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Train repair blitz underway to boost commute times as rail repair plan is completed

Work to improve train services for millions of passengers is being bolstered by the NSW Government launching a Train Repair Plan following the successful completion of the Rail Repair Plan that has resulted in fewer incidents and more reliable journeys.

Announced in June last year, the Rail Repair Plan means passengers are now spending 35 per cent less time dealing with train delays related to infrastructure failures.

Sydney Trains engaged 2500 workers to fix 2116 defects, resurface 468km of track, replace 1163 train stop rams and remove 193 temporary speed restrictions.

Building on this successful model, the NSW Government is launching a $35 million Train Repair Plan that will upgrade more than 2000 cars, which make up 372 trains, in line with modern standards.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said on a rail network the size and complexity of NSW’s, carrying millions of people every day, it’s critical the government continues to focus on essential upgrades to minimise headaches for commuters.

“Incidents on the rail network are inevitable, but keeping our fleet in top shape is our key priority to reduce delays and cancellations,” he said.

“The workers and apprentices on this project will be learning vital skills to not only maintain trains here in NSW, but to build our capacity to deliver the next generation of Tangaras.”

This 12-month plan is now underway and is the largest coordinated program of train maintenance ever undertaken in NSW.

In the past year, train faults have increased 28 per cent compared with the last financial year – resulting in 595 service cancellations and 2445 delays.

Using existing Sydney Trains budget and engaging workers in-house, the program includes improving technology, communications and operating systems, and critical repairs to doors, brakes, windows, air conditioning and CCTV cameras.

The Train Repair Plan has key targets to:

  • Remove 2,037 train defects
  • Upgrade all 11 models of trains
  • Clear 306 train maintenance backlog repairs
  • Clean and paint 1,622 train carriages
  • Accelerate 68 reliability projects, including toilet upgrades, air conditioning, engine replacements, technology system upgrades, brakes, doors and windows
  • Complete life extension work for diesel fleets including the XPT, Endeavour and Xplorer

Sydney Trains Chief Executive Matt Longland explained the importance of the work.

“With some of our train fleet over 50 years old, passengers are feeling the brunt of our ageing assets,” he said.

“Sydney Trains is working hard ensure the impact on passengers is minimised during this work, which will see some minor timetable adjustments to services with lower patronage.”

The Train Repair Plan was a key recommendation from the Rail Infrastructure and Systems Review, which found fleet performance was well below targets for availability and reliability.

The program is distinct from the $447 million Tangara life extension work announced in the 2024-25 Budget, which will ensure that this iconic fleet remains fit for service as the Government forges ahead with building the next generation of Tangaras here.

The fleet maintenance work will be complimented by the introduction of the Mariyung fleet, which is on track to be delivered by the end of the year, enabling 50-year-old V Sets to progressively retire.

Minister for Transport Jo Haylen said the Rail Repair Plan was a success in bringing the trackwork backlog under control and giving passengers smoother journeys – it’s only logical the government apply that same strategy to its train fleet.

“Fleet defects are a significant driver of delays. We need to make sure our existing trains are healthy, strong and reliable, which is why we’re accelerating two years of work into the next 12 months,” she said.

“Around 800 Sydney Trains staff will be working around the clock – 24 hours, 7 days a week – on the Train Repair Plan and I want to thank every one of them for undertaking this massive job.”