THE Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) is a step closer to introducing its fleet of new Intercity EMUs into service – more than two years later than planned – with track testing now underway.

The new Mariyung trains are running between Sydney’s Central station and Springwood to test mechanical and electrical systems, ahead of work to undertake modifications to the fleet as agreed in a deal with the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) last November.

The RailConnect consortium, comprising UGL, Mitsubishi Electric and Hyundai Rotem, was awarded a $A 2.3bn ($US 1.6bn) contract for 550 double-deck EMU cars in 2016. The order was increased by 56 cars in 2021 taking the total to 610 at an additional cost $A 100m.

The trains have been the subject of a protracted dispute with the RTBU over safety issues since delivery started in 2020.

“Following several months of protected industrial action and inconvenience to commuters in this state, I am very pleased to see testing of these state-of-the-art trains is underway after we reached agreement with the unions to make modifications to the New Intercity Fleet,” said NSW’s transport minister, Mr David Elliott.

“Trains will run between Eveleigh, Central and Springwood this week before testing routes between Eveleigh and Newcastle and Eveleigh and Hornsby in the coming weeks.”

“We will undertake the agreed modifications as quickly as possible before the independent rail safety regulator assesses the Mariyung fleet for re-accreditation,” NSW TrainLink chief operating officer, Mr Dale Merrick, said. 

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