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The 2017 Timetable change was the first major timetable change across Sydney since 2013 and the first under a modified governance/regulatory relationship between Sydney Trains (as operator) and Transport for New South Wales (as statutory transport authority / system owner).The changes to the SWTT (Standard Working Timetable) would be part of a two-staged approach to increase train services by 17% across the network.

The first stage (2017) covered the T1 - North Shore, Northern & Western Line and the second (2018) will cover changes to the remainder of the network based upon the impact of the commissioning of the new Sydney Metro Line North West – including releasing the Epping to Chatswood line for conversion from Train to Metro operation.

To enable the 2017 Timetable, the Engineering and Maintenance Directorate (EMD), covering both on-track and fleet maintenance, procured Network Rail Consulting to ensure a consistent safety assurance and risk management approach across their 2017 TT readiness program. The key impacts on EMD included:

  • A significant increase in night-working across the Network Bases that cover the T1 line and, as part of this, a drive to significantly reduce Lookout Working (LoW) and instead utilise higher levels of protection such as Local Protection Authorities (LPAs) and Absolute Signal Blocking (ASBs);
  • A move from reliance on ad-hoc track access to repeatable, periodic set windows for maintenance activity - built into the timetable through a Special Train Notice (STN) and with enhanced pre-planning, co-ordination and on-site planning and possession documentation;
  • A switch to mandatory use of dedicated contract Protection Officers (POs) to manage the set-up and release of protection arrangements for the worksites, as opposed to utilising Sydney Trains staff who alternate between PO responsibilities and hands-on maintenance work;
  • Changes to rosters to ensure the new commitments can be met whilst still enabling necessary incident response staff requirements and without increasing fatigue risks;
  • Acceleration or re-ordering of Annual Works Plan and defect removal works to increase resilience/reliability across the T1 line and decrease the likelihood of asset failure under the new traffic levels;
  • The need for analysis, modelling and changes on the ground associated with uplifts train movements, maintenance schedules, necessary cleaning and field maintenance – to enable simultaneous availability of more trains, a 10-40% increase in KMs travelled across elements of both Sydney Trains and Contractor managed fleet, and the re-introduction of 12 “S” sets into regular service.

The scope of the Network Rail Consulting assignment included:

  • Review of the Safety Change Assessment and Reporting Determination (SCARD) for the overall ST 2017 SWTT program – from the perspective of EMD. This set the overall Assurance Governance level for the EMD program;
  • Review of the Goal Structured Notation (GSN) for the overall ST 2017 SWTT program – from the perspective of EMD. This established the safety argument and highlighted how the deliverables produced by the key impacted Directorates/Divisions supported the overall change;
  • Creation of the Safety Change Plan (SCP) for the EMD readiness program – in order that it supported the overall ST 2017 SWTT program SCP authored by Sydney Trains Group Risk;
  • Ownership of a structured process of Hazard Identification and Management across the EMD readiness program. This entailed 3 workshops for both NMD (Track) and FMD (Fleet) maintenance stakeholders, plus numerous smaller sessions with other impacted Directorates/Divisions to ensure alignment;
  • Close co-ordination with TfNSW assurance arm, Sydney Trains Group Risk, and the EMD Operational Readiness and Human Factors workstreams to ensure appropriate ownership and robust management across a wide range of hazards and hazard controls;
  • Creation of a Safety Assurance Report (SAR) - covering the EMD readiness program – in order that it supported the overall ST 2017 SWTT program SAR authored by Sydney Trains Group Risk;
  • Collation, management and socialisation of Safety Assurance deliverables and evidence files to support program stage-gates, safety governance activities and final go-live sign-off.
  • Formal appraisal/endorsement of the overall Sydney Trains 2017 SWTT program’s SCARD and GSN;
  • A change strategy/plan for all EMD readiness activities;
  • Risk/Hazard workshop invites, agendas, and formal write-ups;
  • BowTie Hazard logs for both Network Maintenance Division (NMD) and Fleet Maintenance Division (FMD) – regularly updated and published;
  • Regular program updates and reporting to TfNSW, Group Risk and Program Leads at both overall and EMD program levels;
  • Five iterations of the SAR across the program lifecycle, with 3 major versions subject to Director level consultation and sign-off;
  • Evidence files to support lessons learnt and auditability/traceability

Client: Sydney Trains (Engineering & Maintenance Directorate)

Location: Sydney

Start date: March 2017

End date: January 2018

Duration: 10 Months

Services provided: Safety Assurance, Risk and Change Management