Culture

Farewell To S-Set Trains, The Shittiest Trains In Sydney, A City Famous For Shitty Trains

Rot in hell, you overheated deathtraps.

S-Set Train

It would be nice if I could pretend that I was a calm, collected person, with too much on my plate to take precious minutes out of the only life I’ll ever get to live to shit on Sydney’s famously unpleasant S-Set train series.

But we must all stay true to the cards we have been dealt, and mine are bright yellow, loud as a drying machine filled with nails falling down an aluminium staircase, and hot as the very depths of hell itself.

So let’s get right to the point, shall we: fuck the S-set trains.

For those of you lucky enough to not know the rattling death traps, S-Set trains are the oldest units in the Sydney Rail network. First hitting the market in 1968, they seemingly haven’t been improved in the 50 odd years they’ve spent transporting unlucky passengers around the city.

They’re not even air-conditioned, meaning that a Summer afternoon’s trip on a (usually overcrowded) S-Set is about as relaxing as a brief sojourn through the Sahara. For that reason, punters call them “Sweat Sets” and “Ridgys” (I have no idea what the latter term means, but I assume that it was common parlance in 1968, when listening to shithouse bands like Yes and smoking crap dope was the height of culture, and the fucking S-Sets were the only type of train on the market.)

Well, it looks like a chapter in Sydney’s rail history is now firmly coming to a close — the S-Sets are finally being decommissioned for good. For some, this is a moment for gentle reflection on Sydney’s public transport history and an opportunity to note how far we’ve come as a train-riding people. For most of us, it is an opportunity to jeer the metal coffins as they loudly make their way back to their oversized graves.

Of course, we’ve heard premature reports of the death of the S-Sets before — they were pulled out of retirement last year to meet demand. So, if need be, I reckon we all go round to the depot and drive a stake into their yellow hearts once and for all.