Passengers are bracing for peak-hour chaos as dozens of trains are delayed and cancelled due to drivers calling in sick and lightning damaged signal equipment.
Storm damage and staffing failures crippled Sydney’s train network on Tuesday, leaving thousands of commuters stranded and causing some to miss flights.
Rail users vented their anger at Sydney Trains as morning delays continued into the afternoon, following similar problems on Monday.
New South Wales Opposition leader Luke Foley slammed the Berejiklian Government, the new timetables, and the state’s ‘shambolic’ train service.
‘The timetable is not worth the paper it is written on,’ he told reporters at a press conference.
‘The government has to invest in public services. How is it there aren’t enough drivers to drive the trains on the timetable so 18 trains are cancelled yesterday?
‘Employ more drivers. How about a government that concentrates on the delivery of transport services, instead they’re prioritising a $2billion stadium splurge.’
Affected lines include the North Shore, Northern and Western lines, due to a lightning strike at Gordon, and the Olympic Park Line due to staff availability.
The Carlingford Line also has trains suspended due to staff shortages, and the Liverpool, Inner West and South lines are all experiencing major delays.
One furious passenger took to Twitter to complain about missing a flight due to train delays this morning.
‘Seriously F*** you Sydney Trains for making us miss our flights because you had no driver, f*** you for costing us $1500 for your incompetence,’ he wrote.
‘Is this Sydney Trains 60-70 drivers calling in sick a kind of general strike due to the new timetable? Is that what this is? Anyone know a train driver?’ wrote another.
‘This is the second train I haven’t been able to board due to overcrowding. What a joke,’ wrote another next to a photo of a packed platform.
‘Stuck in the city circle tunnel now 20 minutes and counting,’ said another customer in reply to a Trains Info tweet.
‘Our train driver said our train this morning was delayed “due to people getting on and off” I wonder what Sydney Trains expect to do with trains??!’ said one perplexed passenger on Tuesday.
Sydney Trains wrote on Twitter the delays are due to ‘staff availability’ and commuters should allow extra travel time for ‘flow on delays’.
About 70 train drivers called in sick Tuesday with Sydney Trains CEO Howard Collins telling reporters the drivers have proper illnesses.
While some commuters are arriving an hour early to beat the delays, carriage overcrowding means people have been turned away from catching their train, Sunrise reported.
With many people heading back to work for the first time this week after the holidays, thousands have been left stranded as some trains are not stopping at usual stations and may change ‘at short notice’, according to Sydney Trains.
There were 18 train cancellations across the city on Monday because of staff calling in sick and lack of staff to cover the shifts.
‘We are seeing high levels of sickness of our train drivers … but we are managing that well,’ Mr Collins told 7 News.