An internal NSW government report, completed in September, has forecast a $1.3 billion maintenance backlog on Sydney’s trains, the Sydney Morning Herald has revealed.
“Escalating maintenance costs, increasing levels of technical and component obsolescence and the ability to integrate into future network systems platforms … are prohibitive and present short and medium-term challenges,” SMH quotes the report.
Almost one-quarter of the passenger trains are more than 30 years old, while nearly half of the fleet is more than 20 years old.
The report cites the compounding impact of increased services, leading to trains, tracks and other rail assets “wearing out faster”. In turn, the rail network needs “more regular maintenance”.
While the overall condition of rail tracks is “good”, the backlog of deferred track maintenance is forecast to grow if more funding from the state is not forthcoming.
The backlog will surge to $1.3 billion by the end of the decade, from $419 million last year, if there is no funding boost, according to SMH.
“Due to the significant growth planned for time-tabled passenger rail services, it is anticipated the levels of wear and tear on infrastructure will increase proportionally,” the report says.
The report says there is “lack of long-term commitment for sustainable funding” by government to improve the condition of civil assets such as bridges, culverts and tunnels.