A driver shortage has forced the New South Wales Government to postpone introduction of its new CityRail timetable.
And introduction of Sydney’s long-awaited new-generation Millennium passenger trains has been put back.
Transport minister Carl Scully said slower-than-expected driver recruitment and a jump in driver retirement forecasts were the reasons for putting the new schedule on hold.
The performance of the present timetable provides “breathing space” for CityRail to put in placerecruitment strategies to overcome the shortfall of around 60 drivers.
“We have been running at better than 92% on time for five of the past six months, exceeding 95% for two of those months,” Mr Scully said.
“It is clear to me that the existing timetable is still operating efficiently.
“I am giving CityRail more time to recruit so that the new timetable can have a full complement of staff when it is introduced.
“Only when I am satisfied that a new timetable will work to the satisfaction of our customers, will I agree to its implementation.”
The Millennium trains face a further delay, two weeks before their scheduled appearance, to sort out a safety problem.
The trains are causing electrical interference with the rail network’s signalling system.
Testing of the trains is continuing while Australian manufacturer EDI works on the problem.
Deliveries will begin in four-car units, with 80 carriages to be delivered by mid-2004.
A further 60 have been ordered to replace aging rolling stock.