Sydney Trains A set
Waratah set A32
|Manufacturer||Changchun Railway Vehicles/Downer Rail for Reliance Rail (series 1)
Changchun Railway Vehicles for Downer EDI (series 2)
|Built at||Changchun Railway Vehicles, Changchun, China and Downer Rail, Cardiff|
|Replaced||Sydney Trains S sets|
|Constructed||2010 to 2014 (series 1)
2017- (series 2)
|Entered service||2011-2014 (series 1)|
|Number under construction||24|
|Number in service||78|
|Number scrapped||1 (A2) Acid spill while in transit back to China and rebuilt as A80|
|Fleet numbers||A1, A3-A78, A80 (series 1)
B1-B24 (series 2)
|Capacity||896 seated including 16 wheelchair spaces|
|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 1⁄2 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. The initial order for 78 series one A sets was the largest rolling stock order in Australia's history. The 626 A set 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 trains of a very similar design was placed in December 2016. These are known as B set or Waratah Series 2 trains, with all sets expected to be delivered by late 2018. The first was unveiled in March 2018 and is to enter service in June.
Public Private Partnership
The carriages were delivered by a joint venture between Downer Rail and Hitachi for Reliance Rail under a Public Private Partnership (PPP). 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. 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. 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. In February 2012 the Government agreed to bail out the project for $175 million by becoming the sole shareholder in 2018.
The Waratah was designed at the Downer EDI Rail design offices, then at Clyde, New South Wales. 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. 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.
Carriage interiors were designed by Transport Design International. 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. 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.
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. Woollen moquette fabric, a durable, vandal-resistant material, is used to cover the train's seats. The seats use specially developed shock absorbers such that the reversing feature is damped - this was a safety feature added to allow reversible seats which would contain passengers in the event of an accident. Detailed design of the train was completed in July 2009.
The series 2 trains share more than 90 percent of their design with the original Waratahs. The trains' exterior features the same silver and yellow design as the A sets, however, the trains will enter service with a black, orange and silver wrap applied to the cabs, and additional black sections around the side windows.
Construction and delivery
The joint venture between Downer EDi Rail and Hitachi was established to design, manufacture and commission the trains. 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. The manufacturing facility at Cardiff received an upgrade of over $20 million to cater for the needs of the project. Other infrastructure works included the construction of the Auburn Maintenance Centre and new substations at various locations around the network.
A four car pre-production test train was built to test the train sub-systems and compatibility with the Sydney suburban network. This was intended to allow any issues with the train to be corrected before the production trains entered service. The test train was expected to perform trial runs from mid 2009, but did not begin network testing until April 2010. The pre-production train concluded testing in August 2010. The first production set began network testing in August 2010 and by November 2010, three sets were undergoing testing.
The first trains were scheduled to be introduced in late 2010, but a series of delays pushed back their introduction. The first train intended for service (A3) was delivered to then-operator CityRail for acceptance on 20 April 2011. 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. CityRail rejected the train due to safety concerns and a number of defects. 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.
Once the majority of the problems were resolved by Downer EDi, CityRail allowed A3 to commence service, though operating under special conditions. It entered service on 1 July 2011, 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. 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.
Originally, the Waratahs were intended to replace all 498 S set carriages, 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. An option existed to extend the order, but in March 2013 the government indicated it would not take this up. Instead, in May 2014, the government announced its intention to purchase new trains for the NSW TrainLink intercity network. The intercity trains are set to commence service in 2019. The government stated that the new trains would release at least some H sets from intercity services, allowing them to be transferred to Sydney Trains to replace the remaining S sets.
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. Known as the Sydney Growth Trains during development, the trains are officially classified as B sets and are also known as Waratah Series 2 trains.
The $1.7 billion contract was awarded to Downer EDI. CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles is manufacturing the trains on Downer's behalf. Upon arrival in Australia, the trains are taken to Downer's facility at Cardiff, where finishing works (such as the installation of gangway connectors) are performed.
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. The trains were originally to be based at the Mortdale Maintenance Centre, but in late 2017 it was decided that the trains would instead be based alongside the A sets at the Auburn Maintenance Centre. Nevertheless, work to upgrade the Mortdale Maintenance Centre continued.
The first B set was unveiled in Auburn in March 2018 and will undergo three months of testing before entering service in June. The B sets are now likely to replace the 48 remaining S sets, however the S sets may still hang around for emergency purposes.
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
- 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 192 B set carriages will form 24 eight carriage sets as follows:
- D11xx-N17xx-N19xx-T13xx-T14xx-N18xx-N16xx-D12xx, the xx corresponding to the set number (B1-B24)
The first 40 A 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:
- T1 North Shore, Northern, Western Line
- T2 Inner West & Leppington
- T3 Bankstown
- T5 Cumberland
- T7 Olympic Park
- T8 Airport & South
B Sets will operate on the same lines as A sets
In service incidents
On 22 January 2018, Waratah A42 hit the buffer at the end of the track on platform 2 at an approximate speed of 35 kilometres per hour at Richmond station just before 10am. The train then lurched backwards, causing leading passengers who were readying to disembark, to fall and injure themselves. The impact caused extensive frontal damage, some of the carriages to lift and gangways between carriages to crush. Sixteen patients in total, including the train driver and another crew member were treated. None of the injuries were considered life threatening. 
- Rolling Stock Public Private Partnership For Rail Corporation of New South Wales Downer EDi Rail
- Reliance Rail project page
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- Where the Waratah train is operating
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- "Rolling stock contracts & deliveries" Railway Digest March 2018 page 49
- Sydney train crash: Multiple injuries following incident at Richmond station
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