BAIRD GOVERNMENT SECRETLY ADMITS "NOT VIABLE" TO MAKE TRAINS CONNECT – IN LATEST SIGN OF CHAOS AT HAMILTON

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The Baird Government has secretly given up its practice of holding trains at Hamilton to allow passengers to change between the Hunter and Newcastle/Central Coast lines – because this is no longer possible as a result of the chaotic rail truncation.

Before the truncation, Hunter Line commuters arriving at Hamilton were able to seamlessly change to a Sydney-bound train being held for them on the platform.

The same applied for commuters arriving at Hamilton from Sydney and looking to switch to a Hunter Line service.

However, an internal NSW TrainLink information bulletin obtained by the NSW Opposition reveals that the Baird Government is no longer holding trains at Hamilton and commuters are being forced to wait.

According to the document, unveiled today at Hamilton Station by Shadow Minister for Transport Penny Sharpe and Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp:

"The Hamilton truncation has effectively minimised path availability which in turn impacts on the time available to hold train services for connections... continuing to do this is not viable and the timetable cannot be maintained during peak times."

Under the new provisions, trains will no longer be held at Hamilton between 7.17am and 8.36am in the morning peak and between 6.32pm and 9.21pm in the evening peak.

This will blow out journey times even further for commuters at stations such as Maitland, Metford, Beresfield, Hexham and Waratah.

"The publication of this document is a major embarrassment for Mike Baird," Ms Sharpe said.

"Within the Baird Government it is now an open secret that Hamilton Station is in chaos, the promise of a seamless train connection was not sustainable and they need to go back to the drawing board and start again.

"On October 21, Gladys Berejiklian touted the Hamilton interchange as a big win for Maitland and Upper Hunter commuters.

"In a sign of its sloppy preparation, the Government has now been forced to changed the rules on the fly further disadvantaging those commuters." 

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp questioned why it had taken the NSW Opposition to reveal to the public the true extent of the debacle at Hamilton.

"Hamilton Station is the scene of an all-time Baird Government debacle and people here are fuming," Mr Crakanthorp said.

"Minister Berejiklian is hiding in Sydney and she has now been caught out hiding even more information from the public.

"How arrogant of the Baird Government to remove the rail line with no legal basis, no electoral mandate, no community consultation and utterly sloppy interim transport arrangements."

Labor Candidate for Maitland Jenny Aitchison added: "The news that trains are no longer waiting at Hamilton station will infuriate Maitland and Upper Hunter commuters already annoyed about the secrecy of the Baird Government. It is typical that Labor has had to drag the truth out of the Baird Government instead of it being volunteered.

"I've called and knocked on the doors of thousands of people in Maitland and come across a grand total of one person who supports what the Government is doing.

"People are dreading the commuter chaos lying in wait as people return to work after the summer holidays and school goes back this week.” 

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