A PASSENGER aboard one of the trains caught up in a massive landslide in the Blue Mountains has praised Sydney Trains for how it responded to the emergency.
Dubbo man Paul Kamlade had just flown back into Australia from Thailand and jumped aboard the train in Central for the journey home on Sunday morning.
While most of his tripwent ahead as planned, when the train was midway between Katoomba and Leura it came to a sudden stop.
"We only found out about the landslide after we went past Leura station," he said.
"We were first advised, over the intercom, that we could not proceed until two trains ahead at Katoomba shunted to return to Sydney.
"The landslide was identified after they were trying to shunt those two trains."
An engineer by trade, Mr Kamlade said he took a special interest in how the train staff handled the situation.
"I was sitting there watching it when it came up and I thought 'this will be interesting'," he said.
"You always practice for these things, but you never think they'll happen."
Mr Kamlade said after an extended delay the train he was on was put into reverse until it reached Leura station.
"All the passengers generally made the best of it and did what they could," he said.
"Eventually two buses came and took us to Lithgow."
From there, he caught another bus home to Dubbo.
Mr Kamlade said while passengers aboard the train might have been delayed, he observed that the safety of everyone was the absolute priority for staff.
"Not only did they have their [emergency] plan, but they had to apply the information that was around them," he said
"They were checking all around the train before they even moved it.
"I don't think anyone else could have done any better."
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the track infrastructure had been secured and Sydney Trains staff were working to stabilise the land.
"Re-opening the line is a huge job - engineers need to rebuild the embankment and infrastructure, including earthworks, track reconstruction, signalling and overhead wire repairs, however we are confident this work will be completed in a matter of weeks, weather dependent," he said.
Mr Toole said at this stage the repair work at Leura wasn't expected to delay reconstruction works taking place further up the line.
"At the end of last year, 25 kilometres of track was significantly damaged by bushfires between Mount Victoria and Lithgow, with thousands of kilometres of communication, electrical and signal wiring lost," he said.
"Sydney Trains' engineers worked tirelessly to develop temporary systems to allow limited rail connectivity and to safely operate a limited number of freight and passenger trains from Tuesday 21 January.
"Unfortunately with the recent landslip at Leura, these services have been temporarily suspended once more. We understand this ongoing closure may cause some frustration for customers, but we thank you for your patience as we continue to rebuild the rail corridor."
Transport for NSW is working closely with freight operators to provide alternate routes, while passenger services will be replaced by coaches or buses for all or part journeys.
Customers travelling along the affected lines can check the latest information and plan their journey through trip planning apps or online at http://transportnsw.info.
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