Source: State Rail. 1987. "It's Coming...Sydney's 21st Century train will be here for Christmas!" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, December 16: 39.
This year, Sydney's Tangara Trains turn 30.
Introduced into service on Sydney's rail network in 1988, they are the third generation of electric trains to enter into service.
At present, there are 447 carriages in service, more than any other model on the network. The fleet servicing the Illawarra and Eastern Suburbs Rail Line (T4) are virtually Tangara's.
The Wran Government announced in 1984 that they would purchase 450 new carriages to operate on the rail network. At the time, Barrie Unsworth was Transport Minister. Designs for the train were finalised the following year. Capacity would be approximately 2 200, compared with 2 050 on existing double decker trains.
Source: State Rail. 1988. "A ticket to the 21st Century" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, January 11: 6.
Tangara (Aboriginal word for "to go") promised 21st-century features and a number of firsts for Sydney Trains including:
- Electronic Final Destination Indicators (eventually installed on S set trains).
- Security Cameras
- Air conditioning
- Vandal Resistant features e.g. fixed seating which was not popular with commuters.
- Better Seating and legroom
- Bigger Windows
- Reduced Noise inside and outside.
- Smoother Acceleration and Breaking.
Above: Advertisement promoting the Tangara. Date unknown.
Some Tangara's were configured for intercity services providing toilets, reversible seating and luggage racks. However, when Tangara's were confined to suburban services in recent years, toilets were removed.
The Tangara made its first appearance on December 20, 1987, at Central Station. By now, Unsworth was Premier.
Source: Russell, M. 1987. "Transport on track for next century". The Daily Telegraph, December 21: 5.
On January 28, 1988 it made its first trip from Rockdale to Oatley.
Source: Nicholson, N. 1988. "Voters' express: tickets, please". The Daily Telegraph, January 29: 5.
It must be noted that Rockdale was in Unsworth's electorate of the same name and the most marginal seat for Labor in NSW. Oatley was in the margnial seat of Georges River held by Housing Minister Frank Walker. It was a good political ploy with a State Election weeks away.
Source: Anon. 1988. "Commuters give train thumbs-up". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, February 2: 5.
Sadly for Unsworth, Tangara's would not operate on timetabled services until just after the 1988 State Election which saw the end of 12 years of Labor Government in NSW. According to The Daily Telegraph, they commenced operating on timetabled services on April 12, 1988.
Source: Clark, S. 1988. "Tangara proves it's on the right track". The Daily Telegraph, July 20: page unknown.
The rollout of Tangara carriages continued until 1995.