02 June, 2023
Sydney’s faltering train system to be reviewed


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Repeated failures on Sydney’s train network will be the subject of a major independent investigation, as those choosing to drive are forced to endure another toll rise.

Sydney rail commuters have endured a year of delays, disruptions and widespread outages, including a digital radio system failure on March 8 that left every train stationary for 90 minutes at the start of the afternoon peak.

“It’s clear that our heavy rail network is facing significant issues,” Transport Minister Jo Haylen said on Friday.

“After 12 years of neglect from the former Liberal government, passengers have faced shutdowns, cancellations and delays across the network and on-time running is the worst it has been since the pandemic.”

The review by the former National Transport Commission chairwoman Carolyn Walsh will investigate the causes of repeated infrastructure issues and attempt to find “rapid and durable solutions” and reforms to reduce problems in the future.

The terms of reference will be worked out in the coming days, the government said.

March was a particularly poor month for the city’s rail network.

Two days after the radio system crashed, a live overhead wire landed on a train in Panania, trapping 500 people on the train for 90 minutes, halting traffic on this section and causing delays across the broader network.

Multiple signal failures in the Strathfield area last Saturday left thousands of commuters stranded on platforms and caused delays across the network that afternoon and evening.

It comes as the new Minns Labor government tries to divert any anger over a scheduled toll increase on Saturday towards the former government and its “addiction to privatisation”.

Transurban is raising tolls on five Sydney tollways, including the Eastern Distributor and the Cross City Tunnel, by about 1.8 per cent – an abnormally high hike due to elevated CPI.

“Every time the tolls go up, it’s a reminder of the former government’s obsession with privatisation,” Premier Chris Minns said on Friday.

The new government is promising structural toll reform and a weekly cap, starting at $60 in 2024.


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