Tag Archives: monorail

Light Rail of Sydney

Ending up living in Sydney rather than Melbourne has brought one unfortunate side effect – a lack of awesome trams spread around the city. Thankfully it turns out one doesn’t have to go all the way to Melbourne just to get a light rail fix.

Sydney has two forms of light rails – the monorail which is to be decommissioned in 2013 and the more recent tram link that runs from Central station, through Pyrmont and out into Glebe.

mmmmmm light rail here, light rail there, light rail everywhere!

I haven’t been on the Sydney trams yet, based on the location of my apartment, central station and my office in Pyrmont, the tram tends to take me away from the direction I want to actually travel in – although that being said it may be useful if I ever want to go quickly from work to Central station and then transit onto the commuter rail network.

I’m hoping that Sydney considers adopting more light rail – whilst the commuter rail network is very effective at linking main centers, there’s a lot of Sydney that’s only linked by buses, which aren’t particularly fast and seem to be at their limits in regards to capacity.

Extending the tram lines out to places like Surry Hills and Bondi would be a huge plus, the linking of commuter rail and light rail has been very successful for Melbourne and there’s no reason why it couldn’t be replicated here as well.

Commuting in Sydney

I’ve now been in Sydney for 5 weeks, settling into a new job, a new lifestyle and an entirely new city. Still very much in the tourist phase, there’s heaps we still need to see and do and only just starting to get settled really.

Sydney opera house!

The first two weeks here were spent staying with some of Lisa’s relatives out in Hornsby Heights – nice suburban area, but it takes a bus and a train in order to get into the CBD, which is a 1.5 hour per-way trip – 3 hours a day, or even more depressingly 15 hours a week just to get to and from work.

Because of this commute we haven’t really done much in the first two weeks whilst here, most of my time was either traveling or looking for a place to live with Lisa.

Sydney residents seem to complain about the train service, but it’s actually one of the best I’ve used, really the only thing that lets it down is the lack of a smart card system like Melbourne’s Myki

Instead it uses magnetic stripe tickets which are purchased via ticket machines at every station. These tickets can be for single trips, returns, weekly, monthly or even yearly – I had enough trouble keeping the paper ticket in one piece for a week, so unsure how well monthly or yearly tickets are going to last. :-/

Buttons! All the buttons!

The trains do vary in quality, some of the ones being run are a bit beat up and graffitied, but they always seem to be on time and pretty reliable.

It’s the first city I’ve been in which runs double decker trains – Sydney tends to run them as two pairs of locomotives, each with 4 carriages – effectively 8 carriages, or 16 if you count the fact that they’re double decker and probably fit about twice of the average carriage.

Inside one of the newer trains – note the upper and lower levels!

The suburban train network has the best views, most city training tends to be underground into subway stations, which do tend to be quite hot and cramped – thankfully Sydney has seemed to learn to build big, the newer stations in some suburbs are massive spacious underground caverns.

Unfortunately this large station entrance is an exception to the rule…

Of course you don’t necessarily have to take the underground rail….

MONORAIL!!! I get to walk past it every day on the way to work, so cool.

There’s an active cycling scene in Sydney, particularly around where I live and work, although I’m not sure how anyone survives cycling in hot Sydney days which are pretty horrific survival experiences at times. :-/

Whilst there are cycle lanes, they can be a bit scary as a pedestrian as a lot of cyclists seem to consider themselves immune to the cyclist traffic lights and will sometimes ride right at you against the red light whilst pedestrians are crossing…. There’s also a few wonderful design failures such as shared pedestrian/cyclist zones that are no larger than 1 bike each way at a time leading to people riding a bit too close for comfort.

Thankfully we have now found a place and we’ve finally settled in somewhat – now living in an apartment on Clarence St, right in the middle of the CBD which makes my job in Pyrmont only a short 20minute walk, meaning I can actually spend time enjoying my evenings.

Tree lined home street!

There’s a few pretty awesome perks to my commute, which takes me over Darling Harbour via Pyrmont Bridge and offers some pretty neat views.

Pyrmont bridge in the evening – note the monorail track which goes over it.

Harbor view – just off to the left is the rear end of a warship and a submarine at the maritime museum – but I’ll post more about these later on….

Generally things are going pretty well here, quite a culture shock compared to NZ, but we are getting out and about learning new places and things to see.