Fleet renewal to make all trains air conditioned could take a decade

Posted: May 10, 2014 in Transport
Tags: ,

A $2.8bn order for 65 new trains will result in all trains on the NSW network being air conditioned. Currently, 90% of all trains on the Sydney Trains network, as well as all trains on both the NSW TrainLink network and T4 Line on the Sydney Trains network, are air conditioned. However, the new trains are not expected to begin taking passengers until 2019, with a complete rollout taking a further 5 years to 2024. This means non-air conditioned trains may still be operating for the next decade.

Old S-Set trains like this one lack air conditioning and are set to be phased out. Click to enlarge. (Source: Author.)

Old S-Set trains like this one lack air conditioning and are set to be phased out. Click to enlarge. (Source: Author.)

This new order of 65 trains represents a renewal of about a quarter of all electric passenger trains in NSW, of which there are currently 253 sets of 8 carriage trains, that will operate on the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, and South Coast Lines. The new trains could include features such as luggage compartments and premium carriages. These will replace the existing 52 electric trains used for intercity passenger services (25 V-Set and 27 OSCAR trains). This in turn will allow those 27 OSCAR trains to be reallocated off the intercity network and onto the suburban network to replace the 24 ageing S-Set trains, none of which are air conditioned and the first of which was introduced in 1972.

These new trains will also be off the shelf, rather than designed specifically for the Sydney rail network.  “Previously, NSW has developed unique and often costly train fleets from scratch, which has taken as long as seven years from start to delivery”, the Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said, adding that “We are looking at buying off-the-shelf trains with proven technology and then configuring them to meet our customers’ needs, meaning we can ensure the best value, best possible service and also have these new trains on the tracks faster”. Each new train will cost $43m, less than the $46m each Waratah train cost.

Sydney Trains currently operates 6 different types of trains. Click to enlarge. (Source: Sydney Trains.)

Sydney Trains currently operates 6 different types of trains. Click to enlarge. (Source: Sydney Trains.)

The government’s decision not to take up the option to order an additional 20 Waratah trains has previously been cited for why 10% of the fleet on Sydney Trains still lacks air conditioning. These non-air conditioned trains had to be retained in order to provide additional services on the South West Rail Link, set to open next year. When asked to comment, a spokesperson for Transport for NSW said “The S-Sets are rarely used but remain in storage for now and are only put in service when required”.

The electric train fleet

NSW has 253 electric passenger trains, split between Sydney Trains (201) and NSW TrainLink (52). There are also an additional 21 diesel trains that operate on the non-electrified Hunter and Southern Highlands Lines, as well as part of the South Coast Line.

NSW TrainLink currently operates 4 different types of trains, 2 electrtic and 2 diesel. Click to enlarge. (Source: Sydney Trains.)

NSW TrainLink currently operates 4 different types of trains, 2 electrtic and 2 diesel. Click to enlarge. (Source: Sydney Trains.)

Most of the time the electric trains operate as a set of 8 carriages, although with the exception of the Waratah trains these can be split into twice as many 4 carriage trains. The old “silver set” trains include the S-Set, K-Set, and C-Set trains, depending on whether they are air conditioned or have reversible seats. The oldest of these, the S-Sets, are the only trains to lack air conditioning, and will be kept on for the next decade primarily in reserve. The reasoning here is that if an additional train is needed due to another train not being available, a non-air conditioned train is better than no train at all.

Source: Sydney Trains and Transport for NSW

The 65 new trains will allow the existing 25 trains in the V-Set fleet to be retired, the first of which were introduced in the 1970s (the oldest have since begun to be withdrawn), and also allow the 27 OSCAR trains to replace the 24 S-Set trains. This will mirror what happened when OSCARS were first introduced, replacing the G-Set Tangaras that were originally designed for long distance trips. These G-Set Tangaras included toilets and had reversible seats, but were later refurbished to remove the toilets and add additional seating, then re-designated T-Sets like the remainder to the Tangara fleet but retaining their reversible seats.

Source: Sydney Trains and Transport for NSW

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Tandem Train Rider says:

    Wow.

    This is an interesting and, I might say, somewhat surprising development. But there is a lot about this announcement that simply doesn’t compute.

    But the total peak AM passenger load from the interurban routes is 15000 (here NB these numbers are a bit old), or 15 trains worth peak load.

    If you look at the three main routes: Blue Mts, Newcastle & Kiama, they are about 2.5hrs duration, which means you need 10 trains on each to provide an around the clock 30min frequency service.

    65 trains is enough to provide a peak 15min frequency service for the entire length of each route, including contra-flow, all day every day.

    The way the current timetable works is most of the off peak and regional services are provided by a single 4 car H set, supplemented by 8 car sets and V sets in the peak (except in the Blue Mts of course). The 8 car H sets, particularly on those from the central coast, but also on Sector 1, blend into the suburban network to provide suburban services as well.

    So, if the new train is going to use an “off the shelf” design, there is no way this new fleet can perform this double role anymore. All trains will (probably) have to run in and out of Sydney Terminal.

    And if the new train is to have the same/similar/compatible format, what about the Blue Mountain’s and the narrow loading gauge?

    Personally, I think the operating pattern of the NSW Trains component of the former CityRail service is the biggest opportunity for increased efficiencies through fleet renewal. The fact is apart from the peak to/from Sydney commuter specials, none of the interurban trains ever carry more than 200 people. Knights games aside, it’s hugely waseful having a 450 seat (4 car H set) serving these routes when something like an EMU Endeavour would be perfectly adequate.

    There are a lot of possible explanations, but I’ll explore just a few …

    So if they do get (another) new format, WTF are they going to do with them all if they can’t do suburban duties?

    The only possibility I can think of is to take the Western Line out of Sector 3 and run all trains using this new format into Sydney Terminal. The fleet size is about right for that (assuming they can be split into 4 car units for the contra flow and regional only services).

    But given the history of these things in NSW, I think it’s a more likely this issue just hasn’t been though through properly. And given the new divisions within RailCorp, there is a good chance this is just (another) mis-communication, or a sensible proposal that has been bastardised at the top – or near the top – level.

    A “sensible” fleet policy that retains the status quo service would be 65 new *4* car H set type trains to replace the geriatric V-Set fleet, with civil works to address the loading gauge in the mountains. With appropriate use of 4 car sets (ie everywhere except for peak commuter services) that’s enough to replace the Vs *and* deliver 20 new suburban trains (with toilets), meaning the S set reserve fleet can be scrspprf and the Ks and Cs held in reserve. And the budget is about right for that.

    So it’s possible this is just a mistake in the press release.

    But it’s also just as likely that at the upper levels someone has had the idea they can have a new interurban format, sending the H sets back to suburban duty. And by being “off the shelf” they can be cheaper and so we can get more of them and have a more relaxed seat pitch (I’m kidding!). The numbers sort of add up for this (the H set fleet numbers the same as the C&Ks, or the “reserve” S sets, but not both), but it ignores the fact the H set interurbans fill a good 10 trains worth of peak suburban slots, and are essentially more suburban than interurban services.

    Another possiblity is this has arisen from the NSWTrains/SydneyTrains split. NSW trains have specified their new train, suggested it can be “paid” for by returning the H sets to Sydney Trains (the logic of this is sound), but ignoring the role NSW Trains services play on the Sydney Trains region, as that isn’t their problem anymore.

    The timing of this announcement – just a week or 3 since BoF’s departure – suggests this has something to do with that. V Set replacement is something that the DoT have been knocking on the door with for some time (into it’s 4th decade now), and this announcement could well be part of Gladys’ como for not contesting the leadership – but falling short of second harbour crossing funding. Or it could just be a co-incidence. But either way, in the traddition of NSW railways, this announcement is *clearly* a few yards short of a well thought through policy.

  2. Simon says:

    Hang on, why can’t the new trains be used for services like Coast via Shore?? I don’t follow.

  3. mandonov says:

    That’s the thing, we don’t know yet. For all we know these new trains are equivalent to either modern V Sets or more comfortable OSCARS.
    If these trains are off the shelf the dementions of the carriages and the doors etc. may not be able to go through the City Circle. If they are able to, then it’s just a matter of good timetabling for the CC runs to continue on to the Blue Mts. or the Illawarra (if that’s possible). Speaking of the Illawarra, what’s going to happen to the South Coast trains terminating in the ESR? Will they still be able to?
    As for the OSCARS cascading down to suburban work, I wonder if they will keep the toilets in them and somehow only roster them on for long distance suburban runs, ie. Richmond branch, SWRL/Badgery’s Creek etc.

    Until we know what train we might be getting we won’t know anything other than what COULD happen.

  4. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > Hang on, why can’t the new trains be used for services like Coast via Shore?? I don’t follow.

    Because, to run via the Shore, the trains will need a similar form factor to the A/H/N/T/C/K/S sets: half the car length devoted to doors and standing space.

    Now they *may* do this, but the press release suggests that they have decided *not* to do this, but other than that not much else.

  5. Alexexsg says:

    Some of the media reports (presumably based on off-the-record briefings) on the possible design specs for the new trains which are to be purchased “off the shelf” sound interesting:

    “Although the government has not released any details about the trains, they are likely to be double-deckers.”

    – No surprises there – even under the government’s own single v. double-deck rationale, there is a strong case for intercity trains to be double-deck. There are also plenty of these around the world that can be purchased off the shelf, though I’m not sure how many are EMUs.

    Most of the ones I’ve seen like the German Regionalbahn trains are loco-hauled (or pushed). These are quite comfortable but don’t have the large vestibule area of the current Sydney intercity trains. The Paris double-deck RERs are self-powered and have better loading arrangements but these are more of a urban than an intercity type train and as far as I know don’t come with toilets.

    The irony about buying double-deck EMUs off the shelf from overseas is that I understand that the Tulloch developed in Australia for Sydney were the first double-deck EMUs in the world. It will also be interesting to see the cost comparison once the imported trains are optioned up to meet customer requirements including those for crash protection which I believe are quite strict here.

    “They are unlikely to have three-in-a-row seating, which the government’s research found to be unpopular with commuters.”

    – Again no surprises about commuter preference, but I wonder if part of the rationale here is a) 2 + 2 seating arrangements are more common if you want to buy off-the-shelf and b) the trains could be narrower and this might be a way to deal with the loading gauge problems on the Blue Mountains line above Springwood.

    I suspect the latter might be fairly expensive to fix, as I assume that would involve modifications to all the tunnels leading into Lithgow (assuming intercity trains continue to run all the way to Lithgow, but that’s another can of worms). Of course having a narrow loading gauge might be problematic if you want to fully integrate these trains with suburban services, but people seem to cope on the Western line with the differences.

    “And they are also unlikely to include seats that can be flipped to face the other way. This option is rarely taken up internationally and adds to the cost of a train.”

    – This is ironic given the previous statements about 3-across seating, as I seem to recall that the fixed seating on the Tangaras has always been unpopular and is one of the reasons bidirectional seats were introduced on later trains. Of course the real reason is probably that this makes buying off the shelf a lot easier.

    “Ms Berejiklian said the government hoped toilets would be available on all the new trains.”

    – I would hope so too! But surely this isn’t a matter of hoping – it’s a matter of specifying this in the tender requirements!

    There are plenty of off the shelf trains that come with toilets, but I suppose the real question is whether you can buy off the shelf the right package of EMU trains with appropriately sized doors and vestibules for a mixed intercity and suburban express service, the right loading gauge that will work for the Blue Mountains and at other stations including potentially the City Circle and which come with toilets and the appropriate safety standards.

    I suspect you can’t, so the real question is how much it will cost to retrofit all these requirements and/or which specs you water down or leave out to keep the costs down.

  6. MrV says:

    Fully support buying off the shelf designs in the future. The debacle of both the Waratahs, and Milleniums show that Downer/EDI and the other consortiums can not be trusted to deliver a project on time and on budget without further govt bailouts etc. They had their chance and failed.

    That said, after bailing out the Waratah project it was even more stupid to not make an additional purchase of 20 or so trains so the S-cans can finally be used as artificial reefs. After all the time, expense and effort designing a new train you would think they would have purchase at least enough to retire the old sets and thereby spread the cost of the developement work over more units.

  7. Dion says:

    Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian likes the idea of 4 Car sets running off-peak: that’s probably why she would like to replace the remaining S-Sets with OSCARs (both able to run as 4 or 8 car sets) rather than additional fixed 8 car set Waratahs.

  8. michblogs says:

    I can see the Government might be painting itself into a bit of a corner here.
    It’s busy claiming how the new interrurban trains will be better than the current ones, with 2+2 seating and toilets and wifi and maybe catering.

    And eventually, the nasty question of fares, subsidy and cost recovery is going to arise, particularly when the cramped standing-room-only trains ( and trams ) come into service in the city proper. More and more people are going to start asking , why are they paying 20c/km to stand on crowded trains, while people from Morisset are paying more like 4c/km for much nicer trains ?

    This becomes somewhat highlighted by the split of the interrurban trains from CityRail suburban trains, a split which is yet to be reflected in any way by ticketing.

    In countries which have long-distance commuter trains comparable to Sydney’s, ( LIRR, Connecticut to New York, and around London are some that come to mind ), the fare levels they charge would come as a nasty shock to most of the people at Katoomba or Wyong or Dapto.

  9. michblogs says:

    I’d be very surprised if at least one of the current european EMU designs can’t be configured in terms of floor levels and doors and body width, to be really very comparable to an Oscar in terms of functionality. I wouldn’t be expecting anything very exotic.

  10. michblogs says:

    “I suspect the latter might be fairly expensive to fix, as I assume that would involve modifications to all the tunnels leading into Lithgow (assuming intercity trains continue to run all the way to Lithgow, but that’s another can of worms). ”

    Actually, I don’t think it is the Lithgow tunnels, that is the problem. They already did a huge amount of work on those tunnels to make them capable for the V-set double deckers, they had to dig up the track and then scrape the floor of the tunnels lower. There seems to be no shortage of width in those tunnels.

    And, as you say, if the tunnels were the problem, they could already be running Oscars to Mt Victoria, and they don’t.

    The structure gauge issue with running the Oscars to the mountains lies elsewhere, I am not entirely sure where, but I don’t think it is those tunnels.

  11. Alexsg says:

    @ Mitchblogs – I agree – the government seems to want to have its cake and eat it too. On the one hand it’s saying that the Oscars are unsuitable for long distance travel (and certainly they are less comfortable than a V set) and are better suited as suburban trains, but on the other it is claimed that Baird said at the announcement that “Sydney customers will also benefit from this significant investment, as the new trains will stop at many busy Sydney interchanges such as Central and Strathfield” (SMH quote, not necessarily Baird’s).

    However given the introduction of Opal and a completely integrated ticketing system with card readers at every station (and not on trains) it is hard to see how this squares with Berejiklian statement as reported: “If there are proposals where certain carriages can have that premium service where you can get refreshments, I’m definitely open to looking at that. That’s what happens elsewhere in the world. Why should anyone travelling in NSW get less than what anyone else in the world is experiencing?”

    We may indeed be being softened up for a two-tier ticketing system, either with two classes on these trains or possibly all these trains being offered as a one-class premium service, which would neatly provide a rationale for jacking up the fares on all intercity services, especially if they had faster travel times and greater frequency than at present.

    However I’m still not sure how you would make this work within Opal. It would be easy enough to capture intercity users as they board or alight at stations outside the suburban area, but unless you put Opal readers on the carriages themselves it would be difficult to charge a premium for passengers using these trains as “premium” expresses within the suburban network boundary. Of course it is technically feasible to do this, but if you were going to put readers on intercity trains it would make the investment in installing them in non-suburban trains redundant.

    @Tandem Train Rider – the Blue Mountains trains I catch from the morning to the city and until the late evening peak going home all seem to have well over 200 people on board. Going to the city even late morning trains can be standing room only from Springwood, though the loading can vary greatly during the journey with lots of people alighting and boarding at Penrith and Parramatta. Some trains are completely packed from Emu Plains going into the city and vice versa.

  12. Alexsg says:

    Sorry – that second last para of my last post should end “… make the investment in installing them in non-suburban stations redundant”.

  13. MrV says:

    @michblogs

    Excellent point regarding cost recovery. It has to be kept in mind that unlike say Switzerland where the economic activity is quite distributed, NSW is very orientated toward a few city-based business centres. Hence two-class travel, and onboard catering works well in Europe, but I doubt really required for a trip to Dapto (no offence). That said if prices could be better adjusted and you had some sort of regional development program, there is no reason why regional train travel, say central coast/south coast could not become useful for business too.
    If the fares don’t at least somewhat reflect reality you are really just subsidising peoples lifestyle options (and house prices).

    For starters the suburban network needs to get costs under control, the fact that old cityrail was spending something like $4 for every $1 paid by the customer is a serious problem. This makes the inability to phase out the S and K sets etc an issue. Surely these clapped out things are costing a bomb to maintain, especially the air-con on the Ks?

    Also when you consider the cost per train of the Waratah delivered, and that it is possible to find something off the shelf for approx 1/3rd to 1/2 the price, imagine what the money left over could have purchased for improvement to the Sydney network, either more trains or improved infrastructure.

  14. Alexsg says:

    @Mitchblogs – that’s interesting, though I was told once years ago that they could get the outer suburban Tangaras as far as Katoomba with relatively minor adjustments to the track but had decided not to do so. If this is the case then in theory the major problem would have to be between there and Lithgow.

    I think there may be another rationale, however. I got the impression at the time I was told this that the widening of the loading gauge had been taken only as far as Springwood because that was an ideal point to turn around the Tangaras and subsequently the Oscars so that they could get another peak hour trip out of them.

    Notwithstanding my earlier comments about crowding, the argument seemed to be that the greater capacity of these trains is fairly redundant above Springwood and running them all the way to Katoomba or beyond would be a waste especially as you wouldn’t be able to get them back to the city in time to do anything useful during the peak.

  15. MrV says:

    Here is a little comparison of return fares:

    Zurich – Lucerne (~52km)
    Half Fare (with Travelcard[popular]) / Full Fare
    1st Class – CHF 42/84
    2nd Class – CHF 24/48
    *Travel card CHF175/year or CHF150 (with Visa-card option)

    Sydney – Wollongong (~82km)
    $AUD17.20 Return, although I guess with Opal this is now $15 Daily cap or further discount for weekly commute etc

    Perhaps not entirely the most appropriate comparison, but fair to say there is a bit of subsidy here.

  16. Ray says:

    I can’t see a problem with the loading gauge through the Blue Mountains if the same specifications for new rolling stock is similar to the V-sets. Intercity trains don’t need 3+2 seating, such as on the OSCARS. The 2+2 seating on the V-sets is all that’s needed and is far more comfortable for longer distance journeys. Despite their age, I’d prefer a V-set any day to an OSCAR. The issue of the narrower V-sets servicing suburban locations, as they already do on the Western and Northern Lines, hasn’t been a problem. This is no doubt in part due to the fact that the doorways are located at the end of the carriages, unlike the OSCARS, and legacy curved platforms are not an issue.

  17. Alexsg says:

    @Ray – that was the point I made earlier – a 2+2 configuration implies narrower carriages which means that you don’t need to do any infrastructure modifications in the Blue Mountains.

    I also agree that the current V sets are more comfortable than the Oscars or for that matter any other Sydney train. However this isn’t due just to the 2+2 seating, but also that the seats themselves are more comfortable – and reversible. In relation to the proposed new trains we don’t know anything yet about the former, but the latter has already been ruled out.

  18. Tandem Train Rider says:

    @mitch
    > I’d be very surprised if at least one of the current european EMU designs can’t be configured in
    > terms of floor levels and doors and body width, to be really very comparable to an Oscar in terms
    > of functionality. I wouldn’t be expecting anything very exotic.

    The kicker is floor height, because it impacts on the number and thus location of stairs, and thus door location. NSW has a very high floor height, after Bradfield raised it to widen the above platform loading gauge.

  19. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > I can’t see a problem with the loading gauge through the Blue Mountains if the same specifications
    > for new rolling stock is similar to the V-sets

    There are a couple of issues.

    One is 2+2 vs 2+3 seating. I know they’ve allegedly ruled out 2+3 seating, but I take that with a grain of salt. A “slightly” tighter fitout for 20% reduction in fleet size is a big trade off.

    The other issue is modern disability standards. The V-Set platform gap is unnacceptable these days, so I think they’ll need to spec the same width train as the rest of the Sydney Trains fleet regardless.

    There is another loading gauge issue that will rule out a lot of off the shelf designs: wheel base.

    The unrestricted loading gauge in NSW only applies to a wheel base of just 16m IIRC, and that is a lot shorter than most DD designs. The AST fleet is slightly wider than the general NSW loading gauge, but this is more than compensated for by the wheel bases being shorter at ~14m (IIRC).

    This is one of the reasons our trains don’t ride so well: the wheel bases are shorter than in Europe to accommodate our eclectic loading gauge. If you look at a V Set and compare it with a European vehicle, you’ll notice that even though a V is longer than and AST, the bogies are much closer to the centre. This means the double deck lengths need to be shorter.

    And while I’m on this topic, the reason we have such a restrictive loading gauge is because back in the late 19th century they decided to build island platforms as “a productivity measure”: so they could halve the number of station staff. It’s not the first nor last time in NSW rail that capital productivity has been seriously compromised to deliver better labour productivity :-).

  20. MrV says:

    @TTR

    Yes these
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RABe_511 (for example)
    have an 25m car length, are about 200mm higher than a Waratah but about 200mm narrower width. Of course floor height would be the issue with this particular model.

    However do loading gauge specs necessarily rule out ‘off the shelf’?
    I note some train designs are available for both std. gauge and Russian gauge, as well as configurable for for various loading gauges. Wouldn’t most of the savings from ‘off the shelf’ come from the fact you effectively place an order with an established train manufacturer- so you don’t have to go through the whole process of setting up a consortia, tendering/testing components, factories etc etc etc. The supplier relationships would already be established.

    >This is one of the reasons our trains don’t ride so well
    Understatement of the century, it’s amazing how much some trains bounce around even at 80kph you’d swear some rails are out of alignment by inches. I assume this rules out designs utilising the full length (ie boa) simply because of the poor state of the track and it would be potentially dangerous to actually stand in that section of the train..

  21. michblogs says:

    The stations which the Vsets stop at, like Hornsby, Eastwood, Penrith, Strathfield, etc, tend not to be the most curved ones. I’ve seen Vsets drive through Wollstonecraft but never seen one stop there.

  22. michblogs says:

    The trains in NSW are not really “intercity” trains. They don’t serve that function in any meaningful sense compared to how trains are used overseas. They are primarily outer-suburban and extra-suburban commuter trains.

  23. Alexsg says:

    @mitchblogs

    Parramatta has a fairly decent curve on it.

    I agree that “Intercity” is a fairly grand name. It is technically correct in that the termini and/or major centres towards the end of each route are cities, but these certainly aren’t intercity trains in the way most European countries would use the term.

    In countries like France and Germany they would be referred to as regional trains (RER or Regionalbahn). I have caught Regionalbahn trains between Aachen and Cologne (a distance of around 70 km) a few times and these operate in ways not a million miles different to their Australian counterparts – double deck trains providing both intercity but mainly outer suburban commuter services, the latter mainly at the Cologne end but to some extent into and out of Aachen as well.

    However “regional train” sounds a bit bland. Personally I prefer “interurban trains” which captures the slightly more urban nature of these trains (given Sydney’s geographic sprawl) compared to their European counterparts.

  24. JC says:

    Intercity:

    “The trains in NSW are not really “intercity” trains. They don’t serve that function in any meaningful sense compared to how trains are used overseas. They are primarily outer-suburban and extra-suburban commuter trains.”

    The German, Swiss and French regional trains shown in the press release are also mostly not “intercity” trains but commuter or inter-urban trains (the real intercity trains whether very high-speed e.g. TGV and ICE or just plain fast – by NSW standards i.e. around 200km/h) are more normally singlke deck abd even more comfortab le tyhan the examples shown in the press release.

    Off the shelf:

    Unless we rebuild all the stations they go through, off-the-shelf is not possible. All the DD stock shown (and others) is only used currently on continental low-platform stations (others have pointed this out). The doors are located on a level either at the lower elvel or on an intermediate kleven between the lower level and the mid level (the car ends equivalent to the entry level on NSW trains). So on eneteriong the train, the lower level is 2-3 steps down, the car end is 2-3 steps up, and the upper level is effectively two flights up – i.e. really not very wheelchair or genrally mobility friendly. This would mean modifications either to the stations and/or the trains and/or accvessibniliuty expectations. I’m sure Siemens, Bombardier, Alsthom etc woudl eb happy to oblige – but it would not be off-the shelf.

  25. JC says:

    And finally

    (with apologies for typos in the hastily sent previous post)

    It is really onterinsting that Minister Gladys has noticed that in Europe for suburban/regional lines that cpontinue intue densely populated cities, doupble deckers AREN’T against the direction of travel.

  26. Alexsg says:

    @JC – I agree that most of the German and other similar European double deck regional rolling stock runs to low platforms, but I think the Paris RER which have double deck cars are high platform lines.

    Indeed I recall that the latest Paris RER three-door DD designs like the M109 were suggested as an alternative to the government’s decision to go to single deck trains for the NWRL, as they would offer similar dwell times.

  27. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > Unless we rebuild all the stations they go through, off-the-shelf is not possible.
    Agreed, *unless* we go with a single deck design of course :-).

  28. MrV says:

    @Alex
    The RER platform height must vary across the network. I remember getting it from Gare du Nord and the platforms didn’t seem particularly high, indeed up stepped up into the train as I recall.

    @TTR
    I suspect Bambul is paying you to get the next million comments up in record time by raising the SD v DD topic again.

    A single deck regional service comes back to the whole issue of how do they integrate into the suburban service. Not saying it can’t be done but raises some issues.

  29. @MrV –

    I was actually thinking of writing up a SD vs DD post, now that you mention it. But I’ve been quite busy and haven’t had the time to get the thoughts in my head into words on a page. But I appreciate you imagining that I am much wealthier than I actually am. ;)

  30. JC says:

    @Mitch – and others

    I agree that European EMU designs could be adapted – and would probably be a better quality product than most of the the home-growns of history (is the Tangara the P76 on rails?) – but I think the reconfiguring for platform height etc is not trivial, and potentially expensive, and GB shouldn’t delude herself abut this.

    @alex & MrV
    Admittedly getting a bit nerdy here…

    There is a rather neat picture of the RER stock in this blog (posted 11.10.11) that shows high platform so they may be an option (but note they have 3 doors/side and not many seats – if we want to re-open the SD v. DD debate)

    The French train shown in the Herald (sourced as the press handout) http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/nsw/nsw-government-to-spend-28b-on-new-intercity-trains-20140508-37x8o.html shows a low platform version (but it has SNCF rather than metro/RER markings so is presumably a suburban/regional version – so there may be options via French manufacturers (despite the EU the French would never dream of an off-the-shelf German train if it put French jobs at risk).

    Looking further afield – when I was googling for RER pix, I found this high-platform DD set from India
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/slideshows/infrastructure/chennai-bangalore-ac-double-decker-express-train-starts-operations/slideshow/19720512.cms

    …may be just what we are after if the price is right!

  31. Alexsg says:

    @MrV – apparently platform heights do vary across the RER network. This post on Skyscraper City discusses the upgrade to RER line B which includes raising platform heights: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=89941949&postcount=974

  32. Tandem Train Rider says:

    @ Mr V, you are half right. I keep sending Bambul the invoices but the slacker never pays!

    Here is another type of Indian Double Decker we should consider.

  33. michblogs says:

    The commenters who have suggested that the new trains will have a “radically different form factor”, which would, for example, prevent the continued operation of Central Coast via North Shore line services, are, I believe, mistaken.

    If they can’t operate on the North Shore due to different platform height requirements, or some such limitation, then how will they operate on the Northern Line or the Western Line, either ? Dedicated tracks and special different platforms ? Reserving 50% of the track space between Hurstville and Central, purely for Wollongong services ? I don’t think so…. I believe that is extremely unlikely to happen because of costs and space constraints.

    A second issue, is that the interrurban services are much more integrated with the suburban services, in Sydney, than they are in most other places, even Melbourne. That’s for a whole bunch of reasons. The same operator, for a long time. Using the same tracks, unlike other cities where the metro has 100% separate tracks from any outer-suburban or interrurban railway. That isn’t going to change, any time soon. And simply the asymmetric and polycentric nature of the city. A lot of interruban commuters want to get off, at Parramatta, or at Hurstville. Or change for key employment centres at Hornsby or Epping. And you would be fighting a losing battle to try and stop other people getting on. And the way Sydney’s various lines interconnect at places, and form loops, where people want to change trains. Much more so than most other places. Melbourne has no junctions with network topology like Hornsby, or Glenfield. Oh wait, maybe Laverton.

    I think the new trains will look a lot more like the Oscars than you may be thinking.

    Anyway, in a year or so, we’ll find out.

  34. michblogs says:

    “I agree that “Intercity” is a fairly grand name. It is technically correct in that the termini and/or major centres ”

    I will grant you that Newcastle is a city, which just illustrates the point, though. How many people from Sydney will catch the train to go to Newcastle ? None, that’s how many. I go there often and I watch people closely.

    Bomaderry and Mt Victoria are not cities by any stretch of the imagination.

  35. michblogs says:

    That Chennai-Bangalore Express train is an interesting one.

    Narrow doors at the end of the car. Like a V set.

    A section with seats on the middle level, between the door and the stairs. Like a V set.

    Neither of which is going to get a tick from the handicapped.

    And from Chennai to Bangalore, it is 350 kilometres. And they are large cities at BOTH ends, with considerable demand for travel from end-to-end. And it is an express. So not many stops along the way.

    Apart from the probable three hour travel time, it’s not very comparable.

  36. michblogs says:

    ” Intercity trains don’t need 3+2 seating, such as on the OSCARS.”

    So Wyong commuters don’t like the 2+3 seats ? [ Actually, nobody likes them much. Get on any train which is 70% full, and see how many people are sitting in the middle seat ]

    Tell the Wyong commuter that you will satisfy their preference by taking 20% of the seats out of the train, so an extra 20 people per carriage are standing for 90 minutes. They might reconsider their preference…

  37. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > If they can’t operate on the North Shore due to different platform height requirements, or some
    > such limitation, then how will they operate on the Northern Line or the Western Line, either ?
    > Dedicated tracks and special different platforms ?

    There are two basic options:
    – not run across the bridge, city circle to the BJ – in which case the form factor restrictions are just the oading gauge (which still rules out “off the shelf” DD designs)
    – be more or less the same design we have now.

    My personal view is the SydneyTrains zone should extend from Springwood to Gosford (with supplementary peak services from Lawson and Wyong), and this would take ~10000 of the peak 15000 commuter load, largely negating NSWTrain’s need for a big heavy commuter train.

    That said, if we ditch the requirement for the trains to run through the city, it opens up a world of design and efficiency possiblities. For a starters, the trains no longer need to 158m “long”.

    A conventional single deck vehicle with an OSCAR fitout would also hold ~100 seats, and they really could be sourced “off the shelf”, or even second hand, and be substantially cheaper.

  38. JC says:

    “The commenters who have suggested that the new trains will have a “radically different form factor”, which would, for example, prevent the continued operation of Central Coast via North Shore line services, are, I believe, mistaken.”

    I agree – if they can fit in the Lithgow/Mt Voctoria tunnels, they can fit over the harbour bridge and through the City Circle/Wynyard tunnels. There is some mixing up here of 2 issues. My point about platform height etc means that off-the-shelf designs are not possible without modifications on all parts of the network including in the Blue Mountains, Central coast etc – where all the platforms are high.

    “I think the new trains will look a lot more like the Oscars than you may be thinking.”

    Exacly – once you modify the continental designs for high platforms, then they are Oscars – albeit with higher quality design – and potentially cheaper (or not – we would need to see the bids)

  39. Tandem Train Rider says:

    > I agree – if they can fit in the Lithgow/Mt Voctoria tunnels, they can fit over the harbour bridge and through the City Circle/Wynyard tunnels.

    If they can fit through the 10 tunnels, they will have an unacceptably large platform gap for fast/crush load boardings and exits in the City stations.

    If they have comfortable 2+2 seats in the current format, the decks go from 10/11 rows of 5 (=> ~900 seats per train) to 8 rows of 4 (=> 550 seats per train).

    The European and Nth American designs typically have longer decks, smaller doors and less standing space. This has two problems:
    – It slows loading/unloading time, so these trains would need 2 slots to operate through the city.
    – The longer wheel base would not fit around our island platforms.

    BTW: click here if anyone want’s to see my concept train …

  40. MrV says:

    The more I look at this, the more I wonder why they didn’t just purchase an additional 70 or so Waratah trains and be done with it. This would allow them to completely scrap the K and S sets. You would think if they ordered more the price could be driven down as surely most of the teething issues are resolved by now.

    The only design modification for those used interurban is perhaps modify two cars in each 8 set to be completely single deck. These cars would house toilet facilities and bike storage etc.
    Indeed it would be possible to build some single deck carriages and then just slot them into an existing dd train, based on the particualr requirements of the line.
    Seems to be the best of both worlds, retaining network compatabiltiy based on reality of runnning trains through the city.

    Buying off the shelf would be better focussed on the single deck metro units. And I still think the old proposed Anzac line (similar) was the way to go.

  41. JC says:

    …and a very relevant news item re train/network compatibility.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27497727

    If even the French can get it wrong, what hope do we have?

  42. grant says:

    I travel on the blue mountain line every day and much prefer the old v sets to the new uncomfortable Oscars sets, I would be quiet happy to leave the v sets operating for the next ten plus years, they replaced the v sets with the Oscars on the south coast line which turned out to be very unpopular,v sets have just been refurbished so why on earth would we waste tax payers money on new trains when the old train,s more then do the job! Spend the money on stopping the vandalism on the newly refurbished trains would be a start!!

  43. michblogs says:

    The first comment on this thread claims that 4-cars is enough for off-peak services. Doubtful ! So far this year, I’ve been on a over a dozen weekend services on the Central Coast line that had people standing for an hour due to lack of seats on four car trains. The same on some of the off-peak services on weekdays. A four-car H-set around 3 in the afternoon is standing room only from Strathfield to Hornsby, and at Hornsby, a lot more people were trying to get onto the train than the number getting off. A four-car H-set around 11:30 AM from Hornsby to Strathfield, also packed with standees.

  44. Steve says:

    The V-Sets that are on the Blue Mountains line are fantastic. We love them. Quiet and so comfortable. What will be replacing the V-Sets? I hope they’re as good!

  45. Rick says:

    Please advise what line has the majority of the non-aircon trains.

    I would challenge the minister to travel parramatta to Campbelltown @ 3.15pm like I have today in 38 degree heat.

    This is not an exception but a regular occuring event on this line. Yet we continue to be charged the standard rate of fare.

    Come on minister step out onto parramatta station and travel on the cattle carts

  46. Sunny Yan says:

    @Rick
    S sets are most likely on Sector 2 services, as they are at Flemington MC. I think due to low patronage, silver sets are used the most on T5/6. They also require 4 car sets on T5/6, so its silver sets only as A sets can’t be split and M sets are a bit of a faff to split as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s