Hunter railcar Albury?

 
  meezzio Beginner

Hello All, very long time lurker, first time poster.

It appears that many people believe that V/Line's equipment requires an upgrade on the line to Albury.

What would the drawbacks be of V/Line taking advantage of the fact that the line is SG and buying something off the shelf - for example the Hunter railcar?

I can appreciate the fact that these units aren't kitted out with all the customer convenience facilities that the current equipment but really, this is state subsidised public transport - it doesn't need to be fancy. Put in a vending machine and I am sure 90% of travellers would be satisfied.

Have I missed something that makes this impossible?

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  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
It appears that many people believe that V/Line's equipment requires an upgrade on the line to Albury.

What would the drawbacks be of V/Line taking advantage of the fact that the line is SG and buying something off the shelf - for example the Hunter railcar?

I can appreciate the fact that these units aren't kitted out with all the customer convenience facilities that the current equipment but really, this is state subsidised public transport - it doesn't need to be fancy. Put in a vending machine and I am sure 90% of travellers would be satisfied.

Have I missed something that makes this impossible?
meezzio
Off the shelf does not necessarily mean "cheaper", particularly if such rollingstock is not actually required to cater for demand presently. Furthermore, the Hunter cars are not "off the shelf" anymore, the production run has ended, and while they could certainly be manufactured again in a relatively short timeframe, so could Bombadier's existing V/locity line.

Having travelled in a Hunter set many times, there is no way I would travel in one for an extended distance. Kitted out as they are, they are designed as commuter trains, not intercity or even interurban trains. 3x2 seating vs 2x2 in the Vlocity's for example, the only concession to long-distance travel is having a dunny on board.

However, one thing in their favour is their commonality with the V/locity, same engine, same drivetrain, giving maintenance commonality with the existing fleet, but by the same token and given the above, it would make more sense to simply buy more V/locity's. Marry them up as four-car sets (DM-T-T-DM) or similar and use them. I would suggest having a pair of trailers in the middle would be cheaper overall than 2x2 Hunter's or V/Locity's.

But is it really needed now, that's the fundamental question...?
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
We here in Albury do not want vlocity trains. We have mentioned this previous at the forums. We want coaches or a high standard and quieter than a clocity. Better food or dining options would also be great.

Vlociity is. It a long distance train. It is much like the hunter cars.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
It appears that many people believe that V/Line's equipment requires an upgrade on the line to Albury.

What would the drawbacks be of V/Line taking advantage of the fact that the line is SG and buying something off the shelf - for example the Hunter railcar?

I can appreciate the fact that these units aren't kitted out with all the customer convenience facilities that the current equipment but really, this is state subsidised public transport - it doesn't need to be fancy. Put in a vending machine and I am sure 90% of travellers would be satisfied.

Have I missed something that makes this impossible?
Off the shelf does not necessarily mean "cheaper", particularly if such rollingstock is not actually required to cater for demand presently. Furthermore, the Hunter cars are not "off the shelf" anymore, the production run has ended, and while they could certainly be manufactured again in a relatively short timeframe, so could Bombadier's existing V/locity line.

Having travelled in a Hunter set many times, there is no way I would travel in one for an extended distance. Kitted out as they are, they are designed as commuter trains, not intercity or even interurban trains. 3x2 seating vs 2x2 in the Vlocity's for example, the only concession to long-distance travel is having a dunny on board.

However, one thing in their favour is their commonality with the V/locity, same engine, same drivetrain, giving maintenance commonality with the existing fleet, but by the same token and given the above, it would make more sense to simply buy more V/locity's. Marry them up as four-car sets (DM-T-T-DM) or similar and use them. I would suggest having a pair of trailers in the middle would be cheaper overall than 2x2 Hunter's or V/Locity's.

KRviator
Are you getting your DMU's confused?  The Vlocity is a newer Endeavour/Explorer, while the Hunter is a variant of the Prospector.

The Hunter has very much a commuter kit-out, but the possibility of a regional variant of that platform (i.e. same stuff underneath the floor, but have a different passenger cabin layout) was reported at the time it entered service as being part of the design requirements.  I have no idea how different the regional variant would be (i.e. whether door locations would be moved), but putting in different seats, different flooring, curtains etc should be relatively easy.

If there isn't enough traffic to justify a DMU, then there isn't enough traffic to justify a loco hauled train.
  michaelgreenhill Administrator That's Numberwang!

Location: Melbourne
We here in Albury do not want vlocity trains. We have mentioned this previous at the forums. We want coaches or a high standard and quieter than a clocity. Better food or dining options would also be great.

Vlociity is. It a long distance train. It is much like the hunter cars.
freightgate
What's wrong with a Vlocity? I travelled in one from Melbourne to Echuca (admittedly many years ago) and found it perfectly reasonable.

Just remember, it could be a lot worse. These bad boys are still in active use in the UK.
  monday Chief Commissioner

I find it frustrating when people cloud the arguments.

The statement:-

'we dont want a vlocity'

really should be better articulated to:-

'We'd be happy with a Vlocity, provided 1) It has upgraded seating suitable for longer than 1 hour commutes, and 2) it has proper buffet facilities'.

Mechanically, maintaining a consistent fleet is where the efficiency is at.

The loco hauled stock can be rebirthed, but a DMU is probably still a better outcome.

Now as to having SG bogies for the Vlo, thats a completely different engineering question altogether!
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
Are you getting your DMU's confused?  The Vlocity is a newer Endeavour/Explorer, while the Hunter is a variant of the Prospector.
"donttellmywife"
I don't think so. From the data I saw, both have the same Cummins QSK-13R traction engine, and Voith T312 transmissions, and I would suggest very similar auxiliary supplies as well.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Now as to having SG bogies for the Vlo, thats a completely different engineering question altogether!
monday
Surely we (Victoria) have not purchased rolling stock (Vlocitys) that would require anything more difficult than a bogie (wheelset) change to put it on SG on a similar basis to a diesel-electric locomotive. However, nothing surprises me anymore.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Now as to having SG bogies for the Vlo, thats a completely different engineering question altogether!
Surely we (Victoria) have not purchased rolling stock (Vlocitys) that would require anything more difficult than a bogie (wheelset) change to put it on SG on a similar basis to a diesel-electric locomotive. However, nothing surprises me anymore.
YM-Mundrabilla
Given it is derived from the Endeavour/Xplorer, surely it should be guage convertible?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Replacement rollingstock options for the Albury Line and indeed all of V/Lines longer distance InterCity services (Bairnsdale, Swan Hill etc) have been aired on Railpage on numerous threads before and there has also been a very long running thread regarding the XPT fleet in NSW that has had at various times some excellent contributions.

The bottom line for me is people getting hung up on V/Locity, Hunter, Explorer etc.   Taking into account the nature of the service, journey times, times of day the services operate and equally importantly FUTURE PROOFING the vehicles to be acquired so that they can or may take advantage of changes in infrastructure over their usually 30 plus year life are some of the primary considerations.   Taking that as a start there are "types" of rail vehicles operating similar services in Australia like the Prospector in WA and the Explorer cars in NSW that you could consider as being the "type of platform" suited to replacing the N sets on the Albury and other routes.   Whilst these vehicles themselves are now aging a NEW GENERATION of Explorer/Prospector platform that provides reasonably high standards of comfort for 4 to 5 hour journies, has a limited refreshment service, perhaps a small business/premium cabin, good quality wifi, low cabin noise etc are the sorts of features to be considered.

The new fleet needs to have a capability of operating around 160 - 175 km/hr SO THAT OVER THE LONG TERM as level crossing upgrades and other track upgrades take place the train sets have the capability to take advantage of that infrastructure when that time comes in the 30 year life of the vehicle.    Whether these trains are DMU (railcars) or loco hauled or possibly even push/pull will of course be the subject of detailed engineering studies.

In terms of off the shelf, whilst every train is ultimately customised, there is no doubt that the Cummins diesel/Voith transmission platform which we have had in Australia since around 1987 and which runs through the Explorer, Endeavour, Prospector and V/Locity fleets in Australia and in the Voyager and numerous other fleets in UK and Western Europe is about as off the shelf you might get.  These are proven highly reliable vehicles and if you take the 20 year old WA Prospector cars can be incredibly quiet.
  meezzio Beginner

Many thanks for all your input. My (very, very limited) understanding of the VLocity was there engineering issues with the conversion to SG but if it is indeed possible it sounds like a possible solution.

Once again, thanks for the information - all very interesting.
  monday Chief Commissioner

There is no 'easy' way to gauge convert the current VLo bogie.

Im not saying its not achievable, but its not as straight forward gauge converting an N loco - push in the discs, rehang the brake levers and push in the brake shoes.

Late last year I had the fortunate ability to look at a brand new Vlo bogie, and considered this issue in mind as to how it would be achieved.

Amendments to the existing design are required.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
What are the particular engineering issues can you say?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
From the Australian Journal of Multi-disciplinary Engineering, Vol 7 No 2, article: “The Hunter Rail Car: A versatile design solution for regional rail transport” by Brian Duncan:

3. HUNTER RAIL CAR TENDER
...
The tender included an option for one three-car set of Broken Hill Cars (BH3). This three-car set was to be similar to the HRCs in all respects, except with regard to having a greater maximum operating speed of 145 km/h and an interior layout suitable for travel over longer distances. Car 1 required standard seating in a 2+2 seating configuration, providing 50 seats with priority seating in the opposite end of the car to the crew cab, along with standard male and female toilets. Car 2 included provision for a buffet, some casual seating, a compartment for booked luggage, a location for a pay phone and a fully compliant accessible toilet. Car 3 was to provide first-class seating arranged in a 2+2  configuration, providing 34 seats. This car was also required to accommodate four wheelchair spaces in the end saloon at the opposite end to the drivers cab. The seating in Cars 1 and 3 were required to have reclining back rests and an ability to swivel. An on-board entertainment system with in-seat audio and bulkhead video system with common video movie programs or an optional back-of-seat individual video system were specified.


4.3 Design for performance
In order to address the two different levels of performance that were specified for HRC and BH3, a number of propulsion system options were considered in conjunction with their associated cost, complexity and reliability implications. Initial performance simulations indicated that it would be possible to develop a design capable of satisfying the higher 145 km/h maximum operating speed for BH3, as well as having adequate acceleration capability to meet the HRC’s commuter performance requirements of 42 minutes Newcastle to Telarah.


4.4 Vehicle layout
...
To keep design and verification costs down, it was crucial to configure the car body structure in such a way that both the A and B driving cars of the two-car set were identical, and that an intermediate car body design required for the BH3 application could be easily derived from the building blocks of the driving cars.

Figure 4. of the paper also shows a general arrangement of the Broken Hill car (BH3) concept.

4.7 Train configuration
...It would be possible to operate longer trains similar in length to the current XPT sets by assembling a combination of two- and three-car modules, or other combinations of powered and unpowered coaches...


Turns out that the Hunter Rail Car design isn't as bad an option after all.
  monday Chief Commissioner

Most of the mods required (as they appeared to me) were to do with the fact that its disc braking rather than tread braking so everything needed to be altered to suit (read as redesign) - there wasnt any visually apparent "easy unbolt from here, re-hang there" approach like you find on the EMD locos or Commonwealth Type Pax bogies.  From memory, different axles were also required.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
At the time they were built the Hunter Valley Railcars were ranked as the world's most expensive DMU vehicles.   (I'm trying to track down the reference).
  monday Chief Commissioner

The problem with the Hunter Cars is that the very small order has to absorb the development costs associated with its engineering, and hence, has a very high 'per unit cost'.

I think that Railcorp disposed of a number of jigs too in a workshop clear out at Broadmeadows a few years ago, too. As R/C had some how ended up with patterns or the like from UGL.  At the end of the day, all the engineering / design exists, so new patterns can be fabricated anyway.

The Hunter Car in my opinion is an excellent car that ticks a lot of boxes for functionality and design.

I think it would be a viable proposition to have a proper intrastate version of it (akin to the Xplorer interior) - It would probably be a good replacement for the Overland too - but thats another discussion for another time!
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

If the VLo bogie is difficult to guage convert, why not get the Spanish rail company CAF to make variable-guage bogies ? They have made about 700 railcars now with variable guage bogies, so it's a mature technology.  While the bogies would be initially more expensive, there would be fleet advantages in being able to switch between guage at virtually no cost. A single variable-guage hot spare at Southern Cross could serve any of the regional lines - Warrnambool, Swan Hill, Albury or Bairnsdale.  At present we have a spare train entirely for the Albury line.

There may also be advantages in switching gauge while in service. For example, Albury trains could use the double track broad guage as far as Seymour, with a saving in ARTC access fees.
  QSB6.7 Chief Train Controller

Location: Going off the rails on a crazy train.


I think it would be a viable proposition to have a proper intrastate version of it (akin to the Xplorer interior) - It would probably be a good replacement for the Overland too - but thats another discussion for another time!
monday
Oh you went there......
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
If the VLo bogie is difficult to guage convert, why not get the Spanish rail company CAF to make variable-guage bogies ? They have made about 700 railcars now with variable guage bogies, so it's a mature technology.  While the bogies would be initially more expensive, there would be fleet advantages in being able to switch between guage at virtually no cost. A single variable-guage hot spare at Southern Cross could serve any of the regional lines - Warrnambool, Swan Hill, Albury or Bairnsdale.  At present we have a spare train entirely for the Albury line.

There may also be advantages in switching gauge while in service. For example, Albury trains could use the double track broad guage as far as Seymour, with a saving in ARTC access fees.
mm42
Variable-guage bogies system wouldn't pass Victoria's standards !
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
We here in Albury do not want vlocity trains. We have mentioned this previous at the forums. We want coaches or a high standard and quieter than a clocity. Better food or dining options would also be great.

Vlociity is. It a long distance train. It is much like the hunter cars.
freightgate

You are CRAZY...why would you prefer a bus to a VLocity...Question

I travel in VLocity's every day and the seats are comfy, there's good sized real toilets, lots of legroom, room to move about....and you prefer a bus Question
  monday Chief Commissioner

Again, I reiterate that a SG VLo is achievable, its just not a five minute job.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Everyone is missing the most obvious sg replacement for the heavy loco hauled 5 car N  sets with a 60 tonne power van .

NSW is purchasing a fleet of new generation  XPT trains  (DMU  push/pull)  and  Victoria should be piggy backing on the NSW order in terms of purchasing say  4 x 5 car sets to run  Melbourne - Albury - Wagga .  Four sets  3 to traffic and one PPM/Spare can easily maintain  3 return trips to Albury and one return trip to Wagga .  

By piggy backing on NSW we can get a price advantage, and get the latest technology .  V/Line should perhaps be even looking at extra sg sets to run  Melbourne - Ararat - Horsham - Adelaide to replace the antiquated  Overdue  .

PS:  Both  Sprinters and V/Locities when purchased are designed and can be converted to sg.  Because of the powering bogies it is not such a simple job to convert bg to sg but it can be done. BUT the main thing a broad gauge bogie can be always be modified to sg as the sg wheelset will fit within a bg frame, but a sg bogie cannot be widened to accommodate a bg wheelset .
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Everyone is missing the most obvious sg replacement for the heavy loco ahuled 5 car Nsets with a 60 tonne power van .

NSW is purchasing a fleet of new generation  XPT trains  (DMU  push/pull)  and  Victoria should be piggy backing on the NSW order in terms of purchasing say  4 x 5 car sets to run  Melbourne - Albury - Wagga .  Four sets  3 to tarffic and one PPM/Spare can easily maintain  3 return trips to Albury and one return trip to Wagga .  

By piggy backing on NSW we can get a price advantage, and get the latest technology .  V/Line should perhaps be even looking at extra sg sets to run  Melbourne - Ararat - Horsham - Adelaide to replace the antiquated  Overdue  .

PS:  Both  Sprinters and V/Locities when purchased are designed and can be converted to sg.  Because of the powering bogies it is not such a simple job .  BUT the main thing a broad gauge bogie can be always be modified to sg as the sg whelset will fit within a bg frame, but a sg bogie cannot be widened to accommodate a bg wheelset .
kuldalai
Aagree - I've mentioned it in the XPT replacement thread a while back - such a logical move.
  monday Chief Commissioner

Kuldalai, that is only a theoretical assumption to be made about being easier to go to a narrower gauge.

As an example, ive had a good dialogue with a former Comeng Engineer about the practical aspects of a STA 2000 class railcar going to SG, it is physically not possible with the current bogie design, brake rigging and final drive - it literally wont fit.

The Sprinter car has the same issue as a Vlo in terms of going to SG - its requires substantial re engineering required to achieve it.  Not impossible, but not able to be achieved by a workshop team without input from design engineers to draw up new plans and do all the design validation that goes with that.

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