When a gutsy, dedicated and inventive team comes together to tackle a challenge, the results can be astounding. The Tangara crews at Hornsby and Mortdale depots have gone the extra mile to deliver their award-winning upgrade to the Tangara fleet.

Tangara trains are now safer and more reliable for customers thanks to the hard work and inventiveness of the award-winning Sydney Trains Tangara door upgrade team.

In just 14 months, the team installed 3,568 new passenger doors and door control systems on all 446 carriages in the Tangara fleet.

This is the first time a project of this scale has been done in-house and the Sydney Trains team did it faster, smarter and more cost effectively than if it had been outsourced. The team went above and beyond to build their skills and find clever solutions to fix some initial door engineering faults and then continually improved the production process.

The result — the team completed the project under budget and ahead of time and smashed their reliability target — delivering 1.6 failures per million door cycles against a target of 3.4 and a starting point of 6.8.

What’s so great about the new doors?

  • They’re 20 kilos lighter, reducing wear and strain — door failures are down by 80 per cent.
  • They detect obstructions better, keeping passengers safe — fewer incidents of passengers being stuck in doors.
  • They no longer have the kick panel so vandalism is reduced — $375,000 of savings each year.

Overall, operating and maintenance costs are less and an extra 10 years has been added to the life of the Tangaras.

So how did they do it?
Transport Mode asked Nigel Casey, Hornsby Maintenance Centre Team Leader, how the team was able to deliver such outstanding outcomes.

“When I was first approached to take on this project I honestly didn’t think we could do it in-house, but in the end it was all down to having the right team with the right attitude,” Nigel said.

“If a problem came up, the focus wasn’t on what we couldn’t do, but on what we could do to solve the issue.

“We also had to be pretty self-sufficient. Management wasn’t in there every day telling us what to do, we had to come up with our own solutions and our own ways of making the production process quicker and easier,” Nigel said.

An example of their innovation was using custom-designed lifting jigs and trolleys to make it safer, easier and more efficient to lift and move doors and components.

“The jigs came about after I was looking online. I spotted a company in Victoria which made jigs for bus maintenance. I contacted them, we had lots of correspondence back and forth and they flew up to see what we were trying to do. In the end, they worked with us to redesign their product for our use,” Nigel said.

“We also had the challenge of moving 800 kilograms of doors every second day.

“One of the contractors on the team was a qualified welder so I drew up some designs for trolleys, purchased the materials and he built them. They worked a treat; not only improving our production capacity but also avoiding manual handling for the team,” Nigel said.

When asked what he found most satisfying about the project Nigel didn’t hesitate – “I loved the challenge and the fact that I got 
to see the project from beginning to end.

Customers want trains to run on time every time and the work we’ve done directly contributes to making that happen,” Nigel said.

This project has set the standard for fast and efficient train upgrades, not only in NSW but Australia-wide, and Sydney Trains now has the know-how and facilities that can be used for future upgrade projects.

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