Noarlunga Line Shutdown

 
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
That's a more sensible complaint Ian and I would agree with you on that one.  The contracts should have been tighter than they were obviously; the problem is any large construction company now-days gets their solicitors to pour over a contract the instant it's signed looking for weaknesses.  I feel this is probably no exception.  The decision to re-do the signalling also appears to have come quite late in the piece which is also a shame but not terminal.

The biggest disappointment of all is the very late running rolling stock delivery but at least the line can operate with existing stock until the first order is complete.

As for whether the passengers will return or not, I feel that they will.  It needs time to build itself up as a good alternative after such a long absence but given the complete reconstruction task undertaken from the track up it was probably a necessary budgetary constraint.  Better late than never.
don_dunstan
Some companies may be bigger than governments. Invensys aren't and their lawyers ought not be better than the Crown and Australian Government Solicitors offices. If the contractor's lawyers find escapes in the contract then the contract should have been tighter. I for one suspect there wasn't even a time enforceable clause in it.

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  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Some companies may be bigger than governments. Invensys aren't and their lawyers ought not be better than the Crown and Australian Government Solicitors offices. If the contractor's lawyers find escapes in the contract then the contract should have been tighter. I for one suspect there wasn't even a time enforceable clause in it.
Aaron
A friend of mine who works in civil engineering tells me that the very large engineering/construction concerns like Baulderstone, SKM and Thiess, are very scary people to deal with because of their formidable legal teams - he hates having anything to do with them for that reason.  You have to triple-check everything and God help you if they dispute an invoice.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Some companies may be bigger than governments. Invensys aren't and their lawyers ought not be better than the Crown and Australian Government Solicitors offices.
"Aaron"
Invensys Rail is an arm of Siemens Mobility which is far bigger than our state government and possibly even the Commonwealth.

The legal team of Siemens Mobility has had considerable success in the last few years defending their winning of the Eurostar contract with the Velaro e320 in the French courts against the French-based trans-national Alstom, letting Deutsche Bahn get away with just a single extra unit built for free as compensation for three years of delays on the contract for the Velaro D (the 'evolution' version of the ICE-3 made ready for Eurotunnel use to/from Britain) and defending their winning of the Thameslink EMU procurement against a joint effort of Bombardier Transportation and the RMT union.
If the contractor's lawyers find escapes in the contract then the contract should have been tighter. I for one suspect there wasn't even a time enforceable clause in it.
"Aaron"
With regards to trying to enforce the contracts, my guess is that they do have schedules but that the three big trans-nationals (Bombardier Transportation, Laing O'Rourke and Siemens Mobility) would have no trouble making any attempt to enforce penalties so expensive that the government would have no choice but to let it go. As above, with Siemens in particular the state would be up against a firm which has gotten a win against Alstom, a win against Bombardier and a draw against Deutsche Bahn in the last three years.

The smaller Australian-based construction firms doing the track rebuild work would be an opponent the government could get a win against. However, there's no point splashing millions on legal fees to take the chance when those companies were only late by a couple of weeks and which didn't make any difference to the eventual completion date thanks to the three trans-nationals holding it up.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
When checking on progress of wiring at Oaklands last Thursday, I spoke to one of the workers who was finishing work for the day at the depot a few hndred metres to the East of the station. I asked if they would be continuing immediately with linking up Oaklands to the completed wiring at Hove. He told me that they wouldn't, as another group had the contract for that section. If this is correct, it would explain the very apparent discontinuity of what would seem to be the logical process of proceeding linearly. It is much easier to finish the electrification if the contractors have virtually unlimited occupancy, but the delay in re-opening diesel electric services (with cars that internally are as good as any I have encountered anywhere) is now becoming very tiresome.

I think that the S.A Government must be very aware that their electoral prospects are being very severely compromised by further undue delays. If they are not, then they are fools. That said, the present Labor government has done more in the past few years to bring our suburban transport (on which I am almost entirely dependent) up to date than by either political party in my entire lifetime before.

As for the delays in delivering rolling stock, perhaps the builders do have a 'take it or leave it' approach, protected by the obscene costs of litigation that would give any government (or private person) pause before participation in it. Oh for the days when the state railways had their own construction facilities and loyal, permanently employed real experts in their respective fields. The deliberate retrenchment of thousands of government employees in many departments over the years of the privatization craze – which has always cost the community much more than what it replaced – is coming home to roost with a vengeance.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

SAR526.

Again we find ourselves on the same page.

"The deliberate retrenchment of thousands of government employees in many departments over the years of the privatization craze – which has always cost the community much more than what it replaced – is coming home to roost with a vengeance."

That policy has given me $1000's in income as a consultant but at what cost to the state in lack of in-house expertise.

The impact has never been more obvious with the rail projects where teams have been hastily thrown together. I have no beef with the individuals I have met who seem competent enough BUT binding together people from disparate backgrounds and experience becomes a recipe for confusion and misdirection. I walked away from one rail related job because they told me the work had to comply with their standard practice but they did know what it was.

Contractually I think Adelaide is very much at the fag end. As another has said the companies we are dealing with are bigger than the State. Even the locals large contractors thumb their noses at SA Legislation.

Ian
  2001 Moderator The Snow Lord

Location: The road jump at Charlotte Pass. Paxman Valenta on two planks.

Whether customers will return remains to be seen.
kipioneer

Probably a lot of former passengers on the Tonsley Line have now forgotten where their stations are.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
That's possibly true, there's probably three to four dozen drivers that have never seen the line too!
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
That policy has given me $1000's in income as a consultant but at what cost to the state in lack of in-house expertise.
steam4ian
It's not confined to South Australia.  The Myki ticketing contract was a dog's breakfast right from the start but the State government lacked the nous or intelligence to get the contractor in to line early on; three years late - hundreds of millions over budget and a contractor that still made a small fortune from it instead of being punished.  The rare exception (recently) has been Regional Rail Link, mostly done by Leightons; that's actually running six months ahead of schedule and due to complete at the end of next year.  The Liberals were highly critical in opposition but now Denis Napthine is seen smiling for the cameras in front of every new bridge and station.

The loss of in-house expertise is really regrettable but what can you do?  The prevailing orthodoxy everywhere dictates that they shouldn't have these kind of people on hand any more.
  Milkomeda Chief Train Controller

Trains reported on the line today looks like driver training has finally begun. So only 2-3 weeks left until this 11 month hell is over at long last
  Tonsley213 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Everywhere except South Kensington
Doesn't look like the Tonsley will be opening this year.
  fabricator Chief Commissioner

Location: Gawler
Overhead wire about to be installed on up and down seaford line in Adelaide Yard, pulleys fixed to the cantilever arms. Saw this on Sunday so possible it's already begin.
Also saw a large group of drivers and other fluro vest wearers waiting for a museum piece to arrive on platform 6. Yup the old 3/4 set of red hens is on driver training.

Meanwhile in lalala land, people are discussing the poor quality of the in cab video, and how the vibration is indication of a large problem with the suspension, and totally not the fault with the person holding said camera.
  Tonsley213 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Everywhere except South Kensington
Why did you need to bring up this camera deally up again???
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

1. Why does it take 2 weeks to train drivers for the Noarlunga Line, when no such allowance was made for the Belair Line ? A week of driver training would be a good thing to test the new signalling under real-life conditions, but does it really need 2 weeks ?  Or is the second week a buffer to ensure everything is working ?

2. This board has mentioned a 3000 series 2-car train that was left at Port Stanvac during the shutdown, and was the first train to test the Seaford line.  When was that train driven back to Dry Creek ?

3. Has a tamper been used on the track ?  In Victoria's Regional Fast Rail, track was replaced during a shutdown and reopened. After several months of services to settle the track, the track was closed again for tamping, then reopened at a higher speed limit of 160 km/hr.  Perhaps this is why the Seaford extension didn't seem smooth in a video posted on this site.

4. If a tamper is active for the Noarlunga Line, it would be great to do the Mitcham-Goodwood sector of the Belair Line, which now needs some correction.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Don

"The loss of in-house expertise is really regrettable but what can you do?  The prevailing orthodoxy everywhere dictates that they shouldn't have these kind of people on hand any more."

Engineers have been replaced by managers; let's just say beer in a brewery would be safe.

Today's engineers do not match the skills of those of yore. We were trained after we left Uni by being attached to work gangs or similar hands on situations. You knew how long it took to excavate a ditch because you had done it. What you also knew was that the top boss had been through the same hard knocks. Today they don't get that training, they punce around with environmental reports or risk analysis but have never actually seen the job done, let alone done it. Good thing is they have to keep rolling out old blokes like me to fix it.

Better stray back to topic.

Ian
  trainznbuses Train Controller

Location: Seacliff Park, SA
Doesn't look like the Tonsley will be opening this year.
Tonsley213

Someone reported on Facebook (Noarlunga Commuters thread) that they saw a single 3000 crossing Raglan Avenue crossing today.
  Tonsley213 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Everywhere except South Kensington
Raglan is on the main line not Tonsley
  62430 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Metro Adelaide
1. Why does it take 2 weeks to train drivers for the Noarlunga Line, when no such allowance was made for the Belair Line ? A week of driver training would be a good thing to test the new signalling under real-life conditions, but does it really need 2 weeks ?  Or is the second week a buffer to ensure everything is working ?

2. This board has mentioned a 3000 series 2-car train that was left at Port Stanvac during the shutdown, and was the first train to test the Seaford line.  When was that train driven back to Dry Creek ?

3. Has a tamper been used on the track ?  In Victoria's Regional Fast Rail, track was replaced during a shutdown and reopened. After several months of services to settle the track, the track was closed again for tamping, then reopened at a higher speed limit of 160 km/hr.  Perhaps this is why the Seaford extension didn't seem smooth in a video posted on this site.

4. If a tamper is active for the Noarlunga Line, it would be great to do the Mitcham-Goodwood sector of the Belair Line, which now needs some correction.
mm42
The 3000 cars were moved to Seaford Depot and used for shunting the 4000 cars as they arrived.  They are still there (unless there has been a swap) and were involved in 3000/4000 test which I reported on last Thursday.  The car numbers last week were 3008 and 3023.

Tampers were certainly used on Wayville/Goodwood out to the Sturt bridge and also on the doubled section of Tonsley this year.

Alex C
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
1. Why does it take 2 weeks to train drivers for the Noarlunga Line, when no such allowance was made for the Belair Line ? A week of driver training would be a good thing to test the new signalling under real-life conditions, but does it really need 2 weeks ?  Or is the second week a buffer to ensure everything is working ?
mm42
The Belair line reopened in substantially the same state it was closed. Noarlunga has an entirely new underpass and entirely new signalling system. It takes two weeks because every driver needs to be escorted on two sighting runs down the line for re-familiarisation. The cynical (myself for sure and I suspect Ian too) would say it has some 'margin for issues' built into it.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Today they don't get that training, they punce around with environmental reports or risk analysis but have never actually seen the job done, let alone done it. Good thing is they have to keep rolling out old blokes like me to fix it.
steam4ian
I have always successfully avoided being roped into conducting environmental reports, and I detest risk analysis, the more training on that I get the more I ignore it. An old boss of mine used to be under strict instruction to not bother me for signing those JSA and WMS things, just whack a forgery of my signature on it and I'll continue doing what needs to be done. Sadly, she did keep making me to sign the bloody things, but she couldn't force me to read them. Something most other engineers of my age have forgotten, but something I always remember is that the quickest way to achieve the goal is to speak to the spanner turner, who at the end of the day is the one doing the work. If Minister Tom and the Dept had spoken to the guys working on the line they might have known sooner what was actually happening on the line.
  SAR520SMBH Train Controller

I saw 3008 and 3023 crossing Brighton Rd city bound this morning at approx 09:00, 09:30 hrs, not 100% on the time.
Not long after, at the same crossing, a track machine (not sure which one, definitely wasn't a tamper though) went through Sealunga bound after a  l.......o.......n.......g  period (3 mins minimum) of the rail crossing arms being down. Don't think the peak hour traffic drivers were happy, traffic was backed up well past Sturt Rd as a result of the lengthy wait.
At work at the SAHMRI building this afternoon I noticed the above mentioned single 3000 trundle out of the ARS Sealunga bound.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

The Belair line reopened in substantially the same state it was closed. Noarlunga has an entirely new underpass and entirely new signalling system. It takes two weeks because every driver needs to be escorted on two sighting runs down the line for re-familiarisation. The cynical (myself for sure and I suspect Ian too) would say it has some 'margin for issues' built into it.
"Aaron"
Don't forget that the Belair line also took two weeks, because they turned everything on and it didn't work.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Strange thing is that few of the signals, if any, down from Goodwood have moved or changed aspect.

That said, I am all for drivers getting familiarisation, it has been some 20 months since they drove the full length. Their second, even a third, trip could be done on a revenue train with a senior driver/inspector/supervisor watching.

Ian
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Today's engineers do not match the skills of those of yore. We were trained after we left Uni by being attached to work gangs or similar hands on situations.
steam4ian
Ian, what you talk about it similar to the complaints made about when they started training nurses in universities rather than hospitals; a lack of relevant on-the-job experience.  And it is relevant to the thread because maybe they wouldn't have had a tenth of the problems they had if there was more locally-based experience on the ground in SA on hand to manage the project.

Oh well.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
I saw 3002 trundling along towards Warradale near the end of the installed overhead on the up side of Hove at 17.40. Posts for the 2 metre steel picket fencing of the right of way between the two stations were being cemented in. A very fine Adelaide suburban rail themed piece of street art runs along the fence opposite the entire length of the up Hove platform. Predictably there is already tagging on some of it. What I'd like to do to the wastes of space who do this kind of thing doesn't bear description here.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/42315705@N00/10922541503/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/42315705@N00/10922540533/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/42315705@N00/10922312786/

A comment on the university training of professionals: It has been the almost universal impression of those who underwent tertiary training in the dim distant past that the worst thing that ever happened to the education of people like nurses, teachers and engineers was the virtual abandonment of what amounted to an apprenticeship under experienced superiors in favour of a much more theoretical academic emphasis. A boy once had only to mention that he had been a student at Goodwood Technical High School and he was assured of a job without the need for tertiary training at all. The students are just as bright as ever they were, but modern fashions in education generally are an unmitigated disaster.They've been caused by 'new brooms' sweeping away the tried and true in favour of the latest fad to justify their inflated salaries. We need a new rigour in training – the application of the best theoretical and design research to thorough practical training on the job.
  2001 Moderator The Snow Lord

Location: The road jump at Charlotte Pass. Paxman Valenta on two planks.
So, the plan still is to shutdown the entire system in January to do the wiring in the Adelaide Yard ?

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