We are all very exciting to hear the news that the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link is going to open to public next week!
When I was at the Epping station on Friday (20/2), the gate was still shut and this guy was busy working on the escalator. May be some last minute clean up before the grand opening?
This is a better view through the glass walls from the other side.
According to the City Rail web site, it will be open to the public (No it's not free! You still have to buy a ticket!) next Monday (23/2) morning.
At first we all thought we could now travel from Epping to Chatswood, and straight to City for work. Then notice from this page that this is actually only the "Phase One", and it's only a test "shuttle" service between Epping and Chatswood. Still have to wait under Phase Two, which is God-knows-when (hopefully before 2010?) to have the full service. Well, at least it's better than nothing!
There has been lots of bad news in the past few years (for example, the one below Epping to Chatswood underground rail link a disaster, and NSW Govt admits serious flaws in $2.3b rail link) and now finally, more than doubles the budget, only half been delivered (the other half from Epping to Parramatta was chopped), can't remember how many years behind schedule, it's finally "almost" finished. Damn, don't we love our wonderful NSW state government!
There were a few very nice photos shown on the City Rail web site as below. I hope it's not misleading, as according to the 2 articles mentioned above, it was extremely noisy and the latest train (photo shown below) won't be "powerful" enough to "climb" the steep track under the Lane Cove Park, as:
"Mr Graham today admitted the Tangara trains - around eight per cent of the CityRail fleet - could not be used on the tunnel because the 4km incline from under the Lane Cove river would cause the train's traction motor to burn out too quickly.
Instead the tunnel will be serviced by trains up to 30 years old and special outer-suburban trains intended for inter-city routes."
I was thinking of giving it a try next Monday but wife strongly against it. She prefer to stay away from it for at least a month to see how it goes, wouldn't want to get stuck under the tunnel or damage my hearing due to the extreme noise!
Finally, I found this interesting article Project Update May 2008 which talks about how the Epping to Chatswood Rail Link (ECRL) will help our old Sydney rail way system. As shown below, by adding this line, it will reduce the number of trains per hour from 8 to 4, and thus allows more train from the Western line. Although it's a bit expensive, that sounds great isn't it?
But hang on, doesn't this also mean that the poor Chatswood to City line will get 4 extra trains per hour??
Well, may be unfortunately the poorer western side of Sydney seems to be more "supportive" to the Labour government. So if you are on the Chatswood line, may be you should forget about the bad spending habit/credit record of Labour and vote for them, see if Labour might change their mind and improve the rail way service for you... Good luck!