Major construction on Sydney’s new South West Rail Link has been finished a year ahead of schedule and $100 million under budget, the NSW government says.
Now it just needs people to start using it.
The $2 billion, 11.4 kilometre rail line extends from the existing metro rail network at Glenfield to Edmondson Park and on to Leppington.
Three years ago it was forecast to cost $2.1 billion and was due for completion in 2015.
But the rail link has come in $100 million under budget and a year ahead of schedule, the state government said.
NSW Premier Mike Baird declared on Monday major construction work at Leppington and Edmondson Park stations complete.
“This was a pipedream for so long and today becomes a reality,” Mr Baird told reporters.
“What we have delivered today is a railway station that is going to transform the communities in the southwest.”
However it was clear from a tour of Leppington Station that a significant amount of minor construction work is still needed before it can open.
The first trains are expected to start operating between Leppington and Glenfield next year.
But with those suburbs still relatively sparsely populated it remains unclear how many people will ever use the trains.
At the moment the area around Leppington is surrounded by semi-rural farms and homes on big acreages.
Goats and cows mill about in some fields and a lettuce farm is located near one entrance to the station.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian remains confident that southwest Sydney is a growth area.
“Hundreds of thousand of people will be living here in the next decade,” she told reporters.
Work on Bagderys Creek Airport, about 14km from Leppington, is also scheduled to begin in 2016, with flights from the airport slated to begin operating around the middle of next decade.
Ms Berejiklian said she expected a rail link to be built from Leppington to Badgerys Creek airport in the future.