The Sydney Trains 'Waratah' (A and B sets) is a current class of Electric Multiple Unit operating on the Sydney Trains network. A total of 78 A sets and 24 B sets are currently in service as of June 2019.

Although initially intended to replace the L, R and S Sets, there was an insufficient number of A sets to facilitate increased services from the 2017 timetable. As a consequence, an order of 24 additional trains was placed in December 2016. These became known as the Series 2 Waratah B sets, which serve the same roles and features as the A sets, but with some additional upgraded features. The B sets were progressively rolled out from 2018 with the final batch entering service the following year, allowing the S sets to be retired once again. A further 17 B sets were ordered in 2019 and are expected to be delivered starting in 2021.

Both variants were co-manufactured by Changchun Railway Vehicles in Changchun, China, and Downer Rail at Cardiff, NSW, Australia.

Delivery Edit

The A sets were partially constructed by Changchun Railway Vehicles in Changchun, China, then shipped to Downer Rail at Cardiff for final assembly and static testing. The trains were then locomotive hauled to Sydney for testing.

The first train to be delivered was the pre-production test vehicle (PPTV) which consisted of four carriages. This train was expected to commence testing in mid 2009, but delays pushed this back to April 2010.

By late 2010, the first three production sets were under test. However, there were further delays as Cityrail rejected the trains due to a number of defects on the train. A1/2 were shipped back to China to correct these defects.

A3 was the first train to begin passenger service on 1st July 2011. It started off running offpeak services on the Airport & East Hills lines. As more trains arrived, they began running on various lines on the network. The final train, A80, was delivered on 2nd June 2014.


Carriage numbers on Waratahs use the D prefix for the driving cars, N for motor cars, and T for trailer cars.

The trains consist of eight rigid carriages which differs from previous generation designs of two four-car sets, coupled into eight-car trains. Each set is configured as follows:

Trailer Driving car +
Motor car +
Motor car +
Trailer car +
Trailer car +
Motor car + 
Motor car +
Trailer driving car.

This configuration means guards operate from the rear carriage of the train as opposed to the centre. To offset the reduced visibility (especially at curved platforms) the trains include external CCTV cameras, allowing the guard to view all eight carriages. The eight car configuration also allows commuters to walk through the entire train in the case of an emergency.

Inside, the train includes additional Emergency Help Points and CCTV cameras. Axis Communications was awarded the contract to install the train's extensive system of 98 CCTV cameras, which are linked together with Power over Ethernet and utilise Progressive scanning technology to allow capturing of events in clear high resolution, with no distortion in quick movement individual frames. The CCTV cameras are designed to withstand vibration and features technologies such as an in-built heater to prevent condensation and alarms to alert of removal or obstruction.

Nightshine Australia was selected to produce luminescent arrow signs, which are affixed on the base of outer seats on the lower and upper decks to direct passengers to the most appropriate route of exit. The train flooring utilises Treadmaster TM8, made from a polymer-based material that is designed to be durable, vandal and graffiti resistant. They are also designed with safety in mind, being highly fire resistant with low smoke toxicity output. The Treadmaster TM8 flooring was also later fitted inside the Tangara T sets, in an interior refurbishment project to replace aging components and to improve safety and comfort of the T sets.

Improvements to the DVAs (Digital Voice Announcements) with differential pitch of the voice allow more natural sounding speech. All the stations included in the stopping pattern are also announced prior to or soon after departure from a terminus stop. These announcements were changed slightly in 2013, after CityRail was rebranded to Sydney Trains.

The trains can also connect to Transport for NSW's servers, which brings in a range of highly useful features. Controllers at the Rail Operations Centre can connect to the train to view CCTV, answer emergency help point calls and even play announcements. Although every train on the network has auto-levelling airbags that adjust to passenger load, the Waratahs are the only train which can send the status of these airbags to a server. This allows platform screens and realtime apps to be able to display information about how full each carriage is, and for air conditioning systems to adjust according to how full the carriage is.

The A set is the first passenger train in the world to use LED lamps for all lighting (except headlights). Moquette, a durable, vandal-resistant material first used in the OSCAR trains, Hunter Railcars, and later adopted in the refurbishments of both the Tangara T sets and Endeavour railcars, is used to cover the train's seats.

The first 40 Waratah A sets to enter service carried the NSW Government's Waratah logo. This was later replaced by the Sydney Trains hop logo after the company's formation in July 2013 as part of the Transport for NSW brand. After the rebrand to Sydney Trains, the side of the train near the driver's cabs was covered in orange vinyl.

Waratah carriages have a seated capacity of 101 passengers for driving trailer cars, 118 for motor cars, and 110 for trailer cars.

In ServiceEdit

A sets only (Sector 3)

  • T1North Shore and Western Lines: Berowra to Emu Plains/Richmond via City
  • T9Northern Line: Hornsby to Gordon via Epping, Strathfield & City

A and B sets (Sector 2)

  • T2South Line: City Circle to Leppington via Granville / Inner West Line: City Circle to Homebush/Parramatta via Strathfield.
  • T3Bankstown Line: City Circle to Lidcombe/Liverpool via Bankstown
  • T5Cumberland Line: Leppington to Schofields/Richmond (off peak only)
  • T7Olympic Park Line: Central/Lidcombe to Olympic Park (Weekends, public holidays and special events only)
  • T8Airport & East Hills Lines: City Circle to Macarthur via Airport/Sydenham

Note that as B sets are practically identical to A sets, any driver qualified to drive an A set is also qualified for B sets. B sets will occasionally run on Sector 3 as required.

As it is a suburban train, A sets do not run on NSW TrainLink lines. They do not run on some Sydney Trains lines because they can cause substations to trip by pulling too much current from them, with one notable case being the T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line, which currently only runs Tangara T sets (for all T4 suburban services) and OSCAR H sets (for South Coast Line services). This makes the T4 line the only major suburban line that A sets do not operate on, barring lines that only run 4 car services.

Very rarely, the Waratahs have operated on other lines, as the electrical systems can cope with occasional high loads.

Prior to the 2017 timetable, Waratahs also never ran on the Cumberland line.

B sets Edit

In December 2016, 192 new carriages (forming 24 new sets) were ordered for a new timetable planned in November 2017, to keep the S sets out of service. This fleet are known as the B sets, the first B set was unveiled in March 2018 and entered service towards the end of October 2018, The first B set to Enter service was set B2 in September 2018, it operated Multiple Services on Sector 2. The last of the initial order of 24 B sets arrived in April 2019.

The last set of the first batch, B24, entered service on 20 June 2019.

B sets have the same appearance and functionality as A sets. The main differences for B sets are a slightly different livery, a new additional information screen in the vestibule area, and the internal passenger information screens being a LCD display instead of an LED display.

On 21 July 2019, B24 participated in the "three generations run" during Transport Heritage NSW's Farewell S Sets public event. B24 ran up to Strathfield, while the other two sets that ran, Red Rattler F1 and S Sets S28 + S56 continued to St Marys.

In January 2019, a further 17 more B sets were ordered ahead of the NSW state election. This is a further upgrade from the current B sets. These additional B sets are likely to feature rail fault detectors and many more features, much like B23 and B24.

This second batch of B sets will carry set numbers B25 to B41.

Delays are now currently occurring to build the the second batch of B sets due to the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic.[1]

Formation Edit

The 626 carriages will form 78 eight car sets (numbered A1, A3-78, A80) with 2 spare driving cars. The service carriages are numbered: D63nn-N53nn-N55nn-T65nn-T66nn-N56nn-N54nn-D64nn

where nn is the set number.

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. N5342 and N5442 were meant to be added to A42 when it arrived, but this was never done for various reasons. They now remain at Cardiff, having had most parts stripped from them for spares, and are no longer numbered to avoid confusion with the cars on A42 that carry the same number. Spare car D6379 was later added onto set A42, replacing D6342, which suffered damage when A42 crashed into a buffer at Richmond station.

The first 40 sets were delivered to Sydney Trains 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 driver's cab covered in orange vinyl. One set which was A2 had to be scrapped due to an acid spill on the boat when it was returning to China. The surviving parts of A2 were rebuilt into A80.

The B set carriages are numbered:


Accidents Edit

  • A2 was involved in an acid spill during transfer from China. The train was severely damaged and was later written off, becoming the first (and so far only) Waratah to be scrapped. Set A80 was later built to take A2's place.
  • On 14th October 2014, A29 was extensively damaged after it was trapped by rising flood-waters at Bardwell Park. Water reached up to door level and as a result, many electrical components underneath the train were destroyed. The train was towed to Cardiff using a locomotive and repairs took several months to complete.
  • A22 was involved in a derailment on 23rd October 2014 at Mulgrave. The derailment was caused by catch points after an SPAD (Signal Passed At Danger), however it only had minor damage and soon returned to service.
  • On 20th March 2017, carriage N5508 on set A8 suffered an explosion of its air conditioning unit at Burwood. The carriage was subsequently repaired and A8 later returned to regular service.
  • On 22nd January 2018, A42 failed to stop in time and crashed into the buffer stop at the end of platform 2 at Richmond station. According to the preliminary report, the train was travelling around 35km/h at the time of the crash. The resulting recovery operation took several days as the couplers were damaged. Eventually, the train was transported in sections of 2-3 cars to Cardiff. There had been rumours are that the train would be written off, which has since been debunked. In response to the incident, Sydney Trains has introduced a temporary speed restriction of 20 km/h on approach to Richmond station. The train stop attached to the signal controlling access to the platforms will also strike the train if it exceeds 25km/h. The accident report can be found here. After the repairs at Cardiff, A42 was then transferred to UGL Unipart at Auburn for additional repairs, with damaged driving car D6342 being replaced by spare car D6379. A42 re-entered service on March 27th, 2019.
  • On September 5 2018, a Waratah A set (set number unknown) hit and killed man at Riverwood station. More information here :
  • On April 4 2020, carriage T6512 on set A12 suffered an explosion and caught alight on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, near Milsons Point. The set will be taken out of service to undergo repairs. It is the second Series 1 Waratah to suffer an explosion, following A8 (see above).

Trivia Edit

  • A42 is the first set to suffer major damage since the class' debut.
    • It’s also the first set to use one of the prototype carriages (D6379) as a replacement carriage.
  • The Prototype carriages were used as the test train, which were later used as spare carriages.
  • On 30th September 2018, set A3 ran the last Sydney Trains service along the Epping-Chatswood Rail Link in the eastbound direction. The last westbound service on the ECRL (and the last ECRL service overall) was run by Tangara T sets T53 and T74. After the service by the latter pair finished, the line underwent conversion to become part of the Sydney Metro automated driverless rail network.
  • When it first entered service, Series 2 Waratah set B2 carried a special livery on cars D1102 and D1202 with Waratah flowers and the graphic "The Series 2 Waratah has arrived". This livery was later removed in March 2020, along with the "1 of 24 new trains" decal on all the other B sets.
  • The Waratahs have went through a few changes during their lifetime.
    • 2013:
      • Sydney Trains “hop” logo replaced NSW Government logo. A13 became the first set to incorporate the new logo.
      • The side on the front of the driving cars were repainted orange.
    • 2018:
      • The 24 new Series 2 B sets begin rolling onto the network. The B sets feature a new livery to blend in with the Transport for NSW franchise, and to distinguish them from the A sets. The front of the B sets are painted orange with the Sydney Trains logo.

Film Apperences Edit

  • When ABC ME (after it was rebranded from ABC3) first came out, a music video called 'Me2u' was played. In the first few shots, an A set (A32) can be seen coming towards the camera at Newtown and later going past the presenter in the video.
  • A1 made an appearance in the music video “In The Beginning” by rap group OneFour. The video was filmed at the group’s hometown of Mount Druitt, with Mount Druitt station also appearing in the clip.


See alsoEdit

List of Sydney Trains/NSW TrainLink fleets

External Links Edit

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