The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has blamed the timetable introduced by Sydney Trains late last month, after a fatality at Wentworthville on Monday morning caused major delays 12 hours later, during the evening peak.
Sydney Trains asked commuters to consider walking to alternative stations in the City Circle after Town Hall and Wynyard became overcrowded during the evening peak on Monday, December 11.
The apparent cause for the extensive delays was a fatality at Wentworthville at 6.30am, which led to the closure of the Western Line.
But RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens says the new timetable doesn’t have any recovery time built into it, making extensive delays, several hours after tragic incidents, inevitable.
“Unfortunately it was only a matter of time until the cracks in this new timetable started to appear,” Claassens said on Tuesday.
“Whereas with previous timetables an incident on the network could be fixed within a few hours, the lack of recovery time in the new timetable means that the delays can go the whole day and impact the whole system.”
Claassens said Monday’s delays showed “a complete lack of foresight”.
“Workers weren’t consulted on the new timetable, and this is the result – a timetable that might look fine on paper, but doesn’t function in reality. This is just another bungle the transport minister, Andrew Constance, has overseen.”
Sydney Trains chief executive Howard Collins insisted the delays could not be avoided, and were not because of the new timetable.
“This is not an incident at one train station,” Collins said in a statement. “This was a very difficult situation really cutting off our main arteries on one of our lines.
“Whether this was the old timetable or the new one, under the circumstances we were facing yesterday, we would have seen the same effect.”