Transportation Deployment Casebook/2019/Sydney Metro

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The selected mode for this assignment is the railway network, especially Sydney Metro railway services. The first passenger railway line in NSW opened on September 26, 1855. The link was made from present day Central Station to Granville Railway Station (Parramatta Junction). This link consisted of 4 intermediate stations, Newtown, Ashfield, Burwood and Homebush. The oldest NSW railway construction is the over-bridge located in Ultimo, it currently provides access for the transportations of goods from Sydney Railway yard to Darling Harbour Goods Yard.

The expansion of the railway network in the mid 1800s was predominantly due to European settlement. A railway line from Blue Mountains to Bathurst and South Highlands to Goulburn was necessary for farming and pastoralism. The network slowly developed to carry passengers in the mid 1800s. In 1890, the network expanded to the North Shore from Hornsby to St Leonards specifically for suburban use.


Prior to the arrival of steam engine trains in the early 1800s in America, the Australian roads were still being developed. After the British Colonisation in 1778, the road networks, buildings and land regulations had to be established from scratch. The main source of trade for the early British settlers were farming and pastoralism. Hence, horse-drawn carts and wagons were predominantly used for carrying heavy loads. Additionally, since most Australian settlements were along the coast of the island, steamboats were also a popular mode of import and export across the states and countries.

The Australian road network was a blank canvas for the British developers. They were able to learn from the pre-existing roads in Britain and were able to make the Australian roads a lot larger. In saying that, the limitations behind gravel roads were that the roughness of the road made it difficult to transports goods safely.

Most of the Australian transportation ideas were evolved from the US or Britain. In America, the early 1800s were a time when wooden rail-road were introduced. They soon learnt that wood was very fragile and wore off in a short period of time. It was soon after when steel tracks were introduced, and steam operated carriages were pulled from one city to another to transport goods. Eventually, these carriages evolved to transport passengers and some companies used this opportunity to make a profit. Railroads minimised travel time by 90% and many people in the US moved to the west. Australia adopted this idea and implemented cargo and passenger carriages altogether in 1855.

In NSW alone, between 1870 and 1880, the passenger traveling increased from 776,707 to 5,440,138.


James Watts from Scotland was the first to invent the steam engine with an active piston. In 1804, the first working steam railway locomotive was introduced in the UK. 1812 was the year when the US identified the opportunity to transport good as well as personal travel using this mode. Hence, work began on the construction of the first rail roads in North America in 1815. The Baltimore and Ohio railroad was constructed in 1828. In 1830, the Liverpool and Manchester railroad was opened in the UK. Not only passengers, mail and parcels were also being picked up and delivered using the railroads. Up until this point, all rail roads were wooden, in the mid 1850s steel rails started to emerge.

Since more and more rail roads started to emerge, there had to be a system put in place to schedule the trains. 1868 was the year when the knuckle and pin coupler was invented. This allowed the carriages to be switched around with ease. 1869, the transcontinental railroad was built in the US. This was the most advanced technological advancement of the time.

In 1869, the air brake system was invented by George Westinghouse which was later implemented in the steam engine trains. Electrical signalling was implemented in 1870 to schedule trains better. These switches and lights allowed for more trains at a certain period of time as well as increased passenger access. As the years went by, trains were adapted to suit the environment. This included, noise reduction technologies, passenger comfort and faster cargo delivery.


The early 20th century was when electric powered locomotives started to peak interest in many developers and businesses. Australia adapted the diesel-electric locomotive technology in 1926. This technology made it easier to adapt to the different time zones in Australia as well as air quality was improved in major cities and town. NSW was becoming more and more developed post world war 2, hence industrial leaders took this opportunity to expand the Sydney Metro network as the demand for it increased. Car train (shorter trains) were popular between 1993 to 2005. As the demand increased, the NSW government started introducing larger trains with greater passenger capacity. The Waratah A Sets series in operation today have the total capacity of 624 people. When comparing the reason why trains were used in the mid 1800s and now, it is notable that there are other means of transport for goods, thus, trains are only at the highest demand in cities for short distance travels (<50km).


The NSW railway track built in 1855 was a 22km railroad stretching from Central to Granville. As the project faced financial difficulties, the NSW colonial government took the project over. As a result of different companies’ construction railroads all across Australia, the railway gauges differed in every state. The colonial government’s standard gauge size was approximately 1600mm. However, some parts of Queensland and Western Australia had different gauge length for their tracks.

The standardisation of gauge commenced in the 1930s after the introduction of the electric powered trains. The new standard gauge length was 1435mm. Only in 2004 the standard gauge had finished applying all over Australia.


After running on steam engines for almost a century, Dr John Bradfield was the first to introduce the idea of electric trains in Sydney. The timeline of this is as follows:

1926 – Electric trains began operating in the Illawarra line. St James and Museum Stations were opened.

1932 – Trains started operating through the Sydney Harbour Bridge

1956 – The city circle was complete with the opening of Circular Quay station

1979 – More networks were established in the Eastern suburbs all the way to Bondi Junction.

2000 – To accommodate for the Sydney Olympics, a new line was opened connecting Olympic Park Station to Sydney Airport.

2009 - New link from Epping to Chatswood was opened.

2015 – A whole new area of Sydney, the South west, opened its first ever railway link.

Now the Sydney Metro, owned and operated by TfNSW, has provided convenience and comfort for daily passengers and tourists. The network is established in a way that is close to many business districts and tourist attractions. The main market for Sydney Metro are daily commuters getting to work, school children and tourists. Peak hour times are between 8am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm weekdays. The network aims to connect more and more people to Sydney Central as it is developing more work and leisure opportunities.


Sydney Trains has been operating the suburban rail services since 2013. Weekly there are more than 1 million passenger journeys recorded. There are 306 stations in New South Wales with over 2080km of tracks. Due to the lack of demand for these trains during the night, some links do not operate between midnight and 4:30am. All trains are DC powered with 1500 V running above them. The system is designed in such a way that boarding and alighting times are minimised to approximately 15 seconds for optimal use of scheduling. The 2014 timetable change for Sydney Metro allows for more frequent trains, and there is a guarantee that a train will be on a platform every 15 mins or less.

In future prospect, there have been talks of expanding the NSW trains to bullet trains for faster access. However, this idea may not be feasible as people would rather fly or drive long distances due to comfort.



Data from 1855- 2013 was found for annual passenger journeys in the Sydney Metro lines. This data was extrapolated from graphs obtained from TfNSW annual reports. The following is the quantitative analysis of this data. S(t) = K/[1+exp(-b(t-t0)]


·        S(t) - is the number of passenger journeys per year

·        t - year

·        t0 is the inflection year

·        K is saturation status level

·        b is a coefficient.

1855 0.052
1856 0.06
1857 0.05
1858 0.06
1859 0.05
1860 0.049
1861 0.046
1862 0.042
1863 0.0397
1864 0.037
1865 0.033
1866 0.03
1867 0.027
1868 0.024
1869 0.02
1870 0.017
1871 0.28
1872 1.14
1873 1.42
1874 1.84
1875 2.25
1876 3.22
1877 3.41
1878 3.88
1879 4.72
1880 5.26
1881 5.43
1882 5.92
1883 6.03
1884 6.61
1885 7.29
1886 7.46
1887 7.93
1888 8.06
1889 8.62
1890 9.24
1891 9.50
1892 9.95
1893 10.62
1894 11.24
1895 11.91
1896 12.98
1897 13.95
1898 15.05
1899 16.33
1900 17.62
1901 19.30
1902 21.37
1903 23.82
1904 26.39
1905 28.98
1906 31.25
1907 33.43
1908 36.19
1909 38.98
1910 41.55
1911 44.90
1912 53.85
1913 58.43
1914 67.34
1915 71.91
1916 80.76
1917 85.39
1918 89.96
1919 94.31
1920 98.58
1921 106.10
1922 109.17
1923 111.87
1924 114.92
1925 117.73
1926 121.22
1927 125.01
1928 128.35
1929 131.59
1930 135.25
1931 138.19
1932 141.01
1933 143.73
1934 146.76
1935 149.59
1936 152.90
1937 156.44
1938 160.37
1939 164.46
1940 168.41
1941 173.13
1942 187.38
1943 191.83
1944 205.73
1945 220.24
1946 229.73
1947 233.03
1948 235.75
1949 238.93
1950 242.21
1951 249.73
1952 253.60
1953 257.53
1954 261.87
1955 265.40
1956 263.88
1957 261.28
1958 259.20
1959 256.75
1960 254.30
1961 253.30
1962 256.42
1963 260.97
1964 263.63
1965 261.27
1966 257.85
1967 255.36
1968 252.68
1969 249.99
1970 252.65
1971 247.33
1972 224.66
1973 200.95
1974 197.79
1975 186.83
1976 181.21
1977 180.44
1978 180.21
1979 185.76
1980 206.60
1981 210.88
1982 206.97
1983 202.22
1984 199.08
1985 205.63
1986 219.49
1987 224.60
1988 245.57
1989 248.33
1990 251.08
1991 248.80
1992 239.59
1993 231.78
1994 241.51
1995 251.37
1996 259.89
1997 264.79
1998 267.70
1999 276.44
2000 280.53
2001 282.04
2002 267.53
2003 264.61
2004 263.25
2005 261.12
2006 268.25
2007 273.06
2008 287.79
2009 291.64
2010 290.91
2011 299.89
2012 304.74
2013 307.50

Table 1: Raw Data (Source -


K is estimated to be 1000 million journeys by year 2100. Using linear regression t0 was found to be 1907, and intercept b = 0.2156. The following graph portrays the predicted passenger journey growth up until 2100. Predicted (ORANGE CURVE), Actual (BLUE CURVE)

(Graph is emailed as it was unable to be uploaded)


The graph consists of the quantitative analysis of Year Vs Passenger Journey in the Sydney Metro line. According to the graph, it is clear that there is a gradual increase in the number of journeys over the decades. However, some fluctuations are visible in the more recent year, perhaps due to more innovate mode of transport emerging. An S- Curve was developed to forecast the number of passenger journeys up until 2100. The linear regression method used to predict the S-curve is not wholly accurate as the K value was assumed based on previous year’s results. However, the S-curve model is used to estimate many growths in technology advancements in research reports. In saying that, one can never accurately predict the growth of a mode based on pure assumptions.