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Sydney Metro Train design | Image: Gibbs Design

Inside Sydney’s $63 Billion Super Train Hub

Underneath the streets of Sydney is a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project that aims to see more than 100 passenger trains rolling through Martin Place station by the end of the decade. Detailed by the Sydney Morning Herald, the “super train hub” is one of the largest suburban rail projects in the world, split across the $18.5 billion Metro City and Southwest line and the $27 billion Metro West line underneath Hunter Street.

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Sydney Metro track works | Image: Sydney Metro

Sydney Metro track works | Image: Sydney Metro

Connected by two pedestrian tunnels, the walk from Martin Place to Wynard Station will be completely underground, with an extension to Barangaroo expected to be completed by 2030. At $63 billion, Sydney Metro will change how we commute around Australia’s largest, most populated and busiest city.

Once the second stage of Sydney’s metro rail network opens next year, according to Sydney Metro’s delivery director for Martin Place, Luke Garden, over 75 trains an hour are expected to pass through across the City and Southwest lines, with an additional 30 on the existing Eastern Suburbs line. But once the Metro West line opens in 2030, over 100 trains carrying more than 1000 passengers will be zipping in and out of the new underground station.

Unlike the double-decker heavy rail trains we’ve become accustomed to in Sydney, the driverless Metro trains operating on twin 15.5-kilometre rail tunnels will move between 46 stations across 113 kilometres of new Metro rail every four minutes. Once completed, catching the Metro from North Sydney to Martin Place will take only five minutes and 3 minutes to Barangaroo. Currently, commuters need to alight at Wynyard for a connecting train to Martin Place or to walk to Barangaroo.

Sydney Metro track works | Image: Sydney Metro

Sydney Metro track works | Image: Sydney Metro

Beyond the city limits, commuters can travel from the CBD to Sydney’s outer north-west, Sydenham and Bankstown, in a single journey.

“It’s the heart of the interchange for the city. This will be very busy, but obviously, the space fits it,” Garden said. “If you’re coming from Metro West and you want to go to Central Station, for example, you’ll go and interchange here.”

But don’t worry about getting lost in the depths of Sydney. Garden assures commuters that “although we’re very deep down, it’s actually going to be easy and intuitive to find your way around.”

Despite the 35-metre depth of the underground station, Martin Place will be flooded with natural light from street level, with escalators transferring commuters to and from the super transport hub, which describes as “a completely different world.”

“To the public, they will just see this open space with light. That connection to the street is again really very different to anything people have experienced in Sydney in terms of a deep underground station,” Garden said.

Sydney Metro track works | Image: Sydney Metro

Sydney Metro track works | Image: Sydney Metro

The rebuilt Martin Place station is not only the first underground station to be built under Sydney in the 21st century, but it is also the longest rail line to be built beneath central Sydney since the City Circle underground railway was finished in the 1950s. Sydney Metro chief executive Peter Regan describes the process as more than “just building stations; we’re creating new destinations.”

Beyond the transportation benefits, the new Martin Place will feature different precincts, accommodating shops, bars and restaurants, offices and apartments. Above the ground, Macquarie Group is constructing a 39-storey office tower over the northern entrance and a 29-storey building at the southern end. LendLease is also contracted to build additional towers above the station, plus underground station elements and pedestrian links.

Even the affectionately nicknamed ‘Train Daddy’ Andy Byford, a former chief operating officer of Sydney’s train network, is “confident” about the potential “economic renaissance” from the opening of the Martin Place station.

“These schemes lead the way to an economic renaissance, and I’m very confident that will happen in Sydney. There are myriad benefits,” he said.

With the promise of world-class public transportation via the Sydney Metro and a must-see destination in the heart of the CBD, we can only hope the new Martin Place station opens on time in the face of the pandemic and ongoing industrial disputes.

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