Sydney has awesome trains

I have a thing for trains, so it’s a real pleasure to try them out in a new city and discover a well run, clean, on-time, easy-to-use system. Sydney’s CityRail system certainly qualifies! I’ve ridden it a few times so far this trip and in addition to getting where I wanted to go, I observed some cool innovations.

First, the trains are double-decker. And who doesn’t enjoy being up high?

Second, the seat backs flip to face forward or backward on a central pivot, so it’s easy for any passenger to change the direction of the seating depending which way the train is going. These are designed to pivot (up/forward or down/backward) in place, without banging into adjoining seats. Very clever.

Most impressively, the escalators down to the subway level have adaptive speed. At first I thought I was imagining the fact that the escalators seemed to be running at different speeds at different times. Then I realized that it was moving faster when a person was on it and slower when unoccupied. I tested this a few times observationally, then went and got on it myself when it was in its slow state. Sure enough, it sped up when I stepped on. The speed transition is so smooth that I hadn’t noticed it the times I’d been on the escalator before! This is brilliant, and apparently saves a lot of energy. I get the impression that it may not be at all new — it’s just the first time I’ve encountered it!

Thank you, Sydney — and bring on more neat discoveries!

1 Comment
1 of 1 people learned something from this entry.

  1. Paul said,

    August 26, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    (Learned something new!)

    Thanks for the review of CityRail – I have a thing for trains too, and although I’d heard of the system (thanks to a book called “Transit Maps of the World” – it’s more interesting than it sounds), I’d never heard much specific information about it until your post.

    Hopefully, you’ll get a chance to try one of Australia’s long-distance trains while you’re there, like the Indian Pacific or the Ghan – it’d be interesting to hear how their trains compare to the Coast Starlight.

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