Slowness of Bris Trains

 
  transient Station Staff

How fast are Brisbane trains? I moved from Perth recently and they seem much slower here. The main north-south suburban trains in Perth have a max speed of at least 110 km/h.

Is it that the tracks here are crap, the trains don't go that fast or it's too hilly here?

What really bugs me, is the Airtrain. It takes over 20 minutes from domestic to central, which gives it a pretty pathetic average speed of ~45km/h. Half the track is brand new and has no stops on it, it makes no sense for it to run so slow.

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  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
The tracks are indeed quite pathetic in some places.

The trains are actually basically identical.  There is a reluctance to run them at a reasonable speed though, especially on express legs.

Don't go to Sydney.  Sydney and Brisbane vie for the worst electric train system serving cities > 1mil in the developed world. Sydney is at least more frequent but slower.
  ButFli Chief Train Controller

Location: New Farm, Qld
Sydney and Brisbane vie for the worst electric train system serving cities > 1mil in the developed world.
"simonl"
I guess all those cities with populations greater than 1 million with no commuter rail service don't count, then?
  Draffa Chief Commissioner

How fast are Brisbane trains? I moved from Perth recently and they seem much slower here. The main north-south suburban trains in Perth have a max speed of at least 110 km/h.
"transient"
How close are the stations in Perth?  Stations are fairly close across most of Brisbane, so allowing the trains to go to 110km/h would be pointless if it only saves a few seconds per station.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Good Observation, but reality check time.

First, Brisbane and Sydney suffer from something much of Mel, Adel and Perth don't, they are called hills. Look at Adelaide's Belair line compared to the other lines in sectional times, average speed and average speed as crow flys. One of Mel's lines conviently stops at the foot hills and in the days of old the line continued as 2.5' gauge and indeed still does into the hills. In the SE, they just closed it.

If you go to the new lines in Brisbane, something Syd lacks, you will find indeed they are 100-160km/hr from station to station. ie GC line past Beenleigh, new section of NCL from Cab to Beerburm and I assume and yet to use the new Springfield line. The GC line has a few sections the trains pull out from one station and go straight to 140 and don't pull back until next station 4km away, even Perth cannot match this.

For the Brisbane Airport line a few issues. First the Viaduct, yes its new, but had to be built with existing constraints so apart from initial bend away from main it has a few more bends to avoid roads etc. Top end speed is I think 90 (but may have been 100). Its also on a Viaduct, so calls for a higher level of safety and maybe same alignment on ground would be faster (I'd rather take 1min longer than be the first to ride a EMU into the dirt). From main heading to City you hit the tight bend at EJ, which is also a junction, so flat elevation of outer rails prevents higher speeds. Then onto BH, again bends built with pick and shovel 100 years ago to go around hills and often a suburban in front doesn't help either. Once you get past the slow BH, things get better to Central. South Side Beenleigh line is full of bends.

Much of Perth's rail infratsructure is basically green field or rebuilt run down brownfield. Wind the clock back 22 years and you had old DMU's, a closed Freo line and some of the other lines didn't even exist. With the rapid growth came some smart planning taking advantage of the corridore down the middle of the freeways, which are built on flat terrain. Something Brisbane could have copied to some degree but didn't.

Also older lines built when milk was delivered to local station by rail and by horse and cart from there have stations less than 1km apart. The newer lines are building the mega hub stations with large parking, bus stations, kiss and ride etc etc, but these stations are on average about 3-4km apart.

Do the sums, with a acceleration and braking effort of 1ms-2, and stations 1km apart, you don't get much saving going to open end max speed. For the record its 113km/hr for 500m.

Yes it would be nice to see some of these lines straightened some what, the gain is fairly minor for the cost and at the moment there are other priorities. Such as capacity constraints in city, Spingfield line extension, GC extension, Further dup and realignment on NCL, SSC line construction, KR line construction. plus more trains as 79 x EMU's will need replacement from 2019, upgrade of remaining timber sleepers and light rail and hopefully new rebuilt line to LV.

Regards
Shane
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
Sydney and Brisbane vie for the worst electric train system serving cities > 1mil in the developed world.
"simonl"
I guess all those cities with populations greater than 1 million with no commuter rail service don't count, then?
"ButFli"

Nup!  Not sure how many of such cities there are outside the USA though.  What are you saying, that it's better to have a poor system than no system at all?


You make a few fair points there Shane, but with the Airtrain being on a viaduct, it could easily have gone to ground between Southern Cross Way and nearly International.  I think the limit is 70 for some and 80 for the rest.

Darra-Richlands is a brand new 5.6km link supposedly, done in 4 minutes.  If 5.6km is the station-station distance, then that is an average speed of 67.5km/h.  Not half bad, but not that great either.

Robina-Varsity Lakes is a brand new virtually dead straight 4.1km link done in an appalling 5 minutes for a 49.2km/h average speed with 130-140km/h rolling stock.  Beenleigh-Robina is still only about 85km/h and that is only about 15 years old with stops every 8km or so.
  watchdog Junior Train Controller

Wait until the new timetable today woohoo Wink
TRANSLINKER,TRANSLINKER
ta cam Bang Head
  transient Station Staff

Thanks for the info. I will be less frustrated when on the train now that I that I have a basic understanding why it is slow.

Hopefully one day we can get a service every 15 minutes every day on every line here... And more carparks at train stations. I was surprised to find many stations with zero dedicated parking at them, but they also have little room to build anything.

I'm from Adelaide originally, so at least it isn't as bad as there. But with their electrification, maybe Adelaide's will some day be better? Probably only if the governments here spend all the money on road tunnels.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Sydney and Brisbane vie for the worst electric train system serving cities > 1mil in the developed world.
"simonl"
I guess all those cities with populations greater than 1 million with no commuter rail service don't count, then?
"ButFli"

Nup!  Not sure how many of such cities there are outside the USA though.  What are you saying, that it's better to have a poor system than no system at all?


You make a few fair points there Shane, but with the Airtrain being on a viaduct, it could easily have gone to ground between Southern Cross Way and nearly International.  I think the limit is 70 for some and 80 for the rest.

Darra-Richlands is a brand new 5.6km link supposedly, done in 4 minutes.  If 5.6km is the station-station distance, then that is an average speed of 67.5km/h.  Not half bad, but not that great either.

Robina-Varsity Lakes is a brand new virtually dead straight 4.1km link done in an appalling 5 minutes for a 49.2km/h average speed with 130-140km/h rolling stock.  Beenleigh-Robina is still only about 85km/h and that is only about 15 years old with stops every 8km or so.
"simonl"


Hi,
Are you allowing for stopping and acceleration/braking time. As far as I'm aware the entire GC line is posted at 100 or above from station to station. So with something 6 stations, do the sums and tell me what the average top end speed is. I think there is still a 1-2min timetabled wait at Helemsburg due to single track. To give a hint if i allow 1min for each station, we are at 100km/hr. Unfortunetly the problem with fast speeds means you have far more to loose at each station. Hence why HSR from Syd to Mel cannot achive the 3hr many believe if you add even 10 stops.
As I said before the last section to VL is hindered via other bits and pieces that prevents 140 running. I think its mostly limited to 100. And beyond future extensions may not hit +120 either. Hence the practicalities of building HSR through large developed spread out cities.

Haven't riden D-Richlands, but allow for station accel/braking times and the slow part at the Darra junction and things may look better, but being Citytrain suburban, its probably limited to 100.

Regards
Shane
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Thanks for the info. I will be less frustrated when on the train now that I that I have a basic understanding why it is slow.

Hopefully one day we can get a service every 15 minutes every day on every line here... And more carparks at train stations. I was surprised to find many stations with zero dedicated parking at them, but they also have little room to build anything.

I'm from Adelaide originally, so at least it isn't as bad as there. But with their electrification, maybe Adelaide's will some day be better? Probably only if the governments here spend all the money on road tunnels.
"transient"


As a guide I'd say the older areas are less likely to need carparking. Stations are closer spaced and in high density easy walking catchment. Providing carparking wasn't an issue when built and a costly one to fix now. Cheaper to let those people keep driving and spend the limited funds on fixing more important isssues.
  petey3801 Chief Commissioner

Location: On the rails

You make a few fair points there Shane, but with the Airtrain being on a viaduct, it could easily have gone to ground between Southern Cross Way and nearly International.  I think the limit is 70 for some and 80 for the rest.

Darra-Richlands is a brand new 5.6km link supposedly, done in 4 minutes.  If 5.6km is the station-station distance, then that is an average speed of 67.5km/h.  Not half bad, but not that great either.

Robina-Varsity Lakes is a brand new virtually dead straight 4.1km link done in an appalling 5 minutes for a 49.2km/h average speed with 130-140km/h rolling stock.  Beenleigh-Robina is still only about 85km/h and that is only about 15 years old with stops every 8km or so.
"simonl"


Max speed on the Airport is 100km/h. Not a lot of that though, mostly 90.

Darra-Richlands max speed is 100km/h, but currently is not worth bothering with due to reduction in speed before the platform. I think it's only 4.3km as well?

Robina - Varsity max speed is 120km/h (only on the Varsity Lakes end, 100km/h for majority of the run) and is far from straight. It is quite hilly and has a number of curves. Don't know why they made the timetable 5-minutes between the two, it is done quite a lot faster than that.
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
Sydney and Brisbane vie for the worst electric train system serving cities > 1mil in the developed world.
"simonl"
I guess all those cities with populations greater than 1 million with no commuter rail service don't count, then?
"ButFli"

Nup!  Not sure how many of such cities there are outside the USA though.  What are you saying, that it's better to have a poor system than no system at all?


You make a few fair points there Shane, but with the Airtrain being on a viaduct, it could easily have gone to ground between Southern Cross Way and nearly International.  I think the limit is 70 for some and 80 for the rest.

Darra-Richlands is a brand new 5.6km link supposedly, done in 4 minutes.  If 5.6km is the station-station distance, then that is an average speed of 67.5km/h.  Not half bad, but not that great either.

Robina-Varsity Lakes is a brand new virtually dead straight 4.1km link done in an appalling 5 minutes for a 49.2km/h average speed with 130-140km/h rolling stock.  Beenleigh-Robina is still only about 85km/h and that is only about 15 years old with stops every 8km or so.
"simonl"


Hi,
Are you allowing for stopping and acceleration/braking time. As far as I'm aware the entire GC line is posted at 100 or above from station to station. So with something 6 stations, do the sums and tell me what the average top end speed is. I think there is still a 1-2min timetabled wait at Helemsburg due to single track. To give a hint if i allow 1min for each station, we are at 100km/hr. Unfortunetly the problem with fast speeds means you have far more to loose at each station. Hence why HSR from Syd to Mel cannot achive the 3hr many believe if you add even 10 stops.
As I said before the last section to VL is hindered via other bits and pieces that prevents 140 running. I think its mostly limited to 100. And beyond future extensions may not hit +120 either. Hence the practicalities of building HSR through large developed spread out cities.

Haven't riden D-Richlands, but allow for station accel/braking times and the slow part at the Darra junction and things may look better, but being Citytrain suburban, its probably limited to 100.

Regards
Shane
"RTT_Rules"

Speeding up and slowing down 5 times from 140km/h would lose approximately 8.05 minutes.  So 21.94 minutes to cover 45.35km Beenleigh-Robina = 124km/h.

I guess not half bad.

I am sure the 5 minutes Robina-VL is to artificially inflate the on time running stats for the outbound run.

As for still having a dwell at Helensvale, I don't know what there excuse would be.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
As for still having a dwell at Helensvale, I don't know what there excuse would be.
"simonl"


Isn't/wasn't the end of single track section? I caught a train up (towards Bris) from VL in Dec and there was a wait for the incoming south bound train, which has happened before when I have caught GC train thats on time. I cannot remember which side is/was single track and www to slow. But the wait might be gone now with TT change.

Regards
Shane
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
There is still single track Coomera-Helensvale, which is a 6 minute section.  However, there is no longer a precision cross at Helensvale (if that's the correct term), so one would expect that the trains could be timetabled to cross at point south of the station, and north of Coomera.  It's like the Mitchelton-Keperra duplication which still has a timetable which assumes a precision cross at Keperra.  Rather disgraceful IMO.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
There is still single track Coomera-Helensvale, which is a 6 minute section.  However, there is no longer a precision cross at Helensvale (if that's the correct term), so one would expect that the trains could be timetabled to cross at point south of the station, and north of Coomera.  It's like the Mitchelton-Keperra duplication which still has a timetable which assumes a precision cross at Keperra.  Rather disgraceful IMO.
"simonl"


Helensvale was in the middle of a single track section and now on the northern end of the single track section. I suppose once the project is complete the north bound trains still have to run to timetable and wait at Helensvale until the timetable is/was changed. I assume the wait is now gone? Likewise with Keperra for trains city bound.

Issue with moving the Helensvale cross is Beenleigh services and the movement of trains through the city. Yes the cross could occur say 2-3min nth of Helensvale, then you need the Nth bound Beenleigh train to depart 2-3min earlier. Which means the turn around time is less at Beenleigh (its close now I think) and if you want to change the south bound Beenleigh train to arrive earlier you change the south bound GC train to arrive earlier and hence earlier at Helensvale.
Maybe the only way to correct this with the new track without changing the sequence at Beenleigh is the Nth bound GC train can leave Robina a tad later to eliminate the wait at Helensvale and arrive on time at Beenleigh. But of course that places risk that it won't clear the single track in time for the south bound? If I have it right, the issue seems to be that the duplication north of Helensvale should have continued south to the Nerang River Bridge to be able to fully maximise the time savings. Only a few km, but may make a difference.


Regards
Shane
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
You've got your north and south backwards at Helensvale, unless I do.  Single track to the north of Helensvale.  No change to the cross at Keperra with the duplication (although reliability has improved), but the one at Helensvale has improved and does indeed now occur south of Helensvale.

I don't mind the bit about the single track starting at the station, as there needs to be divergent points which GC trains should not have to slow down for.  It's also the Coomera River, not Nerang.   Nerang River is smaller, and they easily duplicated that bridge.
  ButFli Chief Train Controller

Location: New Farm, Qld
I caught a train up (towards Bris) from VL in Dec
"RTT_Rules"
A train from Varsity Lakes to Brisbane goes in the down direction.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I caught a train up (towards Bris) from VL in Dec
"RTT_Rules"
A train from Varsity Lakes to Brisbane goes in the down direction.
"ButFli"


Thats ButFli, I was aware hence the comment (towards Bris). Previously living in CQ, saying I'm going down to Brisbane from south side is a bit confusing and wasn't sure how others from interstate understand it.

Regards
Shane
  Amnickable Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney
Older IMU's we do 110km/h out of Beenleigh to Varsity up it to 140km/h, and thats where she stays until Robina, a few 100's before platforms, a few 80's for cross-overs, an awesome run!  120km/h on the very "short" stretch from Robina to varsity, but you never take it all the way, due to signalling/speed restrictions coming into the platform.

I am sure once the line is developed further south, speeds may increase.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
I came across this thread about Brisbane trains and did an update on comparitive journey times per distance and number of stops using the top-performing Perth system as a benchmark. I've taken up this discussion in the Sydney section as I thought, being the slowest train system in Australia (allowing for Brisbane's handicap of its track profiles), it might be of interest there. However, I'm posting my summary of updated journey time figures over similarly-profiled selected sections of lines here out of interest to Brisbane followers - there are some Brisbane figures here but not in every category:

13 km segment:

Benchmark:
Perth-Mosman Park (13.5 km): 11 stops, 21 minutes
Perth-Beckenham (13.8 km): 9 stops, 19 minutes
Perth-East Guildford (14 km): 11 stops, 20 minutes

Sydney:
Central-Homebush (12.7 km): 11 stops, 27 minutes
Sydenham-Bankstown (13.4 km): 9 stops, 25 minutes
(Sydney Metro projected time for 13 km: Sydenham-Bankstown: 9 stops, 21 minutes)

30 km segment:

Benchmark:
Perth-Armadale: 35 mins, 12 stops; 39 mins, 17 stops

Sydney Central-Glenfield via East Hills: 43 mins, 11 stops; 49 mins, 17 stops

33 km segment (IC=intercity train):

Benchmark:
Perth-Clarkson: 33 mins, 9 stops.
Perth-Kwinana: 28 mins, 6 stops.

Sydney:
Blacktown-Redfern: 41 mins, 7 stops; 47 mins, 13 stops; IC 32 mins, 1 stop.
Cronulla-Redfern: 43 mins, 8 stops.
Central-Hornsby via Strathfield: IC 37 mins, 4 stops.
Central-Macquarie Fields via East Hills: 40 mins, 7 stops.
(Sydney Metro projected time for 33 km: Rouse Hill-Chatswood: 35 mins, 10 stops)

Adelaide:
Seaford-Mile End: 48 mins, 21 stops; 43 mins, 13 stops.
Adelaide-Munno Para (diesel): 43 mins, 13 stops.

Melbourne:
Ferntree Gully-Parliament: 43 mins, 10 stops.
Southern Cross-Dandenong: 47 mins, 16 stops.
Flinders Street-Werribee: 42 mins, 9 stops.

Brisbane (handicapped by track profiles):
Central-Ebbw Vale: 43 mins, 10 stops.
Central-Loganlea: IC 41 mins, 5 stops.
Central-Wellington Point: 52 mins, 12 stops.
Central-Narangba: IC 41 mins, 6 stops.

47 km segment (IC=intercity train):

Benchmark:
Perth-Warnbro: 38 mins, 9 stops

(NSW)Thirroul-Bombo: IC 48-54 mins, 9 stops

(Qld)Beenleigh-Varsity Lakes (49km): IC 32 mins, 5 stops

70 km segment  (IC=intercity train):

Benchmark:
Perth-Mandurah: 51 mins, 10 stops

Sydney Central-Douglas Park (diesel): IC 63-66 mins, 6 stops
Handicapped by track profiles:
Sydney Central-Thirroul: IC 78 mins, 5 stops
Sydney Central-Woy Woy: IC 72 mins, 4 stops
Sydney Central-Blaxland: IC 67-69 mins, 7 stops

Melbourne (Southern Cross)-North Geelong (diesel): IC 55 mins, 9 stops

Note that I've used sections of pretty straight track in the comparisons but have acknowledged that the Brisbane suburban lines and three of the Sydney interurban lines run into profile issues.

You need to take into account the number of intermediate stops together with the distances in making the comparisons. Also, considering many lines have varied stopping patterns, I've used the stopping patterns that have a similar number of stops where possible.

It does seem that of all the Australian systems, only the upcoming Sydney metro line and Gold Coast line between Beenleigh and Varsity Lakes are able to challenge or match Perth's journey times. Perth shows what is possible with a conventional suburban rail (and note that it's not only the new lines but the 19th century legacy lines that are run fast as well) and is I reckon a good benchmark for other states to emulate.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Interesting

The Sydney Western Corridor could be improved, alot. It's mostly straight with I feel gentle curves but deviations around stations that also affect the express tracks with no actual platform and I think legacy limits the top end speed.  The IU should be pulling 130 plus Redfern to Straitfield.

On north side, the Nth Shore line is basically crippled by the Nth Sydney to St Leonards bends. Wollestoncraft curve being the main issue. I would bypass the lot wirh a direct tunnel and build one station to replace bot Wollestoncraft and Waverton as the justification for two stations is due to track distance grossly elongated not as the crow flys. The Metro will also add another station to help fill in the gap.

South side is more complex.

Brisbane.

The Trouts Road proposal will solve alot of issues for nth bound.

Western line is probably as good as you could expect for suburban line although the new Springfield line has long straight sections up to 120kmh due to long station spacing.

Southern line. It was criminal  not to realign before they Quadded (but only 3 tracks) the section north of Kuraby.  There is still an option to bypass some of the lower curves. (Can go through details on my PC)

South East line. There is option to branch off curent line near I think Balmoral and head direct on straight alignment.  Leaving the track up to Lota as a branch.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Perth lacks the complex inner suburban track layout  with large yards, branch lines and dealing with freight and hilly terrain that both Brisbane and Sydney enjoy.
  phil_48 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Wynnum North
RTT - On the SE line Balmoral was the end of the old BCC tram line on the river bank, nowhere near a train line.  Way back there was a branch that left the Cleveland line between Norman Park and Morningside, half way up the bank,  which went to the Belmont area ( Belmont Tramway ), about 1/5 of the way to Cleveland. At the time it was considered too hilly to take this straight through to Cleveland, the preferred route, so the current roundabout way with less hills but many curves and so slow trains, prevails.  So you might be referring to this old Tramway as the branch off point.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Perth lacks the complex inner suburban track layout  with large yards, branch lines and dealing with freight and hilly terrain that both Brisbane and Sydney enjoy.
RTT_Rules
Yes I'm very conscious of that factor, so some of the comparisons are not taken from the "central" station in each city but are for sections of line further out. Not possible to do this in all cases. I've also tried to avoid significant grades (difficult to avoid for Brisbane), not that that should make a difference for an electric train on straight track.

Also Perth is not entirely free of those restrictions you mention, they're just on a smaller scale.

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