There’s no doubt the North West Rail Link is a game changer for the prosperity of people in Sydney; specifically North Western Sydney. Its operation will fundamentally change travel patterns and accessibility arrangements.
In addition, Badgerys Creek is going to be an enormous boost for Western Sydney and a catalyst for substantial investment in road and rail transport infrastructure.
So how are these pockets of infrastructure going to come together and unleash benefits to the whole of Sydney? I recently caught up with Tom Gellibrand, Deputy Project Director at North West Rail Link, to gain some insight on the greater impact of transport investment.
Tom and his team are responsible for the integration of the new rapid transit network into the wider transport network.
“We are identifying the best way of integrating the North West Rail Link into other modes.
“We’re working with agencies in government to make sure that our service is integrated with all transport modes. We’re working with Roads and Maritime Servicesand road improvements are going to be integrated with our service – they will complement each other.
“In the physical dimension, our designs accommodate for bikes, pedestrians, taxis, buses, commuter car parking – all connecting together at a precinct level.
“We’ve got a modal hierarchy for our precincts which puts the pedestrians first, then cyclists, buses, taxis, tap and ride, and commuter car parking.”
To release the highest value benefit from the project, all stations, precinct areas and adjoining urban development will be linked into stations to provide long term benefits – a task which Tom explains has a few key challenges:
“At a physical level, that means how and where you’re actually constructing the roads and creating those links. From the planning side, it’s looking at land use and activating precincts with commercial activities. That will make them destinations onto themselves.
“It’s going really well, but it is invariably a challenge, because we’re a transport provider and will need to work with other organisations responsible for land use planning.”
“We can build the train line and run the train at a a reliably high frequency, but we have to make sure that the urban form and future development capitalises on that investment. It’s one of our critical success factors.”
In addition to urban regeneration, the project will also be accommodate the government’s plans to hit the growth in housing and employment objective:
“The railway line itself traverses a number of really key centres including Rouse Hill, Norwest Business Park, Castle Hill, Epping, Macquarie Uni, Macquarie Park down to Chatswood.
“The level of service is going to increase the attractiveness of these centres for people to work in. In terms of future growth in employment; it’s highly likely that the centres will become increasingly attractive for people to invest in.
“We expect a significant increase in the growth or housing and employment along the North West Rail Link.”
The project is on track to have all major contracts signed by the end of 2014. The next tangible milestone for the community will be the commencement of the tunnel boring machines in late 2014.
Hear more from Tom and the the Key players involved in Sydney’s infrastructure future during NSW infrastructure in September.