Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement that the NSW rail system would be drastically restructured has been met with both praise and disapproval from various experts.

Berejiklian plans to separate city and country rail into two organisations, one governing Sydney trains and another for NSW trains. The change will address the differing needs of regional and suburban commuters.

Ryan Park, ex- deputy chief of the transport department and member for Keira, believes the separation won’t give regional commuters the attention they need.

“I’m concerned this type of reform isn’t going to deliver the frontline services, particularly around cleaning, safety and security,” he said. “What I don’t want to see is less staff on our stations or on our trains.”

Andrew McCusker, Director of Rail Logistics Research at the University of Wollongong, and an advisor to the transport department, supports the government’s decision.

“There’s a definite drive to recognise that we have different customers with different needs,” he said. “The money that we have can be better focused to meet the needs of the customers by having two different approaches.”

McCusker says the two organisations will eventually develop a culture devoted to dealing with the individual needs of commuters. Comfort for regional travellers and frequency for city travellers are areas of potential focus.

Berejiklian’s announcement also involves cutting 750 jobs in middle management and restructuring the cleaning system.

“RailCorp costs $10 million a day to operate,” she said. “Taxpayers and customers deserve far better value for money than what they are currently getting.”

“RailCorp has tried to be everything to everyone and failed, the best railways in the world are structured like this.

Words by: BEN NEUTZE

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