Ferry Logo

Ferry Logo

Sunday, 3 December 2017

New wharf at Milsons Point

Upgraded wharf at Milsons Point: view towards western landing platform
When it was announced late last year that the Milsons Point wharf was to be upgraded, many were surprised it was happening so soon after the last rebuild. It was only in 2010 that the wharf was completely rebuilt. And some people complain about a sports stadium being knocked down after 20 years!

The main reason for the 2017 upgrade was to add a second landing platform, a need that most would have thought could have been anticipated back in 2010. Milsons Point is a busy wharf both in passenger numbers and vessel berthings as it is a stop for Darling Harbour ferries, Parramatta River ferries in the AM and PM peaks and non regulated ferries and party boats. Without two landing platforms, it gets congested. And separation of the landing platforms minimises pedestrian crushes.
Plan of Milsons Point Wharf. Source: RMS Review of Environmental Factors  

The 2017 version of Milsons Point wharf opened on Sunday 26 November.

There are some good features in the design. Unlike other dual berthing wharves designed by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) this one has two separate landing platforms, with the berth faces roughly in line with each other and separated by about 60 metres. This means if two vessels berth at the same time, neither of them need to make a time wasting reversing manouevre.

And there are other good points too. The height of the hydraulic landing platforms automatically adjust to the freeboard of the incoming vessel. Signage and indicator boards are effective and make clear which ramp passengers should use to catch the right ferry. Passenger ingress and egress is improved and passengers are able to use steps as well as ramps to exit the wharf, which should reduce pedestrian congestion. 

But for all these improvements there is still, even after a second go at building the wharf, a serious flaw - the landing platforms are too small. The new Emerald Class vessels have capacity to use two double gangways - midships and stern - which would allow for very fast loading and unloading of passengers. Unfortunately, neither of the landing platforms look big enough to allow one double gangway to be manouevred, let alone two.
Eastern landing platform of Milsons Point Wharf
This deficiency probably adds minutes to the dwell at Milsons Point when large crowds are using the wharf. On a return trip from Circular Quay, that could be an extra four or five minutes in an already tight schedule.

The NSW State Government is investing a lot in new transport infrastructure. While the new Milsons Point wharf is definitely an improvement on the 2010 version, it still falls short on that most vital of criteria, the speed of passenger exchange. We really should expect better.

No comments:

Post a Comment