All change as RailCorp is disbanded


“Let me see.   NSWGR- PTC-SRA-Countrylink Citylink and yet another name change. All these have been at high cost in altered administration and stationery and achieved no improvement in services.”

All change as RailCorp is disbanded

All change: Newly appointed head of State Rail Howard Collins with State Transport Mnister Gladys Berejiklian.All change: Newly appointed head of Sydney Trains Howard Collins with State Transport Mnister Gladys Berejiklian. Photo: James Alcock

It is the day everything changes on Sydney’s train system – or, depending on how you look at things, the day very little changes.

RailCorp is disbanded. In its place are two new organisations, with some new executives, new uniforms, and according to the minister, new approaches to moving people about and telling people how they are doing it.

”It’s really two years of work that has got us to this point and we still have a lot to do,” Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said of the operating companies, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains that, from July 1, take the place of RailCorp and its brand CityRail.

Sydney Trains will run most trains that move through Sydney and its suburbs. NSW Trains will run Countrylink and outer services to the central coast, Blue Mountains and Illawarra.


Behind the scenes, the creation of the two new agencies has been a wrenching overhaul for RailCorp’s formerly 15,000-strong workforce.

About 750 middle managers have already taken redundancy, hundreds more have applied for jobs that they are still not certain of getting, and many positions remain unfilled, except by those on temporary contracts.

For people using the trains, however, the changes might be less apparent. Ms Berejiklian says there will be better use of information screens, a higher ratio of staff helping customers as back office work is rationalised and, as the Opal card spreads across the system, a new approach to ticketing.

Commuters on the Western and North Shore lines might also notice different seats. Two carriages in one Tangara have had their seats re-aligned, allowing more standing room but fewer spots to sit down.

The new chief executive of Sydney Trains, Howard Collins, who until recently had been running the London Underground, said he was keen to see the results of the seating trial, which mirrored a change he made on London’s Metropolitan Line.

”We had a lot of people saying ‘save our seats’ … but since the trains have come in actually people have changed their minds and said, ‘Actually I can get in, I can get out, it is much quicker’,” Mr Collins said.

Ms Berejiklian said customers had complained about the middle seat in the current three-seat pattern. In the refashioned Tangara, the three-seater is replaced by benches and two-seaters.

To date, Ms Berejiklian has faced minimal overt union resistance to her train overhaul, in part because redundancies have been mostly voluntary.

But passenger organiser in the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Bob Newham, said one concern was that many staff appointed to new area management positions had little rail experience but tended to have human resource backgrounds. This could lead to problems when train operations went wrong, he said.

Mr Collins, who arrived in Australia on Thursday night, will have plenty of opportunity to get abreast of problems. Now ensconced in the Sutherland Shire, he will be on the Illawarra line to and from work.

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64 comments so far

  • The seating is an issue ? What about the filthy carriages , consistantly late running trains , lack of ticket machines at Town Hall ? Sydney’s trains are a disgrace !

    Date and time
    July 01, 2013, 7:52AM
    • We must be using different rail networks… I think the trains run on time & are relatively clean with the occasional exception caused by messy commuters travelling on the same service.

      Date and time
      July 01, 2013, 9:06AM
    • Sydney is much large in area than European-Asian metros hence rail commute takes on average much longer needing more seats not less.

      10 carriages with full seatings instead of 8 will reduce crowdedness and need only to extend platform lengths which could be done with relative ease and current time table could be kept. Town Hall-Wynyard platforms could then also have entrances-exits at both ends of platforms for faster passenger loading-reloading-movement on platforms.

      Sydney network needs CRISS-CROSS links from North to South-West directly, and from West to St George-Sutherland directly without going to the City. London, e.g., has excellent criss-cross links. Criss-cross lines would take large car volume off Sydney roads.

      Central Coast-Blue Mountains-Wollongong services seem to be on the ‘PRIVATISATION’ initiative now they are no longer part of Sydney metro services. This is similar to the UK system. Privatisation would mean poorer services for outer suburb services and hence higher unemployment as commute to the City would be too costly and inconvenient. The public there should air their displeasure with their votes. The media should follow this up.

      Sydney needs 2nd northern rail-road crossing over Hawkesbury east of Wiseman Ferry linking Central Coast hinterland-Wyong-Newcastle to West-Parramatta-City in more direct manner. Current rail line and F3 are too twisty and too steep for freight and fast rail. New rail-road lines would go directly to the centre of Sydney basin. This new rail-road link could be linked to M2 and the new North-West rail plus a second Parramatta river crossing. Central Coast should have own new local line to the coastal districts and link back to the main line.

      Another link to Wollongong-Illawarra from Campbeltown perhaps should be considered for better access to and from SW Sydney and South Coast.

      Date and time
      July 01, 2013, 9:13AM
    • JJ,
      Sydney already has some criss-cross line (eg. the Northern line which circles up to Hornsby)

      As for platform extension – practically impossible at CBD stations. Other buildings basically stop this.
      Biggest issue SydneyTrains has is the CBD stations which were never built wide enough and hence are very dangerous, but trying to change this is near impossible without massive cost and disruption.

      Matt Adams
      Date and time
      July 01, 2013, 9:38AM
    • Easy Amanda. who needs clean, on time trains when you have clean shaven male staff, and, female staff all in new pretty skirts.

      Date and time
      July 01, 2013, 9:56AM
    • JJ
      Just which magic hat will the govt pull the money out of for your grand plan what you are talking about is unfeasible and enormously expensive we need to improve the current infrastructure and the general reliabity of it not be spending vast amounts of money on unfeasible and fanciful notions

      Date and time
      July 01, 2013, 10:24AM
    • Most of the delays I always find is related to commuters blocking the entrance… You always see people standing at the door who are not even embarking onto that train and not allowing people to exit. Then you get the ones that push in to the front just to stand in the middle carriage not allowing people to go into the top or bottom carriages. zzz

      Date and time
      July 01, 2013, 10:26AM
    • Linking newcastle ports to sydney’s west is an interesting idea

      Date and time
      July 01, 2013, 10:36AM
    • Why are the getting rid of seats??? I have an hour long commute either way, and I already have to be the very first person onto the carriage to get one as it is.

      And maybe they should think about running a Central Coast train all stops down the Northern Line instead of the North Shore every once in a while, so I don’t have a 20-30 minute wait for the train.

      Date and time
      July 01, 2013, 10:55AM
  • And yet the service still stinks.
    The staff have no idea what is happening, and the trains are more unreliable.
    Just because you cut costs doesnt mean you have fixed anything.
    And there is no point making laws such as stopping people from smoking on platforms if nobody will enforce it

    Date and time
    July 01, 2013, 7:58AM

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