A big factor contributing to retention of most trams in cities that still have them

 
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Clem wanted trams off the streets, as Brisbane had no off-street running, this meant trams to be removed.
RTT_Rules
I've heard of extensions there on reserved track short before he was elected.

Tas went tram -> Trolley -> Bus. A few others did too although most trolley buses closed before the tram and generally only lasted a decade of services as trolley buses were not seen as viable alt to tram as they were hobbled by the OH. The fact that decades later most bus routes in most cities that replaced trams for so called greater flexibility still follow their former tram route to as much as 90 to 95% of the route shows you the visions of the past were not correct.
RTT_Rules
Note that newer trolleybuses do have auxiliary power units for limited off-wire manoeuvres. Also, even though buses still largely follow former tram routes, the fact is that bus services may still be temporarily diverted from time-to-time.

Sponsored advertisement

  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Clem wanted trams off the streets, as Brisbane had no off-street running, this meant trams to be removed.
I've heard of extensions there on reserved track short before he was elected.

Tas went tram -> Trolley -> Bus. A few others did too although most trolley buses closed before the tram and generally only lasted a decade of services as trolley buses were not seen as viable alt to tram as they were hobbled by the OH. The fact that decades later most bus routes in most cities that replaced trams for so called greater flexibility still follow their former tram route to as much as 90 to 95% of the route shows you the visions of the past were not correct.
Note that newer trolleybuses do have auxiliary power units for limited off-wire manoeuvres. Also, even though buses still largely follo tram routes, the fact is that bus services may still be temporarily diverted from time-to-time.
Myrtone
I suspect tram lines built in later years in most places were built out of the traffic lanes as even back then they were recognizing trams and cars shouldn't mix.

Trolley buses were likely ahead of their time so to speak. Complex points and junctions made construction costly and they were inflexible until the late mid 20th century models were fitted with batteries but the one I rode in Vancouver had limited speed and range. They are also speed limited to about 70-80km/h due to OH design, although newer models maybe different.

Today is a different story. You could fit the bus with a modern much more powerful battery that can also recharge quickly and last much longer. Complex OH could easily be avoided and OH in general bi-passed if required for road works temporary routes etc. Also speed can be much higher for short sections with no OH. OH could be focused on trunk core routes with battery to run through the 'burbs for individual bus routes.
  Matthew Chief Train Controller


Trolley buses were likely ahead of their time so to speak. Complex points and junctions made construction costly and they were inflexible until the late mid 20th century models were fitted with batteries but the one I rode in Vancouver had limited speed and range. They are also speed limited to about 70-80km/h due to OH design, although newer models maybe different.
RTT_Rules


Trolleybuses with limited off wire on batteries is not the slightest bit new. London Trolleybuses were equipped with traction batteries quite early - one of the reasons being to be able to work around war-damaged sections.

Trolleybuses with auxiliary diesel generator sets are also quite common and been around for a LONG time. (I can't find offhand when this first hybrid type was built - but it certainly isn't a new idea).

I've been on a preserved London trolleybus where the driver managed to get it stuck under the insulated section on their turning Y. A museum colleague yelled out from the ground 'switch to the battery!'. The driver then operated a large switch, moved off the section insulator and then switched the back to overhead power.

The problem with using the battery to avoid complex overhead is it's difficult to 'repole' on the move. Generally, the vehicle has to be stopped in exactly the right spot and 'hats' put on the wire to locate the pole. One swiss system I observed years ago (Maybe Lausanne) if a trolley 'lost a pole' they automatically retracted and the driver switched to the auxiliary diesel and continued as a diesel-electric bus. At certain locations around the network (particularly the terminals), there were those 'hats' on the overhead and they would raise poles there and switch back to pure electric. All this was to avoid the driver having to get out of the bus in the middle of the road and reset the poles by hand.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Do you remember how the turning Y works?  In most if not all networks in China diverging switches and merging frogs are all designed for unidirectional operation.  Even if they have to reverse for any reason they won't reverse through merging frogs or switches.
  Matthew Chief Train Controller

Do you remember how the turning Y works?  In most if not all networks in China diverging switches and merging frogs are all designed for unidirectional operation.  Even if they have to reverse for any reason they won't reverse through merging frogs or switches.
route14
It was 15 years ago at Carlton Colville, in Suffolk. I  do have a short bit of video of a big red London trolley bus going backwards into the Y. I do not have any photographs of the overhead junction itself. It could have been sprung or someone switched it from the ground.

Either way, there is a small dead section where the two wires cross and when I went to a ride, the driver managed to stop with one of the pickups right under a dead section. There also had to be a section isolator in the Y somewhere otherwise the negative and positive wires would be connected to one another!

The wiring at Carlton Colville was particularly complex as they ran trams AND trolleybuses.

I've been on a tram at my own museum where someone managed to stop with the pickup right in the middle of a section isolator. Fortunately, there was a slight grade and they could release the brakes and roll out.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Do you remember how the turning Y works?  In most if not all networks in China diverging switches and merging frogs are all designed for unidirectional operation.  Even if they have to reverse for any reason they won't reverse through merging frogs or switches.
It was 15 years ago at Carlton Colville, in Suffolk. I  do have a short bit of video of a big red London trolley bus going backwards into the Y. I do not have any photographs of the overhead junction itself. It could have been sprung or someone switched it from the ground.

Either way, there is a small dead section where the two wires cross and when I went to a ride, the driver managed to stop with one of the pickups right under a dead section. There also had to be a section isolator in the Y somewhere otherwise the negative and positive wires would be connected to one another!

The wiring at Carlton Colville was particularly complex as they ran trams AND trolleybuses.

I've been on a tram at my own museum where someone managed to stop with the pickup right in the middle of a section isolator. Fortunately, there was a slight grade and they could release the brakes and roll out.
Matthew
Got stuck on an isolated section on a Siemens D-class number 16 tram @ Kooyong not long ago, Glen Waveley trains stuck in either direction within sight of the crossing... anyone who knows that Glenferrie Rd crossing can tell you north-bound there's a right turn lane directly in front of the tram square and some idiot jammed their brakes on and forced the tram to stop mid-crossing right as there was a train coming. Dead Siemens! Nobody could go anywhere and the driver said 'disembark please'. But only 10 minutes before the maintenance truck came from where-ever (Malvern depot?) with its specially designed bumper and pushed empty tram off; passengers myself included re-embark; quick mechanical check from the incident team and moments later we resumed our trip to Glenferrie.

The really excellent thing about Melbourne's extensive legacy tram network is that they really know how to actually run a tram network and keep it moving despite frequent incidents.
  TomBTR Chief Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
The really excellent thing about Melbourne's extensive legacy tram network is that they really know how to actually run a tram network and keep it moving despite frequent incidents.
"don_dunstan"


My "like" and "agree" buttons don't seem to be working, otherwise I would have used them here!
It's such a great pity that the NSW government refuses to learn anything from the Melbourne network and its operators. And yes, I'm from Sydney.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
The really excellent thing about Melbourne's extensive legacy tram network is that they really know how to actually run a tram network and keep it moving despite frequent incidents.
My "like" and "agree" buttons don't seem to be working, otherwise I would have used them here!
It's such a great pity that the NSW government refuses to learn anything from the Melbourne network and its operators. And yes, I'm from Sydney.
TomBTR
Are you using Firefox or Explorer? Chrome seems to work best with Railpage.

And yeah admittedly Melbourne has good system, I recall they replaced the entire 5-way junction @ Camberwell while I was still living there and it all happened over one single long weekend, probably would have involved a month of closure to all traffic if it was done here. Adelaide retained the tram knowledge (somewhat) but Sydney seems to have suffered from reinventing the wheel - especially the third rail down George Street - a very large added expense for seemingly bugger all gain a bit over a kilometer along George Street.

Why? Over-engineered to buggery.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The really excellent thing about Melbourne's extensive legacy tram network is that they really know how to actually run a tram network and keep it moving despite frequent incidents.
My "like" and "agree" buttons don't seem to be working, otherwise I would have used them here!
It's such a great pity that the NSW government refuses to learn anything from the Melbourne network and its operators. And yes, I'm from Sydney.
Are you using Firefox or Explorer? Chrome seems to work best with Railpage.

And yeah admittedly Melbourne has good system, I recall they replaced the entire 5-way junction @ Camberwell while I was still living there and it all happened over one single long weekend, probably would have involved a month of closure to all traffic if it was done here. Adelaide retained the tram knowledge (somewhat) but Sydney seems to have suffered from reinventing the wheel - especially the third rail down George Street - a very large added expense for seemingly bugger all gain a bit over a kilometer along George Street.

Why? Over-engineered to buggery.
don_dunstan

Melbourne can do that over a weekend because they did retain their trams and so will most likely know every nook and cranny at the junction you mentioned.

The work done along George street in Sydney was more about what else was underneath George street and figuring out who it belonged to such as power, data, water, old buildings, old clay gas pipes and corpses. The APS is courtesy of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore and so we looked to Europe for this solution who also have significant experience in this regard. The Sydney system hopefully will improve like the Metro has done since it's launch.

Adelaide's tram systems are rough as guts and nowhere near as silky smooth as Sydney. Sydney's over engineered system provides such a superior ride quality to Adelaide it isn't funny. There in lies the difference in thinking between Sydney and Melbourne / Adelaide. We put a little extra quality in to our stuff.
  TomBTR Chief Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
Of course Sydney's new trams are "silky smooth"  They barely exceed jogging pace on average so it would be surprising of the ride was anything other than smooth. Standees grabbing for non-existent hanging straps at starts and curves might offer a different opinion.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The problem with using the battery to avoid complex overhead is it's difficult to 'repole' on the move. Generally, the vehicle has to be stopped in exactly the right spot and 'hats' put on the wire to locate the pole. One swiss system I observed years ago (Maybe Lausanne) if a trolley 'lost a pole' they automatically retracted and the driver switched to the auxiliary diesel and continued as a diesel-electric bus. At certain locations around the network (particularly the terminals), there were those 'hats' on the overhead and they would raise poles there and switch back to pure electric. All this was to avoid the driver having to get out of the bus in the middle of the road and reset the poles by hand.
Matthew
Would that also be a problem with trolleybuses, or even dual-mode buses, being used for non-fixed route transport?
  route14 Chief Commissioner

I don't quite understand your question, but the off wire provision makes it possible for trolley buses to be used for non fixed route operation.  Taking Shanghai as an example, they have 305 Neoplan trolley buses with lithium battery, enough for off-wire operation of 8 to 10 km.  When they were just introduced, a group of trolley bus gunzels chartered one of them to Pudong (the east side of the city, which had one trolley bus route from 1990 to 1995), marking the return of trolley bus to the east side, although unwired.  They also had the trolley bus stopped beside a Neoplan articulated diesel bus for a photo stop (There are only 10 articulated buses in Shanghai out of their fleet of about 17000, which happen to be from the same manufacturer as the trolley bus).  On another occasion one of them was chartered to run a shuttle between Shanghai International Cruise Terminal and the Bund.  The route length is only about 1 km and coincidentally the road in front of the port was undergoing road works with trolley buses diverted, but the wires remained energized.  So when its battery went flat it just stopped on the road side to recharge.
    Interestingly, 262 out of them are registered as "charge-along-the-way pure electric buses" so that the operator got the new energy vehicle subsidy from the government.  A "Pure electric bus" gets the subsidy but a trolley bus does not.  The rest are registered as trolley buses although they are exactly the same as the previous 262, to give job positions for those senior drivers who only hold trolley bus licenses but not "bus licenses".  The fraud later got reported, probably by a competing bus manufacturer.  So the manufacturer was fined by the government but not the operator.  The future of Shanghai trolley buses remain unknown after 2023, given the compulsory scrapping of commercially operating vehicles after 8 years of service.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Sorry, remains.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The overhead trolley system has been applied to buses for over 100 years and even occasionally to trucks, some with batteries for off-wire use, but not once in that time has it been applied to passenger cars, I realise the poles would need to reach higher, but I don't see the problem.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

It would be nice, but unpragmatic for obvious reason.  If every car driver slowed down before switches not knowing what to do, or if they are completely ignorant of the switches and power through then dewire, the overhead crews will be kept busy all day fixing broken wires and you won't have one road without disruptions.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

Starting to drift off-topic, however this was mentioned by RTT_Rules in another forum:
https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/12/germany-electric-highway-for-trucks/
https://www.scania.com/group/en/electric-trucks-how-the-technology-works/

It would also be useful for static charging rather than running a big extension cord.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

It's great to see Sydneysiders who, for years, sneered at Melbourne's trams, red-faced and dodging their own in George Street and Circular Quay.
Valvegear

To be honest if the ESR was extended to randwick and maroubra it probably wouldn't be the case. The new light rail is dreadfully slow up George street and really this shows the limitation of light rail in such an environment. In many ways it is even more touristy then the monorail was. The section from Central to moore park is great for access to the SCG and Randwick racecourse.

I have been a standee on the new light rail and the silky smoothness is really appreciated.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE


Trolleybuses with limited off wire on batteries is not the slightest bit new. London Trolleybuses were equipped with traction batteries quite early - one of the reasons being to be able to work around war-damaged sections.

Trolleybuses with auxiliary diesel generator sets are also quite common and been around for a LONG time. (I can't find offhand when this first hybrid type was built - but it certainly isn't a new idea).

I've been on a preserved London trolleybus where the driver managed to get it stuck under the insulated section on their turning Y. A museum colleague yelled out from the ground 'switch to the battery!'. The driver then operated a large switch, moved off the section insulator and then switched the back to overhead power.

The problem with using the battery to avoid complex overhead is it's difficult to 'repole' on the move. Generally, the vehicle has to be stopped in exactly the right spot and 'hats' put on the wire to locate the pole. One swiss system I observed years ago (Maybe Lausanne) if a trolley 'lost a pole' they automatically retracted and the driver switched to the auxiliary diesel and continued as a diesel-electric bus. At certain locations around the network (particularly the terminals), there were those 'hats' on the overhead and they would raise poles there and switch back to pure electric. All this was to avoid the driver having to get out of the bus in the middle of the road and reset the poles by hand.
Matthew
The old trolley buses with batteries were not hybrids as we would define them today. Generally very slow and range limited. As one driver told me, just enough juice to crawl through a damaged section or by-road works. The newer Lithium technology is a generation ahead.

Not sure why the bus needs to be "in exactly the right spot" as the bus poles can reach nearly a lane either side.

The Swiss system sounds great, best of both worlds. Trolley bus with a Lithium battery and smaller diesel genset, don't need a full sized engine, just range extender. The driver wouldn't need to drive far, just to nearest bus stop to repole.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
It's great to see Sydneysiders who, for years, sneered at Melbourne's trams, red-faced and dodging their own in George Street and Circular Quay.

To be honest if the ESR was extended to randwick and maroubra it probably wouldn't be the case. The new light rail is dreadfully slow up George street and really this shows the limitation of light rail in such an environment. In many ways it is even more touristy then the monorail was. The section from Central to moore park is great for access to the SCG and Randwick racecourse.

I have been a standee on the new light rail and the silky smoothness is really appreciated.
simstrain
Probably? ME thinks NOT BE THE CASE!
  Matthew Chief Train Controller


Not sure why the bus needs to be "in exactly the right spot" as the bus poles can reach nearly a lane either side.

The Swiss system sounds great, best of both worlds. Trolley bus with a Lithium battery and smaller diesel genset, don't need a full sized engine, just range extender. The driver wouldn't need to drive far, just to nearest bus stop to repole.
RTT_Rules
Generally, the auto-raise systems do not have sideways movement actuators, so to auto-repole, the bus has be centred right under the wire, the pole hooks retract and the two poles go straight up. Minor misalignment is taken in by the 'hats' on the wires. If the bus isn't near perfectly centred one or both poles will miss. I saw this happen in Roma, where the trolleybuses run battery only into the city centre, so the outbound buses stop on the edge of the CBD and raise poles.
I even saw one that the driver thought had got on the wire, so drove off only to have one pole come off halfway across the next intersection. (Presumably, the swivel head didn't centred so had not locked onto the wire). The driver got out and put the wayward pole back up by hand.

With today's technology, the bus could have a laser scanner and horizontal as well as vertical actuators and it could locate the wire even if not right above the bus.
The Siemen's electric highway system actually uses pantographs that can move sideways and uses a LIDAR unit to continuously track the wire location and move the pantographs to stay under it.

Wien has little electric buses in their city centre. At one end of the run they have timetabled layover. The layover has two wires above and the buses put up a 'spit head' pantograph to charge the battery. The overhead is supplied from the nearby ring tram route.

'Opportunistic' fast charging is hard on the batteries, hence the Newcastle trams using Ultra-capacitors for primary traction, they can fast charge frequently without damage. The downside is the energy density is terrible, the capacitors take up a lot of space for the amount of power they hold.

Most of the remaining German tram networks are in former eastern Germany. They survived the great tram abandonment fad because the cities were so poor, they couldn't afford new buses, so they kept patching up their old trams. If they had the money many of those smaller city tram lines would have closed.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

It makes little sense to me that Newcastle makes such investment just to carry energy onboard when overhead catenary technology is so mature.  If properly designed they're not ugly at all.  The arms along Victoria Pde. and Fitzroy St. St Kilda are like artworks.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
It makes little sense to me that Newcastle makes such investment just to carry energy onboard when overhead catenary technology is so mature.  If properly designed they're not ugly at all.  The arms along Victoria Pde. and Fitzroy St. St Kilda are like artworks.
route14
Pandering to a few noisey idiots. There maybe a few practical places no OH is better for clearance issues, but back to battery or super capacitor to solve that, better still, ground pickup!
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
Got stuck on an isolated section on a Siemens D-class number 16 tram @ Kooyong not long ago, Glen Waveley trains stuck in either direction within sight of the crossing... anyone who knows that Glenferrie Rd crossing can tell you north-bound there's a right turn lane directly in front of the tram square and some idiot jammed their brakes on and forced the tram to stop mid-crossing right as there was a train coming. Dead Siemens! Nobody could go anywhere and the driver said 'disembark please'. But only 10 minutes before the maintenance truck came from where-ever (Malvern depot?) with its specially designed bumper and pushed empty tram off; passengers myself included re-embark; quick mechanical check from the incident team and moments later we resumed our trip to Glenferrie.

The really excellent thing about Melbourne's extensive legacy tram network is that they really know how to actually run a tram network and keep it moving despite frequent incidents.
don_dunstan
There used to be a YouTube video of Z1 19 running on battery power with the pantograph down a few years ago but the video has since been removed. While it is possible for trams to run short distances like that*, AFAIK it's against the rules to power off an insulator using the batteries thus R10 has to be called even for something as trivial as that. Gone are the days of another tram giving the one up front a helping nudge too, that would be considered a car ahead collision and the driver(s) would be reprimanded and/or waiting inside Centrelink the next day. Nanny state at its finest.

*19 broke its pantograph, as opposed to being stuck in an unpowered section.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

It was a rumour.  It happened to be a down gradient section of the route so the driver just pressed the brake release button to get the tram out of others' way as much as possible.  The motor noise recorded in the video clip was from other accelerating trams nearby.  The driver raised the pantograph to test if by any chance it might had "fixed itself" but to no success.  It wasn't to charge its so called traction battery.
  Matthew Chief Train Controller

It was a rumour.  It happened to be a down gradient section of the route so the driver just pressed the brake release button to get the tram out of others' way as much as possible.  The motor noise recorded in the video clip was from other accelerating trams nearby.  The driver raised the pantograph to test if by any chance it might had "fixed itself" but to no success.  It wasn't to charge its so called traction battery.
route14

No Melbourne tram has a traction battery. It's possible the E class can 'limp' on their auxiliary battery (The Gold Coast flexity's can move, slowly, on their Aux battery - I've seen one do it).
What the older trams do have is a 'brake release' button that will allow the tram to roll out of trouble.

One-upon-a-time if a tram stalled and the driver couldn't roll out of the intersection or was stuck under a section isolator,  they would indicate to the tram behind to ease up and give them a push.
This practice is now banned and if brake release doesn't roll them out of trouble they have to call for the breakdown crew. (Who will probably push them with their truck.)

Sydney's new Citadis have a Li-ion pack on the roof that apparently has 400-500m range. However, the trams are still getting stuck in the middle of intersections. In the Sydney case, I suspect it's a training issue - drivers can't switch to the battery without permission and they have to be trained in 'degraded mode' operation. The batteries were only fitted a couple of weeks prior to opening, so wouldn't have been available when most drivers did their 'on the road' training.

(The battery mode button is right next to the overhead mode button!)

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: Myrtone, RTT_Rules, TomBTR

Display from: