New commuter trains due in 2019 will require “major engineering work” to fit the Blue Mountains line.
The revelation prompted Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle to attack the government for choosing trains that “won’t fit” the line beyond Springwood.
She said the project will involve “major engineering works at platforms and realignment or widening of tight bends and narrow tunnels through the Mountains”.
A Transport for NSW spokesman confirmed modifications to the Blue Mountains line will be necessary to accommodate the South Korean-built trains, but declined to detail the scope or cost of the work.
“It’s always been our intention to carry out some modifications to the rail infrastructure to standardise the Blue Mountains Line so that we can run these trains and deliver our customers the comfort they deserve,” the spokesman said.
“These modifications are a part of the overall project to deliver the new trains.”
Ms Doyle said the new trains will be approximately 3.1 metres wide, with current limitations on the line allowing a maximum train width of about 2.9 metres.
“The Baird Government has completely stuffed this up. They have jumped head-first into a project without actually running the measuring tape over the narrowest point the trains have to pass through. It’s a shambles,” she said.
“Instead of buying ‘off-the-shelf’ designs, they should have brought the project in-house to the experts at Railcorp and designed a new train with our local conditions in mind from the outset.”
The imported train deal was touted by NSW transport minister Andrew Constance as being 25 per cent cheaper than any locally designed and built replacement train.
“The minister hasn’t done his homework, and after boasting about getting a cheap deal on new trains, we now discover that the trains won’t actually fit down the line. You couldn’t make this stuff up,” said the Labor MP.
But the Transport for NSW spokesman said the new intercity train fleet was always “being custom built to our specifications”.
“We’ve designed the new trains with the unique needs of our intercity customers in mind and we can’t wait for them to jump aboard the first train, which is due in 2019, and experience the improvements for themselves.”
The new intercity fleet will operate along the entire Blue Mountains line to Lithgow.