How Are You Finding Sydney’s New Train Timetable?

How Are You Finding Sydney’s New Train Timetable?

Yesterday, a heavily-revised (and endlessly hyped) new train timetable was rolled out for Sydney residents. While Sydney Trains is pushing the fact that it offers 1000 new train services and shorter journey times for some customers, that doesn’t mean everyone is better off. How is it looking for you so far?

Picture: joshuadf

My own reaction to the new timetable is mild annoyance. My regular morning train leaves 10 minutes earlier than it used to, which means marginally less sleep. (The following train isn’t until 30 minutes later, so that’s not an option.) That’s irritating, but not a major drama, and the timing is more predictable throughout the rest of the day.

What I don’t like is that my first train on a weekday is now some 50 minutes later than it used to be, which means it’s impossible for me to catch a train to the airport in time for a 6am flight — something I have done with regularity in the past.

How does the new timetable affect your commute? Do you have better choices or have things become worse? And so our non-Sydney readers don’t feel left out: tell us about the biggest annoyance in the public transport timetable where you live.


  • Its completed messed me up. I’m not really happy with this as its my final year at highschool and will probably mess with my HSC timetable.. (I’ll have to get to school everyday VERY VERY early – or else risk being 50 minutes late).

  • I’ve lost all my faster trains and now all services seem to have added a few stops which increases travel time.

    If a school had to change it’s school hours to accomodate the new train table I can’t imagine what any individual complaining would do. I’m more annoyed at the Hype and positive up beat ” biggest change in a generation” like we care that much.

    • I’ve lost all my faster trains and now all services seem to have added a few stops which increases travel time.

      Opposite for me. My usual trains actually make 1 or 2 less stops now so the trip is slightly quicker. There also isn’t a huge difference with the arrival and departure times, a few minutes at most. I guess I’m lucky in that regard.

  • I think Melbourne and Metro need to overhaul the timetable and make a new one from scratch. Express trains are constantly passing major stops that they should be stopping at, trains are crowded to the point where doors can barely close, and every morning I nearly ALWAYS see empty not-in-service trains passing by while I stand in the cold waiting 15min for my next service.

    We need more services, better placement of those services, more express trains, and less wasted time moving trains to other areas of the network.

    Lastly, I think it’s time Metro upgraded their trains on the southern lines – still using the old comeg carts. Take a hint from Sydney – Double Decker Trains! (if there is enough clearance on lines)

    • I don’t think anyone should “learn” anything from Sydney trains. Sydney is an example of poor planning from the get-go. We’re about to introduce a new rail line, with tunnels a tad too small for those double-decker trains, and a second harbour crossing using those same smaller dimensions – thus eliminating the ability for double-deck trains on that crossing.

      We took years to get a network where a breakdown in north-west Sydney no longer affected trains in south east Sydney (despite the lines not intersecting)

      We’ve only recently finalised airconditioning on the network. Late 90’s trains are getting retrofitted to look like late 2000’s trains, and the trains from the 70’s and 80’s look like the trains from the 70’s and 80’s.

      The previous Labor government “fixed” the problem of late-running trains by changing the definition of “late” to five-minutes.

      The current government have made significant changes that say they are “adding” 1000 services, but some of those 1000 services are new shuttle services stopping at stations they eliminated from other services.

      Finally – trains missing your station, trains being crammed like sardines, and empty trains are STILL a problem in Sydney. At least you guys have trams – our one tram line keeps jumping the tracks.

      Oh – and we are changing our transport logos at significant cost. Instead of pictograms we will now have TFLB signs. Helpful only to those that know English – T for trains (not trams) B for buses, L for trams (light rail) and F for ferries (not “freaking useless changes”)

      • Wow, that IS poor planning. What compelled them to build new network areas with dimensions that don’t allow the larger trains? That’s a big surprise about the train line break down thing though. Metro needs to spend some money replacing the old signaling equipment down here, as it seems like it is always having issues.

        I think we only have trams because of how the city is laid out, and is near impossible to get to certain areas taking trains alone. TRAMS ARE HORRIBLE!! (when you’re a driver). Smart thing would’ve been to use buses and have bus stops ON THE SIDES OF THE ROAD so it doesn’t stop the traffic from flowing. At the moment, basically, if a tram stops, so does the whole road.

        Additionally, I believe your ticketing system is better/more developed (I know Queensland’s is). Myki doesn’t offer temporary tickets, they take ages to touch on and touch off, and the fares are calculated on 2 major zones (1 + 2) and by time, e.g. Zone 1+2 Full Fare Daily, or Zone 1 Concession 2 Hour. Luckily, I am concession, but I still have to fork out at least $6-7 per day when going into the city, and that $50 I just topped up with doesn’t last too long. If I was a full fare, that would go upto about $12-13 per day (if using myki money, which is just preloading an amount onto it). I think it works out marginally cheaper buy buying a myki pass (like a 30 day pass for instance, or a yearly)

        • It was done for a reason of course….to save money by outsourcing the construction/maintenance and operation through a PPP. More to come.

        • I spent a week in Paris, and a Week in London. Those are what we should be trying to emulate if possible – the inter-connectivity is awesome.

          In the simplest way I can describe it, our network is like a backwards K in the middle of a square. (very oversimplified)
          There are HUGE sections of Sydney not covered by the train network, and are crippled by two-lane major roads, such as the northern beaches, and north-west of Sydney (where this new single-deck train system is going in) – and for the most part, if you want to go from one section to another, you typically have to change in the city.
          If I want to go from Sutherland to Holsworthy, I can drive 15-20 mins, or I catch a train to the city, change trains, and come back – ~40mins – assuming trains stop there.

          As for “why” make a tunnel that is slightly smaller than your current network – well that’s our current government either cutting corners, or putting their vision on Sydney’s future.

          Tickets: HA!. We had billion dollar system planned to be rolled out (BEFORE the 2000 Olympics) In the end, we’re going with basically the MYKI system under a new name. Passengers of one form of transport may benefit, but will be stung if they need to change modes of transport – the same way MYKI pisses off Mlebournians. Not sure about temp tickets or the speed though.

          • YES! We need an entire network based on England’s or Japan’s. They have amazing public transport systems. They also should’ve made the train infrastructure all underground (like our city loop) to help elevate all of the traffic the train network stacks up during peak hour.

            Its the same with Melbourne. To get from the south-eastern to the eastern suburbs, you need to go all the way to the city (Richmond) and change trains there. And even then, not all the major areas are covered, and are only minorly covered via bad bus systems.

          • Lol QLD do have a great ticketing system but……. To get from anywhere in Brisbane to another train station you need to go to the city/major stations to jump onto a different line.
            If you were to go from Beenleigh to Buranda you have to change trains at park road or from Beenleigh to Wynnum you need to change line, A trip that is ~40 minutes turns into ~2 hours.

  • The thing I find super weird about it is that they’ve pushed all the trains arriving at Macquarie University station back 5 minutes so that they arrive exactly on the hour. It basically makes that train a ghost ride because all the students have to take the train 15 minutes earlier so they can actually make their class in time. It’s not particularly inconvenient, but it seems like a waste of money to even run that train.

  • My train leaves 5 minutes later and gets me to the city 10 minutes earlier. I don’t know how they’ve managed the witchcraft, but I definitely won out on this one.

    • Me too — My line now has an extra express in the morning and arvo, and only does one extra stop. I’ll take that 2 minute slowdown for the extra service.

  • I think I’ve won on this one as well – its a wait of either 13mins or 7mins for a train in the afternoon. In the morning its a wait of either 14mins or 6mins….pretty damn good!

  • I’ve lost peak services so the rest of the Blue Mountains can have a faster journey with less stops, including no stop at Westmead Hospital on the peak services (perhaps medical staff only drive :-|). It would be good if the trains could actually go faster instead. Oh well, I mostly drive anyway and sometimes get the train, but now I’ll just sit in my car all week and not get the train at all. Great transport planning!

  • It hasn’t really been that bad so far, and I look forward to see how these timetables will affect Saturdays.

  • Not very good for me. My North Shore Line station is considered as one of the “smaller” stations, so we are getting 7 less trains in the morning peak (7-9am), also 3 less trains from 8am-8.30am. We used to have a frequency of every 5-6 minutes, now it’s a standard every 15 minutes.

    Along with that, every train that passes my station between 7.30-8.50am does NOT stop at my destination (which is only two stations away from my station). This means that I have to travel from Station A to Station B (interchange), then go on to another platform and wait for 7 minutes, then catch the other train to Station C. This means that my original trip of only 4 minutes was extended to 11 minutes.

    But on the positive side, today’s peak hour train fleet was made up of most Waratah trains (the newest ones) on the North Shore Line. 🙂

  • This new timetable not only affects Sydney commuter services but also state wide XPT and Xplorer trains. I often use the train to get to Brisbane, which is closer than Sydney in far north NSW, but now the train arrives before 4am with Daylight Savings with no possible Brisbane commuter services running at all. Let alone how am I meant to get to Roma Street Station in Brisbane at 3am with no public transport?

  • An absolute joke! The extra trains on the northern line are via Macquarie Park so commutes like myself on the northern line via Strathfield miss out, which I don’t understand at all! Given that the line services high destiny suburbs like Eastwood, Rhodes and Meadowbank.

    In the afternoons I usually catch a Campbelltown express train and jump off at Strathfield. The train previously stopped at Ashfield, now it stops at Newtown instead. How is replacing Ashfield for Newtown an improvement?

    • What? All the northern line trains going through Macquarie Park are just at different times! They’re still 15 minutes apart, the same service frequency as before. At least I haven’t seen any other change to Central-Hornsby/Hornsby-Central via Macuarie Uni.

      The only other change is that the express trains from Epping to City (via Strathfield) seem to be at better times (no more rushing to make the transfer in 1 minute)

  • I used to catch a train from Sefton station going to lidcombe and then change my train at lidcombe station going to Parramatta as I work at parramatta but there was no direct train this morning from Sefton to Lidcombe at all.
    I had to catch a train going to city via bankstown and got off at Birrong, did wait for another 10 min to catch a second train going back to lidcombe.

    Got off at Lidcombe, did wait for another 10 min to catch my third train going to parramatta.
    It took me more than one hour to get on to parramatta train station where it used to be half an hour and an extra train to change.

    I am travelling on sydney trains for last 8 years and haven’t had such a bad service from sydney trains in the past.

    That really sucks when you get ready quickly in the morning and then travel on sydney trains for less than 10km and it take you hour and half to get in to the office.
    I had a look at transport info web site and the new timetable this morning and there was no direct train coming up from sefton to lidcombe and lidcombe to sefton at all for the whole day.

    I will agin say that sydney trains has totaly failed to provide better sirvice to its costomers by changing its timetable.

    • No you don’t. You catch a train from Sefton to Cabramatta and then a Cumberland line train straight to Parramatta.

  • Hasn’t impacted me too much, as I only have access to buses. We’re still waiting for the line to our neck of the woods to be built. I’m assuming it will be built – its been on every Sydney rail infrastructure proposal from the Bradfield Plan onwards.

  • I have to make 2 change overs when my stop is only a couple of stations away due to the fact that all of the trains have become express ones to the city. Not impressed! I take the same train every morning as i always have everyday and arrive 20 minutes later than i usually would. Not only that, the only train that actually goes to my station (Burwood) after 2 changes failed to arrive today and was replaced by a “special” train, which of course only goes towards the city area.

    I pray that the new timetable doesn’t become permanent

    • It’s definitely not worked out for me, and the thousands of other people at Rockdale station. New effects are:
      – 12 minutes longer to get from Rockdale to North Sydney
      – 10 minutes between each train in the morning whereas it was 5-10 minutes before.
      – It’s no longer an express so only all-station trains stop there now and 1 or 2 trains would pass as express trains.
      Some of you may be used to longer wait times but myself and others have chosen to live here for the convenience of more express trains and now that has been taken away. Not only has this affected convenience but property price as well.
      I have heard my friends talk about their own experience for the worse.
      CityFail totally failed again

  • The govt has to be given some credit for trying new concepts and there is something to be said for the greater good so speeding up services from outer areas can’t be a bad thing. However it could have been sold better rather than this is what you’re getting. For example on the Illawarra line where there is biggest controversy about having to change at hurstville for kogarah and rockdale then I would have made 1 train and 1 from cronulla stop in each hour block so then they could say well there is a direct service – u might just need to adjust your travel pattern. The most disappointing aspect is the weekends were untouched. There have been many reports on how roads are worse on weekends so frequency of rail should have been increased. And where they have new concepts on weekdays like the mountains train not stopping at westmead .. It still does on weekend so proves that only weekday was looked at

    • All cityfail have done is increase the majoritys travel time by 30 minutes and allowed for more freight trains on our lines. Have a look, I used to rarely see a freight train during the day. Now while I wait longer than I used to for my train, I see two or more go by. Transport for NSW gets paid by the freight companies for access to the lines. Liberal govt care about MONEY so they have given priority to the freight companies. Why have there been no customer satisfaction surveys about the new timetable? THEY DONT CARE WHAT WE THINK!!!! Well until election time.
      This transport minister is the poster girl for incompetence. Expect in the years to come that she will be in the courts for corruption and misleading the public. Maybe introduce heavy penalties for politicians that mess up with our money and we may get the infrastructure we need. Until then, expect the continuing inadequacies we continue to experience.

      • The other silly part is both major parties seem to forget they are trying to get companies to move further out from the CBD in the business parks… now if you live closer to them then a my-multi zone style ticket will not work well… why would I buy a mymulti 2 to go a distance I can drive in around 15 mins (with traffic)? Maybe split the zones up a little… like sell the zones separately and sell them as zone 1+2 and 2+3 as well… omg, are they all the antonym of genius in government?

  • It has completely stuffed up the public transport option for the people out in campbelltown,

    • I agree cant get a train straight to lidcombe anymore. Have to change at Glenfield. Makes it very difficult to go to Olympic park with a pram! And adds about 15min to the trip.

  • Pathetic fail is what I call cityfail …. Mostly all stations to Wollongong with limited express… Complete fail

  • Can’t believe that rockdale station is not a major stop. So many people use this station, not to mention major stop/change over for government buses. Please do something about this!!

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