Opinions sought on new carriages

SOUTH Coast commuters are being asked what features they would like to see on new train carriages planned for the state’s intercity rail network.

The NSW government announced on Thursday the $2.8 billion roll out of 65 new trains for the Illawarra, Central Coast, Newcastle and Blue Mountains lines.

It is hoped that by choosing a train from a design already on the market, the new fleet could be on track within four to five years.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said discussions would be held with train manufacturers from Australia and overseas to identify the best train for the long journeys often taken by Illawarra train customers.

The announcement was welcomed by Kiama MP Gareth Ward, who said he had long been a regular train user.

Mr Ward said the government would be seeking input from commuters on what features they would like to see in the 520 new carriages that would make up the fleet.

“I know what commuters want. They want more rack and carriage space, cleaner toilets and comfier seats,” he said.

“While a safe, reliable service with available seats is understandably the major concern of most customers, we want to go beyond that to ensure our new trains provide the little things that will make a customer’s experience more enjoyable.”

He said features such as seat configuration, power points to charge mobile devices and premium carriages would be considered.

“These trains will also include extensive state-of-the-art CCTV camera networks,” he said.

Wollongong University student Elizabeth Langdon uses the Bomaderry to Wollongong service several times a week.

The 23-year-old science student said her first request would be for more frequent services to Bomaderry, but she also has a wish-list for any new electric carriages.

“We definitely need more toilets, some rubbish bins and more carriages per train,” she said.

Ms Langdon disagreed with the idea of premium carriages, saying this would be a waste of money.

“I think that’s a stupid idea.  It would cost too much and that cost would  end up cutting into providing a better service overall.”

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