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New electric trains on track for Newcastle in 2024

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The NSW Government has reached a vital agreement to get the full complement of New Intercity Fleet trains on the tracks as soon as possible, including the Hunter.

According to the Minister for Transport Jo Haylen, operations are expected to start in 2024.

“These trains were supposed to be active five years ago,” she said.

“So, it’s been a priority of mine to ensure we get them out of sheds and on the tracks next year.”

Transport for NSW and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) signed a deed on a final operating model for the new electric Mariyung trains, which will run on the Newcastle and Central Coast, Blue Mountains and South Coast Lines.

It aligns the New Intercity Fleet with that of the Waratah fleet and, subject to approval by the Office of National Rail Safety Regulator, it will allow them to enter passenger service in the most efficient way.

Following last year’s agreement between government and unions to modify the fleet, Transport for NSW has now confirmed the final scope and detailed design of the modifications and submitted an order with RailConnect to deliver the changes.

“We’ve finally fixed the mess that the former government made of the New Intercity Fleet,” Ms Haylen said.

“It took Premier Chris Minns and his Labor team five months to do what the Liberals couldn’t do in five years.

“Like the passengers who rely on our intercity network who have waited a long time, I look forward these new modern trains, with more room, more comfort and more features than any other fleet in Australia.

“They deserve to have a first-class safe and reliable public transport system that helps them travel from our regions to the city to conduct business, to go to school and work and be with their families.”

Meanwhile, a process has begun to transition the operation of the Mariyung trains and the majority of intercity passenger services, crew and stations from NSW TrainLink to Sydney Trains.

This will take advantage of the scale within Sydney Trains to help improve access to resourcing, crew availability and training that supports getting the new trains into service as soon as possible.

The New Intercity Fleet will set a high standard of travel for commuters who make approximately 26 million journeys a year on the electrified intercity network.

The improvements include wider, more spacious two-by-two seating with arm rests, tray tables, and high seat backs, charging ports for mobile devices, dedicated spaces for luggage, prams and bicycles, and modern heating and air conditioning.

They will also open up greater options for travel for people with disabilities and mobility issues with dedicated spaces for wheelchairs and accessible toilets.

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