Scoping study of rail needs for Western Sydney

Terms of reference

Context

The Australian and NSW governments have respectively identified Western Sydney as a region for substantial population, commercial and infrastructure growth over coming decades.

Servicing Western Sydney and the proposed Western Sydney Airport with appropriate transport options that best meet customer needs requires integrated planning at all levels of government.

The Australian and NSW governments have agreed to undertake a joint study to define the need, timing and service options for rail investment to service Western Sydney and Western Sydney Airport. This will form a key part of the NSW Government's planning and investment strategy for the Sydney region and the Australian Government's planning for rail service connections for a Western Sydney Airport.

This scoping study will build on the work already undertaken by the NSW Government in its Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan and the Australian Government in its Draft Airport Plan for a Western Sydney Airport.

Objectives

The objectives of the scoping study are to:

  • Determine the rail service needs of Western Sydney from the commencement of operations of a Western Sydney Airport (scheduled for mid-2020s), taking into account the ground transport needs of:
    • a Western Sydney Airport, and
    • Western Sydney, generally
  • Determine the longer term rail service needs of Western Sydney
  • Identify and consider the broad options to address these rail needs, and recommend the options for more detailed assessment and development

Scope

The scope of the study will include the following:

  • Review existing plans for developing Western Sydney and a Western Sydney Airport, and the associated forecasts of population growth and aviation demand
  • Review existing literature on the assessment of ground transport needs and solutions for Western Sydney and a Western Sydney Airport
  • Review existing plans for expanding transport infrastructure to service Western Sydney
  • Assess the role rail is likely to play in meeting the future ground transport needs of Western Sydney
  • Review the evidence base of customer needs and preferences to determine the characteristics and features that a rail service for Western Sydney needs to be attractive to customers to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction
  • Review and recommend the key policy settings to ensure successful integration of this rail service with Sydney's public transport network including Opal Card fares, service type and interchange requirements
  • Identify and assess a range of rail service solutions to meet these needs, including different rail connections, travel speeds and train service types. The types of solutions to be considered should include, but not be limited to:
    • extending the existing South West Rail Link,
    • extending other elements of the metro rail network, and
    • developing a dedicated airport express service between a Western Sydney Airport and a key transport hub in the Sydney basin
  • Conduct an initial assessment of the relative benefits and impacts of each option
  • Consider funding and financing options, including options for the application of value-capture mechanisms
  • Prepare a discussion paper summarising the above reviews and assessments and call for public submissions
  • Consider the public submissions and prepare a report that summarises the scoping study findings and recommends next steps

Governance

The scoping study will be overseen by a Steering Committee co-chaired by:

  • Deputy Secretary, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
  • Deputy Secretary for Freight, Strategy and Planning, Transport for New South Wales

The committee will meet on a monthly basis to review the progress of the study. The committee members will include:

  • Deputy Secretary, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (Co-Chair)
  • Deputy Secretary for Freight, Strategy and Planning, Transport for New South Wales (Co-Chair)
  • Executive Director, Western Sydney Unit, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
  • Executive Director, Transport Networks, Transport for New South Wales

Timing

The scoping study is expected to take up to 12 months. The discussion paper on the rail needs for Western Sydney is expected to be released for public consideration in the first half of 2016, and the final report on the study is expected to be completed in late 2016.

Consultation

A reference group including community, industry and local government representatives will also be established to provide guidance and feedback on the study. A discussion paper will be issued for public consultation.

Endorsement

Endorsed by:

Tim Reardon
Secretary
Transport for New South Wales
New South Wales Government

Mike Mrdak
Secretary
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
Australian Government