St George and shire commuters have come to understand benefits of 2013 train timetable says CEO

Sydney Trains chief executive travels to work early each day from  Woolooware station. Picture: John Veage
Sydney Trains chief executive travels to work early each day from Woolooware station. Picture: John Veage

Sydney Trains boss Howard Collins believes commuters in St George and Sutherland Shire have come to understand the benefits of the controversial 2013 timetable changes. 

There were sustained protests when express services to Kogarah and Rockdale station were axed during peak periods and passengers travelling to those stations from the shire were forced to change at Hurstville.

“I know when we changed the timetable there were a lot of complaints,” Mr Collins said.

“But, four years on, I think the people are understanding there is a train every 10 minutes from Hurstville, and it’s turn up and go.

“Its a little bit slow but  but if the train was coming from Cronulla, it would be difficult for customers to get on.

“I know it’s a bit more inconvenient to have to change at Hurstville, but overall I think people have benefited.”

Mr Collins said the change had provided faster trip for commuters travelling from further out, including those on the Cronulla line.

“Unfortunately, these things are always a bit of a compromise,” he said.

Mr Collins spoke to the Leader after recently addressing a meeting of business development group ShireBiz.

Recruited from Britain by then transport minister Gladys Berejiklian to fix the Sydney rail network, Mr Collins travels  to and from the city each day from Woolooware station.

Mr Collins said there had been enormous passenger growth across the Sydney Trains network, including the Illawarra line, over the last three to four years.

New apartment blocks being built along the train line in suburbs such as Miranda were a constant reminder that the growth would continue.

Mr Collins said new signalling and control systems were the key to catering for increasing passenger numbers.

“Australia developed the double deck train, which created more capacity,” he said.

“While the government is building the Sydney Metro, we are also looking at existing infrastructure and saying ‘we need a more modern signalling system and control system to put more trains on the network and provide more capacity.”

Mr Collins said a ”SmartRail review” being carried out by Sydney Trains and Transport for NSW was expected to lead to the ability to run more trains.

The Illawarra line was set up for this because it was “fairly self contained”.