Train commuters are enduring a second straight day of delays as the Sydney Trains network plunges into crisis.
A controversial new timetable, staff shortages and overnight lightning strikes are all combining to create a perfect storm on the network.
After yesterday’s lengthy delays, both the Western Line and Blue Mountains Line are still experiencing delays today.
“Allow extra travel time after lightning strikes damaging signal equipment at Gordon and a staff availability issue,” Sydney Trains advised.
“On the T1 Western Line, buses may supplement some trains between Blacktown and Richmond and Penrith and Emu Plains. Stopping patterns may change so listen to announcements and check indicator boards.”
— Mícheál Gealbhain (@galvin84) January 9, 2018
Data shows the scheduled 11.18am train from Penrith to the City is running more than half an hour late, with the scheduled 11.48am train also running behind time. Delays are also being forecast throughout the afternoon.
For those heading from the City to Penrith, there’s extensive delays being experienced with an 11.10am service from Central running almost 40 minutes late and the 11.25am service running half an hour late.
What’s supposed to be less than an hour’s trip is now two hours. And I’m still stuck. #SydneyTrains suck! 🤬🤬🤬
— KMLevis (@kmlevis) January 9, 2018
Long delays are also predicted for the 11.40am, 11.55am and 12.10pm services.
The problems are likely to continue into the afternoon peak, meaning rail commuters will face a second consecutive evening of delayed trips home.
Commuters have taken to social media and have flooded radio station 2GB with calls, as frustration builds with Sydney Trains management and Transport Minister Andrew Constance.
People have reported confusion on stations and trains with sudden changes to platforms and stopping patterns.
— Chadwick (@TweetChadwick) January 8, 2018
Meanwhile, Fairfax Media reports today that the new timetable, introduced late last year, provides “smaller windows” of time available to maintain trains and tracks, putting more pressure on staff to carry out night-time work.
A Sydney Trains document obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald lists, among the challenges for carrying out train repairs, “reduced fleet maintenance windows” and an “increased demand on maintenance as [a result of the] fleet doing more kilometres”.