Melbourne’s Network short on electrical power

 
  ptvcommuter Train Controller

I read somewhere that said that our trains are seriously short on traction power and that signalling is very very old, past it’s use by date. Meaning that the X’Trapolis and Siemens Trains are detuned to perform at the same specifications as the Comeng Fleet, which require less voltage. This basically accounts for many of the issues on our network that can come from signalling faults, track faults and power faults .

What this means is we need a serious investment in substations and signalling across our network, which is why the substations upgrade is occurring on the Pakenham/Cranbourne Lines, so that the new HCMTs can operate to their full potential.

So...

How much would a new substation cost so that our fleet can operate properly ?
How much would new signalling cost, including High Capacity Signalling and infrastructure to replace our old signals ?

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  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The introduction of the HCT for the Dandenong Line have forced new substations to be built and upgrades to be completed at others so maybe once this is complete more power will be available in the network?
  Lockie91 Train Controller

Power upgrades have also been happening on the Burnley Group in recent months. This is the important but less glamours part of infrastructure investment.

I’ve herd some gripes about the weekend shut downs and how nothing seems to be happening.

Substations have also been upgraded as part of the LXRA program. Hurstbridge had a massive power upgrade between Clifton Hill and Greensie.

The Caulfield Group upgrade is being done how all should. A train type is picked and the nesassary infrastructure follows. Unlike previous governments where Xtraps have been purchased and detuned to fit the old network.
  max_thum Station Master

Location: Melbourne, Victoria
The introduction of the HCT for the Dandenong Line have forced new substations to be built and upgrades to be completed at others so maybe once this is complete more power will be available in the network?
x31
HCMT have a higher voltage according to documents stated as its up to 1950v DC throughout the entire Cranbourne / Pakenham Lines while keeping 1500v DC operational by having dual voltage between Westall and Caulfield. Future provision for 3000v DC to be implemented at a later date.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Hi max

so they will be restricted on the routes they can run?

What a pitty these trains have not been considered for the Geelong and Ballarat Lines where a lot of capacity is required.  Add a toilet and you have some higher speed electrified high capacity rolling stock for fast run to geelong.  if they are dual voltage they could use AC for Geelong via Sunshine on RRL and DC for Geelong Werribee
  max_thum Station Master

Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Hi max

so they will be restricted on the routes they can run?

What a pitty these trains have not been considered for the Geelong and Ballarat Lines where a lot of capacity is required.  Add a toilet and you have some higher speed electrified high capacity rolling stock for fast run to geelong.  if they are dual voltage they could use AC for Geelong via Sunshine on RRL and DC for Geelong Werribee
x31
Presuming that 1500V is being used for HCMT, I guess there wouldn't be any restrictions but someone will need to support this as I don't have any supporting evidence proving that the HCMT will be able to operate without restrictions on other lines than the HCMT operating on Cranbourne, Melton, Pakenham and Sunbury.  

I do believe that HCMT have been considered for the Geelong electrified services due to the high capacity nature. I had a look at the HCMT project documents (technical specifications) that the HCMT have DC equipment and AC isn't being considered.

But please do take my statements above with a grain of salt as someone more qualified can answer this question.
  justarider Chief Train Controller

Location: Stuck on VR and hoping for better.
Hi max

so they will be restricted on the routes they can run?

What a pitty these trains have not been considered for the Geelong and Ballarat Lines where a lot of capacity is required.  Add a toilet and you have some higher speed electrified high capacity rolling stock for fast run to geelong.  if they are dual voltage they could use AC for Geelong via Sunshine on RRL and DC for Geelong Werribee
x31
AC and DC are "not dual voltage".  Different technology - Nikola Tesla vs Thomas Edison.

1500v DC or 25000v DC - that is "dual voltage"

The big difference, why 25000v DC is used for long distance routes (Europe), is the much longer distances between sub-stations that you can instal.

1500v in the Regions would be a very expensive maintenance proposition of 100s of sub stations, and extra High Voltage mains to supply. It's the reason why the sparks to Traralgon was pulled out.
Sparks to the Regions has to firstly change the Victorian network to a European style (where have I heard that lately ???)

PS: could some electrician out there enlighten why AC and DC do not mix well.
Roughly - poor power output.

cheers
John
  penguin2233 Locomotive Driver

Location: Craigieburn, Melbourne VIC
Hi max

so they will be restricted on the routes they can run?

What a pitty these trains have not been considered for the Geelong and Ballarat Lines where a lot of capacity is required.  Add a toilet and you have some higher speed electrified high capacity rolling stock for fast run to geelong.  if they are dual voltage they could use AC for Geelong via Sunshine on RRL and DC for Geelong Werribee
AC and DC are "not dual voltage".  Different technology - Nikola Tesla vs Thomas Edison.

1500v DC or 25000v DC - that is "dual voltage"

The big difference, why 25000v DC is used for long distance routes (Europe), is the much longer distances between sub-stations that you can instal.

1500v in the Regions would be a very expensive maintenance proposition of 100s of sub stations, and extra High Voltage mains to supply. It's the reason why the sparks to Traralgon was pulled out.
Sparks to the Regions has to firstly change the Victorian network to a European style (where have I heard that lately ???)

PS: could some electrician out there enlighten why AC and DC do not mix well.
Roughly - poor power output.

cheers
John
justarider
AC is a sinewave, meaning the power comes in as a wave, alternating between positive and negative. DC is a single line of power. AC does better power delivery on long distance. Dual voltage means to support 2 different amounts of voltages, don't know if it can mean an AC system and a DC on same locomotive. Also don't touch your powerpoints because tha'ts 230v of AC.

Oh I forgot, AC hurts a hell of a lot more than DC.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
AC does better power delivery on long distance
penguin2233
Nooope. High Voltage Direct Current is in fact technically superior when it comes to point-to-point connections as you can use smaller conductors (no skin effect means the current travels through much more of the cross-section of the conductor) and you only need 1-2 cables/wires vs 3 for 3 phase AC.
High Voltage Alternating Current is used universally instead of HVDC because it's much, much easier to step up and step down the voltages with transformers. Only modern semiconductor power electronics have gotten DC-DC converters even remotely efficient enough to compete with AC. AC is also easier to generate with rotating plant (i.e power stations) as synchronous generators don't need brushes; AC circuit breakers are easier to build because you have zero-voltage points in the AC waveform that naturally interrupt the arc. AC power systems are also simpler to control because you can use frequency regulation to do so - power demand increases -> system frequency decreases -> raise power output and vice-versa.

AC and DC are "not dual voltage".  Different technology - Nikola Tesla vs Thomas Edison.

1500v DC or 25000v DC - that is "dual voltage"
justarider
25,000V AC is the British, French and essentially the global greenfields electrification standard, not DC.

Hi max

so they [HCMT] will be restricted on the routes they can run?
x31
Technically, no. The thing with DC electrification is that the voltage isn't a constant 1500V everywhere - it changes with distance to the traction substation, train current draw and so on. All trains that work on 1500VDC can deal with at least a couple hundred volts variation, just like consumer appliances do. The HCMT specification simply calls for a higher voltage tolerance than usual - and a 3000VDC capability.

Now, when you start talking about dual/tri/quad voltage capability in locos and EMUs, there's going to be a mix of AC and DC specifications usually. Most of the Euro stuff is 1500VDC/25kVAC or 3000VDC/25kVAC for instance, but 15kVAC (@ 16.7Hz) is the incumbent standard in the Germanic countries so it's often chucked in as well on multi-voltage locomotives as they can afford the weight penalty of an additional transformer.

So the HCMT can handle 1500VDC with restricted power draw, as a lower line voltage at the same power draw = higher current draw = higher risk of overloading the traction substation equipment. The new/replacement substations installed as part of CTD (Skyrail) are both capable of operating at a higher voltage (1950VDC, possibly 3000VDC but don't quote me on that one) and also have a much higher current capacity in concert with the beefier contact wires installed with the new overhead staunchions that are being put in all through the Caulfield to Dandenong section.

This has been bought on by two things:
  1. HCMTs draw more power than the existing Metro fleet for a variety of reasons (stronger aircon, better acceleration etc). I think they also might be heavier than X'Traps and Siemens units as well due to the new crashworthiness standards that have been imposed in recent times and the higher crush loading capacity (more people = more weight, also stronger carriages).
  2. The Metro timetable is becoming more intensive, placing a higher continuous power load on the existing traction substations throughout the network.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
When Geelong is electrified in the next few years will they chose to use AC ot will it be an expensive DC deployment?
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

I’d say almost certainly AC, given it would be relatively straightforward to keep it separate from the existing electrified network.

As others have pointed out above, transforming AC is an extremely simple process, and transformers of 99.9%+ efficiency can be virtually constructed in one’s garage.
  penguin2233 Locomotive Driver

Location: Craigieburn, Melbourne VIC
AC does better power delivery on long distance
Nooope. High Voltage Direct Current is in fact technically superior when it comes to point-to-point connections as you can use smaller conductors (no skin effect means the current travels through much more of the cross-section of the conductor) and you only need 1-2 cables/wires vs 3 for 3 phase AC.
High Voltage Alternating Current is used universally instead of HVAC because it's much, much easier to step up and step down the voltages with transformers. Only modern semiconductor power electronics have gotten DC-DC converters even remotely efficient enough to compete with AC. AC is also easier to generate with rotating plant (i.e power stations) as synchronous generators don't need brushes; AC circuit breakers are easier to build because you have zero-voltage points in the AC waveform that naturally interrupt the arc. AC power systems are also simpler to control because you can use frequency regulation to do so - power demand increases -> system frequency decreases -> raise power output and vice-versa.
LancedDendrite
Forgot about HVDC. AC is a lot cheaper that HVDC and HVDC is a bit difficult to setup. I'm placing all bets on AC being used for the time being. I do think in the future, we need to upgrade to HVDC, I've already heard some areas in Britan using HVDC for power delivery across towns. You should also check out this video I watched 2 months before making that post.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFQG9kuXSxg
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I am expecting an announcement regarding the Geelong line electrification shortly.

In all seriousness, why not remove metro from Sunshine to Melton and power with AC all the way to Ballarat and use HCMT rollingstock (with toilet facilities) for the route from the city through to Wendouree?

From Sunshine to Marshall for the Geelong line with HCMT again?

No DC from Sunshine west at all.
  John.Z Chief Train Controller

I am expecting an announcement regarding the Geelong line electrification shortly.

In all seriousness, why not remove metro from Sunshine to Melton and power with AC all the way to Ballarat and use HCMT rollingstock (with toilet facilities) for the route from the city through to Wendouree?

From Sunshine to Marshall for the Geelong line with HCMT again?

No DC from Sunshine west at all.
bevans
WV, Melton, Clarkefield will all be DC and part of the "Metro" network.

A smart government would extend SAS "metro" network to Geelong, Ballarat, Warrigal whilst providing a more expensive "high speed - ie non stop" service to these regions and beyond.
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
I strongly suspect a new substation will be installed in the old Malvern sidings area for the HCMT project.  After the last full weekend shutdown, massive new gantries were installed just up from the Glenferrie Rd bridge covering all four tracks.  From the location it looks like a new substation will be installed adjacent to the existing tramways substation.  

Not sure what is happening at Toorak though as I know there is a small power related system in that location. Time will tell.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
As I have said regularly, the best thing the government could do for Ballarat & Geelong passengers is to electrify to Wyndham Vale and Melton and to relieve V/Line of that responsibility (along with the associated track amplifications of course). This would provide Ballarat & Geelong trains with fewer stops to make along the way, and fewer passengers to pick up/drop off along the way.

Further to this, both major political parties have plans to increase the Vlocity fleet. This is inconsistent with supposed plans to electrify Geelong & Ballarat within 10 years. If electrification was to take place within 10 years, what would happen to the constantly growing fleet of Vlocities (currently 77, more are on order)? They certainly don't need that many for just Bendigo, Seymour & Traralgon.

HCMTs are to run to Cranbourne/Clyde & Pakenham only at first, then Sunbury after 2025 (Metro tunnel opening). HCMTs are not likely to run on any other line (With the only likely exceptions being Melton and Wyndham Vale). They are not fitted out for regional service, and they won't be.


Improvements to the Metro electrical supply (including both substations and overhead) is an ongoing job. Something that needs to be considered a full time job, not a one off. It's a big network, and its growth shows no signs of slowing.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

RE the additional VLos, see my post on the Victorian election thread for a quick analysis of how they could quite feasibly be used with Geelong and Ballarat run by high capacity electric commuter sets. It’s not as many as it would seem.

Electrifying Melton and WV seems certain under Labor; less so under the Coalition. In any case, if and when it happens, it will come with plenty of extra power, which is the subject of this thread!
  historian Deputy Commissioner

I’d say almost certainly AC, given it would be relatively straightforward to keep it separate from the existing electrified network.

As others have pointed out above, transforming AC is an extremely simple process, and transformers of 99.9%+ efficiency can be virtually constructed in one’s garage.
potatoinmymouth

The economics are likely to favour more of the existing 1500V DC:
1) Clearances around the overhead are significantly greater for 25kV AC than 1500V DC. The Geelong tunnel is known to be tight. I'd suspect they will need to dig out the floor (invert) to gain sufficient clearance for electrification at all, and a great deal of the floor for the additional clearances for 25kV AC. More earthworks is more expensive.
2) Metro electrification to Wyndham Vale and Melton will be 1500V DC for interworking the existing suburban lines. This means that roughly half of the distance to Geelong will already have 1500V DC infrastructure in place. I would suspect the marginal cost of adding additional 1500V DC capacity for the Geelong line on this section would be significantly less than building an additional set of 25kV AC infrastructure.
3) There would be no way of sharing track capacity between Southern Cross and Caroline Springs as traffic demands increase (and in emergencies).

A possible compromise would to dual fit the Geelong trains with 25kV AC/1500V DC. Electrify at 1500V DC to Manor Junction and 25kV from there. Technically feasible. Doesn't solve the problem of Geelong tunnel, and the 25kV AC is then a tiny technical orphan in the larger 1500V DC network. Dual fitting makes more sense if you are looking at a bigger electrification program (to Geelong/Ballarat/Bendigo).

The fundamental problem is that electrification to Geelong is too small to make the switch to 25kV AC worth it.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
After the last full weekend shutdown, massive new gantries were installed just up from the Glenferrie Rd bridge covering all four tracks.  From the location it looks like a new substation will be installed adjacent to the existing tramways substation.
"jdekorte"
Not meaning to derail the thread, but if E class trams (or their successors) are to be deployed anywhere besides all of three routes in the northern suburbs, they will also need to upgrade tramway power as well.
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
After the last full weekend shutdown, massive new gantries were installed just up from the Glenferrie Rd bridge covering all four tracks.  From the location it looks like a new substation will be installed adjacent to the existing tramways substation.
Not meaning to derail the thread, but if E class trams (or their successors) are to be deployed anywhere besides all of three routes in the northern suburbs, they will also need to upgrade tramway power as well.
Heihachi_73
This is true, and quite a number of new tramway substations have been added or upgraded, including the tramway substation in the old Malvern sidings area which had new conduits installed through the area and up Wattletree Rd. The project to upgrade tramway power is to provide overall power reliability across the whole network.
  n459L1150 Train Controller

Location: at sunbury on a V/line service into melbourne, waiting for thousands of impatient people to get on
all this talk of AC and DC puts me in the mood for THUNDERSTRUCK!!!!
  Richard stroker Locomotive Fireman

If Dan wins the election tommorow , he will put solar panels on the roofs .
Problem solved
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I thought that it was wind turbines on the roof but obviously I was mistaken.
Must have been Mathew Guy.
Rolling Eyes to both of them ...................
  Richard stroker Locomotive Fireman

Could be both if the greens win
  route14 Chief Commissioner

I think it's high time the regenerative braking on Xtrapolis and Siemens trains got activated.  With much higher frequencies that we now have than when those trains were introduced, there is a much higher possibility that there is an accelerating train in the same section.  The proposed additional substations shall also include the capacity to absorb unused regenerated energy.

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