Intending to travel by rail on Saturday? Plan ahead!

Picture: Anna Warr
Picture: Anna Warr

Rail users will need to plan ahead before any travel on Saturday with services being heavily impacted by planned industrial action.

Services on the Southern Highlands line have been completely cancelled and the South Coast line will experience reduced frequency.

There will be a single return coach service for Canberra, Griffith and Albury journeys.

NSW Trains chief executive Dale Merrick said in the Illawarra services won't run to a Saturday timetable and will be less frequent.

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There will be no express service so trains will stop at all stations and terminate at Waterfall where customers will need to transfer to a suburban service heading into Sydney.

Some buses will also replace trains but they won't run to a timetable and there will be a limited capacity.

The changes come after the Rail, Tram and Bus Union warned commuters they should prepare for delays as rail workers prepared to take protected industrial action in response to what it said was an attack attack on safety and conditions and complete disrespect from the NSW Government.

The union said the planned action included a go slow this Saturday when trains would reduce speed to 60km/h. A full network stoppage is also planned for Tuesday between 9am and 1pm.

RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens said workers at Sydney and NSW Trains are presently negotiating for a new enterprise agreement, but the NSW Government was refusing to come to the table with a fair offer.

"The very least workers deserve is the right to be safe at work and to be paid fairly for the work they do," he said.

"After the government heaped us with praise for putting ourselves and our families in harm's way during COVID in order to keep the community moving, we've now entered enterprise agreement negotiations.

"Workers are fighting to prevent a drop in safety and hygiene standards on our trains, as both Sydney and NSW Trains are trying to cut cleaning jobs and force the dangerous New InterCity Fleet trains into service before its numerous safety issues are resolved.

"We have chosen our actions in an attempt to minimise the disruption to essential workers using our public transport networks."

Mr Merrick said as a result of the action planned for Saturday all regional rail services will be cancelled and delays of around one hour will be seen on all intercity lines.

He said customers are advised to plan their journey ahead by visiting transportnsw.info.

"We are working to minimise impacts to customers, including replacement coaches, but we do encourage customers to find alternative travel arrangements at this time," he said.

Mr Merrick said there will be major service changes to all lines on the Sydney Trains network, with a reduced timetable on Saturday.

"It is disappointing customers are paying the price during what is an already challenging time for the state and I thank customers for working with us throughout the pandemic," he said.

"NSW TrainLink is committed to negotiating an enterprise agreement tailored to our workforce's specific needs and the needs of the customers and the communities we serve," he said.

"The RTBU wants to see bargaining roll out exactly as it has in the past but we want our people to have a louder voice in deciding their future and how we serve regional NSW.

"NSW TrainLink employees tell us they are excited about the chance to have a say and we will stick by our commitment to this process."

The RTBU has also notified us of planned industrial action which will disrupt the network again on Tuesday 28 September. Customers and our communities will be provided with updated service impacts early next week.

Lines affected by the disruptions, reduced speed and frequency and cancellations on Saturday include;

Blue Mountains Line

  • Cancelled, buses replacing trains due to planned track work

Bathurst services

  • Cancelled, buses replacing trains due to planned track work

Central Coast and Newcastle Line

  • Reduced frequency, services to stop all stations and terminate at Hornsby

South Coast Line

  • Reduced frequency, Services to stop all stations and terminate at Waterfall

Southern Highlands Line

  • Cancelled

Hunter Line

  • Reduced frequency, trains replaced by buses between Maitland Singleton, Scone and Dungog.

Regional rail services

  • A single return coach service for North Coast, North West, Canberra, Griffith and Albury journeys.

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This story Intending to travel by rail on Saturday? Plan ahead! first appeared on Southern Highland News.