Express buses to be rerouted when North West Rail Link opens

EXPRESS buses from the Hills District to the central business district will not run all the way to the city once the north-west rail link is opened.

A second environmental impact statement for the $9 billion train line, expected to open in 2019, was released yesterday by Transport for NSW.

It gives details of how the eight new railway stations will look; how trains will operate on the line, which is planned as a public-private partnership, and how bus services will change.

It says many buses that take commuters from the north-west suburbs, along the M2, to the North Shore or city will be redirected when the train line opens.

''It is anticipated that the majority of the M2 city express bus services which currently perform the trunk line haul service to North Sydney and the Sydney CBD could be withdrawn from those suburbs with good access to the NWRL once the NWRL is operational,'' the statement says. ''These buses would then be used more efficiently to provide enhanced feeder services into NWRL stations and increased frequency to key centres such as Castle Hill and Macquarie Park.''

But bus services from the north-west to Parramatta and Blacktown along the T-Way would be retained.

David Hensher, Professor of Management at the University of Sydney and a strong supporter of the bus industry, said he disagreed with cancelling bus services to support the train line.

''If the objective is to provide improved public transport in terms of accessibility this would not be a good outcome,'' said Professor Hensher, who has published research showing it would be faster to catch an existing bus than the planned north west line to the city.

Releasing the statement yesterday, the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, said the rail link was expected to take 12,000 cars off the road in an average two-hour morning peak.

''We are building a piece of infrastructure that will completely change the way of life for people across Sydney … so we need to get it right from the start and the community is a critical part of that,'' Ms Berejiklian said.

The statement also says Transport for NSW expects trains to reach up to 130km/h on the line, running between Rouse Hill and Chatswood. Trains on the existing Epping to Chatswood line, which will become part of the new north-west rail link public-private partnership, have a present speed limit of 80km/h. When the new line opens, Transport for NSW plans to lift that to 100 km/h.

Fairfax has previously revealed internal Transport for NSW documents showing serious concerns about the ability of Chatswood station to cope with the thousands of people using the interchange. Yesterday's statement does not address those concerns.

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