Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink (Intercity) performance reports

Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink (Intercity) performance reports

The punctuality performance target is to have at least 92% of peak services arrive within five minutes for Sydney Trains services and six minutes for NSW TrainLink (Intercity) services. This is in line with interstate and international benchmarks.

The performance of trains can be affected by a number of factors. Trains may run late or be cancelled because of:

  • Passenger illness

  • Fatalities

  • Delays caused by longer dwell times at stations

  • Severe weather conditions

  • Train problems

  • Signal, track, overhead wiring and points problems

  • Vandalism and anti-social behaviour

  • Overcrowding in the centre carriages

When delays or cancellations occur, timetable changes such as skipping scheduled stops may be made. This helps minimise the impact of the delay on following services and for the majority of our customers.


Peak punctuality

Services are determined to be punctual when arriving at their final destination within five minutes of the timetable for Sydney Trains services and six minutes for NSW TrainLink (Intercity). Services which skip stops, start or stop short, are diverted or cancelled are not punctual.
Peak hour services are those arriving in the Sydney CBD between 6.00am and 10.00am and those departing the Sydney CBD between 3.00pm and 7.00pm from Monday to Friday. The final destination for morning peak services is Central Station, while the final destination during the afternoon peak is the last passenger destination for each service. Services that skip stops are not counted as being punctual and punctuality figures will not be adjusted for force majeure incidents.

Sydney Trains

Sydney Trains punctuality is based on data from all suburban lines which pass through Central Station. These are T1 North Shore, Northern & Western; T2 Inner West & Leppington; T3 Bankstown; T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra and T8 Airport & South. T5 Cumberland, T7 Olympic Park and T6 Carlingford Lines that do not service the Sydney CBD excluded from this calculation.

NSW TrainLink (Intercity)

NSW TrainLink (Intercity) punctuality is based on data from all Intercity lines which originate from or terminate at Central Station. These are: South Coast; Blue Mountains; and Central Coast & Newcastle. Intercity Lines that do not service the Sydney CBD are excluded from this calculation.

What affects performance?

Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink work hard to meet their punctuality goals, however the performance of trains can be affected by a number of things.

Customer injury / illness

On average, an incident involving an ill customer affects 20 trains or up to 20,000 customers. No one wants to be ill on board a train so we encourage customers not to board the train if feeling unwell. Staff can get help to you much quicker at the station. If there is a medical emergency where a customer cannot be moved, then the train must remain at the station until medical assistance arrives.

Train problems

Problems like faulty doors can delay trains while the guard makes the affected carriage safe.

If you see a fault, please contact Transport Info on 131 500 so it can be addressed immediately.

Signal, track, overhead wiring and points problems

Problems vary from broken rails to tracks affected by adverse weather conditions. Sydney Trains have an extensive track upgrading program and undertake maintenance of the tracks and other infrastructure on a daily basis. Improvements have been made to the track inspection system and this includes track inspection at a time that does not affect the punctuality of trains.

Vandalism and anti-social behaviour

Problems like debris thrown onto the tracks can be dangerous and cause extensive damage to carriages. It can also cause disruptions to train services. Sydney Trains has implemented a program of service improvements to counteract vandalism. These include police on stations, trains and other railway property and security cameras and high intensity lighting.

Performance is also affected if people jam train doors or vandalise carriages. This can result in the carriage being closed off, impacting the train's capacity. If police are required to attend and manage illegal and/or anti-social behaviour, performance may also be affected.

Transport officers work in conjunction with the police on targeted lines specified by Sydney Trains and police intelligence to minimise anti-social behaviour on trains.

Overcrowding in the centre carriages

Passengers waiting at stations during bad weather tend to wait under the all-weather canopies, which results in overcrowding in the centre carriages. When such overcrowding occurs it can take longer to board passengers, and trains are delayed. To improve the situation, we construct canopies and allow passengers to spread out along the platform whilst keeping dry.

Trespasser fatality

Sometimes people trespass inside the rail network and are fatally injured. In these circumstances police can close the track for up to three hours to investigate the incident.

Station dwell times

Passengers who are slow to board a train or disembark a train can increase the amount of time trains remain at stations and impact punctuality.

Severe weather conditions

During severe storms, fog or extremes in temperature, the speed and operation of trains are limited to ensure safe travel is maintained - in the same way that motorists slow down in rainy weather.