New South Wales Xplorer

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CountryLink Xplorer crossing the Queanbeyan River Railway Bridge (cropped).jpg
An Xplorer crossing the Queanbeyan River near Queanbeyan in January 2012
Countrylink Xplorer Economy Carriage.JPG
Interior of a refurbished economy class carriage
In serviceOctober 1993
Manufacturer ABB Transportation
Built at Dandenong
Entered service19931995
Number built23 cars
Formation2–4 cars
Fleet numbersEA 2501-2508, EB 2511-2517, EC 2521-2528
Capacity42 First (EA) 66 Economy (EB) 50 Economy (EC)
Operator(s) NSW TrainLink
Depot(s) Xplorer-Endeavour Service Centre
Line(s) served Main Northern
Main Western
Main Southern
Car length25.250 m (82 ft 10 in)
Width2.921 m (9 ft 7 in)
Height4.11 m (13 ft 6 in)
Maximum speed145 km/h (90 mph)
Weight57 tonnes (56 long tons; 63 short tons)
Prime mover(s) Cummins KTA-19R (one per car)
Power output383 kW (514 hp) per car
Transmission Voith Turbo T311r KB260
AuxiliariesCummins LT10R(G) 181 hp (135 kW)
Bogies PJA (Power) NJA (Trailer)
Coupling system Scharfenberg
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Xplorer is a diesel multiple unit train operated by NSW TrainLink on regional rail services in New South Wales, Australia from Sydney to Armidale, Moree, Broken Hill, Griffith and Canberra. The first Xplorers entered service in October 1993, and are mechanically identical to but feature a higher level of passenger amenity than the Endeavour railcars. All 23 carriages were built by ABB Transportation in Dandenong, Victoria.

Diesel multiple unit Diesel-powered railcar designed to be used in formations of 2 or more cars

A diesel multiple unit or DMU is a multiple-unit train powered by on-board diesel engines. A DMU requires no separate locomotive, as the engines are incorporated into one or more of the carriages. Diesel-powered single-unit railcars are also generally classed as DMUs. Diesel-powered units may be further classified by their transmission type: diesel–electric (DEMU), diesel–mechanical (DMMU) or diesel–hydraulic (DHMU).

NSW TrainLink operator of passenger rail services in New South Wales (exclusive of the Sydney suburban network)

NSW TrainLink is an Australian brand for the medium and long distance passenger rail and coach services in New South Wales. It operates services throughout New South Wales and into the neighbouring Australian states and territories of Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. Train services are operated by the government's NSW Trains. Coach services are contracted to private operators. It is an agency of Transport for NSW.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.



Following the election of the Greiner Government in March 1988, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton was commissioned to prepare a report into NSW rail services. On purely economic grounds, the report recommended closing all country passenger services as they were judged unviable, however this was not politically acceptable. [1] If services were to be maintained, the report recommended an 'all XPT' option supported by an expanded coach network.

Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation is the parent of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., an American management and information technology consulting firm, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, in Greater Washington, D.C., with 80 other offices around the globe. The company's stated core business is to provide consulting, analysis and engineering services to public and private sector organizations and nonprofits.

This option was taken up by the government and a new timetable introduced in February 1990. One of the casualties was the Northern Tablelands Express from Sydney to Armidale which was operated on alternate days by a locomotive hauled HUB/RUB set and XPT. This was truncated back to Tamworth allowing it to be operated by one XPT as a day return service. A road coach from Sydney to Armidale was introduced. Another service to be replaced by coach was the Werris Creek to Moree connecting service that was operated by a DEB set. [2]

Northern Tablelands Express

The Northern Tablelands Express is an Australian passenger train operated by the New South Wales Government Railways and its successors since June 1941.

Central railway station, Sydney railway station in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Central railway station is a heritage-listed railway station located at the southern end of the Sydney central business district in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. The station is the largest and busiest railway station in New South Wales and serves as a major transport interchange for NSW TrainLink inter-city rail services, Sydney Trains commuter rail services, Sydney light rail services, State Transit bus services, and private coach transport services. Often abbreviated as Central or Central station, the station is also known as Sydney Terminal and Central Railway Stations Group and Central Railway; Central Station; Underbridges. The property is owned by RailCorp, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999. It recorded 11.35 million passenger movements in 2013.

Armidale railway station railway station in New South Wales, Australia

The Armidale railway station is a heritage-listed railway station at 240 Brown Street, Armidale, Armidale Regional Council, New South Wales, Australia. It was built from 1882 to 1883 by Edmund Lonsdale and Henry Sheldon Hoddard, and was opened on 3 February 1883 when the line was extended from Uralla. It was the terminus of the line until it was extended to Glen Innes on 19 August 1884. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

After suffering a number of losses in northern NSW electorates where services were cut during the March 1990 Federal Election, the National Party decided a policy reversal was needed. In June 1990 the government announced that it would purchase 17 Xplorer carriages to reintroduce services to Armidale and Moree and replace locomotive hauled stock and coaches on services to Canberra. This would release an XPT to operate a daily service to Grafton. [3] [4] The Xplorers entered service on the North Western service in October 1993 [5] and on the Canberra service in December 1993. [6] In November 1994 the government ordered a further four Xplorer carriages. [7]

1990 Australian federal election election

Federal elections were held in Australia on 24 March 1990. All 148 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 seats in the 76-member Senate were up for election. The incumbent Australian Labor Party led by Bob Hawke defeated the opposition Liberal Party of Australia led by Andrew Peacock with coalition partner the National Party of Australia led by Charles Blunt. The election saw the reelection of a Hawke government, the fourth successive term.

The National Party of Australia is an Australian political party. Traditionally representing graziers, farmers, and rural voters generally, it began as the Australian Country Party in 1920 at a federal level. It would later briefly adopt the name National Country Party in 1975, before adopting its current name in 1982.

Canberra railway station Australian railway station

Canberra railway station is located on the Bombala railway line in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia. It is located in the Canberra suburb of Kingston.

From May 2000 Xplorers took over the weekly services to Griffith and Broken Hill. [8] [9]

Griffith railway station

Griffith railway station is located on the Yanco-Griffith line in New South Wales, Australia. It serves the city of Griffith.

Broken Hill railway station railway station in New South Wales, Australia

Broken Hill railway station is a heritage-listed railway station located on the Broken Hill line in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

All are scheduled to be replaced by the NSW TrainLink Regional Train Project. [10] [11] [12] A contract with CAF was signed in February 2019, with the Xplorers to be replaced from 2023. [13]

The NSW TrainLink Regional Train Project is an initiative of Transport for NSW to procure new trains to replace NSW TrainLink's entire regional fleet.

Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles company

Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles is a Spanish publicly listed company which manufactures railway vehicles and equipment and buses through its Solaris Bus & Coach subsidiary. It is based in Beasain, Basque Autonomous Community. Equipment manufactured by Grupo CAF includes light rail vehicles, rapid transit trains, railroad cars and locomotives, as well as variable gauge axles that can be fitted on any existing truck or bogie.


Xplorer at Sydney Central in original CountryLink livery in October 2006. Countrylink-Xplorer-2502-at-Central.jpg
Xplorer at Sydney Central in original CountryLink livery in October 2006.

The Xplorers currently operate on these services out of Sydney:


Coding for the carriages are as follows:

Carriage numbering is as follows:

EA 2508 and EC 2528 used to be Endeavour railcars LE 2815 and TE 2865. They became available following the electrification of the Illawarra line from Dapto to Kiama, and were converted to Xplorers by Bombardier Transportation, Dandenong.

Each car is powered by a Cummins KTA-19R diesel engine rated at 383 kW at 1800rpm coupled to a Voith T311r hydraulic transmission driving both axles on one bogie via Voith Turbo V15/19 final drives. The transmission incorporates a Voith KB260/r hydrodynamic brake. This traction package gives the Xplorer a maximum speed of 160 km/h (100 mph) but in service this is limited to 145 km/h (90 mph). An auxiliary 135 kW Cummins LT10R(G) diesel engine drives a Newage Stamford UCI274F alternator to supply power for the air conditioning and lighting. [17]


In October 2006 RailCorp issued a tender for the refurbishment of the Xplorer and Endeavour railcars. The contract specified new seating, buffet upgrades, new carpets, toilet upgrades, DVA upgrades, extended booked luggage section, and more wheelchair spaces for the trains. Bombardier Transportation, Downer Rail and United Group Rail responded, with Bombardier being the successful bidder. All units were repainted into new CountryLink colours. The refurbishment started in mid-2007 and concluded at the end of 2008. After the creation of NSW TrainLink, the CountryLink branding was removed from the trains.

Related Research Articles

CountryLink former operator of passenger rail and road services in country New South Wales, Australia

CountryLink was an Australian passenger rail and road service brand operating in regional New South Wales, as well as to Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne. Originally created as a business unit of the State Rail Authority of New South Wales, it later became a subsidiary of RailCorp, a Government of New South Wales entity. CountryLink operated rail services using XPT and Xplorer rolling stock, with connecting coach services operated under contract by private operators.

Southern Highlands Line rail service in New South Wales, Australia

The Southern Highlands Line is an Intercity rail service operated by NSW TrainLink that services the Macarthur, Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands regions of New South Wales. First operating in 1869, the service runs from Campbelltown across the Main Southern railway line through to Goulburn, with peak hour services extending the route to Central. The railway service operates alongside a bus route from Picton to Bowral, operating on the route of the Picton – Mittagong loop railway line, and a regional coach service from Bundanoon to Wollongong on the South Coast Line, operating on the corridor of the Unanderra - Moss Vale railway line.

New South Wales Endeavour railcar

The Endeavour is a diesel multiple unit train operated by NSW TrainLink on passenger rail services in New South Wales, Australia on the Hunter Valley, Main Western, Southern Highlands and Illawarra lines. They are mechanically identical to the Xplorers. All 30 carriages were built by ABB Transportation in Dandenong, Victoria.

Broadmeadow railway station

Broadmeadow railway station is located on the Main Northern line in New South Wales, Australia. It serves the western Newcastle suburb of Broadmeadow, opening on 15 August 1887.

Fassifern railway station

Fassifern railway station is located on the Main Northern line in New South Wales, Australia. It serves the City of Lake Macquarie suburb of Fassifern, opening in 1888.

New South Wales Hunter railcar

The Hunter Railcars, also known as J Sets, are a class of diesel multiple unit built by UGL Rail, Broadmeadow for CityRail between November 2006 and September 2007.

The Mungindi railway line is a railway line in northern New South Wales, Australia. It branches from the Main North line at Werris Creek station and heads north-west through the towns of Gunnedah and Narrabri before reaching Moree which for many years was the railhead before the extension to Mungindi was constructed. The line is currently truncated to Weemelah between Moree and Mungindi. Passenger trains still operate to Moree, and goods trains operate to Camurra. As of 1 September 2009, services have been suspended between Camurra and Weemelah. The line between Werris Creek and Moree is also known as the North-West line.

New South Wales XPT

The New South Wales XPT is the main long-distance passenger train operated by NSW TrainLink on regional railway services in New South Wales, Australia from Sydney to Dubbo, Grafton and Casino as well as interstate destinations, Brisbane, and Melbourne. The XPT is based on the British Rail designed High Speed Train and entered service in April 1982.

New South Wales 900/800 class railcar

The 900/800 class railcars or DEB sets were a Diesel Multiple Unit built by the New South Wales Government Railways between November 1951 and November 1960.

The 600/700 class railcars were a class of Diesel Multiple Unit built by the New South Wales Government Railways. They were built to operate on branch lines from 1949 with low traffic volumes later being transferred to Newcastle and Wollongong to operate suburban services until withdrawn in 1994. However, one 600 class railcar was converted to solar operation for use on the Byron Bay Train service. The upgraded train entered service on 16 December 2017 and is believed to be the world's first solar-powered train.

The 1100 class railcar or Budd railcar are a type of diesel railcar built by Commonwealth Engineering for the New South Wales Government Railways in 1961. They primarily operated on the South Coast Daylight Express until withdrawn in 1993.

New South Wales 1200 class railcar

The 1200 class railcar or Tulloch railcar were a type of diesel railcar built by Tulloch Limited for the New South Wales Government Railways between June 1970 and May 1972. They were built to operate the Riverina Express before being transferred to the South Coast Daylight Express.

Grafton Express

The Grafton Express is an Australian passenger train operated by NSW TrainLink between Sydney and Grafton via the North Coast line.

Outback Xplorer

The Outback Xplorer is an Australian passenger train operated by NSW TrainLink between Sydney and Broken Hill via the Main Western line.

Canberra Express

The Canberra Express was an Australian passenger train operated by the State Rail Authority between Sydney and Canberra via the Main South line from May 1982 until January 1994.

The NSW TrainLink fleet of trains serves the areas outside Sydney, Australia, mainly interurban and interstate lines. The NSW TrainLink fleet consists of both diesel and electric traction, with the oldest of the fleet being the V sets and the youngest being the H sets.

Bathurst Bullet passenger train connecting Sydney and Bathurst, Australia

The Bathurst Bullet is a passenger train on the Blue Mountains Line operated by NSW TrainLink between Sydney and Bathurst.

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  1. "CountryLink 2000" Railway Digest August 1989
  2. "The New Timetable" Railway Digest March 1990
  3. "New Trains for Northern NSW" Sydney Morning Herald 13 June 1990
  4. New "Explorer" trains for NSW Railway Digest July 1990
  5. "Xplorer Enters Service" Railway Digest November 1993
  6. "No Big Bang for Canberra Xplorers" Railway Digest December 1993
  7. "More Xplorer & Endeavour Cars Ordered" Railway Digest December 1994
  8. "CountryLink Loco-Hauled Services Cancelled" Railway Digest May 2000
  9. "Griffith Xplorer Launched" Railway Digest June 2000 page 6
  10. NSW Region train fleet on track Transport for New South Wales 14 August 2017
  11. NSW seeks private finance for regional fleet International Railway Journal 15 August 2017
  12. NSW regional train fleet to be replaced Railway Gazette International 15 August 2017
  13. CAF to replace New South Wales regional train fleet Railway Gazette International 14 February 2019
  14. North West timetable NSW TrainLink
  15. 1 2 Southern timetable NSW TrainLink
  16. Western timetable NSW TrainLink
  17. Xplorer/Endeavour Operating Manual. ABB Transportation. 1994.