Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : July 2011 Contents futurebuilding 71
Volume 2 Number 1
Getting New South Wales rail back on track
4. Immediately commence planning for a limited demonstration project for rail franchising in Sydney.
It would be useful for benchmarking and comparison purposes to establish a pilot franchising project
in advance of any wider application of a franchising model that might be recommended by the Special
Commission of Inquiry. In our preliminary analysis we have identified the Eastern Suburbs Railway and
Illawarra lines as the most suitable for a demonstration project, because this sector is already operationally
separate from the wider CityRail network. The performance of the demonstration project could inform the
findings of the Inquiry.
5. Begin an immediate assessment and market sounding for potential franchising of the operation and
maintenance of the CountryLink network.
The CountryLink network could provide a discrete system that is an early candidate for franchising. It bears
a range of similarities to inter-urban networks in Europe, North America and Asia, which have been subject
to successful franchising for many years. Accordingly, the feasibility of franchising CountryLink services
should be assessed in conjunction with the Inquiry.
In recognising the many political and public pressures on large-scale reforms, this paper does not seek an
instant overhaul. Rather, it calls for a real consideration of the options and selection of the best value for money
The pathway to reform would include a public inquiry and consultation with key stakeholders. The basic
premise of delivering better customer experiences at less expense to the state should guide the inquiry and any
final decision thereafter.
Of course, ferry franchising is a vital test case for public transport reform in New South Wales. While there
are challenges in franchising Sydney Ferries, they pale in comparison to the sheer scale and complexity of
reforming the state’s rail services. Nevertheless, the success of the ferries transaction – and the will of the new
government to make real changes – will be the staging ground for a much deeper reform toward better services
and more infrastructure in New South Wales.
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