THE New South Wales (NSW) government has announced it will proceed with plans to upgrade and convert Sydney’s century-old railway line between Sydenham and Bankstown to metro standard, following speculation that rising costs could see the project scrapped.

The project is part of the Sydney City and South West Metro network, which will eventually stretch from the city's North Shore at Chatswood to Bankstown. The line is effectively an extension of the 23km Metro Northwest line, which opened in May 2019.

NSW transport minister, Ms Jo Haylen, says a further $A 1.1bn ($US 725.3) has been allocated for the Bankstown Line conversion project. The funding was sourced from Transport for NSW and Sydney Metro’s budgets, and takes the total cost of the Sydney City & South West project to $A 21bn. The project was originally estimated to cost $A 12bn.

State premier, Mr Chris Minns, says 13km of the Bankstown Line will close for at least a year head of the start of construction, currently earmarked for July-October 2024. If this proceeds as planned, the South-West Metro could open between July and October 2025.

There has been doubt over the extension to Bankstown as the government grappled with cost and time overruns. However, an independent review of Sydney’s metro projects, commissioned when the Labor party came into power in March, found that converting the line to metro standard with driverless trains would deliver significant benefits.

The future of the $A 25bn Metro West between the city centre and Parramatta remains in limbo, however, with Minns confirming that an independent review is ongoing.

“We’re not ready to release that information at the moment, but I'm not taking it off the table,” he says.

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