• Sat. Mar 11th, 2023

Sydney train shutdown: Are trains running, Network outage caused major delays, Commuters warned

Commuters have been warned a major network outage which ground Sydney trains to a halt could lead to more delays this morning.

Thousands of evening commuters were stranded at train stations for hours on Wednesday night after a network-wide shutdown during peak hour.

The shut down started after Transport was advised the Digital Train Radio System (DTRS), which connects the train crew with the signaller and the rail operations centre, had failed at 2.45pm on Wednesday.

The outage only lasted just over an hour but Sydney Trains staff were left scrambling into the early hours of the morning to get scheduled trips back up and running.

Social media crews worked hard through the night to get what little information they could offer out to customers.

When asked at 10pm if the service would be back to regular capacity, the Sydney Trains account said: “We are doing our best to ensure services will be running as per the regular scheduled timetable tomorrow.

“There may be a cancellation or two tomorrow morning, however we recommend you check transport apps closer to your departure time.”

However, tweets published about 6.30am suggest the trains are running to schedule at this stage.

Around 3000 services were affected by the communication issue, crippling the entire Sydney train network and services to Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains.

For those who have managed to make it off the train, it was an expensive trip home with reports of Uber prices surging due to increased demand.

“Uber fares from Nth SYD to CBD have jumped from $20 average to over $50 due to ‘increased demand’,” commuter Bradley Seehusen said on Twitter.

There were reports of Uber prices surging as high as $499.80 to travel from Central Station to Mount Annan.

Sydney Trains said no passengers were trapped on trains during the shutdown.

“As a result for safety reasons, we have had to halt trains at platforms until we can reboot the system,” a spokesman said earlier.

“We have managed to move all trains to platform and there are no people trapped on trains.

“People were able to safely get off trains. Airconditioning and public announcement systems are working.”

Commuters told NCA NewsWire that official announcements told them that trains were at a “standstill” but not told why trains had stopped until some time after.

Despite Sydney Train’s assurances that “no customers were trapped on trains while this incident was occurring”, some commuters reported being stuck between platforms for more than 30 minutes.

“Still stuck at Blackheath because of the Sydney Trains network-wide communication problem. Will I ever get home today?” one frustrated commuter said.

Mr Longland urged travellers to consider alternative methods of transport such as light rail or buses to get people to a similar destination, however said there were few extra services added to pick up the slack.

“Unfortunately, we carry such a load of customers each day that we’re not able to move all of our customers across.”

Sydney Train chief executive Matthew Longland said initial reports found the issue was not caused by a system upgrade undertaken in recent days or by a cyber attack, but could not say what the cause was.

“Whether it was an IT related issue or system issue, we will fully investigate to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

“And I might say that the incident today is extremely rare. We’ve not had a similar incident across the bow network with this particular system, normally very reliable.”

The Sydney Trains boss said it was something the network hadn’t experienced before.

Labor transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen blamed the shutdown on the government.

“The Liberal government’s neglect of our existing train network has left old infrastructure that breaks down too often, and when it does, the entire network is disrupted leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded,” she said.

“Our existing rail network needs investment. It needs new rolling stock and new infrastructure. Instead the Liberals have neglected it and ran it down.”

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