Monday, May 28, 2012

JRPP Hearing on Affordable Housing Copeland Rd

We are delighted to advise that the Hornsby Shire Council recommends that Application DA 1305/2011, JRPP NO 2011SYW128, be refused!

No doubt the applicant will still make a strong presentation at the JRPP Hearing next week, and try to have the JRPP approve the application despite HSC's recommendation, so you should still aim to be there and have your say, if you can.

You can read the full HSC recommendation by going to the JRPP website and looking up JRPP NO 2011SYW128.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Trasport for NSW Response ref NRFC

Attached my response from Glenn Bentley, Project Director, NSFC Program. Everyone who submitted feedback should have received this by now.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

NWRL Submission

Submission by Kym Norley on NWRL Application SSI-5100 (Attachment 1) Page 1
Kym Norley SSI-5100 Attachment 1, 15 May 2012.
Submission by (Mr) Kym Norley on aspects of the North West Rail Link Major Civil Construction Works (Application Number SSI-5100)
This submission relates to two specific aspects of the proposed North West Rail Link,as follows:
1) An objection to building a new road through the Bushland Reserve for access to the Cheltenham emergency access and services facility; and
2) A solution to the issue of capacity for additional trains into the CBD.
I support the North West Rail Link as essential infrastructure for north western Sydney, regrettably well overdue. My submission is made as a resident of Beecroft and as a professional transport systems engineer and urban planner with 40 years’ experience. My observations regarding the Cheltenham facility relate to objection to the option of building a new access road through the Blackbutt Gully forest. This road is entirely unnecessary given that the M2 is immediately adjacent to the proposed facility. The observations relating to CBD access deal with the significant matter of the means by which the additional trains may service the CBD, and are intended as a contribution to the success of the Rail Link.
The Cheltenham emergency access facility
The tunnel between Epping and Cherrybrook is of a length that requires access at approximately the centre of this section for evacuation and services. The proponent intends to construct such a facility next to Cheltenham Oval, sacrificing the netball courts for this purpose. The site will also be used for removal of spoil during construction, requiring about 16 truck movements per day. It is assumed that the site will be remediated once construction is complete.
Two options for heavy vehicle access to the site are offered by the Environmental Assessment. One is to use the M2, which is immediately adjacent to the site. The other option is to build a 400m paved road through the Bushland Reserve to Kirkham St.
I submit that the option to build a new road through the Bushland Reserve to access the Cheltenham service facility and to use local streets for heavy vehicles is unacceptable.
The site proposed for the facility is a gazetted reserve and has been for over 100 years. The Blackbutt Gully forest of the Reserve remains in outstanding condition and contains trees of great significance and size. The area contains substantial biodiversity despite a large tract being annexed for the M2, and many mature trees were removed for its construction and current widening. The chosen site of the service facility proper using the Cheltenham oval and courts appears to minimise the take of mature trees, and is supported.
However building a new paved road through the forest for just 16 trucks per day is both unnecessary and less effective than direct access to the M2. The use of the M2 will avoid the destruction and it appears perfectly feasible. Furthermore the M2 option will not require heavy vehicles to use Kirkham Street and other local roads. In the case of an emergency evacuation, the M2 option would provide much better rapid response conditions than local streets.
Capacity into the central city
The matter of accommodating the additional trains from the North West is regularly raised publicly, in the media and most recently by Infrastructure Australia. It is usually referenced by statements to the effect that ‘the Bridge can only accommodate 20 trains per hour’, and that given the existing 18 peak hour paths only two North West peak trains can be accommodated unless a very expensive Harbour Tunnel is built.
My reason for raising this matter at this stage is because the alignment adopted after intense scrutiny in 2008 remains the subject of debate. I fully support the chosen alignment (the direct connection to the Epping Chatswood link at Epping) as being the least costly, simplest to operate and most direct. It appropriately directs trains to the ‘Global Economic Arc. It also avoids the inordinate intrusion of the former Beecroft dive proposal. However critics argue that there is limited spare capacity over the Harbour Bridge to accommodate trains from the North West.
I submit that the professed 20 trains per hour capacity limitation without a harbour tunnel is demonstrably incorrect, and that at least 26 trains per hour can be accommodated without major new infrastructure.
Attachment 2 to this submission is a peer-reviewed paper that I presented at last year’s Australasian Transport Research Forum explaining how it is possible to provide the cross-harbour capacity needed in the medium term, deferring an expensive harbour tunnel. In short, the Bridge is not the constraint on capacity; rather it is the loading and unloading times (dwell times) of Sydney’s trains at the major stations in the city, specifically Wynyard, Town Hall and Central. This is the problem that must be addressed, not the Bridge itself nor the trains. Sydney’s trains are well-suited to its geography and commuter market. A Paris or Hong Kong ‘Metro’ option with high standing loads, as proposed by some, is highly unattractive for such an application.
The paper proposes that existing platform faces that are either unused or underutilised at Wynyard, North Sydney and St Leonards be used to load trains from both sides of what would become island platforms. This configuration was anticipated by John Bradfield in planning the City Railway and is used to good effect internationally. The extensive Paris suburban railway Réseau Express Régional
(RER) network (which is not the Metro), has such a configuration and it uses double deck trains similar to CityRail’s. RER’s Line A operates at 30 trains per hour in the peak on what is essentially a two track railway other than at selected stations. It carries more people on that line alone than the whole of CityRail.
Utilising these techniques in the context of the North West Rail Link would require:
1) Quadruplicating the section from Chatswood to St Leonards, inclusive. All formation and structures for this already exist, however Artarmon Station would need to be duplicated.
2) Fully utilising the existing four platforms at North Sydney as through platforms. The centre platforms are presently used only for terminating a limited number of trains for stabling or turning back and are speed restricted.
3) Opening the existing unused platforms (numbers 1 and 2) at Wynyard (the so-called‘tram tunnels’ presently used as a car park) as a turn-back, and linking them to the existing Bridge approach.
This would allow at least 26 trains per hour to reach Wynyard. To extend this to Town Hall would require new tunnels and platforms at Town Hall. However as the additional capacity is only needed during the peak, and light rail and other connections will be available at Wynyard, this situation is tolerable. The prime candidates for trains turned back would be the Central Coast trains that use the Bridge, as these are primarily intended to serve Macquarie Park and the North Shore.
While the scheme described above will work without additional infrastructure it could be further improved extending the quad track to Milsons Point in order to provide some redundancy, so limiting the two track configuration to the Bridge span itself and the lightly used stations at Waverton and Wollstonecraft. This is best undertaken by moving one track (the present up track) to the eastern side of the Bridge such that the redundant toll lanes can be used to duplicate Milsons Point station. A slight adjustment to the former station footprint is needed to maintain the
width of the road a carriageway, and the rail bridge that once spanned the road approach would need to be restored. The advantages of this arrangement include:
1) Redundancy to allow for out-of-time running in this key section
2) Simplifying the tunnelling needed to link Wynyard station to the Bridge
3) Opening the possibility of a turn-back for trains from the western lines under the Bridge approach lanes, were additional platforms at Town Hall to be feasible.
It should be noted that, whether or not new platforms are built at Milsons Point, the number of road lanes over the Bridge would be maintained as now. The Milsons Point station configuration suggested is entirely consistent with the Bridge’s heritage and entails no intrusion on to adjoining open space. Some minor parking space would be lost.
Kym Norley BTech MTP FIEAust

Thursday, May 10, 2012

NRFC - NationbuildingProgram

Alex Sell of the Northern Rail Noise Committee sent this excellent letter to Mr Wood, General Manager of the Rail and Intermodal Branch of the NBP. This Branch is responsible for rail policy, management of the rail investment program, regulation reform issues and oversight of the Australian Rail Track Corporation. I post it here because it expresses so well concerns of many Beecroft and Cheltenham residents.

Mr Wood:

Thank you for your time today on the telephone. I promised to send you a summary of the position that the residents confronted with the Epping – Thornleigh Third Line are faced with, which I believe ought to be brought to the attention of the Minister on the grounds that the Commonwealth is funding three-quarters of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Project.

If it is the case, I do not think it is acceptable for the Commonwealth to be taking a position with respect to environmental issues that seeks to satisfy itself that such matters are being appropriately addressed by axiomatic reference to position that the States (sic) have environmental considerations enshrined in their planning and infrastructure guidelines. Notwithstanding whether those have been established by the will of their Parliaments, as you suggested. That might an appropriate stance were the funding exclusively or predominantly coming from the State concerned but that is not the case in this situation.

Indeed, it is precisely for this reason that I drew your attention to the interim and shortly final rail infrastructure construction guidelines. These contain both structural and policy setting flaws – quite intentional, we believe – from an environmental perspective as to be an insult to the communities that they purport to acknowledge. Specifically, (1) they are ‘guidelines’; just as the broader regulatory regime as it applies to rail freight–related pollution rather than any mandatory dimension (2) the settings for the guidelines are so low by any measure as to be meaningless. (Indeed, the trigger levels fall very short of WHO guidelines, something that the NSW Chief Medical Officer has brought to the attention of CEOs of both Railcorp and the NSW Environmental Protection Agency.)

Residents are presently considering a class action against extant freight train pollution, noting that we are facing 24-hour a day exposure to noise in the range of 90-108db; respiratory disease from asbestosis from freight train brake pads and diesel loco emissions; and, psychological damage because of the savageness, intrusiveness and frequency of the freight train movements.

Residents recognise that with economic growth comes the need for changes to intermodal freight capacity but the current arrangements are ill-conceived and a symptom of the dysfunctional planning arrangements both within and between State and Federal governments, all too a function of political cycles rather than long-term planning. Indeed, estimates by a resident qualified to make such calculations, suggest that the increases in both rail and road borne freight will render the capacity contemplated to be sated within two decades. A poor return on your/our investment!

In short, I would be obliged if you could have the Minister consider more robustly the environmental impacts rather than relying on flawed arrangements at a State level as a defence in this regard. And, further, to encourage the Minister and other stakeholders to become far more imaginative and bold when it comes to infrastructure planning. At present, no one is winning – communities; taxpayers; commerce.

Once again, thank you for coming back to me following my representation to the Mr Albanese’s office.


Alex Sell

Learn more at their website,

Mr Wood's phone number is 02 6274 6066.

NRFC Third Rail Protests

Concerned residents of Beecroft / Cheltenham will be manning a stall in Beecroft Shopping Village on Saturday. Please come along to chat and learn, and to register your concerns and find out how most effectively to express your concerns to the authorities.

The latest threat is that we have seen plans for a fourth rail to be installed later, and all the Third Rail project team will say is that the Third Rail Project is only planning the one new rail. See their reply, and our concerns, in the post below.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Third Rail Line through Beecroft/Cheltenham

The BCCT found a document saying a fourth unwired (ie diesel hauled freight) line was being planned for the future. In response to a query asking whether this was true, Transport for NSW responded as follows:

I can confirm the Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Project is only for the construction of a third electrified track.

The provision of four tracks (for shared freight and passenger use and/or four tracks for dedicated freight and passenger use) was considered in the State Significant Infrastructure Application Support Document (page 16, section 3.4.1). However as you’d be aware, these were just two of a number of alternate options discounted during the options development and assessment phase because they did not meet the function requirements specified for freight option or additional costs were not justified based on the benefit provided.

The design of our project will seek where practicable not to preclude any potential future projects within the rail corridor, and this design is undertaken in consultation with the rail operator (RailCorp). This is standard practice with modern rail infrastructure projects to ensure that any future impacts on the community and rail passengers are minimised.

If you have any other questions or comments please let me know.

Kind regards

Kelly Potts
Public Affairs Officer
Transport Projects
Transport for NSW

Self evidently the "Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Project" is concerned only with the third rail. However this reply seems to leave the option open to add the fourth rail at a later date, perhaps titled the "Epping to Thornleigh Fourth Track Project" in a few years time. We are trying to get a definitive denial of this possibility, but I doubt we will be given one that we can trust. "No carbon tax during my government", said someone a year or so ago.

Bear this possible future development in mind when you consider the long term impact of the present Epping to Thornleigh Third Track Project.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rail Freight Corridor Proposal - Have your say

On Monday 23 April, Transport for NSW has conducted a community information session at the Cheltenham Recreation Club on the proposed Northern Sydney Freight Corridor – Epping to Thornleigh Third Track. This proposes a third rail track on the western side of the existing rail tracks between Epping and Thornleigh which will have serious impacts on the communities of Beecroft and Cheltenham as well as all communities along the proposed corridor from North Strathfield to Gosford. It is a short term measure, not a long term solution.
You are encouraged to give feedback, suggestions and comments for consideration in the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by Friday 4 May. The EIS will be published later in the year and formal submissions will be required at that time as well.
You may make your comments known before Friday 4 May by email to or downloading a feedback form from or phoning Transport for NSW on 1800 684 490. Copy your feedback to Greg Smith epping@parliament.nsw and Philip Ruddock
We will be affected in the following ways. You may use these points to prepare your objections.
Noise and Pollution. Freight train movements will increase from 29 to 44 per day. Noise levels from freight trains are already unacceptable and will be more prevalent. It will be impossible to insulate against such noise and noise barriers in this terrain would be ineffective and attract graffiti. Our community will suffer:
• More frequent noise from old poorly maintained diesel locomotives
• More frequent flange squeal from freight trains on tight curves
• Resulting sleep deprivation, stress and adverse health consequences
• Pollution from emissions and brake dust.
The Rail Alignment. The steep curve between Beecroft and Pennant Hills, known as the Beecroft Bank, is not suitable for the long freight wagons. The proposed track cannot address the noise problems and flange squeal associated with this. The possibility of derailment is a safety issue. Diesel locomotives are energy consuming and inefficient especially on this old 19th Century track alignment. There will be considerable disruption with retrofitting a new line into the existing heavily used rail corridor.
Cheltenham Station. The placement of the third line on the western side of the platform will require a free standing overhead bridge with lifts to the platforms. This is unacceptable because of:
• The visual impact of the proposed overhead bridge with lifts to the platforms.
• The need for stairs and or ramps in case of lift breakdown and to meet statutory disability requirements
• the lengthening of the car park on the western side to Lyne Road goes through an area subject to flooding.
Beecroft Station. There is no plan to upgrade Beecroft Station. Beecroft will be impacted by:
• The loss of trees of high heritage value, Blue Gum High Forest and wild life corridors which will impact on the last remaining Gang Gang Cockatoo population in Sydney.
• The loss of community facilities including the children’s playground, scout hall and parkland.
The Western Option is the only solution. A combined road/rail link between the M7 in Western Sydney and the F3 north of the Hawkesbury River is needed.
• It is a more direct route from sea ports to western Sydney and further north
• It can be engineered with less steep grades and fewer curves which will reduce energy use and carbon output and improve economic efficiency.
• It interfaces more directly with road freight network
• It gets road and rail freight out of residential areas and will reduce road freight on Pennant Hills Road
• It provides another bridge over the Hawkesbury River for rail and road which is needed for national security and in case of bushfires, accidents and other emergencies.
PLEASE ACT NOW. Thank you, Carolyn Watt on behalf of the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust