TRAIN STRAIN: Winners and losers from new timetable

Evening peak hour services to the South Coast will be cut in half and many smaller stations skipped under new train timetables to come into force on October 20.

In the evening period between 5pm and 6.30pm, the number of services leaving Central and stopping at Wollongong has been halved from eight to four.

Two of those four trains stop at just eight stations, which is good for commuters getting off at major stops like Helensburgh, Thirroul and Wollongong but bad for those at smaller stations that will now be missed to shorten journey times.

Train worries could lead to commuter exodus

There is better news for commuters in the morning, with an extra service added and more direct trains stopping at most stations.

The fastest train in the evening peak period takes 93 minutes to reach Wollongong. Under the new timetable the four trains will arrive at Wollongong up to six minutes faster than that.

Commuters looking to get off at smaller stops between Helensburgh and Thirroul are the big losers, with only one of the four evening peak trains stopping.

The 5.46pm service will stop at Stanwell Park and Austinmer. Under the current timetable three trains stop at all stations between Helensburgh and Thirroul.

The new timetable includes an extra direct morning service from Wollongong to Central in the 5.45am-7.30am period, taking the number of trains from six to seven. Fewer stops will mean a faster service.

Read new timetable for South Coast Line

However, the number of morning trains stopping at most stations remains the same.

Under the current timetable, the 6am and 7.16am services from Wollongong stop at all northern Illawarra stations.

Under the new timetable, the only the 6.43am and 7.20am services from Wollongong will stop at these stations.

The 7.20am stops at one less stop than the old 7.16am service but cuts 11 minutes off the travel time.

There will be 125 new weekly services on the South Coast line and the government has said commuters travelling to the city for work from Kiama, could see as much as a 65-minute time saving each week.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the new timetable included 1000 additional weekly services and 600 more express services.

"The NSW government has undertaken the biggest rewrite of the train timetable in a generation, with the aim of delivering benefits to as many customers as possible," Ms Berejiklian said. "This is a timetable designed around the needs of customers - previous timetables simply tinkered at the edges and focused on trains not people.

"For example, we know a lot of commuters are working longer hours, so service frequency for people heading out of the city has been extended later into the evening and similarly in the morning," she said.

"In addition to increased peak service frequency, we have also improved the timetable for key educational, commercial and health precincts throughout the day."

Keira MP Ryan Park was not impressed with the timetable and felt it didn't work for those residents catching trains from suburban stations. He said a commuter who caught the 6.47am train from Woonona, which took 86 minutes to get to Central, would need to take a 6.56am train that would take 105 minutes to get to Central.

"I accept the fact that when you do something like this not everyone is going to be pleased," Mr Park said.

"What I don't accept though is the fact that the Illawarra is one of the largest commuter corridors, not just in NSW but in the country.

"We are people who spend some of the longest time travelling to and from where we need to go, to be employed."

WINNERS 

• Commuters from major stops such as Helensburgh, Thirroul, Wollongong and Dapto will have quicker trips. 

• There is an extra morning service from Wollongong to Central, taking the number of trains from six to seven. 

• Commuters from Kiama could save 65 minutes’ travel time each week.

LOSERS 

• Many commuters from smaller stations will see their travel times increased. 

• The number of evening peak hour services has been halved from eight to four. 

• Commuters from smaller stops between Helensburgh and Thirroul will have their direct evening peak hour services chopped from three to one.

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