Sutherland Light Rail Tramways for the 21st Century
Modern Tramways like all forms of technology has advanced and is a far cry from the days of what were supposedly slow and cumbersome means of Transportation that were abandoned in favour of a pneumatic, oil filled bus.
As with heavy Railway Lines throughout New South Wales and the rest of Australia Government’s are loathe to Upgrade, Expand, Electrify, Duplicate these vital pieces of infrastructure so that Regional Towns and Cities can be linked and in many cases brought back to life.
Railway corridors allow for Water Pipelines and Broadband Cables to be provided at a price many Billions of Dollars cheaper to meet the needs and challenges that Australia faces over the next 50 years.
The New South Wales Government is quite happy to have Buses built lock, stock and barrel in Sydney and New South Wales but when it comes to Railway Rolling Stock it is a different matter. Currently Railway and Tramway Rolling Stock is simply imported into Australia and assembled in New South Wales.
All Railway and Tramway Rolling Stock should be built lock, stock and barrel in New South Wales and in other States or Territories of Australia.
Sutherland Shire Council is currently in the process of beautifying the Sutherland Shopping Centre and is to be commended for that.
The one issue that like so many other communities is the apparent divide a Railway Line causes to a Shopping Centre. The reality is that the Railway and Tramway built that particular community.
The Railway Bridge at Sutherland Station is two directional and the exit and entry points to the bridge on the Eastern or Old Princes Highway side of the line is narrow and congested.
As is the case in many places the roads, bridges and railway lines are administered by different bodies and everyone protects their particular patch and budget.
The Railway corridor and Bridge is administered by RailCorp, the Old Princes Highway and President Avenue is administered by the Roads and Traffic Authority and Flora, Eton and Boyle Streets are administered by Sutherland Shire Council.
The congestion on Old Princes Highway and the Railway Bridge is chronic and has been given token consideration given that no one wants to spend money that should be spent by someone else.
The local shops on Old Princes Highway have much needed car parking next to the two lanes Old Princes Highway.
The solution to the congestion around Old Princes Highway and the Bridge appears to be quite simple. The flow of traffic on Old Princes Highway at the point of the Eton Street roundabout should be directed down Eton Street to President Avenue and then back on Old Princes Highway in a Northerly direction and up onto the Bridge.
The benefits to this would allow shoppers in the car park better access to the carpark and as there would only be one direction of traffic light phasing the flow of traffic would be faster. This in turn would allow Old Princes Highway traffic between President Avenue and the Bridge to flow more effectively and any backlog on President Avenue and Eton Street would be minimal.
The cost of these changes to traffic flow would be minimal but the flow of the traffic would be more effective.
Southbound traffic on Old Princes Highway at the intersection of Eton Street should have a stop line before Flora Street at the intersection when the Tramlines for Flora Street are built. Currently the Stop line is beyond the Flora Street intersection and the existing road markings and layout makes for hazardous conditions for both pedestrians and motorists.
Community Benefits and Concerns
• Provide a fast user friendly environmentally responsible mode of transport for the 21st Century.
• The Sydney Tramway Museum is well placed to be the Tramway Depot/Maintenance Centre.
• The operator of the existing Sydney Light Rail Line could apply through a Public Tender Process to operate services on the new network given the way in which the Light Rail Line now successfully moves people.
• Heritage Trams can be easily adapted to operate alongside the Raised Super Stops.
• Tracks will be dual operation set in mass concrete.
• Raised Super Stops as the case at Flinders/Swanston Street Melbourne Stop will be laid out with tram tracks on either side of the platform.
• Raised Super Stops allows mothers with strollers, the elderly and disabled to use the new trams easily with low floor entry.
• The workings of the tramcars are set in the roof of the vehicle.
• Road Rules will not require alteration or a return to the days when all traffic had to stop when a tram stopped. This is largely because the platforms will be island formation and make for a faster movement of passengers when alighting or disembarking.
• Traffic signalling will have T signals as per the case in Sydney where the Tram line crosses George Street and Darling Drive.
• Island platforms are a safer means for passengers alighting and disembarking instead of boarding from the street curb.
• There will not be a need to install Central Tram Fairways down the middle of Streets given the modern island nature of the Raised Super Stop.
• The need for Bus Lanes stops people from parking legally to go to the shops.
• The Sutherland System has potential to be extended however this should not be at the expense of Heavy Rail expansion.
• Tramway Junctions will be operated by the driver and not require Conductors to get out of the tram and flick the points with a metal pole.
Melbourne currently has four Tram/Train Crossings* these being at:
• Glenhuntly Road Glenhuntly
• Glenferrie Road Kooyong
• Riversdale Road Camberwell
• Burke Road Gardiner Still in use – note tramway closed during construction of SE Arterial (now Monash Freeway) Burke Road overbridge.
*Courtesy Hawthorn Tram Depot Website.
Financing of the construction of the Newcastle Tramway system will come from a variety of sources similar to the funding formula for the long overdue expansion requirements of the New South Wales Railways.
• Commonwealth Funding Assistance
• State Government Funding Assistance
• Private Consortium Involvement and Possible Operation
• Raised Super Stops to include advertising
• Railway/Tramway Bonds guaranteed by the NSW Treasury
• Railway/Tramway Lottery administered by the NSW Government
• Tramway Trust Fund administered by the NSW Department of Transport
The operation of the tramway system and contracts for the advertising at Raised Super Stops will be open to public tender.
Melbourne’s Tramway operations were funded and managed by various local councils such as:
• Prahran and Malvern Tramways Trust
• Hawthorn Tramways Trust
• Melbourne, Brunswick and Coburg Tramways Trust
• Fitzroy, Northcote and Preston Tramways Trust
• Footscray Tramway Trust
• Northcote Municipality Cable Tramways
This situation ceased to exist when the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board (MMTB) was formed following the passing of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Act 1918 through the Victoria Parliament. By 1920 most of the Tramway Trusts were transferred to the MMTB.
Given that tramways overlap council boundaries easily it is the NSW Department of Transport who is best placed to administer the Tramways Trust Fund in consultation with the NSW Treasury.
The NSW Fahey Liberal/National Government commenced construction of Sydney’s current Light Rail line. NSW Premier Bob Carr opened the Central-Wentworth Park Line in 1997 and the extension to Lilyfield was completed in 2000.
The Sutherland Tramways would have 2 different routes operating in each direction and numbered for ease of patronage. Each route will have a line colour associated for ease of use and each of the Raised Super Stops will be numbered with signage that will also indicate the cross-street at which the stop is nearest to. Next Tram Time running will be indicated electronically on signage at each stop as is the case in Melbourne.
The full list of Routes with Stop Numbers can be found on www.isput.com.au. The maps are easily downloaded in PDF version.
Route 1 will commence from the Sydney Tramway Museum and is as follows:
Route 1- Services the Royal National Park, Sydney Tramway Museum and the Sutherland Shopping Centre.
Route 2 will commence from the Sydney Tramway Museum and is as follows:
Route 2- Services Sutherland, Sydney Tramway Museum and the Royal National Park.