CONSTANCE TO COMPROMISE ON SAFETY BECAUSE NEW TRAINS ARE TOO WIDE FOR THE TUNNELS

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The NSW Opposition is demanding the Berejiklian Government detail how it will ensure the safety of passengers travelling in its new inter-city fleet of trains following the realisation that they are too wide for tunnels through the Blue Mountains.

The Government is considering lowering safety standards in the series of ten tunnels from Springwood through to Lithgow to enable its new fleet of inter-city trains to fit through them. 

Last year it was revealed that its new $2.3 billion South Korean-manufactured trains were too wide for the tracks; now we learn they are also too wide for the tunnels.

The bungle has forced Transport Minister Andrew Constance to make the tunnels wider in some sections – a process known as notching - but to also reduce the space required between the trains and the tunnel walls, according to newly-released transport documents.

The tunnels will be widened by using a road header to scour out more than a kilometre of tunnel walls.

The Review of Environmental Factors shows the Government is developing a new standard of how much distance trains need to safely pass by each other when they are in the tunnels.

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said Mr Constance had to explain to passengers what safety standards he is prepared to compromise to hide his mistakes.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Andrew Constance’s ministerial performance is a joke, but this latest bungle is no laughing matter.

“It takes a special type of incompetence to buy trains that don’t fit through the tunnels.

“People are right to be suspicious that Constance is going to change the safety standard to fix his bungle.

“Andrew Constance should tell us what it is going to cost to widen the tunnels and complete the track modifications from Springwood to Lithgow.

“He also needs to detail what special operational restrictions will be imposed including speed limits and how these will be enforced.”