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Sydney's biggest train timetable change in almost a decade will include an extra 700 services a week - but some commuters will miss out when trains skip certain stations.
A draft of the October timetable, obtained by Fairfax Media, shows an increase in services to a number of western Sydney stations and to those on the Epping to Chatswood line. But there are also clear losers, such as Kogarah on the Illawarra line where peak-hour train services will be halved.
Winners and losers of Sydney's new train timetable
The timetable will be the first big change to public transport services under the O'Farrell government and the most significant for Sydney's rail system since 2005.
New bus and ferry timetables will also be introduced in October but these remain secret.
An 800-page version of the train timetable, dated last month, reveals a number of the big changes. These include:
More trains on the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line;
More on the Epping to Chatswood line;
Fewer trains stopping at upper north shore stations such as Lindfield and Killara.
More on the Bankstown line, particularly at Marrickville; slightly more Blue Mountains and Illawarra trains;
A revival of half-hourly services on the
Cumberland line between Campbelltown and Blacktown;
More regular stopping patterns at many stations.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the version of the timetable obtained by Fairfax Media was still in draft stage.
"I expect more changes over coming months and am certain the new timetable will be received in an overwhelmingly positive light once it is finalised,'' she said.
A Transport for NSW spokesman said there would be at least 700 extra weekly services.
To assess the timetable, which was not provided by the government, Fairfax Media compared peak-period stopping patterns at selected stations with those in the present timetable.
The comparison reveals that come October, trains will be much more consistently timed, arriving at many stations at the same time each hour.
In the inner west commuters will generally be better off. Trains heading to the city on the inner-west line will start at Homebush, using a ''turnback'' facility built five years ago and not used before.
This means trains arriving at Summer Hill will have fewer passengers on board as they will not have travelled from Lidcombe or Liverpool.
At Newtown, the busiest station on the inner-west line, there will be a slight increase in afternoon services but a small drop in early-morning services.
A preliminary analysis of the weekend timetable shows no significant change in frequencies.
On the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line, there will be two more trains an hour leaving Bondi Junction for the city during the weekday peak. It includes an extra one an hour leaving Cronulla for the city.
But there are big changes to the frequency of services to some stops on the Illawarra line. For instance, there are dramatically fewer trains stopping at Kogarah, used by students at local schools, businesses and St George Hospital.
This will make it impossible to get a direct service from the Cronulla or Waterfall line to or from Kogarah. A departmental spokesman acknowledged this was the intent.
''Hurstville will be used as an interchange point for customers travelling from south of Hurstville who want to go to any station from Allawah to Arncliffe.''
Other smaller stations on the line will have a rise in services. At Arncliffe there will be at least an extra two trains an hour in the morning, and two an hour in the afternoon peak.
The timetable revives more services on the Cumberland line, which runs north-south in western Sydney.
The service between Campbelltown, Liverpool, Parramatta and Blacktown now has only two trains in the morning and three in the afternoon. But the frequency will be bumped up to every half an hour.
There are fewer trains to upper north shore stations such as Lindfield and Killara because more services will run on the Epping to Chatswood line.
Commuters going to Macquarie Park or Macquarie University from Town Hall are now limited to trains every 15 minutes.
Under the draft, trains will run about every eight minutes between 8am and 9am.
But this benefit will be reversed when the north-west rail link is built. Trains will then be unable to run from Town Hall to Macquarie Park or Macquarie University because the Epping to Chatswood line will be handed to a new private operator.
The opposition and public transport advocates have called on Ms Berejiklian to release the draft for consultation soon.
Draft timetables have been typically released more than half a year before they are implemented.
''The big issue is why they don't want anyone to see it,'' said Jim Donovan from Action for Public Transport.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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