Update, Tuesday February 22: Partial rail services have been restored across Greater Sydney although trains will run with significantly less frequency. Read the full story here.
A day of commuter chaos is expected in Sydney due to the unexpected cancellation of all rail services across the Greater Sydney region as well as the intercity RailLink lines. A decision to cancel services was made at 2am on Monday, February 21 after a breakdown in talks between the NSW government and the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU), leaving commuters blindsided by the sudden suspension of services.
There had been a “low level protected industrial action which would not have impacted commuters” planned for February 21 by the RTBU, as part of an ongoing dispute between the union and NSW government over the ‘enterprise agreement’. However, the collapse of negotiations overnight leading to a decision by the NSW government to halt services, has left thousands of commuters and travellers stranded. It is unclear how long the suspension will last, although signs at Sydney Central state that trains will be halted on all lines “until further notice”.
Commuters have been left with almost no alternative options for travel, as rail replacement bus services have not been organised. The impacted lines include the Airport and South Line, Bankstown Line, Blue Mountains Line, Centra Coast and Newcastle Line, Cumberland Line, Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line, Hunter Line, Inner West and Leppington Line, North Short Line, Northern Line, Olympic Park, South Coast Line, Southern Highlands Line and Western Line. It is understood that bus, ferry and light rail services will be operating as normal, although increased demand and overcrowding is expected due to the overspill of passengers who would usually be travelling by rail.