More Flexity-Melbourne orders, please!

 
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Altough the Combinos are barely more than 10 years old, they are already showing their age and I wonder whether the option of a furether 100 Flexity class trams should be excercised to replace them. Should Gold coast also change their order to the Flexity Melbourne as well. That would help up us standardise on just one type of low floor tram. I have long had this idea that as long as new trams are going to be low floor, then all new trams are to be of one type, for an ironic example, before Combino problems began showing, I was hoping that all new trams in most parts of Europe, and maybe the rest of the world, would be Combinos from Siemens. If BBD can combine pivoting bogies with, well, 95% low floor, then thay may as well have a monopoly in this country!

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  TheMetman Locomotive Driver

Location: gippsland
I don't know about replacing Combino's or Citadis' with E class trams. As you would need to have a surplus number of trams to boost fleet numbers. And at this rate that would take a long time to introduce 100+ E type trams.
The E class is a unique design for Melbourne and is styled to suit Melbourne's unique styles. It's also desinged by a Melbourne design group. Therefore I don't agree with copying the Melbourne Flexity completely. That said, this design group has been approached by bombardier to design a new Flexity for Basel using the Melbourne E class as a base.

  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
There are many trams far older and in greater need of replacement than the ten year-old D-class.  If they are so bad that they are in need of major rectification at this age then surely that should be addressed through their maintenance contract (which lasts for 15 years) with the supplier.

The remaining Z-class trams are in dire need of replacement if we are to present a modern tramway to the World and to meet obligations in terms of accessibility within the next 7 years or so.  We also need to address the sizeable step-entrance A and B-class fleets which are aging steadily though for the most part are still very robust.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
I don't know about replacing Combino's or Citadis' with E class trams. As you would need to have a surplus number of trams to boost fleet numbers. And at this rate that would take a long time to introduce 100+ E type trams.
The E class is a unique design for Melbourne and is styled to suit Melbourne's unique styles. It's also desinged by a Melbourne design group. Therefore I don't agree with copying the Melbourne Flexity completely. That said, this design group has been approached by bombardier to design a new Flexity for Basel using the Melbourne E class as a base.
TheMetman
I don't see why the Flexity class should remain unique to Melbourne, it's the only tram currently being manufactured in this whole country, and so would be the best choice for other Australian clients, particulaly when planing from clean sheet with small orders. Other versions could have their own head ends, like some verisons of the Citadis have. If the Citadis has a near monopoly market in France, the surely the Flexity Dandenong could acheive the same here.
And that Basel design is different with fixed bogies and short carbody sections.

There are many trams far older and in greater need of replacement than the ten year-old D-class.  If they are so bad that they are in need of major rectification at this age then surely that should be addressed through their maintenance contract (which lasts for 15 years) with the supplier.

The remaining Z-class trams are in dire need of replacement if we are to present a modern tramway to the World and to meet obligations in terms of accessibility within the next 7 years or so.  We also need to address the sizeable step-entrance A and B-class fleets which are aging steadily though for the most part are still very robust.
Gwiwer
The Combinos might only be ten years old but they are still in more need for replacement than any other trams, high floor or low floor have ever been. Let's standardise on one type of low floor tram. Combinos have had terrible structural problems, and now make such a racket when moving, that they should be the next to be replaced after the Z1/Z2 class. The Combinos have needed modifications that have taken away some seats, in order to compensate for the structural problems, and yet still make that racket, so they may be ending their useful working lives within the next 5 years. This is not without precedent, two US cities, Boston and San Franciso both ordered notorious LRVs from Boing Vertol, which have suffered so many problems that many were already cut for scrap in 1987. The Combinos, being low floor, with fixed bogies and short aluminium carbody sections tracking curves are already worse, so it seems, though I've never been on the Boing LRVs. It's thus remarkable that any Boing LRVs have entered preservation, thought it's a nice thing to do given that, except for LRVs suited to high platform loading, these, like our Zs, As and Bs, are of the last generation of high floor rolling stock outside the (now) former USSR.
And remember that Siemens has already been sued for Combino and Nexas problems, so the Combino maintainance contract should be withdrawn as soon as possible.
  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
The Combinos might only be ten years old but they are still in more need for replacement than any other trams, high floor or low floor have ever been.
Myrtone
Are you serious? You do realise that there are Z1s on the network that have holes in the windowsills where it's rusted through don't you? The Z1/2s are between 40 and 30 years old, they are life expired and need replacement before any others. And then there's the Ws. The newest trams should replace the oldest, not the newest, and it is completely untrue that the Combinos are in the worst shape of all rollingstock, patent nonsense.

Liam.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Are you serious? You do realise that there are Z1s on the network that have holes in the windowsills where it's rusted through don't you? The Z1/2s are between 40 and 30 years old, they are life expired and need replacement before any others. And then there's the Ws. The newest trams should replace the oldest, not the newest, and it is completely untrue that the Combinos are in the worst shape of all rollingstock, patent nonsense.
scrat
I didn't realise that some Z1s have holes in the windowsills, I have been on them but I haven't noticed them, but I have noticed the racket on the Combinos. In general the newest trams should replace the oldest, but the fact is that some rolling stock have longer useful working lives than others, at one extreme is the Boeing Vertol LRVs, some of which were thrown out after less than 10 years, the Combinons don't appear to be far behind in terms of useful working lives. The W class trams we have now have all had much longer useful working lives than any of the newer trams. When Adelaide orders it's first low floor trams, the H class trams were over 70 years old, and I doubt they would have been regaurded as life expired back in 1993, when the last B class Melbourne trams were produced. Even if the Combinos might be in better shape than Z1s, they still have more problems the any other trams were when they were 10 years old, and even the A and B class have fewer problems as far as I know. The Combinos have had massive problems with cracking, and while some modules have been rebuilt, some modifications had to be made at the expense of seating capacity.
And I didn't (mean to) say the Combinos should go before the Z1s and Z2s, but they may need to be replaced prematurely. The cracking problems have been remedied, but they still make that horrible racket. You say the Z1 and Z2 trams are life expired, but so are the Combinos, albeit prematurely, this does happen to some rolling stock. It happend to the Boeing LRVs, it seems to be happening to the Combinos, I don't see how such a rattlely noisy fixed bogie low floor trams without coupling between opposing wheel pairs could be in better shape than say the B class trams.
  Westernport Assistant Commissioner

Location: Not In Service
What a complete and utter load of clap trap. There is absolutely no reason to withdraw the Combino trams 'prematurely' because of the problems you have listed.

The frame issue has been rectified by the manufacturer, and have not caused any further problems. Yes, the noise made from the centre bogie in the D2s is rather loud, and quite annoying; but it is not grounds to withdraw a fleet of trams which are absolutely reliable in terms of their daily operation. Siemens as the warranty provider for the trams is required under it's contract to rectify any issues with the trams.

The Boeing LRVs were lemons from the beginning in terms of their operational performance. The Combinos have a stellar operational performance compared to the Boeings, so any comparisons between the two are completely unfair. The Combinos are far more reliable than the current Z1/2s which are in dire need for replacement. Even Z3 cars are starting to show big problems both mechanically and in the frame.

The W Class have had such a long working life because in MMTB days, the trams were completely overhauled right down to the frame every few years. In effect, the trams were completely rebuilt. Since privatisation, the Ws have not had any overhauls and now they are deteriorating at an alarming rate. Again, comparing the Combinos to the Ws is an unfair comparison as the Ds have not, and probably do not, require an overhaul any time soon.


You need to get in touch with reality: there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Combino trams. They meet DDA requirements, and they take people from A to B - that's the minimum criteria for trams in this day and age.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The frame issue has been rectified by the manufacturer, and have not caused any further problems. Yes, the noise made from the centre bogie in the D2s is rather loud, and quite annoying; but it is not grounds to withdraw a fleet of trams which are absolutely reliable in terms of their daily operation. Siemens as the warranty provider for the trams is required under it's contract to rectify any issues with the trams.
Westernport
The frame issue did get rectified, but at the expense of seating capacity. From my memory, the Combinos did not make such a noise when new, but they do now.

The Boeing LRVs were lemons from the beginning in terms of their operational performance. The Combinos have a stellar operational performance compared to the Boeings, so any comparisons between the two are completely unfair. The Combinos are far more reliable than the current Z1/2s which are in dire need for replacement. Even Z3 cars are starting to show big problems both mechanically and in the frame.
Westernport
I didn't say that the Combinos were just as bad as the Boeing LRVs, just that thay didn't seem to be far behind judging from the cracking problems, which first showed up a while after entering service, and the noise. If the Combinos are more reliable than, say, the B class, than it's quite a paradox given the racket and cracking problems.

The W Class have had such a long working life because in MMTB days, the trams were completely overhauled right down to the frame every few years. In effect, the trams were completely rebuilt. Since privatisation, the Ws have not had any overhauls and now they are deteriorating at an alarming rate. Again, comparing the Combinos to the Ws is an unfair comparison as the Ds have not, and probably do not, require an overhaul any time soon. You need to get in touch with reality: there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Combino trams. They meet DDA requirements, and they take people from A to B - that's the minimum criteria for trams in this day and age.
Westernport
I didn't know that the Ws had so many overhauls, but they are wooden bodied, and wood tends to deteriorate fast. Another minimum criterion for rail vehicles in this day and age, which the Combinons also meet is requiring periodic muscle movement from the driver to cancel emergancy braking.
  TheMetman Locomotive Driver

Location: gippsland
Please stop complaining about the Combino's. You don't hear the media whinging about the combinos so why should you. I also believe the frames were hardly a problem for the Combino's in Melbourne, it was mostly the case with Combino's in Europe. And the combinos would still be able to get parts for a couple of decades, and they still get maintained by Siemens if need be.As for the noise it could be worn out wheels or bearings. Something the happens from time to time. And there's nothing to base replacing the Combino's on. So please so saying about replacing them.

Yes I do agree more E class trams should be ordered, but not to replace trams that arn't past it's used by date. Lets say we replace the Z1/2's with E class trams. We would still be short of the required numbers of trams. We need more E class trams to boost the number in the fleet from about 500 to about 550 to 600 trams, that's including replacement of the Z1/2's. 20 extra trams under the current plan may not be enough.
  scrat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Fitzroy North
I do not like the Combinos, I have said as much many times, and will be very glad to have them displaced by Es and not have to ride them any more, as would most regular route 96 users. However, they are no where near life expired, the cracks (no TheMetman, it was not a European problem, it was a global problem) have now been fixed, as have all other issues that relate to safety. The only remaining problem is the centre truck that flats way to easily, hence the huge amount of noise, then they are re-tyred/lathed and the noise goes away, this is irritating (hugely, ask any route 96 user what they think of the big white trams, you'll never ever hear a good word), but hardly a safety issue, let alone cause for wholesale removal and replacement.

Myrtone, get some perspective, we don't have a fleet large enough, we have only 100 trams that are low floor, 147 Zs that are 30 or over, even the As will be turning 30 next year, and the youngest B 20. We need more new vehicles, and to retire old worn out vehicles. If the Ds need premature replacement, that should be dealt with at the time, but for the time being there are many other trams in a far worse condition.

Liam.
  mikealex Station Staff

The only remaining problem is the centre truck that flats way to easily, hence the huge amount of noise, then they are re-tyred/lathed and the noise goes away, this is irritating (hugely, ask any route 96 user what they think of the big white trams, you'll never ever hear a good word), but hardly a safety issue, let alone cause for wholesale removal and replacement.
scrat

Try living adjacent to the 96 route in Nicholson St as I do. That infernal racket is unbelievable. I can't believe that they are not breaching some sort of EPA noise law.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Yes I do agree more E class trams should be ordered, but not to replace trams that arn't past it's used by date. Lets say we replace the Z1/2's with E class trams. We would still be short of the required numbers of trams. We need more E class trams to boost the number in the fleet from about 500 to about 550 to 600 trams, that's including replacement of the Z1/2's. 20 extra trams under the current plan may not be enough.
TheMetman
While the Combinos may not life expired in spite of cracking problems and the racket they make, and the Citadis would also not be life expired, I do wonder what anyone thinks of the E class being the sole replacement for the rest of the modern style high floor fleet, and perhaps for the Gold Coast to order this design instead of the fixed bogie Flexity 2. Bet to stick to one type of low floor tram for all new orders.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
To suggest that different states should have the same rollingstock is even less realistic than your suggestion that the Combinos are life expired. Get realistic.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Tell me what's so unrealistic about other states using the same rolling stock as us? Most tramways in France have the same rolling stock, Alstom's Citadis. And there was a time when most new trams in Germany were of the same make and model, the Duewag GT series. And during the Comecon, nearly all new trams in Czechoslovakia were Tatras. The T3 and the KT4 seem to be the most common high floor tram type in former Czechoslovakia today. All new streetcars in North America from the 1930s to the 1950s were all PCC cars. Conformity in and of itself is not bad and enable more sharing of design and maintenance costs. The Gold Coast has chosen the same supplier as us, so what's so unrealistic about them using the same design as us some day?
  Natronomonas Chief Train Controller

What is hilarious here is that the replacement of a 10 year old tram is being recommended without any knowledge of the performance of the E-class on the Melbourne network. It's only just reached the Preston workshop!

I'm not sure we can compare international Flexity examples because of the customisations of the design, in the same way I'm sure the Combinos seemed okay elsewhere but suffer in some respects here.

Maybe once we've seen a few in service this conversation would be worth having.
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
Wish we didn't go with the 2.4m wide flexy classics and went with Melbourne widths in Adelaide. We could have tacked on the back of this order as well, assuming we expand our network.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
It's unrealistic to suggest all cities should have identical rollingstock. Individual cities have their own unique requirements, what's good for Melbourne might not work so well on the Gold Coast. You also make it sound like a monopoly is a good thing, and to prove my case I can use your own comment. You said yourself that 10 years ago you thought the Combinos were that good they should be used extensively and exclusively in every tramway network in Australia, yet you yourself again 10 years later say the Combinos are already past it. For all we know in 10 years time you will probably be suggesting the E class trams are knackered and need to be replaced, despite the fact most of the network will still be relying on 50 year old Z class and 40 year old A class trams.

So I will say it again, your pie in the sky suggestions are unrealistic. Good thing your not running the economy or we would have a first rate tramway and no money to fund anything else.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The Citadis trams that we have are of similar age to the Combinos and I never said that the Citadis should be replaced. The Citadis, as far as I know, is steel bodied, not aluminium, and they never had structural problems that the Combinos have, and in my experience, even the five section Citadis models don't make that racket. But, as far as I know, both versions of the Citadis are industry standard LRVs, nearly all clients who have ordered the Citadis have started from ground up in the last 34 years, with a few exceptions the minimum curve radius on those networks is 25m and the maximum gradient something like 5%. Of those who ordered it, only Melbourne and Rotterdam were continuing with the use of first generation tramways. It's not surprising, as I remember, when the Citadis trams were new and they often derailed on curves, which I was told was because "the bogies don't move." By contrast, the Combino, then the most successful 100% low floor tram in the world, was mostly ordered by clientele who were continuing with the use of first generation tramways, and was designed by a manufacturer who had long supplied such tramways, mostly in Germany. Before the structural problems arose, the Combino was widely thought to be a much better design for legacy systems like ours. When I started this thread, I thought that the racket of the combines have something to do with the structural problems, and that was part of the inspiration of this thread.
Tram monopolies are not without precedent and I have already given examples above, if individual cities have their own unique requirements, how come Alstom's Citadis has managed to work so well in all but a few French cities. German cities also vary widely, for example, some are standard and some are metre gauge, yet the Duewag GT series still managed to meet the requirements of most of them. So why couldn't the Flexity Melbourne also be adapted to fit in with other cities?
  TheMetman Locomotive Driver

Location: gippsland
As everyone keeps telling you, though you don't listen. The  Flexity for Melbourne is customed designed and built for Melbourne's Tramways. It couldn't suit other cities the same way it does for Melbourne. Also if you look at the Citadis, Combino's, Flexity's and Duewag's. Most seem to be custom suited and designed for each city. With some exceptions to that. To be honest having generic Flexity design's look ugly and bland. Not a good look for a city to have a basic design, hence Adelaide's  Flexity classic.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
I don't think you really understand what I mean by the Flexity-Melbourne. All of Bombardier's tramway and light rail offerings are part of the Flexity range, among them there's the Flexity Outlook and Flexity 2, both industry standard LRVs with fixed bogies. And there's the Flexity Classic and the Flexity Swift, both with part high floor and pivoting bogies. What Bombardier is building for Melbourne stands out from the other offerings in that it has both pivoting bogies and 95% low floor, that is pliths to each side are the only high floor areas, different enough from the other offerings that is deserves it's own name and position in the Flexity range, so let's call it the Flexity Melbourne. The Flexity Swift for Porto appears to be the same model as the one for Istanbul, any differences in specification would only be slight. The Citadis for Mulhouse and that for Madrid are also the same model, both with five sections on three fixed bogies, the main difference between them seems to be width and consequent differences in seating. So why the principle should further offerings from Bombardier elsewhere in this country be any different from ours and each other than are different variants of the Citadis in France (and Spain)? If some other Australian city ordered the same basic design as being built for Melbourne albeit with some of their own (minor) customisations, it would still be (what I'd call) the Flexity Melbourne, one because I could not think of any other name for it (though BBD has called it the Flexity Swift on their website), and also because the basic design was originally developed for Melbourne. There is a Duewag GT model that was originally developed for Mannheim which is subsequently called the Typ-Mannheim, even though it has been ordered elsewhere.
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

It's really dangerous to have a single rollingstock design in the system - diversity is good as it provides protection against problems occuring with a particular type of vehicle. More than a few cities have been completely screwed when a type of rollingstock needed to be withdrawn (eg. due to a safety issue). Having a number of types provides partial protection against this - and also leads to increased competition from manufacturers. It's why Jetstar flies the A320, but Qantas fles the 737 - it means that the Qantas Group has redundancy in the event of a fault with one aircraft type and they can also get boeing and airbus to compete on price effectively. Virgin which has for years used the 737 has decided to develop an A320 capability in their regional airline.

Having said that - you don't want too many vehicle types. The five bumblebees are effectively orphan trams - that increase complexity of maintenance. I've even heard some people argue that all C class trams should be sold to other cities and replaced with more E-Class (from a maintenance perspective).

So it is a balancing act.  Smile
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Note that Toronto, with the largest surviving streetcar system in the Americas and the second largest in the Anglosphere is replacing their ALRVs and CLRVs with just one type of five section low floor tram, and historically had a fleet consisting of nothing but PCCs.

Comparing fixed guideway vehicles to aircraft is truly a false premise, the mechanics are violently different. More to the point, there is no equivalent of technical compliance. A rail vehicle that is technically compliant with one network of tracks may not be complient with another due to differences in gauge, wheel-to-rail profile, minimum curve radius and/or ruling gradients. No equivalent compadibility issues can possibly exist with aircraft because there is no infrastructure in mid air. Also one fault with an aircraft can present a huge hazard, for example an engine failure can cause a serious accident. Thus just one seemingly small fault is enough to preclude and aircraft into service. For example if a propeller driven aircraft is only running on some of the cylinders of its engine (say a four cylinder engine only running on three) it cannot be placed into service. An A320 or 737 (note that these are flown by different airlines not be the same one) with just one engine running improperly cannot be placed into service. A rail vehicle with most or all axles motored can still perform safely if one motor fails. And even if all do, it's easy to bring one to a stop. Trams have three braking systems each, if one fails, use another. Similarly, if one door fails use another door. I've seen both trams and road vehicles run around with only one working headlight, and I have even seen road vehicles still running around with only one working brake light. But an aircraft without a fully operational set of navigation lights cannot be placed into service.
If in spite of these huge differences someone still thinks this extra redundancy still applies to rail vehicles, please cite an example where operating two different models of fixed guideway vehicle                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        provides the same redundancy. Vline only uses one type of DMU (Bombardier's VLocivty) for all regional fast rail links.

Having said that - you don't want too many vehicle types. The five bumblebees are effectively orphan trams - that increase complexity of maintenance. I've even heard some people argue that all C class trams should be sold to other cities and replaced with more E-Class (from a maintenance perspective).
Revenue
See other people have said similar things the the point I originally made at the start of this thread.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Talk about a fixed guideway vehicle, that's the way this conversation is going.
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

Note that Toronto, with the largest surviving streetcar system in the Americas and the second largest in the Anglosphere is replacing their ALRVs and CLRVs with just one type of five section low floor tram, and historically had a fleet consisting of nothing but PCCs.

Comparing fixed guideway vehicles to aircraft is truly a false premise, the mechanics are violently different. More to the point, there is no equivalent of technical compliance. A rail vehicle that is technically compliant with one network of tracks may not be complient with another due to differences in gauge, wheel-to-rail profile, minimum curve radius and/or ruling gradients. No equivalent compadibility issues can possibly exist with aircraft because there is no infrastructure in mid air. Also one fault with an aircraft can present a huge hazard, for example an engine failure can cause a serious accident. Thus just one seemingly small fault is enough to preclude and aircraft into service. For example if a propeller driven aircraft is only running on some of the cylinders of its engine (say a four cylinder engine only running on three) it cannot be placed into service. An A320 or 737 (note that these are flown by different airlines not be the same one) with just one engine running improperly cannot be placed into service. A rail vehicle with most or all axles motored can still perform safely if one motor fails. And even if all do, it's easy to bring one to a stop. Trams have three braking systems each, if one fails, use another. Similarly, if one door fails use another door. I've seen both trams and road vehicles run around with only one working headlight, and I have even seen road vehicles still running around with only one working brake light. But an aircraft without a fully operational set of navigation lights cannot be placed into service.
If in spite of these huge differences someone still thinks this extra redundancy still applies to rail vehicles, please cite an example where operating two different models of fixed guideway vehicle                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        provides the same redundancy. Vline only uses one type of DMU (Bombardier's VLocivty) for all regional fast rail links.

See other people have said similar things the the point I originally made at the start of this thread.
"Myrtone"


I'm afraid the evidence is against you. Seimens trains have multiple braking systems - but it didn't stop a fault from severely disrupting the network. Same with the level crossing problems with the Sprinters when they were originally introduced. In Victoria alone there are way too many examples of circumstances where having a mixed fleet has saved us from massive disruption.  I'm sure someone will be able to cite the case - I think it was in Germany - where massive disruption resulted when a type of vehicle needed to be removed from service. It isn't just when the fleet is new - it provides protection when the fleet is old as well - for example if cracking is discovered in a vehicle type resulting in them being removed from service.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Yes I know about the braking problems on the Siemens trains, but from my memories of looking at the bogies, I haven't seen any track brakes, not that common on heavy rail vehicles, I'm not sure of any reason why they couldn't be used, but they aren't, partly for that reason, a braking problem on a train could cause much more disruption than with a tram. And note that the Nexas sets came from the same supplier as the Combino, which has had it's structural problems. Siemens has a history of technical problems with the rolling stock they supply. And what are "level crossing problems?" What problems did the sprinters face there? If a mixed fleet can save us from disruption, why have some very large tram operators such as the Toronto Transit Commision chosen one type of streetcar to replace all their ALRVs and CLRVs and why have some metro systems such as the BART chosen one type of vehicle the replace all existing rolling stock?

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