Premier signals shift on new train fleet to break union deadlock

As part of their action, rail workers limited train speeds to 60km/h on Tuesday, which caused the greatest disruption to long-distance intercity and regional services.

Some services on the T2 Inner West and Leppington, T3 Bankstown and T8 Airport and South lines were delayed by up to an hour on Tuesday morning.

RTBU state general secretary Alex Claassens said the dispute had dragged on for so long that only the premier could resolve it.

“If the premier is serious about trying to resolve the situation then please contact us. We’re more than happy to try and find a resolution to the dispute,” he said.

“I think the only person who can now intervene and resolve the current crisis would be the premier himself. It’s in his hands.”

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Claassens said he understood the train network had run relatively smoothly on Tuesday as his union engaged in some industrial measures, but warned of heavier disruptions later this week.

“Whilst it has caused some inconvenience, the trains have been able to run reasonably OK. Friday will obviously be more difficult – it won’t be pretty,” he said.

Transport for NSW said there was minimal overcrowding on trains on Tuesday morning despite longer journey times, less frequent services, and changes to stopping patterns as a result of the industrial action.

The disruption to train services on Tuesday coincided with a strike by nurses and midwives, which will be followed by public and Catholic school teachers on Thursday.

The state’s transport agency has warned that industrial action planned by rail workers on Thursday and Friday is likely to slash peak-hour services by up to 75 per cent.

The union has also threatened to repeat a ban on operating foreign-built trainswhich make up 75 per cent of the state’s passenger rail fleet, on Wednesday and Friday next week.

Opposition transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen said the government needed to listen to the concerns of rail workers and make the changes to the intercity fleet.

“The chaos faced by passengers across our train network this week is the premier’s responsibility. None of this needed to have happened,” she said.

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