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).See other people have said similar things the the point I originally made at the start of this thread.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