Sydney Metro: Sydenham Station Upgrade, Australia

Upgrading Sydenham Station: a key role for Aurecon on Sydney Metro

Sydney's status as a world-class business and tourism destination makes it essential for top quality transport links to be available and they are about to get a whole lot better. The New South Wales government is constructing a new metro service to make it faster and easier for people to move around Australia’s busiest city.

Sydney Metro City & Southwest is an extension of metro rail from the end of Sydney Metro North West at Chatswood, running under Sydney Harbour, then through new CBD stations and south west to Bankstown. It is due to open in 2024 with seven new metro stations and 11 upgraded stations.

Aurecon, in partnership with GHD for construction client joint venture John Holland and Laing O’Rourke, is delivering the station upgrade works at Sydenham Station that includes track upgrades, platform works, new buildings, water infrastructure works and new connections to other modes of public transportation. The project continues Aurecon’s contribution on Sydney Metro with roles on Pitt Street Station, City & Southwest Line-wide and Sydney Central Station contracts.

Customers at Sydenham Station will have a new, air-conditioned, metro train every four minutes in peak periods that is 15 trains an hour, compared to the current eight trains an hour.

Aurecon, in partnership with GHD, is delivering detailed design for project components, including:

Major upgrade works are underway

The contract includes major railway upgrade work to the existing rail system at Sydenham Station to allow for the introduction of the Sydney Metro system. It also includes the reconfiguration of existing track and rail systems to segregate the T3 Bankstown Line and the goods line, installation of metro tracks and rail systems, including crossover and turnback facilities.

Sydenham Station Platforms 1 and 2 will be upgraded to Sydney Metro standards, while existing Platforms 3, 4, 5 and 6 will continue to be used by Sydney Trains.

The main features of the upgraded Sydenham Station are:

  • Two new station entrances at Burrows Road and Railway Parade
  • A new pedestrian concourse over the station with five, 20-tonne, roof canopies installed
  • Straightened metro platforms and platform screen doors on the Sydney Metro platforms to keep people and objects away from tracks and allow trains to get in and out of stations much faster
  • More than 3 kilometres of new overhead wiring installed
  • Easy interchange for passengers between Sydney Trains and Sydney Metro services
  • More than 6000 tonnes of new track ballast
  • New station buildings at the new Railway Parade concourse
  • Improved interchange for bus, taxi and ride-sharing customers
  • Upgraded signalling works with 50 kilometres of new signal cabling installed

Customers at the core of design

Adopting a user-centred design process placed the end users of Sydenham Station at the starting point of the design process.

More than eight hours of direct observations were recorded from over 50 direct customer intercepts and customer ‘ride-alongs’ from their homes to their destinations. Virtual reality wayfinding design, workshop interviews with customers who have accessibility limitations, and deep-dive workshop interviews were used to explore local issues.

A customer reference panel was created from a diverse group of commuters who use Sydenham Station. Their insights on the functioning of the station were integrated into the concept designs for the upgrade, a true measure of success for any public transport infrastructure intervention.

A virtual reality display was set up at the project’s community open day with virtual reality goggles and a visualisation of the future station. People were immersed in the design of Sydenham Station, watching trains travel the length of the platforms, seeing how people would navigate through the station, and noticing how structures were designed for safety. Community members were able to provide their positive and constructive comments on the station’s design.

Some of the customer-generated design improvements were:

  • Rearranging the locations of customer facilities in the entry plazas to reduce congestion during peak travel times
  • Provision of additional seating options on platforms and more comfortable seating within plaza areas
  • Rearranging the layout of facilities so that customers in wheelchairs, or carrying bulky goods, could better navigate through the plaza areas
  • Improved lighting in plaza areas to give customers the feeling of safety as they move away from the station
  • Improved wayfinding assistance for customers with specific needs related to vision, over and above the Disability Standards for Public Transport
  • An alternative ‘kiss and ride’ area that incorporates the safety needs of customers without compromising the speed and convenience that they crave

Keeping customers at the centre of the design of the upgraded Sydenham Station proved crucial to ensuring that the end-product was tailored to the distinct needs of customers. In addition, Sydney Metro now has access to invaluable customer insights to help them operate and maintain the station in the future without compromising customer needs.

Building the city’s first overhead aqueduct

The project involves fitting the Sydney Metro tracks beside the existing rail tracks using the land currently assigned to the Sydney Water culvert drainage system.

A 150-metre span elevated aqueduct structure will be built to transport the stormwater up and over the heritage-listed Sydenham Pit to retain this important water run-off channel. It will be the first time in Sydney that an overhead aqueduct has been constructed and Aurecon’s rail engineers collaborated with bridge design and water engineers to design the structure to fit within the tight land space available.

A digital twin of the physical assets

Aurecon developed a digital twin of the project with asset tagging for Sydney Metro assets. A digital twin is a digital replica of a physical entity. By bridging the physical and the virtual world, data is transmitted seamlessly allowing the virtual entity to exist simultaneously with the physical entity.

The overriding value of the digital twin lies in the potential to provide information for asset management and maintenance in the future. Municipal organisations such as Sydney Water and Sydney Trains will be able to use the virtual data to contemplate ways to improve, repair, maintain and manage the station, track and water infrastructure assets in the future and then monitor effectiveness.

When metro services begin at Sydenham in 2024, customers will have more trains, faster trips and new and direct access to job and educational precincts such as North Sydney, Macquarie University and Macquarie Park. It is anticipated that the capacity of the Sydney railway network will be increased by 60 per cent, which means an additional 100,000 people can be moved across the city every hour in the peak.

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