Questions about Tonsley line upgrade

 
  touring Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide
As the government has been spending lots of money at Tonsley and on the line upgrade, I thought I would write a good news story about what's happening in the area.

I sent a few questions through to DPTI's media unit, and here are the answers:

1. When is the Tonsley line currently expected to re-open


The duplication works are expected to be completed soon and an announcement will be made about the timetables for the Tonsley service which will be integrated into the new Seaford line timetable.


2. Will it be a single line or two lines in operation


The State Government is currently working to duplicate the Tonsley line to enable increased frequencies to cater for the expected growth in patronage once the TAFE college and Flinders University campus are opened at the old Mitsubishi site.


3. How will it benefit students at the TAFE


This rail line is a key part of Adelaide's public transport network, bringing more than 20,000 people each day to work at the Flinders University, the Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders Private Hospital.

More than 10,000 TAFE and Flinders University students are also expected to move to new campuses as part of the Tonsley Park redevelopment. The upgraded line is expected to cater for an increase of 450% in commuters using the Clovelly Park station and 600% increase at the Tonsley station by 2015.


4. Are there other benefits to residents of the area


The Tonsley line is also being prepared for electrification although diesel rail cars will continue to provide this service when it resumes early this year.

5. Any other related information that is relevant to the topic


At this time, the State Government is unable to proceed with all of the plans for the $63 million Tonsley Park Transport Project, such as station upgrades, a new bus interchange and road extensions due to the Commonwealth's decision to withdraw its $31.5 million share of the funding committed by the previous Government.

It seems I would have been better off making up the answers myself, with only about 1.5 correct answers to the 5 questions.
In the end I went for a walk to take a look for myself, as obviously the PR people only cut and paste.

Images

http://www.flickr.com/photos/touring123/sets/72157639755322024/

EDIT: Tried to fix the image link. With the old version of forum software, posting a link to Flickr gave a preview of the images on here. It doesn't seem to work any more Sad

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  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I am pleased you added your commentary paragraph at the end, that for me was possibly the most interesting bit. They certainly were cut and paste answers, made the whole thing look a little Dorothory Dixer to me.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

They certainly were a cut and paste job, but none of them were actual answers.

Chloe Fox can be found at Adelaide Station performing her most useful work as Transport Services Minister to date (handing out water bottles during the afternoon peak) so you could take an afternoon trip into the city and ask in person.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
They certainly were a cut and paste job, but none of them were actual answers.

Chloe Fox can be found at Adelaide Station performing her most useful work as Transport Services Minister to date (handing out water bottles during the afternoon peak) so you could take an afternoon trip into the city and ask in person.
justapassenger

Hahahahahahahahahahqahaha Chloe Fox answer a question, you are kidding are you not, she did not even know the gauge of the trains on Adelaide Metro track which is pretty simple to find out if you want and you expect her to answer technical questions. Miracles like that just don't happen ever.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Ministers rarely if ever know anything about the Govt department they run.
They arnt selected on the basis of their knowledge, but on their standing in the party.
Its one of the fundamental flaws in the Westminster system of Govt.
The only exception, thats usually followed is that the Attorney general must have some legal background.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
In her case I would not let her run the day care centre for young children somewhere. She really has no clue in most cases but that would probably be the reason she was put onto that portfolio as she is only partially responsible for it. Did she have to be instructed on how to hand out those water bottles, most probably so because she has never had to do it! She really is the weakest link in this elected Government. But I doubt she will even remain in parliament after the next election. Well one can hope anyway.

She obviously does not have good advisors or people that can check things for her, you know spin doctors.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
In her case I would not let her run the day care centre for young children somewhere. She really has no clue in most cases but that would probably be the reason she was put onto that portfolio as she is only partially responsible for it. Did she have to be instructed on how to hand out those water bottles, most probably so because she has never had to do it! She really is the weakest link in this elected Government. But I doubt she will even remain in parliament after the next election. Well one can hope anyway.

She obviously does not have good advisors or people that can check things for her, you know spin doctors.
"David Peters"
I rarely defend Chloe, but you know sometimes the opportunity is just too good. Not that well versed in Chloe's qualifications much? Day care centre? She's a trained (former) school teacher, a day care centre is probably something she's most qualified to do!

She's Minister for transport services, frankly the track gauge is not something I require her to know, it's an irrelevant number that in no way impacts on transport servicing.

She's not done an amazing job, and she's all but assured of losing her seat at the coming election, but she has always been Pat and Tom's fall girl - proving the stupidity of the wider ALP movement in the state. In the mean time she's probably doing/done all that she can, infrastructure upgrades are Tom's responsibility, but once again we see Chloe take the fall while Tom is where? Be thankful in some respect that Chloe is demonstrating having 'the balls' out of the two Minister's possibly responsible and putting herself in the public firing line, I doubt you'd do the same in her position...
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I don't know that Chloë would be the best person to have in charge of a childcare centre, it's a much harder job than teaching French and History to posh kids from Toorak Gardens.

The principle remains, the point of a minister is to have somebody who can hold the public servants accountable when their work is questioned, and who in turn can be held accountable by the opposition and the electors. Unless the public servants at the department actually don't have a clue when they'll be able to open the Tonsley line, knowing if/when a train line will open is a fair question to ask her. After all, as a secondary teacher you would expect schedules, timetables and due dates to be right up her alley.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I don't know that Chloë would be the best person to have in charge of a childcare centre, it's a much harder job than teaching French and History to posh kids from Toorak Gardens.

The principle remains, the point of a minister is to have somebody who can hold the public servants accountable when their work is questioned, and who in turn can be held accountable by the opposition and the electors. Unless the public servants at the department actually don't have a clue when they'll be able to open the Tonsley line, knowing if/when a train line will open is a fair question to ask her. After all, as a secondary teacher you would expect schedules, timetables and due dates to be right up her alley.
"justapassenger"
I suspect the dept has no idea when the line will open, I suspect they are still trying to work out how to break it to the electorate that the Seaford line needs to be shut to do it... Sure the shutdown should take 'a day or weekend' but let's face it, there's the trackage, ballasting, some degree of tamp, signalling to integrate, and the track record has been ... Well, let's just say they've broken all records for track shutdowns...
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

I think the problem lies in the department not knowing what they have to do.

Too many questions.

Do they get the Tonsley line back into service asap?
Do they run it with DMUs?
Do they wait for electrification?
Do the wait until the junction is upgraded?
Do they wait until the station upgrades are done?
Does anybody want to use it?

Too many compromises and maximum opportunities for stuff ups.

Before the electrification is essential, the junction could be done with a weekend shutdown. Actually it could be done in 12 hours; it would take planning, something which seems rare.

Ian
  touring Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide
The answers I posted were not from the information line people, they were from dedicated media unit people trained to respond to the press.

Given that the Tonsley TAFE is due to open at the end of this month with many thousands of students needing to get there, I was somewhat shocked to find that DPTI doesn't actually seem to have a plan.

I think Aaron and steam4ian may be closest to the mark.

I'm tempted to cut and paste their responses into my article to show my readers what idiots there are in DPTI.

As DPTI don't seem to be able to explain the dual line situation, can anyone on here explain to me (in layman's terms) why the line is only being duplicated to somewhere north of Celtic Ave? Presumably most of the passengers will be at Clovelly Park, or possibly Tonsley if an interchange eventuates.
  2001 The Snow Lord

Location: The road jump at Charlotte Pass. Paxman Valenta on two planks.
It took six years to complete the Channel Tunnels between England and  France.

A spur line in the south of Adelaide, and almost one third of that time duration approaches.

Keep soldiering on, lads.
  ashpit Beginner

Location: Near Tonsley Junction

As DPTI don't seem to be able to explain the dual line situation, can anyone on here explain to me (in layman's terms) why the line is only being duplicated to somewhere north of Celtic Ave? Presumably most of the passengers will be at Clovelly Park, or possibly Tonsley if an interchange eventuates.
touring

Just my summation for the partial duplication.

1. The cost of duplicating the entire line adds considerably to the overall project.

2. When the line was a single track, only one train at a time could occupy the entire length, whereby a down Tonsley train wishing to enter the line would have to be held on the down main until any train already on the branch had cleared. This would also mean the Noarlunga up main line signal would have had to be held at stop to allow a Tonsley train to exit.
I have seen the situation where a down Tonsley train was sitting on the main line at a red signal waiting to get clearance to enter the branch, with a down Brighton and a down Noarlunga express lined up behind it.

3. With duplication of the Tonsley line, even though only partially, it means a down train can now enter the branch whilst an up train is still within the branch, only now on the duplicated section. With the increase in services the controllers will now have an essential easier means of controlling trains on the main line and the Tonsley line in the event of train running out of their timetabled path.

This is only my thoughts. Very Happy
  touring Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide
Thanks ashpit, that explanation makes perfect sense!
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Just my summation for the partial duplication.

1. The cost of duplicating the entire line adds considerably to the overall project.

2. When the line was a single track, only one train at a time could occupy the entire length, whereby a down Tonsley train wishing to enter the line would have to be held on the down main until any train already on the branch had cleared. This would also mean the Noarlunga up main line signal would have had to be held at stop to allow a Tonsley train to exit.
I have seen the situation where a down Tonsley train was sitting on the main line at a red signal waiting to get clearance to enter the branch, with a down Brighton and a down Noarlunga express lined up behind it.

3. With duplication of the Tonsley line, even though only partially, it means a down train can now enter the branch whilst an up train is still within the branch, only now on the duplicated section. With the increase in services the controllers will now have an essential easier means of controlling trains on the main line and the Tonsley line in the event of train running out of their timetabled path.

This is only my thoughts. Very Happy
"ashpit"
That's pretty much it, but up and down terms may confuse a layperson. To further simplify it a bit more, two Tonsley trains can pass each other away from holding up the line to Seaford. If the train from Tonsley is slightly late the next train to Tonsley can pull into the double track section leaving the Seaford line clear and wait for the other train from Tonsley. If the train to Tonsley is slightly early, or the train from Tonsley (presumably an all stations train) needs to be held up to allow an express from Oaklands to Adelaide through then both Tonsley trains can be held in the dual track section again, keeping the line to Seaford clear.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

The answers I posted were not from the information line people, they were from dedicated media unit people trained to respond to the press.

Given that the Tonsley TAFE is due to open at the end of this month with many thousands of students needing to get there, I was somewhat shocked to find that DPTI doesn't actually seem to have a plan.
"touring"
I expect that immediate arrangements with the South Road bus routes will involve F, T and X buses stopping on request at the nearest stop outside the Tonsley precinct. Once there is road access through Tonsley Park to Alawoona Avenue we might see the diversion of some bus routes such as the G10, 300, 719, 720 and W90 through Tonsley Park.

These bus-related steps will need to happen for the Tonsley Park precinct (it's a lot more than just the TAFE) regardless of what happens with the train line, the train line simply won't have enough access to enough of the catchment for the precinct.
As DPTI don't seem to be able to explain the dual line situation, can anyone on here explain to me (in layman's terms) why the line is only being duplicated to somewhere north of Celtic Ave? Presumably most of the passengers will be at Clovelly Park, or possibly Tonsley if an interchange eventuates.
"touring"
The duplicated line only needs to go that far to be capable of comfortably running a service of up to four trains per hour (that's four each way, not 2 Tonsley + 2 City = 4 trains total) because it will take less than 15 minutes for the Tonsley train to get past the end of the double track, terminate at Tonsley and get onto the double track again on the return trip to the city before the next Tonsley train gets to the double track. The best way to understand it is to go to Noarlunga and watch the 4tph service there during the day, you'll see that the trains during the day only use one platform track.

The previous arrangement on the Tonsley spur (single line all the way from the junction) was only capable of taking a shortest interval of 17 minutes, which required everything to be running almost perfectly on time - it wasn't a plan fit for use in the real world.

A 4tph service will not be needed any time soon though, not when there is no plan for a proper interchange with a train-bus transfer distance of less than 100 metres. There was a "plan" for an "interchange" which involved crossing Sturt Road for a total train-bus transfer distance of around 340 metres, which for all intents and purposes is an interchange in name only.  As I've said numerous times, it can only work if Tonsley station gets replaced by a proper Bedford Park interchange station across the other side of Sturt Road, allowing outer south buses from Main South Road, the SExy and Flagstaff Road to transfer their passengers onto trains there instead of inching along congested stroads* between there and the city. I'm not a Liberal supporter, but I'm glad that the Abbott Government cut the funding to make sure such a bad project did not proceed.

* a route combining features of both a road (multiple lanes, high speed through traffic, signalled intersections) and a street (footpaths, property access, local low speed traffic) to make an inefficient and dangerous hybrid. Goodwood Road north of Daws Road is an excellent (i.e. horrible) example, as is South Road between Daws Road and the tram overpass.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
That's pretty much it, but up and down terms may confuse a layperson. To further simplify it a bit more, two Tonsley trains can pass each other away from holding up the line to Seaford. If the train from Tonsley is slightly late the next train to Tonsley can pull into the double track section leaving the Seaford line clear and wait for the other train from Tonsley. If the train to Tonsley is slightly early, or the train from Tonsley (presumably an all stations train) needs to be held up to allow an express from Oaklands to Adelaide through then both Tonsley trains can be held in the dual track section again, keeping the line to Seaford clear.
Aaron

Exactly what happens at Woodville on the Grange line the railcar departing Woodville to Grange simply moves up to the signal that lets it onto the single line track and waits till the Adelaide bound railcar gets there and clears. It works beautifully there and has done for a long while. The Junction etc for the Tonsley line is set up the same anyone want to see it in action just visit Woodville and take note when a Grange train arrives or departs.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

An even simpler way to see that work would be to head to Noarlunga, where the 4 tph service throughout the day operates using just one track at the station, like the other one isn't even there. Unlike the Grange or Tonsley spurs, the whole process can be seen from the one spot - the arriving service from the city crossing over to the western track, laying over in the platform, then departing for the city and passing the crossover in plenty of time before the next one arrives.
  touring Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide
Thanks for your contributions everyone, I might get out to watch trains after the current heat wave.

I have uploaded four new photos on Flickr for anyone interested.
Image link

In summary it seems the following upgrades have occurred on the Tonsley line.

Partial duplication of track to enable 4 tph
Electrification of track and new sleepers/ballast
New signalling equipment
No upgrades to any of the stations

Without knowing how many Mitsubishi workers formerly used the train, I guess it's going to be hard to compare with 6,500 new TAFE students using the campus shortly As justapassenger notes, bus transport will be a significant factor.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

In summary it seems the following upgrades have occurred on the Tonsley line.

Partial duplication of track to enable 4 tph
Electrification of track and new sleepers/ballast
New signalling equipment
No upgrades to any of the stations
"touring"

Electrification works have only started, and are nowhere near completion with parts of the line having masts without any attached hardware at this point, and no information available on what other electrification-related works need to be completed such as earthing, tree lopping etc. The electrification contractors will finish Tonsley when they feel like it once they are no longer concentrating on getting Seaford-Adelaide up and running before the election before it is half a year late in six weeks' time.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
...There was a "plan" for an "interchange" which involved crossing Sturt Road for a total train-bus transfer distance of around 340 metres, which for all intents and purposes is an interchange in name only. As I've said numerous times, it can only work if Tonsley station gets replaced by a proper Bedford Park interchange station across the other side of Sturt Road, allowing outer south buses from Main South Road, the SExy and Flagstaff Road to transfer their passengers onto trains there instead of inching along congested stroads* between there and the city. I'm not a Liberal supporter, but I'm glad that the Abbott Government cut the funding to make sure such a bad project did not proceed.
justapassenger

I'm not a Liberal supporter either, not that that would matter to most of you, and I too am glad that the half-baked idea of providing an 'interchange' that was one in name only isn't going ahead. 'Just a Passenger's' proposal of a short extension to the line across Sturt Road with a cross-platform interchange with multiple bus routes is both eminently sensible and affordable.

We need to be aware that gold plated proposals like overhead stations will not be built in the foreseeable future. We may have one of the lowest levels of government debt in the world, but in the current climate any costly project has Buckley's chance of being implemented.

Quite apart from the idiocy of inconveniencing every passenger every time they use an overhead station for ever and a day, the current congestion at Oaklands DEMANDS a much simpler solution which wouldn't interfere with train running at all, except possibly for some temporary speed restrictions during construction. That is separate low bridges over a boxed in station for Morphett and Diagonal Roads, with their interchange being located near the State Swimming Centre, using the oodles of vacant land and existing street alignments that have been there for as long as I have lived in the area.
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
IIRC, there is an agreement that any new railway line must be fully grade separated as a recommendation from the Salisbury and Kerang Train/Road Vehicle accidents. Thus extending the line across the Sturt Rd can't be done, unless grade separated. Hence not a single level crossing between Noarlunga and Seaford.

By converting to a Tram/Train, they could use an at-grade crossing as the tram is a rail guided road vehicle (Don't quote me).
  Tonsley213 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Everywhere except South Kensington
Why not just move the bus interchange?
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

IIRC, there is an agreement that any new railway line must be fully grade separated as a recommendation from the Salisbury and Kerang Train/Road Vehicle accidents. Thus extending the line across the Sturt Rd can't be done, unless grade separated. Hence not a single level crossing between Noarlunga and Seaford.

By converting to a Tram/Train, they could use an at-grade crossing as the tram is a rail guided road vehicle (Don't quote me).
witsend

The rail can cross Sturt Road at grade it only needs a bit of creativity surrounding the signalling.

Trains need only move over the road at shunting speed because they will be pulling up at the platform anyway, or just pulling away.

The presence of road vehicles on the crossing environs can be detected by various means including infra red, radar, magnetic loop or photo optic.

The action would be the train approaches the crossing and the warning sounds and the traffic lights show red then the flashing lights operate and the booms lower. Once no vehicles are detected on the track and the booms are down then the rail signal is cleared to give a shunt speed indication and the train approaches the platform. QED.

This is different to Park Tce. Salisbury where trains need to be able to proceed at track speed. Plenty of warning can be given so a train can be anticipated. Kerang was a special case because basically a trucky thought he could ignore the train.

If what you say is correct then the whole Adelaide system except from Lonsdale to Seaford should be shut down.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

IIRC, there is an agreement that any new railway line must be fully grade separated as a recommendation from the Salisbury and Kerang Train/Road Vehicle accidents. Thus extending the line across the Sturt Rd can't be done, unless grade separated.
"witsend"
It might just be that my copy of the Constitution of Australia is a little outdated (it was presented to me by my MP as a souvenir of a personally guided tour of Parliament House back in 2001) but I've had a flick through it and can't seem to find any Amendment to the Constitution prohitibing level crossings. Maybe it's a binding international treaty you're referring to?

If it's not in the Constitution and it's not a Treaty, this "agreement" can be un-agreed or a derogation issues just as easily as it was agreed in the first place. If it was a non-binding recommendation, it has no force in the first place.
By converting to a Tram/Train, they could use an at-grade crossing as the tram is a rail guided road vehicle (Don't quote me).
"witsend"
Sounds like that could be easily sorted out by the state declaring that the A-City EMUs, when operating on what would become the Bedford Park line, are train-trams.

The issue of safety would be easily sorted out by a 25 km/h speed on the approach to the crossing (to allow the train driver to visually check the crossing is clear and adequate distance to stop if it isn't) and radar/laser object detection providing signalled protection of the crossing as a backup. Being right next to the terminus, a speed restriction would not be a great imposition. A level crossing would be far safer than the alternative of putting people in the firing line of heavy traffic as they cross Sturt Road on foot.
Hence not a single level crossing between Noarlunga and Seaford.
"witsend"
Correlation ≠ causation. Even if the Constitution didn't outlaw level crossings, the topology of the route would dictate that it would have been built without any level crossings.

Why not just move the bus interchange?
"Tonsley213"
We're talking about a new bus interchange, not an existing one that needs to be shifted. There is not adequate space north of Sturt Road where there are local streets and an ambulance station restricting the space available. More importantly, putting it between Sturt and South Roads where there is plenty of vacant space would make for much more efficient running of the buses using the interchange, whether the routes head towards Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University, towards Marion Shopping Centre, or to the outer south on Flagstaff Road, South Road or the Southern Expressway.

It would be far cheaper to build too, why spend many millions of dollars buying up properties and turfing people out of their homes when there's a whole lot of vacant land in exactly the right spot across the road?

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