The Minns Labor Government will deliver the final section of the City & Southwest Metro by committing to the upgrade and conversion of the T3 Bankstown Line to metro standards.
The Government’s decision to complete the project comes after a responsible and careful decision-making process, informed by the recommendations made in the interim report of the Sydney Metro Independent Review.
The Government will commit up to a further $1.1 billion from existing transport budgets, including Sydney Metro, to deliver the project and begin the difficult process of converting the existing T3 Line – which is more than a century old – into a 21st century high-tech metro line.
The decision to salvage Sydney Metro City & Southwest means South West Sydney residents will receive the essential services and increased service frequency they need and deserve.
The latest advice to government suggests the conversion is expected to take up to 12 months and is anticipated to commence between July and October 2024.
Upon taking office, the Minns Government was advised the conversion and shutdown could last up to 15 months, which was not disclosed to the public by the former government.
Sydney Metro is aiming to provide fast, reliable turn-up-and-go services from Sydenham to Bankstown in late 2025, after the conversion period which includes the necessary testing.
The Minns Labor Government is committed to being transparent with the public about risks to these timeframes, noting the unique and significant challenge involved in converting a century-old railway to modern metro standard.
The Government recognises that the shutdown of the T3 Line during the conversion will be painful for tens of thousands of passengers across the South West.
Transport for NSW and Sydney Metro are currently developing a comprehensive temporary transport plan to service passengers along the line for the duration of the shutdown.
This will not simply be a plan for rail replacement buses. It will include dedicated, frequent bus routes, including express services.
Transport is also looking at ways of using the T3 Line from Bankstown to Lidcombe to convey passengers to the CBD.
The Sydenham to Chatswood section of the City & Southwest Metro is also on track to open in mid-2024. This will provide more frequent services for passengers and reduce existing pressure on the City Circle.
The Government’s commitment comes after the interim report of the Sydney Metro Independent Review.
Independent reviewers Amanda Yeates and Mike Mrdak have delivered their interim findings to the NSW Government, which focuses largely on the City & Southwest project due to its critical stage of delivery.
The Review’s findings include:
• The conversion of the T3 Bankstown Line to metro standards should continue as it delivers significant benefits across the transport network.
• The final conversion of the T3 Bankstown Line is likely to require a shutdown of up to 12 months, with a target commencement of between July and October 2024.
• Sydney Metro and Transport for NSW will develop a comprehensive temporary transport plan to support the shutdown, which includes extensive communication with the affected communities along the line.
• The delivery of the City & Southwest project is likely to require an increase to the funding envelope of up to approximately $1.1b, but that the agency should not pursue “acceleration at all costs”.
The reviewers have also highlighted the previous government’s failure to take advantage of the housing supply boost that the Sydney Metro project can provide.
Further considerations for the next phase of the Sydney Metro Independent Review will include analysis of forecast final costs for all projects, an assessment of the impacts of the current Australian infrastructure market and capacity, and priorities for future extensions.
The next phase of the review will also assess the value for money of the existing Sydney Metro West scope.
The Sydney Metro Independent Review interim report summary can be found here:
NSW Premier Chris Minns said:
“Today our government is announcing that we will proceed with the Sydenham to Bankstown conversion.
“This is something that the Liberals were never able to do. They had no idea how they were going to deliver this project. They considered cancelling it over and over again.
“We’re also announcing that the Sydenham to Chatswood section of the metro is on track to open in 2024.
“That means more than just a train every four minutes. It takes a massive amount of pressure off the city circle so we can run more train services on other train lines.”
NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen said:
“Currently, some stations on the Bankstown Line receive four trains an hour in the peak. When this section of the metro is completed, they will receive a train every four minutes. That’s a massive increase in services.
“And while the conversion won’t be easy, we’ve come up with a solution that will get it done in up to twelve months instead of the original timeline of fifteen to eighteen months.
“Because we’ve taken the time to plan this section of the project properly, we’ll be able to deliver metro services quicker, and ease the pain caused by converting the line.
“There is a lot of work still to do, but our commitment to the full City & Southwest project scope is an important first step.
“The former government grossly underestimated the complexity of this work and were not upfront with the community. This changes now.”
Sydney Metro Chief Executive Peter Regan said:
“We welcome the expertise of the independent reviewers and the time and care taken to understand the complexity of the Sydney Metro program.
“This is an important reset of the project. While we understand this disruption will be difficult for passengers and the community, significant work has been done to minimise the level of disruption while we deliver this transformational new service.
“We are laser focused on opening the City section between Chatswood and Sydenham next year and look forward to welcoming passengers on board.”
Premier of New South Wales
Minister for Transport