Passengers have long wait as beach traffic delays buses during rail shutdown

Marilyn Schweitzer waits for a bus at Caringbah.

Marilyn Schweitzer waits for a bus at Caringbah.

Many public transport users experienced long delays on the weekend when the Illawarra rail line was closed for track maintenance work.

Heavy beach traffic, particularly on Sunday, resulted in replacement buses being caught in long traffic queues around Cronulla.

Passengers board a replacement bus at Caringbah.

Passengers board a replacement bus at Caringbah.

Traffic stretched for more than a kilometre along the Kingsway and Burraneer Bay Road at times.

Passengers waiting at the Caringbah station bus stop about 2pm on Sunday found buses were running 15-20 minutes behind time.

Marilyn Schweitzer, of Caringbah, who was travelling to Hurstville, said she was in for “a full afternoon”.

Instead of the normal 25-minute train ride, Ms Schweitzer had to wait for a bus that would travel via every station to Sutherland before heading to Hurstville.

“If you were just going shopping at Miranda, the bus wouldn’t be too bad, but when you are going further afield it’s more inconvenient,” she said.

Ron McCarthy waits at Caringbah.

Ron McCarthy waits at Caringbah.

Ron McCarthy, of Kirrawee, said the morning bus trip he made to Caringbah was on time, but he had a long wait to make the return trip.

“When they run on time, it’s OK, but when they don’t, it’s not OK,” he said.

Mr McCarthy questioned why the Cronulla line was closed so often for maintenance work when it was upgraded and duplicated in recent years.

A father travelling with his two young children and a stroller, said one of the problems with replacement buses was that many weren’t easily accessible.

A father waits for an accessibility ramp to be put in place.

A father waits for an accessibility ramp to be put in place.

There will be further rail line disruptions later this month. 

The Cronulla line will be shut for four-hour periods at night, between 10.10pm and 2.30am, from Monday, January 16, to Thursday, January 19.

Buses will replace trains between Cronulla and Sutherland, and they will leave stations up to 18 minutes earlier than the normal train timetable.

Trains will run to the normal timetable between Waterfall, Sutherland and Bondi Junction.

On the January 21-22 weekend, buses will replace trains between Waterfall and Central on the South Coast Line, and between Sydenham and Central on the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line. 

T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra train services will continue to run in both directions between Cronulla and Sydenham, as well as from Waterfall, but with a changed timetable.

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