Sydney Rapid Transit

 
  Oldfart Chief Commissioner

Location: Right base for BK 11R
The current proposal extends the NW link under the harbour, through the city to Sydenham and then to Bankstown. Assuming this is exclusively single deck metro, what is the future of the current Bankstown line between Cabramatta, Lidcombe and Bankstown?

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  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
If we're talking about a parallel universe where the second harbour crossing plan is actually implemented without significant further change, I can only presume that common sense would prevail and the rapid transit be extended to Regents Park, with new terminating platform(s) there.  That'll leave Lidcombe-Liverpool via Regents Park as a shuttle service.  Perhaps it could be made more frequent.
  Oldfart Chief Commissioner

Location: Right base for BK 11R
If we're talking about a parallel universe where the second harbour crossing plan is actually implemented without significant further change, I can only presume that common sense would prevail and the rapid transit be extended to Regents Park, with new terminating platform(s) there. That'll leave Lidcombe-Liverpool via Regents Park as a shuttle service. Perhaps it could be made more frequent.
s it workingsimonl


A rail proposal in NSW that doesn't come to fruition! How could such a thing be possible?

Your suggestion would mean additional platforms at RP, assuming that a high-frequency, TUAG, driverless, single deck metro could not share tracks with conventional, scheduled, DD trains.

I'm curious as to how the official proposal sees it working, just like I was curious as to how the light rail through Surry Hills was going to work without demolishing a block of flats. I see the transportsydney website noted:

"Initial plans, as outlined in Sydney’s Rail Future in 2012, showed an SRT network that also included a line out to Hurstville and continuing on from Bankstown to Lidcombe and Cabramatta. ....... The changes to the Bankstown end mean that the line terminates about 20km out of the CBD, neutralising many criticisms that the line was “too long to be a metro”, but also raises questions over what to do with the remaining line out to Lidcombe and Cabramatta. Transport expert Gerry Glazebrook has previously recommended converting these lines to light rail as part of a wider light rail network surrounding Parramatta, which in the context of recent government support for such a network does question whether this is under consideration."
  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
A rail proposal in NSW that doesn't come to fruition! How could such a thing be possible?
Oldfart

Lolooololooooll.

Anyways. if the metro (with tunnels that are too damm small) does get built ,the Airport, South whatever they call it now line will be the only one that runs through the City Circle. Would this pave the way for Western Line trains to run via the CC relieving capacity on the bridge or are they going to keep the clearways and sectors?
  viaprojects Train Controller


" Transport expert Gerry Glazebrook has previously recommended converting these lines to light rail as part of a wider light rail network surrounding Parramatta, which in the context of recent government support for such a network does question whether this is under consideration."
Oldfart


lol any plans to link paramatta light rail to any current rail options would be a joke with the costs to jump the tracks. but theres no point in talking about parramatta light rail as the state goverment has to start doing it's report for light rail to the same locations in the past reports for rail transport in the parramatta area.

too many reports to build a transport link.
  matthewg Train Controller


Your suggestion would mean additional platforms at RP, assuming that a high-frequency, TUAG, driverless, single deck metro could not share tracks with conventional, scheduled, DD trains.
Oldfart


This is technically possible and 'manual trains mixed with unattended operation trains' has been done before.

I've ridden in the front of an unattended ATO train watching the tail lights of the older human driven train further down the tunnel.


But as far as I can see, the main driver for ATO is shafting the RBTU, not anything technical or customer service orientated. The right wing power brokers can only bring them selves to support a rail project if it has some way of locking the unions out. Unattended ATO does that.
If they start mixing unattended and attended trains on the same tracks, both sides might start getting 'ideas'.
  KymN Assistant Commissioner

Location: Sydney
This is technically possible and 'manual trains mixed with unattended operation trains' has been done before.

But as far as I can see, the main driver for ATO is shafting the RBTU, not anything technical or customer service orientated. Unattended ATO does that.
If they start mixing unattended and attended trains on the same tracks, both sides might start getting 'ideas'.
matthewg

Unattended and manual trains can mix if they are technically compatible - buffing strength, structure gauge and safeworking systems.
Sydney's rapid transit trains apparently will be incompatible on all three counts.
The main reason for ATO on the existing network is capacity - 24 trains per hour on T1 through the CBD.  This will need 'turn up and go' operation for both trains and passengers, with passengers catching the first train to arrive to avoid congestion at CBD stations. No timetables and no branches I suspect.
  matthewg Train Controller


The main reason for ATO on the existing network is capacity - 24 trains per hour on T1 through the CBD
KymN


This train frequency claim is a furphy. The city that Bazza quoted as a justification for small metro trains, does, if he had looked further than the pretty historic city core of Paris, run an extensive network of double decker EMUs into the suburbs.

RER-A using manually driven trains (but with an advanced moving block signalling system), runs double deckers at 30 trains per hour. The trains are 120 seconds apart in the tunnels and get as close as 90 seconds in the stations.

The trains are a mixture of 8 or 9 coaches with a mixture of 2 or 3 door per side variants.

RER-A basically counters most of the arguments put forward as justification of the 'Sydney Rapid Transit' proposals.


The SACEM signalling system use in Paris was originally intended to be an ATO system, but the French rail unions make our lot look like ineffectual wimps, so the final circuit to make the SACEM ATP into ATO was never fitted.

Times have changed and now RAPT has let a contract for the upgrade/replacement of the now near 30 year old SACEM which WILL be an ATO system. They hope that full automation will allow the headways to be reduced even further.

9 car double deck EMUs running in tunnels at 90 second headways....

I suspect Paris may also be doing much work on the stations to ensure that the volume of people these trains can carry and get on and off them in a timely and safe manner.

Basically double vs single deck has little impact on the possible train frequency. Issues like the number of doors and boarding / alighting times, station layout, etc, yes, but not how many decks the train has.

I still firmly believe the choice of train type and the ATO is purely a political decision designed to make a clean break from the Union dominated Sydney Trains operation.

If they put something like SACEM on our existing trains, T1 could get 30 double deck trains per hour through the CBD. Some 'user' education would be needed as the station stops will HAVE to be done in 60-70 seconds. Sydney train users are not that disciplined, but 30 trains per hour with double deckers is perfectly doable if you ignore the 'self loading cargo' issues.

Passenger discipline will get the rapid transit unstuck as well. You can control the technology in the train, controlling the behaviour of the users is whole new level of difficulty.
  Oldfart Chief Commissioner

Location: Right base for BK 11R
Are industrial issues the real driver (no pun intended) for driverless, or is it simply a less expensive system to run and the industrial aspects are a consequence rather than a cause of the decision?
  matthewg Train Controller

Are industrial issues the real driver (no pun intended) for driverless, or is it simply a less expensive system to run and the industrial aspects are a consequence rather than a cause of the decision?
Oldfart


Very few driverless systems end up actually cheaper to run despite that being touted as an advantage. More flexible yes - in that they don't have to find crews when they want to run extra trains, the control room just dispatches them, but the trains are more expensive, the signalling is more expensive and the maintenance costs are higher as the system has to be maintained to a higher degree of 'perfection'.

At the end of the day the 'life cycle' costs come out similar. Basically you end up replacing train drivers with expensive technology and additional back end staff.

However there are very few instances where you can make a direct comparison in costs as every line is different. Probably only Paris and Nuremberg have actually converted an existing line thus would be able to make a direct before and after comparison.

But an accountant will go for expensive hardware over 'personnel costs' any day in my experience.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Are industrial issues the real driver (no pun intended) for driverless, or is it simply a less expensive system to run and the industrial aspects are a consequence rather than a cause of the decision?
Oldfart

Why else would they mandate it if not for IR reasons?

If the Libs truly believed in privatisation they'd leave the decision on manual vs automated to the private sector and have a market make that decision.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Why else would they mandate it if not for IR reasons?

If the Libs truly believed in privatisation they'd leave the decision on manual vs automated to the private sector and have a market make that decision.
djf01

Well, cost and services-per-hour capacity.

Depending on the terms of the tender, the infrastructure would likely transfer across to the state at some future time.  As a result the state has a long term interest in what the successful PPP tendered actually commits to provide.

The decision to select an automated system won't have been made in a vacuum - perhaps coincidental but note the announcement of made after the shortlisting of consortia.  It is exactly the sort of system you would expect to be selected for a greenfields system or system operating on dedicated lines in a developed country.  Given this, it is probably moot that it was mandated.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Well, cost and services-per-hour capacity.

Depending on the terms of the tender, the infrastructure would likely transfer across to the state at some future time. As a result the state has a long term interest in what the successful PPP tendered actually commits to provide.
donttellmywife


All I'm saying is this rather completely defeats the purpose of having a private operator, if the government is going to mandate not just what services are provided but micro-manage how.  If you have a profit motive driven private operator the gvt should mandate the required services/hr capacity and the private operator then figures out for itself the lowest cost way to deliver that.  That probably is a fully automated system, and the private operator should have that option, but it should be their choice.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
All I'm saying is this rather completely defeats the purpose of having a private operator, if the government is going to mandate not just what services are provided but micro-manage how. If you have a profit motive driven private operator the gvt should mandate the required services/hr capacity and the private operator then figures out for itself the lowest cost way to deliver that. That probably is a fully automated system, and the private operator should have that option, but it should be their choice.
djf01

"rather completely defeats the purpose" and "micro-manage" are massive overstatements.

How do you know that it wasn't effectively the choice of the private operator?  The announcement that it was to be a fully automated system came after selection of the short-listed consortia for the final tendering round.  As part of the selection process those consortia will have presented the concept of what they would deliver if selected.  If both the short-listed consortia said "we'll definitely be doing an automated system", which is very likely... then that's what you are going to get!
  matthewg Train Controller

All I'm saying is this rather completely defeats the purpose of having a private operator, if the government is going to mandate not just what services are provided but micro-manage how. If you have a profit motive driven private operator the gvt should mandate the required services/hr capacity and the private operator then figures out for itself the lowest cost way to deliver that. That probably is a fully automated system, and the private operator should have that option, but it should be their choice.
djf01


Given our train drivers are relatively well paid, (they earn more than I do!), unattended ATO is probably cheaper to run in Australia, but sometimes cost isn't the only consideration.

Singapore moved to unattended ATO not because they thought it was cheaper (they were reasonably happy with the personnel costs with the older semi-automated MRT lines), but they cited the difficulty in hiring 'suitable' people to be train operators. Apparently 'train operator' is considered a 'low status' job, so suitable candidates were simply not applying for the job.
And it would be a relatively dull job, the MRT trains are ATO, all the driver does is handle things the ATO doesn't like, like light rain!, and station safety i.e. train doors!.

ATO does mean you can move the train staff to be more customer focused roles - like the 'train supervisors' or what ever they are called on the London Docklands. They wander the passenger space checking tickets and offering travel advice , etc.
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver


How do you know that it wasn't effectively the choice of the private operator? The announcement that it was to be a fully automated system came after selection of the short-listed consortia for the final tendering round. As part of the selection process those consortia will have presented the concept of what they would deliver if selected. If both the short-listed consortia said "we'll definitely be doing an automated system", which is very likely... then that's what you are going to get!
donttellmywife


I'd be interested to know what happened, who decided it or if it was mandated.

The actual costs (including all the behind the scenes expenses) of the ATO system will also be interesting to see when they become available.

Going ATO may not have been a deliberate anti union act by the government, but it's not hard to imagine it as one.



People might think the Sydney rail network is still overwhelmingly union dominated, but the fact is the NSW rail unions really aren't what they used to be. They can't seem to do much outside of collective bargaining for enterprise agreements and even that is now more a case of limiting the damage than making tough demands or real gains, let alone paralysing strikes. Despite this it's still customary for business and government to twist the knife in a bit further by exaggerating their clout and scapegoating them in the media, even while the unions are in retreat. It's a war the unions/workers aren't winning at any level.
  bambul Station Master

Location: Sydney
The big benefit of automation is not reducing total cost, but in reducing variable cost per additional revenue hour. It changes the cost incentives dramatically, making all day frequency a lot higher than it would be under a low fixed cost but high variable cost model of 2 person operation that we currently have.

As this is part of setting incentives, and incentives are a key part of ensuring that the private operator does their job properly, it should absolutely be the government that decides whether to go for automation or not.
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

The big benefit of automation is not reducing total cost, but in reducing variable cost per additional revenue hour. It changes the cost incentives dramatically, making all day frequency a lot higher than it would be under a low fixed cost but high variable cost model of 2 person operation that we currently have.

As this is part of setting incentives, and incentives are a key part of ensuring that the private operator does their job properly, it should absolutely be the government that decides whether to go for automation or not.
bambul


I guess it could be said if the government owns it while a private group builds and runs it, it should be the owner - the government - who has the most say anyway... assuming that is what will happen. This isn't even real privatisation.

Since it is cheaper to run a higher frequency all day without crew labour costs, will there be 24 tph all day?
  matthewg Train Controller

Since it is cheaper to run a higher frequency all day without crew labour costs, will there be 24 tph all day?
waxyzebu

Crew costs are not the only operations costs, the next big one would be traction power, but also trains running are trains wearing so there are maintenance costs, trains in service need to be regularly cleaned (the public, in general, are grubs) and the number of people on duty in the operations centre would depend on the number of trains in service that need to be monitored.

Some systems use the quiet times (like Sunday morning) to give the staff practice at manual driving. I've been on a Singapore Circle line train on a Sunday morning that was being manually (well 'protected manual') driven. The one of the operators 'minders' asked me to stand back and not distract the driver as he 'was driving the train'.
I could see from the drivers console that we were not under 100% manual control as the main display was showing a target speed vs actual speed so the ATO was still fully operating, there was just a human in the loop.
They apparently do this every Sunday morning on the automated lines so all the staff get practice at manual operation.
  waxyzebu Locomotive Driver

Crew costs are not the only operations costs, the next big one would be traction power, but also trains running are trains wearing so there are maintenance costs, trains in service need to be regularly cleaned (the public, in general, are grubs) and the number of people on duty in the operations centre would depend on the number of trains in service that need to be monitored.
matthewg


And some of the non crew costs might be higher than for non ATO trains... so does that mean the reduced "variable cost per additional revenue hour" of ATO, as bambul put it, is for the most part more of a theoretical advantage than a real advantage?
  matthewg Train Controller

And some of the non crew costs might be higher than for non ATO trains... so does that mean the reduced "variable cost per additional revenue hour" of ATO, as bambul put it, is for the most part more of a theoretical advantage than a real advantage?
waxyzebu


The people to ask are RAPT who have recently converted M1 from manual to unattended ATO, and earlier than that, the operator of the Nürmberg Metro who converted a line from manual to automatic.
These operators are in a position to compare manual and automatic system costs for the SAME line. I've not seen anything published. (Doesn't mean it hasn't, I've just not seen it).

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