ⓘ Comeng (train)
The Comeng train is a type of electric train that operates on the suburban railway network of Melbourne, Australia. They first appeared on the network in VicRail teacup livery in 1981 to replace the last of the 60-year-old Tait trains. More were ordered after the failed refurbishment and subsequent withdrawal of the Harris trains. In total 570 carriages were built by Comeng, Dandenong.
The Comeng trains are single deck and are semi-permanently coupled as M-T-M motor-trailer-motor sets, but these sets spend much of their time coupled in pairs as six-carriage sets.
Comeng trains have power operated doors that must be pulled open by hand but are closed by the driver. The trains were the first suburban trains in Melbourne to have air-conditioning in the passenger saloon. The older Hitachi trains having had driver only air-conditioning fitted more recently.
They operate in larger numbers on the Northern, Dandenong, Cross City and Sandringham group lines, although some are continuing to run on the Burnley and Clifton Hill group lines which are serviced by a higher proportion of newer XTrapolis trains.
The design of Melbournes Comeng trains is closely related to that of TransAdelaides diesel-electric 3000 class railcars.
Comeng trains will be replaced by the new High Capacity Metro Trains on the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines from mid-2020.
The trains first ran in 1981.
By the middle of 1984, 38 sets had been delivered, and some older rolling stock had begun to be phased out. The order was increased from 50 to 95 six-car sets, with the aim of completely replacing the Tait and Harris sets by 1988.
Set 381M-1041T-382M was the first delivered in the Metropolitan Transit green and yellow scheme, though the sets including 27T and 28T had been repainted with those cars renumbered 1027T and 1028T respectively before then. Notably, when the 41st set was delivered the front panels of the motor carriages were still silver-framed rather than yellow.
The 45th set delivered had custom decals applied to the sides celebrating the halfway point through the order. These had been removed by 1 February 1991.
2.1. History Refurbishment
2000 - 2003
Between 2000 and 2003, the two train operators at the time, Connex and M> Train, had Alstom and EDi Rail respectively refurbish the trains.
The Alstom and EDi Rail sets have a number of differences, including:
- Cab fittings - The EDi Rail trains also have a windscreen-wiper on both sides, the Alstom sets only having one on the drivers side.
- Exterior front panels - Information on the trains terminus is displayed on top of the window on M> Train fleets, while Connex trains have them displaying on the left window in the pre-refurbishment style.
- Cab layout - The EDI Rail refurbished trains retained a second full-size seat on the right-hand side of the cab, originally used for the guard, whereas the Alstom sets only have a small seat, the same size as the passenger ones.
- Upholstery - Seats in M> Train trains are blue, while Connex opted for rainbow-textured seats.
- Seating arrangement - Connex provided a different seating layout from M> Train.
- Interior arrangement - The interior LED displays on the M> Train trains were in the middle, as opposed to being at both ends of the carriage on Connex sets.
- Light fittings - The Alstom refurbished trains have grated light coverings, while the EDi type retained the original flat coverings.
Both sets had CCTV and emergency assistance panels added as part of the refurbishment program.
After Connex assumed responsibility for all of Melbournes suburban train network in 2004, the EDi refurbished trains had the M> Train exterior logos removed, and later received Connex blue and yellow side stripes, and a repainted front panel.
2.2. History Concorde Program
2006 - 2007
From December 2006 both fleets were allowed to run system wide. The electronics of both Comeng types were altered to make them electronically compatible with each other, with both the PID voices and display formatting altered. Both types of Comeng can run system wide and can run in multiple unit with trains of the same or different type.
2.3. History Interior rearrangements
From the beginning of March 2009, Connex ran a test set of carriages with new seating arrangement on city lines. The new arrangements removed 44 seats, making room for more standing on the train. The changes were made to accommodate the increased patronage on the Melbourne rail network.
As part of its franchise agreement, Metro Trains Melbourne is required to modify the seating layout of all Comeng trains to have 2-2 seating which allows better passenger flow through the train and more standing room. So far most Comengs have had modifications to seating around the passenger doors to avoid people clogging up the doorways when a train is overcrowded.
2.4. History Door Upgrades
2014 - 2015
Comeng trains still require passengers to manually open saloon doors to enter and exit the trains. Pneumatic air pressure keeps the doors closed whilst the trains are in motion, and is released by the driver when the carriages stop at station platforms. Prior to 2014, the doors were fitted with large "door knob" style handles. These made it relatively easy for unruly passengers to force the doors open, including while the train was in motion. All carriages were retrofitted with a new flat slim handle designed to make doors more difficult to force open. This followed an incident at Watergardens railway station where teenagers forced a door open while the train was moving and one jumped out, causing injury to himself. Alan Osbourne, then director of Transport Safety Victoria TSV, informed Metro that the Comeng trains would be taken out of service if their doors were not made impossible to force open by 2017.
2.5. History Life Extension / Retirement
2017 - 2021
75% of the Comeng fleet are currently undertaking a life extension stages 1/2 refurbishment program with a number of upgrades taking place including:
- Improved saloon lighting and additional handholds.
- Concertina style enclosed gangways between carriages.
- Removal of external handles and step ladders at the leading end of all motor cars to reduce instances of train surfing.
- LED marker lights
- Upholstery - Seats in Connex rainbow-textured pattern change to Public Transport Victoria’s corporate identity in either orange or blue geometric design.
- New vinyl stickering with PTV branding identity livery on the exterior fibreglass front panels.
In December 2019, it was announced that the 31% of the existing Comeng units Tread Units will be further enhanced with upgrades under the third stage of the life extension programme. A number of upgrades taking place included:
- Improvements to hearing aid links with a new and upgraded speaker system.
- Dynamic Passenger Information Screens which displays real time data.
- Improved safety enhancements, including an upgrade to high definition CCTV cameras with better clarity and a wider field of view
- Improvements to the overall air compression system powering the brakes, doors, pantographs and traction systems.
By end of 2021, 75% of the fleet are expected to have received the upgrades with the remainder of the non-life extended Comeng units planned to be progressively replaced by High Capacity Metro Trains which would see those units retired.
In 2019 it was revealed that if the XTrapolis 2.0s were made the Comengs could be out of service as early as 2026
3. Stored carriages
21 Comeng carriages have been scrapped or removed from service.
Eight carriages have been scrapped: 315M, 388M, 1165T, 1109T, 533M, 305M, 1003T and 306M. 315M was burnt out at Hurstbridge on 9 April 1983, along with Tait 472M, 388M was hit by V/Line locomotive N457 at Officer, 1165T was burnt out at Northcote, 1109T was damaged in a collision at Epping, while 533M was burnt out by vandals at Merlynston in April 2002. Both 1109T and 533M were stored at the Ballarat Workshops and were scrapped in August 2010. In November 2012, 305M-1003T-306M crashed into a truck at Abbotts Road in Dandenong South. These cars were stored in Dandenong South near the crash site, visible from the Cranbourne Line until May 2014, when they were scrapped.
Another four carriages have been stored: 500M, 671M, 672M, and 1186T. 500M was burnt out at Sandringham in 2002 and can be seen in a yard close to the North Williamstown station side of the Newport railway workshops. 671M was partly burnt out at Gowrie. Spare cars 672M and 1186T underwent a prototype refurbishment before being stored. 671M is currently in use by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade for firefighter training.
In November 2017, all remaining nine Comeng chopper carriages including the 691M-698M motors and 1196T-1199T trailers were not included in the new Metro contract which saw them retired out of service. These units have been supplying parts to the remaining Comeng units in service.
4. In popular culture
- Episode 489 of Prisoner contains a scene with a Comeng at the fictional Rosewood railway station, which was actually Caulfield station with the signs changed.
- In the video clip "All Torn Down" by Melbourne band The Living End, the band is seen boarding an unrefurbished Comeng.
- The unrefurbished Comeng also appears on the front cover of a Melbourne Hip Hop artist Fubex, his album was Upcoming.
- Portions of the unrefurbished Comeng can be in scenes of 1990 film The Big Steal directed by Nadia Tass.
- A refurbished Comeng in Connex colors can be seen in the background of a carriage scene on the TV series How I Met Your Mother Season 9 Episode 1 set in New York.
- Portions of Comengs in the Metro livery can be seen in some episodes on the 12-part Australian television miniseries Conspiracy 365, based on the books by Gabrielle Lord.
- terms of interior and exterior bodywork the train s electrical system was much closer to that of the Comeng sets. The design was further modified for use
- Comeng Life Extension project as part of this work train fronts were renewed on the ageing Comeng fleet, some needing to be stripped back to their original
- were built by Comeng between 1972 1980. They were externally distinguished by the peaked front of driving cars. The Series 1 Comeng power cars featured
- locomotives built by Comeng Rocklea and Fuji Heavy Industries for Queensland Rail between 1986 and 1989. In July 1984, Comeng were awarded a contract
- delivered over a 19 - year period from 1970. Series 1 NSWGR Contract 8 68 - Comeng contract 68 11 - specification 2384 - entered service 1970 DCF8001 - DCF8008
- a cab at one end only to Comeng Dandenong. The design was based on the stainless steel shell of the Comeng electric train then in production for Melbourne s
- pies, muffins, soft drinks, potato chips, lollies and alcohol. In 1968 Comeng Granville were awarded a contract to build eight WAGR WCA WCE class railcars
- When introduced, the train consisted of new carriages built by the Midland Railway Workshops. In August 1985, Westrail awarded Comeng Bassendean a contract
- width of the trains 10 feet . As of January 2020, Comeng Trains never operate on the Glen Waverley line and replaced by X Trapolis 100 trains The majority
- by Comeng to the Western Australian Government Railways in 1971. The tender allowed bidders to suggest alternative types of high - speed train Comeng submitted
- more X Trapolis trains to overcome major constraints, as well as recommending the internal reconfiguration of Siemens and Comeng trains to increase capacity
- Transport Corporation fleet was split, Bayside Trains were allocated 58 three - car Hitachi and 97 three - car Comeng sets. A class locomotives and MTH carriages
- May 31, 1997 The Tall Little Train That Usually Could The New York Times. ISSN 0362 - 4331. Dunn, John 2013 Comeng A History of Commonwealth Engineering
- The WAGR WCA class railcars and WCE class trailers were built by Comeng Granville for the Western Australian Government Railways in 1971 to operate the
- A program to refurbish the Harris trains began in 1982. The interior of the refurbished cars resembled a Comeng interior, having individual vinyl foam
- built by Comeng Bassendean for Westrail in 1987 to operate The Australind service between Perth and Bunbury. In August 1985, Westrail awarded Comeng Bassendean
- cars marshalled with Comeng power cars in W sets saw service until February 2004, before the introduction of the Millennium Trains Cars 4801, 4814, 4840
- Forest: Reed Books. pp. 122, 164. ISBN 0 730100 05 7. Dunn, John 2008 Comeng A History of Commonwealth Engineering Volume 2 1955 - 1966. Rosenberg Publishing
- power of trains reverted to diesel locomotives, with electrification cut back to Warragul in 1987, and to Bunyip in 1998. Suburban Comeng trains were used
- The N class was a class of diesel locomotives built by Comeng Bassendean for Westrail between 1977 and 1979. Eleven were built all for use on the Western
- A similar refurbishment has been completed on the older Comeng trains The Siemens trains have a stainless steel body, and were seen in a number of
- while the Harris train 1950s 60 s Hitachi train 1970s and Comeng train 1980s were also fitted with R.V.B three chime horns. From the mid
- livery they first wore in 1953. Between October 1981 and October 1985, Comeng built a further 30 carriages. These were built out of stainless steel. The
- prototype trams in 1984 and 1985, a total of 130 B2 - class trams were built by Comeng later ABB Dandenong. They were developed for the conversion of the St
- Australia. Lothian Press. p. 99. ISBN 0 - 7344 - 0715 - 7. Dunn, John 2006 Comeng A History of Commonwealth Engineering Volume 1: 1921 - 1955. Dural: Rosenberg
- 477M316M 406T, 430T, 442T The Tait trains were replaced from 1974 by the Hitachi trains sets, and later, the Comeng trains From 1981, the last 37 of them
- was destroyed by a fire whilst stabled in No. 1 road. On 9 April 1983, Comeng motor carriage 315M Tait motor carriage 472M were destroyed by a fire
- Between 1975 and 1983, 230 trams spanning three sub - classes were built by Comeng Dandenong. The design was based on two similar Gothenburg tram models
- 2010 Comeng A History of Commonwealth Engineering Volume 2: 1955 - 1966. Kenthurst: Rosenberg Publishing. pp. 89 99. ISBN 1877058734. Great Trains gallery
- Museum. The bodies of four others are privately owned. Dunn, John 2006 Comeng A History of Commonwealth Engineering Volume 1: 1921 - 1955. Kenthurst: Rosenberg
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