Monday, July 10, 2006

New trains way off By Heath Aston

New Train
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
EVEN by RailCorp's rubbery standards the state's latest train project - the $440 million outer-suburban car (OSCAR) - is seriously late.
First promised by Carl Scully to be "on the coast by 2005", OSCAR is beset by testing problems and is unlikely to be in public service next year, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

The bungled introduction has left egg on the face of Transport Minister John Watkins at a time the Government is desperate to resurrect its rail credentials ahead of election 2007.


Anonymous said...

Mr Watkins told this newspaper last September: "Passengers can look forward to a safer, more comfortable trip on these carriages in the first six months of 2006."

Passengers are still making do with metropolitan Tangara carriages lacking the much-needed toilet facilities of the longer journey OSCARs.

Sources close to the track tests say the OSCARs, which will service Gosford, Wollongong, Campbelltown and the Blue Mountains, have a long list of glitches similar to the problem-hit Millennium Train.

Engineers from maker United Goninan are battling to rectify safety issues with door control at stations.

There are also problems with the interface between traction control and braking on the first 81 of 122 carriages on order.

"The systems pushing the train and stopping it aren't interacting properly," one source said.

The Iemma Government must now decide whether to introduce the train before the March election and risk a repeat of the Millennium debacle.

More than 60 defects and problems were reported in the first six months the Downer EDI-made Millenniums were on the tracks in 2002.

OSCAR was out on the tracks again yesterday for driver training, passing Redfern station on the way to Eveleigh rail yards more than half an hour later than scheduled.

Mr Watkins acknowledged testing problems had delayed the train again but refused to give a date for its introduction.

"We won't rush the first OSCARS into service until they're ready," his spokeswoman said.

Anonymous said...

NSW Liberal Leader Peter Debnam said today the Iemma Labor Government's Outer Suburban OSCAR train carriages are running late and over budget – and are still to carry a single passenger.

Just before the 2003 State Election, Carl Scully promised the trains "would be on the Coast by 2005." *

In September 2005, John Watkins said OSCAR carriages would be on the tracks "in the first six months of 2006".

"The public has a right to know the exact schedule for the revised operation of these carriages," Mr Debnam said.

"This is yet another example of commuters and taxpayers being betrayed by this incompetent Labor Government," he said.

"Morris Iemma and Labor are simply unable to deliver critical infrastructure on time and on budget. Commuters won't be surprised the cost of this project has blown out.

"When originally announced in the 2002/03 State Budget it was to cost $135 million; last year the Audit Office put the cost at $172 million – a $37 million blowout.

"It’s the latest example of Labor’s inability to deliver major infrastructure projects.

"Labor needs to understand commuters and the wider public want a government working on improving rail for a full four-year term, not just in the lead up to the State election.

"Any investment in public transport is welcome, but commuters from Sydney and its regions know from bitter experience that Labor’s pre-election infrastructure promises cannot be trusted,” Mr Debnam said.

* Newcastle Herald page 7, 14 February 2003