Train repair blitz set to save costly commute delays

Train faults caused 2445 delays and 595 service cancellations in NSW over 12 months.

Train faults caused 2445 delays and 595 service cancellations in NSW over 12 months. Photo: AAP

NSW’s faulty and ageing train fleet is set for a makeover with the aim of preventing breakdowns that bring the public-transport network to a grinding halt.

Train faults spiked 28 per cent in the past year, causing 2445 delays and 595 service cancellations, the state government said.

To tackle the problem, officials on Friday launched the state’s largest co-ordinated maintenance program, spending $35 million to upgrade carriages equivalent to 372 full trains.

Doors, brakes, windows, air-conditioning systems and CCTV cameras are all on the shopping list, along with technological and communications upgrades.

The maintenance spend will be in addition to the government’s $447 million program to extend the life of Tangara trains to buy time to develop a locally built replacement model.

Premier Chris Minns admitted dodgy trains were causing major headaches for the millions of commuters who used them every day.

“Incidents on the rail network are inevitable, but keeping our fleet in top shape is our key priority to reduce delays and cancellations,” he said.

“The workers and apprentices on this project will be learning vital skills to not only maintain trains here in NSW, but to build our capacity to deliver the next generation of Tangaras.”

A fleet of South Korean-built Mariyung intercity trains are on track to be delivered by the end of the year, which will allow the government to retire 50-year-old “V-sets”.

The new trains, which will service routes from Sydney to Newcastle, the Blue Mountains and the south coast, were originally due to enter service in 2019, but the date has repeatedly been pushed back due to union safety concerns.

The latest upgrade program for existing trains is targeting the removal of 2037 defects, upgrading all 11 models of trains and cleaning and painting 1622 carriages.

A similar year-long program improving rail infrastructure was hailed as a success, with the government pointing to a 35 per cent reduction in time spent dealing with related delays.


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