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Photograph: Madeleine Ragsdale

Everything you need to know about the Sydney train strikes

Sydney commuters are looking at three weeks of chaos

Written by
Maya Skidmore

Sydney trains are set to encounter some major disruptions in the coming weeks off the back of a continued dispute between the rail union and the NSW state government. The planned strikes will be taking place across a three-week period in August, starting on August 7 and ending on August 31. 

Sydney commuters will be eased into it on Sunday, August 7 with Sydney Trains banning the issuing of all fines and caution notices for the day. The halting of all train services will begin on Wednesday, August 10, when the T4 Eastern Suburbs (including Bondi Junction) and Illawarra Line running towards Cronulla and Wollongong, will cease to operate between 10am and 4pm. 

On Friday, August 12, there will be a ban on cleaners using vacuum cleaners or scrubbing machines in Sydney stations, while on Saturday, August 13 staff have been instructed to leave all the gates at every station open to the public throughout the day. 

The mayhem is set to continue, with August 17 bringing a total strike on the T2 Inner West and Campbelltown lines, as well as the T3 Liverpool line, which will impact suburbs from Campbelltown to Goulburn and Albury.  

This will be joined on Tuesday, August 23 by another six-hour strike on the T1 Blue Mountains and Newcastle lines, with stops from Newcastle to Lithgow impacted. Yet another strike will happen on Thursday, August 25 in area four, which includes all inner-city services at Central, Redfern, St James, Town Hall, Wynyard, Circular Quay and Museum. 

On top of a total halt in train services, Sydney Trains will also only be operating trains that meet maintenance centre minimum standards on Monday, August 15, as well as banning the operation of all foreign-made trains on August 31 – these trains make up a hefty 70 per cent of Sydney Trains’ fleet. 

This industrial action is the result of the rail union’s conflict with the NSW government, with the union saying that the government has failed to meet necessary safety standards in the construction of the brand-new $2.88 billion Intercity Fleet, which was made in South Korea. 

Negotiations have failed to satisfy either the union or the government, with NSW Rail Bus and Tram Union secretary Alex Claassens saying in a media statement that this strike was the union's only choice to make the government listen to safety concerns. 

“This is our only way of making sure that the safety changes that need to be made will be actually made," he said. 

Yikes. Want to stay in and escape the mayhem? Check out our list of the best things to do at home. 

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