OPINION | No train link to 'our' airport ... are they for real?

BROKEN LINE, BROKEN HEARTS: The government's plan for the 'Aerotropolis' can best be summed up as "Housing estates now, transport infrastructure to service those estates much, much, later...or never". Nothing new.
BROKEN LINE, BROKEN HEARTS: The government's plan for the 'Aerotropolis' can best be summed up as "Housing estates now, transport infrastructure to service those estates much, much, later...or never". Nothing new.

Behold, the future!

We might call ourselves the Macarthur area, but Gladys views us more as an outer suburb of Badgerys Creek.

Here's the official map.

We're the bit hanging off the bottom of the grand new Aerotropolis, which sounds like a thing from The Jetsons.

On the map you'll notice solid lines and dash lines.

The solid lines appear to be the things we're definitely getting - such as lots of housing estates, housing estates, and more housing estates.

They're already under way, in fact. No time to waste.

The dash lines are the things we might get ... at the appropriate juncture, in due course, in the fullness of time. Kinda. Maybe.

These include things like vital train services to connect all those people in the local housing estates that are (supposedly) part of the new Aerotropolis. What a con.

Macarthur's federal MP Dr Mike Freelander has been jumping up and down again insisting it is vital for a rail line to be started NOW if Macarthur is to be included in, and take genuine advantage of, the Aerotropolis.

Gladys won't be moved.

The only train link portrayed by a solid line on the map is the 2026 connection to St Marys (which will also make it easier for north shore folk to access the airport).

Look, I understand these things cost money, but just once I'd like to see Macarthur treated as Priority A, not Z.

Camden's state MP Peter Sidgreaves, I see, assured this newspaper. "I think you'll find there already is a plan to link Macarthur to the airport in the 2056 Future Transport strategy." Magnificent.

I dunno how old you'll be in 2056, but as I'm gearing up to celebrate my 90th birthday I'm sure I'll appreciate the possibility of finally getting a link to the Aerotropolis we were made a part of four decades earlier.

And as for the dash line marking out the proposed rail route from the airport to Macarthur, if you place it over street maps on the same scale it goes through the middle of existing housing in Oran Park, Harrington Park, Narellan to Mount Annan, our botanic garden, and even the new estates at the uni.

It's just indicative, I'm told.

Call me old-fashioned, but aren't routes like this better sorted out before the houses go in? Unless bulldozing lots of homes is the master plan, it means going underground, surely one of the longest tunnels in the world. Or, in other words, bloody expensive.

Never gonna happen.

Yet plans and maps of the Aerotropolis are being used to guide local growth ... all based on a mirage. A lie.

It also smashes the credibility of this whole "three cities" thing which Gladys says is the future. An Eastern Harbour City (based on the CBD), a Central River City (Parramatta) and the Western Aerotropolis (supposedly us), all self-contained with their own identities.

Well, I put it to you....

If you're like me, when you catch a plane you leave the car at home and take a train. That gives two choices:

1. Go to our, um, "local" airport. Jump on train at Campbelltown, get off at Glenfield, switch for Parramatta, get a train to St Marys, then a train south to Badgerys Creek. A good way to get a few hours' exercise with suitcases. Or ...

2. Jump on a train at Campbelltown and get off at Airport (in the Eastern Harbour City) 50 minutes later.

The Aerotropolis will not be directly connected to us, and therefore it is not for us. But it is used to justify more rooftops across Macarthur.

The official blurbs for the Aerotropolis claim it will provide "knowledge-intensive jobs" and easy access for Sydney's west. Except us, it seems. The Priority Z zone might get a toll road instead.

On the map you'll notice solid lines and dash lines ...