Sydney’s peak-hour trains are arriving “on time” more than ever before. But is this actually good enough for train passengers? Stephanie Stefanovic reports.

Sydney Trains have recently announced that last month’s overall peak service punctuality rate was 96 per cent, exceeding their target of 92 per cent.

What’s more, in the past 12 months Sydney Trains have performed above their target every month except April, when the extreme storms impacted more than 500 peak services in two days.

However, it’s worth noting that according to Sydney Trains, “punctuality” means delivering a train within five minutes of its scheduled arrival time. But anyone who needs to access multiple train lines on the way to work knows that a few minutes can mean the difference between being on time and being unacceptably late.

T2 Inner West and South Line passengers who need to switch onto the T1 Northern Line for example, often have a window of only three minutes during peak hour services. In this case, those few minutes can make a big difference, especially considering the fact that at some stations, T1 Northern Line services are nowhere near as frequent as say, T1 North Shore Line services.

Speaking of the North Shore Line, while there are plenty of trains travelling from the city to the North Shore during peak hour, it seems as though these trains are at least a few minutes late every single morning. And when one peak hour train is late, it affects all of the services behind it.

But Sydney Trains CEO Howard Collins remains optimistic.

“Only two months ago we achieved our highest peak punctuality ever of 96.1 per cent,” he says.

“While there’s a lot more work to do, it shows me our efforts to improve the consistency of our on-time running are starting to pay off for our customers.

“There is no opportunity to rest on our laurels, particularly when we are approaching the warmer summer months when there are more delay-causing incidents because of the heat.”

According to Sydney Trains, last month’s most punctual train lines were the T4 Eastern Suburbs Line (98.9 per cent), the T2 Inner West Line (98.8 per cent), the T1 Northern Line via Macquarie Park (97.7 per cent) and the T4 Illawarra Line (97.3 per cent). The only line not to achieve the 92 per cent target was the T1 Western Line, which achieved 91.2 per cent peak-hour punctuality.