Stay informed and safe during the bushfire crisis

This site is for our people across the Transport cluster to get information and support during the bushfire crisis.

This includes:

While our teams across the state put in extraordinary effort to support communities in responding to the bushfire crisis, it’s critical that you continue to prioritise your personal safety while the emergency situation remains in place.

Please keep up to date and follow the latest advice from NSW Police or NSW Rural Fire Service and plan ahead at livetraffic.com.

If you require any further information or support please reach out to your manager. Keeping ourselves and each other safe during these times remains our top priority – please take care of yourselves and each other.

This site is for our people across the Transport cluster to get information and support during the bushfire crisis.

This includes:

While our teams across the state put in extraordinary effort to support communities in responding to the bushfire crisis, it’s critical that you continue to prioritise your personal safety while the emergency situation remains in place.

Please keep up to date and follow the latest advice from NSW Police or NSW Rural Fire Service and plan ahead at livetraffic.com.

If you require any further information or support please reach out to your manager. Keeping ourselves and each other safe during these times remains our top priority – please take care of yourselves and each other.

  • Helping BlazeAid to support our communities

    15 days ago
    Ba thumby

    As the bushfire crisis abates, communities across NSW have begun the strenuous journey of rebuilding their homes, businesses and livelihoods.

    We’re currently working with BlazeAid, an organisation that helps communities affected by natural disasters such as fires, droughts and floods – which is just one of the ways our people are helping communities affected in the recent bushfire crisis.

    Take a look at this video to hear more about our work with BlazeAid.


    As the bushfire crisis abates, communities across NSW have begun the strenuous journey of rebuilding their homes, businesses and livelihoods.

    We’re currently working with BlazeAid, an organisation that helps communities affected by natural disasters such as fires, droughts and floods – which is just one of the ways our people are helping communities affected in the recent bushfire crisis.

    Take a look at this video to hear more about our work with BlazeAid.


  • Our bushfire volunteers: Mick Jackson

    29 days ago
    Mick jackson rfs

    Mick Jackson, Train Crewing and Support

    Back in November, we featured some of Mick Jackson’s NSW RFS experiences in the early stages of the bushfire season, but we wanted to hear a little about what’s happened since.

    Mick, a compliance officer, joined the RFS at the same time he started with Sydney Trains in July 2013. He says he’s been encouraged by the support provided to employees doing emergency services work.

    “The Compliance and Assurance team is very supportive of my efforts at times like this and works with me so I’m able to undertake my RFS duties, particularly in...

    Mick Jackson, Train Crewing and Support

    Back in November, we featured some of Mick Jackson’s NSW RFS experiences in the early stages of the bushfire season, but we wanted to hear a little about what’s happened since.

    Mick, a compliance officer, joined the RFS at the same time he started with Sydney Trains in July 2013. He says he’s been encouraged by the support provided to employees doing emergency services work.

    “The Compliance and Assurance team is very supportive of my efforts at times like this and works with me so I’m able to undertake my RFS duties, particularly in long campaign fires such as what we’re currently experiencing around the state,” Mick said.

    A member with the Narellan Rural Fire Brigade, Mick enjoys being able to volunteer alongside some work colleagues.

    “It’s always good bumping into people from work and great to see there are plenty of other Sydney Trains staff from various directorates out there helping. Even recently on a nightshift strike team from Macarthur at Yerranderie, I was there with a Guard and Driver from Train Crewing & Support,” he said.

    Mick highlights the “sheer speed and ferocity of the fires” around Sydney this season, particularly the Green Wattle Creek fire.

    “In December, when it flared up and ran towards Oakdale, you’d be in an area surrounded by vegetation, then 15 minutes later the whole area was burnt black with spots of hot orange glows throughout.”

    Mick says donations to local fire stations of food, water, first aid items, and even ice-blocks have been appreciated by volunteers working hard to battle fires. He encourages people to also support local communities by visiting the hardest hit areas.

    “Rural areas and the State’s north have copped it very hard for several years of harsh drought and now fires,” Mick said.

    “If you can, take a trip or two to a regional part of the State and stay at the local motel, buy a sandwich at the local shop, buy some produce from the local farmer and have a beer at the pub.

    “It’ll go a long way to helping these communities who often rely on tourism, to keep them afloat.”


  • Our bushfire volunteers: Graeme Fickel

    29 days ago
    Graeme 1

    Graeme Fickel, Customer Service Delivery

    A Customer Service Team Leader based at Campbelltown Station, Graeme has been volunteering with the RFS for 25 years.

    Graeme began in the catering section of the RFS before transferring to firefighting in the Cobitty Brigade where he was for 10 years, working his way up to senior deputy captain. He then transferred to Narellan Brigade, closer to his home. Graeme has been with Narellan Brigade for three years and is currently acting deputy captain.

    “Sydney Trains has been excellent in assisting me with time away to help with the fires and attend training courses,”...

    Graeme Fickel, Customer Service Delivery

    A Customer Service Team Leader based at Campbelltown Station, Graeme has been volunteering with the RFS for 25 years.

    Graeme began in the catering section of the RFS before transferring to firefighting in the Cobitty Brigade where he was for 10 years, working his way up to senior deputy captain. He then transferred to Narellan Brigade, closer to his home. Graeme has been with Narellan Brigade for three years and is currently acting deputy captain.

    “Sydney Trains has been excellent in assisting me with time away to help with the fires and attend training courses,” says Graeme. “My manager Graeme Ellis (CAM customer area manager) is always happy to chat, support me and checks in on my wellbeing.”

    In December, Graeme was deployed backburning with the Green Wattle Creek fire in the Terranderie area, as well as Oakdale, Silverdale, Balmoral and Buxton.

    There were many instances where Graeme’s crew pulled together in difficult situations, including saving a bush-surrounded property in Oakdale that was deemed undefendable.

    With the residents deciding to stay at their property, Graeme and the crew sat up on the road that lead to the house, ready to fight the fire coming through.

    “As the firefront approached, people were furiously wetting everything down – the fire and wind came at us with force, followed by an ember attack which then caused spot fires on the ground, running up trees.

    “We waited and attacked that firefront head-on from the property, once protection and crews were in place, along with other trucks and crew and helicopter support from the air.

    “We all did what we had to do, checking on each other and maintaining the water supply until the fire passed through so we could mop up, pack up and move onto the next property – it was an awesome victory.”

    “It’s all about working together as a team and knowing your ability and training expertise to be able to cope in each and every job you’re sent out to – communication is very important in all situations.”

    Last week, Graeme took a trip back to Balmoral and Buxton where he had been fighting fires.

    “The devastation left behind was unbelievable to say the least,” he says. “I was able to spend some time visiting friends there who I helped out doing property protection and deliver a car-load of goodies collected by Fairfield Station staff on to Balmoral Fire Station – much needed supplies for those in need.”

    Graeme also spent a few days last week on the fire ground at Voyager Point with fellow RFS volunteer and Sydney Trains employee Mick Jackson, working to manage, contain and control a fire which came close many houses.


  • Our bushfire volunteers: Paul Davison

    29 days ago
    Paul davison

    Paul Davison, Safety, Environment and Quality Regulation (SEQR)

    An SEQR Safety Professional for Engineering & Maintenance, Paul was up near the Central Coast working on the Mangrove Mountain fires in early December.

    “We were lucky in the fact that most of the work we conducted was back burning to contain the main fire fronts and assisting with protection of properties in that area,” says Paul, who has been an RFS member for just over three years.

    “There were plenty of concerned locals we interacted with during our time there.”

    The hardest part of the work has been seeing a completely...

    Paul Davison, Safety, Environment and Quality Regulation (SEQR)

    An SEQR Safety Professional for Engineering & Maintenance, Paul was up near the Central Coast working on the Mangrove Mountain fires in early December.

    “We were lucky in the fact that most of the work we conducted was back burning to contain the main fire fronts and assisting with protection of properties in that area,” says Paul, who has been an RFS member for just over three years.

    “There were plenty of concerned locals we interacted with during our time there.”

    The hardest part of the work has been seeing a completely blacked, barren landscape left behind after the fires have torn through, as well as damaged or lost property, he says.

    Paul’s RFS volunteering shifts in December were typically long days. They usually began with around one to two hours travel time to the staging area, before 12 hours on the fire ground.

    After that, there was the travel back, plus the time taken to clean up the vehicle and equipment so it was ready to go for the next day.

    “I know for my wife and family it is very tough as most of the time we don’t have phone service and can be gone for up to 16 hours at a time,” says Paul, who is a member of the Beacon Hill Brigade.


  • Register now for a bushfire support webinar

    about 1 month ago
    Pac hwy   ch 1

    Over the last few months, many of our people across the Transport cluster have been personally impacted by the unprecedented nature of the bushfires or are feeling overwhelmed and distressed by the ongoing news. During this worrying and stressful time, it is important that we think about our own wellbeing and keep an eye out for each other.

    Bushfire support webinars

    If you’re affected or feeling anxious and would like some support during this difficult time, there are a numbers of options available.

    Starting last week, we have been running bushfire support webinars to help us understand how disasters such...

    Over the last few months, many of our people across the Transport cluster have been personally impacted by the unprecedented nature of the bushfires or are feeling overwhelmed and distressed by the ongoing news. During this worrying and stressful time, it is important that we think about our own wellbeing and keep an eye out for each other.

    Bushfire support webinars

    If you’re affected or feeling anxious and would like some support during this difficult time, there are a numbers of options available.

    Starting last week, we have been running bushfire support webinars to help us understand how disasters such as these can impact an individual’s mental health and wellbeing and information on continued support. These webinars are available to all managers, staff and contractors. They may be particularly useful for those who have team members, family or friends affected by the bushfire crises, whether directly, or indirectly.

    There are still two sessions available. Click on one of the links below to register and secure a spot:

    More support for our people

    You and your family can access our employee assistance program by calling 1300 360 364 should you need support. This service is free-of-charge and confidential. There is also some additional information available to support you during this time on the Benestar Hub. For help accessing the hub, call 1300 360 364.

    All our employees are also encouraged to visit the Staywell Hub to access a range of information and resources to facilitate self-care and support.

    For information about all the support options available to you, please visit the bushfire support website at www.stayinformed.com.au.

  • 15 January - Elizabeth Mildwater: Getting support during the bushfire crisis is important

    about 1 month ago
    Roads crew bushfires

    Hello everyone,

    Thankfully the bushfires have eased in many areas over the past couple of days, with some much needed rain falling across NSW. But we’re still being urged by the emergency services to take care and stay safe. Heavy storms are predicted across parts of NSW from Thursday this week, which may cause run-off, flash flooding or potential landslides.

    The bushfire crisis is now in both response and recovery phases. Many of you will be involved and you may now be looking for some extra help or know people who need support.

    Across Transport, we’ve put in place a...

    Hello everyone,

    Thankfully the bushfires have eased in many areas over the past couple of days, with some much needed rain falling across NSW. But we’re still being urged by the emergency services to take care and stay safe. Heavy storms are predicted across parts of NSW from Thursday this week, which may cause run-off, flash flooding or potential landslides.

    The bushfire crisis is now in both response and recovery phases. Many of you will be involved and you may now be looking for some extra help or know people who need support.

    Across Transport, we’ve put in place a range of leave provisions to use if you’re impacted. Everyone’s situation is different, so please speak with your manager about the arrangements that are right for you and call Transport Shared Services on 133 877 if you have any further questions.

    One area I’d like to emphasise is mental health. It’s important to understand that you (and the people around you) may be struggling because of what you’ve seen, experienced or even read in the coverage recently. It’s not uncommon for us to feel distressed, tired and overwhelmed when we’re trying to cope with the magnitude of disasters like this one.

    I lived in Victoria at the time of the 2009 fires and for several years afterwards. I know from that experience just how important it is for people to get the right support when they are dealing with trauma. This particularly applies to our responders, who go above and beyond in circumstances such as these, but can sometimes set aside the impact on themselves. When people don’t seek support it can have long lasting impact on communities, well beyond the physical restoration of houses and services. It’s important to seek support early but it’s never too late.

    So please think about your own wellbeing and keep an eye out for your workmates, friends and neighbours. Take the time to check in with others – remember that question, are you OK? We’ve practiced it before. Now is a good time to use it.

    We have support available for you which is summarised in this new factsheet on health, safety and wellbeing. You can also register for one of the upcoming bushfire support webinars, which start this Thursday 16 January. These will help our people understand how a disaster can impact an individual’s mental health and wellbeing, and will provide information on continued support.

    Many of you have already played a critical role in helping customers and communities and many more would like to continue helping in any way you can. The best way is to make donations to the charities supporting the bushfires. You can do that through our Workplace Giving Program, which is currently available to those of you in Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink and STA and will shortly be offered to Sydney Metro and TfNSW as well. Or you can find other ways to donate here.

    Visit the stayinformed.com.au site for details on the webinars, information on what’s happening with the bushfires and useful support tools. And if you are interested in contributing your skills or ideas in the relief and recovery efforts, you can register your interest online.

    Finally, I’d like to thank everyone again who has worked to help our customers and communities during the crisis, for the extraordinary effort you’ve put in and the level of care you’ve shown people across the state.

    Stay safe and please look after each other.

    Elizabeth Mildwater

    Acting Secretary
  • Our bushfire volunteers: Jon Giffney

    about 1 month ago
    Jon giffney

    Jon Giffney, Engineering & Maintenance

    An incredible group of Sydney Trains volunteers have been helping to fight the fires since the beginning of the 2019/2020 season, nearly six months ago. In this story Jon Giffney speaks about his experiences on the front line.

    He says he learns a lot from volunteering with the SES, and that it helps him in his management role at Sydney Trains. But he says it works both ways, and his management experience at Sydney Trains has also helped him to become a valuable volunteer leader.

    Track and Structures Team Manager based at Wyong, Jon Giffney...

    Jon Giffney, Engineering & Maintenance

    An incredible group of Sydney Trains volunteers have been helping to fight the fires since the beginning of the 2019/2020 season, nearly six months ago. In this story Jon Giffney speaks about his experiences on the front line.

    He says he learns a lot from volunteering with the SES, and that it helps him in his management role at Sydney Trains. But he says it works both ways, and his management experience at Sydney Trains has also helped him to become a valuable volunteer leader.

    Track and Structures Team Manager based at Wyong, Jon Giffney has been volunteering with the State Emergency Services (SES) for 15 years.

    So far this fire season, Jon has taken Christmas Day off, but otherwise has been working or helping to fight fires nearly every day since early November.

    His SES role involves helping to clear fallen trees from isolated roads so people can evacuate, as well as cutting down roadside trees that have been damaged by fire, making them a hazard for road users and other emergency services including the NSW RFS.

    “Some of these trees are up to 100 years old. The fire can burn the inside of the trunk – so it’s not obvious from the outside – but it makes it them very dangerous. We call them ‘candles’.

    “Our job is to clear roads so people in isolated areas can get out if and when they need to.”

    Much of his SES work this season has centred on the Central Coast, most recently around the Mangrove Mountain area, but over the last three months he’s also travelled to Bobin, north of Taree and down to Ku-ring-gai chase area to help.

    It’s dangerous work, but he knows he’s playing an important role and he says his manager understands the commitment and makes arrangements so he can have Special Leave. “It’s much more difficult for volunteers who are running their own businesses.”

    He says the length of this season and its intensity has meant there’s been a special need for him to set aside time to spend with his family, including his two children aged 10 and 13.

    And as is the case for so many who’ve been helping to fight the fires, he says the last two weeks have seen fatigue begin to kick in.

  • Tireless work keeps our customers and communities connected

    about 2 months ago
    Pac hwy   nov 2019 1

    Over the last few months, our teams across the state have put in an extraordinary effort to support communities in responding to the bushfire crisis. Throughout this time, our people have shown amazing resilience, professionalism and care.

    We have hundreds of staff out in the fire-affected regions helping to coordinate the response including managing road closures on the ground, directing customers to alternative routes and services, geotechnical and arborist teams inspecting roads and rail line conditions, and crews clearing vegetation and debris under catastrophic conditions.

    So what kinds of work are we doing?

    Keeping things moving with a proactive approach

    ...

    Over the last few months, our teams across the state have put in an extraordinary effort to support communities in responding to the bushfire crisis. Throughout this time, our people have shown amazing resilience, professionalism and care.

    We have hundreds of staff out in the fire-affected regions helping to coordinate the response including managing road closures on the ground, directing customers to alternative routes and services, geotechnical and arborist teams inspecting roads and rail line conditions, and crews clearing vegetation and debris under catastrophic conditions.

    So what kinds of work are we doing?

    Keeping things moving with a proactive approach with customers and industry

    Throughout the bushfires, regional teams in partnership with the Transport Management Centre have taken a proactive approach where possible to keep customers and industry informed as early as possible of road closures and service disruptions with some of the most significant impacts including multiple road closures in both directions along the Princes Highway given the ongoing fires along the South Coast.

    In particular, the Currowan bushfire has burnt over 308 thousand hectares since it began in late November, causing major road closures affecting both the Princes and Kings highways in December, which in turn impacted freight deliveries to and from Batemans Bay. To assist the local community, regional Transport teams took proactive steps to improve freight movements and ensure food, fuel and other supplies could reach the area. This included accelerating the assessment of fire damaged sections of the Princes highway to ensure timely recovery efforts to safely re-open roads for the community.

    NSW TrainLink teams were swift to replace train services on the Blue Mountains line as a result of bushfire damage to sections of the track and signalling structures, while coaches replace trains for the entire journey Dubbo to Broken Hill journey. Crews are working hard to restore infrastructure including overhead power to run electric trains with resumption of services to be determined later this month.

    Additionally, Maritime teams are also working hand in hand with a number of water-based agencies including the Rural Fire Service and Marine Area Command to ensure boaters are safe, and are assisting with the delivery of provisions and supplies and evacuations by water, as needed.

    Repairs to the network

    Crews are also carrying out much needed repairs on some parts of the transport networks. As significant fires continue to burn across most of our state, impacting our people, our network and our customers, crews have been working hard to start assessing the impact caused to roads and the rail network.

    Recovery efforts continue in the northern area of the state following fires from mid-2019 including the Oxley and Gwydir highways, critical east–west links for communities and freight. Due to the extensive damage to safety barriers and guardrails, culverts, signs and some retaining wall structures, work to restore the highway will take several months while road conditions continue to be monitored daily and traffic management arrangements adjusted to improve safety and travel efficiency.

    What are the priority areas?

    The priority areas for the next few weeks are the South Coast, Snowy Mountains and Monaro, and Southern Highlands with a number of active fires still present. The focus of Transport teams will be the assessment of the road and rail network, including the assessment and removal of hazardous trees and power poles, making the network safe to be travelled.

    The focus will then shift to coordinating a program of works, where needed, with Local Councils to address infrastructure and asset damage such as replacing safety barriers and signage, repairing road surfaces and reinstating line marking. Where possible, work will start immediately to open roads where minor work, such as the removal of dangerous trees and emergency road surface repairs, are required.

  • Sydney Trains step up amid bushfire crisis

    about 2 months ago
    Drone footage fires

    Teams across the state are doing us proud in restoring roads and services, putting in an extraordinary effort while working in incredibly tough conditions to support communities in responding to the bushfire crisis.

    And the hard work and challenges for our people didn’t stop during the Christmas break.

    Sydney Trains response crews have continued to work hard to assess the NSW fires damage on our train network and one of the major challenges they’ve faced is damage to the Blue Mountains Line between Mt Victoria and Lithgow.

    This is a huge area taking in roughly 27km of railway line...

    Teams across the state are doing us proud in restoring roads and services, putting in an extraordinary effort while working in incredibly tough conditions to support communities in responding to the bushfire crisis.

    And the hard work and challenges for our people didn’t stop during the Christmas break.

    Sydney Trains response crews have continued to work hard to assess the NSW fires damage on our train network and one of the major challenges they’ve faced is damage to the Blue Mountains Line between Mt Victoria and Lithgow.

    This is a huge area taking in roughly 27km of railway line involving thousands of pieces of infrastructure, from overhead wiring and stanchions, to fibre optic cabling and signal relays deep underground.

    Due to the bushfires there’s been extensive damage to signalling infrastructure, power poles, signalling relay huts and sadly - the loss of the heritage listed Newnes Junction signal box which had been standing since 1910.

    Teams have already begun the mammoth task of repairing this infrastructure so that we can run trains as soon as possible. However, it's important to remember that safety of our staff and customers is our number one priority, and this may take some time. At this stage, there is no forecast for when the line will be able to reopen.

    A huge thank you to all of our staff who have been working to keep people moving. From frontline NSW TrainLink customer service staff and train crew, to Sydney Trains infrastructure workers and response crews.

    Please visit transportnsw.info for the latest disruption information.

  • 5 January - Rodd Staples: Staying safe during the bushfire crisis

    about 2 months ago
    Bushfire image intranet 11112019

    Hi everyone,

    As many of you are starting to return from leave following the Christmas closedown period, I would like to acknowledge the bushfire crisis that has continued across the state throughout the holiday season.

    Working in partnership with other government agencies, our people have done us proud in restoring roads and services while working in incredibly tough conditions.

    Their work has allowed people and goods to move in and out of regions before the next potential fire threat. For some, this effort has been sustained for several months. I am truly grateful and would like to thank every one...

    Hi everyone,

    As many of you are starting to return from leave following the Christmas closedown period, I would like to acknowledge the bushfire crisis that has continued across the state throughout the holiday season.

    Working in partnership with other government agencies, our people have done us proud in restoring roads and services while working in incredibly tough conditions.

    Their work has allowed people and goods to move in and out of regions before the next potential fire threat. For some, this effort has been sustained for several months. I am truly grateful and would like to thank every one of you.

    Unfortunately this is not yet over and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues across government to keep people and property safe.

    The State of Emergency remains in place and we are continuing to work with NSW Police and NSW Rural Fire Service to provide ongoing transport advice and logistical support, as we always do for this type of emergency response. The TfNSW State Emergency Coordination Group is now in operation at the Transport Management Centre to manage the Transport response across the state.

    Over the coming days and weeks we will hear stories of great acts of courage, kindness and service from people in our communities. I know included in these will be stories of our people who supporting their communities during this emergency.

    I saw this first hand as I travelled through the south coast last week, passing the devastation in places like Mogo and visiting the emergency centre at Moruya. I was incredibly touched by how every Transport person I talked with showed great care and compassion for the communities we are supporting. Everyone also deeply understood how important it is for these communities that our response is timely and joined up across government.

    With the unprecedented scale of these bushfires, I already know that many of our people have been personally impacted, or have friends and family who have been affected. During this worrying and stressful time I would like to think that we will care for each other as sensitively as we are caring for the communities we serve.

    If you have been impacted and need to make alternative work arrangements, please speak with your manager. If you know of colleagues who have been impacted through the fires, please reach out and support each other in the ways that you can.

    And if you have been volunteering your time to support our emergency services, know that we will support you with paid special leave.

    Many people have asked how you can provide practical support. The NSW Rural Fire Service has provided guidance for those who would like to contribute.

    While our teams across the state put in extraordinary effort to support communities in responding to the bushfire crisis, it’s critical that you all continue to prioritise your personal safety while the emergency situation remains in place.

    As you return to work, it’s important to make sure your journey to and from work locations is safe. If you’re working in or travelling around a fire affected area, please keep up to date and follow the latest advice from NSW Police or NSW Rural Fire Service and plan ahead at livetraffic.com .

    The bushfires have severely impacted transport infrastructure and it may take us several weeks, or even months, to repair. But right now as the emergency continues, please stay safe and look out for each other.

    If you are affected by the bushfires and need to access government services to support recovery, please see the Office of Emergency Management Bushfire Recovery Assistance fact sheet .

    Rodd Staples

    Secretary