Thursday, June 10, 2010

Light rail - or Sydney goes Back to the Future. I'm not saying this is a bad idea, but...

More than likely throwing out the tram network in Sydney back in the '50s (last trip '61) was a bad idea, but re-laying it will-nilly doesn't make much sense either. Just like when we laid the trams tracks in the first place it's local lobbying that is pushing the local barrow for funding, in total ignorance of the bigger picture. Sure, starting with the old heavy rail goods line infrastructure is not a bad plan - it's cheaper than starting from scratch - but it does ignore every other area of Sydney. How about assessing where light-rail is needed, wanted and would be used, rather than just pushing for an extension of the cheapest option?

I'm also not sure what some of these local members are wanting, or even saying... a light rail from Cronulla to the City via Kogarah duplicates the current heavy rail but - admittedly - also captures a few areas covered only by bus or car and would supplement the heavy rail. But there are many areas of Sydney with no heavy rail at all and arguably greater need. And when a local MP says that "the infrastructure is in place" and that all you need is to lay some track you have to wonder what they think "infrastructure" may mean. Umm, things like track, perhaps? Light rail stations? The land to put it on? The rolling stock and maintenance sheds? Oh that's all sitting idle just waiting for some track! Sure it is.    

Light rail a ticket to votes as other MPs push for new services
Ms Burton also proposes a light rail line from Cronulla through her electorate to Martin Place in Sydney. ''The infrastructure is already in place and all that is needed is to lay the track,'' she said.

1 comment:

Simon said...

The focus seems to be ensuring no cars are inconvenienced, which basically rules them out from anywhere except where you can cannibalise goods lines.

But if you were willing to inconvenience cars, you could solve much of the problems anyway with metro-frequency bus services and bus-only lanes along the entire length of the bus routes. Much cheaper and much more flexible than light rail.