Waratah trains still bugged by problems

Waratah trains still bugged by problems

CityRail trains

The demand for City Rail services is increasing. Picture: Craig Greenhill Source: The Daily Telegraph

RANDOM door closures, warped panels and hard-to-read displays are among the latest gremlins to emerge in CityRail’s new Waratah trains.

Sensors on some doors have had to be replaced on the Chinese-made trains after they closed without warning during testing, it can be revealed.

In one incident during testing, a crew door closed without warning while the train was in motion as it left a station.

No one was harmed in the incident, but some CityRail employees are privately fearful it could happen at speed after the train has left the station.

Other problems that have had to be fixed on the now 18-month overdue trains include:

  • GLARE. Anti-reflective film has had to be applied to digital information displays after complaints about glare making them hard to read;
  • THE drivers emergency exit has had to be re-designed because drivers were worried they would hit their heads; and
  • SOFTWARE problems with the train’s electronic transport information system and CCTV systems.

Sources also claimed some external panels of the train have warped. This was denied by a spokesman for CityRail, who did admit “irregularites”.

“There have been localised surface irregularities on panels visible in certain lighting conditions,” he said.

“These do not impact on train safety or reliability.”

The issues add to a long list of problems with the Waratah trains, most notably the “milky windscreens” that also had to be redesigned and replaced.

In February, the state government provided a $175 million bail-out to Reliance Rail, the private consortium charged with designing and building the 78 trains.

So far Downer EDI, the main contractor behind the $3.6 billion project, has delivered nine trains – the most recent being presented to CityRail for testing on Friday. The first two trains have been purely used for testing and never entered service.

They will be returned to China to be refitted for service.

In its half-year results released earlier this year Downer EDI admitted its “initial trains required significant additional work” because of “design-related production issues, inadequate methods and processes in assembly”.

The next five trains, which are currently being assembled near Newcastle and are due to be delivered by mid-year, also require some re-work, the company said. The last of the trains is expected to be delivered in 2014.

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