The NSW state government has released preliminary plans for the second stage extension of the Parramatta Light Rail service, which it says will go to Sydney Olympic Park, and is expected to be completed within the next six years.

Releasing the $3.5 billion plan yesterday, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said, “I am pleased to announce Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 is another step closer to connecting Greater Parramatta to the booming sport, entertainment and employment hub at Sydney Olympic Park,”

Although the final route has not been confined and is currently still subject to a business case study, Berejiklian noted that, “Our preferred nine kilometre route will connect with Stage 1 of the project north of the Parramatta River through the suburbs of Ermington, Melrose Park, Wentworth Point and on to Sydney Olympic Park.”

However, the phrase “north of the Parramatta River”, seems to all but rule out transport and residential hub of Strathfield, which is south of the Parramatta River– getting a light rail stop.

At the same time, the Berejiklian government has left open the possibility that the line could cross the Parramatta River in the industrial suburb of Rydalmere and then connect to the first stage of the light rail at Camellia, next to Rosehill Racecourse.

Andrew Constance, the minister for Transport and Infrastructure, further reinforced the non-stop at Strathfield when he pointed out that that the NSW government has “started work on a business case for the preferred route north of Parramatta River,” and is considering the “best option to achieve a fully integrated transport and land use plan for the precincts.”

“We are going to finalise a business case for this project by the end of 2018 and are working with communities to ensure we can maximise the potential for this option,” he said.

“We know it will provide a direct, frequent and reliable public transport connection for these areas and connects the new Western Sydney University campus at Sydney Olympic Park with its three campuses serviced by Stage 1,” said Constance.

A final business case for Stage 2 will be completed by the end of next year, with the first services due to start operating on the route by 2023.