Commuters warned as industrial action set to decimate train schedule all week

·4-min read

Industrial action is set to disrupt NSW's train network throughout the week, with about 70 per cent of the Sydney Trains services being reduced.

Transport NSW warned the protected industrial action will cause delays and the increasing cancellation of services over the coming week.

Rail commuters have been warned to expect delays with action by The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) starting on Tuesday with a go-slow.

"Customers should continue to monitor the situation and for the latest updates on how services in their area are impacted across the week," Transport NSW said in a statement.

This is not a strike, rail workers will still be on the clock and the union is going through with the industrial action due to safety concerns with a new fleet.

“We are escalating because we are just fed up with the constant promises and backflips,” RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens said according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Planned industrial action will disrupt train services throughout NSW for the rest of the week. Source: AAP
Planned industrial action will disrupt train services throughout NSW for the rest of the week. Source: AAP

What will happen during the industrial action?

While disruptions were expected to be minor on Monday, protected industrial action on Tuesday will see train services restricted to travelling no faster than 60km/h in Sydney's suburban area.

Due to the reduction in speed, trains on suburban lines are expected to run on an amended timetable and there could be a reduction in services by up to 50 per cent.

Customers travelling on the NSW TrainLink Intercity and long-distance regional services are advised to only travel under essential circumstances on Tuesday, due to potential significant delays and impacts.

On Thursday and Friday, it is also expected there will be a significant reduction in Intercity and regional services to the Central Coast, Newcastle, Hunter, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and South Coast lines.

On Thursday, Sydney Trains services could be reduced by 70 per cent during peak periods due to the industrial action.

The industrial action will see services reduced by as much as 75 per cent later in the week. Source: AAP
The industrial action will see services reduced by as much as 75 per cent later in the week. Source: AAP

Customers are being warned they should expect disruptions and delays, as well as altered stopping patterns and delays.

Industrial action on Friday will "impact the ability" for the majority of the rail fleet to be used, as drivers refuse to drive foreign-built trains.

Waratah, Millennium, and OSCAR trains make up about 70 per cent of the rail fleet and about 75 per cent of services.

"Limited replacement buses will operate in some locations but Sydney Trains services on Friday during the peak could be reduced by as much as 75 per cent," NSW Transport said.

"Customers should continue to monitor the situation and for the latest updates on how services in their area are impacted across the week."

Why is this industrial action happening?

Safety concerns over a new fleet of Korean-built trains are driving the industrial action.

In May this year, RTBU said in a media release the new fleet of intercity trains was a "disaster waiting to happen".

RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens said back in May rail workers say they will refuse to drive the new fleet until "the significant safety issues are adequately addressed".

“Rail workers have been raising serious safety concerns about this fleet for years – even before the trains landed in Australia," he said.

"But the NSW Government has been fighting back because it doesn’t want to pay to fix the safety problems."

NSW Transport Minister David Elliott told 2GB on Monday while the safety regulator has signed off on the new fleet, he is open to modifications, so long as it doesn't cost the taxpayer "unnecessarily".

"We need to have some good faith, there is an offer before the union, we spent like into Friday night, giving an offer to the union and I thought it was pretty fair," he told Ben Fordham.

"But you know, these are negotiations and I'm actually even more disappointed that they're going to take industrial action while an offer is before them."

However, Mr Claassens referred to the offer as a "bribe", saying as far as the union was concerned, industrial action will continue.

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