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The Tangara (an Australian Aboriginal word meaning 'to go') is a current class of electric multiple unit operated by Sydney Trains (Part of RailCorp) in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The Tangara used to come in two subclasses (There is only 1 now) - suburban sets known as T sets, and outer-suburban sets known as G sets. Tangaras commenced service between 1988 and 1995, and are third generation Sydney Trains rolling stock. A Tangara is a four car set, with the middle two cars being non-control motor cars (cars coded with the N prefix), and the two outer cars being driving control trailers (coded with the D prefix) fitted with one pantograph each. Like other suburban trains in the Sydney Trains fleet, Tangaras are of a double decker design. The trains are equipped with air conditioning and chopper control. Two four car sets can be coupled to provide one eight car set - All suburban Tangaras operate this way. Many of the new features in Tangaras were trialled in the previous batch of trains - the Sydney Trains C Set. A total of 450 carriages were ordered, and in 1996, five spare driving trailers were ordered as replacements for damaged carriages. T sets are the first trains in the Sydney Trains fleet to utilise covered gangways with dual sliding doors, which allows passengers to walk between carriages more safely and without exposure to the weather. All carriages were manufactured by Goninan.
These sets are currently undergoing their mid-life overhauls, also known as the Tangara Technology Upgrade Program. Stage 1 of this project has been completed, with all doors being replaced by lighter doors that resemble M set doors (T96 was the first set to receive these doors). This is to stop vandals from kicking out the metal door panels on the old doors and also to improve reliability. Stage 2 will include installation of new destination screens, CCTV cameras and controls. The first train, set T106 (ex-G6) is currently being fitted with these upgrades. The sets will also come out as permanent 8-car sets, with only minimal controls being kept in the two middle driver compartments. These upgrades are being done to extend the life of the T sets and to bring them up to the same standard as the fourth generation of Sydney’s electric passenger rolling stock (M, H, A and B sets).
As of 24 January 2019, there has been major delays to the Life extension program with a number of setbacks, It was expected to be complete by 2018 but was revised to 2019, It was then also an announcement that a third stage is added with the ATP (Auto Train Protection) to be rolled out by 2021,
With 370 carriages, the standard T sets are one of the most common models in the Sydney Trains fleet. The T sets replaced the first generation of Sydney's electric rolling stock. The cars built were:
- Driving Trailer Cars - D6101-D6285
- Additional spare cars D6286-D6289
- Motor Cars - N5101-N5285
Unlike most other Sydney Trains trains the seats in the upper and lower decks of the T sets are not reversible, but fixed, meaning that half the seats face backwards. These proved unpopular with commuters. When first introduced, the T sets were fitted with passenger door release handles to prevent loss of air conditioning at stations. Later, these were disconnected (and some removed and plated over) due to passengers not getting used to opening the doors for themselves when needed. Many T sets still have these handles in place, but pulling them is redundant. The C sets were fitted with a similar system, using push buttons instead of handles. The T set seats originally had fabric upholstery, but were gradually converted to blue vinyl upholstery, before getting fitted with new “Moquette” fabric in the 2010-2014 interior refurbishments.
Since 2003, all Tangaras have been updated with a new Sydney Trains 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. Blue and yellow stripes along the bottom of the carriages were replaced by a single yellow stripe and new fuzzy CityRail logos (later replaced by the Sydney Trains logo in July 2013) were placed on the driving cars. In 2010 a program to refresh the Tangara interiors was announced. T121 (ex-G21) was the first set to undergo this refurbishment while undergoing its conversion to a T set before being carried out to the rest of the fleet. The interior refurbishment and upgrades include reconfigured seating next to the vestibule area, new “Moquette” seating upholstery, new Treadmaster TM8 flooring and new yellow handrails; as of 2014 this has been completed, with set T53 being the last set to be refurbished. These refurbishments were done to meet the standard of the fourth generation electric rolling stock, as well as improving passenger safety and comfort. In October 2014, six Tangara T sets trialled new lightweight passenger doors with windows shaped similar to the ones on the M set doors, but designed specifically for the T sets’ plug door mechanism. The trial was successfully completed in early 2015, leading to the rest of the Tangara carriages being fitted with the new doors over a year and a half period, with the whole fleet being finished at the end of July 2016. These new doors were installed to improve safety and reliability, while the lack of panels underneath the windows prevents vandals from kicking them out.
All the Tangara T sets are based at the maintenance centres at Hornsby and Mortdale, with the colour of the target plate indicating which depot they are based at. Hornsby-based sets have black target plates, while the Mortdale-based sets have red target plates. Hornsby sets mostly run Sector 3 (T1 North Shore, Northern and Western lines), while Mortdale sets mostly run Sector 1 (T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra line). Mortdale-based T sets also previously ran Sector 2 services until 2013, when T sets were withdrawn from said sector. After most of the fleet were displaced to Sector 1 (due to Waratah A sets being unable to run that sector), some sets have occasionally run on the opposite sector, such as Hornsby sets on Sector 1 or Mortdale sets on Sector 3. These instances have become less uncommon in recent years.
The following Tangara carriages have been scrapped due to damage:
- Tangara Motor Cars: N5127, ON5816 and ONL5866
- Driving Trailer Cars: D6114, D6127, D6274, OD6831 and OD6832
The following are replacement carriages:
- D6285 and N5285 are replacing written-off cars D6127 and 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 for unknown reasons)
- D6184 is on set T37 (repaired set back to normal)
- D6841 (ex OD6841) was used on set T121 (ex G21) replacing D6807 (ex OD6807), which was stabled at Auburn Maintenance Centre, but has since been restored and placed back on T121 in September 2018 with upgrades.
- D6148 was on set T1 in place of D6106 following a derailment at Homebush. D6106 was replaced because it was stripped for parts but it has now been reconstructed. After the repairs, D6106 was since reinstated on set T1.
- Motor car N5127 and Driving trailer car D6127 were both involved in the Wentworthville train derailment on 27 December 1989, Sydney Trains's first major accident involving the Tangara fleet. Trailer Car D6127 was an immediate write off, due to its collision with the platform. Motor car N5127 was withdrawn from service following the accident, and was sent to Dunheved Railway Station. C3866, was used on the Ropes Creek line for training fire fighters. Both the N5127 and the C3866 were subsequently destroyed by vandals, and were moved to Auburn-Clyde rail yard for either rebuilding or use for spare parts.
- Driving Trailer D6807 (ex Outer Suburban OD6807) held the record of having the longest time a double decker carriage has been stored, which was over 10 years. D6807 returned to service on set T121 in September 2018. During the time D6807 spent in storage, it underwent the same refurbishment and upgrades as the rest of the T set and ex-G set carriages.
- Sets T14 and T121 are the only T sets to be a mixture of T and ex G set carriages.
- Set T65 has different gangways to the rest of the T sets. T65’s gangways are identical to the ones used on the fourth generation fleet (M, H, A and B sets).
- Sets T53 and T74 were involved in the last Sydney Trains service on the Epping-Chatswood Rail Link, before it underwent conversion for Sydney Metro.
- Sets T20 and T70, the two oldest T sets currently in service, have an Emergency Help Point that looks different to the ones on other T sets. They also have a more rugged wall above the lower deck stairs.
- Tangara's currently operate on these lines:
- They are likely scheduled to operate on the New T9 Northern Line, which will extend from Hornsby via Epping and Strathfield, then from the city to Gordon via Chatswood.
- These changes are likely being introduced to replace the Epping-Chatswood Rail Link (Epping, Macquarie University, Macquarie Park, North Ryde, Chatswood) which will be integrated into Sydney Metro Northwest along with the new Metro stations from Tallawong (Cudgegong Road) to Cherrybrook. The extended Northern Line will also run services that are able to link up with Sydney Metro at Epping and Chatswood stations.
- The Tangaras have went through several changes throughout their lifetime.
- Updated CityRail logos replacing original State Rail logo.
- Red and orange side stripes are repainted blue and yellow.
- Doors, front frames and panels repainted yellow.
- Side stripes are repainted into a single yellow stripe.
- Updated CityRail logos placed on the driving control cars.
- Vinyl replaces fabric on the seats.
- New yellow poles and handrails fitted.
- Seats covered in vandal proof “Moquette” fabric material.
- Gangway doors are repainted yellow.
- New, more durable floor covering is installed. This flooring is grey with yellow and blue chips, and is identical to the flooring on Waratah A sets.
- Leaning cushion is fitted on the vestibule wall next to the doors. Due to this, the vestibule seating was also shortened in length.
- Poles in front of the vestibule seats, and arched poles next to the driver/guard compartment door inside the driving cars were removed. This was likely to make extra space for passengers with prams and/or wheelchairs.
- Four-sided ceiling poles are replaced by a yellow double-sided pole, similar to the ones inside M sets.
- 2003 CityRail logos are replaced with the Sydney Trains logo.
- Six T sets are fitted with new lightweight passenger doors as part of a trial. These doors have a similar design to the doors on the Millennium M sets.
- The remaining T sets are fitted with the new doors.
- On January 24th 2009, G4 derailed at Unanderra after passing a signal at Stop and derailing on catchpoints. Contributing factors were that the driver was fatigued and that there were unruly passengers on the train. This caused the driver to lose concentration when there was a large bang on the driver's door just prior to the derailment. The guard was also feeling scared and moved to the front cab with the driver, so the guard couldn't see the guard's indicator at Unanderra. The train was returned to service following minor repairs. G4 then underwent conversion into a suburban T set (renumbered as T104) but with some G set features remaining intact.
- On January 15th 2014, T10 had a piece of metal from the rails spear through the floor on one of the motor cars near Edgecliff station on a service bound for Cronulla. It was revealed that an inexperienced driver was driving T10 at the time of the incident.
- On February 9th 2012, T1 was involved in a minor derailment near Hurstville station. An investigation revealed that the driver ran a red signal light at the time. The driver was subsequently suspended from the job.
The last 80 of the 450 Tangara cars were modified for use on South Coast, Blue Mountains and Central Coast peak hour services and were known as the outer-suburban G sets. They entered service in 1994-1995, shortly after the delivery of the last T set carriages. The G sets have a similar external appearance to the T sets - the only major differences are round green door buttons and a modified front with orange panels & bottom corners that taper inwards. Inside, the G sets sported improvements, such as high-backed reversible seats, toilets, fresh water dispensers and luggage racks. The G sets were originally nicknamed "Odyssey" when first released. The cars built were:
- Driving Trailer Cars - OD6801-OD6841
- Motor Cars - ON5801-ON5820
- Motor Cars with Toilet - ONL5851-ONL5870
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 facility at Auburn after the Waterfall train disaster, as all four cars were beyond repair. 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 runs to Port Kembla, Kiama, and Wyong to cover for the withdrawn V sets. In 2003, the G sets were fitted with the same current Sydney Trains corporate yellow livery as their T set counterparts, and then in 2010-2014, underwent the same interior refurbishments as the rest of the fleet after their conversion to T sets.
Redeployment to suburban services
In February 2003, a contract was awarded to United Group Rail to construct 41 OSCAR 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. OSCARs 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 OSCAR sets continued to replace their interurban duties. Conversion work consisted of the removal of toilets with the water dispensers and their replacement with additional seating. Other work included the installation of new handrails and hangers and the recoding of cars and sets. Set numbers were generally changed from G(n) to T1(n). Car numbers only had the prefixes changed to D/N as appropriate. G4 was the first to be converted (into T104). In 2010 sets being converted started receiving a full refurbishment. As of 2011, the program is now finished. Most of the ex G set renumbers corresponded to their original G set numbers (e.g. G25 becoming T125), though there are some exceptions (such as G11 becoming T107).