Advertising screens and provisions for driver-only operation expected for the 24 new eight-car Waratah-style trains
24 new trains have been ordered as part of Transport for NSW’s More Trains, More Services program. These eight-car trains, together with signaling and rail infrastructure upgrades, will enable Sydney Trains to deliver more express services over the existing heavy rail network.
Downer EDI won the contract, worth $1.7 billion dollars, to deliver and maintain the new trains. Chinese manufacturing company CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles will manufacture and deliver the trains under a subcontract agreement with Downer EDI.
These trains have been described as being “Waratah-style” trains. I decided I’d take a peek inside the Sydney Growth Trains contract, to see if there are any other quirks expected in the new fleet.
In addition to the dot-matrix screens found on the existing Waratah fleet, the new trains will also include a new “Advertising screen” in each vestibule area on the trains. The screen needs to be capable displaying colour and high resolution (1080p) videos and images.
Artist impression of the vestibule area, found on the Transport for NSW website, have the screens showing “next station” information and direction of doors opening. However, the contract doesn’t require the manufacturer to support showing this information. So, it remains to be seen how these screens will be used.
Personally, I’d love to see something similar to what Hong Kong’s MTR displays on their screens – a route map showing past and upcoming stops, plus interchange information displayed on the screen.
Provision for driver-only operation
Sydney Trains and NSW Trains are beginning to move towards driver-only operation. The New Intercity Fleet will likely be driver-only operation.
Initially, the growth trains will still be operated by a two-person crew (driver and guard). However, as a future-proofing provision, the design will allow each train set to be converted into driver-only operation.
The contract specifies a turnaround time of 48 hours for converting to driver-only operation.
Provision for public Wi-Fi – again
Unlike the New Intercity Fleet, the growth trains won’t be equipped with Wi-Fi equipment at launch. However, the train will be capable of retrofitting Wi-Fi equipment at a later date without additional power or data cabling.
The original Waratah fleet was also said to have Wi-Fi provisions in place — however, without the original contract, I can’t confirm this.
Passenger load estimate
The original Waratah fleet already has the capability to estimate passenger load by measuring carriage mass. The new growth trains will also have this capability, requiring this data to be retrievable remotely in real-time.
There’s nothing too surprising in the Sydney Growth Trains contract. As advertised, they are Waratah-style trains with minor improvements.
First delivery of these trains is expected by next year. If all goes to plan, it will be the speediest delivery timeframe of any fleet thus far. We’ll have to wait and see.