Walkers/Adtranz Electric Multiple Unit (EMU)

In the mid-70s, it was decided to start electrifying Brisbane\’s suburban railways at 25,000V 50Hz. The first section to be completed was Darra-Ferny Grove in November 1979.

QR decided to order a batch of modern air-conditioned commuter trains from Walkers/ASEA at Maryborough, Qld for use of the electrification. The units were towed down to Brisbane by Diesel-Electric for testing under the wires between Darra and Ferny Grove.

The EMUs as they are known, are composed of three cars permanently coupled and seat 248 passengers. Units 01-59 and 80-88 are ‘double-ended’ and comprise a Driver Motor Car (DM), a Motor Car (M) and a Driver Trailer Car (DT) while units 60-79 comprise a DM, M and Trailer Car (T) and are ‘single-ended’. For practical reason, the latter do not run singly.

All cars are air-conditioned with air operated doors, which can be opened by passengers and are closed by drivers. A public address system, UHF crew to crew radio and crew intercommunication systems are fitted. Guards sometimes make passenger announcements when the automatic announcements aren’t working.

The 88 suburban units weigh approx. 150 tonnes, are 72.4m over couplers, have a maximum service speed of 100km/h (62.5mph) and an emergency stopping distance from that speed of only 415 metres.

They were delivered between July 1979 and December 1986. In 1984, 48 which were purchase for $44.26 million were sold and leased back. In late 1993, they were fitted with yellow cab ends for high visibility reasons. In 1998-2000, the cab windows were modified on EMU60-88 for better visibility and also the fitting of a rear view mirror and security cameras inside. In 2000, it was decided to upgrade the first series EMUs with high visibility cab ends which incorporated a fender (which incorporates an anti-climber to precent outriders hanging off the back of a unit) with ditch lights and a new colour scheme with a black band across the windscreen (hence the nickname of these units, ‘Bandicoots’). Currently EMU01-19 have upgraded with the Bandicoot mods.

25kV 50Hz phase current is collected from the overhead by a single arm pantograph mounted on the roof of M (centre) cars. Traction motos, axle-mounted on M and DM cars are continuously rated at 135kW each. The main brake is an electropneumatic system blended with dynamic (electric) braking which retards from 90km/h to 40km/h. An automatic air-brake system is provided as back-up (and for towing).

Unfortunately 2001 was a bad year for the EMUs when EMU62 was severely damaged after an Arson attack at Mayne in May, and EMU05 and EMU60 were both written off in the Cattletrain derailment at Petrie in September. EMU62 has returned to service, while one 3-car unit was salvaged out of both EMU05 and EMU60 to form EMU60 (only 6 motor unit with the bandicoot mods).

The EMUs are currently progressing through PWD (Person’s with a Disability) mods at Redbank Workshops for the last 2 years. The modifications include a new internal colour scheme with high-vis yellow fixtures, fold up vestibule seats and spaces set aside behind the drivers cab for 2 wheelchairs.

Further re-engineering of the fleet started in 2009 with the removal of the manual door handles, and replacement with button operated doors.

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