Sydney’s Transport History – Double Decker Trains

Sydney has a long history with double deckers trains.  In this edition of Sydney’s Transport History, we will be delving deeper into their domination of Sydney’s suburban rail rolling stock.

In the 1960s, the tenders were called for the first double decker passenger rolling stock. Between 1964 and 1968, 120 double deck trailer carriages were delivered to the NSW Government Railways from Tulloch Limited. They were incorporated into sets with single deck power cars. Tulloch delivered a number of double decker motor cars in 1968. When coupled with the double decker trailer carriages they formed the worlds first fully double decker Electric Multiple Unit trains.

One of the original carriages from Tulloch

In 1970, the first intercity Double Deck V-set trains entered service. At the time, these trains were described as the “most luxurious commuter stock in the world”. Delivered over 19 years, most of the newer sets are still in service.

Intercity set V3 at Katoomba


In 1972, the first Comeng-constructed stainless steel double deck suburban power-cars entered service. These cars were originally paired with Tulloch trailer cars , but from 1973, Comeng Trailer cars entered service. Later in the 1970s,  A Goninan & Co constructed a number of similar cars. Whilst most of these 1970s sets have since been retired, 24 of them still operate as S sets on the T2, T3, T6 and T8 lines.

Goninan built the first air conditioned suburban trains in 1981, with 160 K sets being delivered through 1985. In 1986, similar C sets with more modern safety features were introduced.

Three Tangaras in the the foreground, with a K set in the background at Penrith

Between 1988 and 1996, 530 “Tangara” cars were introduced. These trains marked the first major redesign for the suburban rolling stock since double decker trains were introduced were and were also the last publicly funded new train design in NSW. These new trains allowed for the fill retirement of single deck suburban services in 1993.

Millenium Trains were introduced in 2002 and have formed the basis of all new trains delivered since. These were the first passenger trains in NSW to include automated announcements and information displays. These M sets allowed for the retirement of the original Tulloch carriages.

55 four carriage OSCar sets were delivered between 2006 and 2012 that allowed the oldest V sets to be retired and some services to be increased form four to eight cars in length. The H sets allowed for the next generation features found on M sets to be available on longer Intercity services.

OSCar set H39 and Waratah set A36 at Central Station

Waratah trains are the latest design of double decker trains to be deliver to the NSW government railways and the first model to be built outside of Australia. These Chinese built trains continue on the design of the Millennium with some m minor improvements. The original order included 78 8-Car A sets. From 2018, 24 8-Car B set trains will be introduced to replace the remaining 24 S-Set trains.

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