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Badgerys Creek to start with buses as only public transport option

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 4, 2015

Looking west over Badgerys Creek. (Seth Jaworski)
Looking west over Badgerys Creek. (Seth Jaworski)

Buses will be the only form of public transport to Sydney’s Badgerys Creek Airport when the new facility is opened in the mid-2020s, a senior Commonwealth public servant says.

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development deputy secretary Andrew Wilson says rail is “probably a longer term requirement” for the proposed airport in western Sydney.

“We are looking at the issue of rail infrastructure with NSW,” Wilson told delegates at the CAPA – Centre for Aviation Australia Pacific Aviation Summit in Sydney on Monday.

“Rail is just one means of public transport. The first public transport to and from the airport will be buses. It will be buses provided through an efficient road network.

The state and federal government say they will spend a combined $3.6 billion over the next 10 years for road improvements around the Badgerys Creek Airport site.


However, there has been no funds allocated towards a rail link to the airport.

Asked if the master plan would include safeguards for an intermodal connection, or rail link, inside the terminal, Wilson said: “We are working to ensure that the airport is capable of being developed long-term in the most efficient way we possibly can and that includes the identification of what you may or may not need in terms of future rail infrastructure investment.”

“Of course it has got to be developed in such as a way that it would integrate into the NSW rail network which is why we are working with NSW transport officials.”

Wilson said construction planned to start in 2016, with the airport to open with capacity for 10 million passengers a year and be capable of handling domestic and international flights, as well as local and overseas freight, from day one.

“The first stage will be neither a shed in a paddock, nor a grand monument,” Wilson said.

“Think of Adelaide Airport today and you would be in the right ballpark both in terms of size but also capacity to handle a diversity of traffic it will serve.”

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said he was comfortable with the airport not having rail service on its first day of operations.

“With all of these infrastructure projects you do not want them to be over speced and over developed from day one,” Joyce told delegates at the conference on Tuesday.

“I think eventually Badgerys Creek will need a rail link, I’m open to the fact that at the start it doesn’t have a rail link.”

The Badgerys Creek site is highllighed in orange. (Dept of Infrastructure)
The Badgerys Creek site is highllighed in orange. (Dept of Infrastructure)

The Commonwealth recently concluded the nine-month formal consultation period with the owners of Sydney Airport and was preparing to release its Notice of Intention (effectively a sales contract) in late 2015.

Wilson said the Department was currently preparing its advice to government about the commercial and contractual structure of the proposal, including the detailed first stage requirements of the airport.

“If everything goes well, it is possible that the Notice of Intention will be with Sydney Airport by the end of the year,” Wilson said.

Meanwhile, Wilson said the environmental impact statement and airport master plan were expected to be released to the public in either late November or early December.

When the Commonwealth sold Sydney Airport in 2002 it included a 30-year first right of refusal to build and operate any airport within 100km of the existing terminals at Mascot.

During the formal consultations, the Department and Sydney Airport conducted an “extensive consultation process” that included 28 formal meetings, 33 technical sessions and 15 small sessions, Wilson said.

This was separate to the consultations with community groups, local councils and the NSW government departments and ministers.

While the formal master plan was yet to be released, Wilson said the government was keen to maximise the aeronautical capacity of the 1,700ha site and build an airport that was able to expand as demand grew.

In terms of the airport design, Wilson said the master plan would show a curfew-free facility where the terminal buildings and apron space were located between two parallel runways capable of handling large widebody aircraft.

Ultimately, the airport would be designed to be capable of handling more than 80 million passengers a year by the time it reached capacity.

“That is a lot of capacity but we want to ensure an enduring solution to Sydney’s aviation needs,” Wilson said.

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Comments (19)

  • random


    Completely mad. The cheapest it will ever be to put rail in is when it’s a green-field site…. All of the construction tools and workforce are already there.
    The best way to develop a mentality of access via public transport is to have it there from the start.
    This is why a hundred years ago our society could push rail and tram lines all over the city – because they were going in ahead of the need, not after it. In modern times the cost of retrofitting these transport lines into established areas is crippling. This is the same mentality that sees single-carriageway two-lane motorways, bypasses and access roads being built, which become swamped and inadequate from the moment they open.

  • Adyb.S


    This is certainly interesting. The current government finally noticed that the second airport should be a risk-averse “ground upwards project” open for business with modest beginnings. But they must also realize that the airport is located in Sydney’s South Western growth spurt, and that making a rail corridor to tackle congestion (from not only the airport, but business centers and residence from the area) should be just as big of a priority (if not bigger) than the road upgrades. And now would be a cheaper option than later.
    The biggest thing missing in context of the discussion of a rail connection, is that the rail line will be shared, and not the fully dedicated airport link everyone is thinking. The South West Rail link is an already established railway line from the Main South and East Hills line, with is independent stabling, stations, development precincts and commuters. Why not expand the development portfolio (and induced patronage) along with the public transport patronage induced from the airport? We do not need to look far to make this point clear, given developments between SYD and the city at Green Square, Zetland, Alexandria, Waterloo and Mascot.
    The new railway will only be a few kilometers stretch of the current SWRL, and will include development areas of Rossmore and Bringelly. The new train line will have little geotechnical work and land acquisition costs, and will feed to SYD (for efficient offline airport transfers which would be crucial for airlines), the city and the south-west directly, while indirectly connecting Western Sydney (which can also be directly linked in the future), intercity/regional NSW and northern regions

  • Chris GG


    A fundamental series of flaws are developing in the air, rail and road transport priorities for the Greater Sydney Region. The Rouse Hill railway folly ends short of the dead end Richmond railway line. The Epping to Chatswood tunnel will be rebuilt to extend the single deck automated shuttle towards the over serviced CBD. Then they plan another crossing around Sydneys biggest transport choke points the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tunnels ostensibly so they can flog off 16,000 new units around Balmain, Barangarroo and Glebe to mainly investors. Australian citizen new home owners, retirees and working poor are unlikely to move into this prescint.

    Opposition to the intermodal freight hub where 21 Supply and SME were is growing due to urbanisation. The Richmond to Glenfield railway corridor was not built when the former St Marys Ammunition site was sold off for housing. That would have made the Richmond line more productive post duplication. Windsor Rd was also upgraded and widened. Of course Clarendon railway station is already situated to service Richmond airport. All that is needed is a 4km N S runway and civilian terminal and a short stretch of rail and road tunnels along current axis.

    A Richmond to circa Penrith railway line joining the Western railway line over the Blue Mountains would naturally further extend to the Southern line around Campbelltown via Badgery’s Creek. Their is space aroundabouts for an intermodal terminal given the rural setting. Opposition by cityslicker residents is unlikely. UWS Hawkesbury Campus at East Richmond could refocus from Agriculture to Aviation. Statements about Richmond post the C130J30 make Sydney residents fear the RAAF land will become housing like St Marys.

    Apron, bund and hangar construction plans at Amberley do not appear cost effective given Richmond’s air, rail and road infrastructive too high above the Hawkesbury River too flood. Suggestions by so called transport planning experts that Badgery’s Creek and Richmond Airports need priority links to the CBD seem misplaced for competition to KSA. Aircraft approach and departure routes servicing NW and SW Sydney Basin airports should be manageable given their distance apart.

  • Steve


    Why not develop an O-Bahn bus route like in Adelaide. It offers flexibility for buses to run on the guided way but then go to the road network to distribute.

  • Mark


    More lack of common sense and vision from Australian governemnts. Why are we surprised by this?

  • Tim


    Insanity. Put the rail line in before the terminal is built. Saves money in the long run.

  • Dave


    Speaking of Badgerys Creek and railways, if they spent the money on the Sydney-Canberra-Melb High Speed railway instead, then you wouldnt need a second sydney airport.
    How many slots would open up at SYD if most of the flights to MEL, CAN and regional cities were replaced by rail.
    London-Paris have Madrid-Barcelona have done it, its time Australia caught up its transport planning to other parts of the world.

  • Ben


    To quote Alan Joyce from the article: “With all of these infrastructure projects you do not want them to be over speced and over developed from day one,”
    Why not? Talk about a lack of vision and future-proofing. If you look at the history of the current Sydney airport it seems it has always to some extent been overcrowded and congested with any expansion or infrastructure projects done just to cope with existing demand, not plan for future demand. Take the history: Current international terminal opened in 1970, presumably to cater for the then new 747. 16/34 runway extension done around the same time to allow for longer range flights at MTOW etc. Third runway and new control tower opened in mid 90’s, Expansion and modernisation of international and domestic terminals and rail link in the 1990’s to prepare for 2000 Olympics, Very little done in the last 15 years since then other than some modifications to gates to accommodate the A380 and continuing renovation of terminals and slight expansion of Virgin Australia Domestic peir. Everything has been done simply to keep up or catch up with demand. If the second Sydney airport is not planned properly with future-proofing infrastructure like a rail link it will end up a white elephant. An inconvenient and under-used asset that is difficult to access and only used by cargo airlines or LCC’s. To compare it to overseas airports it may end up like Montréal–Mirabel Airport. Or more accurately comparing Badgery’s Creek to Kingsford-Smith will be like comparing Luton to Heathrow: Demand at Kingsford-Smith will continue to grow and it will be bursting at the seams. The relieving effect of a second airport will hardly be noticed. Badgery’s Creek has to be planned and built properly from day one to avoid this.

  • Corey


    Wow the government can’t even build a new railway for public and freight transport?!!!!! What if a private corporation built the rail line like what the did in Brisbane running from just our side the city to the international and domestic airport terminals. Step 1 build a duel rail line, step 2 buy 6-8 high speed (160km/h+), Step 3 charge customers and freight trains to use the railway. Also Solar power could be installed in locations along with using LED signal lights and LED street/train station platform lights to help reduce energy consumption also use breaking energy capturing technology to capture breaking energy and then feed it back into the power grid. As investors it would make it the greenest railway in Australia along with it being the fastest. and people would be forced to use it so it’s a win win for everyone. Also why can’t a private investor buy the airport and build it them self kinda what the did in Toowoomba with Wellcamp airport but they designed, built that airport with their own land and money and now the operate it.

  • Corey


    Also a question to who ever can answer it including Australian aviation. Why is there large amounts of vacant land at the end of runways. For example there is a large vacant plot of land approx 100m wide and 100-150m long at the south end of Sunshine Coast Airport Runway 18/36. There is also a major road which separates the land from the airport. I’ve included the IP address so you can look to help try and answer my question. Also if there has to be a buffer of land how long and wide does it have to be?


  • Marc


    Crazy in this age. Third world countries have train links to airports.

  • Deano


    What more can I add to the above
    Just plane stupid not to build the rail first, or at least acquire the land and have any tunnels built under the terminals so that it’s “ready to go” when needed

  • Jason


    and MR Abbott calls himself the Infrastructure Prime Minister. As a supporter, I am becoming somewhat frustrated by the current Governments lack of commitment in this area.

  • Chris GG


    You worry me Corey.

    Here in NSW we have had Transport PPP failure after failure over decades. Companies want the government to guarantee usage. Lanes on public roads in competition have been closed. Back street Rat Runs have had barriers installed, speed limits reduced and other disincentives created like equivalent tolls on the publicly funded road that is not maintained to an equivalent standard. Not to mention Commercial in Confidence clauses denying proper oversight and review.

    Our electric trains have regenerative braking, powering following trains for longer than i suspect you have been living. Unfortunately we have not had a qualified Transport Min this Millennium. Their advisors appear to be influenced more by Economists than Engineers. The latter take a longer term view about depreciating an asset, design life and profitability per PAX Km.

    The deceased Economist Len HARPER uniquely as the former head of QLD, VIC and NSW Railways was the most likely Australian to build High Speed Rail from MEL, CAN, SYD to BRI and further N. I am not a Geologist but am aware that an elevated track like the MAGLEV system has more merit here given the effect of the sun warping rails hence imposing speed limits on conventional Fast and Tilt trains. PAX trains supplying fast journeys are mutually exclusive from rail freight. Improved signalling and tracking would allow wheeled trucks to use dedicated freight rail lines better engineered for dangerous and heavier loads. Hence our interurban roads would be safer sans 60 to 90mtonne or more semi and B double trailers travelling at 100/90kmhr in convoy.

  • chuck


    A 2007 report by Melbourne academics found Australian rail costs per km for construction of dual track with signalling, based on contemporary examples, as follows:

    Green-field above ground with no land acquisition – $4 million/km
    Above ground through urban corridor without land acquisition- $14 million/km
    Underground – $40 million/km

    Anyway you look at it, it’s vastly cheaper to build it up front.

    My bet would be that the government and airport operator want the capacity to sell car parking management rights at a premium – which is very much harder if good rail transportation exists from opening day.

  • Corey


    It was just a thought but I guess it wasn’t a good idea. I didn’t know about all the restrictions on toll roads and rail. Personally double road train (prime mover + 2 full length semi trailers coupled by a dolly) should be allowed on most highways and motor ways and the heavy vehicle speed limit should be 110km/h as it would offer better competitiveness with freight trains and the speed limit raised to make it safer to merge on to highways, byways and motorways. All emergency heavy vehicles should have a cop speed of 130km/h yes I know I’m off topic but it would be a substitute if there isn’t a rail line any time soon and it would mean less trucks on the road. Also can someone please help me with my second question I posted!!!!!

  • Ric Lasslett


    Ah yes, I remember it well It was the 1960’s and Tullamarine Airport was under construction . There were great plans to build a monorail into Melbourne, right down the centre of the Tullamarine Freeway. Here we are nearly 50 years later, no mono rail, no rail, no FREEway, just buses and reducing travel times!

    Ah politicians are just made of promises…………………..

  • Corey


    Thank you Adrian P!!!! It helps be a lot. I’m researching if the new proposed SC Airport runway to be extended to 2.8km from 2.4km along with a new terminal with aero bridges for 4 B787/777 or A330/A350 aircraft and 6-8 B737 or 320 aircraft at one time along with a parallel taxi way and apron for 4 747-8I aircraft.

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