There have recently been some new and exciting rumours that CF5003 and CF5021 (which was recently transferred a few days ago with electric locos 4615 and 8086 from Junee to Lithgow) will be restored to working condition for use with the AK cars (Not for heritage runs) with a role similar to the S Set motor cars. This will be great if it is true as we will be able to see them running with the newer rolling stock which did not exist back in the day (A Sets, M Sets, H Sets, B Sets, etc.). Does anyone think there is a particular reason why they would choose to use single deck intersurbans for the job when they already have the Suburban S Set Motor Cars? (Maybe so they can also run the new metro line? which would be pretty cool! Old stock on brand new rail system - Don’t take this too seriously). Remember this is only a rumour so do not take this too seriously.
Just some extra info on 4615 and 8086 - They are planned to be reactivated for use by Sydney Trains as maintenance trains on the underground network.
Just rumours mate.
This is what we know:
- The four vehicles were moved by ARHS ACT from HMC to Junee in 2010, after a long and protracted legal dispute between Cityrail and the owners (SETS) who refused to remove them themselves. The movement was paid for by Railcorp.
- The two U Boat cars both received extensive restoration works in the early '00s, firstly at Goulburn (where they were eventually evicted due to some dispute arising between the two groups) and then at Hornsby. One car was reportedly partially rewired (although the quality of workmanship was described in their own newsletter at the time as dubious). Work was also done to restore damaged floors and roof areas. Both cars never operated under their own power, and it is reported that an attempt to raise one of the pantographs prior to a tour in 2004 resulted in a shower of sparks and blown fuses, after which the tour operated with pantographs lowered.
- They were only ever at Hornsby as a result of a handshake deal with a former supervisor, there was nothing in writing. When Railcorp requested that the two electric locos be made available for use on the Bondi Turnback project in 2005 (through 3801 Ltd, using 3801 Ltd crews), SETS refused to allow them to be used in this way. This confused Railcorp management (who had previously turned a blind eye to them being at Hornsby in return for them hopefully becoming available for such projects). As a result, the welcome at Hornsby was terminated. It took four more years of legal wrangling before Railcorp were finally able to move them after a court order was obtained. (I might note that I was president of SETS between 2009 and early 2011 and the relocation to Junee took place during this time).
- The deal to house them at Junee was done by a SETS member but without the involvement of the committee. A rent was also negotiated, again without knowledge of the SETS committee at the time. The arrangement admittedly solved an immediate problem, however the details of the deal were never made by the member, nor at any time did the committee vote to approve of the undertaking.
- During the move, the pantographs for 4615 (having been removed at Hornsby) were unfortunately dropped from a forklift onto concrete by a careless Railcorp forklift driver during the collection process. Both pantographs were extensively damaged and neither will ever be used again.
- Late last year (2017) the vehicles were moved out of the roundhouse at Junee to make room for new exhibits. At the time, it was reliably reported that a large amount of rent for their storage at Junee remained unpaid and that JRRM had filed application to a court to allow sale of the items in order to recover the unpaid rent.
- This year (as reported above) the vehicles were moved from Junee to State Mine (Lithgow) by Pacific National. The status or ownership of the vehicles is at present, unknown. The location of the pantographs is unknown, I last saw them at a property (outdoors, in the grass) in Oakville (NSW), having delivered them there myself from HMC in 2010.
- Some rumours have circulated that the locomotives are to be made operable (by whom? Pacific National?) and leased to Sydney Trains for underground work. These rumours are unsubstantiated and have not been backed up by Pacific National.
- It is known that Sydney Trains CEO Howard Collins has previously shown interest in obtaining an operable electric locomotive for use on Sydney underground work trains, as recently as October last year. However it has always been considered that this would likely result in the re activation of THNSW heritage locomotive 4638 (currently stored at Broadmeadow) and become a THNSW project once the current 3801 restoration project is completed at Chullora. Howard currently sits on the Board of THNSW.
- Given the very coloured history between Railcorp / Sydney Trains and SETS in the past (with particular reference to the above vehicles), it is extremely unlikely that Sydney Trains would ever accept any contract with any operator for their operation on the Sydney Trains network all the while they remain the property of the original owners, for fear of a possible repeat performance of the earlier legal issues arising. This would remain even if the vehicles were to be operated by a third party.
- The only way any of these vehicles will ever operate in an electrically powered capacity on the Sydney Trains network again would be for them to be sold to another owner with which Sydney Trains are satisfied with their status. It should be noted that the two U Boat cars still contain original VIR Rubber cabling in an advanced state of decay (the same as the THNSW/HET preserved cars do) and thus will not be suitable for reactivation without extensive electrical works.
- It should also be noted that the regulatory environment in NSW for operation of privately operated trains in NSW has changed since these vehicles last operated under their own power. The "non electrified" and goods lines network is now managed by ARTC (Federal Gov't). The electrified network (i.e. the wires above the tracks) are entirely owned by NSW Railcorp and operated by Sydney Trains, for their own exclusive use. There is no regulatory framework in existence in NSW anymore to permit a privately operated electric train on the NSW main line network, this being one of the key reasons why heritage Red Set F1 now operates under Sydney Trains accreditation - because there is simply no other regime in existence to do it any other way. Any operator wishing to operate electric traction in the NSW Main line network will need to enter an exclusive arrangement with Sydney Trains in order to use the network.
OK, that's it!
Let's see what happens...