Posts Tagged ‘railway’

Remember this idea?

November 22, 2011

Readers of this blog may recall a long term vision I imagined for bringing Adelaide’s suburban rail system into the heart of the city in the same way many of the rail systems in other Australian cities do.

Yesterday the SA Government announced investigations to undertake a study into a similar plan to the one I envisioned in linking the northern (Gawler) and southern (Noarlunga) lines of the network and providing a continuous north-south rail corridor across the city.

There are a few differences of course. The route would have new stations under Pulteney Street/Rundle Mall and Victoria Square (east-west) rather than Gawler Place/Grenfell Street, KWS South and Wayville as outlined in my version of this vision. The line would reconnect to the Noarlunga line north of Keswick rather than at Goodwood. Estimates of the cost of building the project are put at between $2 billion and $5 billion.

Also, it is worth noting that this would be a long term project, as it does not make sense in building it while the rest of the system continues to be improved and electrification completed, as it is not feasible to run diesel trains in deep level tunnels such as the ones discussed.

See the video below for more thoughts and details.

Bringing Adelaide’s suburban rail network into the city

March 10, 2011

Previously I’ve made comment about some potential transport infrastructure projects that I believe are worth considering including tunnels as part of Adelaide’s north-south corridor to replace South Road, and a new suburban line to the proposed Buckland Park development from Salisbury. The next vision I have is the expand the existing suburban rail network into the heart of the city.

Adelaideans who are well familiarised with the layout of central Adelaide will know that the main train station is located on North Terrace. So isn’t the city centre already served by the railway network? I don’t believe it is.

There are a lot of key destinations in the city centre that are a long walk from Adelaide Station. These include the Central Markets, Victoria Square and the East End. While it’s possible to connect to the free tram service outside Adelaide Station to reach some of these destinations, doing so is hardly convenient. In fact, it’s often quicker to take a bus to some city destinations than a train from certain railway stations, and the trams aren’t exactly quick either. It is this lack of accessibility by rail that often results in commuters choosing the bus over the train when given the choice. At the same time, it is also difficult to undertake cross suburban travel as all trains start and terminate at Adelaide Station, while many buses run suburb to suburb.

As Adelaide’s city centre and the number of commuters heading to the city centre grows, its single station will become ineffective at serving the city if patronage grows significantly when electric trains are introduced to the network. Adelaide railway station is to the metropolitan rail system what a hinge is to a door. If the hinge breaks down or has issues, the door malfunctions. A single derailment, signal malfunction or other incident around the station is all it takes to create delays or cause the entire network to shut down.

The Melbourne rail network is a perfect case of a vulnerable system with a hinge with every line running through the same city stations. On July 27 2010, an incident on Melbourne’s City Loop caused the entire Melbourne rail system to shut down for several hours, caused by a snapped wire above tracks between the city’s two busiest stations – Flinders Street and Southern Cross. See this footage for more about the incident.

If the experience of Perth’s electrification in the early 90’s is any indication of how patronage might grow, it may double within a few years. In Perth’s case, patronage increased from 7 million trips per year in 1992 to 30 million in 1997, although much of this growth resulted from the opening of a new line into Perth’s northern suburbs. Currently, Adelaide railway station serves over 40,000 movements a day. Following electrification, this may more than double. However, without other improvements to the rail system including improved accessibility to the city, electrification alone may not see the dramatic jumps in patronage experienced by Perth’s system.

To improve access to the city by rail, an underground line between Adelaide Gaol to Goodwood via the city could be constructed to provide new stations in the city, increase capacity and improve connectivity and flexibility to the operation of the rail system. The line would consist of two twin deep level tunnels with underground island platforms at Adelaide station (Central), Gawler Place, King William Street south (South Adelaide) and Wayville. Goodwood station would also be upgraded as part of the project and the junctions at Goodwood and North Adelaide reconfigured.

A scheme for building tunnels to improve rail accessibility to the city centre and improve flexibility of operations.

In regular service, this underground line would be served by the extended Seaford line, Tonsley line, Gawler line and the Buckland Park line which I suggested in a previous post. However, in emergencies or other circumstances, the tunnels could also be reached by the other lines. The Belair line would continue to serve Keswick and Mile End which would be bypassed by other lines. Trains would run through the tunnels and city without terminating, allowing for cross-suburban services from Seaford and Tonsley all the way to Gawler and Buckland Park, and vice versa.

The underground platforms at Adelaide station would be located under North Terrace, just east of Morphett Street. Exits would be to the existing Adelaide station, to Hindley Street and the Convention Centre. The line then swings around and follows Gawler Place heading south before reaching Gawler Place station, located between Grenfell and Pirie Streets. Exits here would be to the plaza adjacent the Grenfell Centre, Rundle Mall and Pirie Street. The line then travels diagonally through to Victoria Square and follows King William Street, reaching South Adelaide, located at the corner of Halifax and King William Streets. Exits would be built here and at Victoria Square. Wayville station would be located under Rose Terrace at Goodwood Road and would serve the Wayville Showgrounds, replacing the temporary station presently used.

Goodwood Station would be rebuilt with four platforms, each allowing cross-platform interchange between the Belair line and the tracks for the Seaford and Tonsley lines. In addition, platforms would be built on the tram line above the station to provide improved connectivity and a key transport interchange to Adelaide’s inner southern suburbs.

Finally, the junctions at Goodwood Station and the River Torrens near North Adelaide would need to be altered to remove conflicts between suburban trains on the TransAdelaide network and interstate trains on the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) network at these locations through grade separation to improve the movement of freight across the ARTC network, which is currently in planning.

It should be noted that this is not an official proposal, it is merely an idea and vision for improving the accessibility and flexibility of operations on Adelaide’s rail system, particularly in central Adelaide. This plan would also benefit the greater metropolitan rail network.

Sources:

Transperth Patronage

A new railway station for a proposed TOD at Castle Plaza

March 1, 2011

As part of the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide, 14 locations have been identified as proposed TOD locations including Bowden and Noarlunga which are currently in the planning stage. One location that hasn’t been identified as having potential for a TOD by the State Government is in the Edwardstown and Woodlands Park area adjacent to the Castle Plaza area. Marion City Council itself has already identified this location as having potential and has been working with the developer to make it a reality.

Map of the area of the proposed Castle Plaza TOD at Edwardstown and empty Hills Site. Woodlands Park station is bottom left. (Source: Nearmap)

A development plan of the Hills Site. (Source: Marion City Council)

What is it about this location that gives it the potential for a TOD? Firstly, it is located near a junction between two train lines – the Noarlunga and Tonsley lines – and has direct services to Adelaide City. Secondly, there are a number of bus routes running through the area in both the north-south direction and east-west direction to destinations including Glenelg and Mitcham. Thirdly, there is a large vacant area of land between the train line and South Road that was previously occupied by Hills Industries, known as the Hills Site, which is ripe for new development.

In addition to the Hills Site being vacant, this land was acquired by the Colonial First State Retail Property Trust who also own the adjacant retail complex called Castle Plaza. Their plan involves doubling the size of the existing Castle Plaza as well as constructing high density housing on the Hills Site, which would require a realignment of a number of local roads and the rezoning of land from industrial/commercial to mixed use.

An element of the plan that has loosely been discussed but not mentioned in extensive detail is incorporating access to the railway system into the TOD plan. Two railway stations are near the site at Edwardstown and Woodlands Park. Unfortunately, neither of these stations is within close walking distance of the proposed TOD location which is about halfway between the two stations – or about 400 metres from both.

View from the Woodlands Park station looking towards Adelaide. The new station would be beyond the crossing in the distance.

The current Woodlands Park station, which is currently the closest to Castle Plaza and the planned TOD.

The railway conveniently runs adjacent to the Hills Site, and within 150 metres of Castle Plaza. One potential location for a new railway station is adjacent to Wilfrid Street on the north site of Raglan Avenue, which is a busy connector route which runs east-west across the railway line at this location. This railway station would replace the current Woodlands Park station, about 250 metres to the south.

Rough design scheme for Castle Plaza Station Interchange, located on Raglan Avenue. The platforms are marked in gray and the overpass is marked in red.

This station would be constructed as two side platforms either side of the existing tracks, similar to how the new station at Oaklands was constructed in 2009. This would eliminate the need to rebuild the tracks through the site and allow trains and road traffic on Raglan Avenue to operate normally during the construction of the station.

Unlike Oaklands, which is only long enough to fit trains up to four cars long, the new station would be constructed to allow trains up to six cars in length, making allowances for future increases in patronage and train lengths following the upcoming electrification of the Adelaide metropolitan rail network. Building the new platforms would require the removal of numerous trees, some possibly significant, which would require further investigation.

To limit the delays to traffic on Raglan Avenue, a signal for south bound trains would be installed between the outbound platform and the crossing. This would function in a similar fashion to the signal for south bound trains departing Oaklands, with the railway crossing only activated when a train comes to a stop at the platform – rather than when it is some distance away from the station – and the signal turning green once the crossing gates are activated.

In addition to building a new railway station on the north side of Raglan Avenue, a bus interchange could also be constructed adjacent to Wilfred Street on the eastern side to connect with the train services. This would be used by the current 190 and 241 routes which already serve Raglan Avenue as well some of the local South Road bus services (719, 720, 721 and 722) which would turn off South Road and run to and from the interchange along a realigned Ackland Street.

Wilfrid Street looking north from Raglan Avenue. The bus interchange would be built on the left side of the street adjacent to the new station at this location.

The existing pedestrian crossing over the tracks on the north side of the Raglan Avenue railway crossing would be retained to allow pedestrian and cycle access between both platforms at the south end of the station. This pedestrian crossing would be fitted with warning devices and gates, making it safer than the majority of pedestrian crossings in metropolitan Adelaide which are unprotected.

The railway crossing at Raglan Avenue would be upgraded to improve pedestrian safety.

At the north end of the station, an overpass linking both platforms would allow access across the tracks and provide alternative entries to the station from the bus interchange on Wilfrid Street on the eastern side and from Railway Terrace on the western side. Elevators would be provided for wheelchair accessibility and a staffed ticket office could be provided near the overpass by the bus interchange and eastern platform. This would discourage illegal trespassing across the tracks and allow late running commuters to cross the tracks to reach their train without risking their lives.

No car park would be constructed as part of the station and interchange. This would otherwise duplicate an already planned car park for the Castle Plaza extension nearby. However, a kiss ‘n ride drop off facility would be provided with the bus interchange, and bike storage facilities would be constructed to encourage commuters to reach the station by foot, bicycle or bus instead of driving and keeping in line with the form and function of the TOD.

Building a TOD and transport interchange at this location has benefits for both the developer and the local community. It would increase Castle Plaza’s role as a key activity centre for the area while also improving transport accessibility to the surrounding community. Placing the new station in the presence of the shopping centre, a bus interchange and a relatively busy connector road as well as staffing the station – from first service to last service – will also improve the security of the station over the current Woodlands Park station.

Source:

Marion City Council – Castle Plaza Activity Centre Development Plan Amendment, November 2010

(In recent days leading up to this post being published, there have been media reports about the contamination of groundwater in the area from the Hills Site in Edwardstown. Please note that I am not in a position to comment on these matters.)