Sydney Trains K set

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K Set
Sydney Trains K Set (cropped).JPG
In service1981-present
ManufacturerA Goninan & Co
Built atBroadmeadow
Refurbishmentlate 1990s
Number built160 carriages
Number in service160 carriages
Formation4-car sets
Fleet numbersC3501-C3580, D4096-D4099, T4171-T4246
Capacity106 in power cars, 118 in trailers
Operator(s)Sydney Trains
Line(s) servedT2 Inner West & Leppington
T3 Bankstown
T6 Carlingford
T8 Airport & South
Car length20.39 m (66 ft 11 in)
Width3.04 m (10 ft 0 in)
Height4.37 m (14 ft 4 in)
Weight45 t (44 long tons; 50 short tons)
Traction system4 x 150 kW (200 hp) Camshaft Control (Mitsubishi Electric)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

The Sydney Trains K sets are a class of electric multiple unit operated by Sydney Trains in New South Wales. The carriages are of stainless steel, double deck construction, and the oldest set in the Sydney Trains fleet.

Design & construction[edit]

Hopper window from the first batch of cars showing air hole coverings. When the cars were fitted with air conditioning and the handles were removed, these coverings were placed over the holes that held the handles in place

The K sets were the first New South Wales suburban trains to be air conditioned and have headlights.

Two orders were placed for the K sets with all manufactured in 1981–85 by A Goninan & Co, Broadmeadow:

  • Order 1
Qty Class Carriage numbers Notes
50 Power cars C3501-C3550
4 Driving trailers D4096-D4099 converted to trailer cars 2014
46 Trailer cars T4171-T4216
  • Order 2
Qty Class Carriage numbers
30 Power cars C3551-C3580
30 Trailer cars T4217-T4246

The first order featured low mounted upper deck windows, cream and brown interiors, and unpainted fronts. The second order featured higher mounted upper deck windows, yellow and mustard interiors and State Rail Authority candy livery fronts.[1]

The first four trailers were built as driving trailers allowing them to operate in two-car formation, although in practice they were formed into four carriage sets and often ran together as one eight-car set until 1988.[2] These also differed in the subsequent deliveries in being fitted with air conditioning from new, rather than pressure ventilation. To provide a spare, C3550 & T4216 were also built with air conditioning. All ten carriages were fitted with different windows, being sheet glass with small opening hoppers. This was replaced with sheet glass in 1993.[3]

To accommodate the air conditioning and associated equipment, the pantograph had to be shifted to the adjacent trailer car to which the power car is semi-permanently coupled with high voltage cables connecting the two cars. Although some power cars and trailers have been broken up and married with others during periods of heavy maintenance, many original combinations remain.

In service[edit]

All the K sets were delivered to either Hornsby or Punchbowl depots. With the trials on the ten experimental carriages judged successful, in 1986 a programme commenced to retrofit air conditioning to the second order. This saw the Beclawat windows replaced with sheet glass.[4] It would be July 1990 before the programme was completed.[5]

In April 1989, K sets commenced operating peak-hour services via the North Shore line to Gosford.[6] This was extended to Wyong in January 1992.[7] In September 1990, all Punchbowl based sets were transferred to Hornsby.[8][9]

In January 1991, four sets were transferred to Flemington Maintenance Depot to operate peak-hour Illawarra line services to Port Kembla.[10]

To replace U sets on stopping services between Gosford and Newcastle, the sets with driving trailers were remarshaled as two-car sets from October 1996.[11]

Following the delivery of the outer suburban Tangara sets in 1994, the K sets ceased operating the Central Coast and Illawarra services.

During the late 1990s, all were refurbished by A Goninan & Co as part of the CityDecker program. This saw the interiors refurbished with white walls and ceilings, grey floors and blue seats. Power cars received a destination indicator and had yellow applied to the lower half of their fronts. Sliding Beclawat windows on the pressure ventilated cars were replaced with hopper windows and doors painted yellow. The first order was finally retrofitted with air conditioning just prior to the Sydney 2000 Olympics. These cars retained the hopper windows until the late 2000s, but were sealed shut with an adhesive to avoid the loss of air conditioning.

After the introduction of a new timetable in 2009, most K sets were allocated to Hornsby to operate North Shore, Northern & Western line services, operating in 8-car formations. This was due to the noise levels inside trains when operating on the Epping to Chatswood segment. Older S sets lack sufficient sound insulation for passengers, while newer Tangara sets don't have sufficient cooling in the regenerative braking system to deal with extended shuttle runs through the tunnel.

In April 2012, the new Waratah trains begin operating on the North Shore, Northern & Western lines with some K sets transferred from Hornsby to Flemington resulting in their resumption of service on the Airport, Inner West & South, Bankstown, Carlingford and Olympic Park lines. K60 to K86 were previously running these lines, based out of Flemington Depot. Prior to 2017, K87-99 continued to run part-time on the T1 North Shore, Northern & Western lines.[12]

In October 2013, the 2 car K Sets (K1-4) were withdrawn from NSW TrainLink Gosford to Newcastle services. The four driving trailers were converted to ordinary trailers at Hornsby and the sets returned to service on Sydney Trains services in March 2014 as K98 and K99. The existing K98 was renumbered K91. The driver cabins in these carriages were stripped of controls however the actual walls were kept intact. The doors to the driver cabin are kept locked and the blinds are kept down. There are no passenger seats where the crew compartment used to be. Also, unlike converted S set cars, the round window on the crew compartment doors were removed and covered with a metal plate.

In July 2017, asbestos was found in the circuit breaker panels, which is inside the driver compartment of the K sets, with all withdrawn for inspection.[13] After the introduction of a new timetable in November 2017 all K sets were transferred to Sector 2.

K sets operate on the following lines:

Further reading[edit]

  • Beckhaus, John; Halgren, Stephen (2007), Sydney's Electric Trains, Australian Railway Historical Society, NSW Division, ISBN 978-0-9757870-8-3


  1. ^ "D22.98 Interior Colour Scheme for Surburban Trains" Railway Digest May 1984 page 172
  2. ^ "EMU Review" Railway Digest March 1989 Page 85
  3. ^ "Other Double Deck Suburbans" Railway Digest August 1993 page 343
  4. ^ "EMU Review" Railway Digest March 1987 page 69
  5. ^ "Electric Cars" Railway Digest September 1990 page 330
  6. ^ "Gosford Services" Railway Digest April 1989 page 143
  7. ^ "The New Timetable" Railway Digest December 1991 page 453
  8. ^ "Electric Cars" Railway Digest November 1990 page 403
  9. ^ "Rolling Stock" Railway Digest December 1990 page 448
  10. ^ "Electric Cars" Railway Digest March 1991 page 96
  11. ^ "EMU Review" Railway Digest March 1997 page 38
  12. ^ "trackrecordfl". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  13. ^ Asbestos found in Sydney Trains Nova 96.9 7 July 2017

External links[edit]

Media related to New South Wales K sets at Wikimedia Commons