Blue Mountains Commuters and Transport Users Association

Submission to RailCorp

Comparison of Attributes between OSCAR & InterCity carriages (Vsets)

16 November 2009

CityRail fleet info:

At the recent meeting of the Association held at Katoomba on 24th October 09 the members requested a Trial of the Outer Suburban OSCARs on the Blue Mountains Line: this issue raises many aspects of the Blue Mountains services that I will attempt to address I will address these in the following order.

Loading Gauge i.e. the allowable widths and heights of rolling stock.

The Association has been aware the loading gauge of rolling stock was based on the following:

Suburban Electric Rolling Stock 10ft 6 in (3,185 mm)
Loco hauled sets 9ft 6in (2.880 mm)

The present rolling stock widths and heights as listed on RailCorp Website are:

  Vsets OSCARs Difference
Width of carriage 2928 mm 3034 mm 106 mm
Height of carriage 4382 mm 4403 mm  21 mm

The loading gauge of the track between Springwood and Katoomba has been a point of discussion for many years; Has RailCorp adjusted to Loading Gauge for OSCARs to allow these service to provide services in the listed area?

  1. Springwood – Katoomba Yes/No
  2. Springwood – Mt Victoria Yes/No
  3. Springwood – Lithgow Yes/No

This has to be resolved before any trial can be conducted Mountains Services

The Future of Vsets on the Mountains

The Association wishes to establish the future of the Vsets Intercity Cars on the Mountains. We were informed there would be a Cost Benefit Analysis conducted on the V sets; with the following outcomes envisaged:

  1. Full Refurbishment.
  2. Part or Interim Refurbishment.
  3. Complete Replacement
  4. Does A mean all cars or part to provide Newcastle & Lithgow
  5. Full replacement could be initiated with change to the seating to two by two in the present OSCAR’s

The decision must have some bearing on the use of the OSCARs if either B or C are considered

The decision of the members requesting a trial of the OSCARs may be one way of consulting with the Community on this issue as we must know what future direction we are heading.

Advantages of V sets Disadvantages V sets Intercity Cars.
Seating quality better Wheel chair access restricted to vestibule.
Quieter Carriage Luggage Space restricted.
Riding comfort better More bicycle racks required
Airlock provided with two door entry to saloon
improving efficiency of air conditioning
Lack of electronic information systems
  • The association regrets the withdrawal of the iced water and the gold tinted windows
  • The gold timed windows are a benefit reducing the glare from western sun.

For the benefit of members, I have listed the features of both Consists

  Vsest OSCARs
Portable boarding ramps
Wheelchair Accessible entrance
Symbol on accessible entrance
Wheel Chair access in seating area
See note 1
Allocated wheel chair space
Some—note 1
Priority Seating
Electronic Information screens
Information announcements
Yes see note 2
Hearing induction loop T switch
Emergency Help Point
See note 3
Colour – contracts doors
Announcements door close
Yes Note 2
Warning tone when doors close
External door closing light
Accessible toilet
Baby change table
Air Conditioning
  • Note 1. Some cars have been converted but numbers not known or clearly identified also the services that these cars are available are not identified as per bus services as required by Access and Disability act: the customers have to ride in the vestibule areas
  • Note 2 The Information announcements have mixed quality recorded announcements are satisfactory but Guards’s announcements require improvement. The Doors closing announcement is in the saloons not at the door area.
  • Note 3 The Emergency Alarm Button is covered up this is adjacent to the Emergency notices for Customers. NO INDICATION WHERE THE OPERATIVE ALARM BUTTON IS LOCATED

Factors influencing Blue Mountains Services

  • The Long distance services Lithgow – Central. (Wanting faster services)
  • Upper Mountains services Mt Vic – Central (Wanting faster services)
  • Lower Mountains services Springwood – Central
  • The Mountains Services become Penrith – Central Express
  • Intermediate stopping patterns Blacktown - Parramatta accepted as part of Fast services to the Sydney CBD This draws criticism from the longer distance Commuters.
  • The capacity of the infrastructure to cater for increase in services on the Western line in the A.M and P.M Peak is questionable
  • The recognition that Penrith, Parramatta and to lesser extent Blacktown are Regional Hubs that require stopping patterns.


  1. Considering the demands on the Vsets providing these services, what is the approach RailCorp should take to cater for Long Distant Travellers Intermediate and Shorter Travellers Is the present InterCity cars adequate, would the OSCAR consist meet the needs of the Community?
  2. The Intercity cars are reaching longevity and without rebuilding including wiring, structure testing etc the Safety Factor could be at risk. if adequate maintenance is not addressed
  3. I submit this paper to be a basis of discussion with the Hon Phil Koperberg M.P and Managers of RailCorp to develop a process to introduce the trial of OSCARs to Upper Mountains, pending on the loading Gauge. If this aspect prevents a trial of this nature, RailCorp will have to address the Refurbishment of the Intercity cars or other approaches.

Yours faithfully
Paul Trevaskis CMILT Hon Sect