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Blacktown Train Crew get new digs

Dec 1, 2016Loco Express

On November 25, the new Blacktown Train Crew Facility was officially opened though the crew had already been in residence since the 20th. Sydney Trains management representatives were in attendance in abundance and happily, Blacktown Train Crew members made an effort to be there. A conveniently timed Depot Team Meeting before the official opening didn’t hurt in getting the numbers up.

Looking at the positives, it’s great that Train Crew now have a proper place to call home at Blacktown rather than just being tenants of the station and, as you can see in the photo, it looks sleek and modern and you would never guess that it’s basically a big Lego set. During construction, it earned the nickname of the “Caravan Park” due to the modular nature of its design.

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Based on the original Flemington building, it has ben designed to house up to 350 Train Crew and is ready for the 2017 depot rebalancing that will see Crew numbers increase by at least double. It is spacious, clean and (dare I say it) has a welcoming feel to it. To give them credit, Sydney Trains have gone to a lot of effort to make sure that front line staff at Blacktown want for nothing in the new facility.

While consultation on the new building was limited to one or two meetings, the RTBU and WHS Representatives used the monthly local meetings to keep up to date on construction progress and nip any issues that arose in the bud before they became problems.

During these meetings, the local RTBU and WHS Drivers representatives asked for a garden to be installed to allow people to reflect on those Train Crew that we have lost both on and off the job and to reflect on the many workers in all industries that have lost their lives in the workplace. While a small garden was originally agreed on, a larger than expected garden was built. The plants went in over the weekend of 5 – 6 November during a trackwork closedown that allowed the majority of Crew to be inducted into the new facility, be issued with lockers and move their belongings across from the station. The memorial stone and plaque were installed a few days before the official opening.

Thanks go to Area Manager Paul Bartolo for organising the construction of the garden and arranging the plaque, Shift Manager Debra Cocking for sourcing the memorial rock and Depot Organiser Kevin Wilson for purchasing and planting the plants.

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Anyone visiting Blacktown is encouraged to take a few moments to reflect not only on those we have lost throughout the years, but all workers who have lost their lives in the course of their duty.

Construction of an official walking path from the facility compound alongside the Down Branch line to the bottom of the bus bays is under way but being complicated by some need to over engineer it – as it has been said, it’s a path for people to walk on, not drive trucks over. With any luck, the path will be finished before Christmas or New Year.

Plans for an upgrade to the station facilities for continued use by train crew for standby and crib are still under a cloud as there appears to be little money in anyones budget and stations seem to want to claim all the upstairs area at Blacktown for themselves.

It would be great if crew with spare time in their diagrams would take the time to go down and look at the new facility or even have their crib breaks there. It would be a waste for the building to become a white elephant similar to Flemington. The Blacktown Sub-Division is still pushing for additional walking times to be given to all crew rostered for crib at Blacktown.

Kevin Wilson

Drivers Depot Organiser

Blacktown Sub-Division

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