Forty years ago this week (on Christmas Eve to be precise) the first Hitachi train went into service.
Here’s an article and some blueprints published in the Victorian Railways internal newsletter in June 1970, showing off models of the then-proposed trains.
(Click on the pictures to view them bigger in Flickr.)
The “driving trailer” carriages were later converted to trailer carriages, with additional motor carriages built to make up the 3-car sets we see today.
Most Hitachis were scrapped during the 2000s, when it was originally thought they would be completely replaced by Siemens and X’Trapolis trains. Initially a few were kept for the Commonwealth Games, to be scrapped afterwards, but strong growth patronage meant they were saved, and some others brought back — famously some were bought back off a collector who had purchased some and kept them on his farm.
They don’t have air-conditioning and passenger intercoms, but are otherwise known for being a pretty reliable train. Air-con only really matters a few days a year anyway — on all except the very hot days, opening the windows does wonders. It’s far more important that they be around to relieve overcrowding. If you’d rather not travel in a Hitachi on a hot day, you’ve always got the option of waiting and catching the next train.
- Vicsig has a lot more detail on the Hitachi train fleet.
- Roderick Smith dug out these photos of the first public run.
(With thanks to Chris G for the tipoff)