Crowding on trains along Sydney’s western rail spine worsens

OF course the heavy rail network will continue to carry the vast bulk of commuters … even after new metro lines open … because it covers the greater part of Sydney …

THAT is why more $$ should be invested in the heavy rail network … but we know what the Metro is about … more $$ for MTR and high density development and those with related Share Portfolios, Beryl?

OUR Heavy Rail Network, of course, is more affordable than Toll Roads … where can commuters find the $$ to pay for road tolls with the lowest wages growth?

The obvious solution is for the Scomo Grubmnt to cut immigration and stop Visa Manipulation …

SEARCH CAAN WEBSITE to find more on these issues!

Crowding on trains along Sydney’s western rail spine worsens

By Matt O’Sullivan and Nigel Gladstone

November 4, 2019

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Passenger crowding on trains travelling along Sydney’s western rail spine to the city during the morning peak has worsened significantly over the past year, underscoring the need for major investment in the ageing network.

Half of suburban lines have at least some trains unable to fit more passengers on during the busiest hour of the peak from 8am to 9am, figures from the state’s transport agency show.

Trains on the busiest line, the T1 Western, recorded average passenger loads of 150 per cent during the morning peak in March, up from 139 per cent a year earlier.

Patronage on Sydney's rail network is surging.
Patronage on Sydney’s rail network is surging.CREDIT:RYAN STUART

Major relief to surging demand on the Western Line is a decade away when a $20 billion metro rail line carrying single-deck trains between central Sydney and Parramatta is due to open.

Crowding has also worsened on the T8 Airport and T4 Illawarra lines through the south during the morning peak.

The airport line recorded average loads of 148 per cent in March, up from 135 per cent a year earlier, due in part to a population boom in suburbs around the Green Square and Mascot stations.

Crunch time on Sydney trains

Average passenger loads on trains during morning peak*


March 2018 Average load March 2019 Average load

*Average and maximum train loads by line between 8am and 9am

A load factor of 100 per cent means there is a seat for each passenger. At 135 per cent, passengers experience crowding and on-time running can be impacted. Source: Transport for NSW

Passengers start to experience overcrowding when trains reach loads of 135 per cent, which is the benchmark used by officials. A maximum train load is defined as 180 per cent.

The average number of passengers on the T1 Western line during the busiest hour of a weekday morning rose almost 9 per cent to 20,731 in March, compared with a year earlier.

The government has cited patronage growth on the western line as grounds for building the Metro West from the city to Parramatta.

*But Mathew Hounsell, a transport data analyst at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, said the rail network was desperately in need of investment as it would continue to carry the vast bulk of commuters, even after new metro lines were opened.

“The metro will help move people around the new areas but the heavy rail system is still the heavy lifter and it is already under strain,” he said.

Mr Hounsell said patronage on the airport and Illawarra lines also demonstrated the need for extra trains to cope with population growth.

“People are turning to trains to get around the city and that is causing crowding,” he said.

Transport for NSW said the government was investing at record levels to increase rail capacity in response to demand, citing the construction of metro lines and a “continued focus on the existing rail system”.

The agency said a multibillion-dollar rail project using digital systems technology would enable Sydney Trains to boost services on lines such as the Illawarra, Airport and Western lines.


Loads on Sydney's train lines.

Brad leaves home at 6.30am to avoid the crush. Is it early enough?

The Berejiklian government promised ahead of the state election in March to put on eight extra express trains on the Western Line during the weekday peaks. However, those additional services are at least 18 months away.

Matt O’Sullivan

Matt O’Sullivan is the Transport Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Nigel Gladstone

Nigel Gladstone is The Sydney Morning Herald’s data journalist.

Patronage on Sydney's rail network is surging.