Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

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boxythingy
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by boxythingy »

You'll note that all Airport stations now employ 'Fast Track' schemes with whistles and constant, louder announcements to create a greater sense of urgency to get people on/off faster
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by tonyp »

Dumping air, or compressors springing into life, used to be good stimulants for would-be boarders. I'm sure these sounds could be mimicked electronically. A three chime locomotive whistle would probably also be quite effective in an underground station.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by tonyp »

Tim Williams wrote:I visited Sydney, a couple of weekends ago with my wife and as we were staying at the Rocks, we decided to catch the train from the airport directly to Circular Quay (no changing of trains) and then a short walk to the hotel. Whilst I do appreciate that the service continues through to Macarthur (as a normal Sydney suburban train), standard double decker train is quite unsuitable as an airport train - there is (as you all would know) a relatively small are next to the doors, which can be accessed without steps and once those areas gain a few people with luggage (and there are no luggage racks) then those areas become totally congested. So, to get a couple of seats, I walked upstairs with a suitcase and a cabin bag (my wife had just a cabin bag). But there is nowhere to put the luggage upstairs (or downstairs for that matter.....
Tim, I happened to take a trip today from Bowral via Campbelltown to the city and return. Forward trip late morning, return trip evening peak. I couldn't believe my eyes at what happened to and from the airport stations. The trains are quite popular with airport users. Plenty of big suitcases at international and small suitcases at domestic. You are quite correct, it is just hopeless. The vestibules and ends of the carriages were just blocked up with suitcases and people. A couple of young backpackers dragged their luggage down the stairs but almost everybody preferred to stay on the level and just choke up the access to the carriages. I would describe it as an international embarrassment and it certainly bungs up the Campbelltown commute in the process as well. These trains are totally unsuited to this task. The line should have been built as part of the ESR with single deck trains. Too late now - and the Campbelltown service is one that justifies double deckers, so it will always be like this.

The Campbelltown run seems to have been supplied with the new series Waratahs. I was most unimpressed with their ride. Constant hunting and yaw jiggling you from side to side, particularly at speed, is very tiresome when you have an hour of it. The art of designing double deckers has been lost since Comeng. Being rocked and rolled from side to side might be fine for a baby, but not most people. The stable ride in the single deck Endeavours (or the metro for that matter) is a great relief by comparison, though some of the Endeavours are starting to sound a bit clapped out in the engine department.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by Transtopic »

There's nothing to stop compatible SD trains being introduced on the Airport Line from say Revesby/East Hills to Homebush via the City Circle, with a single all stops operating pattern. It could also potentially allow for express SD services from Badgerys Creek Airport to the CBD via an extended SWRL and the Airport Line. The only issue may be with the gap on the curved platforms on the Airport Line with three doors per SD car. However, this is being addressed on the Bankstown Line metro conversion with gap fillers.

The Bankstown Line metro conversion will free up paths on the current Illawarra Local via Sydenham to the City Circle, which can be taken up by the longer distance DD services from Campbelltown/Macarthur and Leppington/Bringelly (excluding the express SD airport services). All DD services, potentially including Intercity and Regional services to Sydney Terminal, would operate to the City Circle via Sydenham and the Airport Line would be exclusively SD.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by tonyp »

There's a perfect opportunity for the bi-modal MUs that will be serving the southern highlands in future to run through to serve the airport. There would be a decent market for the airport from southern highlands. The trouble is they're not really suitable to run around the City Circle.

The problem with mixing single decks with double decks on a line is that the latter will slow down the former. I also noticed riding the Waratahs from Campbelltown on the lower deck the differing platform heights along the line (and presumably all over Sydney). I think station staff and guards are going to be with us a very long time to deal with those portable ramps.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by moa999 »

Platform heights could be improved generally but has never been a focus.

I think the curve on the airport stations is generally greater than Bankstown line.

A better temporary solution may be to install luggage racks in the entry areas of a couple of cars. The problem is the nature of the network means it is difficult to run over just the Airport-CBD segment.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by tonyp »

moa999 wrote:Platform heights could be improved generally but has never been a focus.

I think the curve on the airport stations is generally greater than Bankstown line.

A better temporary solution may be to install luggage racks in the entry areas of a couple of cars. The problem is the nature of the network means it is difficult to run over just the Airport-CBD segment.
So is there a DDA exemption for the suburban system because they have staff and portable ramps?
Last edited by tonyp on Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by BroadGauge »

Call me biased, but once the H sets get displaced onto the suburban network in a couple of years time, I wouldn't mind if they were to allocate some of them onto the Macarthur via Airport services. I can think of 3 benefits of that, being that they have some extra luggage space compared to suburban sets, that they have toilets and that they have preferable seating over the normal suburban sets.

Of course I'm biased in wanting them as I only use the line to connect with the Southern Highlands service, and it would be nice to have those slightly better levels of comfort and amenity for the entire journey like the other intercity lines do ;)

And if that were to happen (though I doubt it will), a useful improvement would be for some of the seats in the vestibule to be removed in order to make way for some luggage racks or extra standing room.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by Linto63 »

Loos will most likely be removed from the H sets, much like they were after the G set Tangaras ceased operating services outside of Sydney.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by tonyp »

It's a general policy not to have toilets on suburban-only stock. As for seats, I don't find the H seats any better than those of the Waratah and it's also the same seats as the Endeavour. Removing seats from the ends of the Waratahs would only penalise Campbelltown commuters. It's the legacy of poor decisions and we're stuck with it. Probably the best they can do is have announcements at the airport stations telling people with luggage to spread out along the platform so certain carriages don't get overwhelmed.

Talking of comfort, I'm surprised at the number of people in Bowral, including families with kids, who opt for the extra cost of booking seats on the Canberra trains (probably the XPTs too) for a slightly quicker trip to Sydney. I guess this would be people going to the southern end of the city and Darling Harbour.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

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Do the XPT's stop at Bowral?
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

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Only if pre-booked "by telephone"
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

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Cant see it in the timetable.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by BroadGauge »

Fleet Lists wrote:Cant see it in the timetable.
I'm pretty sure that the only intercity stations it stops at are Moss Vale and Goulburn. Neither of those stations provides many passengers to/from Sydney on it either.

Personally I have the opposite opinion to Tony in relation to the regional services - if I can't get the local Endeavour, I'd rather just drive! It's actually cheaper to drive anyway than to book a seat on those trains, and neither the local train nor my car has an odd booking system that forces me to sit crammed next to strangers for long periods despite a large surplus of vacant seats around ;)
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by tonyp »

Presumably those people I saw boarding the Xplorer had reasons for doing so, like not wanting to drive into central Sydney and not trying to find parking, as well as preferring a quicker trip and more comfortable seats. There's a bit of money in Bowral and the extra cost wouldn't deter some. There were at least a dozen people boarding the Xplorer I saw, about equal to those who boarded the following interurban a few minutes later. If they wanted to get there earlier and faster they also have the option of getting to the station an hour earlier to board that fast train from Goulburn that runs through to Central.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by Transtopic »

Is the Goulburn train (the old Southern Highlands Express) an Explorer or Endeavour?
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by tonyp »

Transtopic wrote:Is the Goulburn train (the old Southern Highlands Express) an Explorer or Endeavour?
It would correspond to the old Southern Highlands Express but at different times and faster. Ex Goulbun to Central at 0734 and returning from Central at 1600. It's an Endeavour. It's the fastest interurban train per distance of any of the interurban services. The South line interurbans are also the fastest in general, despite the change at Campbelltown. A good service overall (except for weekend frequencies), as well as all except the above train passing through the airport and going to Circular Quay.

I don't understand why far more down there don't use it. Patronage is very modest. Berrima Coaches don't help by not feeding it. Their Bowral services terminate two blocks away from the station and their timetables appear to be deliberately designed to avoid the trains. For example, one of the few services to pass the station is timetabled to miss a Sydney train by one minute! Just appalling.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by Transtopic »

Once electrification is extended into the Southern Highlands, initially to Moss Vale, I would expect that all electric SH Intercity services would continue direct to Sydney Terminal as other Intercity services currently do.

It would provide a more attractive service for SH commuters and significantly increase patronage. The new Regional fleet could also provide a similar attractive service as an interim measure, without the need to change at Campbelltown/Macarthur until electrification is progressively rolled out..
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

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BroadGauge wrote:Call me biased, but once the H sets get displaced onto the suburban network in a couple of years time, I wouldn't mind if they were to allocate some of them onto the Macarthur via Airport services. I can think of 3 benefits of that, being that they have some extra luggage space compared to suburban sets, that they have toilets and that they have preferable seating over the normal suburban sets.

Of course I'm biased in wanting them as I only use the line to connect with the Southern Highlands service, and it would be nice to have those slightly better levels of comfort and amenity for the entire journey like the other intercity lines do ;)

And if that were to happen (though I doubt it will), a useful improvement would be for some of the seats in the vestibule to be removed in order to make way for some luggage racks or extra standing room.
They can remove the luggage racks too as they are a head hitting hazard, as this is what will likely happen if they are still in place:
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by Linto63 »

Transtopic wrote:Once electrification is extended into the Southern Highlands, initially to Moss Vale, I would expect that all electric SH Intercity services would continue direct to Sydney Terminal as other Intercity services currently do.
Unlikely that will happen anytime soon if ever.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by tonyp »

Linto63 wrote:Unlikely that will happen anytime soon if ever.
Yep, ARTC track. It's an issue that the upcoming bimodal trains will overcome.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by Linto63 »

Nothing really to do with who owns or leases the track, the case for electrification wouldn't stack up. The bi-modes won't really change the status quo in that they will still be operating in diesel mode aside from for the last 2 kilometres from Macarthur tp Campbelltown and during the layover at the latter. Of course they will be able to operate in electric mode on the couple of services a day that extend into Central.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

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Linto63 wrote:Nothing really to do with who owns or leases the track, the case for electrification wouldn't stack up. The bi-modes won't really change the status quo in that they will still be operating in diesel mode aside from for the last 2 kilometres from Macarthur tp Campbelltown and during the layover at the latter. Of course they will be able to operate in electric mode on the couple of services a day that extend into Central.
ARTC has been quite opposed to electrification of its tracks for some years, that's in addition to the economics of it.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by Linto63 »

Opposed to or just not needed it by its customers? The only place where is has taken wires down has been on the Metropolitan Goods line between Marrickville and Enfield which had not been used since the late 1990s. If the NSW government wanted to fund the capital cost and ARTC recoup increased maintenance costs through higher access charges, I'm sure it could be done.
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Re: Airport Link (Sydney's Airport Train)

Post by tonyp »

This discussion and my recent trip has led me to focus somewhat on why the main south interurban service, with its faster journey times than other lines, is so poorly patronised - about 1 million ppa, about the same as the Hunter line and about 10% of the Blue Mountains line even though the latter's catchment has about the same population as the south line's catchment (around 100,000, not including Goulburn which would give the south a higher population). The other factor in its favour is that the south has direct access to the airport and a segment of population affluent enough to be regular airport users, though maybe they would be discouraged by not having any bus service to get to the station, considering the notion of leaving one's car parked at a station for several days is not an attractive one.

I'm not sure what other factors might be at play, but one obvious villain in the piece is the poor bus connections to the stations, with a major culprit in that respect being the Buslines group, not to mention TfNSW which should be making up for any failings by bus operators by ensuring that all of these interurban lines have properly serviced catchments. A bit like the NW metro situation on a larger scale. What's wrong with bus service planning in this state?

Going beyond the Berrima bus/Bowral town services that I've already described, it's little better in Wollondilly where at least there is a bus stop at the station (Picton) but rare the bus that actually meets a train. PBC in Goulburn is not much better, with the bus terminus being two blocks from the station and no apparent recognition of the existence of trains in the scheduling. Perhaps not as bad as Bathurst (another Buslines operation) where the terminus is in the centre of town four blocks from the station! And it's a big university town too.

Overall, the picture is one of paying no heed to railways stations in route layout and completely ignoring railway schedules in timetabling, usually even without mention of the existence of railway stations in timetables, let alone mentioning train times. I now realise how spoiled I am in Shoalhaven, where all three operators have two focal termini, one in town centre and one at the railway station. Not only that, they all list train arrivals and departures in their bus timetables. The runs don't always match up closely but at least there's an acknowledgement and an effort. The downside on the south coast is that the train journey is so achingly slow and uncomfortable and it doesn't run through the airport, so everybody uses the local shuttle bus services for the airport. Probably they do the same on the southen highlands, but a shame when you have trains running through the airport - an opportunity squandered.
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