Just to try and inject a big of light along with the heat to this topic, here is a basic run-down of the fleet and the requirements:
There are approximately 420 electric interurban vehicles with a seat capacity of ~42000 PAX. This is comprised of:
- *About* 100 Camshaft series V sets built between 1977 and 1982 (not sure how many DC series have been retired)
- ~ 100 Chopper V sets (DJ & DK series) built between 1983 (?) and 1988
- 220 OSCAR vehicles in 55 x 4 car sets.
What is the total commuter load? According to (http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8459/8069774920_0b4fefe14b_b.jpg
) it's all of 15000 PAX across the whole AM period.
- 7500 from the Central Coast
- 3500 from the Mountains
- 3000 from the South Coast
Yet more than that transfer off interurbans at Central during the AM peak hour. IIRC somewhere between 30% and 50% of all transfering PAX at Central boarded an interurban (EDIT) in the suburban zone
Also from the Mountains, (IIRC) ~70% of the load eminates from - or east of - Springwood, and it's probably 85% east of Lawson.
Springwood - Central is less than 80 km, and if the OSCARs could do the run at the currently boarded line speeds, much less their maximum speeds where appropriate - they could do the run into Sydney in under an hour. And similarly Gosford to Wynyard is 80km via Chatsood. A run which should take less than an hour takes >90 minutes. If these runs were reliably tabled and operated in 60 minutes, then they could rightly be regarded as suburban runs and the OSCARs appropriate vehicles for them.
To my mind the interurban fleet deployment is hugely inefficient for many reasons, and is the biggest arewa of "waste" in terms of service delivery in the CityRail - which is no doubt why it's being hived off the NSW Trains. The main issue is almost all runs are ex-Central served mostly with 800 seat train worth $50mil+, yet outside the suburban area and outside the commuter peak there wouldn't be more than 2 services out of peak that carry more than 200 people.
Personally, I'd like to see Springwood - Gosford in the Sydney Trains zone, getting 6tph peak and only 1 tph off peak, fed by Trains NSW Shuttles.
But even without that, I think there is huge benefit in obtaining a small fleet ofEDIT: re-completing this post
... (12 - 20 trains) small 200 seat EMUs to provide a base load (ie off peak) hourley or even half hourly shuttle services on the coasts and in the mountains, then only operate large direct trains during the commuter peaks. If the H set fleet only had to deal with just the commuter peak load interurbans, that would mean complete retirement of the V sets and still leave enough left over to retire a fair slab of the Ks, or perhaps even the entire C
Another approach is to retain just the V set trailers (and a few DJMs as end trailers) and acquire a small (10-15) fleet of modern locomotives (or more likely a hook and pull contract) and return to running these peak commuter trains as loco hauled. Even as trailers the Vs are old and would require a lot of inspection and no doubt maintenance. A small(ish) service facility to do bogie exchange and overhaul and AC tinkering should be enough - provided the trains run no more than 4 hrs a day and 1000km week. And with such low distance the maintenance cycles could still be very long. Under such a scheme the V set fleet as we know it could be retired, as could the entire K & C set fleet, meaning Flemington could be decommissioned.