Hundreds of commuters could be left stranded on the platform when the New Intercity Fleet arrives on the South Coast line in 2021.
This is because not only do the new trains have fewer seats than the Oscars now on the line, they also have a smaller overall capacity.
An eight-car set of the New Intercity Fleet will be able to fit around 200 fewer passengers than the Oscars.
In Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s response to questions at a budget estimates session on the number of seats on the New Intercity Fleet, he stated an eight-car set would have 650 seats and “a capacity of just over 1000 total”.
An eight-car Oscar train has 864 seats.
However, with a capacity of “just over 1000” the New Intercity Fleet will not be able to carry as many passengers – sitting or standing – as the Oscars now running between the Illawarra and Sydney.
“An eight-car Oscar train has 864 seats with total capacity for around 1250 customers,” a Transport for NSW spokesman said.
That means the new trains – which cost the government $2.3 billion in 2016 – will be able to carry around 200 fewer people as the trains they are replacing.
The Transport for NSW spokesman pointed out the New Intercity Fleet came with other benefits that were not available on the Oscars.
“These trains do not have the added modern facilities of the New Intercity Fleet that include improved accessibility including accessible toilets, more spacious two-by-two seating, charging points for mobile devices and dedicated spaces for prams, bicycles and large luggage,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said the new fleet will provide more carriages for South Coast commuters by replacing four-car trains with eight cars.
However, this would still mean those trains already at eight cars would see a reduction in capacity when the new fleet arrived.
There has also been talk of adding extra services for the South Coast line.
If that government plan comes to fruition it could go some way to addressing the issue of the reduced capacity.