Labor behind the times on New Intercity Fleet

Darryn Capes-DavisEngineer, Opinion

First it was ABC pedalling bargain basement journalism. Now State MP Trish Doyle has been quoted glibly saying that the New Intercity Fleet don’t fit the tracks.

The New Intercity Fleet (NIF) train project will deliver improved amenities including wider seats with arm rests and more space, dedicated space for luggage, prams, bicycles and wheelchairs. For that wider trains are required, and the decision was made to upgrade the Blue Mountains line to a wider loading gauge west of Springwood. It is great to know that we can move with the times and provide greater accessibility on public transport.

The current conditions west of Springwood do not meet Transport for NSW Asset Standards Authority (ASA) requirements. ASA is a body that has an external advisory group and external review panel. It was set up in 2013 to advise and formulate on requirements such as those requiring the accessibility requirements to the NIF.

Even back in 1970s the tunnels in Ten Tunnels Deviation between Bell and Lithgow were modified for the introduction of the V sets, a locally made train set.

The signalling and electrical modifications for the NIF include many new features like Car Markers and Balises for Automatic Selective Door Operation across the electrified network. These features are required for modern accessible trains, no matter where they are made.

Overall, it is not that the trains purchased for NIF do not fit. It’s that any modern, accessible train that meets current standards will not fit.

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