange at Parramatta with access to Sydney CBD, Western Sydney and South Western Sydney.

·   Provide a second city centre station at Parramatta North which will relieve Parramatta station – CityRail’s 4th busiest station.  Support the realisation of land use zoning controls in the northern half of the city centre, the existing high density residential and Parramatta Stadium.  Also provide interchange to/from Macquarie Park and the North Shore.

·   Provide a station at Northmead that will support the planned and existing high density residential development as well as the existing retail centre.

·   Provide a station at Baulkham Hills to support the existing centre.

·   Provide relief to existing traffic congestion on Windsor Road and Old Northern Rd.

·   Generate opportunities for Park & Ride at Winston Hills (M2/Windsor Rd) and Northmead (James Ruse Dr/Cumberland Highway).



7.  Impact of South West Rail Link (SWRL)

The completion of the SWRL (Glenfield to Leppington) allows the Cumberland Line to be reinstated with a half hourly service from Leppington to Blacktown via Parramatta.  This service was reduced to 5 trains a day in 2005 and reintroducing it provides residents in South West Sydney with direct access to jobs in Western Sydney.  It will also provide commuters with access to jobs in North West Sydney (via the Hills Rail Link) and the Global Arc (via PERL) and students to UWS and Macquarie University.



8.  Summary - Impact on Metropolitan Sydney

Sydney CBD is off-centre with Bondi less than 10km away on its eastern edge while Penrith on its western edge is nearly 60km away.  Parramatta is at the geographical centre of metropolitan Sydney.  See Rail Links to Parramatta Metro Map.


The amended Parramatta Epping Rail Link will not only connect Parramatta to Macquarie Park, but workers and students in Western Sydney and South West Sydney to UWS and the proposed Technology Park in Rydalmere, Macquarie Park and North Shore.  In reverse it will connect the Central Coast and the North Shore to Parramatta, Western Sydney, South West Sydney and the North West (via the Hills Rail Link).


The proposed Hills Rail Link will connect commuters and students in the North West to Parramatta, Rydalmere, Western Sydney, South West Sydney, Macquarie Park & the North Shore as well as Sydney CBD.


The reinstatement of the Cumberland Line will directly connect South West Sydney with Western Sydney via Parramatta and also provide access to jobs and education in the North West, Rydalmere (UWS), Macquarie Park and the North Shore.


These three rail links realise Parramatta’s position as the second CBD of Metropolitan Sydney with Parramatta providing an important gateway. It creates a poly-centric world city with Sydney in the east and Parramatta in the west.


Parramatta with strong regional public transport links will provide Sydney CBD with transport relief and allow it to grow without the need to significantly increase the peak travel capacity or infrastructure from the outlying western fringes including the NW and SW growth areas.  This poly-centric city model will provide metropolitan Sydney with the future infrastructure links needed to achieve sustainable growth of jobs, education and population. 





1.    Strategic Rail Advice to Parramatta City Council (SKM and JE 2011) – This report is confidential as it contains consultant recommendations on land zoning in Rydalmere.

2.    Integrated Transport Plan for Parramatta City Centre (PCC 2010)

3.    Updated Submission by the NSW State Government 2010 to Infrastructure Australia (Transport NSW 2010)

4.    Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036 (Department of Planning 2010)