Sydney Trains Defends New Timetable

Sydney Trains has apologised to commuters for major delays across the network at peak hour last night but insist a new timetable introduced late last month is not to blame.

Wynyard and Town Hall stations were so overcrowded commuters were advised to walk to Central, Museum, St James or Martin Place stations to catch trains.

Commuters were also asked to consider delaying travel if it was not necessary.

Due to overcrowding at Town Hall & Wynyard, we encourage you to walk to Central, Museum, St James or Martin Place Station to catch a train. Please take care when boarding and look out for fellow commuters. Carry water with you if possible and avoid boarding if you feel unwell.

Sydney Trains said the delays and cancellations were a result of a fatality at 6:30am on Monday at Wentworthville in western Sydney which led to the closure of the T1 Western Line.

A crime scene had to be set up resulting in line closures for more than three hours.

Commuters at Wynyard station this morning complained about the long delays.

“I live in Westmead which is close to Wentworthville. I was told there was a fatality in the morning,” one passenger said.

“I would have thought it could have been fixed by the evening, you know after two hours, let’s get back to the schedule.”

In a statement, Sydney Trains apologised to customers affected by the delays, that were felt more than 12 hours after the incident.

Chief executive of Sydney Trains Howard Collins said there were record numbers of people using the network and the delays were not due to timetable changes.

“This is not an incident at one train station,” he said.

“This was a very difficult situation really cutting off our main arteries on one of our lines.

“Whether this was the old timetable or the new one, under the circumstances we were facing yesterday, we would have seen the same effect.”

But Opposition transport spokesperson Jodi McKay said the chaos was a direct result of the timetable.

A leaked internal rail document warned the new timetable could cause “irrecoverable” delays after an incident, Ms McKay said.

The 52-page document, 2017 Timetable: Network Operations, details the impact of the changes to the network.

“Since the Government introduced the new timetable, the system has been stretched so tight that the slightest incident reverberates through the entire train network,” Ms McKay said.

A screenshot of a page from a document about changes to the 2017 train timetable.

“Now this is a direct result of the new timetable. The Government needs to be honest with the community about how it’s going to fix this.”

Transport Minister Andrew Constance said it was a tough day with the closure of a busy station and emergency services requiring access to the rail corridor.

“This has nothing to do with the timetable,” he said.

“This was a personal tragedy that occurred. It wouldn’t matter what the timetable was.

“There was quite literally tens and tens of services [that] had to be cancelled and replacement buses put in place.”