Another major metro meltdown

 
  MetroFemme Chief Train Controller

the only line to the south east has been shutdown (the Sandringham line) stranding tens of thousands on passengers who are stuck in the city.

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  Lockie91 Train Controller

Person hit by a train, not exactly Metros fault or a meltdown.

South East bus replacement services have been altered to cover Sandringham.

No need for a new thread, disruptions would have been just fine.

Admins lock this one?
  MetroFemme Chief Train Controller

Channel nine news calling it a meltdown and it is considering all lines are now down.
  Lockie91 Train Controller

Dear lord, if 9News said it’s a meltdown it definitely must be. ????
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

Screw Ch9.  There's nothing much Metro can do if someone decides to suicide.
  712M Chief Commissioner

Whilst incidents like this are out of control of the operator, there are very few options to mitigate such major disruptions. As it happened the incident occurred at Hampton, being the second-to-last station on the line. However as there are no turn back points between Flinders Street and Sandringham the entire line had to be suspended leaving no service at all to South Yarra or any of the inner section. If crossovers were available at say Brighton Beach, Elsternwick and South Yarra, you could easily still run a partial service on the line.

This happened in the lead up to the afternoon peak, meaning that even the large number of buses on order for the Caulfield Group and intersecting tram lines could not possibly absorb the entire Sandringham line's patronage.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Whilst incidents like this are out of control of the operator, there are very few options to mitigate such major disruptions. As it happened the incident occurred at Hampton, being the second-to-last station on the line. However as there are no turn back points between Flinders Street and Sandringham the entire line had to be suspended leaving no service at all to South Yarra or any of the inner section. If crossovers were available at say Brighton Beach, Elsternwick and South Yarra, you could easily still run a partial service on the line.
712M
The bean-counters who seem to control infrastructure look at crossovers as an expensive waste, without considering their possible use in situations like this.
  574M White Guru

Location: Shepparton
How, then, is Brighton Beach stabling done?
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
How, then, is Brighton Beach stabling done?
574M
With the crossovers that exist there, that were chosen to be not used this evening during the disruption either due to laziness or incompetence.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

Elsternwick crossover booked out about a month back, can be used only with high level approval. BrightonBeach could have been perhaps used, but awkward for passengers beyond Middle Brighton (easiest to run an empty cars beyond, with special instructions for an up departure). Either option would have been better for most passengers. As to why Metro did so little with two places that were fine to use before they took over, and which still exist, ask them!
  ptvcommuter Train Controller

Can’t terminate trains at Brighton Beach Platform 1 as it is fenced and closed off to the public. There are also baulks on its railroad so no way a train can pull into the platform without some work being done.

You could however terminate at Middle Brighton and run trains empty to the Brighton Beach Crossover to terminate. I don’t understand why Metro sees this as being too hard. They’ve also managed to allow the infrastructure to continue to age and deteriorate which is why the ground frame does not work thus making it risky to terminate at Elsternwick
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Metro trains have booked out the crossovers and the platforms not maintaining the network to a standard which would allow for better service in times like this.

They must be partially accountable ?
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
Can’t terminate trains at Brighton Beach Platform 1 as it is fenced and closed off to the public. There are also baulks on its railroad so no way a train can pull into the platform without some work being done.

You could however terminate at Middle Brighton and run trains empty to the Brighton Beach Crossover to terminate. I don’t understand why Metro sees this as being too hard. They’ve also managed to allow the infrastructure to continue to age and deteriorate which is why the ground frame does not work thus making it risky to terminate at Elsternwick
ptvcommuter
Is Middle Brighton staffed?

The map lists it as a Customer Service Hub which I think means it is only staffed during the peaks (or possibly one of them?) I can understand not wanting to terminate at an unstaffed station, as it would require the driver to do a full sweep of the train to make sure no one is aboard before entering the stabling.

With a disruption like this, even if they know it will take a few hours, by the time you get platform staff in place at Middle Brighton, it's probably just as easy to call in the buses, especially if station staff will also need to help direct people to these.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Elsternwick crossover booked out about a month back, can be used only with high level approval. BrightonBeach could have been perhaps used, but awkward for passengers beyond Middle Brighton (easiest to run an empty cars beyond, with special instructions for an up departure). Either option would have been better for most passengers. As to why Metro did so little with two places that were fine to use before they took over, and which still exist, ask them!
hbedriver

Why was this not done in that case?
  route14 Chief Commissioner

I remember reading somewhere that the Brighton Beach siding is being occupied for the retrofitting of vigilance control.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

Brighton Beach they were doing the “VICERS” stuff, assume that’s finished. Last I heard they were stabling overnight in 2 and 3 roads. 1 platform still booked out for reasons that I guess Metro can explain (we just assume institutional stupidity, they deserve a chance to rebut).

Easy to terminate a passenger train at Middle Brighton then MT cars to BBH to turn back. BBH used to be staffed by a person qualified in the box so they could switch in any time, so that part should be easy assuming no extra poor ideas.

Using Middle Brighton to terminate gives plenty of trains apart from last 3 stations. Passengers usually very understanding with disruptions if honestly explained and they see staff trying.

As to Elsternwick, that used to be so easy. Baffles me why they didn’t use it last night.

Anyone would think Metro is incompetent...
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Brighton Beach they were doing the “VICERS” stuff, assume that’s finished. Last I heard they were stabling overnight in 2 and 3 roads. 1 platform still booked out for reasons that I guess Metro can explain (we just assume institutional stupidity, they deserve a chance to rebut).

Easy to terminate a passenger train at Middle Brighton then MT cars to BBH to turn back. BBH used to be staffed by a person qualified in the box so they could switch in any time, so that part should be easy assuming no extra poor ideas.

Using Middle Brighton to terminate gives plenty of trains apart from last 3 stations. Passengers usually very understanding with disruptions if honestly explained and they see staff trying.

As to Elsternwick, that used to be so easy. Baffles me why they didn’t use it last night.

Anyone would think Metro is incompetent...
hbedriver
Working in a control room is never as easy as it sounds, often initial reports will be confusing. In a case like this there is a good chance the driver is either in shock or only know something is wrong with the set. In which case maintence staff of the concerned division will need called. Now these people are ALWAYS busy and there may be a considerable delay before they can attend. If any emergency services are needed and its the weekend you will have "Buckley's chance"of a quick response. In fact its normal at these periods that the police will NOT attend unless some one has been killed.

All areas are under staffed, the companies maintenence, Police, Fire, Ambulance and SES all causing delays in the response. Note also, when I was working in the area (20 years ago), the SES were the ONLY people with insurance cover that allowed them to remove victims, NO ONE ELSE was permitted to touch any victim, without the danger of being sued.

Just a small idea of some of the problems involved.

woodford
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

With due respect to Woodford, I suspect you’ve missed the point.

The incident was between Brighton Beach and Sandringham, hence switching in either Brighton Beach or Elsternwick would have allowed trains to run for at least half their trip. Signaling by either a station person or a traveling Signaller easy to arrange. Both places are locally operated, no remote control room applies.

Wonder what Metro has to say!
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

I think there is an institutional issue at play here. We have a lot of people in the industry who have not mentally adjusted to the new realities of patronage and demand. The number of people being carried - even at off-peak times - is growing. The concept you can simply replace a line with buses just isn’t credible now. It’s a major logistical task.

So what’s the solution?

In my personal view we need to explore:
- designating key turn back locations, and staffing them to a level where they can manage this process during disruptions
- ensure stations are designed to cope with this in terms of speakers, signage, etc.
- improve standard bus connections between key stations so that they can start to absorb some of the demand until new buses arrive with more emphasis on cross town connections
- invest in turn back improvements so they can happen efficiently.  

For example: Bell and Heidelberg should have a higher frequency bus connection between them so that in emergencies this becomes a key link between the two lines.

There’s no one solution - but a package of things that can help keep passengers moving. And the scale of investment in this package needs to be commensurate with patronage growth.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
@Revenue you should apply for the head of operations at #metrotrains as this is simply a clear and concise plan addressing the symptomatology of institutional behaviour which simply cannot continue.  It is not sufficient to simply close lines and create havoc across a part of the network when it doesn't need to happen.

I have witnessed other events of this type.  Why can't trains be turned around at a major station like Heidelbery of there are issues beyond Heidelberg by way of example.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

I think there is an institutional issue at play here. We have a lot of people in the industry who have not mentally adjusted to the new realities of patronage and demand. The number of people being carried - even at off-peak times - is growing. The concept you can simply replace a line with buses just isn’t credible now. It’s a major logistical task.

So what’s the solution?

In my personal view we need to explore:
- designating key turn back locations, and staffing them to a level where they can manage this process during disruptions
- ensure stations are designed to cope with this in terms of speakers, signage, etc.
- improve standard bus connections between key stations so that they can start to absorb some of the demand until new buses arrive with more emphasis on cross town connections
- invest in turn back improvements so they can happen efficiently.  
Revenue

Absolutely; and I think the government (and Metro) need to think carefully about the location of the turnback stations. What they should do is implement a program of relocations that locates the turnbacks evenly along lines, at locations where passengers can easily transfer to buses, and where buses can easily access major arterial roads.

A useful addition would be co-ordination with VicRoads and VicPol so that the road network was tweaked to facilitate bus movements (traffic light co-ordination, traffic police).

The location of the current turnbacks are largely historical accidents - former major locations (Heidelberg, Elsternwick); locations that had goods sidings (Bell, formerly Fairfield) or have stabling sidings (Macleod, Brighton Beach). The consequence is that they are not evenly distributed along the line (Brighton Beach), nor are they well located on the road network (Macleod), or are just atrocious for passenger exchanges (Heidelberg).
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
If you consider the size of the task and the size of the city then it is not acceptable the way the incidents are managed.

Would you do the same for V/Line on their network?
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

I think the concept of considering turn back locations from a blank sheet of paper has merit - even if it takes a decade to deliver. The road network must be considered carefully as does patronage and other factors.

I don’t think this is all on Metro. There needs to be a coordinated pattern of investment on infrastructure, staffing, bus services, information, etc.

Anyone want to suggest any specific interventions and why they think they would be a good idea?

Off the top of my head:
- Bell (soon to be a new station) - Heidelberg with both stations to be upgraded to allow for effective bussing between those lines
- Coolaroo - Upfield (very short distance for cross link)
- Murrumbeena to East Malvern (short distance, car park to be altered to allow for bus replacements to be brought in).

But we are talking about millions of dollars so this isn’t easy or quick.  But worth having something to work towards. My question is where are the quick wins?
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
How do we get millions from a few turnbacks?  

What about the ones in place now?
  Revenue Chief Commissioner

You’re assuming the current turn backs are in the right locations - and match with the road network, potential to run buses, stations with capacity to deal with disruptions and staffing. I’m not sure that’s true in all cases.

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