Sydney Red Set to run after 14 year hiatus

 
  zordmaker Train Controller

Location: NSW
After a 14 year hiatus, Sydney's electric "red set" is scheduled to run public shuttles over the June long weekend between Central and East Hills. The set ran trials on the Carlingford line on Thursday 19/5 and passed with flying colours.

The train will also participate in a unique "race" of three types of traction (Steam, Diesel and Electric) down the main lines between Redfern and Strathfield on Saturday Morning 11th June from 9:30am.

Race train tickets cost $35 and are expected to sell out fast.

Shuttle tickets are available through the Heritage Express / THNSW web site at $25 (concessions available).

http://www.transportheritagensw.com.au/#!transport-heritage-expo-2016/bmip3

Knock yourselves out guys & gals. This is the oe you have all been waiting for.

Lets see those interstate visitors in too. This event is going to have something for everyone overt three days!

ZM

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  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
For it to be a Genuine Authentic 'Red Rattler', one at least of the sliding door panels must be jammed in the almost closed position, the one opposite cant be closed at all. The other two can alternate between suddenly opening or closing under either acceleration or braking.
And in the wettest or coldest weather, one panel on each side MUST remain open to ensure the best draft through the carriage.

Unless I am thinking of the sets the all steel 'Red Rattlers' replaced, they didnt have those type of windows either but the older style latch drop type that if you werent careful, they were known to drop quite heavily onto your fingers when trying to use them.

No worries about noisy passengers back then either as the internal noise was generally loud enough to blot them out.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Archive F-SET photos can be found in the RP Gallery.

http://www.railpage.com.au/gallery?album=album230
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
After a 14 year hiatus, Sydney's electric "red set" is scheduled to run ....
ZM
And hopefully the description "red set" can be maintained against that unnecessary mocking and derisive term "red rattler". I understand that the latter was imported from the Melbourne press how many years ago. I don't hold my breath though.
3l diesel
The difference between the Sydney Suburban  carriages and those in Victoria was like chalk and cheese in the 50's.
I was in Melbourne for 3 months in 1954 and traveled mostly between Flinders St and Malvern and then those carriages were still made of wood, 1st and 2nd class and no door between each carriage.
I am sure Sydney had begun to replace the timber clad cars of a similar design by then with what became known as the 'Red Rattlers' because being made of steel, were noisier than the previous types.
Part of the 'Rattle' could well have been due to the rail joints as long lengths of welded rail hadnt been thought of back then.

This same higher internal noise level was noticed when the Interurban cars were introduced on the Blue Mountains replacing the much older heavy timber carriages but people soon got used to it.
  Throughwestmail Train Controller

And hopefully the description "red set" can be maintained against that unnecessary mocking and derisive term "red rattler". I understand that the latter was imported from the Melbourne press how many years ago. I don't hold my breath though.
The difference between the Sydney Suburban  carriages and those in Victoria was like chalk and cheese in the 50's.
I was in Melbourne for 3 months in 1954 and traveled mostly between Flinders St and Malvern and then those carriages were still made of wood, 1st and 2nd class and no door between each carriage.
I am sure Sydney had begun to replace the timber clad cars of a similar design by then with what became known as the 'Red Rattlers' because being made of steel, were noisier than the previous types.
Part of the 'Rattle' could well have been due to the rail joints as long lengths of welded rail hadnt been thought of back then.

This same higher internal noise level was noticed when the Interurban cars were introduced on the Blue Mountains replacing the much older heavy timber carriages but people soon got used to it.
gordon_s1942
Until the big push in the early 1990s to remove all single deck trains from the network, they were NEVER called Red Rattlers, it was a derisive term used by the opponents of these cars when trying to get rid of them and was imported from Melbourne.By the 1990s, all the timber bodied cars had long gone, and all remaining single deck cars had Beclawat windows and most had  power operated doors. Don't forget that by this time a large percentage of single deck carriages left in service were power cars used with double deck trailer cars. Steel single deck carriages had been in service right from the start of electric services in Sydney in the 1920s and the timber cars were in the minority from the start as they were modified steam hauled cars. The metal carriages were a modified New York suburban design built by Leeds Forge.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
If they can run a 'vintage' spark in Sydney why can't they run one in Melbourne or, equally, why cannot at least some of the vintage trams get an outing?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Until the big push in the early 1990s to remove all single deck trains from the network, they were NEVER called Red Rattlers, it was a derisive term used by the opponents of these cars when trying to get rid of them and was imported from Melbourne.By the 1990s, all the timber bodied cars had long gone, and all remaining single deck cars had Beclawat windows and most had  power operated doors. Don't forget that by this time a large percentage of single deck carriages left in service were power cars used with double deck trailer cars. Steel single deck carriages had been in service right from the start of electric services in Sydney in the 1920s and the timber cars were in the minority from the start as they were modified steam hauled cars. The metal carriages were a modified New York suburban design built by Leeds Forge.
Throughwestmail
I was a commuter in Sydney in the mid to late 80's and they were indeed called Red Rattlers and had for years. Both the Red sets and silver U boats with sash windows made a very distinct rattle/bang on the windows as other trains went past from the windows moving under the  force of the pressure wave from the other train.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
If they can run a 'vintage' spark in Sydney why can't they run one in Melbourne ?
"YM-Mundrabilla"
In a word - Metro.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
I think you'll find that there's more than one organisation obstructing progress.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
Tickets booked Very Happy
  zordmaker Train Controller

Location: NSW
Until the big push in the early 1990s to remove all single deck trains from the network, they were NEVER called Red Rattlers, it was a derisive term used by the opponents of these cars when trying to get rid of them and was imported from Melbourne.By the 1990s, all the timber bodied cars had long gone, and all remaining single deck cars had Beclawat windows and most had  power operated doors.
Throughwestmail
The term "Red Rattler" only surfaced in the early '90s on the eve of their withdrawal. Otherwise they were universally known simply as "single deckers" by most. There were two other variants running around, "M" sets (original single deck motor cars with newer double deck trailers but still manual doors) and "W" sets (a 1950's variant of the "M" sets with power doors.) Towards the end there were about 6 trains of each in service against about 30 x 8 car single deck sets. They were only used on weekday peak hours.

Ironically, Sydney's Single deckers were handed a lifeline by the Tangara project. In the early '80s the Govt decided to embark on a bold new double deck train design radically different from the previous stainless steel double deck trains built before that time. This project delayed the rolling stock replacement programme by many years while the engineering challenges of the new design were slowly worked out. The first Tangara didn't hit the tracks until 1988. They then slowly rolled off the production line and didn't become a significant part of the fleet until well into the '90s.

This led to the forced introduction of the "Redfern Overhauls" programme whereby hundreds of single deck "red set" cars (mainly motors) underwent complete rebuilds so they could continue to operate in service while Sydney waited for the Tangaras. The bodies were completely stripped and reconstructed using modern materials. The traction equipment likewise was totally rebuilt with all motors rewound. New switchgear was supplied by Mitsubishi and Brown Boveri but wired using the original circuits so they remained compatible with others still in the fleet that had not yet been overhauled. A new set of motor bogies was ordered (Known as "F87" type). Many other cars were also forwarded to private companies and overhauled under contract. The program cost an absolute fortune. Almost as much as the Tangara project itself.

The result was a fleet of "virtually new" single deck cars which in every way looked, felt and operated just like their 60 year old cousins. So while most observers might think that Sydney's "reds" towards the end were 60 year old trains, the vast majority were actually less than 10 years old underneath when they finally met the end in January 1992.

Of the four cars in Set "F1" due to run in June, both C3426 and C7396 fall squarely into this category. C3218 is the only genuinely "original" motor car in the train however even this still has an F87 running underneath. All four cars have been lovingly maintained since 1992, however all four are very much "snap frozen" examples of the way the red cars looked ad worked in the early 1990's.

The F1 heritage set runs with three motors and one trailer. It's the NSW way of providing "insurance"... so if a car fails there's still enough grunt to quickly get the set out the way of causing trouble to an otherwise very congested suburban network. All heritage steam hauled services in the suburban area are required to operate with a diesel attached at the other end for the same reason.

The operation of F1 breaks a heritage train rule which has existed in NSW since late last century. F1's crew is being trained and supplied by Sydney Trains (the suburban network operator), NOT by a heritage operator.

The fact that the current Sydney Trains Chief Executive (Howard Collins) also sits on the board of THNSW (the peak heritage train body in NSW, formed out of the remains of the NSW Rail Transport Museum) is a significant factor which has led to the return of Set F1 to the rails. Howard (who previously headed up the London Underground network) is well known worldwide as a "heritage train nut". He was pivotal in the successful return of heritage steam to the London Underground network, a challenge which must haven made returning Set F1 to operation seem positively simple by comparison.

Although nobody has done definitive research, it is likely Set F1 will break worldwide records on 11th June as being the oldest operating electric train in the world (although as read above, underneath the carriage floors this claim is somewhat of an oxymoron).

The stalemate over crewing certification is what has prevented Set F1 from operating for the last 14 years. The set last operated on a private charter on 16th March 2002 (more commonly known as the "wedding tour") which ironically, is the same day your author was married.

I will be very glad to give away the stigma of this train having been last run in my name, and can proudly boast that I was amongst the first to buy tickets on the trips in June.

Enjoy, all.
  zordmaker Train Controller

Location: NSW

Firstly, so the wedding train was yours?? Even if not, I must say I enjoyed reading the story (somewhere now forgotten) behind that run with a band and a "Just Married" banner on the front complete with appropriate external ribbons. It apparently gave a few other CityRail (as it was known at the time) passengers a reason to raise their eyebrows!

Somewhere else in the internet ether, I recall a story that a complete single deck electric train set had been squirrelled away in the back of the Punchbowl Car Sheds where it was very conveniently forgotten about but made ready for preservation. Is this story actually true and if so, what cars were involved?
3l diesel
Yes, the wedding train was mine.

There are actually two stories concerning Punchbowl.

The first was Car C7396 (now featuring in Set F1).

This car was one of the few that continued to run after 12/1/92. It suffered a minor failure and was "condemned" in late '92 however the car was in such excellent condition, a few members of SETS (who now head HET) that representations were made direct to the shed manager at Punchbowl that this car should perhaps be coaxed back into operation at the expense of another "not so good" one. By that time the brake stand had already been cut off and the pipes sealed ready for the one way trip to Sims.

Never the less the pleading worked and Punchbowl restored the brake stand, repaired the fault and placed the car back in service. A few weeks later head office caught wind of what happened and asked why a condemned car was still in service. Not wanting to tell them the truth, Punchbowl quietly withdrew the car again and then put it on ice right up the back of the sheds where it lay hidden for another three years before being transferred to Redfern carriageworks when Punchbowl closed. The rest is history.

The second was the entire set W1 (4 car W set, 2 single deck motors, 2 double deck trailers). This too was a Punchbowl set, which was inevitably withdrawn in late 1993, one of the very last to go.

Again the militant management at Punchbowl hid the entire 4 car set up the back of the sheds and deliberately did not include it on two separate scrappers' trains to Sims. By that time SETS had become quite friendly at Punchbowl and had even commenced restoration of another car there (T4554).

The W set remained at Punchbowl until the shed closed in 1996. With the scrappers' contract now having long been concluded, this set too went to Redfern to be hidden inside what was previously the asbestos removal plant which today, is HET's home base.

HET restored it to traffic in 2000 and it ran a few trips in 2001. It remains in their care today and apart from a few cosmetic requirements, is still in operable condition.

Sometimes I think the real interesting history of Sydney's reds actually began AFTER 12th January 1992. It's certainly been a colourful 24 years since then.

ZM
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I remember very clearly these being called red rattlers in the 80's. I remember complaining having to ride on these old red rattler trains instead of the new shiny silver ones with the 2 decks during trips into Sydney during the School Holidays. I remember the term used by my cousin as we took a train from wiley park into Central to watch a footy match at the SCG. The Warwick Capper Swans was mid 80's for your time period.

There seems to be lots of denials by certain people as to this but the term was used because it applied perfectly to these trains. They were red for the most part and they rattled.
  georges Chief Train Controller
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The term "Red Rattler" only surfaced in the early '90s on the eve of their withdrawal. Otherwise they were universally known simply as "single deckers" by most.
zordmaker
Note true at all. My mum was calling them "red rattlers" in 80's.

Rest of post is informative
  allambee Chief Train Controller

This set was on the Carlingford line last Thursday 19th May.
  M636C Minister for Railways

The term "Red Rattler" only surfaced in the early '90s on the eve of their withdrawal. Otherwise they were universally known simply as "single deckers" by most.
Note true at all. My mum was calling them "red rattlers" in 80's.

Rest of post is informative
RTT_Rules
The term "red rattlers" definitely originated in Melbourne in respect of the Tait and Swing Door trains, probably during the 1970s with the introduction of the stainless steel trains, when the older wooden bodied trains were being withdrawn.

Since all suburban trains in Sydney were red prior to 1971, (including the stainless steel double deck power cars) the name was not used in Sydney at all prior to the introduction of the stainless steel unpainted trains for the Eastern Suburbs Railway. I travelled daily on suburban trains from 1961 to go to high school. We knew the individual cars as  by their characteristics as wooden (power or trailer) standard and Tulloch from the builders of the cars with split doorways. The power door sets were generally known as "sputnik" since they were introduced about the time of the Soviet spacecraft launches.

I think the term "red rattler" was introduced by the state politicians, having heard the term used about the older trains in Melbourne. Since trains weren't air conditioned at this time, the level of comfort was little different between the older and newer trains and the politicians wanted the older trains to be seen as inferior.

In fact, the steel cars didn't rattle much at all until the rubber liners around the frameless counterbalanced widows began to go missing and weren't replaced. The opening windows were seen as a risk and they were replaced by English design fixed windows.

But the name "red rattler" was not used until the 1980s because most of the trains were red, old or new, including all the double deck cars built prior to the Eastern Suburbs Railway.

M636C
  zordmaker Train Controller

Location: NSW
A wedding in train: http://schoolpa.com.au/~paul/Wedding/WeddingPhotos6.html
georges
Thats the one.

Some more titbits:

Virtually all of the preserved red set cars in existence today, exist because of militant action by middle managers of one of the three maintenance centres in Sydney in the late '80s / early '90s. These acts were done in an environment where "head office" considered the "red rattlers" to be a public nuisance to be eradicated at the earliest opportunity. It wasn't until the late '90s that these examples were recognised as valuable heritage assets and assembled / stored in a way which assured their future.

Mortdale:

In 1989, a set of six cars was assembled for a celebration of electrification of the Cronulla line. This set consisted of C3102 plus a number of other cars randomly taken from the system. Mortdale at this time of course was a "double deck only" shed so the cars came from other sheds.

Only three days before it was required, C3102 suffered a broken motor bogie axle at Hornsby. Hornsby hurriedly swapped this axle out with another one they had on the floor at the time and then sent the car to Mortdale. It would never return. The tyres on the swapped axle were new. The tyres on the other one were on the condemning line, meaning about 25mm difference between the two. This gave this car a unique tendency to "stamp it's feet" (i.e. spin its wheels) on starting - a trait it would keep until well into the late '90s.

C3218 and T4527 were chosen randomly in 1989 - and (of course) now both remain on Set F1 more than 26 years later. Once used for the celebrations, the manager at Mortdale at the time (John Pett) simply decided it would remain there and just repeatedly neglected to arrange for any of the cars to return, in effect condemning them from regular traffic. The train went on to become known as Set M1 and ran many heritage tours in the '90s until finally being transferred to Flemington in 1997.

Hornsby:

Hornsby also conducted their own attempts to protect some examples of these cars from the scrappers' torch. C3104 (now in possession of SETS and stored at Bilpin), C3426 (now on Set F1), and C3444 (also given to SETS but with running gear retained as spares for Set F1) are examples of cars saved by Hornsby. Not all survived however. Many of the Hornsby cars were later transferred to an outdoor siding at Elcar for many years where they unfortunately deteriorated to such an extent that they were no longer worth keeping, C3237 being an example.

One of these days I'll publish a full list of preserved cars and their story post 1992 - how they came to be saved and how some didn't quite make it.

The story behind Sydney Electric Train preservation?.. well that certainly is another very long story, enough to fill a paperback novel with enough politics and intrigue to put Canberra to shame. I had long resisted the urge to publish "the story" until after (or indeed if) any of them ever ran again.

Looks like that story might get a chance to be heard. After 11th June, eh...

ZM
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The term "Red Rattler" only surfaced in the early '90s on the eve of their withdrawal. Otherwise they were universally known simply as "single deckers" by most.
Note true at all. My mum was calling them "red rattlers" in 80's.

Rest of post is informative
The term "red rattlers" definitely originated in Melbourne in respect of the Tait and Swing Door trains, probably during the 1970s with the introduction of the stainless steel trains, when the older wooden bodied trains were being withdrawn.

Since all suburban trains in Sydney were red prior to 1971, (including the stainless steel double deck power cars) the name was not used in Sydney at all prior to the introduction of the stainless steel unpainted trains for the Eastern Suburbs Railway. I travelled daily on suburban trains from 1961 to go to high school. We knew the individual cars as  by their characteristics as wooden (power or trailer) standard and Tulloch from the builders of the cars with split doorways. The power door sets were generally known as "sputnik" since they were introduced about the time of the Soviet spacecraft launches.

I think the term "red rattler" was introduced by the state politicians, having heard the term used about the older trains in Melbourne. Since trains weren't air conditioned at this time, the level of comfort was little different between the older and newer trains and the politicians wanted the older trains to be seen as inferior.

In fact, the steel cars didn't rattle much at all until the rubber liners around the frameless counterbalanced widows began to go missing and weren't replaced. The opening windows were seen as a risk and they were replaced by English design fixed windows.

But the name "red rattler" was not used until the 1980s because most of the trains were red, old or new, including all the double deck cars built prior to the Eastern Suburbs Railway.

M636C
M636C

The term Red Rattler may have started in Melbourne. I cannot say because to me growing up in the 80's the term red rattler was a common term applied to the Sydney SD's. If the term immigrated from Melbourne then it would have had to have been in the late 70's and not in the 90's.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
This set was on the Carlingford line last Thursday 19th May.
allambee
Only as a test. Probably crew certification as well.
  M636C Minister for Railways

The term "red rattlers" definitely originated in Melbourne in respect of the Tait and Swing Door trains, probably during the 1970s with the introduction of the stainless steel trains, when the older wooden bodied trains were being withdrawn.

I think the term "red rattler" was introduced by the state politicians, having heard the term used about the older trains in Melbourne. Since trains weren't air conditioned at this time, the level of comfort was little different between the older and newer trains and the politicians wanted the older trains to be seen as inferior.

But the name "red rattler" was not used until the 1980s because most of the trains were red, old or new, including all the double deck cars built prior to the Eastern Suburbs Railway.

M636C

The term Red Rattler may have started in Melbourne. I cannot say because to me growing up in the 80's the term red rattler was a common term applied to the Sydney SD's. If the term immigrated from Melbourne then it would have had to have been in the late 70's and not in the 90's.
simstrain

I'm happy to say the the late 1970s rather than the early 1980s....

The point is that until the early 1970s, all Sydney suburban trains were red, unlike Melbourne, where all the steel suburban trains were blue and like Sydney, later trains were stainless steel. So prior to Philip Shirley introducing blue and white, everything, including the newest trains, were red.

In Melbourne, only wooden trains dating to before the First World War, with doors to every seating bay were painted red, so the term "red rattler" was used there for years before it was even relevant in Sydney.

The long period of rainbow trains when an S set could have a stainless car, two blue and white cars with different white stripe heights and a red car discouraged any official reference to colour. John Beckhaus used to call an eight car train where each four car set had four different colours a "double hat trick".

I think the name "red Rattler" would have been introduced after Shirley's Blue and white was replaced by the darker Indian Red, and some DD power cars were painted this colour while the idea of stripping the paint off seemed too hard. Eventually the first and second batches of Comeng DD power cars were effectiively the same colour and the next stage was to paint DD Tulloch trailers grey to match.

Only then could the term "red rattler" be applied without risk of people seeing "new" red trains.

M636C
  georges Chief Train Controller

"Red rattler" prompts so much ardour that it must be a railway theological term.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The other thing that I recollect from the 80's is that regardless of the colour scheme, they were still referred to as Red Rattlers or just plain rattlers. Maybe there is a different perspective from different parts of Sydney but this is my recollection.
  apw5910 Chief Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
I know U boats were referred to as "silver rattlers" in the Blue Mountain Gazette in the eighties.
  zordmaker Train Controller

Location: NSW
Another matter a bit more technically oriented, I understand that towards the end of their lives, the older 32V control reds began running low on electrical spares. Contactors were needed for the necessary tasks of progressively removing series resistors as the trains accelerated as well as changing through the various combinations of series and parallel motor connections.


As the reds were being withdrawn, apparently one way of minimizing the spares problem was to remove the weak field contactor and use the contactor elsewhere, and so the trains would not operate at their top speed where a weak field was needed, but as they were utilized on slower services, this didn't matter. (Please comment if an explanation of "weak field" is needed.)


So with these preserved cars, has the weak field connection be reinstated, or has it been left off? Despite the upcoming "train race", I doubt that any of them are truly trying to go flat out (high speed is a sure way to shorter life for heritage rollingstock) so perhaps the weak field is hardly needed.
3l diesel
You are correct.

In the '70s there was a chronic shortage of Metro Vick switches. By deleting the weak field notch, four switches per car were freed up. These were then used as spares to replace others which could not easily be repaired. It wasn't until the mid '80s Redfern Overhauls program that new switches were developed from other suppliers. These switches were electrically equivalent to the old Metro Vick ones such that they could be substituted using the same circuits however they could not be intermixed in switchgroups i.e. you had either a "metro vick" switchgroup or a "mitsubishi" switchgroup, you didnt have a mix of both in the same box.

The weak field on the heritage cars has not been restored. With the policy of overpowering sets in place (i.e. more motors than trailers), it is pretty much pointless because even without the weak field notches working, there is more than enough traction power in that set now to keep up with anything else it will ever meet on the tracks.

There is also a slightly heightened risk of motor flash over with field weakening so it was felt this too is a good reason to avoid it on motors which are essentially 80 years old.

Oh yeah and one more thing ; quite a lot of the MV172 motors that were rewound in the '80s (particularly by Clyde but there were others) had their stators rewound without the weak field tap and lead (i.e. four wires to the motor instead of five). Most of the stock HET has retained as spares fall into this category and as such would be impossible to restore weak field to these cars.


ZM

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