Electrification

 
  SteelPan Locomotive Fireman

OK, forgive me for raising this one, I dare say people have before.

But, on the couple of trips I've made to Adelaide over the years [nice place too], the suburban system has always pleasantly suprised by its scale and apparent usage.

It therefore suprises me that electrification is not a higher priority.  I certainly reckon the Adelaide system is well past the point of say where Brissy's was in the 70's or Perth's in the 80's when their respective systems were electrified.

Obviously, pollies won't want to do it [it's rail and infrastructure and most of them have a 5min agenda horizon], so is their anyone in Adelaide making enough noise to get this on the public agenda?

[Adelaide/SA up to now often underrated - I rekcon both have a very bright future!]

Sorry again for raising probably an old SA discussion, but being a Qld'er I'm just catching up!  Wink

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  E1109 Minister for Railways

Location: Bright sunny Darwin
Electrification of the SA metro network has been bandied about for decades now. The 2000/3000 series railcars were supposedly designed for conversion to electric traction should this ever occur. Have a dig through the SA forums as this topic has been covered in depth before but has gone quiet again in the last couple of months.
  2001 Moderator The Snow Lord

Location: The road jump at Charlotte Pass. Paxman Valenta on two planks.
OK, forgive me for raising this one, I dare say people have before.
"SteelPan"


Don't apologise; this is an open forum and many topics get recycled. If anything whatsoever is of interest to yourself then just go ahead and have your say.....but never apologise, OK? Wink

But, on the couple of trips I've made to Adelaide over the years [nice place too], the suburban system has always pleasantly suprised by its scale and apparent usage.
"SteelPan"


Indeed it is well patronised, but as for scale the network size is actually quite small when you factor the size of the Metropolitan area.

In Adelaide, the public transport system remains dominated by the Bus Network, with rails a distant second.

It therefore suprises me that electrification is not a higher priority.  I certainly reckon the Adelaide system is well past the point of say where Brissy's was in the 70's or Perth's in the 80's when their respective systems were electrified.
"SteelPan"


I believe it is inevitable that the suburban network will be electrified. However, it is conceivable that the city will start to be given new tram routes before the trains become converted to electric operation.

The vision, it seems, is now fixed on the renaissance of Electric Trams in the greater Adelaide area.

Many people are also encompassing, within that same vision, a conversion of one or more of the suburban rail routes into 'Light Rail'

Obviously, pollies won't want to do it [it's rail and infrastructure and most of them have a 5min agenda horizon], so is their anyone in Adelaide making enough noise to get this on the public agenda?
"SteelPan"


At the present, the State Government has committed to extending the existing tram route by one kilometre down King William Street, and into North Terrace.

Certainly there is a large public support behind electrification, but there remains at the same time a disgruntled section of the community who disagree with any new tram extensions.



Sorry again for raising probably an old SA discussion, but being a Qld'er I'm just catching up!  Wink
"SteelPan"


Didn't I just tell you NOT to apologise? Wink
  SteelPan Locomotive Fireman

Thanks for that.
And also, sorry for apologising!  Laughing
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
One of my favourite state politicians said that he'd electrify our state's passenger network, infrastructure was sold, lines ripped up (wholesale) now we have a Festival Theatre... yay!  Rolling EyesMadEvil or Very Mad
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
Where's the power going to come from for electrification? Alot of us probably can't even run our air conditioners at home over summer.

Can one of you pro-elctrifaction people please provide me with a list of proven positives over diesel?
  E1109 Minister for Railways

Location: Bright sunny Darwin
Where's the power going to come from for electrification? Alot of us probably can't even run our air conditioners at home over summer.
"simont141"


This is one of the biggest hurdles to electrification of Adelaides' lines being a reliable power supply. The only way around this is for the construction of a seperate power station/s with a seperate railway exclusive distribution facilities to be built. Big $$$...
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Where's the power going to come from for electrification? Alot of us probably can't even run our air conditioners at home over summer.
"simont141"


Hear, hear! I am not necessarily a fan of either diesel or electric, but I will always be annoyed that some pollie had the cash to do a job as they said they would but instead squandered the money on another project!
  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
Where's the power going to come from for electrification? Alot of us probably can't even run our air conditioners at home over summer.

Can one of you pro-elctrifaction people please provide me with a list of proven positives over diesel?
"simont141"


Go over to the NZ threads... read the analysis done for ARC on Perth - plenty of convincing arguments why electrification is better, including economics.

Your post is just "SA exceptionalism" next you'll be saying only stobies should be used, otherwise no CHAAHNCE of it being done  Rolling Eyes
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Hey Riccardo the stobie pole idea sounds great, it would certainly save us tax payers a bit of money, anything to cheapen it up! Rolling EyesRolling EyesRolling EyesRolling EyesRolling EyesRolling Eyes
  Tom Chief Commissioner

Location: Southern Adelaide
Where's the power going to come from for electrification? Alot of us probably can't even run our air conditioners at home over summer.
"simont141"


Another Aguement for a NUKE STATION  Very HappyVery HappyVery Happy
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
Where's the power going to come from for electrification? Alot of us probably can't even run our air conditioners at home over summer.

Can one of you pro-elctrifaction people please provide me with a list of proven positives over diesel?
"simont141"


Your post is just "SA exceptionalism" next you'll be saying only stobies should be used, otherwise no CHAAHNCE of it being done  Rolling Eyes
"Riccardo"


No, I'm just not that educated on the subject. I simply just can't see the benefits of electrification at this stage - Which is why I'll take your advice read those threads you suggested.
  Alyx Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, Australia
Where's the power going to come from for electrification? Alot of us probably can't even run our air conditioners at home over summer.
"simont141"


Another Aguement for a NUKE STATION  Very HappyVery HappyVery Happy
"Tom"


No thanks.
  -Bazza- Deputy Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Another Aguement for a NUKE STATION  Very HappyVery HappyVery Happy
"Tom"


No thanks.
"Alyx"


Carn you know you want to. Wink

Just think sbout it - in the event of an accident not only would we all develop a healthy green glow but we could also spawn tails and the ability to go Super Saiyan. Twisted Evil
  Adelaide_passenger Chief Train Controller

Location: Still waiting for that train
Personally, I wouldn't care if the state embraced Nuclear energy. The need to embrace new sources for our energy requirements, other than the traditional coal and gas fired power plants, is dawning very near.

The Torrens Island power stations, though not Nuclear, are still hideous things to look at on the landscape.

SA, already has tonnes of desert wasteland to safely dispose of any wastes, far away from civilisation.

Honestly, if countries with high density populations such as Britain, France, the US, and a plentitude of others, can live with Nuclear Energy.... Why couldn't we?

Besides, the state could, ask for concessions from the federal government to electrify the transport system, on the basis that nuclear energy, will power it.
  2001 Moderator The Snow Lord

Location: The road jump at Charlotte Pass. Paxman Valenta on two planks.
Combustion Engine?... Electric Engine?.... Nuclear-powered Engine?

If we can't come to an agreement on any of the above then we'll just have to plan our transport future on Clockwork Engines in our trains.

Ha Ha Ha  Rolling Eyes
  AtD Junior Train Controller

Location: Northern Adelaide
This is one of the biggest hurdles to electrification of Adelaides' lines being a reliable power supply. The only way around this is for the construction of a seperate power station/s with a seperate railway exclusive distribution facilities to be built. Big $$$...
"E1109"


I was under the impression that the issues with Adelaide's electricity were more to do with transmission than generation - ie infastructure such as transformers that were placed before every house had a computer, three TVs, air conditioning, etc.

That being said, the amount of juice a railway would conusme would be nothing compared to many industrial places.
  Byrnesy Minister for Railways

Location: Gone
Where's the power going to come from for electrification? Alot of us probably can't even run our air conditioners at home over summer.

Can one of you pro-elctrifaction people please provide me with a list of proven positives over diesel?
"simont141"


Two come to mind immediately:

1) It takes longer for a diesel-powered train to build up speed. This is particularly the case when pulling out of a station. So, electrification could lead to a tangible reduction in travel times.

2) Its cleaner. And just think- with electrification, you won't have to put with the stench of diesel fumes at Adelaide station anymore! RazzWink
  4BJ Chief Commissioner

Location: Backside trackside at Hawthorn near Mitcham
Electrification.  That old chestnut.

I should give it the Flying Pig, but I won't, as I would like to see it happen in my lifetime.  How much money could be freed up if the Government did the sensible thing and handed over trivial things like health and education to Canberra...  Shocked
  AtD Junior Train Controller

Location: Northern Adelaide
Electric motors are more efficiant than combustion engines (talking >99% for an electric, while combustion engines spit a lot of it out the exaust pipe). Since the 3000's are already electric trains with diesel generators on board (from my understanding anyway), the train itself would be lighter (thus more powerful) and there would be less loss though transformation.

But I'm no engineer and I have NFI what I'm on about to be honest.
  dvdplaza Chief Train Controller

the 3000's are already electric trains with diesel generators on board
"AtD"
Exactly.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Electric motors are pretty efficient, but I think that claiming η >99% might just be a bit of a stretch, η=96% might be more achievable, for a large scale motor (ie train traction motor) an acceptable η might be down to 80%.

Internal combustion engines do spit some of their energy out of the exhaust, but some of the energy used to supply the motors powering your train is spat out the smoke stack at Torrens Island, and a not inconsiderable amount is lost in the transmission from Torrens Island to your train.

When all is considered, I doubt that there is that much difference.
  colinw Chief Commissioner

The real benefit of electrification as done in Perth & Brisbane was the effect of "system renewal".

It wasn't just shiny new trains.  It was major track work to bring track up to 100km/h standard, improvements to signalling, upgrades to stations, and generally a better image and higher public profile for the system.

Both Brisbane & Perth experienced huge patronage growth in the years after electrification - in the mid '70s Adelaide, Perth & Brisbane all had similar overall levels of rail patronage - around 8 to 10 million journeys per year.  Now Brisbane is running at something like 5x the level of Adelaide (pushing 50 million a year) and Perth at about 3x (about 31 million last I heard).

The risk I see for Adelaide is that of "more of the same".  Just keep on going with more orders of diesel railcars, as the system slowly fades from public view.  It is not impossible to imagine it being shut down - it nearly happened in Perth (Fremantle line closed for a while) and Brisbane (serious proposals in the 1970s to close the Doomben/Pinkenba line, Lota line, Beenleigh past Kuraby, Ferny Grove past Keperra).

Still there are major issues which need to be addressed before electrification can happen.

1. Adelaide has a fleet of decent, relatively modern diesel railcars.  These need to either be converted or the system run in a "mixed" mode of operation - possibly by using the diesels for long express runs to places like Gawler while the new electrics do the all-stops services where their better acceleration is a major asset.

2. The track standard in Adelaide has probably decayed even further than some of Brisbane's lines had, so more expensive to fix up to standard for 100 km/h+ electrics.

3. Gauge.  Convert or stay with broad gauge?

4. Power transmission & generation - a bigger problem in Adelaide than in either Perth or Brisbane.

5. Funding.  SA isn't that well off compared to either QLD or WA, and Brisbane only happened because Whitlam gave QLD a big bag of money (and was set to do the same for the Adelaide system before 11/11/75)

6. What kind of electrification.  I have a feeling that rather than doing a Perth/Brisbane style 25KV mainline type electrification, Adelaide would be more suitable for morphing into something more the 750V DC systems which run in San Diego, Portland, LA.  These trains have performance equivalent to a QR CityTrain EMU (so good for distances like the Gawler line - the Long Beach blue line in LA is a similar length to Noarlunga). On reserved track these can get up and hoot along at 90 to 100 km/h, but can negotiate very tight corners and on-street sections.

The real beauty of some of the new US systems is the way they perform to a similar level to heavy rail when running on a normal railway, but can just take off down the street to access "down town" destinations, or to get through "tight spots" where resuming a full corridor would be expensive.  The Blue Line does this in a couple of places - there's one bit about two thirds of the way along where the old Pacfic Electric right of way was unavailable, so the line just goes down to single track, hangs a tight 90 degree turn and tools along the middle of the street for a bit, then after a few hundred metres gets onto another dedicated corridor and you're off at speed again.



  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
Good post. What about population though? Qld has 4 million, WA 2.1 million and SA 1.5 million. While I'm not sure what the spatial distributions of the populations are, I'm assuming that an equal number relative to the population live in each capital city. Is it viable as well as feasible for a new system with a population this small? Or is it a case of "Build it and they will come"?
  colinw Chief Commissioner

Good post. What about population though? Qld has 4 million, WA 2.1 million and SA 1.5 million. While I'm not sure what the spatial distributions of the populations are, I'm assuming that an equal number relative to the population live in each capital city. Is it viable as well as feasible for a new system with a population this small? Or is it a case of "Build it and they will come"?
"simont141"

It is more instructive to compare the population of Adelaide with Brisbane when the decision to electrify was made. Queensland has four million NOW.  In the mid 1970s when the decision to electrify was made, Brisbane was well under a million, smaller than Adelaide is now, and the population of Queensland was only 2 million.  The radical growth in in the last 30 years can be seen by how long it took to add each additional million population.

Queensland population miletones:
250,000 - 1883
500,000 - 1901
1,000,000 -  1938
2,000,000 - 1974
3,000,000 - 1992
4,000,000 - 2005

South Australia is far more heavily centralised than Queensland is - less than half of all Queenslanders live in Brisbane.

The decision to electrify & modernise predated the huge growth of recent years, although the Gold Coast was already showing signs of what was to come, and indeed already was in 1960 when the short sighted decision to close the Tweed Heads section of the old South Coast line was made.

"Build it and they will come" certainly seems to have worked for both CityTrain and TransPerth.

We're doing it right with the Springfield line - the four lane motorway and railway to Springfield will open by about 2011, and will be in place ahead of the major growth in the area.

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