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According to Barry McDonald it will be some time before he catches a train out of Goulburn following a “horror” trip to Sydney last month.
On January 17, at 7.30am the resident, who catches the train about once every month, jumped on a train from Goulburn station towards Central.
The train, scheduled to depart at 7.34am, was delayed by eight minutes. The Southern Highlands train chugged on until Bargo, where the train stopped for 20 minutes and again for 40 minutes at Tahmoor due to a broken down freight train.
Instead of arriving at 10.40am, Mr McDonald stepped on the platform at Central Station at midday.
For his return trip from Central, his train was eight minutes late, and carriages were cut from four to two for the entire trip back to Goulburn.
“Passengers were packed in the aisles standing, I was able to jump on the carriage first and get a seat – operational issues were blamed. I arrived in Goulburn 15 minutes late, which wasn’t too bad, the morning was a real horror. It was an absolutely dreadful run,” he said.
Train users were kept informed via the PA system, but he said many immediately were on the phone cancelling visits and appointments.
“It had nothing to do with the industrial action, it’s a question about network reliability,” he said.
However, a NSW TrainLink spokesperson dismissed this telling The Post there was a 93.7 per cent punctuality target met between January 1 to January 18 on the Southern Highlands line, and a 92 p.c target met for intercity services.
The spokesperson admitted some minor disruptions occurred last month due to the heat and speed restrictions enforced by the Australian Rail Track Corporation Line (ARTC) for freight services.
“NSW TrainLink makes every effort to inform customers of delays and disruptions through a number of channels,” the spokesperson said.
The ARTC only share the train line to Macarthur before it is separated into the Sydney Trains network.
The company funds the maintenance and operation of the Southern Highlands rail line from the revenue it earns from customers using the track.
An ARTC spokesman said the train timetables are “complex” and freight punctuality is “dependent on the operator and destination destination of the service”.
“A number of freight services are from local businesses in the Southern Highlands and Goulburn region. Our focus is to make sure each train runs on time and to the overall train plan – as this allows for the most efficient and smooth running of the rail network,” he said.
“Incidents like that which occurred… are not common.”
This article first appeared on www.goulburnpost.com.au
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