Transport Proposals

EcoTransit Sydney have developed a number of proposals for transport as solutions to the problems of congestion on the roads and crowding on public transport. Many of these solutions have social and health benefits for everyone in the greater Sydney area.

Nine Point Transport Plan

A collection of measures that taken together provide an alternative to the $4.5 billion M5 duplication project.

City West Cycle Link

The City West Cycle Link is a proposal for a new cycling facility that would provide a grade-separated connection between Charles St at Lilyfield and the Anzac Bridge cycleway at White Bay.

White Bay Green Link

The White Bay Green Link (WBGL) concept is a combined light rail route and cycleway running from Lilyfield light rail stop to the Barangaroo precinct and the northern CBD via the existing, now unused, White Bay rail corridor and a tunnel beneath the Balmain Peninsula and under Darling Harbour.

The Bay Light Express

The Bay Light Express is a light rail proposal consisting of two links: Bay Light East and Bay Light West. The two would skirt the neighbourhoods of the
Botany Bay Region, providing fast, comfortable and convenient access between residential and commercial areas that are now difficult to access by public transport.

Light Rail West

A proposal for extending light rail to serve communities in the Inner West

Better alternatives to the CBD Metro

As an alternative to the poorly integrated $5.4 billion CBD Metro project, the September 2009 edition of EcoTransit News outlined cost effective options for improving public transport services in Sydney.

The proposals from EcoTransit Sydney focussed on light rail and the CityRail network, which is the result of 150 years of social investment in the public good, serving the entire Sydney basin, and beyond.

The Sydney Morning Herald's comprehensive Independent Public Inquiry into a Long Term Public Transport Plan for Sydney also detailed extensive, and long overdue, improvements in the existing City Rail network that could be funded by the CBD Metro's nominal $5.4 billion price tag.

EcoTransit Sydney has also outlined proposals for improvements to some of Sydney's overcrowded heavy-rail lines. See our solution for the congested roads and lines of the southern sydney area.

Alternatives To Duplicating the Iron Cove Bridge

The proposal to duplicate the Iron Cove Bridge has been promoted as a means of improving bus services in the Victoria Road corridor, but it is not clear how it will actually achieve any of its goals.

The largest part of the problem is that it does nothing to reduce the congestion that slows bus traffic to the same glacial pace as everyone else on the road. With the RTA's own figures showing an average of 1.2 persons per vehicle in this part of the network, it is clear that more lanes will not solve the problem of slow buses. It is clearly a case of an inefficient use of public infrastructure - it's not that the road has reached capacity, but that the vehicles on the road have too few people in them.

Another part of the problem with the Victoria Road Upgrade is that although it is promoted as a 'bus proposal' it will remove local bus stops from several areas. This will require people to walk much further to reach the bus stops that remain. While this strategy might improve the time taken for express buses from outer suburbs to reach the CBD, it does nothing for the locals. Indeed, it makes it harder for local people to use public transport, and this is particularly true of older people. Older people who may find that a walk of 500 metres is within their abilities are often unable to reach a new stop that is 100 metres further away.

Finally, in removing the median strip through Rozelle and placing concrete barriers at strategic points in Drummoyne, it will make walking or cycling across these communities that much harder.

EcoTransit believes that it is not extra lanes that we need to solve most of Sydney's transport problems, it is a better attitude to getting the most efficient use out of what we already have. At 150 million dollars, a duplicated Iron Cove Bridge will be an expensive memorial to the inefficiency of our transport network. What we would like to suggest as an alternative is a development that will reduce the amount of space given over to people who are traveling into the city on their own. A road lane full of cars carries about 2000 people in an hour, but a lane that has buses or light rail can carry thousands more. Light rail, for instance, would carry five hundred percent more than a lane full of cars!

Our proposal would involve no further construction on extra lanes but a redistribution of the road space that we already have. It will involve:

If you would like to support any of the points above or make some suggestions of your own to the RTA, please download this form and submit your ideas and objections to the RTA by the 3rd of March 2008.

RTA Feedback Form

More details will be available shortly.

City West Cycle-Link

The City West Cycle-Link is a proposal for a new cycling facility that would provide a grade-separated connection between Charles St at Lilyfield and the Anzac Bridge cycleway at White Bay. As proposed, the City West Cycle-Link does not require the use of the rail formation through the Lilyfield rail cutting.



Revision 3 of the proposal includes a cycleway passing under the City West Link Road, running from James St in the west, to Balmain Road in the east. From there, a grade-separated cycleway through the Rozelle Rail Lands would bypass Lilyfield Road and provide a fast, direct link to the Anzac Bridge Cycleway at White Bay.

The proposal can be downloaded here, and a larger view of the concept plan can be downloaded here.

An overview of Revision 2 of the proposal can be viewed here, and a larger view of the concept plan can be viewed here.

There are a number of benefits to the City West Cycle-Link for Inner West bike riders. The facility would:

  1. Provide an at-grade cycleway through the Lilyfield rail cutting, adjacent to the rail formation, from Charles St in the west to Catherine St in the east, that would pass under the City West Link Road;
  2. Integrate with the Leichhardt North light rail stop (adjacent to James St), increasing the flow of people in the vicinity of the stop, and thereby enhancing the sense of safety of light rail commuters;
  3. Retain the twin track rail formation for light rail services, thereby maximising operational flexibility and service capacity;
  4. Allow bike riders to bypass the climb up Lilyfield Rd between Hawthorne Canal and James St;
  5. Connect with and extend the cycling route proposed as part of the GreenWay, allowing for a grade separated route connecting Dulwich Hill with the CBD and beyond;
  6. Provide a high quality, grade-separated alternative to Lilyfield Rd by creating a comparatively flat and direct connection to the Anzac Bridge cycleway at White Bay via the Lilyfield rail cutting and the Rozelle rail lands. This cycleway would pass under Victoria Rd and provide connections to local streets;
  7. Reduce travel times for Inner West bike riders commuting to and from the City of Sydney, and beyond, via the Anzac Bridge cycleway;
  8. Increase cycling usage by encouraging bike riders who are not comfortable riding on the road to use a properly grade separated facility.

In order for the benefits to bike riders and the community to be realised, the engineering works for the section of the City West Cycle Link that passes through the Lilyfield Rail Cutting need to be completed before the light rail extension from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill begins operations. Once the light rail services have begun, the risk of service disruption, coupled with the short time windows in which construction could occur would make it impractical to attempt construction of the City West Cycle-Link as suggested.

Therefore, in order for the cycleway to be built, engineering works associated with the two projects must be coordinated, so that construction of the cycleway and remediation of the rail track, wiring and signalling occur at the same time. As a consequence, while construction of the cycleway east of the cutting towards White Bay would not need to have been completed, or even started by the time light rail services begin operating beyond Lilyfield, all construction works related to the section of the cycleway through the length of the rail cutting will need to have been completed.

Update - 27 April 2011

EcoTransit Sydney is joining with bicycle groups and local councils to advance the City West Cycle Link.

Bike Sydney and Bicycle NSW have joined with EcoTransit Sydney in advocating for construction of the City West Cycle Link. The proposal has also received the support of Leichhardt Council and the City of Sydney. The councils have written to the Minister for Transport seeking a meeting to discuss the proposal.

A flyer has been prepared summarising the background to the proposal. It can be downloaded here.

As noted in the flyer, the project needs your support if it's to become a reality. Please take the time to write or email the Minister for Transport:

Ms Gladys Berejiklian, MP
Minister for Transport
Level 35 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place

and write or email the Minister for Roads

The Hon. Duncan Gay, MLC
Minister for Roads
Level 35 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
Sydney NSW 2000

and let them know that you want the City West Cycle-Link to be built as part of the Inner West Light Rail Extension and GreenWay project.

If you live in the Drummoyne, Leichhardt, Marrickville and Sydney electorates, please write to your state MP and let them know that you support building the City West Cycle-Link.

Coogee Light Rail

The proposal for the Coogee Line is a combination of dedicated corridor(light rail only) and on-street alignments, linking the University of NSW and Randwick Racecourse on the north western end with Coogee Beach at the south eastern end.

A document from the 1930's attests to the extraordinary capacity of Sydney's former tram system in this area, showing levels of efficiency which are unparalled by any form of public transport today.
In 2001, this route is an integral part of EcoTransit Sydney's public transport plan, and one which is acknowledged by authorities as a logical progression. The rest of this campaign site provides details of the Coogee Line, including a less favourable alternate alignment that could be used if building constructions are allowed to block the dedicated light rail corridor.

Where will it go?
Developed in conjunction with the current proposal for the Botany Bay Region (see the Bay Light Express), the Coogee Light Rail Line will run from Anzac Parade, through the CBD of Randwick City, past the Unversity of NSW, Prince of Wales Hospital, and through several recently developed high density areas.

The Coogee Line will also cover key sections of older residential streets as well as the popular beachfront area. The route will be deliver the most direct access to the suburban train network and will be instrumental in increasing the amenity of Coogee residents.

What is the Coogee Light Rail Corridor?
The Coogee Light Rail Corridor is the last remnant of a tram route that serviced the Coogee area up until the 1960's. EcoTransit Sydney's proposal to reintroduce light rail in this densely populated area will utilise these historic pathways to improve the efficiency of public transport in Randwick and Coogee. Local residents along with students and academic staff from the University of NSW, have fought for many years to preserve this corridor.

In late December 2000 the Building Trades Group of the CFMEU announced their decision to place a Green Ban on any construction within the corridor. Sections of this corridor have now been sold off but could be re-acquired by the government if necessary.

EcoTransit – ACF 9 point transport plan – A sustainable alternative to expanding the M5 Motorway


Twelve years have passed since the Carr Government's 1998 “Action for Transport 2010” blueprint, which promised a slew of new public transport and motorway infrastructure. While only a fraction of the promised rail and bus projects were delivered, the Roads and Traffic Authority built all of its roads, plus others that weren't in the plan. And yet road congestion costs have continued to escalate.

Sydney needs a better approach, but the RTA is pushing to duplicate the M5 motorway with a $4.5 billion price tag that would prohibit any other significant infrastructure being simultaneously constructed. If their plan goes ahead the North-West and Parramatta–Epping rail links would have to be put off for a decade.

The time has come to dump the failed motorway experiment. Far better to invest in public transport solutions that are cheaper to build, reduce our fuel import bill and slash congestion for the benefit of those who really do have no option but to be on the road. And better public transport options will mean families can get rid of one of their cars, saving money that could be better used for other purposes.

If, now, the Federal and State governments cave in to the RTA’s M5 plan, the result will be monumental waste. Why? Well because private car use has been static in Sydney for five years. World oil production is sliding inexorably from a bumpy plateau into accelerating decline.

Until recently, the problem with building motorways has been that the extra road created led, initially, to faster trip times for motorists. This rapidly encouraged more drivers onto the road (typically causing a decline in public transport use). This ‘induced traffic’ quickly negated any benefits of the road expansion project and clogged local road systems that could never be widened to accommodate the increased traffic spilling onto them. The overall result was a continual fall in average network road speeds.

But the decline in world oil production and the resulting rapid rises in the price of oil and other alternative fuels have changed this situation. According to statistics released by the Commonwealth Bureau of Infrastructure Transport and Regional Economics (Australian Transport Statistics – Yearbook 2009), total passenger kilometres travelled by passenger cars have been static in Sydney since the rapid rise in world oil prices pre-dating the Global Financial Crisis, while rail and bus travel continued to grow strongly (BITRE, p. 57). If the M5 expansion went ahead it might, realistically, be completed in six years time when it might, just possibly, trigger another round of counter-productive induced traffic growth, leading to more traffic congestion. More plausibly, steadily rising energy prices will already have squeezed traffic into a significant decline.

Why even consider widening the M5 and building another, massively expensive, 4-lane road tunnel, when the following nine-point alternative package of public transport projects and policies can slash traffic congestion on the M5 and elsewhere, improve freight handling efficiency and provide new cross-regional links between the western and south-western suburbs and the jobs in eastern Sydney, and do it quickly and for less than a third of the cost?

1. East-West TransLink

Centrepiece of the traffic reduction package is the East-West TransLink – a high-capacity double-track light rail service running from Dulwich Hill – using the spare space in the heavy rail corridor along the Bankstown line – to Sydenham station and then proceeding beside the Botany Goods line with stops at Qantas Jet Base and the Domestic Terminal before cutting through Eastlakes and along Gardeners Road to Anzac Parade, UNSW, Randwick Hospital and Randwick Junction. The line would complement one running down Anzac Parade from the CBD, in the historic tram corridor.



A larger diagram illustrating an indicative route of the East-West TransLink proposal is available here.

Commuters from the outer south-west would take the Macarthur/Campbelltown services, mostly going via Sydenham and change there for a fast TransLink tram service to the Randwick education and health precinct. Commuters from the inner south-west (that is, on services from Revesby inwards travelling via the Airport Line) would change to the TransLink at the Airport’s Domestic Terminal station. Those coming from the Bankstown line would change to the light rail at Marrickville station (or Sydenham); those from the Illawarra and Cronulla line at Sydenham.

An integral cycleway would take the same route as the light rail, creating, for the first time, a fast, safe way to bypass the tangle of dangerous and busy roads east of Sydenham. The cycleway can be expected to remove, initially, a thousand vehicle movements a day as workers from Leichhardt and Marrickville LGAs abandon their cars for the daily commute.

The TransLink Trams would also function as a convenient way for air travellers coming from the Bankstown line axis to get to the domestic terminal (and, by changing there, the International Terminal) and for punters to reach Randwick Racecourse.

Traffic reduction potential: combined, 20,000 vehicle movements a day (vm/d).

Cost: $500m, depending on variations.

2. New Airport Line station at Doody Street

Over 90 per cent of Central Industrial Area (CIA) workers travel by car. Although the Airport Line runs directly beneath the CIA and is perfectly located to ensure access for commuters in the areas served by the M5 Motorway, access is frustrated by the fact that stations are located only at Mascot and Green Square at the southern and northern ends of the zone. Cost-cutting in the original Airport Line Project saw a potential station at Doody Street, right in the centre of the CIA, abandoned.

It’s a testament to the ease of rail travel that in spite of this huge hole in rail’s coverage, 6000 people – more than two-thirds of all the CIA’s public transport commuters – use rail, rather than bus, to get to work.

A new Airport Line station at Doody Street, midway between Mascot and Green Square would cover the core of the area and take thousands of cars, daily, off the M5.

Potential for removing traffic: In combination with fare equalisation (see point 4) at least 6000 vm/d. Short-haul feeder bus services meeting peak period trains, combined with secure bike-parking facilities, would further boost this figure.

Cost: $75m

3. Increase rail services from the south-west

Two types of services use the Macarthur/Campbelltown/ East Hills line: limited-stops trains running all the way from Macarthur/Campbelltown and all-stations trains originating at Revesby. Currently, operations are complicated, and services slowed down, by the need for the two types of service to share a critical two-track section of the line. However, with track quadruplication to Revesby within months of completion, this problem is close to solution. Faster, more frequent services will become possible, especially for those who live further out in the south-west. Importantly, additional fast services from the outer south-west will be able to run via Sydenham, reducing journey time by six or more minutes.

The government should be planning, now, to increase services from Macarthur/Campbelltown and to run more of these services via Sydenham.

When combined with fare equalisation on the Airport line, a new Airport line station covering the core of the CIA and the East-West TransLink, giving fast access to the Randwick education and health precinct from either Sydenham or Domestic Terminal stations, we can confidently expect a rapid take-up of additional seats on the Campbelltown/East Hills line, each of which will represent a car taken off the M5.

Potential for removing traffic: Counting only express services to Macarthur/Campbelltown at least 8000 vm/d, with excess capacity to add further CityRail services on both the inner and outer sections of the line, this can be increased as necessary.

Cost: Track quadruplication and station reconstruction already budgeted for. An additional four 8-car train sets would be required at a cost of $120m. It may be possible to used refurbished older rolling stock, currently due for disposal, at a fraction of this price.

4. Equalise Airport Line fares

The Airport Line’s four stations (two serve the airport terminals and two the Central Industrial Area) are privately owned and operated. A ‘Station Access Fee’ is charged and this is added to the standard CityRail fare prices. The Sydney Airport Corporation’s submission to the March 2010 M5 Transport Corridor Study summarises the consequences in this way:

“People wanting to travel by train to or from Sydney Airport now face a price differential in excess of 400%. It is currently cheaper to travel from Central Station to distant regional destinations that are up to 119 km away such as Kiama (single adult fare $13.60 ) than it is to travel the mere 8km to Sydney Airport (single adult fare $15.40). Similar extreme price differentials exist for other fare products such as weekly, quarterly or yearly tickets. Sydney Airport believes that the magnitude of the existing price discrimination against a person who wants to travel by train to or from Sydney Airport is discouraging them from doing so. Reforming the fare structure for users of the Airport Link stations is not an option considered in the Preliminary Overview Report but should be a high priority because it will help to immediately alleviate existing (and future) traffic congestion in the M5 Corridor and on other roads in the vicinity of Sydney Airport and Port Botany. Importantly, this could be achieved quickly without a long lead time for planning approval, financing or construction as it simply involves the more efficient utilisation of public transport infrastructure that already exists.”

The privately-owned Airport Line stations should be immediately bought out and standard CityRail fares applied. A new Airport Line station at Doody Street, serving the heart of the Central Industrial Area, and the cross-regional flexibility provided by the East-West TransLink, will have the effect of multiplying the traffic-reduction benefits of this measure.

Potential for removing traffic: 5000 vm/d, more when combined with the effect of a new CityRail station at Doody Street covering the centre of the Central Industrial Area.

Cost: $100m or less.

5. Build the South-West Rail link

The long-delayed 13 km South-West Rail Link from Glenfield to Leppington should be built without further delay. Without it, commuters from the new South-West Growth Centre will remain virtually without public transport access to jobs and services and most will be left with no option but to use the M5.

Potential for removing traffic movements: Initially, upwards of 3000 vm/d.

Cost: Recent experience with Perth’s Mandurah line (a vastly larger and more complex project) and with other Australian and overseas examples suggest that this project, built to a high standard, should cost no more than $300m.

6. Expand park-and-ride and bus-and-ride

A program of free commuter car parks designed to “soak off” M5 car traffic should be expedited. In particular, a new “last chance” car park for at least 1500 vehicles should be built adjacent to Kingsgrove station – the point where the M5 comes closest to the Campbelltown/East Hills line – with a new direct link to the platforms. This facility would remove cars from the M5 traffic stream kilometres before the M5E tunnel. It could only be entered from the eastbound lanes of the M5 and exited via the westbound lanes, thus preserving spaces for commuters from the vast swath of suburbs along the M5 which aren’t well serviced by either the East Hills or Bankstown lines.

The facility would also act as a last-chance kiss-and-ride point for airport passengers and a drop-off and turn-back point for new express bus services using the M5.

Potential for removing traffic movements: Upwards of 3000 vm/d, more if express bus services are introduced.

Cost: Around $70m.

7. Get serious about railing containers from Port Botany

The current government has never pursued seriously its long-held target of transporting 40 per cent of containers out of Port Botany by rail. As noted recently in the Sydney Morning Herald:

"For most of the decade, government policy has professed an aim to transport an increasing share of these goods by rail instead of road. Rail cuts noise and air pollution and, by taking trucks from the streets, makes them safer and less congested for regular drivers. The former transport minister, Craig Knowles, set a 40 per cent target for rail transport in 2004 that is still in place. When Knowles set the target, rail had a market share of 22 per cent. It has since slipped to 18 per cent."

Its failure is symbolised by the fact that three kilometres of constricting single track remains between Port Botany and Sydenham, even though it will cost a pittance to duplicate. This missing link could be completed in weeks, allowing hundreds of container truck movements to be taken off the M5 and local roads.

A prerequisite for the increased use of rail containerisation in urban areas is a legislative initiative that would mandate the use of electric locomotives, or in the case of diesel locomotives, only those that conform to the advanced emission standards coming into effect in the European Union and the USA.

Potential for removing traffic: If 40 per cent of container volume goes by rail 800 vm/d will be removed from the road network. Higher mode splits would be possible.

Cost: $25m

8. Apply Cashback funds to public transport improvement

The M4/M5 motorway cashback rebate scheme is currently costing NSW over $100m a year. Always controversial, the scheme was conceived by the Carr government as a means of placating voters when it discovered that it couldn't remove the tolls on the M4 and M5 motorways as it had promised before the 1995 NSW election. Instead of serving to subsidise and entrench car-use, the funds would be better deployed in funding long-term, sustainable public transport and active transport projects. It would be a way of future-proofing communities by reducing their dependence on a single, and increasingly expensive transport mode.

The funds involved are substantial. Based on figures obtained under freedom of information laws, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the cost of the program will balloon to more than $2.39 billion by the time it ends in 2023.

We strongly suggest that, as key infrastructure elements of this plan come on stream, Cashback be phased out over a three year period with the money saved being put to practical use in further improving public transport services along the M5 corridor. The purchase of four additional 8-car train sets to provide more peak-period train capacity, the construction of the Doody Street station in the CIA and construction of the Kingsgrove ‘last chance’ park-and-ride station are examples of discreet projects that could be funded by a staged annual reduction of the Cashback scheme.

Potential for removing traffic: depends on use to which the money saved is put. See traffic reduction potential for individual infrastructure projects outlined above.

Cost: Revenue neutral.

9. Reform third party insurance and other vehicle costs

Approximately 75 per cent of costs (excluding parking) for cars driven 15,000 km per annum are standing costs, that is, those are incurred even if the car isn’t driven at all. The marginal cost of a trip by car for these car owners is thus very low compared to using public transport, where the fare is paid at the time of the trip. This is a major financial disincentive to using public transport, even occasionally, once a car is purchased.

More of these costs need to be made to operate as running costs, as close as possible to trip costs, so that the choice between modes is not effectively settled with car purchase. (This would also have the effect of lowering car purchase costs with positive social equity implications.)

There are a number of candidates for such a switch, including the bulk of registration and driver licensing charges, but an easy start could be made with third-party insurance.

We suggest the state government abandon the current inefficient individualised scheme in favour of a universal scheme funded by a levy on fuel collected at the refinery gate. Under this scheme, annual vehicle costs would be reduced but trip costs (via fuel) increased, in an overall cost-neutral way, but redistributing costs from low-distance drivers to high-distance ones (who run the greater insurance risk anyway) and further tilting the field in favour of fuel-efficient vehicles, while ensuring that every driver is covered.

Traffic reduction potential: initially small, but applying across the state, increasing as other costs are moved from a standing basis to a trip basis via increased fuel costs. Strong symbolic importance. Potential social cost savings from simpler scheme.

Cost: Immediate cost saving from simplified, more efficient, administration.

Last Updated: Mon, 13 Jun 2011 13:57:51 +1100

Light Rail West

Public Transport In The City Was Better in the 1950's
Until November 1958 an extensive tramway network served the inner west. Neighbourhoods like Five Dock, Lilyfield, Leichhardt and Haberfield benefited from trams in many ways, including higher capacity and much less pollution than the buses that have in most cases replaced the old tram routes.

This efficient and high capacity network was dismantled, despite local opposition. The result was noisy and inefficient diesel buses battling to do the work of the trams. The increased car traffic caused by people who abandoned the inferior public transport services have led to the pollution , gridlock and deteriorating travel times experienced on the roads today.

Light Rail West

light rail west routeslight rail west routesDespite being one of the only light rail proposals to fail the feasibility study test, the Lilyfield "extension" of the last remaining section of the Sydney's old tram network has exceeded the expectations for numbers of passengers.

Far from being the 'toy train' that many feared it could become (a repeat of the monorail experience), it provides a great service, prompting calls for further extensions throughout the highly congested inner west.

Light Rail West has been developed by EcoTransit Sydney as one alternative to the current proposal to create a motor way through the inner west.

Although it has been recognised that such a motorway would only increase travel speeds for 18 months or so (based on several other Sydney motorways) the proposal is still being pursued by the RTA and the NSW State Government as a means of 'reducing' congestion.

Light rail, on the other hand would give our current system much more capacity by increasing the efficiency of the current number of lanes on our roads. It would achieve this with less noise and pollution. Light Rail West includes several branches through the inner west and could easily extend to a line up Parramatta Rd to Parramatta itself.

Download the PDF of the Light Rail West Proposal

White Bay Green Link


The White Bay Green Link (WBGL) concept is a combined light rail route and cycleway running from Lilyfield light rail stop to the Barangaroo precinct and the northern CBD via the existing, now unused, White Bay rail corridor and a tunnel beneath the Balmain Peninsula and under Darling Harbour. An overview of the proposal can be downloaded here



This new route would create a direct express corridor (or ‘arc’) from the inner west to the northern and central CBD and would act as the spine on which a more comprehensive light rail and cycling network would, by steps, serve a widening commuter catchment.

The WBGL would transform the Barangaroo precinct from an enclave with poor public transport into a major public and active transport entry point for the CBD.

The broader planning context

Originally included as part of EcoTransit Sydney's submission to the Barangaroo Review the White Bay Green Link concept has benefits that extend beyond its immediate environs.

The White Bay Green Link represents a bold solution to several important planning imperatives for the City of Sydney and the wider metropolis. It addresses the need to:



Bay Light Express

What is the Bay Light Express?

The Bay Light Express is a light rail proposal consisting of two links-Bay Light East and Bay Light West. The two would skirt the neighbourhoods of the
Botany Bay Region, providing fast, comfortable and convenient access between residential and commercial areas that are now difficult to access by public transport.

The proposal would provide relief to communities whose quality of life has been eroded by ever increasing road traffic. It would offer travel times quicker than cars for many trips and provide more capacity than present bus services that are currently over-crowded. This would drive a decisive shift from road to rail use.

In a climate of rising petrol prices, the superior service provided by construction of the Bay Light Express would help to secure the economic future of the region while at the same time make real progress towards protection of the environment. Large reductions in air, noise and water pollution would help to conserve the heritage and nature conservation values of the Botany Bay region.

Where would the Bay Light Express go?

The region immediately surrounding Botany Bay is home to some half a million Sydney residents and thousands of businesses. It houses the county's largest airport and busiest sea freight terminal, an oil refinery and heavy chemical industry. It is the birthplace of modern Australia and a significant part of the heritage of Aboriginal Australia as it is the site of the earliest recorded incidents of indigenous rights and environmental protest.

Like a thread through the beads of a necklace, the Bay Light Express would link all of these places, providing easy access through a diverse range of urban districts and natural environments.

The map (left) demonstrates the wealth of opportunities for eliminating congestion and improving air quality by making 'trip generators' like the shopping strips at Newtown and Oxford Street, as well as educational destinations such as UNSW and the University of Sydney accessible by public transport from all around the Botany Bay area. Imagine being able to go from Circular Quay to La Perouse in one extremely scenic journey?

This map shows an even more ambitious possibility for taking that trip all the way down to Sutherland or even Cronulla via a tunnel underneath Botany Bay's heads!

Bay Light East

The Bay Light East is a 27km link providing high capacity services between Sydney's CBD and the densely populated districts of Darlinghurst, Kensington and Randwick. It then continues through to La Perouse before crossing the heads of Botany Bay to Kurnell in a tunnel. From Kurnell it would proceed along Captain Cook Drive and Elouera Road to Cronulla. This last section would provide unprecedented access between the north-east and south-east districts of the region at travel times vastly superior to those possible by car.


  • Massive reduction in road traffic along Anzac Parade. This would facilitate traffic calming and improve pedestrian amenity along this axis.
  • Mixed-use commercial and residential development could see reductions in the need for car parking as public transport would become more convenient and preferable to car use.
  • Provides a quick direct route from the Sutherland Shire to large trip generators like Fox Studios, the University of NSW and the Sydney Cricket Ground. Where traffic chaos exists now, large crowds could access these sites in comfort with low impacts on local communities. Travel time saving would be in the order of half an hour to an hour.
  • Support transit-based recreational activity at La Perouse, Kurnell, Botany Bay National Park and Towra Point-areas of immense heritage and natural significance.
  • Provides improved access to Kurnell while preserving the village atmosphere of the Kurnell community.
  • Give high quality public transport access to the beaches of Bate Bay, including Boat Harbour, Wanda, Elouera, North and South Cronulla. Many of these spectacular foreshore areas are threatened with the prospect of multi-storey car parking constructions. Solving accessibility problems by giving people real alternatives to the car will eliminate this threat.

Bay Light West

The Bay Light West is a 25.5km link beginning at Central Station and following an on-street alignment down Broadway before turning onto City Road and King Street Newtown. From St Peters railway station, the route would pass through disused industrial areas before connecting with the International Airport Terminal. It would then continue through to Rockdale,servicing a large, densely populated residential area-currently without direct rail access-along Crawford Road and Chuter Avenue. The line would then proceed over Captain Cook Bridge, passing light industrial areas along Taren Point Road before feeding into Caringbah's commercial and residential areas.


  • Provides excellent access for large, densely populated residential catchment and major retail districts, recreational areas and big trip generators like Kingsford-Smith Airport, Sydney University and the King Street restaurant strip. Travel times offered by the Bay Light West would easily out-compete those for car travel; thereby offering the opportunity to shift massive numbers of cars off some of Sydney's most congested roads.
  • Enhance pedestrian amenity at key locations like King Street Newtown, the restaurant districts of Rockdale and the shopping village of Caringbah.
  • Extends the coverage of the rail network by creating rail interchanges with the East Hills, Bankstown and Western Suburbs rail lines. This will increase the potential for cross-city trips to be undertaken quickly by rail, generating yet more opportunities to remove traffic from some of Sydney's most congested roads.
  • Protect the area from freeway development as motorists are offered a superior alternative to car use. Large areas of endangered wetland will be saved from destructive motorway development.
  • Big reductions in car traffic would potentially reduce air and water pollution. The Bay Light would in many areas be able to run on existing hard surfaces, generating little or no additional urban run-off. In some areas like Chuter Avenue, the Bay Light would run on grassed islands in the middle of the road, reducing noise while placing no additional burden on already over-loaded storm water systems.

Staged Construction and Estimated Costs

The construction of the Bay Light Express could be done in stages with immediate benefits for each section. Bay Light East would be built in three stages at an estimated cost of $690 million. The Bay Light West would be built in four stages at an estimated cost of $355 million.

Bay Light East

Stage 1 - Sydney CBD to La Perouse
This link follows the historic tramwayalignment from the Sydney CBD along Oxford Street before joining Anzac Parade through Kensington to Maroubra Junction and then down Anzac Parade to La Perouse. It is 14kms long with an estimated construction cost of $270 million.

Stage 2 - La Perouse to Kurnell
This link involves construction of a twin-track tunnel underneath the heads of Botany Bay to link La Perouse and Kurnell. It would be approximately 3 kms long. Early estimates put its construction at $320 million.

Stage 3 - Kurnell to Cronulla.
This section would link Kurnell to Cronulla by rail with an on-street alignment along Captain Cook Drive and Elouera Road. It would terminate just south of Cronulla railway station. It is approximately 10kms long and would cost somewhere in the order of $100 million to build.

Bay Light West

Stage 1 - Central Railway to St Peters
This link follows an on-street alignment from Central Railway station down Broadway, City Road and King Street Newtown before terminating just south of St Peters railway station. It is 5kms long with an estimated construction cost of $90 million.

Stage 2 - St Peters to International Airport
This link is approximately 3.5kms long and passes through currently disused industrial land. It would have a dedicated carriageway and cost $60 million to construct.

Stage 3 - International Airport to Sans Souci
This section would be constructed as a combination of dedicated carriageway and on-street alignments. Making use of selected parts of the proposed M6 freeway corridor, the cost of land resumption would be kept low as RTA owned land could be transferred to light rail use at little cost. This section is approximately 8.5kms long with an estimated construction cost of $130 million.

Stage 4 - Sans Souci to Caringbah
This link is approximately 6.5kms long and runs on an on-street alignment over Captain Cooks Bridge and along Taren Point before joining the Kingsway to pass through Caringbah shopping village. It has an estimated construction cost of $75million.


Bay Light Express Updates

November 2000 -Successful Launch!
The Bay Light Express proposal was launched on 11 October 2000 at Parliament House.

MS CLOVER MOORE, the Independent Member for Bligh, hosted the launch and outlined problems with inner city bus services—chiefly not enough capacity to meet the high demand. MLC Lee Rhianon and Sutherland Shire Environment Centre Chairman Bob Walshe stressed the need to improve public transport generally and reintroduce light rail to Sydney.
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November 2001 -Bay Light Express or M6 tollway
TRANSPORT DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTHERN SYDNEY has been dominated by the question of what will happen to the M6 motorway corridor. The community Bay Light Express and Illawarra Heavy Rail campaigns are both reactions to this. These successfull campaigns are a testament to the community's desire to see development of a comprehensive public transport system over more motorway construction.
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October 2002 -Campaign to save Anzac Parade light rail needs your support!
PLANS for a light rail link to the eastern suburbs are again under threat. Residents of Kensington and Randwick—one of the densest urban areas in Australia—are crying out for better public transport. But Randwick Council still isn’t listening.
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