Sydney Growth Trains – what to expect?

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.

I also did a similar summary on the New Intercity Fleet contract, if you’re interested.

Advertising screens

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.

Requirements for the new Advertising Screens (Source: TfNSW)

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.

Artist impression of new Advertising Screen showing anything but ads (Source: TfNSW)

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.

Route map and interchange information displayed in screens on Hong Kong’s MTR trains

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.

Design requires the trains to be converted to driver-only operation in 48 hours (Source: TfNSW)

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.

Infrastructure will need to be put in place to allow public Wi-Fi to be installed in the future (Source: TfNSW)

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.

The growth trains will require passenger counts to be retrievable remotely in real-time (Source: TfNSW)

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.

[Source: TfNSW]

Kenneth Tsang

I'm the author of jxeeno™ blog and co-founder of I'm a bit of an #NBN and public transport geek. You can normally find me juggling work and my studies at UNSW where I'm currently completing a degree in Geospatial Engineering.

  • Brian

    Hopefully the service information screens will be able to display that the train will be travelling further than Central on any through journey, a feature not available on current M, H and A sets.

    • Mat Barber

      That’s not the fault of the train, it is because the “run numbers” or trip ID if you will, has the services changing numbers at circular quay for city circle services and central for all others. So a train coming from say Penrith as run 1–A when arriving at central it will change itself to 1–B , this is why the screens only show it to central, then when it’s at central it changes to its next destination of Hornsby.

      So basically you’d be needing Sydney Trains to organise a reworking of their run number system so keep the same number for the whole trip or find a way to “join” the runs as far as the customer information goes.

      • Brian

        Passengers aren’t interested in run numbers or Trip IDs. If ST can get it right by joining two runs on the platform displays, why can’t they get it right on the trains. Can’t be all that hard. Just another example of ST’s lack of motivation to be passenger friendly.