CountryLink Xplorer

CountryLink Xplorer

Countrylink Xplorer 2502 at Sydney Central.
In service 1992 – present
Manufacturer ABB
Number built 23 cars
Formation 2–5 car
Operator RailCorp as the product group CountryLink
Car length 25.250 m (82 ft 10 in)
Width 2.921 m (9 ft 7 in)
Height 4.11 m (13 ft 6 in)
Maximum speed 145 km/h (in service); 160 km/h (design maximum)
Weight 57 tonnes (56 long tons; 63 short tons)
Engine(s) Cummins KTA19 (one per car)
Power output 352 kW (472 hp) per car
Transmission Voith Turbo T311r KB260
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

The Xplorer is a Diesel Multiple Unit train used on country passenger rail services in New South Wales, Australia. It is one of two types of passenger rollingstock used by CountryLink, the government owned operator of country trains (the other type being the XPT). The Xplorer trains entered service in 1993, and are externally identical to CityRail's Endeavour railcars. All 23 carriages were built by ABB Transportation in Victoria, Australia.



In the early 1990s the Coalition NSW State Government was placed under considerable pressure from National Party members of parliament to reintroduce passenger rail services over the Main North and North- West routes to Armidale and Moree respectively.[1] Services over these lines had been withdrawn after the Booz-Allen Hamilton report into the State Rail Authority in 1989 which recommended the rationalisation of country passenger train services and developing an all-XPT fleet. The government decided to reintroduce services over these lines, and soon after the decision was made to also introduce new trains to Canberra. Tenders were placed on 8 August 1990 for new 'Explorer' self propelled diesel railcars to service these three routes. An option for interurban cars for CityRail was also added (which would lead to the Endeavour cars). In early 1991, a contract was signed with ABB Transportation to construct 17 Explorer cars based upon the five-railcar set built by Comeng for the Australind service in Western Australia. In April 1992, the government announced that 14 2-car sets would be added on to the order for CityRail, these became known as the Endeavour cars. At this time, the name 'Explorer' was changed to Xplorer to better fit in with the marketing of the XPT.[2]


Cab of an Xplorer

These trains travel on four CountryLink daytime routes, two of which are daily and two of which are weekly. They operate from Sydney to the destination during the day, either returning on the same day or the next day. The following destinations from Sydney are the Xplorer's destinations:

  • Canberra -via Goulburn, 2-3 services each way per day. Normally a 3 car Xplorer service, under certain circumstances the train will be a 4 cars.
  • Armidale and Moree -via Werris Creek. This is usually a five car set that divides at Werris Creek, 2 cars proceeding to Moree via Narrabri and 3 cars proceeding to Armidale via Tamworth daily. Sometimes this has been extended to a seven car set with 4 proceeding to Armidale and 3 proceeding to Moree or with merely 4 cars proceeding to Armidale or 3 cars proceeding to Moree with the normal number of cars retained for the other destination
  • Griffith -via Goulburn and Junee. This train divides from the Canberra Xplorer service at Goulburn on Saturdays only, and heads to Griffith via the Main Southern railway line, New South Wales, the Hay railway line, New South Wales and the Yanco-Griffith railway line, New South Wales. The train stays overnight at Griffith and the next day heads back to Goulburn and rejoins the Canberra Xplorer service on the next day at Goulburn to make the return leg to Sydney although on occasions when either train has run late the trains make the journey to Sydney by themselves. This train is usually a two car Xplorer.
  • Broken Hill -via Blue Mountains and Orange. Usually a 3 car set consisting of units which have additional protection to underfloor equipment and couplers due to hazards which are encountered on the line (such as kangaroos). Operates on Mondays heading to Broken Hill and heads back to Sydney the next day.


Coding for the carriages are as follows:

  • EA- First Class Driving Power Car: First Class seating, Buffet and Satellite Telephone.
  • EB- Economy Class Intermediate Power Car: Economy Class seating and Toilet.
  • EC- Economy Class Driving Power Car: Economy Class seating, Disabled toilet with baby change facilities, wheelchair space and booked Luggage space.

Carriage numbering is as follows:

  • EA- #2501-#2508
  • EB- #2511-#2517
  • EC- #2521-#2528

EA #2508 and EC #2528 used to be Endeavour Railcars LE #2815 and TE #2865. They were rendered surplus when the Kiama Electrification took place, and were converted to Xplorers by Bombardier Transportation Dandenong, Victoria.

Each car is powered by a Cummins KTA 19R engine rated at 352 kW at 1800rpm, and an auxiliary engine.[3]


Railcorp has released a tender regarding the refurbishment of the Xplorer and Endeavour railcars. The contract specifies: new seating, buffet upgrades, new carpets, toilet upgrades, extended booked luggage section, and more wheelchair spaces for the Xplorer Railcars. Included in the contract, is a provision of an Entertainment System being retrofitted onto the Xplorer units, however this is only pending a report and may not be installed in the refurbishment. All units will be repainted to the new corporate scheme of Cityrail and Countrylink. The refurbishment started in mid 2007 and concluded at the end of 2008.

Tenders closed on 20 December 2006, and there were three companies on the list:

In the end, Bombardier Transportation won the contract.

See also


  1. ^ New Trains for Northern NSW. Sydney Morning Herald, 13 June 1990.
  2. ^ Hoyle, J. ABB Transportations Xplorer/Endeavour Railcars. Railway Digest, June 1995.
  3. ^ "CountryLink: XPLORER". RailCorp. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 

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