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Rail chiefs meet to sort out Sydney passenger rail fiasco

<p>Unions and New South Wales government transport chiefs are locked in discussions this morning (Thursday, February 12) to resolve the driver shortage crisis behind Sydney’s ongoing passenger rail fiasco.</p> <p>RailCorp cut 88 train services today on Sydney’s urban rail network because it does not have sufficient drivers numbers.</p> <p>State transport services minister Michael Costa, RailCorp CEO Vince Graham and Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) officials are meeting to discuss measures to overcome the situation.</p> <p>The RTBU has criticised the government and RailCorp for what it believes is a campaign to divert blame for failings in the system on to drivers, in the wake of the Waterfall crash inquiry report.</p> <p>It is angry over media and public perceptions that the train cancellations are due to drivers refusing to work overtime.</p> <p>The union said management has failed to plan for the needs of the system and recruit more drivers in the last 18 months, despite union warnings over staff shortages.</p> <p>A RailCorp spokeswoman said it is hoped that the meeting will produce some concrete measures to alleviate the pressure on train services. </p> <p>The spokeswoman would not comment on the union’s perception of a campaign to blame drivers but said: "We do have a group of drivers that won’t work overtime."</p> <p>Of the 1,200 drivers, about 300 have decided against working overtime, she said.</p> <p>A batch of another 10 new drivers is due to graduate at the end of this week, at the completion of a 26-month training course, the spokeswoman said. </p> <br />