# Comeng (train)

Comeng (Melbourne)
EDi Rail refurbished Comeng 381M in Metro livery
Alstom refurbished Comeng 668M in Metro livery
In service1981–current
ManufacturerComeng
Built atDandenong
ReplacedTait & Harris trains
Constructed1981–1988
Entered service1981
Refurbishment2000–2003 Alstom, EDi Rail
Number built190 trainsets (570 cars)
Number in service186 trainsets (558 cars)
Number scrapped12 cars scrapped/stored due to accident damage
FormationThree car set (Driving motor-trailer-driving motor, usually marshalled into 6-car sets
Fleet numbersMotors (301-468, 471-554, 561-680, 691-698) Trailers (1001-1084, 1086-1127, 1131-1190, 1196-1199)
Capacity268 seated, 763 crush load per 3-car unit (Alstom refurbished)[1]
Operator(s)History: VicRail, MTA, PTC, Connex & M>Train
Current: Metro Trains Melbourne
Depot(s)All Metro Trains depots
Line(s) servedAll Melbourne suburban (except Stony Point)
Specifications
Car body constructionStainless steel
Car length24 m (78 ft 8 78 in) (motor carriages)
23.2 m (76 ft 1 38 in) (trailer carriages)[2]
Width3,050 mm (10 ft 18 in)
Height3,827 mm (12 ft 6 58 in) (not including pantograph)
Articulated sections2 per 3-car set, open gangway
Maximum speed115 km/h (71 mph)
Weight141 t (139 long tons; 155 short tons) (max)
Traction systemCrankshaft Control (301M-690M)
Chopper Control (691M-698M)
Acceleration0.8 m/s2 (2.6 ft/s2)
Deceleration0.9 m/s2 (3.0 ft/s2)
Electric system(s)1.5 kV DC Overhead line
Current collection methodPantograph
Braking system(s)Westinghouse Westcode tread brakes (First order)
Knorr-Bremse Disc Brakes (Second order)
Coupling systemScharfenberg
Track gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
The horn of an EDi Refurbished Comeng

The Comeng train (/ˈkɒmɛŋ/ KOM-eng) is a type of electric train that operates on the suburban railway network of Melbourne, Australia. They first appeared on the network in VicRail teacup livery in 1981 to replace the last of the 60-year-old Tait trains. More were ordered after the failed refurbishment and subsequent withdrawal of the Harris trains. In total 570 carriages (380 motor cars and 190 trailer cars, a total of 95 six carriage sets) were built by Comeng, Dandenong.

## Description

The Comeng trains are single deck and are semi-permanently coupled as M-T-M (motor-trailer-motor) sets, but these sets spend much of their time coupled in pairs as six-carriage sets.

Comeng trains have power operated doors that must be pulled open by hand but are closed by the driver. The trains were the first suburban trains in Melbourne to have air-conditioning in the passenger saloon. (The older Hitachi trains having had driver only air-conditioning fitted more recently.[3])

They operate in larger numbers on the Northern, Dandenong, Cross City and Sandringham group lines, although some are continuing to run on the Burnley and Clifton Hill group lines which are serviced by a higher proportion of newer X'Trapolis trains.

The design of Melbourne's Comeng trains is closely related to that of TransAdelaide's diesel-electric 3000 class railcars.

Comeng Trains will be replaced by the new High Capacity Metro Trains on the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines from mid-2019.

## History

The trains first ran in 1981.

By the middle of 1984, 38 sets had been delivered, and some older rolling stock had begun to be phased out. The order was increased from 50 to 95 six-car sets, with the aim of completely replacing the Tait and Harris sets by 1988.[4]

Set 381M-1041T-382M was the first delivered in the Metropolitan Transit green and yellow scheme, though the sets including 27T and 28T had been repainted (with those cars renumbered 1027T and 1028T respectively) before then.[5] Notably, when the 41st set was delivered the front panels of the motor carriages were still silver-framed rather than yellow.[6]

The 45th set delivered had custom decals applied to the sides celebrating the halfway point through the order. These had been removed by 1 February 1991.[7]

### Refurbishment

2000 - 2003

Between 2000 and 2003, the two train operators at the time, Connex and M>Train, had Alstom and EDi Rail respectively refurbish the trains.[8][9]

The Alstom and EDi Rail sets have a number of differences, including :

• Interior arrangement - The interior LED displays on the M>Train trains were in the middle, as opposed to being at both ends of the carriage on Connex sets.
• Upholstery - Seats in M>Train trains are blue, while Connex opted for rainbow-textured seats.
• Seating arrangement - Connex provided a different seating layout from M>Train.
• Exterior front panels - Information on the train's terminus is displayed on top of the window on M>Train fleets, while Connex trains have them displaying on the left window (in the pre-refurbishment style).
• Cab layout - The EDI Rail refurbished trains retained a second full-size seat on the right-hand side of the cab, originally used for the guard, whereas the Alstom sets only have a small seat, the same size as the passenger ones.
• Cab fittings - The EDi Rail trains also have a windscreen-wiper on both sides, the Alstom sets only having one on the driver's side.
• Light fittings - The Alstom refurbished trains have grated light coverings, while the EDi type retained the original flat coverings.

Both sets had CCTV and emergency assistance panels added as part of the refurbishment program.[10]

After Connex assumed responsibility for all of Melbourne's suburban train network in 2004, the EDi refurbished trains had the M>Train exterior logos removed, and later received Connex blue and yellow side stripes, and a repainted front panel.

### Concorde Program

2006 - 2007

From December 2006 both fleets were allowed to run system wide. The electronics of both Comeng types were altered to make them electronically compatible with each other, with both the PID voices and display formatting altered. Both types of Comeng can run system wide and can run in multiple unit with trains of the same or different type.

### Interior rearrangements

2009

From the beginning of March 2009, Connex ran a test set of carriages with new seating arrangement on city lines.[11] The new arrangements removed 44 seats, making room for more standing on the train. The changes were made to accommodate the increased patronage on the Melbourne rail network.[12]

As part of its franchise agreement, Metro Trains Melbourne is required to modify the seating layout of all Comeng trains to have 2-2 seating which allows better passenger flow through the train and more standing room. So far most Comengs have had modifications to seating around the passenger doors to avoid people clogging up the doorways when a train is overcrowded.

2014 - 2015

Comeng trains still require passengers to manually open saloon doors to enter and exit the trains. Pneumatic air pressure keeps the doors closed whilst the trains are in motion, and is released by the driver when the carriages stop at station platforms. Prior to 2014, the doors were fitted with large "door knob" style handles. These made it relatively easy for unruly passengers to force the doors open, including while the train was in motion. All carriages were retrofitted with a new flat slim handle designed to make doors more difficult to force open. This followed an incident at Watergardens railway station where teenagers forced a door open while the train was moving and one jumped out, causing injury to himself. Alan Osbourne, then director of Transport Safety Victoria (TSV), informed Metro that the Comeng trains would be taken out of service if their doors were not made impossible to force open by 2017.[13]

### Life Extension / Retirement

2017 - 2021

75% of the Comeng fleet are currently undertaking a life extension refurbishment program, throughout this program a number of upgrade are taking pace including:

• Upholstery - Seats in Connex rainbow-textured pattern change to Public Transport Victoria’s corporate identity in either orange or blue geometric design.
• Concertina style enclosed gangways between carriages.
• Improved saloon lighting and additional handholds.
• LED marker lights
• New vinyl stickering with PTV branding identity livery on the exterior fibreglass front panels.
• Removal of external handles and step ladders at the leading end of all motor cars, to reduce instances of train surfing.

By end of 2021, it has been reported that 75% of the fleet are expected to have received the upgrades with the remainder of the non-life extended Comeng units are planned to be progressively replaced by High Capacity Metro Trains which would see those units retired.

In 2019 it was revealed that if the Xtrapolis 2.0s were made the Comengs could be out of service as early as 2026 [14]

## Stored carriages

21 Comeng carriages have been scrapped or removed from service.[1]

Eight carriages have been scrapped: 315M, 388M, 1165T, 1109T, 533M, 305M, 1003T and 306M. 315M was burnt out at Hurstbridge on 9 April 1983, along with Tait 472M,[15] 388M was hit by V/Line locomotive N457 at Officer, 1165T was burnt out at Northcote, 1109T was damaged in a collision at Epping,[16] while 533M was burnt out by vandals at Merlynston in April 2002.[17] Both 1109T and 533M were stored at the Ballarat Workshops and were scrapped in August 2010.[18] In November 2012, 305M-1003T-306M crashed into a truck at Abbotts Road in Dandenong South. These cars were stored in Dandenong South near the crash site, visible from the Cranbourne Line until May 2014, when they were scrapped.

Another four carriages have been stored: 500M, 671M, 672M, and 1186T. 500M was burnt out at Sandringham in 2002[19] and can be seen in a yard close to the North Williamstown station side of the Newport railway workshops. 671M was partly burnt out at Gowrie. Spare cars 672M and 1186T underwent a prototype refurbishment before being stored. 671M is currently in use by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade for firefighter training.

In November 2017, all remaining nine Comeng chopper carriages including the (691M-697M) motors and (1196T-1199T) trailers were not included in the new Metro contract which saw them retired out of service. These units have been supplying parts to the remaining Comeng units in service.

## In popular culture

• Episode 489 of Prisoner contains a scene with a Comeng at the fictional Rosewood railway station, which was actually Caulfield station with the signs changed.
• The unrefurbished Comeng also appears on the front cover of a Melbourne Hip Hop artist Fubex, his album was Upcoming.
• A refurbished Comeng in Connex colors can be seen in the background of a carriage scene on the TV series How I Met Your Mother Season 9 Episode 1 (set in New York).[20]

## References

1. ^ a b Vicsig: Comeng Trains
3. ^ Vicsig: Hitachi Trains
4. ^ "Transport". Victorian Year Book 1985 (PDF). Australian Bureau of Statistics. 1985. p. 525. ISSN 0067-1223. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
5. ^ Newsrail April 1984 p.120
6. ^ http://vicsig.net/photo/3051
7. ^ Newsrail April 1991 p121
8. ^ "Minister for Manufacturing Industry: '\$150 Million Investment in Rail Manufacturing' - 17 August 2001". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
9. ^ Australian Railway Industry Corporation: EDI Rail
10. ^ Department of Infrastructure Archived 20 May 2009 at the Library of Congress Web Archives New and refurbished trains and trams
11. ^ Johnston, Matt (13 March 2009). "Commuters get to try new look Connex trains". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
12. ^ "Connex demonstrates a new train layout". 12 March 2009. Connex Melbourne. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
13. ^ Carey, Adam (15 March 2014). "Ageing trains targeted by vandals and Transport Safety Victoria". The Age. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
14. ^ Jacks, Timna (15 July 2019). "New train designs revealed, but contract under threat". The Age. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
15. ^ "Delays, Derailments, etc". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society. September 1983. p. 247.
16. ^ Vicsig: Comeng-1109T
17. ^ [1]
18. ^ Vicsig: August 2010 scrappings
19. ^ Vicsig: 500M burnt out at Hampton
20. ^ "Yes, that was a Melbourne train in a US sitcom… but can anybody name the station? #MetroTrains". Daniel Bowen. 29 September 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2016.