The Least Reliable Sydney Train Lines Have Been Revealed If You’re Keen To Laugh And/Or Cry

Fetch the popcorn and don your jauntiest train conductor hat ‘cos the numbers have been crunched and the least reliable train lines in Sydney have been announced. It’s essentially Spotify Wrapped for ‘yuge hunks of metal which go “choo choo”.

Transport for NSW recently dropped performance reports from January to November this year, which tracked how punctual trains have been throughout 2022. From a shitload of industrial action to bloody bonkers weather, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many a train was tardy.

According to Transport for NSW, the goal is to have at least 92 per cent of peak-hour trains rock up no less than five minutes after they’re scheduled in metropolitan Sydney. For services which choof off to the western suburbs, the benchmark is within six minutes of their scheduled arrival.

Let’s examine the trains running in metropolitan Sydney first, shall we?

On the T1 North Shore & Western Line, trains arrived when they were supposed to 84 per cent of the time. Not a huge slay.

Things were even worse on the T2 Inner West & Leppington Line, with trains showing up on schedule 81 per cent of the time. It’s not good, and that’s coming from someone who is chronically unable to arrive anywhere on time.

Shit started looking up on the T3 Bankstown Line and the T8 Airport & South Lines. According to the report, trains on both routes were punctual 85 per cent of the time. Baby steps!

Trains whooshing along the T9 Northern Line were on schedule 86 per cent of the time. A fine number, if I do say so myself.

Finally we have the T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line, which was the most reliable of all the routes. Trains made it to their destination on schedule a whopping 88 per cent of the time, which is basically the public transport equivalent of copping a gold star in Year 1 for always getting to school early.

Now it’s time to do a deep dive into the punctuality of trains running on intercity routes. Spoiler alert: they were not timely.

Things were particularly dire on the Blue Mountains Line. Per the report, trains only turned up when they were meant to 71 per cent of the time. As Donald Trump famously said: sad!

On the South Coast Line, trains arrived when they were supposed to 76 per cent of the time. Compared to the Blue Mountains Line, a minute slay.

Punctuality was marginally better on the Southern Highlands Line, which had trains showing up on time 77 per cent of the time.

The most reliable trains across all of the intercity routes were on the Central Coast & Newcastle Line, which arrived when they were meant to 79 per cent of the time. The bar is on the floor, but congratulations none the less.

A wee reminder that “on time” for trains in metropolitan Sydney means they rock up within five minutes of their scheduled arrival. For intercity trains, it’s within six minutes. I might introduce this benchmark into my schedule when I fuck up my eyeliner or get extremely absorbed in a TikToker’s personal life.

Obviously, there are loads of reasons why trains in Sydney have been pulling the ol’ “OMG sorry, my alarm didn’t go off”.

“Protected industrial action, extreme weather events and a backlog of maintenance issues have all disrupted services in 2022,” a Transport for NSW spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Extreme weather events in February,  July and October caused landslips and flooding damage in Sydney’s western, northern and southern suburbs, leading to temporary rail line closures, reduced services  and temporary speed restrictions imposed for safety reasons.

“Protected industrial action on the network — including work stoppages, bans on operating foreign-made rolling stock, bans on issuing and accepting transpositions, bans on altered working, bans on trains operating above certain speeds and bans on overtime — disrupted commuters in February, March, May, July, August, September and November.”

And that’s that! I’m praying that 2023 will be a better year for Sydney and its trains.