The head of Sydney Trains has apologised to furious commuters after yet another morning of chaos on public transport in the city.
Thousands of commuters were left stranded or searching for alternative ways to get to work after a maintenance vehicle derailed between Circular Quay and Wynyard on Tuesday morning.
In the resulting chaos, passengers had to leave trains and platforms and find alternative routes, including the city’s light rail network. Many were delayed on their morning journey by about an hour.
“While it might not look like much, the vehicle came off the tracks in a really awkward position and location, which meant that conventional jacks were not able to re-rail the vehicle quickly,” Sydney Trains said in a later statement.
“While the work was being carried out, we could only use one track where we ordinarily use two. This led to some congestion. However, we were able to divert around the incident.”
The minor derailment of a small work vehicle at Circular Quay this morning has caused disruption for customers…
The maintenance vehicle was removed by 7.20am, but the damage had already been done. The resulting backlog took hours to clear.
Sydney Trains boss Stewart Mills said about 130 services were affected by the morning derailment, although few were cancelled.
Throughout the rest of Tuesday morning, he said, it had been a “complicated recovery” for the public transport network.
Mr Mills apologised for the delays, describing a string of recent disruptions across the train network as “unprecedented”.
“We’ve had some really difficult, exceptional circumstances over the last month,” he said.
“Whether it’s exceptional record heat, to the storms, that is just unprecedented over the network.”
The worst delays on Tuesday were from western Sydney, the North Shore and to the airport on the T2 Inner West and Leppington, T3 Bankstown and T8 Airport and South Line services.
Commuters took to social media to vent their frustration as services were cancelled or delayed.
Christopher Freeman wrote: “Why does Sydney Trains keep having incidents that require commuters to “make alternative arrangements”?
What? Should we all buy cars and drive everywhere? I rely on public transport”.
Another said: “I couldn’t do it this morning. I couldn’t get on that train knowing that I might be spending the next three hours trapped in a metal tube with hundreds of furious people”.
The ABC reported that the price of ride share apps surged in the morning chaos. One commuter reported being quoted a fare of $85 for the nine-kilometre journey from Petersham to Martin Place.
Sydney Trains said later that services were expected to be back to normal in time for the afternoon peak. However, trains were delayed on some lines later in the day because of trespassers.