Sydney Trains All-day Challenge

 
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

Who is up for another all-day every-station challenge?

It's been a while since one of these was (successfully) organised.  Refer to this and to this forum thread - starting from message 54 in that thread you get the build up to and reports on the Challenge of Friday July 1st 2011.

I propose Thursday July 11th coming up.  It is school holidays, but there is no midweek trackwork.  (At least, not during the part of the day that is relevant.)  Ideal opportunity, and timetables have changed since 2011 so it is a new ballgame.

Challenge Parameters
  1. Make a stop at every Sydney Trains station within the span of that day (a day starts and ends at midnight).
  2. The limits of the network are Emu Plains, Richmond, Carlingford, Olympic Park, Cowan, Bondi Juntion, Cronulla, Helensburgh, Macarthur.  There are 178 stations, but by necessity you will make at least 207 stops (due to back-tracking on branch lines).
  3. Use trains only to travel, and change trains only within one station.  You may leave the station environs to get food, etc, but must resume travelling at that same station.
  4. This is a team game, with points to be awarded as described below.  For that reason, we all start and finish at Central, under the clock in the hall of Sydney Terminal.  Do the challenge in teams of between 1 and 300.
  5. Meet up at 0530 at the clock, and head for a train as soon as you are checked-in.  Official timing will be by Facebook posts.
  6. Photographic evidence will settle any dispute.  For this purpose, if your team is deemed to have completed the Challenge if it can return to Central before midnight and show (or post) photos of being stopped at enough stations to prove that you were on trains that stopped at all the rest.  (eg, a photo of Richmond station proves the entire branch line, but a photo of Fairfield alone doesn't prove all the stations between Cabramatta and Granville.)
  7. The winning team is the team with the most points.  We'll adjourn to Starbucks for the reckoning.

Challenge Points Scoring

  1. 10 points for every different station stopped at (maximum 1780 points).
  2. -1 point for every minute of total travel (maximum deduction 1110 points).  Starting time is the scheduled departure time from Central of your first train.  Example  First train at 0539, reach the clock again at 2339 with all stations done.  1780 minus 1080 equals 700 points at this step.
  3. 10 points for every separate train service used.  When returning from the end of a branch, including Carlingford and Olympic Park, although one likely uses the same physical train, it counts as a different service.
  4. -20 points for every time stopped at Town Hall.  Two stops at Town Hall is the minimum possible, so that's at least 40 points off everyone.  This is just a wrinkle to add flavour to the challenge, as are the next few items.
  5. Finders-fee points for using different set types.  Score 1 point for an S, C, K or T set.  Score 5 points for an M or A set (Waratah).  Score 10 points for an H set (OSCAR).  Score 20 points for a V set.  Score 50 points for an Endeavour or other non-EMU train.
  6. 50 points for the team (or, shared amongst the teams) which reach certain stations first.  First arrivals at Emu Plains, Macarthur, Cronulla, Bondi Junction, Cowan, Summer Hill and Yagoona will score (or share) these bonuses.
  7. 50 points SNAP bonus for each and all teams which meet each other on a train or at a station.  This is to discourage lone rangers.

Do a few scenarios on those points categories and you will see that sheer speed around the network will not be the sole determinant of success.  Indeed, item 3 discourages absolute timetable efficiency!  The name of the game is to have a fun day.

Please sign up by responding here and by joining the FB group linked up above and also linked here https//www.facebook.com/groups/sydneytrainschallenge/

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  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
I propose Tuesday July 9th or Wednesday July 10th coming up.  It is school holidays, but there is no midweek trackwork.  Ideal opportunity, and timetables have changed since 2011 so it is a new ballgame
darcyj
Unfortunately I will not be able to attend, planning another train trip for that day with the folks. Should be fun to watch you lot though Very Happy
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend, planning another train trip for that day with the folks. Should be fun to watch you lot though Very Happy
s3_gunzel
Thursday July 11th is another possibility.  We'll leave that open to popular choice.  I am available any of those days, but not Friday 12th and not the preceding or following weeks.
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

Thread original post edited.  Now proposing Thursday July 11th due to late-night bus replacements on the Eastern Suburbs line on Tuesday and Wednesday which would not have too much impact on the challenge but would certainly damage any team which for any reason had not done those stations before 10pm.

JPD
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
  1. Finders-fee points for using different set types.  Score 1 point for an S, C, K or T set.  Score 5 points for an M or A set (Waratah).  Score 10 points for an H set (OSCAR).  Score 20 points for a V set.  Score 50 points for an Endeavour or other non-EMU train.
darcyj
I think this is an interesting addition, and I applaud it.

Might I suggest that you allocate the points based on the number of trains in each fleet?

Eg a S/K/T/A set would be 1 point, as they're quite commonplace. The C/M/H Sets might be worth 5 or 10 points, as they're somewhat harder to find.
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

I think this is an interesting addition, and I applaud it.

Might I suggest that you allocate the points based on the number of trains in each fleet?

Eg a S/K/T/A set would be 1 point, as they're quite commonplace. The C/M/H Sets might be worth 5 or 10 points, as they're somewhat harder to find.
Raichase
Excellent suggestion.  Where do I find the fleet numbers?  Or, feel free to post them here.
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Excellent suggestion.  Where do I find the fleet numbers?  Or, feel free to post them here.
darcyj
http://cityrail.info/about/fleet/

That should give you some idea about fleet ratios - I wouldn't look into it too much, I just figured that one point for a K Set and 5 for a Waratah might be a bit unbalanced given they're both reasonably common, whilst C Sets... not so much.
  rwatts Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide SA
Excellent suggestion.  Where do I find the fleet numbers?  Or, feel free to post them here.
darcyj
Don't know whether accurate enough for your requirements, but http://www.cityrail.info/about/fleet/ might do.

Richard
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I'm offering multimodal challenges if anyone's interested.
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

Don't know whether accurate enough for your requirements, but http://www.cityrail.info/about/fleet/ might do.

Richard
rwatts
Thanks for that.  Although it shows only the number of each car type constructed - and in the case of Waratahs, planned to be constructed - it is a reasonable guide.  So using blind guesses for the number of Waratahs in service and the number of V-sets remaining in service, the following is the rough proportionality of the fleet:

  • S 22%
  • C 3%
  • K 9%
  • T 25%
  • M 8%
  • A 14%
  • H 12%
  • V 7%

Noting that H and V sets do not go everywhere.  So perhaps the following finders-fee scale of points:

  • S set 5 points
  • C set 20 points
  • K set 10 points
  • T set 5 points
  • M set 10 points
  • A set 10 points
  • H set 20 points
  • V set 20 points

Not exactly according to proportion - C sets are unders, the interurbans are overs - but that is to keep it simple and also to recognise that competitors are likely to be on board interurbans only two or three trips out of 25-30 for the day.
  Kamz Assistant Commissioner

Challenge Parameters
  1. Make a stop at every Sydney Trains station within the span of that day (a day starts and ends at midnight).
  2. The limits of the network are Emu Plains, Richmond, Carlingford, Olympic Park, Cowan, Bondi Juntion, Cronulla, Helensburgh, Macarthur.  There are 178 stations, but by necessity you will make at least 207 stops (due to back-tracking on branch lines)
darcyj

Do you have to visit Cowan and Helensburgh? Technically these would be under NSW Trains and not Sydney Trains.

Loves these challenges. Wish I could join.
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

Do you have to visit Cowan and Helensburgh? Technically these would be under NSW Trains and not Sydney Trains.

Loves these challenges. Wish I could join.
Kamz
Okay, this depends upon a consensus.

When I covered 176 stations in one day a couple of years ago I called that "every station".  When we had a team challenge on July 1st 2011 we included Cowan and Helensburgh because the MyMulti DayPass covered those stations (indeed, covers a much broader slice of public transport) and it was shown possible to include those stations within the timeframe.  Of course, on that reasoning, it is probably possible to include the lower Blue Mountains stations, and Hawkesbury River, Wondaboyne, Woy Woy, and the light rail.  But boundaries have to be drawn somewhere.  On this occasion, Cowan and Helensburgh have been included because we included them at the last running two years ago (and a time of 16h18m was recorded).

JPD
  Murasaki Chief Train Controller

Location: Going sideways... in carriage DET-9216 (>ω<)
That (16 hours, 18 minutes). Was that me, using the guide another player gave to me? (^_^)
The gentleman claimed to have written a better plan still, only to have it undone that day by a botched Cowan connection. (òwó)

Sorry, but I won't go for this one. I have two jobs, and only Thursdays and Saturdays off either of them. (T_T) Would be fun to compute the theoretical best time, too, but I am working on another timetable mash-up from that leaked draft. It's gonna need colours and seven-point text to be readable! (òwó)
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

That (16 hours, 18 minutes). Was that me, using the guide another player gave to me? (^_^)
The gentleman claimed to have written a better plan still, only to have it undone that day by a botched Cowan connection. (òwó)
Murasaki
Ah, the botched Cowan connection.  I was on the same trains as him for a stretch, including Strathfield to Epping, Epping to Hornsby, Hornsby to Cowan, Cowan to Berowra, Berowra to Wynyard.  By the timetable we should have had a 6-minute changeover at Cowan, but our down service ran a bare few minutes late.  This meant that the level-crossing gates at Cowan did not open behind the train we alighted from - they stayed active for the up train.  No way across.  Cost us an hour.

Our trip plans subsequent to the up North Shore leg were always going to be different, and he would still have finished in a faster time than I, but I would also have missed out on a later chance meet-up with one of the other groups on a there-and-back to Richmond.  So the serendipity for me was that I met more new people Smile
  bowralcommuter Chief Commissioner

Location: Asleep on a Manly Ferry
Considering there are no suburban or Sydney trains to Cowan and only 1 to Helensburgh, I don't know why you wish to complicate your day by adding these stations. Just because you've done something a certain way before doesn't mean you have to always do it that way.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
I'm offering multimodal challenges if anyone's interested.
"Watson374"


What do you have in mind Watson374?
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Considering there are no suburban or Sydney trains to Cowan and only 1 to Helensburgh, I don't know why you wish to complicate your day by adding these stations. Just because you've done something a certain way before doesn't mean you have to always do it that way.
bowralcommuter
I think the only reason they're done is because they're the traditional "suburban ticket" boundaries.
  mboi84 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney
I would love to do this challenge, but a couple of stations aren't wheelchair example (Clyde mainly for the Carlingford line) but I love this concept.
Can I make a suggestion, maybe do it like a fundraiser for a charity??
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
I would love to do this challenge, but a couple of stations aren't wheelchair example (Clyde mainly for the Carlingford line) but I love this concept.
Can I make a suggestion, maybe do it like a fundraiser for a charity??
mboi84
I realize it doesn't solve all of your problems, but I know of a few services in the morning peak/off peak that stop alongside platform two - it would in theory be possible to board an up service, alighting at Clyde, travel to Carlingford and back, and then continue on to the city? Again, this would require access to the SWTT, and it would really ruin the whole "quickest time" concept, but I just thought it might interest you.
  mboi84 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney
I realize it doesn't solve all of your problems, but I know of a few services in the morning peak/off peak that stop alongside platform two - it would in theory be possible to board an up service, alighting at Clyde, travel to Carlingford and back, and then continue on to the city? Again, this would require access to the SWTT, and it would really ruin the whole "quickest time" concept, but I just thought it might interest you.
Raichase
I did see those services but didn't want to, well jinx myself incase of any delays etc. Would be sitting at the platform waiting for a train to stop.

Though I never understood why Clyde has never been made to be wheelchair accessible. I think it would have to do with the numbers of commuters using the station but still, given the Carlingford line trains don't go into the city anymore, it would be beneficial at least to explore this option
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
I did see those services but didn't want to, well jinx myself incase of any delays etc. Would be sitting at the platform waiting for a train to stop.
mboi84
Yeah, I know what you mean - all works fine in theory, but could end up being rather unmanageable if even the slightest thing were to go wrong.

Though I never understood why Clyde has never been made to be wheelchair accessible. I think it would have to do with the numbers of commuters using the station but still, given the Carlingford line trains don't go into the city anymore, it would be beneficial at least to explore this option
mboi84
Perhaps a discussion for another thread, but I agree - the stair lift seemed a reasonable compromise, but they need to be attended and I understand their reliability is less than stellar.
  ThatTrainGuy Station Staff

Well, yes, I would like to have another go at the time record and try and overcome the Cowan jinx.  Surprisingly the original planned route is still valid so you can count me in, teaming up with my daughter.

And the first person I know to attempt this sort of challenge did it for charity - 65 Roses.
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

*bump*

We're looking closely at that scoring system I posted at the top, considering the balance between speed around the network, completion of all stations, and a fun element.  Also looking at what might encourage mboi84 to join in - open to ideas.

Five confirmed challengers at this point.  Thursday July 11th.  Start under the clock in the main hall of Sydney Terminal at 05:30.

JPD
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

*Ping*

Two days away. Lovely weather we're having. I'm out on a bit of a trainspot today and there are niggling little delays I'm noticing. Nothing to ruin anyone's ordinary trip, but definitely the kind of thing which puts 1-minute changeovers into difficulty.

More people commuting in the middle of the day than I expected. School holidays effect? It's something to note and be prepared for on Thursday - this jumping out and taking photos bit might have to be examined carefully. People don't like being caught in the phone camera of some random on a train, and especially people with kids and prams. The Rules are under discussion in the FB group but I think we can keep the photography to the minimum list of stations needed to show full compliance.

Finally, and thankfully, the Down Suburban at Harris Park is all clear. What a fantastic remedial job in such quick time. This challenge may have been made more, er, challenging if the line was still blocked, but it's nice that we won't have to worry about that after all.
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Two days away. Lovely weather we're having. I'm out on a bit of a trainspot today and there are niggling little delays I'm noticing. Nothing to ruin anyone's ordinary trip, but definitely the kind of thing which puts 1-minute changeovers into difficulty.
darcyj
Yes, wet weather does tend to slow things down - passengers clump under shelters then attempt to move to their "normal" carriage, regardless of it being seven cars away, trains slip and slide a bit, so naturally move a little slower for obvious reasons, etc.

More people commuting in the middle of the day than I expected. School holidays effect?
darcyj
Yes, I'd assume so. Plenty of people using public transport, which is encourageable!

It's something to note and be prepared for on Thursday - this jumping out and taking photos bit might have to be examined carefully. People don't like being caught in the phone camera of some random on a train, and especially people with kids and prams. The Rules are under discussion in the FB group but I think we can keep the photography to the minimum list of stations needed to show full compliance.
darcyj
I think you'll find that enough people are taking photos of friends and "nothing much" that you wouldn't have much of a problem. Obviously common sense applies, nobody will bat an eye if you're taking photos of each other at stations, if they're in the background or not. People might get upset if it appears you're taking photos of them from a train though.

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