V Set Replacement

  Black Hoppers Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
Perhaps we can inject a little factual information into the medium-width-beyond-Springwood debate here.  A recent TOC waiver for transporting (wider than narrow outline) NDSF side dump wagons between Springwood and Lithgow contained the following restrictions

Past all platforms  20 km/h
On UP and Down Main from 109.430 km to 109.599 km (curve approaching Katoomba)  20 km/h
On UP Main from 123.5 km to 123 km (in the cutting between Blackheath and Mt Victoria)  20 km/h
On UP and Down Main between 126.720 km  and 126.980 km (Western end of Mt Victoria platforms to yard)  20 km/h
Through the Zig Zag tunnels 30 km/h

Now I don't know how the NDSF wagons compare size-wise with the medium width outline, but I can't find anything to suggest they have any restrictions through platforms in the medium width area.  So this suggests there is still work to do on platform clearances west of Springwood.

The Katoomba approach restriction (109.430-109.599) could be the dwarf signal clearance issue mentioned above.

Definatly no problems with them inside the Metrop area and they can even be tipped while in a station alongside a platform.

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  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
Reading in the Blue Mountains Local Media... Labor attempted to shoot the Liberal government about OSCARs or the lack of replacement of V Sets etc...

If they actually did their homework, they would work out they LABOR ordered the OSCAR and were told they would not go past Springwood.... oops!
And the local community as an affection to V Sets over the OSCAR design anyway.


Mountains commuters are being shortchanged, says opposition transport spokeswoman Penny Sharpe.
Ms Sharpe met with Labor’s Blue Mountains spokesperson Trish Doyle at Springwood station on Monday, to discuss the lack of newer trains called “Oscars” on the network. The seven-year-old Oscars [Outer Suburban Cars] were infrequent on the Mountains network and commuters were instead being forced to ride “V-Sets” which could be up to 42 years old and were not as safe, said Ms Sharpe.“No Oscars go past Springwood and there seems to be fewer that are coming up here under the new timetable,” she said.

But Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage was appalled by Ms Sharpe’s claims about the Oscars as the trains were developed under the Labor government.

“It is nothing short of appalling that the opposition transport spokeswoman seems completely ignorant of the complete mess she and her Labor colleagues made of the train network.

“Had she done this [some basic research] she would be aware that Oscar trains have never run on the Upper Blue Mountains line since they were introduced by Labor, as the carriages are too wide for two services to safely pass each other. This is the sort of poor planning and neglect for the Blue Mountains we came to expect under Labor.”

Mrs Sharpe said the V-Sets were “between 25 and 42 years old” while the Oscars had “better accessibility including portable boarding ramps, fold-up seats to give room for people in wheelchairs and prams and also doors that automatically open”.
But Mrs Sage said “Blue Mountains commuters have told me more often than I can remember of their fondness for the comfortable V-Set carriages servicing the entire length of the Blue Mountains line. That is why the government made the decision to refresh the entire 200-strong Intercity V-Set fleet, so commuters can continue to enjoy their preferred carriages.”

Ms Sharpe said the real issue was “the plans beyond Springwood for the Blue Mountains line”.

“There are issues with the overhead maintenance of the wires, there are fewer cars running in the afternoon, there’s the huge gap at the top of the Mountains,” she said. “What is the plan for Blue Mountains commuting when, over time, you will have these trains that won’t be able to run anymore [due to issues with accessing the tunnels]?”
Safety and security were also issues. The newer trains were stocked with “security cameras and help points in every carriage” and were “better able to absorb the impact of a collision”, she said.

Ms Sharpe said a Freedom of Information request she made last year showed there had been a 25 per cent jump in complaints (mostly relating to cleanliness) and last financial year the Blue Mountains was the third most complained about line on the network of 19 lines, after the Central Coast and the western line.
Ms Doyle said she had also received “hundreds” of complaints about the new timetable and people were calling for restoration of some services.

A public transport community forum will be held this Saturday, February 15 from 2.30pm to 4.30pm at the Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre in Lawson. The forum will look at changes introduced with the new timetable, released in October last year. The forum will be opened by NSW Opposition leader John Robertson with speakers including commuter spokesman Michael Paag, Judy Finch (author of the Mind the Gap report), Suzan Mehmet (Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre) and Westmead health worker, Wendy Edmonds.

Of the forum, Mrs Sage said, “Labor is renowned for talking about transport — they did nothing but talk for 16 years while the train system fell apart around them”.