Sydney Trains A set

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A32 approaching Flemington (cropped).jpg
Waratah set A32
Manufacturer Reliance Rail/Downer Rail
Built at Changchun Railway Vehicles, Changchun, China and Downer Rail, Cardiff
Replaced Sydney Trains S sets
Constructed 2010 to 2014
Entered service 2011-2014
Number under construction 24
Number in service 78
Number scrapped 1 (A2) Acid spill while in transit back to China and rebuilt as A80
Formation 8 cars
Fleet numbers A1, A3-A78, A80
Capacity 896 seated including 16 wheelchair spaces
Operator(s) Sydney Trains
Depot(s) Auburn
Line(s) served
Car body construction Stainless Steel
Train length 163.1 m (535 ft 1 in)
Car length 20.000 m (65 ft 7 in)
Width 3.035 m (9 ft 11 in)
Height 4.410 m (14 ft 6 in)
Maximum speed 130 km/h (81 mph)
Weight 404 t (398 long tons; 445 short tons)
Traction system Two converters per motor car utilising spread spectrum modulation. Four AC motors per car (Supplier: Hitachi, Japan)
Acceleration 1 m/s2 (3.3 ft/s2)
Deceleration 1 m/s2 (3.3 ft/s2)
Train heating Two independent cooling units per car: 38 kW (51 hp) cooling, 24 kW (32 hp) heating
Electric system(s) 1,500 V DC catenary
Current collection method pantograph
Braking system(s) Regenerative brake with blended electro-pneumatic wheel mounted disc brakes (Supplier: Knorr-Bremse (Pneumatics) and Hitachi (traction)])
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

The Sydney Trains A set or Waratah is a class of electric multiple unit trains operated by Sydney Trains in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The train was named Waratah by the NSW Government after the flower of the same name, which is the state's floral emblem.

The design is based on the M set and was the largest rolling stock order in Australia's history. The 626 carriages make up around half of the Sydney Trains fleet, and replaced two-thirds of the 498 S set carriages. Delivery commenced in July 2011 and was completed in June 2014. An order for an additional 24 eight-carriage trains of a very similar design was placed in December 2016, with these trains expected to be delivered in late 2018.

Public Private Partnership[edit]

The carriages were delivered by a joint venture between Downer Rail and Hitachi for Reliance Rail under a Public Private Partnership (PPP).[1] As part of the PPP, Reliance Rail will also maintain the trains for a minimum of 30 years at the purpose built Auburn Maintenance Centre facility.[2] At least 72 sets must be made available to Sydney Trains every day during the contract period.

Reliance Rail took on debts of $2.4 billion at cheap interest rates before the global financial crisis.[3] Higher interest rates and changes in the financial sector after the GFC meant the company would have difficulty refinancing its debt, leading the Government of New South Wales into talks with Reliance Rail to resolve the financial status of the project.[4] In February 2012 the Government agreed to bail out the project for $175 million by becoming the sole shareholder in 2018.[3][5][6]


The Waratah was designed at the Downer EDI Rail design offices, then at Clyde, NSW, Australia. The sets are formed of eight carriages – a break from the previous standard Sydney practice of four car sets, which are then coupled to form eight car trains. The configuration is: trailer driving car + motor car + motor car + trailer car + trailer car + motor car + motor car + trailer driving car.[1] This means that guards operate from the rear of the train rather than the centre and that commuters are able to walk through the entire train in an emergency. The trains include external CCTV cameras to assist guards.[7]

The train's guards' compartment is located in the last carriage

Carriage interiors were designed by Transport Design International.[8] The inside of the train includes additional Emergency Help Points and CCTV cameras compared to older classes. Improvements to the DVAs (Digital Voice Announcements) with differential pitch of the voice allow more natural sounding speech. ‘Smart’ air-conditioning automatically adjusts to the outside temperature and the number of passengers on board.[9] Accessibility features include 16 wheelchair spaces, portable wheelchair ramps in the end cars, red fabric on priority seating and additional handrails compared to older trains in the fleet.[7]

The A set is the first passenger train in the world to use LED lamps for all lighting (except headlights). In doing so, the designers managed to remove almost 800kg in reflectors and ballasts associated with fluorescent units, as well as reducing power consumption to around a quarter of that used by fluorescents..[10] Woollen moquette fabric, a durable, vandal-resistant material, is used to cover the train's seats. The seats were a groundbreaking design, using specially developed shock absorbers such that the reversing feature is damped (try reversing the seats quickly and then slowly) - this was a safety feature added to allow reversible seats which would contain passengers in the event of an accident.[10] Detailed design of the train was completed in July 2009.[11]

Construction and delivery[edit]

Auburn Maintenance Centre (in the centre of the image)
The inter-carriage doors feature a new mechanism for opening during an emergency, in response to Justice McInerney's Report into the Waterfall rail accident recommending the development of alternative emergency exits for passengers

The joint venture between Downer EDi Rail and Hitachi was established to design, manufacture and commission the trains.[1] The stainless steel bodies are partially constructed by Changchun Railway Vehicles in China before being shipped to Downer EDI’s Cardiff Locomotive Workshops facility for final assembly, testing and commissioning.[1] The manufacturing facility at Cardiff received an upgrade of over $20 million to cater for the needs of the project.[1] Other infrastructure works included the construction of the Auburn Maintenance Centre and new substations at various locations around the network.[12]

A four car pre-production test train was built to test the train sub-systems and compatibility with the Sydney suburban network.[1] This was intended to allow any issues with the train to be corrected before the production trains entered service.[1] The test train was expected to perform trial runs from mid 2009,[1] but did not begin network testing until April 2010.[13] The pre-production train concluded testing in August 2010.[14] The first production set began network testing in August 2010[14] and by November 2010, three sets were undergoing testing.[15]

The first trains were scheduled to be introduced in late 2010, but a series of delays pushed back their introduction.[16][17] The first train intended for service (A3) was delivered to then-operator CityRail for acceptance on 20 April 2011.[18] CityRail had 20 business days to accept or reject the train, but a decision was postponed by two weeks to allow Downer EDi to correct further defects.[19] CityRail rejected the train due to safety concerns and a number of defects.[20] The defects included; 'Milky' effect windscreens – apparent when under direct sunlight, poor-quality steel welding as evident in the indents seen on some areas of the carriage exterior, gaps in the plastic moulding, handrails not lining up with stairs and software problems.[6][21]

Once the majority of the problems were resolved by Downer EDi, CityRail allowed A3 to commence service, though operating under special conditions.[22] It entered service on 1 July 2011,[23] operating its maiden run from Redfern to Macarthur via the City Circle and Airport. Initially, it operated two return services from the City to Macarthur via the Airport line during the off-peak period on weekdays, and all day on the Airport & East Hills and South lines on weekends. On 14 October 2011, A3 became the first Waratah set to operate during peak hours.[24] As more Waratahs became available, the trains were progressively rolled out to most lines of the Sydney suburban network. On 2 June 2014, the State Government announced the final Waratah set (A80) had been delivered.[12]

Originally, the Waratahs were intended to replace all 498 S set carriages,[25] but in February 2013 it was revealed that some S sets would still be required in order to provide services on the South West Rail Link.[26] An option existed to extend the order, but in March 2013 the government indicated it would not take this up.[27] Instead, in May 2014, the government announced its intention to purchase new trains for the NSW TrainLink intercity network. These new trains are set to commence service in 2019 and will release at least some H sets from intercity services, allowing them to be transferred to Sydney Trains to replace the remaining S sets.[28]

Sydney Growth Trains
Manufacturer Changchun Railway Vehicles
Built at Changchun, China
Constructed 2017 onwards
Entered service 2018 onwards
Number under construction 24
Number in service 0
Formation 8 cars
Operator(s) Sydney Trains
Depot(s) Mortdale
Electric system(s) 1,500 V DC catenary
Current collection method pantograph
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

Despite proceeding with the intercity train order, the New South Wales Government announced on 1 December 2016 that 24 new suburban trains had been ordered. The new trains share more than 90 percent of their design with the Waratahs. They will include improvements to air conditioning, as well as to the passenger information systems. The trains are expected to be delivered from the end of 2018. The $1.7 billion contract was awarded to Downer EDI. CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles will manufacture and deliver the trains on Downer's behalf. Downer EDI will maintain the trains for a minimum of 25 years. As many as 45 additional sets may be added to the order at a future date.[29][30][31][32] The trains will be based at the Mortdale Maintenance Centre.[33]

In service[edit]


The 626 carriages form 78 eight car sets (numbered A1, A3 to A78 and A80) with 2 spare driving cars. Individual vehicles are numbered as follows:

  • A1: D6301-N5301-N5501-T6501-T6601-N5601-N5401-D6401
  • A3: D6303-N5303-N5503-T6503-T6603-N5603-N5403-D6403

up to

  • A78: D6378-N5378-N5578-T6578-T6678-N5678-N5478-D6478
  • A80 (Former A2): D6380-N5380-N5580-T6580-T6680-N5680-N5480-D6480

The two spare driving cars are D6379 and D6479. These were the first vehicles delivered, along with N5342 and N5442, and are part of the four car testing and development train.

The first 40 sets were delivered to CityRail with the NSW Government's Waratah logo on each carriage. Following the formation of Sydney Trains in July 2013 these were replaced by the Sydney Trains logo and the sides of the train near the driver's cabs were covered with an orange wrap.

The A sets currently operate on these lines:



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Rolling Stock Public Private Partnership For Rail Corporation of New South Wales Downer EDi Rail
  2. ^ Reliance Rail project page
  3. ^ a b Aston, Heath (29 January 2012). "Taxpayers' train bailout". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Haynes, Rhys (15 August 2011). "Waratah still long way off its peak". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Baird launches $175m train bailout". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 February 2012. 
  6. ^ a b [1]
  7. ^ a b Sydney's new train. Reliance Rail.
  8. ^ "waratah". Axis Communications. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "The 'Waratah' train: some fast facts". CityRail xpress. 93. 5 August 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Key customer features". CityRail. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Detailed design complete for Sydney's new train" (PDF) (Press release). RailCorp. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "NSW Government delivers final Waratah train: all Sydney services air-conditioned". Transport for NSW. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Project update: beginning of Waratah train fleet safety & reliability testing program" (Press release). Reliance Rail. 27 April 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Waratah train begins network testing" (PDF). CityRail xpress. 143. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Downer Statement on Waratah Trains. Downer EDI. 3 November 2010.
  16. ^ "Waratah carriages delayed again". AAP. 3 November 2010. 
  17. ^ "Downer EDI takes $250mln charge on Waratah". AAP. 27 January 2011. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Saulwick, Jacob (24 May 2011). "Waratah trains stalled again". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  20. ^ Haynes, Rhys (3 June 2011). "Waratah trains a commuter threat". The Daily Telegraph. 
  21. ^ Henderson, Hartley (4 July 2011). "What if Australia had made the Waratah trains?". Manufacturers' Monthly. 
  22. ^ Saulwick, Jacob (15 June 2011). "Late Waratah trains held up over contract changes". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  23. ^ Saulwick, Jacob (2 July 2011). "Preening Waratah makes its entrance". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  24. ^ Where the Waratah train is operating
  25. ^ Where the Waratah train is operating Sydney Trains
  26. ^ New Trains Won't Run on All Rail Lines Channel 7 20 February 2013
  27. ^ Commuters stuck with old trains on new rail link Sydney Morning Herald 15 March 2013
  28. ^ "NSW Government to invest $2.8 billion in new intercity trains, making all trains air-conditioned". Transport for NSW. 8 May 2014. 
  29. ^ McNally, Lucy (2016-12-01). "Sydney trains to receive $1.5b boost for services to western suburbs". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  30. ^ "Rail revolution: 'More Trains, More Services' to bust congestion". Transport for NSW. 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  31. ^ "More Trains, More Services" (PDF). Transport for NSW. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  32. ^ "Downer awarded Sydney Growth Trains contract". Downer Group. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  33. ^ "Fleet update - June 2017" (PDF). Transport for NSW. June 2017. p. 3. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 

External links[edit]