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THEY’RE the new train timetables lauded as the biggest change to Sydney Transport’s network in history.
But despite the 1500 new services, the state government was forced to apologise yesterday after an early morning fatality brought Sydney Trains to its knees.
Last night, Sydney commuters heading home from work faced major delays. Some were even turned away from the city’s busiest stations as platforms became dangerously packed.
The cause of last night’s delays had been a 6.30am fatality at Wentworthville, a station in the west of Sydney that also sits on the city’s busiest train line T1.
Massive delays on Sydney trains. Picture: Seven NewsSource:Supplied
The fatality forced the immediate closure of Wentworthville station, creating a ripple effect across the T1 line, a track that normally has 200 trains pass through it every hour.
Police closed the line for three hours to complete their investigation.
Delays continued throughout the day however it was when everyone was heading home from work, some 12 hours later, that peak hour trains went into meltdown.
NSW opposition transport spokeswoman Jodi McKay said yesterday’s “meltdown” meant the government “isn’t telling us the full story”.
An internal report by Sydney Trains, leaked by the Labor government two weeks ago, suggested delays on the network were likely “to be cumulative and irrecoverable” during peak hours following incidents like a breakdown or yesterday’s fatality.
The train timetable overhaul has put increased pressure on an already high-pressure network.
“People understand there will be incidents like yesterday’s tragedy but when it’s 12 hours later and we’re having a total meltdown? That’s never happened before,” Ms McKay said.
A Sydney Trains employee said the significant delays was because of where the fatality occurred, on the city’s busiest line.
The T1 line is always running at capacity meaning if there is an issue on that line, it has a flow on issue everywhere.
A specific aim of the government’s timetable overhaul was to reduce pressure on train lines in the west as the area continues to see the biggest growth in Sydney.
Patronage on Sydney Trains in general also increased by 11 per cent last year.
On November 26, the government added an extra 771 weekday services and another 800 on weekends, something Ms McKay said Labor “had concerns about from day one”.
Ms McKay said NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance needs to guarantee a meltdown like yesterday’s “won’t happen again”.
However, she said the report done by Sydney Trains suggested yesterday’s chaos is about to become a “regular occurrence”.
Trains are now operating at “track capacity” for longer meaning there is “no opportunity for diversions or recovery from incidents”, the report reads.
In a statement to news.com.au. a spokesperson for Sydney Trains apologised to customers impacted and said the extensive delays had nothing to do with the new timetables.
“During disruptions we do everything possible to ensure our customers are inconvenienced as little as possible. Unfortunately yesterday’s incident was particularly challenging and involved a fatality which required an important part of our network to be closed down for a prolonged period of time to assist a police operation. This closure had flow on effects that meant our staff and trains could not get to the locations they needed to be at to operate a full afternoon peak service. The delays were due to this backlog of services and did not relate to the new timetable.
“Since introducing the new timetable, we have responded to a number of significant incidents similar to the one yesterday, with minimal impact to customers and 94.8 per cent of trains running on time,” they said.
Transport minister Andrew Constance has been contacted for comment.
This article first appeared on www.news.com.au
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