XP2004 in the current CountryLink livery at
|Family name||High Speed Train|
|Entered service||8 April 1982|
|Number built||19 power cars
60 passenger carriages
|Formation||2 power cars, 5-7 carriages|
|Fleet numbers||XP2001-18, XFH2104-10, XFH2112-13, XBR2150-58, XAM 2175-82
|Depot(s)||Meeks Road, Sydenham|
|Line(s) served||North Coast, Main Western
|Maximum speed||Service: 160 km/h (100 mph),
Record: 193 km/h (120 mph)
|Traction system||Diesel electric|
|Engine(s)||Paxman VP185 12-cylinder diesel , originally Paxman Valenta 12-cylinder diesel|
|Power output||1,492 kW (2,001 hp) per power car|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
The XPT (short for eXpress Passenger Train) is the main long-distance passenger train used by CountryLink on country rail services in New South Wales from Sydney to Dubbo, Grafton and Casino as well as interstate destinations, Brisbane and Melbourne. The XPT is based on the British Rail designed High Speed Train and entered service in April 1982.
Improving public transport was a major issue in the 1976 State Election in New South Wales and one of the promises of the incoming Wran State Government was to buy new rolling stock for country rail services.
In January 1978 the New South Wales Public Transport Commission invited tenders for 25 high speed railcars similar to the Prospector railcars that had been delivered by Comeng to the Western Australian Government Railways in 1971. The tender allowed bidders to suggest alternative types of high speed train. Comeng submitted a tender for a train based on the British Rail designed High Speed Train which had entered service in the United Kingdom in October 1976. In August 1979 Comeng was announced as the successful bidder and although the tender had called for 100 vehicles, by the time the contract was signed in March 1980, the order was only for 30, 10 power cars and 20 carriages enough to form four five-carriage trains with two spare power cars.
The High Speed Train design was significantly modified with the power cars being 50 cm shorter, the Paxman Valenta engine down rated from 2,250 bhp to 2,000 bhp, gearing lowered for a top operating speed of 160 km/h, suspension modified to operate on inferior track and air filters and the cooling system modified to cater for hotter and dustier Australian conditions. A different light cluster was fitted along with three high beam spotlights mounted to the roof. The passenger trailers cars were based on a Budd design, rather than the British Rail Mark 3 trailers, which were considered unsuitable.
In service 
The first power car and trailer commenced testing with a Southern Aurora luggage van in August 1981. The initial XPT livery was red, black and orange with InterCity XPT signwriting. On a demonstration run to Albury on 6 September 1981 the XPT set a new Australian speed record of 183 km/h between Table Top and Gerogery in southern NSW, breaking that of Western Australia's 1971 Prospector railcar. On a test run to Albury on 18 September 1992 the XPT reached 193 km/h between Table Top and Yerong Creek. This record was broken by Queensland Rail's Tilt Train in May 1999.
The first full test XPT set ran in January 1982. The four sets entered service on the Central West XPT to Dubbo in April 1982, the Mid North Coast XPT to Kempsey in May 1982 and the Riverina XPT to Albury in August 1982.
In 1983 a further five power cars and 15 trailers were ordered. These allowed the Canberra XPT to commence in August 1983 followed by the Northern Tablelands XPT to Glen Innes and Tenterfield (2 times per week only) in June 1984. By tightening up the diagrams, an overnight South XPT to Albury was introduced, but cancelled in June 1985 due to low patronage. In 1985 an additional 12 trailer carriages were ordered to allow six sets of 7 carriages to be formed. From October 1985 the Mid North Coast XPT to Kempsey ceased, being replaced by the North Coast XPT to Grafton. The Northern Tablelands XPT also was cut back to Armidale and only ran on alternate days with a HUB/RUB set operating on the other days.
Initially the XPT carried a fare surcharge compared to parallel locomotive hauled services, however this was abolished from May 1985.
Following the election of the Greiner State Government in March 1988, consultants Booz Allen Hamilton were commissioned to prepare a report into NSW rail services. On purely economic grounds, the report recommended closing all country passenger services as they were judged unviable, however this was not politically acceptable. If services were to be maintained, the report recommended operating a reduced rail service, all with XPTs.
In February 1990 the Brisbane Limited and Pacific Coast Motorail were withdrawn and replaced by XPT services to Brisbane and Murwillumbah. To provide rolling stock for these, the Canberra XPT was withdrawn and replaced by a locomotive hauled train and the Northern Tablelands Express was truncated to become a day return service to Tamworth.
In June 1990 the government announced that it would purchase a fleet of Xplorers to reintroduce services to Armidale and Moree. When these were introduced in October 1993 the Northern Tablelands XPT ceased and the stock replaced a locomotive hauled set on a service to Grafton.
In October 1990 the government announced that eight sleeper carriages would be ordered for use on overnight services to Brisbane, Murwillumbah and Melbourne. These were included in an order placed with ABB Transportation, Dandenong in 1991 for four power cars and 13 trailers that was jointly funded by the New South Wales and Victorian governments.
In November 1993 XPTs replaced locomotive hauled stock on the overnight Sydney/Melbourne Express. In December 1994 an XPT daylight service to Melbourne was introduced by extending the Riverina XPT from Albury.
In 1995 CountryLink trialled three Swedish Railways X2000 tilting train carriages. After conducting a state wide tour in March, they were used on Canberra services from April until June with modified XPT power cars XP2000 and XP2009.
The XPT fleet are currently used on five routes from Sydney:
- Dubbo (Daily each way – daylight service, morning departure from Sydney, afternoon return – travel time 6.5 hours)
- Grafton (Daily each way – daylight service, designed to service the north coast conveniently including Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour – travel time 10 hours)
- Casino (Daily daylight train from Sydney to Casino, daily overnight service from Casino to Sydney with sleeping car attached travel time 11 hours – coach connections to/from the Gold Coast and Brisbane)
- Brisbane (Daily overnight service from Sydney to Brisbane with sleeping car attached, daily daylight train from Brisbane – travel time 14 hours)
- Melbourne (Daily overnight service in each direction with 1 sleeping car attached, daily daylight service in each direction – travel time 11–11.5 hours)
The Dubbo set is captive and operates a daily return service. The other seven sets rotate on a seven day cycle as follows:
- Day 1 - HT22 Meeks Road to Sydney, forms ST23 (8622) Sydney to Melbourne day train. Forms ST22 (8621) Melbourne to Sydney overnight train.
- Day 2 - ST22 arrives in Sydney, forms HT23 to Meeks Road. Serviced. Forms HT34 to Sydney. Forms NT35 Sydney to Grafton day train. Stables.
- Day 3 - NT36 Grafton to Sydney day train. Forms HT37 to Meeks Road. Serviced. Forms HT20 to Sydney. Forms ST21 (8612) to Melbourne overnight train.
- Day 4 - ST21 (8612) arrives in Melbourne. Forms ST24 (8611) to Sydney day train. Forms HT25 to Meeks Road. Stables.
- Day 5 - HT32 Meeks Road to Sydney. Forms NT33 Sydney to Casino day train. Forms NT34 Casino to Sydney overnight train.
- Day 6 - NT34 arrives in Sydney, forms HT35 to Meeks Road. Serviced. Forms HT30 to Sydney. Forms NT31 Sydney to Brisbane overnight train.
- Day 7 - NT31 arrives in Brisbane. Forms NT32 Brisbane to Sydney day train. Forms HT33 to Meeks Road. Stables.
CountryLink's XPT fleet consists of:
- 19 XP Power cars
- 9 XFH Economy class saloon/luggage cars
- 25 XF Economy class saloon cars
- 9 XBR First class saloon/buffet cars
- 9 XL First class saloon cars
- 8 XAM Sleeping cars
Power cars 
XPT power cars originally featured a Paxman Valenta 12RP200L Engine with a single turbocharger. These were replaced from June 2000 by Paxman VP185 12-cylinder, diesel electric engines with four low-pressure turbochargers and two high-pressure turbochargers boasting 1,492 kW / 2,000 horsepower that had been successfully used by some British Rail High Speed Trains since 1994. Traction equipment was manufactured in the United Kingdom by Brush Traction of Loughborough. Power cars comprise five main compartments at the platform level. At the front is the drivers' cab, followed by the clean air compartment, engine room, cooling group, and compressor room at the rear of the locomotive.
The State Rail Authority named 18 of the 19 XP power cars after destinations that the XPT served. All have since been removed.
- XP2000 - City of Maitland
- XP2001 - City of Dubbo
- XP2002 – City of Brisbane
- XP2003 – City of Orange
- XP2004 – City of Kempsey
- XP2005 – City of Newcastle
- XP2006 – City of Wagga Wagga
- XP2007 – City of Albury
- XP2008 – City of Goulburn
- XP2009 – City of Murwillumbah
- XP2010 – City of Taree
- XP2011 – City of Sydney
- XP2012 – City of Tamworth
- XP2013 – City of Casino
- XP2014 – City of Grafton
- XP2015 – City of Wangaratta
- XP2016 – City of Cootamundra
- XP2017 – City of Melbourne
- XP2018 – City of Coffs Harbour
Carriage coding, features and numbers are as follows:
- XFH- Economy Class, Booked Luggage & Guard's Lookout: XFH 2104 – XFH 2110, XFH 2112 and XFH 2113
- XF- Economy Class: XF 2200 – XF 2224
- XBR- First Class & Buffet: XBR 2150 – XBR 2158. XBR 2157 was rebuilt from economy class saloon XD 2225 and XBR 2158 from economy saloon/luggage car XDH 2111 both by United Goninan, Broadmeadow
- XL- First Class: XL 2228 – XL 2236. XL 2233 – 2236 were rebuilt by United Goninan from XFH/XDH saloon/luggage cars
- XAM- First Class sleeping car, can also be used as a day sitting car: XAM 2175 – XAM 2182
Typically XPTs operate with four carriages to Dubbo, with five during peak times, and six on the North Coast and Melbourne services, with seven during peak times. CountryLink operate the XAM cars on all North Coast and Melbourne services.
The XPT fleet is maintained at Meeks Road Depot, a purpose built depot at Sydenham.
See also 
- Cooke, David (1984). Railmotors and XPTs. Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Division. ISBN 0 909650 23 3.
- "The making of an XPT speed record" Railway Digest November 1992 page 417
- "Northern Report" Railway Digest July 1984 page 225
- "Country Train and Coach Changes" Railway Digest August 1985 page 229
- "The XPT Turns 15" Railway Digest April 1997 page 43
- "XPT Cars Ordered" Railway Digest October 1985 page 297
- "More Timetable Changes" Railway Digest November 1985 page 327
- "XPT Fares Reduced" Railway Digest April 1985 page 98
- "CountryLink 2000" Railway Digest August 1989 page 262
- "The New Timetable" Railway Digest March 1990 page 94
- "Xplorer Enters Service" Railway Digest November 1993 page 458
- "XPT sleepers for North Coast trains" Railway Digest November 1990 page 385
- "NSW/Vic to share XPTs" Railway Digest January 1991 page 7
- "XPT trailer cars to be built in Victoria" Railway Digest August 1991 page 273
- "Major Passenger Train Changes Commence this Month" Railway Digest November 1993 page 466
- "Sydney-Melbourne Daylight XPT Commences This Month" Railway Digest December 1994 page 7
- "So why do you call it a tilt train?" Railway Digest July 1995 page 30
- Closure of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail service NSW Parliament 24 November 2004
- CountryLink Western timetable CountryLink 23 October 2011
- CountryLink North Coast timetable CountryLink 11 October 2009
- CountryLink Southern timetable CountryLink 11 October 2009
Further reading 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: XPT|
- RailPage Australia XPT Page Information on design, construction, rolling stock and operations