4D Train

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This article is about the train used in Melbourne, Australia. For other uses, see 4D.
Double-deck Prototype
Melbourne 4D Train.jpg
4D train at Spencer Street
In service 1992-2002
Manufacturer A Goninan & Co
Built at Broadmeadow
Family name Tangara
Entered service 10 March 1992
Scrapped 2006
Number built 4
Formation 4 carriages
Fleet numbers 6000T-5000M-5002M-6002T
Capacity 346 seated, 628 standing
Operator(s) Public Transport Corporation
Depot(s) Bayswater
Line(s) served Belgrave, Lilydale
Car body construction Stainless steel
Car length 20.32 m (66 ft 8 in)
Width 2.89 m (9 ft 6 in)
Height 4.27 m (14 ft 0 in)
Doors 4 twin-leaf plug doors per carriage
Articulated sections 3 per set, enclosed gangway
Maximum speed 130 km/h (81 mph)
Weight 186 tonnes (183 long tons; 205 short tons)
Traction system 8 x 170 kW (230 hp), chopper control
Acceleration 0.75 m/s2 (2.5 ft/s2)
Power supply (?)
Electric system(s) 1500 V DC Overhead lines
Current collection method Pantograph
Track gauge 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)

The 4D was a prototype double deck electric multiple unit built for the Public Transport Corporation, Victoria, for operation on the Melbourne railway system. It remains the only double deck train ever to have run in Melbourne.


Interior of the 4D train

Built by A Goninan & Co, Broadmeadow it was delivered by rail in December 1991.[1]

The train's design was based on the Tangara train being built by A Goninan & Co for CityRail in Sydney, however it was similar only in terms of interior and exterior bodywork; the train's electrical system was much closer to that of the Comeng sets. The design was further modified for use on Melbourne's broad gauge track, and its control system was designed specifically to allow in-service coupling and operation with Comeng sets.[2]

It was manufactured from stainless steel, fitted with air-conditioning, tinted windows, and inter-car doors allowing passengers to access all carriages of the train. It had a total passenger capacity of 974 passengers: 346 seated and 628 standing.

As part of the trial, the Belgrave and Lilydale lines were selected as main testing grounds for the unit and necessary works were performed to accommodate the train's somewhat unconventional dimensions. It was known that the train was physically too large for the Jolimont tunnel between Jolimont and West Richmond railway stations on the Hurstbridge and Epping lines. Given that the train was a demonstrator, it was likely that production designs or future infrastructure plans would have dealt with this.

By early 1993 the Victorian Government had decided not to proceed with the acquisition of any further double deck trains deciding infrastructure changes required to accommodate the larger trains were too expensive.[3]


The unit broke from Melbourne tradition by being configured as Driving Trailer-Motor-Motor-Driving Trailer (D-TM-TM-D); all other sets in service at the time were (and are still) configured as Driving Motor-Trailer-Driving Motor (M-T-M). In a further break from tradition, the 4D did not use the 'D' code for a driving trailer, instead it was coded simply as T-M-M-T. The car numbers were also placed far outside the usual range; the 4D was numbered as 6000T-5000M-5002M-6002T.

Most of the time the 4D was on the rails it was parked in the stabling facilities at Bayswater on the Belgrave line.

It entered revenue service on 10 March 1992 after testing and a subsequent media launch.[2] Eight trips were scheduled for its first day in service, the first being the 08:36 service from Flinders Street to Box Hill, followed by the 09:08 return, on which the train suffered the first of its many failures. This required the train to be removed from service at Camberwell and the cancellation of the remaining trips.

Initially the 4D was run coupled to a 3-car Comeng set until 1996 when, after a troubled conversion to driver-only operation, it was permitted to operate on its own. Often as not, though, it was towed or pushed by a 3 or 6-car Comeng set following a failure.

When the suburban system was split into two in 1998 in preparation for privatisation, it was allocated to Hillside Trains, which became Connex.

Throughout its 10 years in Melbourne, the 4D continued to be plagued by reliability issues that saw it constantly in and out of service. After its disappointing entry to service, the train saw little use and was in storage by 1999. It was revived in June 2000, but lasted only a year.

A final attempt was made in February 2002 to return the set to service, but after three days it again failed and was placed back in storage, never to operate in revenue service again.[4][5]


The 4D being cut up in March 2006

Ownership of the 4D was transferred back to the Victorian Government Department of Infrastructure, and the set was railed, ironically under its own power, to Newport Workshops in December 2002 for long-term storage.[6]

In 2006 the 4D was purchased by RailCorp and stripped of parts compatible with the Tangaras.[7] On 29 March 2006 the 4D was transferred by El Zorro to metal recyclers Sims Metal, Brooklyn for scrapping.[8]