THIS MONTH will see the formal inauguration of the 10 km New Southern Railway in Sydney, which is due to open on May 21. Built over the last six years by a private-sector consortium of Transfield and Bouygues, it has cost A$900m, of which A$200m was funded by the state. During March and April a ghost service was being run on the line, while the stations and systems were tested.

Following the inauguration, CityRail’s existing East Hills/Campbelltown suburban service will be diverted to run via the new line, which serves Sydney Airport. There are five stations, of which four will be managed by the concessionaires. The fifth at Wolli Creek has been built by CityRail to provide interchange with its Wollongong/Illawarra route.

Up to 46000 passengers/day are expected to use the link between the airport and the city centre, for which the concessionaires will be allowed to charge a single fare of up to A$10.

The link is a key part of Sydney’s preparations for this year’s Olympic Games. CityRail expects 31 million passenger journeys between September 15 to October 1, compared with 12·4 million for an equivalent normal period.