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Govt has 'tunnel vision' on North West Rail Link: Greens
05/07/2012 - The NSW government's decision to bore smaller tunnels for Sydney's biggest rail project in decades shows it is not planning for the future, the Greens say.
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Tunnels for the North West Rail Link will have an internal diameter of 6.1 metres when they are completed in four years, Fairfax reports.
This has sparked fears most existing trains on the network will not fit in the tunnels, ruling out an integrated system and other future transport options.
"At the very least the government should be leaving open the option of high-capacity trains," NSW Greens transport representative Cate Faehrmann said in a statement on Wednesday.
"A relatively small investment now to make the tunnel big enough will pay big dividends down the line when increases in capacity become urgent."
The government also plans to connect the link with a crossing for Sydney Harbour, but Faehrmann said it would not be able to carry existing double-decker trains.
"Future integration with the rest of the system will also be damaged, because if the second harbour crossing ends up single deck as well, there will be no room for capacity increases on existing lines in the west and north of Sydney," she said.
The government told Fairfax the tunnels were not about saving money. They had been designed to suit smaller, single-decker train carriages under a metro-style system planned for the link.
Tunnel boring is due to begin in 2014.
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