The imaginatively named "Sydney Trains" (see Horse 1522 for more on this) for a very long time gave the Richmond Line K sets which date from 1981, C sets which date from 1986 and T sets (Tangaras) from 1988 onwards. After months and indeed years of watching M Sets (Millenium Trains) and H Sets (OSCARs) pass through Wynyard.
Of an afternoon, standing on platform 3 at Wynyard, I would see OSCARs on their way through to Epping and Hornsby but even when it was 39°C outside, un-air-conditioned K Sets would rattle their way out west, whilst the people inside would give off aromas as though they were being slow cooked in their own juices.
To be honest, I was beginning to assume that they would not give the west anything new because bogans can not be trusted.
However, as of this week, and which Sydney Trains have been trumpeting as the biggest timetable change in a generation (starting from October 20), I've actually started to see A Sets, yes Waratahs, on the Richmond line in the morning.
What is going on here? Have we entered some brave new world? I tell you, everything is going crazy!
Before all of this starts to sound a bit trainspottery or anoraky, I'd like to point out that I'm not one of those people who obsesses over spotting every single class of train or anything, I just happen to take notice of what sort of trains I get in the morning and afternoon commute; the reasons for this are entirely selfish.
If I'm standing on the platform in the mornings in the middle of winter, I rather like the idea of not travelling to work in the sorts of conditions that the Findus Group would like their products to be transported in; conversely in the middle of summer, it's not nice for commuters to be treated like Wicked Witches of the West and progressively start melting into the upholstery.
So as I'm standing on the platform, drawing what could be perceived as an illusory correlation caused by cognitive bias, of course I'm going to notice what sort of trains rattle through and where they're going. My reason for caring about the sorts of trains we get is entirely practical.
The thing is though, if day after day you see "nice" trains heading to Epping and Hornsby but "not nice" trains heading to Richmond, Penrith and Emu Plains, you start to wonder if there is anything in the thought that Sydney Trains just doesn't trust bogans with nice things.
The problem that Sydney Trains faces is that the North Shore and Western Lines are connected via Wynyard, Town Hall, Central and Redfern. They all pass through platform 16 & 18 at Central, 3 & 2 at Town Hall and 4 & 3 at Wynyard.
Unlike the Inner West and Southern Lines which connect bogans to more bogans, the Bankstown Line which runs around the City Circle and back onto itself connecting bogans to more bogans, the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line which runs forth and back and connects silvertails to more silvertails, the North Shore and Western Lines connect silvertails to bogans and that is simply horrible (for the silvertails).
The thought that people on the North Shore should share trains and especially K Sets with the people on the Western Line is downright disgusting. They don't mind that they share Tangaras, Millenium and OSCARs with the people on the Northern Line but the fact that they even see 30 year old K Sets is quite worrying for them.
At the other end, I'm quite confused that Sydney Trains would even stoop to putting A Set Waratahs on the Richmond Line. Admittedly they do turn it into an express service of sorts, stopping at Blacktown, Parramatta, Strathfield and then Redfern, which means that they get to deny all sorts of bogans from getting on them but they still stop from all stations up to and including Blacktown.
I think that it really offends the current NSW Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian, that the good and proper people of her constituency of Willoughby (which includes the North Shore Line stations of Artarmon) should have to share trains with people whose incomes are on average less than half of theirs.
The reason for this post was a comment that I overheard before stepping onto the train yesterday - it was comedy gold. I think it sums up accurately why I'm surprised that we're getting Waratahs:
"The people out west don't deserve good trains. They'll probably just rip up all the seats anyway."
Yeah, I can agree with that sentiment; I guess that Sydney Trains nominally believe in it too. If you treat people like scum, they'll behave like scum. It's just that Sydney Trains can't entangle the Western Line from the North Shore Line... yet. When they do, it'll be bye-bye Waratah.