Sydney weather, Blacksland landslide, train strikes cause havoc on commuter trains

Continued extreme weather in and around Sydney continues to damage an already struggling public transport network.

Continued torrential weather will once again cause havoc for commuters as strikes continue and a popular rail line is almost completely swept away by a landslide.

The Fair Works Commission on Tuesday rejected a proposal from the New South Wales government to end an ongoing strike that is expected to cut Wednesday’s train traffic.

Tuesday’s ruling applied only to the temporary order, which forced an urgent end to the action on Wednesdaybut further hearings on Thursday may yield a different result.

Sydney Trains chief executive Howard Collins said that due to difficult weather conditions, trains were operating at around 80% capacity on Tuesday, and it is expected to drop to around 60% on Wednesday.

“Obviously if you can avoid travel tomorrow and stay at home or not go to work, that would be great,” he said on Tuesday.

“If you are leaving early tomorrow, check before you go, make sure your train is running. And if you can, postpone your trip, especially at the peak, where we expect we will experience the most pressure in terms of people traveling.”

Meanwhile in the Blue Mountains, the ground near the railway tracks in Blackheath collapsed, causing the line to be swept away by a landslide.

Services between Katoomba and Mount Victoria have been canceled and recovery is expected to take weeks, if not months.

“Repairs could take weeks as initial inspections showed the landslide was up to 40 meters long, 20 meters wide and 60 meters deep,” Transport for NSW said.

Passengers will not be able to travel in the Blue Mountains due to the fact that their main western railway line is almost demolished.

And workers’ strikes and extreme weather which has been declared a natural disasteris expected to continue causing major disruptions in Greater Sydney, Hunter and Wollongong starting Wednesday.

Dubbo and Broken Hill XPT services to and from Sydney have been replaced by buses where possible, while buses will also replace services between Lithgow and Bathurst where available.

Significant disruptions will also continue on the southern coastline.

Buses will replace trains between Scofields and Richmond due to track flooding, with spare buses picking up and dropping off from Scofields and Richmond stations.

The city’s western line will run at a reduced frequency, with some trains canceled between the Emu Plains and the Center and between Scofields and Blacktown.

The most severe flooding affected the surrounding areas of the Hawkesbury-Neping river system, which meanders around western and northern Sydney.

“Overall, this is the worst of the floods for the watershed, as other floods have been particularly severe, but only in one part of the river system,” Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe said.

“This event is consistently bad across the watershed, and in many areas is now worse than it has been in recent years.”

In Windsor, on the city’s northwestern edge, the river rose just above the 13.8-meter mark due to floods in March, making it the worst flood in 44 years.

After the state government declares a weather event a natural disaster, means-tested emergency funding can be distributed to people in the 23 affected local government areas.

The SES on Wednesday began issuing evacuation orders from areas around the Central Coast and Hunter regions.

People in parts of Combo, Whittingham, Glenridding, Dunnolly, Taggera, Bajvoy and Wollomby lakes have been asked to leave their homes.

Originally published as Suburban chaos in Sydney and the Blue Mountains as strikes, storms and landslides bring trains to a halt