Penrith commuters will be eagerly scouring the new Sydney Trains timetable released this afternoon, which will become effective from October 20.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian says there will be 600 more express services each week compared to the current timetable.
“The new timetable makes the best possible use of our infrastructure and rolling stock and will deliver more services, new express services, and shorter travel times for many customers travelling longer distances,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“There are also improved stopping patterns to reduce congestion and more consistent departure times, meaning customers at busier stations won’t need a timetable and platforms will be less crowded.
“The NSW Government has undertaken the biggest re-write of the train timetable in a generation with the aim of delivering benefits to as many customers as possible.
“This is a timetable designed around the needs of customers – previous timetables simply tinkered at the edges and focused on trains – not people.”
Ms Berejiklian claims that the new timetable boasts 184 extra weekly services and 35 new weekly express services on the Western Line.
In addition, she says the new timetable promises reduced journey times of up to an hour a week for customers making daily return longer distance journeys to the city, depending on which train they catch.
But the Weekender has already uncovered one issue with the timetable.
A commuter currently leaving Penrith in the morning peak aiming to start work at Redfern at 9am, would currently most likely catch the 7.54am service, which arrives at Redfern at 8.40am and only makes three stops.
But under the new timetable, that service is gone. The same commuter would have to catch the 7.48am train – a service that leaves six minutes earlier – to arrive at Redfern at 8.41am. That train would also make double the number of stops.
A new express service at 7.59am gets to Central at 8.47am but does not stop at Redfern.
At the other end of the day, the same commuter finishing work at 5.30pm would most likely currently catch the 5.43pm train from Redfern, which arrives at Penrith at 6.41pm. Under the new timetable, the commuter would have to catch the 5.51pm train, which would not arrive at Penrith until 6.47pm.
Oddly, there are three trains departing Redfern bound for Penrith within three minutes of each other – at 5.36pm, 5.38pm and 5.39pm – but it would be unlikely a commuter finishing work at 5.30pm would make it to the station in time for any of these services.
The commuter in this example would face an extra 12 minutes of travel time each day – or an hour each week.
Ms Berejiklian believes the timetable gets the balance right.
“This timetable has been developed by experts and built around our customer’s needs, taking into account all of the consultation undertaken as part of the Long Term Transport Master Plan,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“For example, we know a lot of commuters are working longer hours, so service frequency for people heading out of the city has been extended later into the evening and similarly in the morning.
“In addition to increased peak service frequency, we have also improved the timetable for key educational, commercial and health precincts throughout the day.”