Rail News


November 24 , 2021

Operator admits staff put light rail performance before safety of passengers

The Sydney Morning Herald 
November 22, 2021 (Australia)

The private operator of Sydney’s light rail system told staff they had put service performance ahead of safety when introducing the trams that shut the line down this month.

The revelation comes as the government tries to work out how cracks formed on all 12 trams servicing the Central to Dulwich Hill line before being noticed, while it is under growing pressure over Treasury’s attempt to shift its train network’s costs onto a corporation despite multiple warnings about safety and budgetary risks.

An internal Transdev Sydney note said there was a rise in the number and severity of safety incidents in the three months before it brought the now-cracked trams into service in July 2014.

“Our investigations into what and why these incidents have occurred show that, on many occasions, we’ve put network demand ahead of the safety of our staff and passengers,” the note, obtained by the Herald, said.

These concessions were made the same year Transdev Sydney was selected by Transport for NSW to operate and maintain the new CBD and South East light rail. Two years later, it was awarded the contract to supply, operate and maintain stage one of the Parramatta Light Rail due in 2023.

Transport Minister Rob Stokes said the idea of putting network demand ahead of safety was “unacceptable and outrageous”.

“It would have been unacceptable in 2014 and it remains so today,” he said.

Tram expert and former government light rail adviser Greg Sutherland said the priority of private operators was to make money for their shareholders, so the government must make sure the services it was paying for remained safe.


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