Vince finally catches his train
As the most senior driver ETR driver available at RailCorp, Vince Vassiliou was chosen to be on board for the first journey. A train driver for 44 years, starting in freight and spending the last 29 years at the Flemington depot, Vince was very proud to part of the event saying it was once-in-a-career opportunity.
The train eventually made its debut on Friday July 1 after a week of frustrating delays. Vince completed four days of training the week before but when he turned up ready to go on the Monday the train still hadn’t been signed off.
“I was ready for the first run from the Monday, but every day that week when I turned up they said sorry, it’s not going to happen today, it was pretty disappointing for everyone involved as each day they’d build themselves up and then have to wait again,” he said. “I did get to go on some test runs on the train though.”
Due to last-minute safety concerns it was decided that the EDI training crew would drive the train, rather than Vince, who was still able to ride in the cab.
“It was a big event, when we got to Redfern there were lots of media and some very excited train enthusiasts jumping on the train and taking photos,” he said. “As we went through Wynyard and Town Hall the station staff were getting photos of themselves and the train. At Circular Quay one lady even came up and took photos of the cab with us in it.”
Vince is impressed with the train overall saying it drives very smoothly, accelerates quickly and has good breaking. It has some similar features to the Millennium and Oscar trains, but he says the new safety features especially for the passengers, such as emergency exits and smoke alarms, are more evolved.
Vince also congratulated the Locomotive Division delegates for their hard work in making sure the needs of members were taken into consideration in the design, testing and trailing of the train, especially the cab.