Cancellation of North Coast XPT Services
Members will be aware of recent media surrounding the cancellation of NT35 & 36 owing to issues with “Centre Pin fatigue” being detected on XPT power cars (locomotives). The centre pin is a critical component that is used to connect the locomotive body to the bogie frame however, recent information suggests that the centre pin issue itself was known back in January 2018 with nothing being done then or since to rectify the problem. The Loco Division has been advised that the affected centre pins will be replaced on all XPT locomotives over the coming months with North Coast cancellations set to continue until at least January 2020.
These cancellations will predominately impact on train crew from the Grafton depot with significant financial and rostering impacts. The Sydney depot will be impacted to a lesser extent. The Loco Division is currently working through the issues surrounding these cancellations with NSW Trains in order to fully understand the impacts and arrangements required to facilitate the changes to working in line with all provisions of the EA.
It is worth noting that, in the main, the centre pin issues are arising from the lead bogie of the XPT locomotives. As this is the primary impact point for degraded or rough track conditions that reportedly affect regional XPT operational areas, the question must be asked, is it the centre pin failing or rough track conditions causing it to fail?
As regional NSW is crying out for additional train services, it is disturbing that the centre pin issue was not rectified when detected back in 2018 in order to maintain existing regional services. What would be more disturbing is that this issue is being used to justify the removal of regional services and not replace them because of it.