NSW TrainLink will implement an extra train service in the AM and PM peaks between Maitland and Newcastle in a bid to move more passengers onto the train network and off the New England Highway.
Traffic has been limited to a crawl since October 8 when structural issues on the Tarro Rail Bridge columns deteriorated, prompting Transport for NSW to abruptly reduce the New England Highway down to one lane in either direction.
An assessment carried out by specialist engineers on Thursday morning allowed crews to get remediation works underway on top of the bridge on Thursday night.
NSW TrainLink has arranged for an additional two carriage train, with capacity for up to 180 passengers, to run in the weekday AM and PM peaks from Monday 23 October until further notice.
An additional service will depart Maitland at 7:01am on Monday 23 October only, then at 6:55am all following days, stopping at the usual express service stops and arrive at Newcastle Interchange soon after 7.30am. In the afternoon, an extra service will depart Newcastle Interchange at 4:22pm, stopping at the usual express stops, and arrive at Maitland at 4:53pm.
Transport for NSW Acting Chief Roger Weeks said Transport for NSW had listened to the Hunter community who use rail services and will add 10 more weekday train services to the timetable for as long as they are needed to ensure people can get where they need to go safely.
“Having an extra service leaving Maitland around 7am allows commuters another option to get to work and other activities in Newcastle early in the day, and the additional outbound service from Newcastle gives people an opportunity to catch a train home before 5pm,
“In addition to these extra services, NSW TrainLink has amended the timetable temporarily so all Maitland to Newcastle services stop at all stations during the AM and PM peaks.
“I urge all commuters, road and rail, to plan ahead and travel at times that will help reduce the pressure on the network while these crucial safety repairs are carried over the coming weeks.”
People can visit Transportnsw.info, TripPlanner and other travel apps to plan their trip.