Wednesday 3rd Jun, 2020

Businesses call for review of ‘archaic’ Sydney Trains systems


The Sydney Business chamber has called for an independent audit of the Sydney Trains network after the operator’s CEO blamed an “archaic” system for delays.

After a damaged train at Town Hall caused significant delays across the Sydney Trains network on August 23, CEO Howard Collins said delays could be avoided when such incidents occur if not for the network’s “archaic” systems.

“It is a failure of the way our system is built that one train can stop the entire network,” Collins was quoted as saying by News. “We took the right decision not to try to move this train forward but to isolate and get people up on ladders literally to try to remove the [damaged] hatch. That cause a two-and-a-half hour delay to a critical point in the network.”

He continued: “Being an ex-London Underground guy, we developed that system that could be remotely switched off for each train. Seven minutes, bang the power off. Back on, off we go. Here we have to send men and women down tunnels to pull big switches and open them and close them, which takes hours. They have to come with forms, they have to work through things. It is archaic.”

Responding to Collins’ comments the Sydney Business Chamber has now called on the government to review the network so such incidents can be eliminated in the future.

“Over recent years billions have been spent on new light rail with more to come, but our existing heavy rail network is struggling to support the increase in rail commuters,” the chamber’s executive director Katherine O’Regan said.

“We need to establish if the heavy rail network is being maintained and updated to keep pace with the 28 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the past five years.

“This rise in usage demands a commensurate increase in maintenance expenditure.”

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