It's only 10 minutes

 
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Oh, and for petan’s edification, the role of Controller (responsibility for determining train prioritisation and so on for a corridor or the network) is still distinguished from Signaller (actually working box or control panel), but the two are increasingly combined where technology and operational convenience allows. In Victoria this first took place (to my knowledge) with the original Metrol.

Obviously a line run by various mechanical or power boxes needs someone to coordinate the operation as a whole, but the need is less clear for a second person when 200km (or more!) of railway is operated from a single desk.

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  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Oh, and for petan’s edification, the role of Controller (responsibility for determining train prioritisation and so on for a corridor or the network) is still distinguished from Signaller (actually working box or control panel), but the two are increasingly combined where technology and operational convenience allows. In Victoria this first took place (to my knowledge) with the original Metrol.
potatoinmymouth
Was the CTC panel for the NE SG line operated by a signaller, or by train control? I have a recollection that it was the latter.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Was the CTC panel for the NE SG line operated by a signaller, or by train control? I have a recollection that it was the latter.
duttonbay
Certainly at the time of the Violet Town Aurora crash, the panel was operated by Train Controllers. The Official Report into the crash names the two who were on duty, and details the way they had set the roads and signals for the cross of the two trains.
  LowndesJ515 #TeamRog

Location: Not in Victoria
Whinging makes it all better, doesn't it?

Show me a system that has 100% on time running and then i'll eat my words.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/01/16/national/japans-trains-always-time-report-highlights-frequency-rush-hour-delays-tokyo/#.XgfRxEcza70

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/02/27/national/train-cancellations-delays-surged-japan-last-30-years-transports-ministry-data-shows/#.XgfSBEcza70

https://lenews.ch/2019/02/27/swiss-train-delays-vary-hugely-depending-on-the-line-and-service/


No amount of whinging will change Australian Train delays, like i said before. Deal with it or find other transport or move closer. When can you rely on the promise from the government? Thats just silly.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Show me a system that has 100% on time running and then i'll eat my words.
"LowndesJ515"
You're just being disingenuous. Nobody expects 100%. We do expect considerably better than we're getting.

No amount of whinging will change Australian Train delays, like i said before.
"LowndesJ515"
Of course it won't, but a few pollies losing their seats might do it.
And anyway; who's whingeing?  A perfectly fair statement of events started this thread, and others have contributed factual experiences.
I think you should get over the idea that railways can't be criticised, and that near enough is good enough. It isn't.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
To clarify for some...I'm definitely not whingeing, just reporting on a semi-regular occurrence and seeking suggestions, to quote a formerly famous TV professor...'why is it so'...ways of the 'system' avoiding the occurrence.

As I enter my 34th year of almost daily travel to/from Ballan to Melbourne, one gets to experience some of the idiosyncrasies of life on the Ballarat line.

Move... Question

...yep eventually from my house to Boot Hill Smile

Mike.
  LowndesJ515 #TeamRog

Location: Not in Victoria
Show me a system that has 100% on time running and then i'll eat my words.
You're just being disingenuous. Nobody expects 100%. We do expect considerably better than we're getting.

No amount of whinging will change Australian Train delays, like i said before.
Of course it won't, but a few pollies losing their seats might do it.
And anyway; who's whingeing?  A perfectly fair statement of events started this thread, and others have contributed factual experiences.
I think you should get over the idea that railways can't be criticised, and that near enough is good enough. It isn't.
Valvegear
I criticise the railways all the time. Near enough is the best you'll get. If you can change it, good luck. I'm a realist.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I criticise the railways all the time. Near enough is the best you'll get. If you can change it, good luck. I'm a realist.
LowndesJ515
I don't expect the railways to achieve perfection; I'd just like to see them aiming for it.
You're not a realist; you're a defeatist. An attitude of "it will never get any better" is a self-fulfilling prophecy and just what the world (particularly Victoria) doesn't need.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Yesterday when travelling home on the 13:16 after leaving work early, we made good progress with an enthusiastic driver (not all drivers are enthusiastic), we arrived at Parwan loop for the obligatory cross.

There we waited and waited and waited until an announcement was made that we were waiting for the late running train to Melbourne to pass by...which got me thinking when the UP crossed us and we were now at least 10 minutes late.

There are at least two train controllers who oversee the Ballarat line, one of whom thinks outside the box and would have held the UP at Maddingley loop and allowed our train on continue on its way...on time....no not just so I could arrive home on time, but I digress.

Because we were now 10 minutes late, this had the flow on effect of causing the next UP to be late as my train was late for the cross at Millbrook. This in turn caused the 14:16 DOWN to be late because it had to wait and wait and wait at Parwan loop waiting for the late running UP to cross. This now late running DOWN caused the next UP service to be late and so the cycle continued until there was possibly a change of shift in Centrol and a more imaginative train controller took over and thought outside the box to get things back on time again.

Getting back to my train, the 13:16. It was probably late after the Parwan cross due to the 12:16 running late which caused the UP to be late crossing my train at Parwan loop. This cycle may well have occurred for several hours previous to my train.



Then, as if by magic a train will arrive...usually on the DOWN, on time and I think a change of shift at Centrol and the new train controller is thinking outside of the box..

Merry Christmas and compliments of the Season to all...

Mike.
Mike, not trying to be critical here but there are a lot of assumptions in your post that aren't quite right.

First up, if you think you can pick which train controller is on duty just by which trains are held at a certain location then you're doing a lot better than those of us that speak to them daily. I'm sure they have their own quirks like any person but they also have to justify their actions to higher above and questions would be asked if they were making decisions that weren't optimal (i.e. making trains late).

Which brings me to your train. You were correct in that the 12:16 (8133) was running late which was due to an operational issue at Bacchus Marsh which then made the UP Ararat (8148) 8 minutes late. Your train departed Melton 4 minutes late and arrived at Parwan Loop pretty much the same time as 8148 arrived at Rowsley Loop where the train controller made the call to hold you and let 8148 continue on.

I get that it sucks to be sitting stationary in a loop and getting off at Ballan 10 minutes late, but looking at the bigger picture which is what train controllers do, 8148 arrived at Southern Cross only 1 minute late and your train arrived at Wendouree exactly on time. So in other words the train controller made a great decision and has allowed both trains get to their destinations on time.

The delays caused by 8133 running late were confined to your train, 8148, and the next UP train 8152 which arrived at Southern Cross 4 late. There were no hours of delays or a change of train controller required to get things back on time.

As for 'enthusiastic drivers', personally my main priority is safety followed by passenger comfort. I don't see the point in braking at the last moment for a station or curve, and quite often its the 'enthusiastic' ones that need to front up to a manager to explain why they had an indiscretion. The timetable pretty much demands that you drive flat out to maintain it, but it doesn't take much to lose time such as a motor out or passengers that decide they all want to board through the same door.

Wonder instead if train control has what is sometimes termed route setting in that the start and end of a train route is entered (eg Ballarat as start and big station in Melbourne as end) and the computer automatically calculates and sets signals and points automatically for any enroute trains crosses at intermediate crossing loops such as Parwan etc
Its been a while since i've been to centrol but i'm 99% sure its still done section by section by the signaller/train controller. Occasionally you get 'forgotten' about which requires a quick phone call to get the signal pulled off. I believe Metrol though has a degree of automation their area of control.
jakar

Thanks Jakar for your reply from the 'inside'.

Let me tell you how I know one train controller from another.

There's two kinds of train controllers in Centrol who control Ballarat operations. Lets call them Controller A & Controller B.

They both set the roads and watch a screen even though the for example...16:32 DOWN is on time yet the 16:09 DOWN 'Marsh is an N Class with around 7 H cars. This train is invariably late and the 16:32 DOWN often catches it before Melton.

Controller A puts the DOWN 'Marsh away, sometimes at and before the double track was installed, even put the 16:09 away at Rockbank loop, but more often at Melton so the pax can alight on Platform 1 and the DOWN express runs through it on platform 2 at high speed, otherwise the 16:09 gets sidelined into Parwan loop so the 16:32 can run through it at high speed on the main line.

Controller B watches the 16:32 catch up to the 16:09 around Melton and does nothing, merely watching the two trains on his screen and does nothing to keep his trains moving. Meanwhile the 16:32 follows the 16:09 on yellow aspects all the way from the Melton arrival signal to the 'Marsh where the 16:09 eventually terminates on Platform 1 and the 16:32 gets a top green and rolls through Platform 2...around 10" late and 10" late into Ballan.

This imaginative train pathing occurs every few weeks when, seemingly Controller A is on duty.

I think I'd rather have Controller A who appears to be 'switched on' to what's happening instead of just going through the motions.

Before my mate TK died 4 years ago, I was often in the cab of the then 16:33, so I know a little bit of what occurs from an operational perspective.

Now, in this reply, I probably WAS having a bit of a whinge Smile

Mike.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Near enough is the best you'll get. If you can change it, good luck. I'm a realist.
LowndesJ515

Here's a sample of the "near enough is the best you'll get", listing trains delayed or cancelled by V/Line.

14/12: Track fault, Moe - Traralgon.
Equipment fault, SCS - Traralgon.
Track congestion, Ararat - SCS.
Equipment fault, Bairnsdale - SCS.
15/12: Train fault, Echuca - SCS.
18/12:  Disabled train, Footscray (influenced more than one)
19/12: ARTC Speed Restriction, SCS - Shepparton (what did it have to do with ARTC?).
20/12: Driver shortage, Wendouree - SCS.
Driver shortage, Marshall - SCS.
Signal fault, North Geelong.
21/12: Train fault, SCS - Seymour.
Equipment fault, SCS - Albury.
Equipment fault, Albury - SCS.
Track fault, SCS - Shepparton.
Track fault, SCS - Seymour.
Earlier train delay, SCS - Seymour.
Earlier train delay, Seymour - SCS.
23/12: Track fault, Moe - Traralgon.
Track fault, SCS - Albury.
30/12: Train fault, SCS - Swan Hill.

The list leaves out heat related issues, unruly passengers, police operations etc, for which V/Line is hamstrung by outside influences.
What a record showing the "best we're going to get" over just 17 days. A whole year's efforts will be mind-boggling.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

Getting back to Vinelander’s original reasons for posting. And speaking as one who often ends up arguing with train controllers.

These guys seem to be primarily motivated by risk avoidance. They are given a master train plan, and told to follow it. If they deviate from it and the wrong train gets delayed, they can expect to be roared out. If they follow the Plan and fifty trains get delayed 10 minutes, that’s fine, it isn’t their fault.

Back in the Dreamtime, they were allowed, even encouraged to think for themselves. A good boss would tolerate a delay if they got it wrong, knowing they would learn from the experience and progressively get better at it. Sadly, modern managers are so scared of making a wrong decision that they won’t make any.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
No amount of whinging will change Australian Train delays, like i said before. Deal with it or find other transport or move closer. When can you rely on the promise from the government? Thats just silly.
LowndesJ515
I can think of a few things that I have "whinged" about that have been changed - Keep Cups being accepted on V/Line buffet services and Down Metro services being held at Sunshine to allow V/Line Express services to grab the path spring to mind. The second one of those even involves delays!

I am not for a second claiming that it was my whinges that changed either of the above but hopefully they helped tip the balance.

I might not be able to change the world but I want to live my life knowing that I at least try to make a difference.

Happy New Year to all Railpagers (whether of goodwill or not). This little black duck's New Year's Resolution - to keep on whinging!
  LowndesJ515 #TeamRog

Location: Not in Victoria
I criticise the railways all the time. Near enough is the best you'll get. If you can change it, good luck. I'm a realist.
I don't expect the railways to achieve perfection; I'd just like to see them aiming for it.
You're not a realist; you're a defeatist. An attitude of "it will never get any better" is a self-fulfilling prophecy and just what the world (particularly Victoria) doesn't need.
Valvegear
LaughingLaughingLaughing

Let me know how it all goes for ya's in 5 years time.
  C2 Junior Train Controller

Tolls on Western Fwy or all Fwys, new ways to fund rail i.e new taxes on cars planes trucks. There's ya money.
  jakar Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
What a record showing the "best we're going to get" over just 17 days. A whole year's efforts will be mind-boggling.
Valvegear
So what would you do to 'eliminate' those delays/cancellations that you listed from happening?
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Let me know how it all goes for ya's in 5 years time.
"LowndesJ515"

You are missing the point. You're satisfied that nothing can get any better. I'm not.

So what would you do to 'eliminate' those delays/cancellations that you listed from happening?
"jakar"


Your question is the standard cop-out of "what would you do?" Short answer is the same as any reasonable person:- I would expect V/Line to pull its collective finger out and get its maintenance act together. OK? The longer answer is get rid of the dead wood in V/Line board and management, but we've been through all that before.

The list I posted covered only 17 days and was an appalling performance.
You seem to share Lowndes' view that everything's OK and can't be improved.

The fact is quite simple. V/Line's performance, by any standard, is poor.  Victoria's rail system used to run far more passenger services, to more destinations, more reliably than it does now.  Now, track faults, equipment faults and train faults are regular occurrences and bus substitutes treated as normal.

Instead of both being apologists for an unsatisfactory performance, face the fact that it isn't good enough and needs improving to a decent standard of reliability.
  jakar Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
You seem to share Lowndes' view that everything's OK and can't be improved.
Valvegear
And you seem to have made an incorrect assumption. There's always room for improvement, in fact just last night a TC made a decision that delayed a train 9 minutes that left me wondering what on earth was going on.

What I do share with LowndesJ515 is the realistic view that you will never ever eliminate all faults or issues. Its also worth noting that some of delays in your list were still out of v/Lines control and had zero to do with their maintenance.

Your question is the standard cop-out of "what would you do?"
Valvegear
Not a cop-out at all. Its something I like to ask of those who are critical of something, be it V/Line or another topic. It usually ends up exactly what you've done with lots of words but little substance. Get their maintenance act together? Sure, but what does that mean and is the government willing to fund it? Sack the board? OK, because they're going to care that relay made by Siemens failed in Shepparton...

Victoria's rail system used to run far more passenger services, to more destinations, more reliably than it does now.
Valvegear
Citation? More destinations I can accept, but far more passenger services and more reliably is something i'd like to see proof of.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Not a cop-out at all. Its something I like to ask of those who are critical of something, be it V/Line or another topic. It usually ends up exactly what you've done with lots of words but little substance. Get their maintenance act together? Sure, but what does that mean and is the government willing to fund it? Sack the board? OK, because they're going to care that relay made by Siemens failed in Shepparton...
"jakar"
I assume that you would be critical of Boeing over its 737Max. What would you do fix it?  See what I mean?  It's a ridiculous question.
Yet again you seem to accept that all of those failures are normal. Too many failures; lack of preventative maintenance is the logical starting point. I'll make a guess that you are either employed by or closely connected with V/Line. I admire the way you stick up for a failing institution which is obviously not performing adequately.
We've been through the ridiculous composition of the Board and management at length previously.  A vast lack of rail experience is what needs changing.

Citation? More destinations I can accept, but far more passenger services and more reliably is something i'd like to see proof of.
"jakar"
No doubt you would, and it could probably be found with a vast amount of digging. I am using 80 years of experience as my source; like it or not.

Its also worth noting that some of delays in your list were still out of v/Lines control and had zero to do with their maintenance.
"jakar"
So you say. How convenient. How many? Where do you want the buck to stop?

What I do share with LowndesJ515 is the realistic view that you will never ever eliminate all faults or issues.
"jakar"
I do wish you apologists would learn to read.  My words in an earlier post were: "I don't expect the railways to achieve perfection; I'd just like to see them aiming for it." Unfortunately, V/Line is not close.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Having read many posts from both jakar and Valvegear over the last 5 years or so I reckon that you two actually have a pretty similar view of the faults and problems at V/Line.

Jakar as an insider however probably has a different mindset about what actually can be changed in the short > medium term without the government coming up with the $$$ that he has pointed out so often is the biggest problem when trying to deal with these issues.

Now that I have finished trying to put words into other people's mouths I will point out that as we have discussed on so many threads over those years when you have a Government that loves spending big on major projects to get their pics on the news but won't back that up with the necessary to keep what we already have running smoothly then it is just an ever increasing recipe for problems.

However I don't think V/Line can be absolved of all the blame and i think a more and more risk averse culture is a big contributor to some of the problems such as Mike initially raised and as hbe and others have referred to.

But it is the squeaky wheel and all that so as already pointed out I will keep on writing emails to V/Line and PTY and "whinging" on these boards for as long as my fingers keep working. I even write to tell them of a job well done on occasion.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Brenton, I have on occasion written to/phoned an organisation and praised their operations(insert word)
Such contact is usually, initially met with confusion. Must be a rarity.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I find the treatment and handling of complaints these days sad where few are treated seriously and most simply result in a standard response from a grab bag of preconceived spin. 'Your safety blah blah' being the response of last resort.

Equally disappointing is when one has taken the trouble to compliment an organisation or one of its staff that compliment is not acknowledged in any way.

I had an issue with the National Bank a year or so ago when they wrote me a 'Dear (Christian name)' letter. Pointed out to them that I was not a long lost personal friend of the writer/bank and that courtesy dictated that I should have been addressed as 'Dear Sir' or as 'Dear Mr xx'.

Guess what? I got a reply acknowledging my concerns over their form of address addressed (you guessed it) 'Dear (Christian name)'. Rolling Eyes  I assume that responses to complaints and/or questions are outsourced to locations where English is a second language at best - like half of Australia it seems. Sad

I gave up at this point. Smile

Undoubtedly I am a dinosaur living in Pixieland so I don't need any of you lot to remind me, thank you, but at the end of the day perhaps our New Year Resolution in everything should be that: 'Courtesy costs nothing'.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
I find the treatment and handling of complaints these days sad where few are treated seriously and most simply result in a standard response from a grab bag of preconceived spin. 'Your safety blah blah' being the response of last resort.
YM-Mundrabilla
This brings us neatly to something that i was thinking about this morning - how annoying the PTV complaints process is.

Complaints made to PTV about an operator - let's pick one at random, the pathetic, miserable excuse for a bus operator that is  Transdev (who I personally have nothing against).

A complaint about them made to PTV gets referred straight to....... yep, you guessed it, Transdev! The PTV doesn't do anything about it. One can only hope that they at least keep a log of how many complaints are made against each operator but I wouldn't be surprised if they don't even bother to do that.

A pointless system with no follow up back to the complainant to find out if they are happy with the outcome or anything like that.

My complaint about the dangerous driving and erratic behaviour of a bus driver was referred to Transdev who took weeks to get back to me. Eventually after a few prompts from me they claimed that the driver's manager had spoken to him about the incident and that he had denied doing anything out of the ordinary. Like forcing all pax including a vision impaired passenger to alight from the rear door of the bus in complete contravention of policy.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Brenton, utterly hilarious.
Privatisation, self regulation, great stuff!!
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Brenton, utterly hilarious.
Privatisation, self regulation, great stuff!!
michaelgm
It's actually a step worse than self regulation as it is overseen by PTV

Just another mechanism by which the department washes their hands of their responsibilities to the Victorian taxpayer.

Sir Humphrey would be oh so proud.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Given the 'deny ignore and if you can't then whitewash' any safety issues reported to PTV/Metro/Vline/Bus Co etc how would one go about reporting the matter directly to the Independent (?) Chief Investigator, Transport Safety, Victoria rather than PTV/Service operator etc?
Assuming the foregoing to be possible what would happen then?

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