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Oscar Stage 3 Electric Multiple Units

Early deliveries provide more than a year’s worth of additional passenger services to Sydney’s network

Sydney Trains (formally RailCorp)
Project Duration
Commenced: 2010
Estimated Completion
Sydney, NSW

“Essentially, the achievements of this project were the result of lessons learnt from Oscar Stages 1 and 2 and a new collaborative approach which has set a new standard in the delivery of complex passenger car contracts. I would like to thank both my team and UGL who have gone to great lengths to make the project a success.”

 “RailCorp is very pleased with the outcomes of Oscar Stage 3 which has not only been delivered on time and under budget, but delivered a reliable and quality product to the traveling public of New South Wales.”

RailCorp Director
Engineering & Projects
Mr Phil Pearce

Project Overview

UGL has been partnering with RailCorp for more than 50 years and the Outer Suburban Car electric-multiple-unit (Oscar) project (Stage 3) marks another important milestone in what has been a successful long term partnership and a testament to the strength of this collaboration.

Commuters of Sydney have been taken to new levels of safety, comfort and reliability through this advanced passenger train. While the cars largely service Sydney’s outer suburban rail network, the Oscars’ high levels of reliability and adaptability have resulted in their wider use on the inner suburban rail network as well.

In March 2009, RailCorp signed a $320 million contract with UGL for the delivery of an additional 72 Oscar carriages for the CityRail network. In March 2010 the order was increased to 74 carriages and, in January 2011, was further increased to 99 carriages.

Manufacture of the Stage 3 carriages commenced on 14 September 2009. The first 4-car train was accepted by RailCorp five weeks early on 24 September 2010, after having met the practical completion requirements of the contract. The majority of 4-car trains delivered to RailCorp subsequent to this were accepted and entered into revenue service several weeks ahead of the contract due dates.

The Challenge

With close to 300 million passenger journeys per year, rail operator RailCorp required a world class passenger fleet to replace some of its ageing trains. It required a solution that would introduce improvements in customer satisfaction and increased levels of safety, comfort and accessibility to passengers.

Working with RailCorp, UGL required a different approach in the delivery passenger car projects. The earlier Oscar project stages were managed in a traditional adversarial contract manner, which resulted in project outcomes such as large numbers of variations and disputes.

The Solution

Oscar Stage 3 was managed in an alliance style manner incorporating a number of innovations in its project management processes. Innovations such as LEAN principles and methodologies were used as the major continuous improvement tool to re-establish the Oscar Stage 3 production line and to address the significant issues and challenges that were encountered during the manufacturing process on Oscar Stages 1 and 2.

The new approach was a success with UGL announcing the delivery of the last Oscar Stage 3 set to RailCorp on 28 May 2012, 16 days ahead of the contractual practical completion date. Not only have all Stage 3 cars achieved practical completion ahead of schedule, the project has also been delivered under budget.

The construction of new Oscar cars at UGL’s production facility in Broadmeadow has also provided a boost for manufacturing in NSW, supporting over 200 jobs in the Newcastle area, over 50 jobs in the Taree area and many others jobs with local subcontractors and suppliers.

Key Outcomes and Benefits

Collectively the contract has delivered to RailCorp increased fleet availability with 371 additional days of revenue service due to early deliveries. This has equated to over one year’s worth of extra (revenue) service for the travelling public, a saving passed on to RailCorp and the taxpayers of New South Wales.

The project has been so successful that it won the “Product Development” category at the New South Wales Australian Institute of Project Management Achievement Awards, followed by a “High Commendation” at the National Awards event in 2011.

Key benefits and outcomes included:

  • Overall project performance and excellent product quality brought down the build and delivery cost, resulting in returned savings to RailCorp.
  • While leading systems and processes were in place, the success of Oscar Stage 3 was largely due to UGL’s collaboration with RailCorp and the people on the project.
  • Early deliveries provided greater availability and increased network capacity enabling RailCorp to fulfil new service targets earlier than expected.
  • The first train-set was delivered five weeks early with all other sets delivered early or on-time.
  • Innovations in the manufacturing process such as the implementation of LEAN delivered much improved build quality and consistent product quality.
  • The project remained under budget and has been successfully delivered against a very tight timescale.

Oscar passenger trains have delivered improvements in safety, comfort and accessibility through features including digital information displays and push-button operated doors, air conditioning, priority seating for mobility-impaired passengers, improved wheelchair access, wide doors and aisles, and interconnected carriages for enhanced passenger security and accessibility.

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