New South Wales Standard suburban carriage stock

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New South Wales Standard suburban carriage stock
Red Rattler set F1 at Sydney Central.jpg
Power car C7396 on set F1 at Central station
In service 1925-1992
Manufacturer Leeds Forge Company
Clyde Engineering
Walsh Island Dockyard
Built at Leeds
Walsh Island
Constructed 1925-1937
Number built 352 motor cars
248 trailer cars
Formation 2-8 carriages
Fleet numbers C3101-3452
Operator(s) New South Wales Government Railways
Public Transport Commission
State Rail Authority
Depot(s) Flemington
Line(s) served All Sydney suburban except Eastern Suburbs
Car length 18.75 metres (61 ft 6 14 in)
Width 3.15 metres (10 ft 4 in)
Height 3.92 metres (12 ft 10 38 in)
Doors 4
Traction system 2 x Metropolitan-Vickers 172s per carriage
Electric system(s) 1,500 V DC catenary
Current collection method Single-pan diamond pantograph
Braking system(s) Westinghouse
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Carriage C3426, now on Red Rattler set F1, leading the first electric train over the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932

The New South Wales Standard suburban carriage stock are a type of electric multiple unit that was operated by the New South Wales Government Railways and its successors between 1926 and 1992. They served on the Sydney suburban network. In the years before their withdrawal, they were nicknamed Red Rattlers.


To provide rolling stock for the electrification of Sydney's suburban rail network, steel carriages were ordered.[1][2]

The initial 50 power cars were built in England by Leeds Forge Company and shipped to Australia in knocked-down condition. They were assembled by Eveleigh Carriage Workshops (10) and Clyde Engineering (40) between April and October 1925. Initially numbered 2213-2262, they entered service being inserted into sets with Bradfield carriages for haulage by steam locomotives until fitted with Metropolitan-Vickers electrical equipment and motors in 1926. At this stage they were renumbered C3101 to C3150.[1][2][3]

Between 1926 and 1929, a further 290 power cars, 248 trailer cars and three parcel vans were built in Australia by Clyde Engineering and Walsh Island Dockyard.[4] In 1937, Clyde Engineering built a further 12 power cars, to provide coverage while the 1920s built power cars were overhauled.[5] The reason for the imbalance between motor and trailer cars was the conversion of some American Suburban carriage stock to operate with the new power cars.[1][2]

Numbers Builder Years Built Total Notes
C3101-C3150 Leeds Forge Company 1925 50 Initially entered service as locomotive hauled
carriages 2213-2262
C3151-C3170 Clyde Engineering 1926-27 20
C3171-C3220 Walsh Island Dockyard 1926-27 50
C3221-C3250 Clyde Engineering 1926 30
C3251-C3300 Walsh Island Dockyard 1928 50
C3301-C3440 Clyde Engineering 1928-29 140
C3441-C3452 Clyde Engineering 1937 12
C3901-C3903 Clyde Engineering 1928 3 Parcel vans
T4301-T4548 Walsh Island Dockyard 1927-29 248 T4543-T4548 rebuilt as
driving trailers D4051-D4056 in 1937

In 1937, six trailers (T4543-T4548) were converted to driving trailers.[2] Between 1968 and 1975, some power cars were fitted with two motor air suspended bogies. These were renumbered upwards by 4000, e.g. C3306 became C7306.[6]

Colour Schemes and Overhauls[edit]

As built, the standard cars were painted in Tuscan red and russet with yellow pin striping.[7] In the 1940s, that was changed to Tuscan red with buff lining.[7] In 1957, the livery was changed to plain Tuscan red, which many cars retained until their withdrawal.[7] From 1973, the livery became Public Transport Commission blue and white, before that was superseded by Indian red in 1976. The original cream and brown interiors were repainted in two-tone green, but that was not done to all cars. Overhauls of the stock continued up until 1988, with some receiving sliding aluminium Beclawat windows to alleviate rust problems.[3][6][5] A few cars also received Airmate pantographs, replacing the original Dorman Long pantographs.[7]


Withdrawals commenced in the 1970s, 92 remained in service with CityRail in July 1991.[6] The last were withdrawn in 1992. Several have been preserved.[3][8][9][10][11][12]


Set F1, which is made up of four carriages, is preserved and in operational status. This is as a result of collaboration between Sydney Trains, Transport Heritage NSW, who plan public trips and tours on the train, and Historic Electric Traction. The restored train resumed carrying passengers on June 11 2016, 14 years since its last such trip.[13][14] One of the carriages of set F1, power car C3426, led the first electric train to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge. All four cars were built in 1927.[15]

The Sydney Electric Train Society has two preserved cars. These are motor cars C3104 and C3444.[16]

Historic Electric Traction has multiple Standard cars. These include parcel van C3653, as well as motor and trailers cars.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Churchman, Geoffrey (1995). Railway Electrification in Australia & New Zealand. Smithfield: IPL Books. pp. 85, 92.
  2. ^ a b c d "Sydney's Electric Trains from 1926 to 1960" ARHS Bulletin issue 761 March 2001 pages 90-93
  3. ^ a b c C3104 - 1925 Leeds Forge Standard Motor Car Sydney Electric Traction Society
  4. ^ History: The old Red Rattlers live on Newcastle Herald 12 September 2014
  5. ^ a b C3444 - 1937 Clyde Modified Motor Car Sydney Electric Traction Society
  6. ^ a b c "Rolling Stock" Railway Digest December 1991 page 454
  7. ^ a b c d Sydney's Suburban Standards - The Leeds Forge Cars C3101 - 3150. Roy Howarth, Glenn Ryan. 2010. pp. Pages 16–21, 70, 76, 77.
  8. ^ C3102 - Leeds 1927 Suburban Motor Car NSW Environment & Heritage
  9. ^ C3218 - Walsh Island 1927 Suburban Motor Car NSW Environment & Heritage
  10. ^ C3653 - Walsh Island 1927 Suburban Parcels Van NSW Environment & Heritage
  11. ^ D4052 - Walsh Island 1927 Suburban Trailer Car NSW Environment & Heritage
  12. ^ T4527 - Walsh Island 1927 Suburban Trailer Car NSW Environment & Heritage
  13. ^ "The Red Set F1 Project – Sydney's Vintage Electric Train". Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  14. ^ "Sydney Heritage Red Rattler to run after 14 years". Railpage. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  15. ^ "NSW Rail Museum". NSW Rail Museum. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  16. ^ 2003, Matthew Doyle. "SETS Fleet - Single-Deck Suburban Cars". Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  17. ^ "Heritage Fleet". Retrieved 2018-01-08.