Inner west commuters warned of disruption from Sydney rail upgrades

Commuters through Sydney’s inner and south-west have been warned to expect major disruptions to the rail network over the summer as construction work on the city’s new metro line ramps up.

All stations between Central and Birrong stations on the 125-year-old T3 Bankstown line will close between Boxing Day and January 9 as work is carried out.

T3 and T4 commuters have been warned to expect disruptions over the Christmas period.

T3 and T4 commuters have been warned to expect disruptions over the Christmas period.Janie Barrett

Meanwhile,stations between Sydenham and Central will close on the T4 Illawarra line between Boxing Day and December 28.

Transport for NSW Chief Operations Officer Howard Collins said hundreds of extra bus services would be added,and more train services would be added to the T2,T4 and T8 lines.

“We’ve developed a robust plan based on the latest travel data,including additional buses running hundreds of extra services,” he said.

“This is an exciting period for the construction of Sydney Metro,and we’re asking for people to allow for extra travel time,travel outside of peaks,and consider alternative arrangements if they can.”

Work on the rail network will include the rebuilding of several station platforms,installation of new lifts and stairs,upgrades to concourse areas as well as upgrades to the electrical network.

Mr Collins acknowledged the frustration felt by many inner-west commuters,who have been dealingwith a suspended light rail network for close to six weeks.

“From a customer point of view it has been very disappointing;some of those things we didn’t anticipate to happen when it comes to tram failures or many other things,” he said.

“But I think we’ve just got to now keep at it;for us,our job is to recover the services,get things working again.”

He said that,while patronage was slowly returning to about 50 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels,the government needed to make sure the network was equipped to deal with a resurgence next year.

“We want to make sure that next year people have the opportunity to come back to public transport,” Mr Collins said.

The inner west light rail has been suspended for up to 18 months after cracks were discovered on all 12 of the network’s trams.

The government has been working with Spanish manufacturer CAF to find a repair solution for the fleet,whilealso testing trams from the CBD network on the inner west tracks in recent weeks in a bid to resume services earlier.

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Tom Rabe is a State Political Reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.

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