RailCorp have recently commenced crew familiarisation training to their new facility at Enfield Yard, in preparation for the withdrawal of the 1970’s vintage stainless steel double-deck suburban rolling stock en-masse.
The photo below shows an earlier view of the site as construction work was in early stages, to illustrate the roads used (the two tracks in the foreground are the “through” roads). Earlier this year, the overhead wiring between Chullora Junction and Enfield was switched back on, and only a week ago, L11 commenced running between the Auburn Maintenance Facility and Enfield for crew familiarisation with the goods lines. The L Set was also used to run between Enfield and Rhodes to run over the track between Flemington Markets and North Strathfield, again for crew familiarisation.
RailCorp plans to use Enfield in the short term as a storage location for “S” set trains that are surplus to operational requirements while the Waratah project is ongoing. The sets are to be kept “operationally ready” so as to avoid a similar incident as that which occurred in April 2003, when all 35 Millennium Train sets were temporarily withdrawn due to unreliability – causing a sudden shortage of network capacity.
I have not yet had a chance to get a decent photo of the new compound, although it is built to the same high-standard as other such yards around the network, with tall security fencing, floodlights and concrete walkways.
In other news, L11 is the only “L” set remaining in the CityRail fleet. L1 and L2 (previously Mortdale sets used for Wollongong commuter services) were broken up into their individual cars when replaced by Tangaras in late 2011. L3 (the third ex-Mortdale set) had been relocated to Flemington, and re-targeted as L13, although it joined L12 in April 2012 to form a “super-six” R Set.
With the continued delivery of Waratah trains, more of the older carriages are becoming surplus to requirements, allowing 6-car “R” set trains to be split up and made into two 4-car sets, increasing network capacity.
While there’s no need to panic, it would be a good idea to start getting photos of those older cars before they are withdrawn! I personally have been doing this for months, and plan to step it up a notch… If you’re waiting for a steam special or “that” freighter, and you see an S Set pulling in on an adjacent platform – take the shot, you never know when you’ll regret not taking it!