Australian Trains plunge into chaos yet again : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Thursday, May 25, 2000

Trains plunge into chaos yet again By ROBERT WAINWRIGHT, Transport Writer

Sydney's beleaguered rail lines descended into chaos last night when a points failure at Central Station closed half the new airport line and disrupted trains on at least three other lines.

The problems caused delays of more than 30 minutes, and on-time running plunged to just 20 per cent for afternoon peak-hour, according to the Australian Services Union.

The signal failure at the end of platform 22/23 the airport line platform caused delays of more 30 minutes and reduced the city circle line to a one-way journey.

Adding to problems were two other track failures at Ashfield and Museum stations a points failure at Strathfield and a train with a seized axle, also at Ashfield.

A spokesman for CityRail confirmed last night that airport passengers had been told to use the East Hills or Illawarra lines to travel to Wolli Creek or Turrella stations, where they had to change trains for an airport connection.

At the height of the chaos, one train reportedly took 50 minutes to travel between Newtown and Redfern stations.

Some travellers vowed yesterday that their first trip on the airport line would also be their last.

Mr Darryl Dobe, of the Blue Mountains, said the problem-besieged service was a ``complete disappointment''.

``Never again,'' he said. ``I'll take a cab next time it'll be quicker. I got out of the domestic terminal and thought I'd try it, but it was a mess. There was no room for luggage, there was a delay getting on.''

Mr Dobe said that with a return ticket priced at $12.60, he had expected a higher level of service. ``It's certainly not worth it, for what you have to pay.''

Yesterday's embarrassing failures follow a mass of problems on Tuesday, when a signal fault at Sydenham station and a points failure between Redfern and Central triggered delays that lasted all day. On-time running was just 25 per cent for the afternoon peak.

``CityRail's timetables on both Monday and Tuesday were thrown out by a number of incidents some of which CityRail had no control over,'' a CityRail spokesman said.

``These included signal failures at Central and Waterfall, and two trains with flat batteries on Monday morning. On that afternoon there was an electrical fault between Green Square and Wolli Creek stations, and a fatality at Granville.

``Yesterday, a major points failure occurred at Redfern, impacting on all train services except the Illawarra line, and there was a signal failure at Petersham. These two problems had a knock-on effect throughout the remainder of Tuesday across all lines, except the Illawarra line.''

The spokesman blamed some of the problems on the introduction of a new timetable for the East Hills line, and ``some minor timetable adjustments elsewhere across the CityRail network''.

``In terms of timetable changes on the East Hills Line, there have been a number of calls to CityRail's `Your Say Line', where people have made comments about the new timetable. In most cases, commuters are still becoming accustomed to the new timetable.

``CityRail is closely monitoring passenger flows both through the airport line stations and at stations along the East Hills line to assess the impact of the new timetable

-- Martin Thompson (, May 24, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ