Trains will stop running across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the first 10 days of the new year.

Buses will replace trains on the T1 North Shore and Western Line between North Sydney and Wynyard between January 1 and 10 – a period when patronage is expected to drop off over the holidays.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Transport Minister Andrew Constance said this was the first time a closure of this scale had happened in years.

“It’s a major piece of work but we’re better to get in and get out and get the job done,” he said.

He said commuter numbers were expected to be down during that period given many Sydneysiders would be on holidays.

The Harbour Bridge’s old timber rail deck will be replaced with concrete, which Mr Constance said could extend the life of the rail corridor by more than a century.

Commuters are being encouraged to plan for major track work, which will also impact the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line.

“We want people to enjoy Sydney over summer in a COVID-safe fashion but also to be mindful they will need to plan their trips as this work will affect almost every single rail customer,” Mr Constance said.

“This work will ensure we continue to provide an efficient network for commuters and is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to extend the life of the 88-year-old railway corridor by 120 years.”

Sydney Trains acting chief executive Suzanne Holden acknowledged how significant it was to maintain the city’s historical assets while noting the works would be a “disruptive process”.

“We are taking the bridge out of action while the engineers move in to do what is a very incredibly co-ordinated piece of maintenance on the bridge,” she said.

“Normally, pre-COVID we’d carry about 200,000 customers across the bridge. We need to find different ways and COVID is helping us, the new year is helping us reduce customers.

“It’s important people look for other opportunities during this time.”

Transport for NSW chief operations officer Howard Collins said “high frequency” rail replacement bus routes would be implemented over busy periods, including when the cricket is on at the SCG.

“While we traditionally see 40 per cent fewer customers travelling at this time of year, buses aren’t able to match the speed or capacity of the train network, so we strongly encourage everyone to plan ahead, allow extra travel time and consider using the many alternative services we’re operating,” Mr Collins said.

“Certainly during my time here we’ve never had a closure of this length.”

He also said the concrete structure would be quieter and smoother.

The announcement came just after Mr Constance revealed 1200 additional services would be introduced across the city’s transport network for the summer, with particular focus on getting people to and from the beach.


  • 600 weekly night bus services between 9pm and 1am on Friday and Saturday
  • 300 weekly Nightrider services from midnight to 4.30am on Friday and Saturday
  • 236 extra weekend services will run to Bondi, Coogee and Manly beach
  • 70 weekly light rail services on the L2 Randwick and L3 Kingsford lines from…


Read More: Sydney Harbour Bridge: Trains replaced by buses

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