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Too late for Sydney Metro Tunnels

In response to a call for comments on the proposed CBD Metro in Sydney


I wrote a submission entitled “Too late for metro tunnels” showing the timelines for an estimated WA crude oil production and construction activities.

The submission can be downloaded here:

[download id="6"]

These are the recommendations:

1 The government (Parliamentarians, top civil servants) need to attend a training course on peak oil, global warming, limits to growth and the interdependencies with the financial crisis. Otherwise the following recommendations will not be understood. Start here with my popular presentation at the MAV conference “Smart Urban Peak Futures” (Program brochure:

Emergency Planning after peak oil 2005-2008 3rd and final oil crisis:

2 Educate motorists about peak oil which means that oil production will decline but not suddenly run out. If this awareness campaign is not done, and first shortages arrive at filling stations, people will think we are actually running out of oil and  chaos will reign on the roads. Car pooling (with friends, neighbours etc.) must be introduced so that motorists get experience how to re-organise their daily lives and how to cope with unavoidable petrol rationing. At a certain stage of the crisis car pooling for long distance commuters on tollways and arterial roads will have to be mandatory, also to provide empty lanes for solutions 5 and 6 as mentioned below.

3 Convert all diesel buses to compressed natural gas, if technically feasible. Bus depots must all be equipped with gas supply and refilling facilities. For the remaining diesel bus fleet fuel storage tanks have to be built to protect against intermittent shortages. Provide more bus bays at certain rail stations because when diesel shortages start, direct buses to the CBD are no longer feasible and the shortest routes to the nearest train station will have to be taken.

4 Build up manufacturing capacity for electric trolley buses because this will be the solution for many hilly areas in Sydney anyway. Manufacturers can be found here:

zurich_trolley_31 Trolley buses can be a pre-cursor for light rail

Local coach manufacturers should be encouraged to partner up with these manufacturers and the NSW government is to select one pilot route to get this going. Why electric trolley buses? Because peak oil is a liquids crisis. We need to electrify our land transport system but under extreme time and energy limits. EVs will not be on the road in large numbers in time. Look at this site:

5 Do not start big expensive metro or other rail tunnel projects (except for short sections at critical points). They will get stuck in funding problems and diesel shortages. Future public transport solutions have to be selected which minimize the use of liquids during construction.

httpv:// Identify those road corridors (arterial roads) which traverse areas without any existing rail connection and provide surface metro lines on separate tracks. Car lanes can be converted for that purpose because car traffic will decrease, not increase, especially when petrol rationing is introduced.

← Urban rail on median strip of arterial road in Frankfurt. 100 m long trains in peak hr

7 Toll-way companies (and banks involved) have to be rescued because many super funds have directly or indirectly invested in these portfolios. Some of these companies are already in financial stress because embellished traffic projections have not materialized which has impacted on expected cash flows. Petrol rationing and/or car pooling will make this situation worse. Toll-way companies must be given the opportunity to develop a new business model: electric rail on freeways (Transperth). The alignments of tollways are often not ideal and additional bus feeders are necessary but at least long distance commuting holds Sydney together

8 When the crunch time comes, electric trolley buses will be the only solution for all unfinished projects under 5 and 6. That’s when an established local trolley bus manufacturing capacity will be absolutely vital for quick implementation.

The WA crude oil production graph shown above can be viewed on the web site of the Department of Mines and Petroleum

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