Commuter chaos to continue during afternoon peak hour

37 drivers called in sick and Sydney's transport system fell over

"We are working hard to maintain a regular service, so changes are to be expected..."

Mr Collins said a major surge in passengers at Town Hall during peak periods - especially evenings - was partly due to a near doubling in people catching trains to and from fast-growing suburbs such as Mascot and the Green Square precinct in Sydney's inner south...

"I want to reiterate nobody should be blaming any staff here", Transport Minister Andrew Constance said.

He said they would attempt to spread the evening's cancellations across the network.

'Central station is packed.

Sydney Trains planned for 76 drivers to be sick, but about 40 additional staff were also off.

Mr Constance said the trains still ran to over 90 per cent regularly, despite the "enormous challenges" in staff flexibility.

'In the last two weeks, for instance, we've had some awful tragedies on our railway, ' he said.

"That has taken staff availability and affected staff availability. We have got staff being counselled".

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While the department usually responds to one or two fatalities on the rail network each month, there have been six deaths in the past fortnight.

'Under Labor, you will get your Opal fare refunded if there is an avoidable delay of 30 mins, ' NSW Labor leader Luke Foley tweeted.

"There is nothing industrial in this, there is nothing untoward, it's just unfortunate", he said.

"The objective here is not so much to refund people, but ensure there's not need for refunds."

Under the policy, delays of more than half an hour will trigger an automatic refund, and will only apply to the railways.

"Our train system has lurched from crisis to crisis and we now have the worst delays in a decade".

Meanwhile, Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW Secretary, Alex Claassens, has asked passengers to direct their frustration at the government rather than the workers who are just as frustrated as commuters with the state of the network.

"We are totally stretched to the limit".



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