Last Tuesday (18/3), Epping station was on the news twice. First was the "runaway" 289 bus which crashed onto the railway tracks in the early morning. Then NSW Premier Morris Iemma announced the new $12.5 billion "North West Metro" rail link to operate between the city centre and north-western suburbs by 2017, and Epping station will be one of the stations on the line.
I arrived at the station around 7:20am that day and it's a very unusual scene, a bus on the rail track! I took a photo from my mobile as below:
Luckily no one was hurt, but it was a big chaos to the thousands of people rushing to work. I managed to squeeze onto a bus to Eastwood, board a train to Strathfield, then finally switch train and arrived at work only about 15 min late.
You can get detail report about this incident from this report on Sydney Morning Herald web site.
North West Metro
I reported here last July about this "Latest Preferred Project Report for North West Rail Link Released" from the NSW TIDC web site. Unfortunately this has been cancelled.
I think the "10-year-old" North West Rail Link was just about extending the existing CityRail network from Epping to Rouse Hill, as shown below (from page 4 of Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation - North West Rail Link Preferred project report, Volume 2).
While this "new" 32km North West Metro is about a totally different system from the existing CityRail, and according to Mr Iemma: "The North West Metro will run underground from the city, beneath Victoria Road towards Top Ryde, and then via Epping to Castle Hill, Norwest and Rouse Hill."
If you compare the diagram with the one above, you can see that this new line is quite ambitious, as it's a lot longer, according to news.com.au, will "run independently of the current network and have the capacity to double the number of rail commuters.", and according to the time line as shown below, expected to start construction in 2 years time.
I believe everyone would love to see this project going ahead, as it covers a much wider area when compared to the previous plan.
But, if the previous shorter one takes more than 10 years and everything is still on paper (before been scrapped...), my confidence for this much longer version to begin construction in 2010 and finished on time won't be that high.
It's just like a building company advertising about how beautiful their houses are. They displayed beautiful sketches of a huge mansion, claiming it can be finished in 2 years. But can not explain why their previous project home still unfinished after 10 years of construction...