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Syd 'metro' train system may take 20 years to complete
21/06/2012 - Sydney will get a single-decker metro-style train system and a new harbour tunnel in an effort to speed up commuter journeys and ease pressure on the city's public transport system.
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But the state government admits it has no idea how much the new tunnel will cost and says the work may take 20 years.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian and Premier Barry O'Farrell unveiled the plans on Wednesday, with the metro system to operate on the planned North West Rail Link to Rouse Hill.
Passengers travelling from the northwest will have to change trains at Chatswood before arriving in the city.
The new rapid system, with services every five minutes and a 60 per cent increase in trains travelling into the CBD, will then extend to Hurstville in the south and Cabramatta to the west.
Berejiklian also announced that the North West Rail Link would be privately operated.
She was unable to say how much the new harbour tunnel, which would carry the metro trains to the city, would cost or when it would be built.
"When I've done sufficient homework on how much it will cost, I will tell you," she told reporters.
Asked if the tunnel would be built no matter how expensive, Berejiklian replied, "Correct".
Premier Barry O'Farrell conceded that the length of time it would take to build the upgrades was frustrating.
Tunnel boring is due to begin on the north west line in 2014 and the tender process to create parts of the link, estimated to have a total cost of between $7.5 billion and $8.5 billion, was opened on Wednesday.
"It takes time to build rail lines. That frustrates me as much as those people in the northwest who were promised an operation service by 2010," O'Farrell added.
But he said the benefits of the single-decker system metro were clear.
"On a single deck train there is more space, it is single level, more easily accessed ... no set of stairs that people have to either make their way up or try not to fall down," he said.
"A five-minute single deck service will outstrip, in terms of the number of seats, a 15 minute double decker service."
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson said the government had broken a promise to link the north west directly with the CBD, describing plans for the new North West Rail Link as a second-rate shuttle service.
"What we've got is a situation where these people will be forced off a shuttle service onto already overcrowded trains on the northern or north shore lines," he said.
The state government says the plans have the support of Infrastructure NSW.
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, the Tourism and Transport Forum and the Sydney Business Chamber welcomed the plan.
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The Ninja | 21/06/2012 15:00 1
From conception to completion, the Dubai Metro system was constructed in three years, and it was built on and under sand. That's the difference between the attitudes of "can do" and "we'll eventually get around to it after bureaucratic discussion".
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