Western FastRail is a
proposed $2 billion privately funded underground and above-ground
train line that would link central
Sydney with Western Sydney independent from the CityRail network.
Western FastRail is being
backed by a consortium led by businessman and former union leader
, which includes Dutch
bank ABN AMRO
and Australian construction
company Leighton Holdings
. As of
2008 the State Government has ruled out the project due to cost
project has been prompted by congestion on Sydney's westbound
trains and roads, the growing importance of Parramatta as a business centre, higher petrol prices, public opposition to tolled roads and
An unreleased government document
leaked to The Daily
suggests that such a train would eliminate the
need of around 18 million car trips per year, reducing between
34,000 and 45,000 tonnes of greenhouse
being injected into the atmosphere.
The proposal was first made in April 11, 2002 when Col Gellatly,
the state's top civil servant
director-general of the Department of
convened a meeting of Treasury secretary, John Pierce,
the Transport NSW director-general, Michael Deegan, and the
chief executive, Howard Lacy. Before them consortium
leader Michael Easson made a presentation for a privately financed
rail line linking Sydney's far west with the city. For a $8 return
toll on top of the normal fare, trains travelling at 160 kmh could
carry up to 16,000 commuters an hour to the city in 28 minutes,
taking 11 minutes from Parramatta to the city. The proposal depended
on the construction of two tracks from St
Marys to Penrith, as well as taking over existing CityRail tracks
between St Marys to Westmead.
Costed at $2 billion, it was deemed
extraordinarily cheap, and in December 2003 the Government formally
rejected the unsolicited proposal.
2005 the proposal was again brought up, and again in December 2006
by then federal Opposition Leader Kevin
Rudd during a visit to Penrith should the Australian Labor Party win the 2007
The plan has received approving comments
by the NSW State Government.
18 March, 2008, the
NSW State Government
announced the SydneyLink project which
includes the consideration of a West
Metro in the future linking Parramatta and the Sydney CBD, and
extension through a second harbour crossing to Chatswood.
The Premier Morris Iemma was asked about
the Western FastRail proposal, and said that "the proposal on
Penrith has got to stack up," and "the work that has been done
shows that it does not stack up, for a number of reasons." In
September 2007 the proposal was again shown to the
On August 25, 2008 the State Government made a public announcement
that it had ruled out the project two weeks earlier due to cost
concerns, with the head of the consortium saying that the
Government has failed to adequately review the proposal. Despite
this, State Treasurer Michael
has continued to back the project despite the lack of
support by the Premier, the Transport Minister and the NSW
Co-ordinator-General. Costa describes consortium leader Michael Easson
as "a close friend and
proposed that two 26 kilometre underground tunnels will link Sydney
(possibly Wynyard station or a new nearby station to be built as part of
MetroPitt) with Parramatta, with high-speed trains transversing across the
distance in eleven minutes at speeds of up to 160 km/h.
will continue above-ground to Blacktown in six minutes, and onwards to Penrith in a further eleven minutes.
Concept art for the proposed Western
lines these journeys take
up to three times as long.
There are 10 stations proposed for the Western FastRail:
- Hildebrand, J. Rudd's road and rail cash. Daily Telegraph 19 December 2006
- SydneyLink project: Where could we use a metro rail