Electric multiple unit (Queensland Rail)

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Electric multiple unit
Electricmultipleunit 42.jpg
EMU42 at Wacol
Inside QR.jpg
Interior of an EMU
ManufacturerWalkers Limited
Built atMaryborough
ReplacedSX carriages
Entered service17 November 1979
Number built264 carriages
Number in service42
SuccessorNew Generation Rollingstock
Formation3 carriage sets
Fleet numbers01-88
Capacity248 per 3-carriage set
Operator(s)Queensland Rail
Train length72.4 m (237 ft 6 in)
DoorsAir operated
Maximum speed100 km/h (62 mph)
Weight117.8 t (115.9 long tons; 129.9 short tons)
Power supply(?)
Electric system(s)25 kV AC overhead lines
Current collection methodPantograph
Braking system(s)Blended Regenerative electric and electro-pneumatic
Multiple workingWithin type and with ICE.
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)

In Queensland, the Electric multiple units (EMU) are a class of electric multiple units manufactured by Walkers Limited, Maryborough for Queensland Rail between 1979 and 1986. They were the first EMUs in Queensland and some remain in service on the Queensland Rail City network.

All currently serviceable units feature air-conditioning, button operated doors, fabric covered padded seating, passenger information displays, emergency intercoms, and a public address system.


EMU01 at Ferny Grove for the opening of the Ferny Grove to Darra rail electrification on 17 November 1979

In 1977 Walkers Limited, Maryborough were awarded a contract to build 13 EMUs with electrical equipment to be supplied by ASEA.[1] These were the first EMUs in Queensland, entering revenue service when the first part of the Brisbane rail network was electrified between Ferny Grove and Darra in November 1979.[2] Further orders saw the fleet total 88 units with the last delivered in December 1987.[3][4]

Current Operation[edit]

Some EMUs are still in revenue service around South East Queensland, although they are progressively being decommisioned. They operate on all Queensland Rail suburban lines in either three or six carriage formation. EMU 01 - EMU 04, EMU 06 - EMU 59 and EMU 80 - EMU 88 have driving cabs at both ends and can either operate as three or six car units. EMU 60 - EMU 79 only had a single driving cab, and as a result, they could only operate as part of a six car unit. All of the non-cab units were the first batch to be withdrawn from service. In 2001, EMU 05 and EMU 60 were extensively damaged. The first car of EMU 60 was destroyed and the second and third car of EMU 05 were destroyed. These cars have since been scrapped. The first car of EMU 05 was combined with the rear cars of EMU 60 to create a new unit. This unit kept the name of EMU 60 and was in service until November 2018.[5] Although the EMUs are intended only for suburban operation, they are occasionally found operating interurban services if other rollingstock is not available.


Multiple alterations and upgrades were performed on all Electric Multiple Units over their time in service. Many of the upgrades are focused towards compliance with disability standards,[6] although some are general improvements. QR implemented standardisation measures on the EMUs and periodically refurbished the interiors and drive equipment.

General improvements[edit]

EMU 73 arriving at South Brisbane with a Ferny Grove-bound service

Due to the age of the EMU fleet some changes have been made to running equipment for operational or maintenance reasons.

All driving cabs have been modified to accept flat panels of glass on the sides rather than the original molded panels and bumpers to reduce damage in collisions, particularly with animals.

The units have also received redesigned front cab ends, with a sloped front lip which make train surfing by standing on the front lip impossible. The units have also received bright yellow doors and front cab ends for increased visibility.

Dot-Matrix destination displays have replaced the original calico blinds.

Inside, the EMUs have received a new interior colour scheme with new carpets, seat fabric, and floors in the vestibule area. The small top section of the windows which could originally be opened, are now only used in emergency situations.

Units 01-04 and 60-88 have a black band around the glass on the driver cab ends. These units are affectionately referred to as bandicoots. Units 60 and 67 also had the black band on the guard cab end, for unknown reasons. The rest of the fleet reverted to the original flat yellow cab ends in their last refurbishment.

Disability compliance[edit]

Retro-fitted button-operated doors

The Queensland Rail EMUs were introduced before the Australian Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and originally featured very few of the disability standards introduced in the intervening years. As such significant alterations have been made to bring these legacy units into compliance.

The original seating arrangements have been altered surrounding the front-most and rear-most doors of the train as these areas are used as assisted boarding points. Some seats have been removed and others replaced with auto retract folding types to create more space for passengers in wheelchairs. Additional handrails surrounding the new wheelchair spaces have been added for safety. The seating arrangement is unchanged elsewhere inside the trains.

The majority of the units have been retrofitted with push-button operated doors, while EMU60-65 and 67-69 retained the use of traditional handle operated doors. The replacement buttons feature integrated lighting and small speakers. Different flashes, beeps and display messages are emitted to alert passengers when the doors are activated or closing. Parts of the interior have all been painted bright yellow such as the doors and poles inside the train, for higher visibility and enhanced safety.

Dot-Matrix displays have been added alongside new automated voice announcement systems on all units. The EMU was originally fitted with VAS in the mid-90s and was upgraded around 2012 when the DTI system was fitted. These systems are used to address passengers with information such as the current and next station as well as alerting passengers where to transfer for other services. Many signs have been changed to include braille for sight impaired passengers.


Decommissioned EMU and ICE units stabled at Elimbah

On 23 March 1985, two EMUs collided head-on near Trinder Park.[7][8] A train driver and a passenger were killed, and 31 others were injured. The units involved were EMU11 and EMU27; both were repaired and are still in service.[9]

On 14 March 1996, EMU28 derailed after hitting a freight train near the former Mayne Junction station.[10] EMU28 was later repaired and returned to service.[11]

On 21 September 2001, a freight train derailed near Petrie and collided with two empty EMUs, EMU05 and EMU60.[12] Two carriages from EMU05 and one carriage from EMU60 were not repairable, and EMU05 was the first EMU unit to be officially withdrawn from service. The remaining three carriages were combined and returned to service as EMU60. It was withdrawn from passenger service in November 2018.[4]

On 14 September 2012, unit EMU41 collided with a truck at Banyo. EMU41 was repaired and returned to service afterwards.


The EMU fleet is being replaced by the New Generation Rollingstock fleet. Withdrawals commenced in July 2018 with EMU06 being taken to North Ipswich Railway Workshops.[13]EMUs 16 and 72 have also been moved to this location. There are a varying amount of EMU and ICE units currently stored at Elimbah Stabling Yard.


On 30 April 2019, EMU scrapping commenced, with the wrecking and disposal of 3 EMUs. EMU 16 was the second unit to be demolished in Queensland History aside from EMU 05 (2001). EMU units will be demolished behind the Ipswich Workshops Museum.

A now demolished EMU 16 sits upside down at Ipswich


  1. ^ "Citytrain SMU Braking Problems, EMU Modifications, Signal Upgrade" Railway Digest November 1999 page 16
  2. ^ "Modern competitive railway". History. Queensland Rail. Archived from the original on 22 July 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  3. ^ "Electric Multiple Unit". Fleet Information. Queensland Rail. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b Walkers/Adtranz Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) Queensland's Railways Interest Group
  5. ^ http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11024.htm
  6. ^ "QR Accessible Passenger Rail Services Action Plan 2007 2012(plain text version)". Disability Upgrades. Australian Human Rights Commission. Archived from the original on 1 April 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Brisbane's rail smash 'cover-up'". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  8. ^ "1985 Derailment Beenleigh Branch". Internet archive link. Railscene.com. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Queensland" Railway Digest May 1985 page 151
  10. ^ "1996 Mayne Derailment". Internet archive link. Railscene.com. Archived from the original on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Citytrain News" Railway Digest December 1996 page 16
  12. ^ "2001 Petrie Derailment". Internet archive link. Railscene.com. Archived from the original on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  13. ^ Queensland Railway Digest October 2018 page 22

External links[edit]

Media related to Electric Multiple Unit (Queensland) at Wikimedia Commons