Minister says no changes to T1 Western Line, train network

Transport Minister Andrew Constance Sydney Trains CEO Howard Collins front the media on January 19. Picture: Nick Moir/Fairfax Media
Transport Minister Andrew Constance Sydney Trains CEO Howard Collins front the media on January 19. Picture: Nick Moir/Fairfax Media

THE T1 Western Line timetable will not change anytime soon according to Sydney Trains and Transport Minister Andrew Constance, despite warnings that the entire Sydney train network is stretched to capacity.

Delays on Monday then a near meltdown on Tuesday have left many commuters furious with Sydney Trains, who have said no refunds would be offered.

Mr Constance on Wednesday said no timetable changes would occur and apologised for the delays on Monday and Tuesday.

“We had an 11 per cent increase in patronage in a 12 month period. We can't go back, as Labor want us to, to the old timetable because of that growth,” he said, while speaking at a press conference at Central Station.

“Eleven per cent in a 12 month period that's unprecedented across any train network and we're expecting another 21% over the next two years.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, published by Fairfax Media which also publishes the Hawkesbury Gazette, has reported that the train network is bursting at the seams, and that even minor problems can snowball into massive ones quickly

In a press release, Mr Constance said 1500 extra train services were added to the network in November to cope with growing demand.

The release said “$1.5 billion is being spent on the new timetable” and that 24 new Waratah style trains were on their way.

The release added that $20 billion was being spent on the metro railway “to ease congestion and expand the transport network.”

“Over the last couple of days it has been a mess, we know that, I want to sincerely apologise,” he said.

A Sydney Trains spokesperson said that since the Opal card had been introduced in 2012, fares had not risen in line with the Consumer Price Index.

“We’ve managed to make widespread improvements and are investing record amounts while keeping fares affordable,” the spokesperson said.

“We understand how frustrating this week’s train network issues were for customers, however fare revenue makes a valuable contribution to funding new and improved services.

“For those customers who couldn’t tap off and incurred a default fare due to yesterday’s train delays can seek fare adjustments by heading to www.opal.com.au.”