Light rail to Dulwich Hill
Simple, cheap, efficient, so Iemma's probably against
8 May 2008
The price of oil just keeps going up. Its looking for
$120 a barrel. The price at the pumps will be over $1.60 a litre by
the end of the year for certain, I said to Old Possum, as we
sat with Joadja sipping ciders outside the Brushtail Café.
And it could be worse than that, much worse, Old replied.
The neo-conservative crazies are talking up a war with Iran
again. If that happened, all bets would be off. Wed be looking
at petrol over $2.00 a litre, if you could get it at all.
how overcrowded public transport would be then! Patronage is already
on the up-and-up. Overall, it rose 4.3 per cent last year, but some
bus routes went up by 20 per cent.
Look, theres one way of getting a lot more public transport
capacity, at least in the inner west, and thats by extending
the Metro Light Rail from where it terminates at Lilyfield all the
way to Dulwich Hill. Itd be as cheap as chips. He peered
triumphantly through his scratched old bifocals. I knew he was warming
to one of his favourite topics.
Fantastic idea, and its just there for the asking! So
what needs to be done?
I went and had a look at it the other day. It was built for
heavy freight trains, its been well maintained and it was electrified
in the 1960s. The track is in great condition. They just need to run
the whipper-snipper over the weeds, convert the overhead wiring to
tram voltage, whack in a bit of signalling and some simple platforms.
The light rail company already has enough vehicles to operate the
service. For less that $20 million we could have an extra six kilometres
of light rail serving a densely populated part of the inner west.
The whole thing could be up and running within a year.
And look at this, Joadja said, spreading out a printout
from Google Earth. The old goods line passes under the Western
Line. All you need there is a walkway directly from a light rail stop
to Lewisham station, which is only 200 metres away, and youve
got an interchange. And down the bottom end, the Rozelle line joins
the Bankstown line right at Dulwich Hill station. Apart from anything
else, its a fantastic north-south link between the two heavy
Of course the stops along the line would also connect with a
bunch of bus services and theres plenty of space for bike storage.
Theres also plenty of room next to the line for a bikeway.
Look at all the places it serves, Old said, stabbing his
finger at the image. Just along the section from Rozelle to
Dulwich Hill there are six schools near the line. And then theres
Leichhardt Market Town and the new apartments in those old flour mills
next to the line. Folks from the inner west could get quick direct
access to the Glebe restaurants, the Fish Market, Paddys Market,
The Powerhouse Museum, Chinatown and Darling Harbour.
And itd be a really pleasant scenic trip, what with the
greenway next to it. A much better experience than grinding into town
in a bus.
Yeah, but the dumb-arse Iemma mob are really hostile to light
rail, I said, twisting the top off another cider.
True, neither of the major parties are well disposed towards
light rail. It took a whole popular campaign by The Glebe Society
to get the present service into existence, but it has to be said that
it got the go-ahead in 1994 under the Greiner Liberal Government.
Orginally it had been intended to take it all the way to Dulwich Hill,
but the line
got to Lilyfield in 2000 and nothing has happened since.
Yeah, its just freeways, freeways, freeways. And now theyre
trying to touch the Rudd Government for funds to build the mad M4
East and Port Botany truck tunnel proposal. Fancy blowing $10 billion
on another expensive freeway when peak oil has already struck and
petrols rocketing up! Theyre absolutely nuts.
Old sighed. Its worse than that. Theyve led Sydney
into a terrible trap. If theyd started preparing the city for
the decline of oil a decade ago, when the future became pretty obvious,
wed have a whole bunch of light rail lines under construction:
lines to the eastern suburbs and the northern beaches, lines running
out to the suburbs from Parramatta. But instead we got the Cross City
and the Lane Cove tunnel debacles
and theyre still talking
But whats to stop them just agreeing to extend the existing,
very successful, light rail service when itd cost next to nothing?
Easy. Theyre still listening to their mates in the construction
industry. Those leeches want the old freight line for a feeder road
for the M4 East motorway. Theres no profit for them in light
rail extension. But of course the Iemma Government doesnt dare
admit it, cos doing that would lose them a swag of votes to
The Greens in a couple of vulnerable electorates.
Do your bit for the campaign to get light rail extended to Dulwich
Hill! Send an Ecotransit e-card to Iemma. Go to www.ecotransit.org.au
... and follow the links!