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Trams: Rebuilding what was lost

Sydney had one of the world’s largest and most used urban public transport systems. Mathew Hounsell explores Sydney’s old tram system and looks at what inner city councils are interested in resurrecting.

In 1945, the NSW Government op­erated the city’s urban transport network as 291 kilometres of sur­face light rail that served 405 million passengers a year, all while making a profit.

The history of Sydney’s light rail is a fascinating one. Sydney’s first trams were horse drawn, and later cable cars were introduced along the North Sydney line. It was the flexibility and reliability of electric trams that allowed the tram system to take off and saw the first electric power plants built in Sydney, with spare capac­ity for businesses and homes. The network expanded a few kilometres at a time, like a growing tree, except in some circumstances where powerful politicians decided a tram would improve their local streets.

Mathew Hounsell

Read the whole thing in the Inner West Voice.

How does public transport stack up against motorways?

Regardless of how it is financed, all infrastructure is paid for by NSW residents , through either fees or taxes. So we deserve to know whether the government is prioritising projects that give us the greatest bang for our buck, writes Mathew Hounsell.

To move 24,000 people in an hour takes twenty double-deck trains, 100 light rail vehicles, 240 bendy-buses or a ten lane toll road.

The NSW and Commonwealth governments plan to spend $1.26 billion to build a 14 kilometre motorway from the M7 to the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek [1]. A six lane motorway could carry up to 7,200 persons an hour to the new employment centre of Western Sydney at a cost of $90 million per kilometre. Transurban, the remaining Sydney toll road operator, plans to build NorthConnex, a twin three lane, nine kilometre, motorway tunnel for $3 billion – $333 million a kilometre. The proposed WestConnex motorway is estimated to cost at least $15 billion [2].

That 7,200 hourly capacity looks feeble when compared to rail. For example, the Moreton Bay Rail Link (Commonweath and Queensland governments) is costing $1.15 billion [3]. It’s a 12.6 kilometre railway with six stations and twenty-two bridges, most over roads. With modern signalling one such two-track rail line can carry between 36,000 persons an hour, or 48,000 if you’re as ambitious and competent as the French.

Mathew Hounsel

Read the whole thing in the Inner West Voice.

To build a strong community, the persons within must feel respected. All persons must know that their feelings and needs are acknowledged and respected. No country should run roughshod over some of its people just because they’re in the minority.

There are good reasons for some Australians to feel 26 January represents the start of a two hundred year period of darkness and despair.

So let’s drop the bulldust surrounding 26 January and consider it rationally.

26 January 1788 was the start of the dispossession and systematic extermination of the indigenous Australians by the arriving settlers and this continued for over two hundred years. Extermination is a strong word, but it is accurate. During the discussions on federation, Aboriginal Australians were denied natural rights as they were considered lesser people.

No country thrives when the powerful continue with decisions that mistreat a section of the community it governs. We now understand how indigenous people were disenfranchised, and it is past time to address these issues in earnest. It is improper for our national day to continue to reinforce a policy of ignoring the existence of people who find the current date insensitive.

As Australians, two of our strengths are being adaptable and being inclusive – let’s use these strengths and end this division.

As stated on australiaday.org.au “The tradition of having Australia Day as a national holiday on 26 January is a recent one. Not until 1935 did all the Australian states and territories use that name to mark that date. Not until 1994 did they begin to celebrate Australia Day consistently as a public holiday on that date.” Every year we are told by some that we must celebrate Australia Day on 26 January because it is traditional. In reality it is just a very recent invention. 26 January1788  is the date the English landed in what is now New South Wales, the other states did not consider that date the start of the nation.

26 January is considered by some Australians as a date to commemorate The Invasion and to celebrate the survival of indigenous people and their cultural identity despite systematic attempts to destroy both.

However justified that idea and understanding of 26 January is not an inclusive one. It tells the majority of Australians that they are part of an invading force. It alienates those born in Australia since 1788 from their homeland. Unintentionally that idea reinforces the very notion of otherness separating Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders Australians from other Australians.

So let’s turn 26 January on its head and make it inclusive. Let’s celebrate 40,000+ years of human survival in Australia. But most of all let’s celebrate our shared history of surviving tyranny, bigotry, and imperialism. As Australian’s let us commemorate the indomitable spirit of Aboriginals & Torres Strait Islanders, the migrants seeking a better life, the refugees seeking safety, and those like the convicts & settlers seeking freedom and a second chance. Let us celebrate those who survived and worked to build a nation of respect, inclusion, and democracy. Let’s demonstrate these principles by respecting our indigenous fellows and accepting that 26 January is not a good date for our national day.

As an alternative national day, I do have a suggestion. Clearly the starting day of federation is out; it was 1 January 1 1901. Let’s just say a national day after New Year’s Eve would not work.

However, there is another date that reflects our national character: 3 March 1986.

In 1985 the Australian Parliament informed the UK Parliament and Privy Council that they would no longer have any power over Australian law, and sought the passage of the Australia Act 1986 to make it so. Every year 3 March goes unremarked, but it was the day a mature country formally and finally became independent of the UK. This independence was achieved not by violent revolution but through negotiation and a quiet act of democracy.

In 2016, after hundreds of years of argument and animosity, the Christian churches are working towards a consensus on the dates to celebrate Easter. Humans can overcome history and difference and by respecting each other’s feelings and beliefs build a strong community.

So let’s move Australia day to 3 March; we’ll have our ceremonies like citizenship and national honours on that day. Maybe this change will demonstrate our acknowledgement of the struggle for survival by Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australians. Let’s keep 26 January as a day to celebrate our shared humanity and all our survival stories.

Ideas

Inner City Route Map

Inner City Route Map

Heavy Rail

  • Redfern East Station at George & Phillip St

Light Rail

  • Oxford St
  • Anzac Parade
  • Parramatta Road
  • King St, Enmore Rd, Victoria Rd, & Marrickville Rd
  • Elizabeth St, George St (Redfern), Mc Evoy Rd, Euston Rd, etc;
  • Gardeners Rd, & Edinburgh Rd
  • Crows St, Baptist St, and Green Square Light Rail Corridor

Light Rail Discussion Inner West

Light Rail Discussion Inner West

And Zoomed In

Light Rail Discussion Inner West - Waterloo and Zetland

Although the previous post can be useful to see the detail, 6000+ entries is too much.

For a taste here are the top three (and there are some surprises in the rest)

Riverstone – Marsden Park 134,633

Cobbitty – Leppington 10,5314

Rouse Hill – Beaumont Hills 61,130

So after the fold is the data summarized to SA2 – usual a classification of several suburbs.

Read More

That is a very reasonable question considering my blog consists of one post and Media Release.

Basically, I am co-convenor of Ecotransit Sydney and NoWestconnex; this does not leave a lot of time for blogging. I’m also the webmin for both stylish websites: Ecotransit, NoWestconnex.

So, posting my media releases is a way of keeping them public and indexable; while giving my blog some content. Win, Win!

There is a constant stream of tweets over @MathewHounsell.

Consider the tourist with one week who wishes to see several historic areas in Spain. Say for example, the cities of Malaga, Cordoba, Granda and Madrid.

The tourist can fly in to Malaga and spend two days seeing the sites. On the morning of the third day they can catch a train and be in Cordoba in one hour for sixty euro; yes, just one hour. That means they can get up in the morning and move on to Cordoba without losing a day to travel. Granada is two hours from Cordoba; but Madrid is four hours from Granda.

This means that the tourist can see four great historic cities with only seven hours of traveling.

In New South Wales, two hours wont even get you to Newcastle and one hour wont get you to Wollongong. Moreover it takes eight hours with an avergae speed of 60Km/h to reach Armidale.

No wonder the furthest our tourist go is Katoomba (two hours).

Check out the excellent http://www.raileurope.com.au (outside of Oz http://www.raileurope-world.com). SNCF (France) http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/ and Renfe (Spain) http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html