A push to catch rail employees sleeping on the job may have led to the cancellation of some South Coast services on Wednesday morning.
NSW TrainLink reported that an “operational issue at Sydenham” affected several Sydney-bound South Coast services between 1am and 6am.
Sydenham is where the signallers who control the Illawarra line through Sutherland are based.
The system is computer-controlled with the signallers on hand to respond to monitor it and react to alarms.
The “operational issue” caused major delays as buses replaced trains between Waterfall and Oatley in both directions.
A NSW TrainLink spokesman said services had been suspended on Wednesday morning “due to an unusually high volume of illness amongst staff who operate our signal control panels”.
“Services were up and running in time for the morning peak,” the TrainLink spokesman said.
“We apologise to customers who were affected.”
However a rail employee who spoke to the Mercury under the condition they remain anonymous, suggested the “unusually high volume of illness” on the night shift may have actually been a protest against increased rates of overtime as well as the actions of a supervisor several weeks ago.
The source claimed the supervisor launched a “raid” on the signallers’ HQ a few weeks ago in a bid to find workers asleep.
The source said the plan backfired and the workers were awake.
The employee suggested it was further frustration for the workers who are already in protracted negotiations for a new enterprise bargaining agreement that will protect those made redundant when a new rail operations centre opens up next year.
The Rail Tram and Bus Union was contacted for comment on the cause of events of Wednesday morning.
A spokeswoman said they had not been able to get any information on what had happened.