The steam train picture, and has been turned around on page 7.
A SPEEDING Sydney train driver has been banned from taking the controls after he was caught breaking the speed limit by up to 30km/h.
In what one safety expert described as having the potential to be on the same scale as the "Waterfall" disaster which left seven dead in 2003, the driver of the Tangara exceeded the speed limit 17 times during the trip from Richmond to Central, at one stage hitting 110km/h in an 80km/h section.
The train's guard radioed the driver between Burwood and Ashfield to warn him that the train was travelling above the signposted limit, but after momentarily slowing down the driver ignored the warning and continued to exceed the speed limit.
The driver was stood down and reported when the train reached Central Station.
A subsequent review of the train's data recorder found the driver had broken the speed limit 17 times since leaving Richmond on the morning of April 11, with most speeding recorded after the driver was warned to slow down.
A rail safety expert with more than four decades' industry experience said passengers' lives were at risk.
"It could have been another Waterfall, quite easily,'' he said. "The authorities should sack him, it's as simple as that.
"If somebody is supposed to be complying with a speed board for a curve that says 60 or 65km/h and he goes around that curve at 80km/h it's going to be a rough ride and potentially he could derail the train.''
The incident came to light just weeks after a Spanish train driver was charged with 79 counts of reckless homicide after allegedly driving the train at more than twice the 80km/h speed limit when it derailed and slammed into an overpass.
On January 31, 2003, seven people were killed at Waterfall when a driver suffered a suspected heart attack and lost control of a Tangara, which derailed when the train hit a 60km/h bend at 117km/h.
The safety expert said while there were systems in place to stop the train if the driver stopped responding, there was nothing in place to prevent drivers from wilfully speeding.
In a second near miss in April, 12 passengers were injured when a packed peak hour went through a set of points at more than double the speed limit. The train carrying up to 800 passengers bound for Emu Plains was supposed to pass through a set of points west of Blacktown to change lines at 40km/h, but the driver was still accelerating when he hit the turn at 89km/h, flinging passengers to one side. A Sydney Trains spokesman said the driver involved in the incident on April 11 was immediately removed from driving duties.
THEIR colleagues call them "the vegie patch'' - the scores of Sydney Trains workers costing you up to $1 million a month to sit in a CBD office building and apply for new jobs. The workers all lost their jobs as part of Transport Minster Gladys Berejiklian's rail network reforms. But instead of taking a voluntary redundancy package, up to 30 station managers, 20 supervisors and 130 transit officers elected to be "redeployed". Without roles to fill, the group now sits in the Elizabeth St offices of "career transition" consultancy INS Career Management for six hours a day trying to land a new job.
TRANSPORT Minister Gladys Berejiklian has been accused of misleading parliament when questioned on spending $500,000 in taxpayer dollars to employ a former colleague for "strategic advice".
Jack Simos, a former staffer with Ms Berejiklian for former NSW Treasurer Peter Collins in the mid-1990s, has been paid between $10,000 and $25,000 a month over 18 months to work 15 hours a week providing advice and 'stakeholder management" to Transport for NSW.
His consulting firm, Conrad Capital, established with Richard McKinnon, who now lives in Los Angeles, was set up one month before he was hired by Ms Berejiklian to provide the advice.
Last month, when grilled in a budget estimates committee about the employment of Conrad Capital, Ms Berejiklian claimed Mr Simos was engaged by her department, Transport for NSW and "that contract was not issued by me".
The number of complaints about Sydney's train system increased by 7 per cent last year, with the largest share relating to the comfort and convenience of travel. The number of complaints received by RailCorp increased to about 31,200 in the year to the end of June, up from about 29,200, while the number of compliments fell 5 per cent. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/rail-complaints-rise-as-commuters-feel-the-heat-20131209-2z0zo.html#ixzz2mxCYpOr9
Ticket-sellers are being removed from Sydney train stations where commuters can use the Opal public transport smartcard. On the same day that the auditor-general revealed a further spike in complaints about Sydney’s rail system, unions and rail workers were told about the latest cuts to take place on the train system. The changes include the expected loss of more than 60 ticket sellers, starting at stations in inner Sydney that already offer use of Opal card. In addition, more than 20 station staff responsible for electrical maintenance were told on Monday their positions would be outsourced, the Electrical Trades Union said. Also on Monday, auditor-general Grant Hehir’s report to Parliament showed a 7 per cent spike in the number of complaints about the train system in the year to the end of June. ‘‘The governments come to power making all sorts of promises, but all they’ve really done is spent a lot of money on rebranding and putting people in new uniforms and cutting jobs left right and centre,’’ the NSW branch secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Alex Claassens, said. The union was told that about 70 people in Sydney Trains’ information and ‘‘customer environment’’ branch would either lose or have to reapply for their jobs. And a station staffing review proposes to abolish 62 ticket-selling positions. The review would start at stations in the City Circle, on the Eastern Suburbs line and on the North Shore line to Chatswood, where commuters can already use Opal cards.
IT was the guerilla gig Sydney commuters never saw coming.
Those lucky enough to be aboard the 7.48pm train from Milsons Point to Wahroonga last night were treated to five carriages of culture.
Three carriages included live music, one carriage featured a comedian and another showcased a pop-up gallery displaying works by 15 celebrated local artists.