AAP FactCheck

Restoring confidence in public statements by independently testing and verifying the facts

Will a proposed $6.4 billion rail line slash travel times from Sydney's west to the CBD?

By Louise Evans, James Lane & Tiffanie Turnbull

The Statement

“Metro West will more than double the existing rail capacity between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD. This crucial project will reduce the journey … to around 20 minutes, with trains running every two minutes.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian promises if she’s re-elected work will start next year on a fast new $6.4 billion Metro West rail line from Sydney’s west to the city. March 3, 2019.

The Analysis

The NSW government has promised voters in western Sydney a new train line that will cut their city commute to 20 minutes. [1]

AAP FactCheck has examined the Premier’s claims that the new metro line will “more than double” current capacity and cut the journey to “around 20 minutes” with trains running “every two minutes”.

AAP FactCheck found the Premier’s claims to be somewhat false but they contained more than one element of truth.

There is no reference to the Premier’s 20-minute Parramatta to Sydney CBD journey claim, or any specific journey times, in the Sydney Metro West Project Overview document dated March 2018. [2]

The project document states: “Currently, the fastest trip between Parramatta and Wynyard takes between 31 and 33 minutes on the [existing] T1 Western Line. Sydney Metro West will deliver a significantly faster journey time.” [2] [Page 19]

This is supported by the NSW government’s trip planner website which shows the fastest morning peak hour rail journey from Parramatta to Sydney’s CBD Wynyard station on the existing network takes 31 minutes. [3]

A spokesman for the Premier told AAP FactCheck “20 minutes is an aim” and the government would not know until the final business case was completed what the exact travel time from Parramatta to the city would be.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s spokesperson said the 20-minute journey was the government’s “target”. “It’s not a pipedream, it’s doable,” the spokesperson told AAP FactCheck.

Regarding the Premier’s claim Metro West will “more than double the existing rail capacity between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD” the Metro West project document states it will “effectively double” capacity. [2] [Page 11]

It further states the existing T1 Western line which services Parramatta moves around 40,000 commuters during peak hour. The new Metro West line will move more than 40,000 people an hour [2] [Pages 11 & 13]. These combined figures show the existing T1 Western line and the new Metro West line will more than double capacity.

The Premier’s claim that trains on the new line will run every two minutes is at odds with the project overview document.

While the project overview reiterates the Premier’s claim the network has the capacity to run trains every two minutes in each direction, it states the new line will run trains every four minutes during peak times and every 10 minutes in the off peak [2] [Pages 3, 5, 30, 41].

The Sydney Metro website, which details the greater Sydney Metro scheme, also says trains will leave every four minutes on the proposed Metro West line. [4].

Running trains on the new line every four minutes is also a lesser service than that currently offered on the existing line between Parramatta and Sydney’s CBD. Trip planner shows trains leave every three minutes during peak times from Parramatta and every 15 minutes during off peak on the existing line. [3]

AAP FactCheck concludes only one of the Premier’s three claims are true. Her claim the proposed new line will double capacity is correct. The claim the new line will take 20 minutes is an aim. The Premier’s final claim the new line will run trains every two minutes differs with the project overview.

The Verdict

  • Somewhat false - Somewhat false, but there is more than one element of truth.

The References

1: ‘Construction of Sydney Metro West railway fast-tracked’. By Edward Boyd. March 3, 2019: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/construction-of-sydney-metro-west-railway-fasttracked/news-story/66c472c4adfa34fecfb1fd011dffddb8

2: ‘Sydney Metro West Project overview’, NSW Government, March 2018. Pages 3, 5, 11, 13, 19, 30, 41: https://www.sydneymetro.info/sites/default/files/document-library/Sydney-Metro-West-Project-Overview-March-2018.pdf

3: ‘Transport NSW Trip Planner’, Transport for NSW: https://transportnsw.info/

4: ‘Sydney Metro’, NSW Government: https://www.sydneymetro.info/

Revision History

  • First published March 4, 2019 17:46 AEDT