On track for transport chaos next year

The closure of the T1 Northern Line Epping to Chatswood railway line at the end of 2018 for upgrades, has angered regular users who say their journeys to the CBD will be 50% longer.

Now they’re pressing Transport for NSW to spill the beans on what appears to be a closely-guarded secret about arrangements for commuters during the closure.

Transport for NSW says details will be forthcoming later this year about arrangements during the Metro Tunnel construction.

As it stands Thornleigh, Pennant Hills and Normanhurst commuters can hop on one train all the way to town – but it’s about to change with them having to get to the CBD via a train swap at Strathfield.

Noel Oxley, from the Pennant Hills Civic Trust, said local commuters have been pleading for years with the government to find out details of the closure plans, to no avail.

“The belief of people in Pennant Hills is that Transport for NSW knows what the plans are but don’t want to release them because of the anger it will cause.

“At the moment it’s one train to the city which takes 50 minutes. We think it will become two trains taking at least 70 minutes, making it a worse service that the one this line had 100 years ago when the Pennant Hills to Central line was just one train.

“We want Transport for NSW to come out with a definitive statement so we know what’s going on.”

For the Temporary Transport Plan TfNSW has devised, buses are due to replace trains for the seven-month closure between Chatswood and Epping. After this, there will be around 15 trains an hour in both directions during peak hour, quadrupling the number of trains currently serving this stretch of line during its busiest times.

There will be extra bus stops, bus shelters and seats and some on-street car parking temporarily removed to make way for extra bus parking. “We recognise the impacts the temporary transport plan will have on people’s daily lives,” said a Sydney Metro spokesperson.

On the temporary bus routes he said: “Because of the comparative speed of trains over buses, customers can expect longer journey times. A fleet of around 75 buses will be provided, operating about 160 services each weekday morning period and about 170 services each afternoon/evening. Fares will be based on the normal rail fares that customers would usually pay.”

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