Sydney Variotram retirement

 
  3l diesel

I am of the understanding that the 1997 vintage variotrams are slated for retirement in the rather nearer future.

Can anybody here tell me when they will be withdrawn from service, and their future thereafter? Are any proposed for Museums?

It does seem a little unusual at first thought that less than 20 year old trams are to be withdrawn, but I suppose the issues of continuing maintenance and with newer tram types coming, there may be the desire to keep the spares inventory as small as possible. On the other hand, a car near 20 years old is typically OLD! Hmmm...

Any comment?

Sponsored advertisement

  route14 Chief Commissioner

It seems rather odd.  Rollingstocks generally have a designated life span of over 30 years.  Also the Variotram is quite wide.  The new manufacturer will have to alter the dimensions of existing scale production models.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Sorry for the repeated posts as a result of poor connectivity.

Ninjamod edit:  Fixed
  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
From a press release, Gladys said the cost of new vs old is basically the same so she wants to buy new (I'm assuming to say look everyone shiny new things that Labor never did). The patronage figures (It's 1am and I cant be bothered to find actual figures) however say we need more trams and services so they will probably keep them for extra capacity
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
They've only just stuck Thoreb units in the Varios, I wouldnt think they would be removed from service just yet.
  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
Note in the 1st paragraph "CAF is currently building six additional Urbos 3 LRV’s to replace retiring Variotrams in early 2015."
3l diesel
I've seen this before but I still don't believe they would be replacing them for 3 reasons
1. Need more capacity
2. Not that old
3.They just got Thoreb units as s3_gunzel said
  Matthew Train Controller

I've seen this before but I still don't believe they would be replacing them for 3 reasons
1. Need more capacity
2. Not that old
3.They just got Thoreb units as s3_gunzel said
fixitguy

Extra CAF trams were purchased to retire the Varios. Those extras are now being delivered.
Apparently the cost CAF quoted to give the Varios a full 'mid life overhaul' was a significant amount of a new tram. So given the choice to spend a some more and get 'new' over 'spend and get repainted old back', they went for the new. Always looks better on a press release.

It will also mean that there will be a homogeneous fleet which always makes maintenance easier.

But that wont last long - when the CESLR comes online with it's Alstom's, the 'heavy maintenance' centre proposed at Lilyfield will have to deal with two different types of vehicles from different manufactures anyway.

I always was a bit suspicious of CAF quoting so high to refurb the Varios and then quoting so low on new trams. It's almost like they would do pretty much anything to keep their Spanish factory occupied. Spain needs the work yes, but so do our local trades.
  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
Extra CAF trams were purchased to retire the Varios. Those extras are now being delivered.
Matthew
I know that. If the Variotrams were replaced then we would need another order of Ubos 3s just to meet the demands of the growing tram network. Thats why I think they would be keeping the Variotrams along with the new Ubos 3 to meet the demand.

Apparently the cost CAF quoted to give the Varios a full 'mid life overhaul' was a significant amount of a new tram. So given the choice to spend a some more and get 'new' over 'spend and get repainted old back', they went for the new. Always looks better on a press release.
Matthew
Surely Stadler Rail will be better qualified to give a quote as they actually make the trams.

It will also mean that there will be a homogeneous fleet which always makes maintenance easier.
Matthew
True

But that wont last long - when the CESLR comes online with it's Alstom's, the 'heavy maintenance' centre proposed at Lilyfield will have to deal with two different types of vehicles from different manufactures anyway.
Matthew
Also True

I always was a bit suspicious of CAF quoting so high to refurb the Varios and then quoting so low on new trams. It's almost like they would do pretty much anything to keep their Spanish factory occupied. Spain needs the work yes, but so do our local trades.
Matthew
That is some sketchy numbers. If they are under quoting their trams then hooray, cheap trams. If they are over quoting the refurb / maintenance price then they should really be investigated. How a 17 year old trams that is still in production can cost $19 mill to maintain
  Matthew Train Controller


Surely Stadler Rail will be better qualified to give a quote as they actually make the trams.

How a 17 year old trams that is still in production can cost $19 mill to maintain
fixitguy

Stadler's Variobahn now has little in common with it's Variotram ancestor.
Between changes in traction technology, truck design and John Dunn's hand in redesigning the articulation of the Varios, there is probably little Stadler can bring to the party.
I suspect TfNSW will have trouble selling them too - not many systems will want a small number of trams that need a mid life overhaul. CAF could just go to any potential customer and offer new Urbos3 Smile


Keeping them in service to satisfy latent demand will only happen if TfNSW increases the number of services Transdev is contracted to run, and the trams still will need their mid life refit. CAF will just offer to build even more Urbos 3.

I suspect their fate will be to sit in the sidings at Lilyfield , get vandalised to pieces and then quietly scrapped.
  Fred Scuttle Junior Train Controller

Location: Point Clare, NSW
I suspect their fate will be to sit in the sidings at Lilyfield , get vandalised to pieces and then quietly scrapped.
Matthew
Well, one car's gone already - 2106. I suppose that Loftus and/or Powerhouse will obtain one for preservation in due course.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

With such a wide tram will it coexist with other heritage stock at Loftus?
  Fred Scuttle Junior Train Controller

Location: Point Clare, NSW
It shouldn't be a problem - a Sydney Variotram is 2.65m wide, while an R or R1 car has a width of 2.743m. On the other hand, the Sydney Light Rail uses 750v DC, rather than the 600v DC used on the original system. I'd say that a Vario could operate at Loftus, albeit sluggishly (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
It shouldn't be a problem - a Sydney Variotram is 2.65m wide, while an R or R1 car has a width of 2.743m. On the other hand, the Sydney Light Rail uses 750v DC, rather than the 600v DC used on the original system. I'd say that a Vario could operate at Loftus, albeit sluggishly (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).
Fred Scuttle
Per the C2 Melbourne Trams, I would say you are correct.

Although it's going to be interesting to see how they go with Pans vs Trolley Poles
  Matthew Train Controller

Per the C2 Melbourne Trams, I would say you are correct.

Although it's going to be interesting to see how they go with Pans vs Trolley Poles
s3_gunzel

The only real problem with a Vario at Loftus is the storage problem. There is no where a 30m long tram could be parked.

Yes the overhead is not panto completely compatible, but fixing that is a 'work in progress'. Yes the main running shed can't have pantograph run it as the wire is in a 'slot' at the doors. Fixable with a power saw Smile

But that fact that half of the tram museum collection is already stored off site is a bigger problem.

But that said, IMHO, getting a Vario while it's still in working order is mega important - as restoring a dead hulk in the future is simply not going to happen.

The Varios are an important piece of Sydney tramway history - they led the tramway revival.

Lobby every one you can think of that an example should be preserved - IN RUNNING ORDER. Even if they have to keep it at Darling Harbour.
  Fred Scuttle Junior Train Controller

Location: Point Clare, NSW
It would appear that anybody interested in preserving a Sydney Vario will have to (a) move quickly; & (b) be prepared to stump up some serious cash. Trams Down Under has stated on 30 April (http://tdu.to/220389.msg?p=4) that all of the Varios are slated for withdrawal at the end of this month. The plan is to offer the Varios for sale to any tramway in Australia or overseas that wants them. Failing that, they'll most likely be sold for scrap.

Does anybody know more?
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Is the source reliable?  Is the replacement stock ready?
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
I reckon it would be good to travel on the RNP line in a Variotram especially during times of extreme weather.
  Fred Scuttle Junior Train Controller

Location: Point Clare, NSW
Is the source reliable?  Is the replacement stock ready?
route14
It has been posted on TdU (5/5) that some Varios have been moved to offsite storage (believed to be cars 2103, 2105 & 2106) at Penrith - see http://tdu.to/220550.msg?p=1. According to the post, cars 2101, 2102, 2104 & 2107 are still at the depot at Ultimo. It's not known how or when the cars were moved - it would seem that the Varios are being removed from the depot as new Urbos 3's arrive. Hopefully, somebody will know more.
  Repeater Beginner

Location: Katoomba, New South Wales
Maybe Panthers are going to construct the long ago proposed tramway to Penrith station!!!!!
  1115 Beginner

It has been posted on TdU (5/5) that some Varios have been moved to offsite storage (believed to be cars 2103, 2105 & 2106) at Penrith - see http://tdu.to/220550.msg?p=1. According to the post, cars 2101, 2102, 2104 & 2107 are still at the depot at Ultimo. It's not known how or when the cars were moved - it would seem that the Varios are being removed from the depot as new Urbos 3's arrive. Hopefully, somebody will know more.
Fred Scuttle
By chance a mate of mine posted a video on Facebook (from his dashcam) of a Variotram going north along Northern Road, Penrith at 450am this morning. It was a red coloured one, which appears to be in the foreground at the end of the Transport for NSW Vlog 625,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gGXdHQK15g&feature=youtu.be

The economics of this are astounding. Sydney trams seem to be disposable like TV's, unlike Melbourne's and heavy rail locos which seem to soldier on forever.
  Old Northern Locomotive Fireman

I'm afraid that I find it hard to believe that trams that are less than 20 years old need to be replaced when you consider the age of fleets elsewhere and the age of the S sets and K sets of Cityrail.  Something doesn't quite add up here.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
Something doesn't quite add up here.
Old Northern

Whoever makes the Urbos trams gave the government a special rate on replacement trams for the Varios in lieu of overhauling them.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
I'm afraid that I find it hard to believe that trams that are less than 20 years old need to be replaced when you consider the age of fleets elsewhere and the age of the S sets and K sets of Cityrail.  Something doesn't quite add up here.
Old Northern
Old fleet members are only going to be kept as long as the operator is willing to maintain them. It seems that they are simply not willing to maintain the Variotrams as long as the S and K sets.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
When you consider the XPT fleet is now 30 years old, has traveled heaven only knows how much further than these tram cars ever did or will beggers the question of why these tram cars are being replaced?
Where they poorly built, been used and abused and had only 'When it stops/breaks' fix it' maintainance , or has there been some back room shenanigans carried out to improve some 'Bottom line' by doing so?
  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
The Varios were in good shape last time i rode them in 2014 so I don't believe they need replacing anytime soon(I could be wrong. A year is a long time). CAF must of gave the govt really cheap prices to allow their Spanish workers to stay in the factory. Either that or the govt is again willing to waste taxpayers money on stuff we don't need (See tennis logos and Jetstar uniforms).

Sponsored advertisement

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.