The long list of reasons for Sydney's train chaos

 

News article: The long list of reasons for Sydney's train chaos

If you thought the train delays in Sydney were long, check out the list of reasons politicians and bureaucrats have given for the chaos, with everything from the weather to sick drivers and too many passengers blamed.

  UltimoGreg Beginner

Hi - I'm a producer at the ABC in Sydney, where lot's of different journalists have been asked to report on the recent disruptions to Sydney's train system.

There are a lot of claims - and counter-claims about whats happening at the moment - new timetables - a spate of sick leave - and even acts of god - blamed for disruptions.

If appropriate - I'd love to hear more from the Railpage community about what we've hearing (and reporting), and perhaps what the journalism might be missing, and even, who the journalists should be talking to.

We'll be covering the story well into the future, so your thoughts are most welcome. You can also private message me if anonymity is crucial.

kind regards,

Greg Miskelly
ABC TV Ultimo

The long list of reasons for Sydney's train chaos

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  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

One thing for some investigative journalism would be to find out why Australian State Governments are obsessed with bringing in failed British rail managers to head our transport entities.

The rail organisations that are in trouble will often be found with one of these managers at the helm.  Basically, they couldn't run a bath.

In Victoria, we have PTV (Public Transport Victoria) infested with British managers.  They then have made appointments at V/Line of fellow countrymen, often with a bizarre lack of managerial experience.  Funny enough, V/Line also has trains cancelled every day due to a shortage of drivers.
The suburban train system is operated by MTM (Metro Trains Melbourne), a Hong Kong company.  Initially, there were Hong Kongers employed in Melbourne but MTM soon realised which nationality would get them "in sweet" with the PTV.  So MTM is full of British managers as well.  V/Line's management is basically those that got found out as hopeless at MTM and left. Their mates at PTV then stitched them up for a cushy gig at V/Line.

Now NSW has a Brit at its helm.  Has things got better or worse for the travelling public since he took over?
  UltimoGreg Beginner

One thing for some investigative journalism would be to find out why Australian State Governments are obsessed with bringing in failed British rail managers to head our transport entities.

The rail organisations that are in trouble will often be found with one of these managers at the helm.  Basically, they couldn't run a bath.

In Victoria, we have PTV (Public Transport Victoria) infested with British managers.  They then have made appointments at V/Line of fellow countrymen, often with a bizarre lack of managerial experience.  Funny enough, V/Line also has trains cancelled every day due to a shortage of drivers.
The suburban train system is operated by MTM (Metro Trains Melbourne), a Hong Kong company.  Initially, there were Hong Kongers employed in Melbourne but MTM soon realised which nationality would get them "in sweet" with the PTV.  So MTM is full of British managers as well.  V/Line's management is basically those that got found out as hopeless at MTM and left. Their mates at PTV then stitched them up for a cushy gig at V/Line.

Now NSW has a Brit at its helm.  Has things got better or worse for the travelling public since he took over?
DalyWaters
Thanks DalyWaters I will look into this. Is MTM part of MTR? They are the group who will apparently run Sydney's Metro lines.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

I'd give your News colleagues in Brisbane a call, the Christmas 2016 QR suburban timetable meltdown is surprisingly similar, with new timetables, staff shortages managed through overtime rather than recruitment, and insufficient board and ministerial overview to maintain realistic operations. And apparently no one in NSW bothered to run the numbers to see if the same problems could affect Sydney in the same holiday period exactly one year later.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I would look at the culture and tone at the top of TfNSW and what it contributes to not just the latest issue but a range of other problems in the transport portfolio, including business case development, business case secrecy, why road projects are favoured over rail, apparently on an ideological basis and where indications are that rail is more cost effective, heritage rail etc etc.  Im sure if someone started digging appropriately, you'd find a whole raft of problems that basically come down to personality conflicts and organisational culture issues that lead to dysfunctional decision making.
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

Thanks DalyWaters I will look into this. Is MTM part of MTR? They are the group who will apparently run Sydney's Metro lines.
UltimoGreg
MTM is 50% owned by MTR of Hong Kong, 25% John Holland, a division of CCCC of China and 25% UGL, a division of Hochtief of Germany.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
The Hornsby remodelling is now complete, and looks more like something "designed from first principles".

All the hard to maintain and slow single slips and double slips north of the platforms have been replaced by faster ladder crossovers.

There is also a new Shore Turnback well located between the Up and Down Shore lines also North of the platforms, and this will minimise the use of the ultra-slow 8km/h scissors crossovers located in a very cramped setting south of the platforms.

A large number of existing turnouts, OHW masts, and signal were removed or altered, which required a 14(?) day shutdown.

Additional and improved signals are located on the Up Shore as far away as Turrumurra.

Well done SydneyTrains.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Hi - I'm a producer at the ABC in Sydney, where lot's of different journalists have been asked to report on the recent disruptions to Sydney's train system.

There are a lot of claims - and counter-claims about whats happening at the moment - new timetables - a spate of sick leave - and even acts of god - blamed for disruptions.

If appropriate - I'd love to hear more from the Railpage community about what we've hearing (and reporting), and perhaps what the journalism might be missing, and even, who the journalists should be talking to.

We'll be covering the story well into the future, so your thoughts are most welcome. You can also private message me if anonymity is crucial.

kind regards,

Greg Miskelly
ABC TV Ultimo

The long list of reasons for Sydney's train chaos
UltimoGreg

Hi Greg,

I'm just a fan, so I can't offer you much in the way of insight into the precise cause of the current issues, but ...

FWIW, there are two main problems with Sydney/NSW rail:

- decision making are heavily bias by looking through the HR (and to a less extent PR) lens
- the impacts of capital allocation decisions takes so long - typically more than a decade  - that two governments have been and gone by the time the blunders are apparent.

Similar system meltdowns occurred in 2003.  There were lots of reasons: staff shortages as a resulting from of increased health standards following the Waterfall disaster, HR issues, new timetables, but also a lack of investment in the incremental upgrades required to cope with organic system growth.  All that capital had been diverted to the Airport Line and the Olympic line as a result of decisions made in 1990/92 which didn't cause issues until more than a decade later.

The knee jerk reaction included the Rail Clearway program (here), which implemented a backlog of incremental upgrades.

This program wasn't completed until 2014, and the main benefits not brought online until the 2013 timetable - more than a decade after the events that triggered the project.

My point is that capital allocation is done in one of two ways:
- a big announcable (usually never implemented)
- in a paniced response to an "event"

It's not like there arn't plenty of historical examples in NSW rail.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
One thing for some investigative journalism would be to find out why Australian State Governments are obsessed with bringing in failed British rail managers to head our transport entities.

The rail organisations that are in trouble will often be found with one of these managers at the helm.  Basically, they couldn't run a bath.

In Victoria, we have PTV (Public Transport Victoria) infested with British managers.  They then have made appointments at V/Line of fellow countrymen, often with a bizarre lack of managerial experience.  Funny enough, V/Line also has trains cancelled every day due to a shortage of drivers.
The suburban train system is operated by MTM (Metro Trains Melbourne), a Hong Kong company.  Initially, there were Hong Kongers employed in Melbourne but MTM soon realised which nationality would get them "in sweet" with the PTV.  So MTM is full of British managers as well.  V/Line's management is basically those that got found out as hopeless at MTM and left. Their mates at PTV then stitched them up for a cushy gig at V/Line.

Now NSW has a Brit at its helm.  Has things got better or worse for the travelling public since he took over?
Thanks DalyWaters I will look into this. Is MTM part of MTR? They are the group who will apparently run Sydney's Metro lines.
UltimoGreg

Blaming foreigners for everything - it's how we do things in the Australia Razz
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Blaming foreigners for everything - it's how we do things in the Australia
"bingley hall"
Egad sir! I hope you are not referring to us British chaps as foreigners. If you are, I shall be most disappointed that the practice of horse-whipping gentlemen on the steps of their clubs has fallen into disrepute. Harumph!
Yours etc, Hurtle Gunboat-Cheese (Rear Admiral Ret'd).
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
Another reason for staff shortages, Sydney Trains a among the lowest-paid drivers in the country, second only to Perth, IIRC, but living in the most expensive city in the country.

When you can earn at least $20K-$40K more working for QR or Metro operating better trains, over bette track and a better roster, it's no wonder they have a hard time attracting and retaining staff. Sydney Trains has been advertising for qualified drivers almost continuously for the last 14months or so - I even considered applying - but I would be earning less money than I was on with PN many years ago, and forced to commute to Central. No thank you. I have friends driving in the Pilbara doing 2 weeks on, 4 weeks off earning more $$ than Sydney suburban guys get doing overtime.

Given the length of time it takes to qualify a driver from off the street, the network has been reliant on existing crew working overtime to cover the existing (and the newly introduced) timetable, which wears thin after a while. As Sydney Trains is highly unattractive to experienced crew the only means they have is either up-skilling Guards, or taking trainees.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Blaming foreigners for everything - it's how we do things in the Australia
Egad sir! I hope you are not referring to us British chaps as foreigners. If you are, I shall be most disappointed that the practice of horse-whipping gentlemen on the steps of their clubs has fallen into disrepute. Harumph!
Yours etc, Hurtle Gunboat-Cheese (Rear Admiral Ret'd).
Valvegear
According to a certain section in the Aust Constitution that prohibits you from serving in the fed govt means you are not an Aussie, which makes you Sir, a Foreigner!!! Smile
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

This is a complicated issue and I will not delve into the pay and driver issues as I don't think there is anything I could add that would be of benefit.

I will however point out that Sydney's network is still not properly untangled. The clearways program did maybe 5% of what needs to be done to get Sydney trains operating more efficiently. Here are the most important issues to solve on the network outside of the staffing issues.

1. The CBD relief line will untangle the western line from the northern, richmond and T2 lines. This is important to add capacity to the northern line.

2. A third track between Strathfield and Lidcombe would allow 1-2 T2 all stops services an hour to extend to Liverpool via regents park to reconnect sefton to homebush directly.

3. Metro should go underground all the way to Bankstown and Lidcombe seperating Lidcombe and liverpool via bankstown services.

4. Glenfield to Macarthur needs quadrupling to take in the extra service this area will need now and in the future.

5. T4 illawarra, south coast, southern highlands, xplorer and XPT services from central to Sydenham need untangling. re alignment of the tunnels near eveleigh / redfern and directly into central terminal. South coast services to use the spare redfern and central platforms.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
This is a complicated issue and I will not delve into the pay and driver issues as I don't think there is anything I could add that would be of benefit.

I will however point out that Sydney's network is still not properly untangled. The clearways program did maybe 5% of what needs to be done to get Sydney trains operating more efficiently. Here are the most important issues to solve on the network outside of the staffing issues.

1. The CBD relief line will untangle the western line from the northern, richmond and T2 lines. This is important to add capacity to the northern line.

2. A third track between Strathfield and Lidcombe would allow 1-2 T2 all stops services an hour to extend to Liverpool via regents park to reconnect sefton to homebush directly.

3. Metro should go underground all the way to Bankstown and Lidcombe seperating Lidcombe and liverpool via bankstown services.

4. Glenfield to Macarthur needs quadrupling to take in the extra service this area will need now and in the future.

5. T4 illawarra, south coast, southern highlands, xplorer and XPT services from central to Sydenham need untangling. re alignment of the tunnels near eveleigh / redfern and directly into central terminal. South coast services to use the spare redfern and central platforms.
simstrain
1. Agree, the NSL, Main North and Western arrangement is still a tangle mess.

2. Agree, 3rd pair of tracks desperately needed.

3. Disagree partly, running Metro UG to Sydnenam and then separately the rest of the Bankstown line removes this from the existing network. The Metro should however continue from Bankstown to Liverpool seperately and most likely UG.

The Liverpool to Lidcome line via Reagents Park would then form part of two routes for SW services via Straithfield, one via Reagents Park the other via Granville.  

The branch from the junction before Reagents Park to Bankstown would then be closed, only 2 stations affected and one is close to the Metro and other lightly used.

(Maybe you meant something like this)

4. Agree

5. Yes, terminate all South Coast in the unused U/G platforms 26/27. Explore the option to do same for Southern Highlands as well (need to manage diesel fumes). Just need an 1 x Arrival and 1 x Departure platform, with water supply and waste water discharge facilities in a Shuntneck beyond the station.

6. Quad to Sutherland
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Running a suburban train service is no different to playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded revolver because no matter how clever, smart or cunning you are, it is going to collapse in chaos sooner or later.
This isnt new by any means and despite the best efforts of all concerned, delays and disruptions will occur.
This does not mean those in authority should sit wearing sack cloth and throw ashes over themselves chanting some mind numbing mantra but have contingency plans in place to minimize the disruption.
Drawing a line between the sheer waste of having staff sitting idle waiting for what might never happen and having no one available when needed is a real fine balancing act and requires constant attention and adjustment hour by hour in peak hours.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that as the current system stands, there is a formulae that shows Trains should not have more than a certain number of carriages, eight being the maximum I believe.
You cannot run more trains than the signaling system allows and this can be by time or distance.
Trains by their very nature cannot go faster than the Train in front of it on the same line is going.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Another reason for staff shortages, Sydney Trains a among the lowest-paid drivers in the country, second only to Perth, IIRC, but living in the most expensive city in the country.

When you can earn at least $20K-$40K more working for QR or Metro operating better trains, over bette track and a better roster, it's no wonder they have a hard time attracting and retaining staff. Sydney Trains has been advertising for qualified drivers almost continuously for the last 14months or so - I even considered applying - but I would be earning less money than I was on with PN many years ago, and forced to commute to Central. No thank you. I have friends driving in the Pilbara doing 2 weeks on, 4 weeks off earning more $$ than Sydney suburban guys get doing overtime.

Given the length of time it takes to qualify a driver from off the street, the network has been reliant on existing crew working overtime to cover the existing (and the newly introduced) timetable, which wears thin after a while. As Sydney Trains is highly unattractive to experienced crew the only means they have is either up-skilling Guards, or taking trainees.
KRviator
The number quoted on the radio was

$113k annualised including typical OT and shift loading and super

PLUS

for every 1h worked on a public holiday they get 1 day off plus paid at 150% loading.

Regardless what other states get or don't get, if this is true then a strike asking for a payrise that exceeds the NSW public service set rate will join the PR train driver strike disaster of the last Qld drivers strike back in 2005 where I believe they got nothing but a public lashing.

NSW has I assume around 400,000 PS and no one else is getting that sort of payrise and the announcer that went through the drivers pay conditions also went through the NSW govt teachers, fire fighters, nurses and police.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Shane, quoted on radio, must be accurate.

Called divide and conquer. Fireys ambos nurses etc all used as examples in this manner, no mention of Macquire St. However, heard on radio, fires nurse and ambos are looking for a stink with government for a better EBA.

Drivers were offered 2.5% might have been upped to 3, not sure. Asking for 6% pa for a 4 year agreement. Popular media suggests they want 24%, not a fair and accurate version of the claim.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW


NSW has I assume around 400,000 PS and no one else is getting that sort of payrise and the announcer that went through the drivers pay conditions also went through the NSW govt teachers, fire fighters, nurses and police.
RTT_Rules
I am not sure how that quote is meant but unless things have changed since I left the NSW Railway, the Staff were not then or now 'Public servants'.
Although I was employed by the Railways who were a Government Instrumentality, I was not covered by the Public Service Act unlike the Police and some other services.
  a6et Minister for Railways

This timetable was doomed to begin with, if one goes back to perhaps the most similar one that cost the then Transport minister Brian Langton his job, and handing over to the roads minister Scully, and Langton's eventual replacement with Sartor at the following election, means that with some hope that will happen to those main culprits of this latest attempt to fit trains into a space that has none of it left.

If I hear correctly from the few drivers I know that are on the City Rail working, they say that the last two enterprise agreements (at least the last two) saw their pay and conditions worsen, with extended shifts, more in cab time with limited relief points, harassment to work more hours and on their days off, some were rostered on days they had claimed off according to their rosters, but when refusing to work on that day they were charged with refusing duty.

Many, perhaps most of them come onto the job off the street with no real idea of what is in front of them, a brief school of so many weeks, training on simulators, but for how long? do they do a full shift as if working an actual roster, and do they do it over all lines?

Fitting more trains into the bottle neck between the old Illawarra Jct where trains off the west have to cross to the Suburban for the run through Redfern and then to the underground - Shore or circle has no real room for anymore trains, as Brian Langton found out to his cost, and in reality the systems eventual loss.

Turn backs were put in place at locations such as Lidcombe, Homebush among others, but why was none put in in Sydney Yard?  There is enough or was enough room to put at least 3 roads for 8 car sets in the empty space which used to be a carriage service area called Bondi, next to the approach to the down shore platform. These roads could have had up terminating trains at Central turned back to those roads after the passengers detrained, at the rate of time it would take for the driver to change ends it would have been empty, and then head into those roads. Terminating trains from at least the last 2 or 3 Country platforms could have allowed at least 3 extra services to have come into the station in the morning peak.

What happened to the stable roads at St James? IIRC, there were at least 4 trains that stabled in there after the morning peak and resumed in the afternoon peak?  These trains were readily able to run without any disruptions to other services, as they did not tie up the whole of the city circle in either the morning or evening peaks.

The other aspect is that the trams to Dulwich Hill have had little affect on taking the load off the roads, but had they rebuilt the old Goods line to take passenger trains, they could have taken a lot of the load off the Sydnenham - Redfern section.  At worst it only had to be wired from Darling Harbour to Balmain Road and a gauntlet track through the Wentworth Park Tunnel.

What really is behind these issues though?  Dare I suggest something that our illustrious Transport Minister quipped on Monday evening as being his ultimate goal.

This sort of thing will always be a problem until we get rid of drivers off the trains and buses.  That was the very thrust of what he implied and why he and the Premier push the agenda of basically creating a scene of mayhem for their political expedience.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE


NSW has I assume around 400,000 PS and no one else is getting that sort of payrise and the announcer that went through the drivers pay conditions also went through the NSW govt teachers, fire fighters, nurses and police.I am not sure how that quote is meant but unless things have changed since I left the NSW Railway, the Staff were not then or now 'Public servants'.
Although I was employed by the Railways who were a Government Instrumentality, I was not covered by the Public Service Act unlike the Police and some other services.
gordon_s1942
I'm sure either. What I heard was that all NSW govt employees were linked to the same incremental wage increase, which if I recall was quoted at 2.5 or 2.75%.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Shane, quoted on radio, must be accurate.

Called divide and conquer. Fireys ambos nurses etc all used as examples in this manner, no mention of Macquire St. However, heard on radio, fires nurse and ambos are looking for a stink with government for a better EBA.

Drivers were offered 2.5% might have been upped to 3, not sure. Asking for 6% pa for a 4 year agreement. Popular media suggests they want 24%, not a fair and accurate version of the claim.
michaelgm
I did say "if true"

Yes, typical govt divide and conquer but it works and thats why they use it.

From what I understood in the broadcast, is that all NSW govt employees are bound by the same incremental wage increase of either 2.5 or 2.75%, cannot remember which.

The same people that  calculate 6%pa YOY over 4 years equals 24% are likely taught by NSW teachers. It actually works out to be 19% ignoring inflation over 4 years or 10% factoring in inflation at 2.5%pa.

If the govt approves the drivers claim for 6%, they will have the rest of the public sector lined up behind them.

My point was and still is, the drivers are headed down a PR disaster with this strike as public support I suspect will be minimal at best.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
Another reason for staff shortages, Sydney Trains a among the lowest-paid drivers in the country, second only to Perth, IIRC, but living in the most expensive city in the country.

When you can earn at least $20K-$40K more working for QR or Metro operating better trains, over bette track and a better roster, it's no wonder they have a hard time attracting and retaining staff. Sydney Trains has been advertising for qualified drivers almost continuously for the last 14months or so - I even considered applying - but I would be earning less money than I was on with PN many years ago, and forced to commute to Central. No thank you. I have friends driving in the Pilbara doing 2 weeks on, 4 weeks off earning more $$ than Sydney suburban guys get doing overtime.

Given the length of time it takes to qualify a driver from off the street, the network has been reliant on existing crew working overtime to cover the existing (and the newly introduced) timetable, which wears thin after a while. As Sydney Trains is highly unattractive to experienced crew the only means they have is either up-skilling Guards, or taking trainees.
The number quoted on the radio was

$113k annualised including typical OT and shift loading and super

PLUS

for every 1h worked on a public holiday they get 1 day off plus paid at 150% loading.

Regardless what other states get or don't get, if this is true then a strike asking for a payrise that exceeds the NSW public service set rate will join the PR train driver strike disaster of the last Qld drivers strike back in 2005 where I believe they got nothing but a public lashing.

NSW has I assume around 400,000 PS and no one else is getting that sort of payrise and the announcer that went through the drivers pay conditions also went through the NSW govt teachers, fire fighters, nurses and police.
RTT_Rules
$113K including 'typical' overtime? Bwahahaha. Twisted Evil Don't forget that's including super. And probably factors in their 'free transport' benefit too that some beancounter undoubtedly worked out for just this kind of claim...

What is 'typical' overtime anyway? If you DON'T want to do overtime, you are down to around $85-90,000 gross, depending on the roster. I was on that ($85,000) before super, when I left PN 8+ years ago, and earned close to double that last year - without doing ANY overtime, with more time with my family, a stable roster, good track and equipment and a good bunch of Driver's to boot.

Work it backwards - even using their claimed figures to give them the benefit of the doubt. $113 /1.095 = ~103K actual salary including overtime. Call OT 1 shift a fortnight (roughly what I've seen bandied about on FB), at an average 8 hours and you are upto 2184hrs worked/year, with OT paid at 1.5 if I've read the EBA right, so 1976 ordinary hours, + ((26x8x1.5)=312) for a total of 2288 equivalent-hours. So 103,000 / 2288 * 1976 = $88,900ish before tax. To live in one of the most expensive cities in the country, if not the world, AND have to commute to Central every shift (until you can beg/borrow/inherit a local depot at however long that takes), oftentimes before the trains actually start running.

Do you really think that IF CityRail crew were on the claimed $113K they would have to advertise non-stop for close to 18 months for qualified Drivers? That they have been advertising so hard (in every state) for so long (18 months) suggests crew working elsewhere are seeing through their charade and the only people willing to apply to work there are A)Trainees, B) have family in Sydney and can afford a house or C) are unemployable elsewhere.

Now, I fully understand the 2.5% wage cap and how 6% looks disproportionate, after-all the KRviatrix is a public servant and is not particularly happy with the claimed 6%, but what people fail to understand is 24%% will not even bring them up to their interstate or freight equivalents today. They will still be among the lowest-paid driver's in the country. And - and this bit is important - it isn't all about the $$, nor all about the Drivers. Driver's are the obvious, easy target, but there are a lot more people affected by this EBA who are not happy with their lot at present that are not getting the recognition they deserve.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Another reason for staff shortages, Sydney Trains a among the lowest-paid drivers in the country, second only to Perth, IIRC, but living in the most expensive city in the country.

When you can earn at least $20K-$40K more working for QR or Metro operating better trains, over bette track and a better roster, it's no wonder they have a hard time attracting and retaining staff. Sydney Trains has been advertising for qualified drivers almost continuously for the last 14months or so - I even considered applying - but I would be earning less money than I was on with PN many years ago, and forced to commute to Central. No thank you. I have friends driving in the Pilbara doing 2 weeks on, 4 weeks off earning more $$ than Sydney suburban guys get doing overtime.

Given the length of time it takes to qualify a driver from off the street, the network has been reliant on existing crew working overtime to cover the existing (and the newly introduced) timetable, which wears thin after a while. As Sydney Trains is highly unattractive to experienced crew the only means they have is either up-skilling Guards, or taking trainees.
The number quoted on the radio was

$113k annualised including typical OT and shift loading and super

PLUS

for every 1h worked on a public holiday they get 1 day off plus paid at 150% loading.

Regardless what other states get or don't get, if this is true then a strike asking for a payrise that exceeds the NSW public service set rate will join the PR train driver strike disaster of the last Qld drivers strike back in 2005 where I believe they got nothing but a public lashing.

NSW has I assume around 400,000 PS and no one else is getting that sort of payrise and the announcer that went through the drivers pay conditions also went through the NSW govt teachers, fire fighters, nurses and police.
$113K including 'typical' overtime? Bwahahaha. Twisted Evil Don't forget that's including super. And probably factors in their 'free transport' benefit too that some beancounter undoubtedly worked out for just this kind of claim...

What is 'typical' overtime anyway? If you DON'T want to do overtime, you are down to around $85-90,000 gross, depending on the roster. I was on that ($85,000) before super, when I left PN 8+ years ago, and earned close to double that last year - without doing ANY overtime, with more time with my family, a stable roster, good track and equipment and a good bunch of Driver's to boot.

Work it backwards - even using their claimed figures to give them the benefit of the doubt. $113 /1.095 = ~103K actual salary including overtime. Call OT 1 shift a fortnight (roughly what I've seen bandied about on FB), at an average 8 hours and you are upto 2184hrs worked/year, with OT paid at 1.5 if I've read the EBA right, so 1976 ordinary hours, + ((26x8x1.5)=312) for a total of 2288 equivalent-hours. So 103,000 / 2288 * 1976 = $88,900ish before tax. To live in one of the most expensive cities in the country, if not the world, AND have to commute to Central every shift (until you can beg/borrow/inherit a local depot at however long that takes), oftentimes before the trains actually start running.

Do you really think that IF CityRail crew were on the claimed $113K they would have to advertise non-stop for close to 18 months for qualified Drivers? That they have been advertising so hard (in every state) for so long (18 months) suggests crew working elsewhere are seeing through their charade and the only people willing to apply to work there are A)Trainees, B) have family in Sydney and can afford a house or C) are unemployable elsewhere.

Now, I fully understand the 2.5% wage cap and how 6% looks disproportionate, after-all the KRviatrix is a public servant and is not particularly happy with the claimed 6%, but what people fail to understand is 24%% will not even bring them up to their interstate or freight equivalents today. They will still be among the lowest-paid driver's in the country. And - and this bit is important - it isn't all about the $$, nor all about the Drivers. Driver's are the obvious, easy target, but there are a lot more people affected by this EBA who are not happy with their lot at present that are not getting the recognition they deserve.
KRviator
Spot on KV, and lets not forget the real aspect/issue behind this, the hidden agenda by the government led by Peter R Constance.
  stopblock Junior Train Controller

Location: Planet Earth
Hi - I'm a producer at the ABC in Sydney, where lot's of different journalists have been asked to report on the recent disruptions to Sydney's train system.

There are a lot of claims - and counter-claims about whats happening at the moment - new timetables - a spate of sick leave - and even acts of god - blamed for disruptions.

If appropriate - I'd love to hear more from the Railpage community about what we've hearing (and reporting), and perhaps what the journalism might be missing, and even, who the journalists should be talking to.

We'll be covering the story well into the future, so your thoughts are most welcome. You can also private message me if anonymity is crucial.

kind regards,

Greg Miskelly
ABC TV Ultimo
The long list of reasons for Sydney's train chaos

Hi Greg,

I'm just a fan, so I can't offer you much in the way of insight into the precise cause of the current issues, but ...

FWIW, there are two main problems with Sydney/NSW rail:

- decision making are heavily bias by looking through the HR (and to a less extent PR) lens
- the impacts of capital allocation decisions takes so long - typically more than a decade  - that two governments have been and gone by the time the blunders are apparent.

Similar system meltdowns occurred in 2003.  There were lots of reasons: staff shortages as a resulting from of increased health standards following the Waterfall disaster, HR issues, new timetables, but also a lack of investment in the incremental upgrades required to cope with organic system growth.  All that capital had been diverted to the Airport Line and the Olympic line as a result of decisions made in 1990/92 which didn't cause issues until more than a decade later.

The knee jerk reaction included the Rail Clearway program (here), which implemented a backlog of incremental upgrades.

This program wasn't completed until 2014, and the main benefits not brought online until the 2013 timetable - more than a decade after the events that triggered the project.

My point is that capital allocation is done in one of two ways:
- a big announcable (usually never implemented)
- in a paniced response to an "event"

It's not like there arn't plenty of historical examples in NSW rail.
djf01

What is that old adage?
Those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat etc. etc.

Today everyone likes to blame the current assortment of new gen UK rail manager imports
15 years ago we blamed home grown pollies like Michael Costa and Carl Scully

https://www.gettyimages.com.au/detail/news-photo/trainee-rail-drivers-listen-as-minister-for-transport-news-photo/539505267#trainee-rail-drivers-listen-as-minister-for-transport-services-costa-picture-id539505267

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/02/05/1075854003303.html

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/11/17/1100574538506.html

Ohh! and wait for it, 45 years ago we blamed a previous UK import, Phillip Shirley, a Beeching disciple.

Deja vu!

We live to see it happen all over again!!!

So! Greg Miskelly (ABC TV Ultimo) I hope this helps shed a more historical perspective on a old and long festering wound in the way NSW and its railways are run. and always to beat of a government drum.

Even and old, home grown trainee engineman (i.e. Michael Costa) turned pollie then turned on his own.
He even introduced a timetable that had trains running SLOWER, just so he could claim a higher reliability rate to add to his list of achievements
No UK based imports to blame then! were there?

There are lessons out there, but we never seem to learn

Stopblock!
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The other aspect is that the trams to Dulwich Hill have had little affect on taking the load off the roads, but had they rebuilt the old Goods line to take passenger trains, they could have taken a lot of the load off the Sydnenham - Redfern section.  At worst it only had to be wired from Darling Harbour to Balmain Road and a gauntlet track through the Wentworth Park Tunnel.
a6et

This statement is 100% incorrect.

The dulwich hill tram was never designed to take the load off sydenham to redfern and even if it was heavy rail it could never achieve this goal due to the slow and meandering route. The light rail has more stops then an equivalent heavy rail system would have and in doing so provides a better service to more people then the equivalent heavy rail could achieve.

Stops are only about 400 metres apart in these areas and the light rail is much better suited to short stop and start then a heavy rail train. Wolli creek and tempe are the closest trains on the HR network at 550metres with granville and clyde at 650 metres but most stops are about 1km away from the next stop on HR and some say those are too close for HR.

Why mess with gauntlet track through the wentworth park tunnel for when dual track for light rail vehicles easily fit within that tunnel.

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