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Sydney’s trains regularly fail to run on time during evening peak

Commuters on Sydney’s busiest rail lines are regularly unable to get home on time during the evening peak on weekdays, as new figures show the T1 Western and T8 South lines have been the worst performers over the last year for passengers.

Trains on the T1 Western – one of the most heavily patronised – and T8 South lines did not meet on-time performance targets during the evening peaks on three out of five weekdays in the 12 months to early July.

The T8 Airport and the T2 Inner West and Leppington lines also failed to meet on-time targets of 92 per cent of services running on time on almost half of weekdays over the past year.

The T4 Eastern Suburbs line, which benefits from the fact it is separated from the rest of the network, was the best performer during the evening peak from 3pm to 7pm. Trains on the line were on-time on 222 of the 256 weekdays captured by data from July 2 last year to July 5 this year.

O’Sullivan, Gladstone (2019-07-10)

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Mathew Hounsell, a researcher at the University of Technology’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, said the poor on-time running was due to a combination of factors, including crowding at stations such as Town Hall and Wynyard in the CBD forcing trains to wait longer.

“Crowded platforms push out dwell times. People cluster around the stairs at the north end of Town Hall,” he said.

Mr Hounsell said the performances of trains would worsen if the trend of a growing population and ensuing record increases in patronage of the rail system continued.

“The increased number of people has just overloaded the core stations of Wynyard and Town Hall, and the system … will continue to struggle until the metro is opened,” he said.

In the meantime, Mr Hounsell said measures such as encouraging commuters to use the full length of platforms, instead of bunching near escalators or stairs, could help improve times. “It’s a matter of trying to engage passengers to change their behaviour,” he said.

O’Sullivan, Gladstone (2019-07-10)

Citation: O’Sullivan, Gladstone (2019-07-10)

Matt O’Sullivan, Nigel Gladstone. (2019-07-10), “Sydney’s trains regularly fail to run on time during evening peak”. Sydney Morning Herald, Fairfax Media LtdNine Entertainment Co. Sydney, NSW, Australia.