May 15, 2012

NSW’s RailCorp is to split in two

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RAIL Corporation New South Wales (RailCorp), which is responsible for the operation and maintenance of Sydney's regional and metropolitan rail network, is to be split into two separate entities under plans announced today by NSW transport minister Ms Gladys Berejiklian.

In what is the biggest shake up of the state's rail network in decades, newly-formed NSW Trains will oversee regional services currently branded CountryLink which includes those from Newcastle, the central coast, the Illawarra region, the Blue Mountains and southern highlands, while Sydney Trains will be responsible for services in the metropolitan region currently known as CityLink. Responsibility for major projects and construction will be transferred to Transport for NSW from July 1 with the full changes are expected to take 12 - 18 months to implement.

Around 750 RailCorp middle-management jobs will be cut as a result of the split, a move that has been met with consternation by opposition parties and unions. Ultimately around 3000-4500 of RailCorp's 15,000 workforce could be axed under the recommendations of a study conducted by the consultancy Booz & Company.

However, Berejiklian rejected suggestions that the move was the first step towards privatisation, claiming that it is essential to cut bureaucracy which is preventing the railway from operating efficiently.

"That is not our policy," she says. "It hasn't been our policy when it comes to rail. This is about fixing the trains."

As part of the plans the railway's cleaning services will be placed under new management in an effort to curb graffiti on trains, with threats that this section could be privatised if the situation does not improve. Under current stipulations cleaning staff can clear graffiti from entrances and doors but not the main area of the coach which is left to maintenance staff.

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