This Morning at Macarthur

 
  Keith1954 Junior Train Controller

Location: Macarthur
Just thought I would describe this morning at Macarthur.

On my way to the Macarthur station this morning I saw the XPT ex Melbourne waiting at the signal South of the station.  Nothing odd there as I guessed it was going to follow the 6:16 into the city.
But, on arriving at the Macarthur concourse there were trains on each of the three platforms.
The announcement was the train on platform 2 was going to be first to leave.  To me made sense as the XPT could slip through and then the Endeavor with the Southern Highlands commuters could continue their journey.
So sitting on the train being told about the breakdown at Glenfield and told this train was about 20 minutes late.  All OK being informed all good.
Then the comedy show started!!!
An announcement that in fact the train on platform 3 was going to leave first so everyone got up to travel up and down the ramps to board that train.  I was a bit slow and it left before I got there.  So I went back to platform 2.  Just in time to hear that the next train to leave would be from platform 1.  So everyone moved across the platform to this train.  I departed at about 6:35 for me 7 minutes late.  
At Campbelltown we had to go into platform 3 as there was a train on platform 2.
When passing Narwee I saw a train on the outside line which I think was about 16 carriages.  So it was the failed train from Glenfield.

To me the original plan made sense and was very commuter friendly for local, interstate and country travelers.  But the change making the last train to leave was from platform 2 which blocked the line to for the north bound trains from the south must have been very annoying for the Sothern Highlands travelers who missed their connection and the XPT customers who were just late.

By the way the XPT was passed the point were it could have used the SSFL but, of course there are no stations for that until Strathfield.

That's my account of things, no blame as the staff relayed everything as soon as they knew and were as helpful as they could be.  Just the decision to change the departing order left me amused.

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  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

Last minute changes of plans in the name of a "higher purpose" are very common regardless of the local customer impact, along with "CountryLink" trains getting shafted as soon as they start to run late whether it's their own fault or not. I'm assuming that hasn't changed now that the XPT is branded "NSW TrainLink". The people making the decisions work for Sydney Trains, even in the NSW Trains area.
  Goose Chief Train Controller

It happens every day. Bad decisions by people who have no idea what they are doing.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
Excuse my ignorance as I've only done the trip at night but is the SSFL used for Countrylink trains and Endeavours? I would have thought that it help with congestion issues.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
Excuse my ignorance as I've only done the trip at night but is the SSFL used for Countrylink trains and Endeavours?
GeoffreyHansen
If they're caught behind 3 trains at Macarthur, the SSFL isn't really that helpful.
  bowralcommuter Chief Commissioner

Location: Asleep on a Manly Ferry
Firstly the SSFL is for freight only. As for the station announcement failures, its harsh to blame anyone without knowing who exactly was calling the shots during that incident.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
GeoffreyHansen
Excuse my ignorance as I've only done the trip at night but is the SSFL used for Countrylink trains and Endeavours?


If the SSFL gets stuffed, and SydneyTrains allows freighters to go via say East Hill,

then it is only fair that

If the Main South gets stuffed, that SSFL allows CountryLink to go via SSFL.

Quid pro quo.
  sandown Chief Commissioner

Location: sydney
If the SSFL gets stuffed, and SydneyTrains allows freighters to go via say East Hill,

then it is only fair that

If the Main South gets stuffed, that SSFL allows CountryLink to go via SSFL.

Quid pro quo.
awsgc24
Getting on the SSFL is easy but where do you get off? Is there are facing crossover from the Down Goods to the Up Goods at Campsie or do you need to exit at Meeks Road ? Or you could reverse at Rhodes, neither are particularly convenient for the Worm and it's Passengers.
  FullSeries Assistant Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Getting on the SSFL is easy but where do you get off? Is there are facing crossover from the Down Goods to the Up Goods at Campsie or do you need to exit at Meeks Road ? Or you could reverse at Rhodes, neither are particularly convenient for the Worm and it's Passengers.
sandown
You could, given a path, take the SSFL from Glenlee though Enfield, through Flemington Goods Junction and cross back to the main at Homebush Bay East Junction.
  MILW Junior Train Controller

Location: Earth
You could, given a path, take the SSFL from Glenlee though Enfield, through Flemington Goods Junction and cross back to the main at Homebush Bay East Junction.
FullSeries
Unfortunately there is no direct route to the Up Main from the Goods anymore - you have to run via Olympic Park to get to Homebush Bay East Fork which connects to the Up Main heading to Sydney, OR reverse at Pippita, OR shunt the Markets to HBEF OR go all the way to Rhodes as suggested above. It would be a little annoying but it has been done. Also the connection from FGJ to HBWF is booked out at the moment, making the Olympic Park/Pippita moves impossible. It's not really worth the hassle. Are the drivers qualified for the SSFL?
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
If the SSFL gets stuffed, and SydneyTrains allows freighters to go via say East Hill,

then it is only fair that

If the Main South gets stuffed, that SSFL allows CountryLink to go via SSFL.

Quid pro quo.
awsgc24

Lets not forget why ARTC had to fund and build the SSFL to start with Rolling Eyes

Even so it is subject to that same passenger priority farce although during the SSFL planning approval process, Railcorp dismissed its use by Countrylink trains and required several connections removed.
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
I don't think it's a matter of "fairness" that passenger trains "get" to use the SSFL. It's a mite bit more complicated, and has to do with crew training over the track sections involved, as well as the fact that it means the train(s) can no longer can stop at Campbelltown...

Don't forget that the SSFL is single track with passing loops. Be little benefit if the XPT gets put into the loop at Glenfield whilst a freight train goes the other way, when said XPT could instead be breezing along the new up East Hills Main after a short delay at Macarthur.
  FullSeries Assistant Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Unfortunately there is no direct route to the Up Main from the Goods anymore - you have to run via Olympic Park to get to Homebush Bay East Fork which connects to the Up Main heading to Sydney, OR reverse at Pippita, OR shunt the Markets to HBEF OR go all the way to Rhodes as suggested above. It would be a little annoying but it has been done. Also the connection from FGJ to HBWF is booked out at the moment, making the Olympic Park/Pippita moves impossible. It's not really worth the hassle. Are the drivers qualified for the SSFL?
MILW
Well, there goes my Road Knowledge Qualifications. I just went onto the DRKM and you are certainly correct. I always though you could take the goods and cross to the main just before the markets. Cheers for correcting that there Smile
  vdan Train Controller

Footage of the scene at Macarthur.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhOUbTfin3I&t=0m14s
  Mall Rat Beginner

The RMC some times makes decision like this that seem deaf to customer needs, with the main aim being achieving on time running stats.

Other issues such as stopping patterns of the trains from Macarthur, crew availability and what not could have played into the decision.


I think the best thing you can do as a passenger when things like this occur is to call 131500 and explain the situation in calm detail (time, location, the fact that passengers had to keep swapping platforms)

131500 complains have to be looked into, and I think they have to provide you with a response at a later date as far as i'm aware. I think summaries may even get put on the Transport Ministers desk (they have in years past).

So a call to 131500 highlights an incident to managers, IMHO it's the best way for customers to have an effect.

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