Sydney Trains T set

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Sydney Trains Tangara (T set) suburban or metro train.png
T88 T-Set in Sydney Trains livery
Tangara T Set Vestibule.jpg
Refurbished Tangara vestibule
In service 1988-present
Manufacturer Goninan
Built at Broadmeadow
Constructed 1987–1995
Entered service 1988

2003, 2010, 2014, (2018

Number built 455 carriages
Number in service 447 carriages
Number scrapped 8
Formation 4 car sets
Capacity 98 in driving trailers, 112 in motor cars
Operator(s) Sydney Trains
Depot(s) Hornsby Maintenance Depot
Mortdale Maintenance Depot
Line(s) served T1 North Shore, Northern & Western Line
T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line
South Coast Line to Port Kembla
Car length 20.320 m (66 ft 8 in)
Width 3 m (9 ft 10 in)
Height 4.413 m (14 ft 6 in)
Weight 42 tonnes (41 long tons; 46 short tons)
Traction system Chopper control
(Mitsubishi Electric)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

The Tangara (an Aboriginal Australian word meaning to go) is a class of electric multiple unit operated by Sydney Trains in Sydney, Australia. The Tangaras were delivered between 1988 and 1995, and are third-generation trains.[1]


T72 at Milsons Point in original condition
G6 in original condition at Central in August 2006
T13 in Cityrail livery

A Tangara is a double-deck four-car set, with the two outer cars being driving control trailers fitted with one pantograph each and the middle two cars being non-control motor cars. They are equipped with air conditioning and chopper control.

Two subclasses of Tangara were built, the suburban sets targeted as T sets, and outer-suburban sets targeted as G sets. The T sets replaced the first generation of Sydney's electric rolling stock.[1]

Unlike most other Sydney Trains trains the seats on the T sets are fixed, meaning that half the seats face backwards.

The G sets differed from the T sets in having yellow front panels, round green door buttons, high-backed reversible seats, toilets, fresh water dispensers and luggage racks.

Set G7 was fitted with an AC drive system for evaluation purposes with the existing DC stock and compatibility with signalling and communication systems on the network. G7 was scrapped in 2005 at Maintrain, Auburn after the Waterfall train disaster, as all four cars were beyond repair.


In July 1986 the Government of New South Wales awarded A Goninan & Co a contract for 450 carriages.[2] In 1993 it was decided that the last 80 carriages of the order would be built to a modified design to operate peak-hour services on services to Wyong, Port Kembla and Dapto.[3] In 1996 five spare driving trailers were ordered.[4]

The first train was unveiled at Sydney Central in December 1987,[5] entering service in April 1988. The final T set was delivered in February 1994 and the final G set in October 1995.[6]

The cars built were:

T set driving trailer cars: D6101-D6284 with additional spare cars D6285-D6289
T set non-driving motor cars: N5101-N5284 with additional spare car N5285
G set driving trailer cars: OD6801-OD6840 with additional spare car OD6841
G set non-driving motor cars: ON5801-ON5820
G set non-driving motor cars with toilet: ONL5851-ONL5870

In service[edit]

N5146 vestibule looking towards steps leading to lower and upper decks, prior to refurbishment

When first introduced, the T sets were fitted with passenger door release handles to prevent loss of air conditioning at stations. These were later disconnected (and later removed) due to passengers not getting used to opening the doors for themselves when needed. The seats originally had fabric upholstery, but this was gradually replaced by blue vinyl. They were also fitted with front destination displays although these have rarely worked.

Since 2003, all Tangaras have been updated with a new CityRail corporate appearance. This involved the fitting of yellow panels on the front, yellow painted passenger doors and the end carriages receiving yellow paint surround for the benefit of visually impaired passengers.[7] Blue and yellow stripes along the bottom of the carriages were replaced by a single yellow stripe and new fuzzy CityRail logos were placed on the driving cars.

  • 2010 renovation

In 2010 a refresh of the Tangaras commenced with the interiors repainted, and new seating upholstery and handrails fitted. As of 2014, this has been successfully completed.[8]

In July 2013 Sydney Trains rearranged the seating on the upper and lower decks on two carriages as a trial on the Western and North Shore lines, with 16 less seats, a 3x2 seats was replaced by 2x2 in one carriage while in the other carriage there are double seats on one side and a bench style seating on the other. This was on sets T77 + T78. This was proved unsuccessful and was returned to normal.[9]

  • 2014 renovation

In 2014, a technology upgrade program, aiming to improve reliability and upgrade aging components, was underway. The work includes overhauling air conditioning units and windscreen wiper units, and replacing passenger side doors, train operating systems and driver's desks.[10]

The following Tangara carriages have been scrapped due to accidents:

Driving Trailer Cars: D6114, D6127, D6274, OD6831 & OD6832
Motor Cars: N5127, ON5816 & ONL5866

The following are replacement carriages:

D6285 & N5285 are replacing written-off cars D6127 & N5127
D6286 is on set T99 (replacing written-off D6274)
D6287 is on set T73 (replacing written-off D6114)
D6108 is on set T16 (replacing D6241 for unknown reasons)
D6288 is on set T71 (replacing D6108 which is replacing D6241)
D6289 is on set T24 (replacing D6148 which is replacing D6106)
D6184 is on set T37 (repaired set back to normal)
D6841 is on ex Outer Suburban Tangara set T121 (replacing D6807 for unknown reasons; D6807 is stabled at Auburn Maintenance Centre)
D6148 was on set T1 (which replaced D6106 because D6106 had been stripped for parts but was reconstructed and put back on T1)

Driving trailer car D6127 and motor car N5127 were both involved in the Wentworthville train derailment on 27 December 1989, Cityrail's first major accident involving the Tangara fleet. D6127 was written off, having collided with the platform. N5127 was sent to Dunheved on the Ropes Creek line for training fire fighters, along with Sydney Trains S Set car C3866.[11]

  • 2018 renovation

In August 2015 a further major maintenance program was announced to extend the life of these trains and bring technology into line with newer trains. This was awarded to UGL Limited and expected to be completed by July 2018.[12][13] New facilities will be introduced will include video screens, CCTV cameras, intercoms and others.

Conversion of G sets to T sets[edit]

In February 2003 a contract was awarded to United Group Rail to construct 41 H set carriages (10 four car trains, plus 1 spare car). These new trains have a very similar level of passenger amenity to the G sets and can be seen as a continuation of the design. In April 2005 an additional 81 carriages were ordered.[14]

In late 2005, 15 V set carriages were suddenly withdrawn due to the discovery of corrosion in their underframes. G sets began to operate more off-peak Intercity services to Port Kembla, Kiama, and Wyong to cover for the withdrawn V sets.

H sets started entering service in December 2006, leading to a change in the role of the G sets. From 2007 the G sets were progressively redeployed to suburban services, providing extra capacity on high-demand existing services such as on the Western line and allowing new services to be introduced. By 2008 G sets were often used on peak suburban services that extend into intercity areas, such as services to Springwood (via the Western line).

In 2009, the conversion of G sets to T sets began, to improve their suitability for suburban working as H sets took over their outer suburban duties. Conversion work consisted of the removal of toilets and their replacement with additional seating. Other work included the installation of new handrails and hangers and the recoding of cars and sets. G4 was the first to be converted (into T104). In 2010 sets being converted started receiving a full refurbishment. The first set to come out of this refurbishment which included woollen Moquette fabric on the seats (found on H Sets, Endeavours and Hunter Railcars), yellow inter-carriage doors and new flooring was T121, which was formerly G21.

Some of the features that indicate a Tangara is a converted G set include:

  • Green door buttons, previously used to open the doors when on interurban runs and also when stopping at short platforms. These have now been disconnected but have been retained
  • Reversible, high-backed seats (unlike the Suburban class, where the seats are fixed)
  • Luggage racks in the vestibule

Lines serviced[edit]

The Tangaras usually operate on the following lines. Since 2013 their operation on Sector 2 has ended timetable services with all of them being displaced to Sector 1 since A sets do not operate on that sector. These are the following operations:

Occasionally, as required, they will operate on other suburban lines, as all drivers are trained for Tangaras.


A train bearing strong resemblance to a Tangara, known as the 4D, was built by A Goninan & Co in 1991 for the Public Transport Corporation.[15] Although outwardly similar to the Tangaras it was mechanically very different being built to be compatible with the Comeng trains operated in Melbourne. It was included in the sale of Hillside Trains to Connex Melbourne in August 1999. It wasn't successful and after spending large periods out of service, being withdrawn in December 2002 and stored at Newport Workshops. The 4D was bought by CityRail for parts before being scrapped in March 2006 at Sims Metal, Brooklyn.


  1. ^ a b The four generations of electric rolling stock CityRail
  2. ^ "Tangara Contract" Railway Digest September 1986 page 273
  3. ^ "A Goninan & Co" Railway Digest October 1993 page 417
  4. ^ "A Review of Electric Multiple Unit rolling stock" Railway Digest September 1996 page 32
  5. ^ "Tangra Preview" Railway Digest February 1988 page 49
  6. ^ "450th Tangara Delivered" Railway Digest December 1995 page 6
  7. ^ Major makeover for Tangara fleet NSW Government 30 April 2010
  8. ^ Tangara fleet to get make-over CityRail Xpress edition 127 28 April 2010
  9. ^ "All change as RailCorp is disbanded" Sydney Morning Herald 1 July 2013
  10. ^ "Transport for NSW 2013/14 Annual Report" (PDF). Transport for NSW. p. 28. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "A Review of Electric Multiple Unit Rolling Stock" Railway Digest September 1994 page 32
  12. ^ Changes will includeUGL awarded $131m contract for Tangara technology upgrade UGL Limted5 August 2015
  13. ^ Newcastle train builder awarded $131m contract/6674034 ABC News 5 August 2015
  14. ^ "OSCAR project". RailCorp. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  15. ^ Double Deck Development and Demonstration (4D) Train Vicsig

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]

Media related to New South Wales T & G sets at Wikimedia Commons