All things U-SETS / U-BOATS

  zordmaker Train Controller

Location: NSW
Some posts on the SETS facebook page regarding the vehicles concerned
Yeah, it does seem that they are still owned by SETS.

The farcebook comments have been amusing to say the least, especially Ben Parker's replies.

All I can say is.. "Here we go again"...

Well I asked a straight question to them & received a straight answer. They are going to be used by Sydney Trains...

Now as I don't know you & I don't know them I have no way of knowing what is truth, what is wishful thinking, and what is axe grinding. All I can do is sit back & watch how things play out... which is the problem with the rail preservation fraternity because there are so many agendas, cliques, vested interests, that for an outsider like me you have to be wary about believing anyone.

Same here mate.. let's sit back and watch the show.

For the uninitiated, a few short tit bits about SETS. I'd hate to think anyone was going to throw good money at this.

- The incorporated association last submitted an annual financial return to Fair Trading NSW in 2010.
- Nobody has been able to determine who paid for any of the assets, who owns them or if there are any liabilities.
- The cost of the transfer from Junee (estimated to be in excess of $20k) is believed to be not fully paid or if it has been, then it is unknown by whom. This amount dwarfs the amounts being asked for in the donation drives.
- A number of SETS owned assets were to be removed from Chullora in 2011. They are still there.
- The constitution does not allow for removal of members. It is believed that over 50% of the members on the list are dead
or are un contactable.
- The previous operator of the locomotives (3801 Ltd) is no longer trading however the company remains.
- The locomotive will require purchase and fitment of an ICE radio in order to be used on the network, these cost around $30k and in many ways is what now limits all preservation groups from operating on the main line.
- The locomotives were in operating condition in 2009 however this was nine years ago and nobody in their wildest dreams would assume that they will be still fully operable today without considerable further investment.

Basically, when you donate to this cause, you're throwing money at something which is entirely owned and controlled by two individual people and has no accountability whatsoever to anyone else.

I'd certainly forgive anyone for being just a little bit skeptical.

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  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Whatever happens, hopefully it will be positive. They have some very interesting and historically significant electrics in their collection and I doubt anyone would be disappointed to see them operating again. Even if they were able to get the locos running again, it would be interesting to see what kind of asking price there would be for tickets in order to just break even against running/storage/maintenance costs. Providing such an agreement was in fact possible, given history, it would probably be better if they just leased them to ST to use however they needed with work trains, etc and then perhaps the friendly ST/THNSW relationship might make it possible for tour use.

Restoring a complete 4 car U-boat set would no doubt cost a bomb. Would it still be 30K for ICE radio as well or 60K? (one per motor car?)

As far as I understand, a lot of the U boat cars survived being scrapped and many were purchased to be put on private properties/farms. I take it most of the under-gear equipment, bogies, pantos, some cab gear were probably stripped out as a source of spares? similar with the 46's before they were scrapped?

The move to Lithgow is interesting, if there is any involvement with LRW, would they have the type of people with knowledge how to restore these electrics? Most of the restorations we've seen/have been talked about are steam or diesel. Vintage electrics in themselves are still a relatively new thing (again) since F1 only started operating 2 years ago after a 14 year gap.
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Chris Stratton posted a list containing information about the status and whereabouts of u-set cars on the NSW Railways - Past and Present group. Some of the information is the same/similar to my list, as well as including various extra information on cars which were unknown. I've incorporated these details into my lists on CF, TF, ETB cars on the first page. Lots of changes. Credit to him for sharing that info.
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Shot taken July 4 2018 of CF5003 and CF5021 in the Lithgow yards/sidings. The electric locos have since been moved elsewhere
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Credit to Lindsay Bridge for sharing these photos taken on the 18 April 1965 U-boat tour to Wallerawang. The u-set travelled under it's own power to Lithgow then was hauled by steam loco 3646 to Wallerawang which was originally to be the limit of electrification

A video of this tour can be seen on page 4 tressteleg1 video "unusual electric train tours Sydney from 1965"

The following is a link to a facebook posting by CE Photography posted on 23 June 2018 showing CF5003 and CF5021 stabled in Lithgow yards a couple of days after being brought from Junee. The 2 electric locos have since been moved to Lithgow Loco Depot for (supposed) re-activation works

Posted by Lynton Hemer on facebook taken from a U-set on an interurban ride to Gosford on 30 September 1967. Shows the type of trains/locos you would find in Hornsby yard at the time, including 4872 and Garratt 6014
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

A couple of interesting shots posted by Brad Peadon on the facebook page NSWRailwaysPastAndPresent

c. late 1980's. U7 heading north from Austinmer to Coledale. In the lead of this set is none other than preserved CF5017

c. late 1980's. Follow on from above U7 pictured at Sydney Terminal. Interesting that this set was comprised of all cars with original lift-up windows, which suggests it may have been assembled for a tour run of some kind.

c. 1980's. CF5002 pictured with some severe damage at ELCAR. In the comments section is also a photo of a damaged CF5032 after it's collision at Lithgow in July 1993 with an 86.
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

The following are some videos from the National Film and Sound Archives of Australia youtube channel. These videos, many of which were filmed in the early/mid 1960's were typically the type shown in school classrooms for educational purposes. I've listed the times in the videos where u-boats appear, as well as any other trains of interest. Although the footage is fleeting, it is some of the highest quality footage video of these trains you'll probably find from this period. I could have posted some of these in the 46 class or red set thread, but given how there is somewhat fewer videos of the U sets, I may as well post them here. Hope it may be of interest!

c. 1962. All Manner of Trains
- 0:43 you see a 46 class electric loco hauling a passenger train through the Hawkesbury River area
- 1:24 a U boat passing through the Blue Mountains at distance
- 1:41 a DEB set
- 2:23 a U boat on the Northern line? Interesting enough it looks like it's hauling a parcel van at the end
- 6:05 2 x 44 class diesels hauling Brisbane Limited
- 7:52 some standard red sets
- 14:00 shows construction of streamliner diesel locomotives
- 17:40 a pair of GM diesels?
- 19:53 a DEB and 600/700 at Nyngan
- 28:54 a 46 class electric hauling the Newcastle Flyer
- 29:05 lots of red sets seen
- 30:10 a 1955 Comeng suburban W set motor car still with it's single deck trailers
- 30:21 a U boat
- 35:15 2 x 44 class hauling Brisbane Limited?


c. 1964. Transport in Australia
- 1:03 a 46 class hauling freight
- 13:10 views of red sets, similar to previous video, maybe some different angles
- 13:30 u boat seen


c. 1965. Road to the West
- 13:05 people boarding a u boat at a blue mountains station (not sure which one). Footage also briefly shows driver, interior of the car and a view from driver's cab of train crossing a pair of 46's on freight duties.
- 14:42 a 46 class hauled passenger service
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Some photos from the jackson photo collection, full details/credits in each link to photo, in order of date taken

01 May 1962 U-set on the main down through Redfern station

01 May 1962. U-set through Redfern heading past the carriage works

c. 1963. U-set U6B through Redfern

c. 1963. U-set U2A through Redfern

23 March 1967. steam locomotive 3830 in foreground at Platform 5 and U-set in platform 4

08 April 1967 Steam Loco 3822 in foreground for Southern Highlands Express with U-sets in the background at Sydney Terminal

05 May 1967 U-set through Petersham on main up

14 September 1967. U-set at Strathfield station probably platform 2 with a city bound service

22 September 1967. U-set arrives at Sydney Terminal. In the lead is CF5023 which has the special cable attached to it as trials for S-sets. CF5025 had a port under the off-side (right) cab window to interface with it

03 October 1967. U-set through Croydon on the main up

01 January 1968. 4876 about to join 4879 as pilot engine on Brisbane Express empty coach stock movement. U-boat can also be seen

05 February 1968 U-set

02 August 1968 U-set through Redfern near Carriage Works
  Just The Tip Junior Train Controller

Location: Danger zone
Thank you for researching and sharing the snippets of information and images for these threads. Uncovering some very interesting things!
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Last run Blue Mountains service by a U set. (15 September 1958 - 26 February 1996). After that you could only catch them on Newcastle/CC based service. The last of those was Newcastle to Sydney on Friday 01 November 1996.

Passenger Trains Blue Mountains
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Saturday, 15 September 2018 will exactly 60 years to the day that the U sets officially entered service. On this day it ran "The Fish", the Sydney to Mt. Victoria service.

13 March 1965. Photograph taken for Official Opening of the old site for the Sydney Tramway Museum by Pat Hills MP. A special u boat stands at the Scout Platform. Credit Lindsay Bridge

July 1984. Shows electric loco 4634 and interurban set U4 waiting at Lithgow covered in snow

CF5039 at Nimmitabel

08 August 2018. CF5003 at Lithgow sidings

15 August 2018. CF5003 and CF5021 as seen from a passing V-set
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Another video from the NFSA

Blue Mountains Moving Memories - 1920's to 1970's

- At 45:24 a scene shows a u-boat passing through the Blue Mountains c. 1960's
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

More info on Aldavilla Public School's CF5014

The school celebrated it's 25th Anniversary late last year. Article below:-

A link to a slightly enlarged Argus 31 January 1997 issue which talks about the transport and arrival of CF5014 to Kempsey including a photo:-

Of note is that CF5014 was donated by the SRA of NSW and was lifted into place on the school grounds on Wednesday, 13 January 1997 after being transported by truck from Sydney. Kempsey Local Aboriginal Land Council and the school's Aboriginal Parent Student Support Association were heavily involved in negotiations for the carriage and paid the cost for it's transport. It was used as an Aboriginal Resource Center but now as a kitchen for cooking classes for the school's students.

Further Article posted about this in October 2017 showing some more photos and video footage
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Posted a link to these 4 shots in the red sets thread, but worth posting here too. U sets at Mt Victoria and Lapstone. By Barry Cooper. The U set at Mt. Victoria has CF5024 in the lead which now spends it's days over at the Dorrigo Museum.

Some shots shared by Syd Ramsay taken at Dorrigo in April 2007. Showing amongst others items of rolling stock, CF5024 and CF5004. 5004 being one of the few that retained the original lift up windows.

Shot by Chris Stratton taken 24 October 1985 showing a U-boat at Otford.
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

I would just love to see the SETS stuff back in action one day. Too many good people spent too much time on them to have then rot away.

Thankfully, if what has happened with 8606 recently is any indication then it is a good sign and hopefully whatever the arrangement is with PN/TfNSW/ST it continues to flourish. It's a win for all those who worked hard to preserve these significant items and that they are safely stored/looked after and running and not rotting away in some obscure siding somewhere. It's a win for all of us.
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Photo by David Edgeworth on NSW Railways Past and Present facebook page of U boat at Katoomba 12 October 1960

Photo 14 October 1983 at Hornsby showing U-set at Platform 4 hornsby with northern service and double deck s set on platform 3. The rear power car of the U set is CF5001 was was acquired by Rothbury and now owned by SETS.

Photo taken 14 October 1987 of U8 at Port Kembla Trove NLA

Photo UP U set Blaxland 1980's by Greg Nowland shared by Ron Taylor

Beverley Clifford photo 1960's aerial of Sydney Terminal showing u boat and other trains

Chris Stratton Photo of U2 leaving Cringila with northbound passenger 26 August 1993

Photo by Barry James Gilmour taken on July 5, 1965 showing U-boats on platform 8 with parcels trailer along with various cars on the concourse during a 24 hr public transport strike.

Some photographs posted by David Johnson of CF5025 which was modified and used for the filming of the Matrix films

CF5025 at Carriage Works Redfern 05 April 2002

CF5025 at Carrige Works Redfern 05 April 2002

CF5025 at Carrige Works Redfern 05 April 2002

CF5025 at Carrige Works Redfern 05 May 2002

CF5025 at Carrige Works Redfern 08 May 2002
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

U60 and V20 at Unanderra 11 November 1993 by Chris Stratton

Video posted on Portal into the Past Sydney and Beyond facebook page. It shows some of Sydney's Tram's in action as well as arrival of U-boat into the National Park station at Loftus for the opening of the Sydney Tramway Museum in 1965 (about 33 seconds into the video)
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Photos shared that were taken today by Chris Lithgow on NSWRailwaysPastAndPresent facebook page with CF5003. Cars such as this one have now passed the 20 year mark in ownership of the SETS group.

I've also updated the information on page 1 for the interurban trailer car ETB 6039. This is info of the car posted on the NSW inventory website:-


This car was disposed off and passed into the ownership to the former NSW RTM (now Transport Heritage NSW) and is looked after and part of the exhibits at the Valley Heights Locomotive Heritage Depot Museum. It entered service on 30 November 1959. It looks like that at least part of the decision to part with this one instead of ETB 6029 is that it was in worse condition. It is noted on the inventory site that the car is in reasonable and original condition, still featuring the original lift up windows, shutters and seats however that the floor on the non toilet end is buckled, indicating some frame twisting and would need to be repaired to enable the doors at that end to operate correctly.

One other interesting thing with this car is that it is listed as Condemned on September 1993. One accident of note that happened was in July 1993 when a U-boat service collided with 86 class electric locos around Lithgow/Eskbank and the lead motor car, CF5032 was severely damaged with it's cab ending up a mangled wreck. The driver lost a leg in the incident but given the extent of the damage it is surprising that he didn't lose his life altogether. I've posted photos of this car on Page 2. A photo posted of this accident showed that the 2 trailers behind CF5032 both featured original lift up windows. Perhaps it is possible that ETB 6039 was one of these two trailers and sustained some damage and the decision was simply made to withdraw the car given that U-boat withdrawals would ultimately begin about a year later as the Tangara G sets began to enter service. This could potentially explain it's Condemned date of September 1993.

Here are some interior shots of ETB 6039 shared by Bob Howard on the NSWRailwaysPastAndPresent facebook page, including an additional one in the comments section
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Some interesting photos shared by Tox Ana

- Shows CF5001 the trailing car of a 4-car U Set U5 at Morriset bound for Newcastle still with the "red nose" for Red Nose Day
- Interior shot of CF5037, this was one of 3 cars retained by RailCorp (with 5008 and 5036), all 3 being stripped for spares by HET for the Heritage U2 Set then scrapped at Chullora in 2010
- A shot of a tour run by SETS on February 4, 1995. The middle power car with the original lift windows in this tour apparently being CF5001. SETS stepped in at the last moment and purchased CF5001 from the HVRT at Rothbury, saving it from scrap, as the other 4 cars with the trust were in the process of being broken up in April 2013.
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Exactly 59 years ago today the first official electric train ran to Gosford as an 8-car U set. SETS's U set power car CF5003 was one of the middle power cars in this consist. Below are some interesting shots from the Fairfax Archives one of which (8/15) shows then Premier R J Heffron aboard the first official electric train. Based on the photo, I assume he is aboard one of the ETB "first class" trailers given the carpet strip.

A previous post in this thread has more info about the Gosford electrification celebrations including full train carriage consist.
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

An interesting video I've just found posted by reidgck on youtube. It shows scenes of Sydney Terminal/Central station in 1967 with steam locos, diesel locos such as the 44's, U boats and 46 class electric locos. It finishes with a ride over the Sydney Harbour Bridge aboard a red set
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Some photographs from the Living Histories collection from University of Newcastle, same sources as the 86 class photos I shared. This series shows U boats, predominately passing through Broadmeadow sometime from the mid 1980's onwards.

c. 1960. Steam Loco 1243 hauling ARHS Blacktown Railway Centenary tour with U boat alongside

Newcastle bound U2 passes Broadmeadow at Speed. A great shot showing 2 of the ST/HET/THNSW preserved U boat motor cars, CF5035 leading and CF5017 trailing. CF5035 is distinctive given the fact it is missing it's lower right marker light.

U2 passes Broadmeadow on its way to Newcastle. Rear shot of above set. Shows CF5017 trailing. This car is distinctive as it's top right marker light is red.

U1 passing Broadmeadow on it's way back to Sydney

A 4 car U boat passing Broadmeadow on its way to Sydney

A 4 car U boat passing Broadmeadow. Front power car is CF5008 which has come up in many shots and videos I've seen quite distinctive because of the dent near the off side driver window.

U14 arrives into Newcastle

U1 pulls into Platform 1 at Broadmeadow Station on its way back to Sydney
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

Saturday, 07 May 1994. CF5035 at rear of (likely) set U2 about due to depart Broadmeadow Platform 1 for Sydney with a SETS tour.

This was the SETS tour to the Rail Motor Society at Paterson. The tour traveled between Sydney and Newcastle by the U set and by 620/720 railcar between Newcastle and Paterson. According to the heritage info listing with the State Gov CF5035 entered service 60 years ago next month (May 1959) and was Condemned in November 1994 which probably means it was withdrawn about 1 to 2 months before that, as such as seen in this shot it didn't have much time left to go in service. No idea why the bottom right marker light was removed and I assume it's probably something that could be reinstated. Based on the photo it's clear someone is filming the tour and apparently this tour was indeed filmed, as it seems most of the SETS tours were. Oldtapecaptures on youtube shared a video showing a number of these tours which I posted in the 46 class and red set/red rattlers thread showing tours to Zig Zag with the 46 class and to the Sydney Tramway Museum with the red set, etc. Hopefully the footage may eventually be shared.

Some other shots. Terry Oakley photo of a U set at Lithgow between late 1968 and early 1970's

Another Terry Oakley shot with a U boat at Lithgow with a 620/720 set and diesel locomotive GM41 late 1968 to early 1970's

25 March 2019. Photo by Chris Lithgow of SETS's CF5003 and CF5021 stored at Lithgow and V set in the background

1986. U1 at Port Kembla

1987. U7 at Sydney Terminal with service to Port Kembla

Possibly late 1980's. U boat with CF5008 at rear with DOWN Blue Mountains service through Auburn station

31 December 1989. U8 on an RTM Mystery Tour

30 January 1995. Peter Cousins photo. 4 car U boat working Newcastle to Sydney Service descending Fassifern Bank

29 March 1995. U7 through Cockle Creek with SETS's CF5022 in the lead

08 May 1995. U2 pulling into Sydney Terminal

13 July 1995. U5 through Cockle Creek

26 September 1995. U5 with CF5005 through Fassifern

19 April 1996. U2 Fassifern Bank
  ANR Deputy Commissioner

I loved these trains. They were a pleasure to catch, and the seats were padded, springy, with the heater underneath? The train was fast and sometimes noisy and trips on it were always fun. I dread catching Oscars, and their spin off replacements to the V-set. The people who ordered these Hyundai Rotem shells do not have a clue and have probably never been outside of Sydney.
  SydneyCider Chief Train Controller

A photo taken showing set U10, one of 3 4 car sets on the first day of electric trains at Wollongong. Posted by Australian Rail Maps on facebook

Below is a video posted by WorldOfTransit on youtube. It was taken on 23 October 1996 and is an audio only recording of a U set run from Newcastle to Fassifern. The last U boat revenue service was a Newcastle to Sydney afternoon run on a Friday, 01 November 1996 and then the SETS farewell tour 2 days later and that was all she wrote. One particular point to listen to is from 24:20 in the video and turn the volume right up, some great sounds of the compressor beating away while the train waits at the station and it stops just as the motors start to roar as the train gathers speed.

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