Why Sydney-siders HATE CityRail

In today’s Sydney Morning Herald, many readers had written letters expressing their anger and frustration at the mess known as CityRail.

As usual, MX also had a few readers ranting in the Letters page. It inspired me to compile the top 8 reasons why Sydney-siders hate CityRail (in no particular order because they’re all equally valid).

1. Timetable

Even without delays, the timetables are often unhelpful to Sydney’s population. How many of you have to plan your life around this pathetic timetable? My train comes every half an hour which means I’m either always too early for something or a bit late.

Of course, we all know that there are times when CityRail can’t stick to its timetable because of breakdowns and delays.

2. Weather:

Whenever the weather is hot or stormy, CityRail becomes a diva and has a meltdown. It is like whoever designed the train system never took weather into consideration.

As one reader from the Herald observed, “A bit of warm weather and Sydney’s rail system collapses”. You don’t have to try hard to find an example. It happens all the time. This week Sydney experienced a sweltering hot day and anyone who had to catch the box trains had to deal with the next problem of lack of or should I say, non-existent air conditioning.

3. NO air conditioning on older trains

Don’t get me started on how archaic the box/tin can trains some of us have to catch.

There is no air con and when it reaches almost 40 degrees and you’re stuck standing in a crowded train, there’s nothing you can do. How exciting to be wedged between commuter?! You’re lucky if there’s no bad body odour.

One MX reader wrote to the newspaper “It’s 37 degrees and I am on a train on the Western line without aircon. Yep and the NSW pollies get their pay increase and get driven home in airconditioned cars”.

The issue of the government leads onto the third reason why we all hate CityRail. Our government doesn’t even do much to improve the system.

4. State Government’s incompetence

It is a real tragedy that we have such an incompetent government in power. I’d love to know how many of the MPs actually catch public transport! My guess is NONE.

John from Roseville, who had to put up with a disruptive and discomforting breakdown on the North Shore railway line, wrote to the Herald, “If we wanted an example of how dysfunctional the State Government is, this chaos and lack of adequate response provided it”.

Another MX reader vented, “Sydney’s train infrastructure is a joke. Nathan Rees, you’re a joke. You spend more time picking a winner in the Melbourne Cup than doing your job. If I preformed like you at work, I’d have been sacked months ago”.

5. Overcrowding

This is quite self-explanatory. Just catch the train between 7.30 and 9 or 5 and

6. Filthiness and graffiti

On a weekday it’s usually coffee spilt on the seats or on the floor and MX newspapers left behind by lazy commuters who can’t be bothered throwing it out. On Fridays and Saturdays, after the drunks have ransacked the trains, it’s alcohol on the train floors.

The really bad days are when stupid people have spray painted the train with illegible scribble. Even after they are cleaned, they sometimes leave their mark on the walls. Has anyone seen any clear windows? I doubt it. They’re always scratched with writing.

This problem is the only time I sympathise with CityRail. It makes you think, what’s the point of making our train system better when they’re only going to be destroyed as soon as they are put in place?

Michael from Bonnet Bay tells the Herald, “Perhaps the authorities are not as stupid as they appear – there isn’t much use in casting pearls before swine.”

7. Trackwork

This has to be the most inconvenient part of catching the train in Sydney. I know we need trackwork to ensure the trains are run perfectly but they are always scheduled at the worst times and if you’re dependent on the train, you have to reschedule your life so you can get to places on time.

Ticket prices

For all the reasons above, we pay a hefty price. No wonder people prefer to drive to work! In regards to the train service to the airport (but it goes for the entire CityRail network) Jop from Kurrajong writes to the Herald, “It is being serviced with trains that are a disgrace with graffiti, ripped seats and soiled carriages. There are no luggage facilities, no air-conditioning, no bins or toilets. Yet remarkable, a heft ticket premium is charged”.


I know there’s a tiny minority who tell the complainers to stop complaining. Well, I’d like to tell them that we can’t help but complain because our system is in such an awful state. Some Herald readers wrote that CityRail would disgrace a Third World Country. That is too true!


About Brendan

6 Responses to Why Sydney-siders HATE CityRail

  1. Kat says:

    Re: no.6: Filthiness and graffiti
    I’ve gotten on trains that have vomit and urine in them :S.

  2. City Fail says:

    Excellent commentary! Hard to believe they still don’t have electronic cards like HK or Guangzhou or Perth

  3. rav0 says:

    “On a weekday it’s usually coffee spilt on the seats or on the floor and MX newspapers left behind by lazy commuters who can’t be bothered throwing it out.”

    It’s MX thoughtfully left behind for the next person to read. Alternatively, you can use it to cover up a spill.

  4. Kiki says:

    After catching the train to school for 4 years you learn where the crowding is the least and where there are ussually seats. You also learn not
    to touch any thing and look before you sit. You also learn that your train is never early but always late so you just have to stand In the freezing cold or boiling heat and wait. But there is only one thing I can’t thank city rail for. After my first few months of catching the aweful trains and always being sick I now never get the flue, a cold or fever.

  5. Kwinn says:

    Cityrail is fucked! And to add ! Sydney roads are fucked too! It’s all fucked up lol

  6. Gawd says:

    Omg i HATE cityrail!!!!!!!!!! worst train system/service ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the train schedule is shit and if you miss just one train, that means you have to wait 30 minutes min!!! what the hell, serious, i never had this kind of shitty problems overseas!! and the tickets are goddamn expensive, going to the next station is same as going to the station that usually takes 30 minutes by car. Seriously?? i can just walk to the next station, that how close it is and i have to pay the same amount!!!!! who designed the structures of the trains and calculated the damn ticket fees anyway? i think they deserve a nice kick in their asses!!! for eternity!!! grrr so angry!!

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