The Airport Link Railway Line.  The Mascot Railway Station.  Rail 050530 SMH News.Pic Steven Siewert SPECIALX SS050530

Track closures … commuters are facing a weekend without rail services through the city. Photo: Steven Siewert

TRAIN users face a weekend without services through the city, a week after the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, declared RailCorp has been incapable of properly managing trackwork.

Trains through the city and on the Airport Line will be shut down this weekend, which is the first of the Vivid festival, and there will be another CBD shutdown next month.

The track closure follows an admission issued on RailCorp’s behalf by Ms Berejiklian that it had shut down the Northern Line one weekend in November but had failed to organise for much work to be done.

Trackwork was ”not always managed to an optimal level – resulting in waste and unnecessary disruption to customers”, Ms Berejiklian said.

Asked if her reforms would lead to less weekend trackwork, Ms Berejiklian said: ”We want to ensure shutdowns are optimised in a way that minimises disruption to customers but safety and having well maintained network will always remain paramount.”

On Saturday and Sunday, buses will replace trains through the CBD, on the Airport Line, and for all stops between Summer Hill and Macdonaldtown on the Inner West Line. Trains would also be shut down through the CBD on the weekend of June 16 and 17, said RailCorp’s acting chief operating officer, Tony Eid, as part of a $4 million upgrade.

Timber sleepers are being replaced with concrete sleepers between Redfern and Central.

In January, Mr Eid told the Herald RailCorp was about two years away from replacing all wooden sleepers with concrete on the train network.

An international rail management expert, Rolf Bergmaier, has noted it is relatively rare for operators to regularly shut down entire train lines for weekend maintenance.