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Media Release – Urgently needed fast train must put safety first

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has warned the NSW Government not to put profits ahead of passengers when it comes to building new fast rail lines.

RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens said that if the NSW Government were to allow private companies to take over the running of any new high speed rail line, or put driverless trains on the line and remove experienced train crew, many of the potential benefits of the high speed rail would be lost.

“A high speed rail line to Western Sydney is critical, but the NSW Government needs to ensure commuter needs, not the needs of big business, are the main priorities when it comes to its development and running,” Mr Claassens said.

“We need to see the government’s real and complete plan before we get too excited about this.

“Trains without experienced train crew on board are a disaster waiting to happen. Commuters don’t want to be stuck in a train moving at very high speeds, knowing that no one is in control if something goes wrong.

“We can’t afford to let the government shirk its responsibility to provide reliable, safe and efficient public transport. Recently we’ve seen a big push from the Baird Government to introduce unsafe driverless trains and to sell-off our public transport.

“Unfortunately this NSW Government has shown that it has a real desire to sell off our vital public services, particularly our transport assets, prioritising short term gain for their coffers over the long term viability of our services and safety of our commuters.

“You only need to look as far as the current airport train line to see what can happen to the cost of a ticket when a private company is in charge.

Mr Claassens said a high speed rail line to Western Sydney is long overdue.

“Of course we need to see better public transport to Western Sydney. Commuters deserve a world-class system that connects them to other areas of the state, but they also deserve to know the train they’re getting on has an experienced driver in control.”