Sydney train commuters face 'indefinite delays' during peak-hour


Wild thunderstorms and train drivers calling in sick have sent Sydney's train network into a tailspin with travellers being asked to delay 'non-essential travel'.

Peak-hour commuters have been blocked from platforms and are being told to expect "indefinite delays" after a number of Sydney train drivers called in sick on Tuesday.

Sydney Trains tweeted staff availability and wild weather - which saw lightning strikes damage signalling equipment - had caused major delays on multiple tracks.

Commuters reported mass crowding on platforms on Tuesday afternoon, and one woman said an announcement about an inbound T2 train declared: "We regret to inform you there are indefinite delays in both directions.

"We're very sorry but some things are out of our control. We're working as hard as we can. Please check boards for info soon."

Travellers have been asked by Sydney Trains to delay any "non-essential travel" and buses have also been introduced to supplement trains.

There were also reports of platforms being blocked off at Wynyard train station in Sydney's CBD and delays of up to 82 minutes on some train lines.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sydney Transport tweeted out an announcement for the North Shore line.

"Major delays continue due to lightning strikes damaging signalling equipment at Gordon earlier and staff availability. Please allow extra travel time or make alternative arrangements as we work to return trains to time," the tweet read.

Commuters at this time claimed their usual trips were taking up to two hours in Sydney.

Frustrated travellers have turned to social media to vent about the issues.

Some travellers posted live updates of their train schedule showing 66-minute delays.

Tuesday’s delays also followed a series of cancellations on Monday with transport authorities blaming higher than expected drivers off sick, which coincided with annual leave.

This did not sit well with New South Wales Greens Transport spokeswoman Dr Mehreen Faruqi who called on the Transport Minister Andrew Constance to take responsibility for the train meltdown this week. 

"It’s simply not credible for the minister to say workers taking sick leave is responsible for Sydney’s trains going into meltdown this week. The timetable overhaul has simply taken away all contingencies in the system meaning breakdowns and delays ricochet through the system," Dr Faruqi said. 

“Minister Constance must take responsibility for the delays and immediately commit to properly funding Sydney Trains to run effectively and efficiently." 

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