Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My horrible train trip via Sydney Trains

Last Tuesday Morning, the 22 July 2014, I was traveling into the city for work when I was injured during my morning commute between Blacktown and Town Hall because of a train driver who obviously had other ideas and rather play need for speed with the train I was traveling on.

So what happened, well to start of the beginning I boarded my train service which was the 9:52am Blacktown to Hornsby via city service, which is an express service into city stopping after Blacktown: Parramatta, Strathfield, Redfern, Central and Town Hall where is was alighting to head into work.

Now as the doors closed very much instantaneously, the driver seemed to have put the "pedal to the metal" (basically means the train speed out of the station quite fast), which was unusual given it was a Waratah (A set) train. 

Normally on the A sets I tend to stay next to the door instead of the wheelchair spaces provided as normally there are a few commuters sitting at these seats and normally asking them to move politely can turn ugly. But this morning there was no commuters sitting at these seats so I wheeled myself over to one of these wheelchair spaces and began listening to my music.

Now sotting at this spot i noticed that the irrational speeding continued between Blacktown and Parramatta as when arriving in Parramatta the guard announced the train service will depart in about 2-3 minutes which again is very unusual for an express service with no slow services running ahead of this train nor any delays on the line noted or announced.

Once the doors has closed within seconds the train driver again put the pedal to the metal and gunned the train into full speed ahead. Because of this, the brakes on my wheelchair where unable to stop the gravity pushingy backwards into the wall which I then tipped onto my anti-tippers at an angle, hitting my spine onto a hand pole I was unaware existed right behind me on the wall. I also hit my head against the wall at the same time. The wall I am talking about is the wall right next to the inter carriage doors (where you can go between each carriage or car).

This instantly put my back into a spasm which caused great pain to shoot down my legs and spine. Given I have had 5 major back surgeries this incident did not help at all.

I was able to get some of the pain under control and I hit the emergency button and requested the guard come to the 6th car, last door where I was to explained what happened but also advise that the staff at Town Hall would have to wheel me off the train as I couldn't but wouldn't be able to do this my self (normally I would wheel myself off and on the train with the ramp being placed down for me).

This all happened between Redfern and Central. The guard notified Town Hall about my need for further assistance and once off at Town Hall, I advised the staff of what had happened (along with the guard - both of them as there was a change over of guards at Central).

Town Hall staff then took note of my incident and informed and made a complaint to operations within Sydney Trains HQ. in the mean time I remained on platform awaiting for the pain to subside further as I had taken some pain killers.

Upon 20-45mins later I left town hall to make the short trip to my office where upon arriving my fellow colleagues where made aware of what had happened and seeing that I was still in a hell of a lot of pain called an ambulance to which I was then rushed to St Vincent's Hospital to Emergency with chronic back pain issues.

I also had made a complaint to Transport NSW via the 131 500 number and about 24 hours later I received a phone call from Sydney Trains wanting to clarify what had happened but also see how I was going and to advise they will investigate the matter urgently.

However I was unsatisfied with this response and advised this Sydney Trains representative that I would look at taking this further (which I still am). However the representative was able to do or offer anything further about what would happen and we ended our conversation there.

I then tried to raise the matter with the Transport Ministers Office, Gladys Berejiklian, but was advised that the matter would be raised as a complaint and a response given as soon as possible. I advised the ministers office rep that given I am still awaiting a response about the opal card for pensioners to still come through and that it had been 2 months since I sent the original enquiry, I would not be satisfied with this type of response and waiting period.

I was then again advised I could not speak to the minister and an enquiry would be sent through. Once again I gave my details but are yet to hear anything back. Which to me is showing the ministers isn't really listening to the fare paying commuters but the general public as well but also that she really doesn't give a dam. I know Ministers can be busy but still given the circumstances one would think through common sense to maybe consider giving myself or other victims a callback to hear about the incident but also follow up later on to say what they have done to ensure it won't happen again but also see how I and other victims are going since the accident or incident.

To say the least, I certainly wasn't happy nor felt safe because of this and whilst I know many of you might be thinking, well what's unusual about this as trains speed all the time. The issue for me is that there is speed restrictions on place, much like road speed rules and signs, which we all must obey to of course. The same is said for trains and their drivers to keep to these speeds as highlighted.

I find it absolutely ridiculous that only about 4 months ago Howard Collins, Chief Executive of Sydney Trains was on 7 news saying they had caught a few drivers speeding beyond the speed restrictions and that drivers should know they will be caught out if the continue such behavior because trains now have GPS tracking systems which tracks the trains movements including speed but also because of the black boxes installed and CCTV cameras.

Yet here we are. The same issue still happening because most drivers caught speeding generally go for re-training, which basically and in theory should make the driver think twice or three of four times, hell maybe more times than that, think about speeding again.

Personally I think drivers caught should be terminated, fined and barred from driving a train, tram, bus or ferry, almost similar to fines and penalties given to drivers caught speeding in their own personal car.

It makes me wonder whether it would be worth consider harsher penalties for train, bus, tram and ferry drivers who are caught speeding and putting not only passengers safety at risk but the general public as well.

These fines and penalties should be linked to the drivers car license so as to insure they know if they want to run the risk that if and when they are caught, and they will be caught, know that it is not acceptable and taught a lesson.

I would like to know what you think? Should train, bus, tram & ferry drivers if caught speeding or doing the wrong thing, be penalized through their personal car license (like what is in place for truck drivers and company car drivers)? 

We would also like to hear from you if you have been injured and felt unsafe on any form of public transport because of speeding? We would like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

On a side note:

I do have to say that the one politician who has been listening and actually was concerned about what happened is Penny Sharpe - NSW State Labor member and the shadow transport Minister and I would like to thank her not only from myself but also from my whole family who would like to thank her for her well wishes and support. Thank you Penny


  1. As your post is still mostly illegible, and given your previous response, please remove me from your list.

  2. Colin I have no power to remove you as I did not add you originally. You subscribed and I suggest that you un-subscribe through your account.

    And as stated, I have given you the option to become a proofreader but you turned down this option. As you have been critical about it I suggest that whilst your feedback has been taken on board, unless you are willing to chip in then I suggest you take this feedback on board before commenting!