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Could the Rosehill Racecourse site house Sydney’s major High Speed Rail station?

By Joe Langley, Garry Glazebrook and Ross Lowery


NSW Premier Chris Minns’ decision to proceed with Sydney Metro West and to add a station at Camellia’s Rosehill Racecourse has been well-received, as it will provide 25,000 new homes close to modern, turn-up and go metro services at Rosehill and support higher density redevelopment in other metro station precincts on the Metro West line.


Importantly, it also provides an ideal opportunity to locate Sydney’s future High Speed Rail (HSR) station adjacent to a Sydney Metro station close to the geographic centre of the Sydney Metropolitan Area. This would be a major game-changer for the City of Parramatta, Greater Parramatta and the Olympic Peninsula (GPOP)[i], and Greater Sydney[2] .


An HSR/Sydney Metro interchange at Rosehill makes sense for many reasons.


Firstly, Rosehill is more centrally located within the metropolitan region than Central Station, which had been proposed in the Commonwealth Government’s 2013 High Speed Rail Study Phase 2 Report. HSR passengers could easily access both Parramatta (3 minutes to the west) and Sydney’s CBD (18 minutes to the East) using the Metro West high-frequency services, which are likely to run every few minutes.


Figure 1 - Camellia Precinct master plan (Source: NSW Department of Planning and Environment)


Secondly, locating the future HSR station at Rosehill opens up a more direct north-south HSR line through Sydney, with many benefits compared to the earlier proposed route into the Sydney CBD (see Figure 2). In particular:

  • It is much shorter and requires significantly less tunnelling, saving billions of dollars.

  • It enables a surface crossing of the Parramatta River.

  • It would save travel time for passengers travelling through Sydney on the HSR, for example from Canberra to Coffs Harbour, or from Newcastle to Wagga Wagga.


Thirdly, a Rosehill HSR/Sydney Metro interchange would provide real substance to Parramatta’s ambition of becoming Sydney’s second CBD. NSW Premier Minns estimated that the Rosehill Metro station would support 25,000 new homes and create a mini-city one stop away from the Parramatta CBD. The addition of an HSR station at Rosehill would supercharge Parramatta’s CBD, creating a single conurbation from Camellia to CommBank Stadium and lifting new residential development capacity well above that created by a single Metro station.


Figure 2 - Conceptual HSR alignment and city station options (Sources: Fastrack Australia and High Speed Rail Phase 2 Report)


Finally,  a more westerly north-south alignment for HSR would be able to radically improve travel within Greater Sydney, since it could accommodate both long-distance high-speed trains and fast suburban and commuter trains. Such a fast north-south route through Sydney would complement the new east-west metro network being built in Sydney as well as existing east-west heavy rail lines, speeding up rail travel between many more origins and destinations via convenient interchanges. This would help shift travel onto more sustainable public transport, reduce road congestion and help restructure Sydney as a multi-centred city, supporting emerging centres such as Epping and Liverpool.


The Rosehill Racecourse site has ample space for a high-quality integrated public transport interchange and would assist the Australian Government's High Speed Rail Authority and Transport for NSW in future-proofing Sydney’s high speed rail corridor and stations.

 

Previous master plans for the Camellia Precinct have proposed development of a town centre to the north of the Racecourse and urban services to the east and south. With the addition of Rosehill Racecourse land, the NSW Government would have a site with sufficient size and scale to integrate bus, Parramatta light rail, Rosehill Metro and HSR services into a single, strategically located interchange.

 

The synergy created by this unique location would create the commercial and residential uplift needed to fund site acquisition, flood and contamination remediation, and new road and civil infrastructure costs.

 

Other countries, including Japan, China, France and Spain, have located purpose-built HSR stations close to existing conventional passenger rail stations or in new suburban locations. These stations enable planning and delivery agencies to re-structure urban development, avoid expensive redevelopment of conventional station precincts, and better distribute travel patterns within metro regions. For example, new out-of-centre HSR stations have been built in cities such as Osaka, Beijing, Madrid and Shanghai.


Figure 3 - Shin Osaka (New Osaka) is a dedicated HSR station located 3 km from Osaka's legacy central railway station, creating a new urban centre close to the city’s traditional transport hub serving local and suburban rail passengers.


Figure 4 - Beijing South HSR station highlights the importance which high-speed rail has assumed in China, which now has 40,000 km of routes.


An HSR/Metro interchange at Rosehill is truly a game-changing opportunity for NSW. It would dramatically improve interstate, regional and metropolitan public transport services. For example, travel time between Sydney and Canberra would drop from over 4 hours to 90 minutes. It would help address the critical under-supply of housing close to modern public transport interchanges in conjunction with Premier Minns’ recently announced housing affordability scheme. It would dramatically cut commuting times from lower cost regional centres north and south of Sydney, improving housing affordability, access to higher education and job opportunities for regional residents.

 

It is vital that both the NSW and Federal Governments take immediate advantage of these opportunities by:

  • Finalising and protecting the proposed north-south HSR corridor and station locations.

  • Announcing and applying the Transport Project Component (TPC)[3] as “a means of funding critical enhancement works within enlarged Metro precincts”.[4]

  • Designing a future HSR station at Rosehill with seamless interchange to Metro West and Parramatta Light Rail.

  • Taking advantage of these opportunities to factor in appropriate future development at Rosehill as well as at other locations such as Epping, Liverpool and Glenfield.

  • Identifying and protecting the best location for the necessary stabling facilities for high-speed trains.


For further information or to speak to this article’s authors, contact:

Joe Langley, Director Australian High Speed Rail Association

joe.langley@auhsr.org / +61(0)4580 53520


Notes and references:



[2] Greater Sydney is the area stretching from the Hawkesbury to the Northern Beaches regions in the north, to the Blue Mountains in the west, and the Wollondilly, Campbelltown, and Sutherland regions in the south. As the name implies, it covers a ‘greater’ area than what most people would typically consider Sydney, also including the Central Coast up north and Wollongong and Shellharbour down south.


[3] The TPC is a new and proven major transport funding source designed to avoid land speculation and reduce windfall gains to unintended beneficiaries of these kinds of public investments.





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