Sydney trains buckle under immigration crush

In late 2018, the endless immigration-driven population flood into Sydney drove the city’s train system into meltdown:

Pressure on Sydney’s Town Hall train station has grown significantly during peak periods due to a 23 per cent surge in passengers in just three years, raising the prospect of staff limiting access to platforms more often to avoid severe overcrowding.

The growth underscores the demands on Sydney’s already stretched rail network from a population boom…

Mr Collins said a major surge in passengers at Town Hall during peak periods – especially evenings – was partly due to a near doubling in people catching trains to and from fast-growing suburbs such as Mascot and the Green Square precinct in Sydney’s inner south…

Then in February, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance admitted that “off-the-charts” demand had stretched the train system to its limits:

Sydney’s 163-year-old train network is struggling under the demands of what the government describes as “an explosion in demand”. Last year passengers took more than 413 million journeys on the rail system, up 38 per cent from 300 million in 2013.

And over the next three years a 21 per cent rise in annual passenger trips is forecast…

“A hundred million passenger increase in a five-year period is off the charts, and that’s what we’ve had to cater for.”

Today, The SMH reports that Sydney’s trains are “regularly failing to run on time during [the] evening peak” due to exploding demand:

Commuters on Sydney’s busiest rail lines are regularly unable to get home on time during the evening peak on weekdays, as new figures show the T1 Western and T8 South lines have been the worst performers over the last year for passengers…

Mathew Hounsell, a researcher at the University of Technology’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, said the poor on-time running was due to a combination of factors, including crowding at stations such as Town Hall and Wynyard in the CBD forcing trains to wait longer.

“Crowded platforms push out dwell times. People cluster around the stairs at the north end of Town Hall,” he said.

Mr Hounsell said the performances of trains would worsen if the trend of a growing population and ensuing record increases in patronage of the rail system continued.

Sydney’s population is projected to balloon by around 90,000 people every year for the next 48 years to nearly 10 million people. Therefore, the train network will continue to be overrun and become increasingly congested:

Moreover, according to Infrastructure Australia modelling, the crush-loading will extend well beyond public transport to include Sydney’s roads, schools, hospitals and green space, regardless of whether Sydney builds up or out:

How’s the ‘vibrancy’, Sydney? Just imagine how much worse liveability will get when Sydney’s population roughly double s around 10 million people?

This is a disaster in the making. And for what? To feed High-rise Harry and Transurban more customers?

Cut immigration.

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Unconventional Economist

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith is an economist and has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

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  1. Andrew Constance and the executives of Sydney Trains have a solution which they have proposed in the past under the guise of for other reasons other that stated above, management incompetence etc.

    Their solution? Abolish timetables!!!

    Just run trains and tell the public to rock up to the station and wait……though they would still have to have a “secret” timetable for manning & operational purposes.

    The political problem with on time performance data and articles such as published in the Herald is solved!

  2. Decided to take PT to a meeting last night. Managed to get on a train at Southern Cross going to Tooronga on the Glen Waverley line at 5:20pm. The platform was like last chopper out of Saigon. Lucky to get on. Hundreds of people left waiting on platforms from Southern Cross, through the City Circle and Richmond. I had to start squeezing my way to the door a stop before I wanted to get off. It was a very personal experience. People were yelling “let me through, I have to get off”. Reminded me of Colombo, almost, except no one hanging out the doorways, except when they’re trying to close the doors. Every train I saw depart before my 10 minutes late service (everything was 10 minutes late because of the congestion – too many people, too many trains, not enough platforms or lines between major stations).
    I am no longer mistakenly thinking Australia is a first world country.

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      on the bright side it is winter, trains can have quite a vibrant smell too them in other seasons

    • @mdsee the metro tunnel works would have produced a lot more load on the Glen Waverley line. What I find odd is all these people saying it is only inconvenient now. What they don’t realise is that these works will occur every school holidays for the next seven years and the city population will have grown 25% in that time meaning more works every single year in perpetuity.

    • And the lovely encompanying chorus of spoken Punjabi, Hindi, Tagalog, Viet Namese and Bogan – oh how it puts a spring in your step after a long day in the office.

      • kharn83MEMBER

        Lol, that’s nothing, I got accidentally pushed over by a commuter trying to jam their way onto the carriage at Richmond going thru the city loop. I literally fell over into another 2 passengers and had to apologize to both of them for falling on them. Safety issue? ahh nah.. just squeeze more people onto our overcrowded networks

        Go Australia!

      • haroldusMEMBER

        The other day some cvnt was watching what sounded like a Hindu talk show at full volume on his phone, with his hood pulled over his head!

    • kharn83MEMBER

      Lol, that’s nothing, I got accidentally pushed over by a commuter trying to jam their way onto a crowded carriage at Richmond going thru the city loop this morning during my usual commute.

      I literally fell over into another 2 passengers and had to apologize to both of them for falling on them. Safety issue? ahh nah.. just squeeze more people onto our overcrowded networks

      Go Big Australia you good thing!

    • DominicMEMBER

      Travelling with your nose pressed into someone’s sweaty armpit is an experience not to be missed — generally speaking more fulfilling at the end of the working day, in case you were in any doubt.

  3. One must love this “project present into a distant future” science
    There has been only one year in history when sydney grew by 90k per year but somehow miraculously it will grow by that much over the next 50 years LOL

    • DominicMEMBER

      Well, you’re right, we all know it won’t because some or other crisis will intervene to change the course of the extrapolated future.

      Sadly the crisis won’t be very good for any of us

      • it doesn’t have to be like that.

        NYC was in early 20th century predicted to have 100m by year 2000. Than it stopped growing after WWII (actually started falling) and people living there were quite happy until it started growing again in 80s. Same was the case with London, Paris, …

  4. sorry people, no new trains, we spent all the money on half empty private roads for the rich that you cannot afford

      • DominicMEMBER

        Totally agree – better someone’s life’s been improved rather than no one at all.

        Besides, the poor really shouldn’t be driving — what do they think bicycles and legs are for?

  5. People are stupid. If they actually had a system where you entered buses and trains and filled up seats from the rear forward we may get somewhere faster. The innate rudeness of the Chinese is disgusting. I’ve seen elderly couples waiting at the lift with suitcases only to be left standing there two lift rides later while arrogant able-bodied Chinese push past to get in. There needs to be an overhaul in acceptable etiquette before you get your PR. I’ve seen better manners in Mt Druitt. Oh and never ever take the train to floral festivals….the stench makes you vomit….and it’s not the flowers that stink. Sydney will be Culcutta soon.

    • Speaking of rude Asians (won’t assume Chinese), as I was getting on the 400 bus in Randwick today, some old Asian lady with better mobility than me (I am impaired and have to hold both side-rails to keep balance when boarding) tried to push past me on my right as I reached for the rails.

      I angled my bum in her direction, knocking her away, and gave her the “WTF??????” angry stare and a disgusted “No, what do you think you are doing? I was before you, let me board.The bus won’t leave without you.” (not stated: you effing rude twat!)

      • Paint it Black

        Similar encounter going into the lift at central station with a young asian who charged the doors as soon as they opened head down and I guess assumed I would not notice as he pushed me out of the way. Sadly for him he was wrong, and he ended up going straight into the lift door frame when I shoved him back per Newtons second law. I think it is a sign of being very FOB when they do that. Anyhoo expect more of the same as Scummo keeps shipping them in at the rate of 4,000 per week.

      • Unfortunately, PIB, I think that’s just how they do things in the overcrowded cities so many come from. People are rude because everyone else is rude, and if they weren’t rude as well, they’d never make it onto public transport. Others must either be rude back in a manner that communicates, “we don’t do it that way here; play by our culture’s rules” or let them bully their way through without correction. I think the former is the best way to proceed.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      What astounds me is the look of shock when you use a bit of force with the hip and shoulder to hold your position. Also when you don’t step to one side when they’re head down in their phone and shirt front ’em.

      It’s only rude when ol’ whitey boy does it. When anyone else does it’s diversity.

  6. Jevons ghostMEMBER

    Try physically enforcing the apparently unwritten and certainly under-adhered to “keep to the left” rule of our largely caucasian forebears when walking down a city street nowadays. Good way to amuse yourself if you have got nothing better to do with your time. Can cause a mild degree of bemused pandemonium amongst the oncoming hordes if you stick to your guns. Even better, try same when walking across a city intersection in peak hour. Why there are no signs on public thoroughfares proclaiming the need to keep to the left is beyond me. Guess Spengler put his figure on the root cause 100 years ago and I guess he was dead right.

    • That game is best played between the Pitt St Mall and World Square on either George or Pitt St in Sydney.