Trains to the NSW Central Coast and Hunter region are expected to be disrupted throughout Friday, despite rail workers earlier calling off a snap strike.
There were significant delays for NSW intercity trains early on Friday after hundreds of staff walked off the job for 24 hours at midnight after refusing to test a fleet of 55 new intercity trains.
The NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union called off the snap 24-hour strike after the state government cancelled the test runs.
The dispute arose after an engineering report found that the operating model for NSW’s new 55-strong New Intercity Fleet had room to improve on safety.
It said the fleet, which will operate on the Central Coast and Newcastle, Blue Mountains and South Coast lines, failed to fails to meet the “so far as is reasonably practical” safety standard.
The report was commissioned by the RTBU and made public last week.
It drew particular attention to a new system that would oblige drivers to look at CCTV to watch for hazards on train platforms, instead of relying on guards to do it for them.
The strike had been called for Friday, hours after the RTBU endorsed a safety ban on participating in test runs this weekend for the new trains.
But it was called off after Transport for NSW canned the tests.
“It’s really disappointing that we reached this point and rail workers had to stand up as the last line of defence in protecting the community,” RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens said on Friday.
The RTBU will meet Transport for NSW officials on Monday.
As a result of Friday’s strike action, intercity trains did not commence until about 7am on Friday.
Transport for NSW said it was “incredibly disappointed” by the snap strike and apologised to commuters for the delays.
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance was also disappointed by the union’s actions.
“We’re not going to put a dangerous train on the tracks, this is a world-class train,” Mr Constance told 2GB radio on Friday.
“Thousands of people this morning have been inconvenienced.”