Adelaide’s train commuters feeling the squeeze

 
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
Source: The Advertiser Online - http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/adelaides-train-commuters-feeling-the-squeeze/story-fni6uo1m-1226930453571







Commuters squeeze onto the Gawler to Adelaide train at Mawson Lakes train station. Picture: Campbell Brodie. Source: News Corp Australia




TRAIN travel on one of Adelaide’s key public transport services is so popular people are being turned away, prompting urgent calls for more trains and increased carriages to meet demand.

The State Government — which has invested heavily in the public transport system it champions — is now being challenged to provide places for commuters on the Gawler line or see them hit the roads and compound the city’s peak-hour traffic deadlock.
Numerous commuters complained about carriages being so crowded they were unable to board trains this week.
Jessica Parker — waiting at Dudley Park station with two young children and a pram — had to catch a bus into the city on Tuesday because of overcrowding on the Gawler train during morning peak hour.
She said the train service in the morning was “getting worse’’ and having to catch the bus made her daughter 30 minutes late for school.
“You’d think they’d have an extra carriage by now, especially at this time of day,’’ the 27-year-old said.
“I’m just lucky I have the option of a bus as well or else I would have been later.’’
Commuters at the Mawson Lakes station also missed trains due to overcrowding this week.
Parafield Gardens residents Amy Mackay, 19, and Timita Tape, 20, along with Renee Seccafien, 19, from Two Wells, said that due to a lack of space they could not board the first two trains which arrived at the station.
“I was late for work yesterday,” Ms Tape said.
Mawson Lakes is particularly popular with commuters because of the modern station and ample carparking.
Office worker Ms Mackay said overcrowding was “usually bad’’ on the 8.01 express train, “and especially when they only put two carriages on and there are so many people trying to get on”.
Lobby group Passengers for Public Transport said a lack of capacity “would turn people off using trains’’.
“Any lack of capacity is not good enough ,’’ the group’s spokeswoman Margaret Dingle said.
“There is obviously a need for more trains and more carriages.’’
Ms Dingle also suggested temporarily extending rail platforms at Mawson Lakes to accommodated extra carriages, with a long-term view to making them permanent.
After contacting the Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan about the overcrowding problem on Thursday, transport department staff were counting passengers entering trains at Mawson Lakes station on Friday morning.
Salisbury Mayor Gillian Aldridge said action needed to be taken to deal with a lack of capacity on the train service which runs through her council district.
“If we have a young mum who can’t get on a train with a pusher then that’s not good enough and something needs to be done,’’ she said.
“I know there has been a lot of trouble parking in regards to train commuters in Mawson Lakes.”
Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan said the number of railcars will increase over the next 12 months from 99 to 136.
“During peak periods all available railcars are in service across the rail network,” he said.
“These are allocated to meet the greatest need at different stations at different times of the day, with the allocation reviewed regularly.
‘We are aware that since recommencement of rail services on the Gawler line patronage has grown; with the introduction of our new electric trains on the Seaford line, we will be able to increase services elsewhere using our existing railcars.”






Commuters, from left, Tamika Taube, Renee Seccafien and Amy Mackay on the crowded Gawler to Adelaide train. Picture: Campbell Brodie. Source: News Corp Australia


BATTLING THE EARLY MORNING CRUSH
By VICKY EDWARDS
IT’S just past 8am and there’s a rush for the door. A sea of bodies surge into a tiny space, standing shoulder to shoulder like upright sardines in a tin.
Along the platform this is being repeated as people scramble to get on to a train to the city.
It’s jam-packed as the doors of the three carriages slide shut leaving people behind, me included, on the platform.
Welcome to Tuesday’s commuter crush at Mawson Interchange. We are advised over the loud speaker that problems out of Gawler have delayed services but overcrowding on trains is a daily occurrence on this line.
I normally catch the 8.10 service but today I’m not sure when it will turn up.
When the next train arrives it is just as crowded and people again cram into the opening and spill into the aisle. Again, not everyone can get on.
An announcement reminds people to validate their tickets on the train before arriving at Adelaide Railway Station. Fat chance if you’re wedged between bodies and can’t reach the validation machine.
I can’t remember the last time I got a seat on a train into the city. Even before 8am the trains are full. Catching a train after 8.30am is not an option as I’d be late for work.
Today I don’t have a choice. It’s third time lucky as I finally get on to a train, but this one only has two carriages. The 8.10 normally has two carriages. Maybe this is it.
On Wednesday, the service is again overcrowded but I’m thankful I no longer have to struggle with a pram and children in tow like Jessica, from Dudley Park.
She told me she couldn’t get on the train on Tuesday and had to catch a bus into the city to get her daughter to school, arriving half an hour late. Waiting for the next train was not an option as she only has a half-hour service. She’d welcome more frequent services and longer trains.
Other commuters agreed extra carriages would solve the problem.
On Thursday, while waiting for the train, I had a good look at the length of the platform at Mawson Interchange. I reckon four carriages would fit. How about a trial Minister Mullighan?
As more people move into new housing developments in the northern suburbs the popularity of the service is increasing as it’s quicker, and more frequent, than catching a bus. And it’s less expensive than driving into the city and paying for parking.

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  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Mawson Lakes is long enough for a four car DMU/DEMU consist at well over 100 metres, probably closer to the standard Gawler line platform length of ~120 metres depending on how far the platform extends under the bridge at the northern end where satellites can't see it.

The standard platform length of 120m (only three stations are longer than 150m) suggests that the ideal configuration for the next order of EMUs to serve the Gawler line would ideally be four car units if the cars at the same 25m length as the current fleet, or perhaps six cars at 18 metres each with articulation like a TGV or an intermodal 5-pack instead of two bogies on each car. To order 3x25m units for the Gawler line as was done for the Seaford line fleet (where only three stations are too short for a double A-City consist) would be very short-sighted.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
An intermodal 5-pack instead of two bogies on each car.
justapassenger

København / Copenhagen has urban trains like this, they look weird.

I think they will stay with the standard design as the new EMU trains used on the Seaford line.
  SAR T186 Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the next train to Seaford S.A
Regarding over crowding on peak hour services. Half the problem would be resolved if everyone moved away from the doors and down into the aisle to create more room.

But most of the cattle on peak hour trains seem to be missing some common sense and have left the brains in the office or still in bed. Just a daily observation from my commuting to work. Where the doors are packed but the aisle empty.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Regarding over crowding on peak hour services. Half the problem would be resolved if everyone moved away from the doors and down into the aisle to create more room.

But most of the cattle on peak hour trains seem to be missing some common sense and have left the brains in the office or still in bed. Just a daily observation from my commuting to work. Where the doors are packed but the aisle empty.
SAR T186

Judging by that picture it looks like the overhead handles are above the seats?? If that's indeed the case, then that's probably the reason why no-one moves down the aisle. We have similar issues here in Melbourne.
  Milkomeda Chief Train Controller

I try to avoid standing in the aisle on overcrowded trains myself my balance isn't very good and I know I could easily fall onto a sitting passenger so I much prefer to be near the door or stand in the wheel chair designated area.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Judging by that picture it looks like the overhead handles are above the seats??
"railblogger"
They are indeed, but there are also handles on the top-inside corner of the seats next to the aisle.

The real problem is that the aisles on the DEMUs (and the Bombardier trams here as well) are too narrow to have standing passengers and continue functioning as an aisle, people have a very reasonable fear they'll be trapped in there and unable to alight at their station, or if they are going all the way to the terminus they fear they'll get jostled around by others trying to alight at intermediate stops. The new A-City EMUs have had a slight improvement with the 2+2 seating layout allowing a wider aisle, but not the more significant improvement of having the space between the doors on each car fitted out with only longitudinal seating for a total capacity increase at the expense of the seated capacity.

The only upgrade coming any time soon for Gawler passengers will be increased capacity as DEMUs get cascaded from the Seaford line, but that's a fair way off with the EMUs currently arriving at a rate of once every twelve weeks.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
They are indeed, but there are also handles on the top-inside corner of the seats next to the aisle.

The real problem is that the aisles on the DEMUs (and the Bombardier trams here as well) are too narrow to have standing passengers and continue functioning as an aisle, people have a very reasonable fear they'll be trapped in there and unable to alight at their station, or if they are going all the way to the terminus they fear they'll get jostled around by others trying to alight at intermediate stops. The new A-City EMUs have had a slight improvement with the 2+2 seating layout allowing a wider aisle, but not the more significant improvement of having the space between the doors on each car fitted out with only longitudinal seating for a total capacity increase at the expense of the seated capacity.
justapassenger

In other words, just like Melbourne.

The only upgrade coming any time soon for Gawler passengers will be increased capacity as DEMUs get cascaded from the Seaford line, but that's a fair way off with the EMUs currently arriving at a rate of once every twelve weeks.
justapassenger

So about one carriage a month then (3 carriages over 12 weeks)? Looks like they'll be feeling the crush for a while...
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
To order 3x25m units for the Gawler line as was done for the Seaford line fleet (where only three stations are too short for a double A-City consist) would be very short-sighted.
justapassenger

Then you have the problem of fleets not really being as easily compatible if there are 4 or 2 car sets.  It's more likely that they'll leave it as is with 3 car sets the standard across the fleet... I'd imagine at peak times on the Gawler line they'll be a mixture of all-stoppers originating from Mawson Lakes and semi-expresses from Gawler, if they can keep the A-City's sufficiently frequent then I'd imagine it should be all okay?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

In other words, just like Melbourne.
"railblogger"
I'll take your word for it, I wasn't really paying any attention to the interior layout the last time I used a train in Melbourne about 10 years ago.
So about one carriage a month then (3 carriages over 12 weeks)? Looks like they'll be feeling the crush for a while...
"railblogger"
Roughly correct, except that the DEMUs can only get released each time all three cars of a new EMU have arrived and passed through the pre-service commissioning program.

Even then, the next few EMUs arriving will probably only cascade one or two DEMU cars to the Gawler line each time, as some of them will still need to stay on the Seaford line to lengthen DEMU consists in the peaks.
  Milkomeda Chief Train Controller

I think a good question to ask is when will they decide is the right time to start running the electrics on weekends and late night (Apart from AFL games)
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Then you have the problem of fleets not really being as easily compatible if there are 4 or 2 car sets.
don_dunstan

I should point out that it's probably not that unusual to keep sets of varying length. They do this all the time with the Vlocity sets here in Victoria with no issues - running 2+3's at peak time on the Ballarat and Bendigo lines.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
I should point out that it's probably not that unusual to keep sets of varying length. They do this all the time with the Vlocity sets here in Victoria with no issues - running 2+3's at peak time on the Ballarat and Bendigo lines.
don_dunstan

Not to mention the 2+2+3 car trains on the Geelong line.

Perhaps the issue here is coupling Comeng and A-City sets? I've never seen that happen in Melbourne with the VLocities.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Then you have the problem of fleets not really being as easily compatible if there are 4 or 2 car sets.  It's more likely that they'll leave it as is with 3 car sets the standard across the fleet... I'd imagine at peak times on the Gawler line they'll be a mixture of all-stoppers originating from Mawson Lakes and semi-expresses from Gawler, if they can keep the A-City's sufficiently frequent then I'd imagine it should be all okay?
"don_dunstan"
The answer is to make sure the second order is compatible for coupling with the first as a contingency (which doesn't necessarily mean giving another blank cheque to Bombardier, inter-operable EMUs are everywhere in Europe) but for normal use outside of unplanned major disruption the A-City fleet would be allocated to only Seaford/Tonsley service and the four car Gawler EMUs allocated to only the Gawler line. The choice of a better lightweight design for the Gawler EMU would allow the energy cost to be about the same as the heavyweight A-City units, and therefore no more expensive to run on an empty off-peak service.

22 units is just the right size fleet for Seaford/Tonsley, it will allow a full electric service with enough units 'spare' to double up the main peak trains and one or two out of service for maintenance. Then the four car Gawler EMU order would be done on the same basis - enough to cover all services and have a couple out of service for maintenance.

Stoppers to/from Salisbury or Elizabeth would be better than Mawson Lakes, both have sidings for turning back terminating services, in use at Salisbury and ready to be connected to the running lines at Elizabeth. I'd rate Elizabeth as a better terminus, covering about half the line's length and the siding being in the centre makes for no conflicting moves unlike the Salisbury siding which is off to one side.
Not to mention the 2+2+3 car trains on the Geelong line.

Perhaps the issue here is coupling Comeng and A-City sets? I've never seen that happen in Melbourne with the VLocities.
"railblogger"
There's no problem there, a mechanically compatible coupling was specified as part of the A-City procurement and it was delivered (one of the few things done right in this fiasco), the 3000 DEMUs can and have hauled A-City EMUs along the full length of the Seaford line in both directions. I don't think a DEMU+EMU consist would be approved for passenger service though.

Similarly, the order for the Gawler EMU could easily include coupling compatibility with the A-City units even if the order is subject to a competitive tender going to a different manufacturer instead of another free kick to Bombardier. The only question would be whether full software inter-operability would be specified for passenger service or just mechanical compatibility for rescuing a failed unit. If the A-City units are kept as the Seaford fleet and the Gawler EMUs kept on the Gawler line there would be no need for combined consists outside of dragging a dead unit to Dry Creek.

Couplings are not an integral part of a multiple unit's design, the coupler type is specified by the operator when making the order. In the UK there are some EMUs and DMUs which have members of the class with different couplings, or have had their couplers changed when being cascaded to a different region.

Don't go assuming that just because the 3000 DEMU uses a similar body shell as the Comeng EMU and the A-City EMU shares some common ancestry with the VLo DMU that they are actually the same - in the case of the A-City it is two evolutions advanced on from the VLo and shares only cosmetic similarities in the same way a 1974 Porsche 911 and a 2014 Porsche 911 are both obviously a 911 by their looks but generations apart underneath the skin. Even assuming that the version of the Scharfenberg coupler used in Victoria is the same as the version here, coupling the related designs together will only get you only a mechanical connection as suitable for dragging a dead unit, there's actually more compatibility between the three Melbourne EMU types which came from three different manufacturers!
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I seem to remember that Adelaide Metro announced that the aisleways in the refurbished 2000 type railcars was going to be widened  and 2X2 seating arrangement used indeed I think the first set was actually done this way. But all the punters complained they had to stand for 20 minutes or so in the train and this was not good enough for them. So they were forced to amend the plan. I would not have actually.

Those that complained want to take a look overseas at how some places arrange the seating Tokyo, New York and the London Underground I think all have seats along the sides of the cars with the centre of the car open for standing passengers. So these punters want to grow a pair actually and let more people onto a train. You will get more on a train if they all stand up than everyone sitting down.

Yes you do get a lot of people on both trains and trams that clog up the doorways. I usually stand for my short trips and sometimes near doorways but I stand in the doorway the opposite side to any platforms not just clog up the entry/exit doorway.

Most complainers about not enough seats on trains really need to go overseas and see how it is really done in a crush they have never experienced it first hand in say London or somewhere, the crowded trains here would be off peak over there! Never been myself but friends and rellies have and have told me!
  thewaratahtrain Chief Train Controller

I seem to remember that Adelaide Metro announced that the aisleways in the refurbished 2000 type railcars was going to be widened  and 2X2 seating arrangement used indeed I think the first set was actually done this way. But all the punters complained they had to stand for 20 minutes or so in the train and this was not good enough for them. So they were forced to amend the plan. I would not have actually.

Those that complained want to take a look overseas at how some places arrange the seating Tokyo, New York and the London Underground I think all have seats along the sides of the cars with the centre of the car open for standing passengers. So these punters want to grow a pair actually and let more people onto a train. You will get more on a train if they all stand up than everyone sitting down.
Yes you do get a lot of people on both trains and trams that clog up the doorways. I usually stand for my short trips and sometimes near doorways but I stand in the doorway the opposite side to any platforms not just clog up the entry/exit doorway.

Most complainers about not enough seats on trains really need to go overseas and see how it is really done in a crush they have never experienced it first hand in say London or somewhere, the crowded trains here would be off peak over there! Never been myself but friends and rellies have and have told me!
"David Peters"


Well said David Peters the punters here in Perth seem to deal with perimeter subway seating just fine more so mainly on the 72km Mandurah line all 48 of our 2car A series trains have this style seating layout and all of our third gen B sets are being delivered with subway style seating and both the first and second gen b sets will eventually get retrofitted to work with the new sets and will also have subway seating fitted, a new third generation 3car b set can carry 650 pax and a 6car set can carry around 1200 and they're very similar to the 4000 class a 2car A set can carry 400 and a 4car A set can carry around 800, the current 22 order won't be able to cater for future growth on that corridor in Adelaide if Adelaide's starting to feel the squeeze now just wait 5 years when our 72km Mandurah line opened it became the victim of its own success so more trains (the original 31 3car sets didn't meet demand) had to be ordered to cater for growth and meet demand along the north/south (Joondalup/Mandurah lines)
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
Gotta agree with David and warratah and play the nasty foreigner who observes that, from the description and picture at least, those trains don't appear crowded by Australian standards let alone American or anywhere near European or Asian standards.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Gotta agree with David and warratah and play the nasty foreigner who observes that, from the description and picture at least, those trains don't appear crowded by Australian standards let alone American or anywhere near European or Asian standards.
"SAR523"
They're not crowded, you'll notice there's a few people standing in the distant background, but what they've actually done is round up the pretty girls, stood them close and taken the photo to look like the train is full.
  leighkay Junior Train Controller

On Monday 20th May, at about 740ish PM I saw a 3 car 3000 DMU set pushing a revenue EMU set past SAHMRI into Adelaide Station.

Both sets appeared to have passengers (EMU definitely did, was hard to see into DMU). So I guess it is possible, but not practical, to run them doubled up.
  Jumbo2001 Junior Train Controller

One minor issue here that seems to have been missed (apologies if not), is that there is one HUGE limitation on larger consists to/from Gawler. That is, Gawler Yard can't take any more than say one or two cars max. It operates just shy of its full capacity. A vast majority of peak services originate/terminate at Gawler. For reference in afternoon peak, the following stable at Gawler Yard:

1653 Gawler
1705 Gawler Central
1723 Gawler
1735 Gawler Central
1738 Gawler
1823 Gawler
1838 Gawler Central

So out of that, you are only left with the 1708, 1720, 1753 and 1808 that come back to Adelaide. So improvement wise, there isn't a lot one can do. The 1735 could return to a 4 car consist (if it hasn't mostly already) but there isn't alot left really that can expand.

Its never just as simple as whacking on an extra car or 3.

Finally, info I have been told is that more and more 3000/3100's are being reconfigured to the set up that 3028 and 3030 have, with 2x2 seating only with view to refit them all into 2x2 so more passengers can fit on.
  Milkomeda Chief Train Controller

Ah yes those Gawler trains returning to the city I always tend to get caught out on them I can never figure out which ones are returning to depot and which ones go back to Adelaide. I remember one time I was sitting near the front of the train had no idea the train was stabling at the Gawler yard for the night luckily the driver was very nice and informed me that the next train coming would take me back to Adelaide.

Brings me to a sort of off topic and odd question have any passengers been caught out on trains returning to depot and gotten a ride into Dry Creek depot for example?
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Ah yes those Gawler trains returning to the city I always tend to get caught out on them I can never figure out which ones are returning to depot and which ones go back to Adelaide. I remember one time I was sitting near the front of the train had no idea the train was stabling at the Gawler yard for the night luckily the driver was very nice and informed me that the next train coming would take me back to Adelaide.

Brings me to a sort of off topic and odd question have any passengers been caught out on trains returning to depot and gotten a ride into Dry Creek depot for example?
Milkomeda

I often wonder why they put up those monitors and red dot matrix signs for if no one ever uses them. You often wonder at some that get on the wrong train in Adelaide simply because there train has always left from that platform but due to some unforeseen event it has to be changed. You see it all the time nearly even when trains are shifted to another platform.

I even got asked the other day on a 3000 type if this was the train to Outer Harbor when all the signs I saw at Adelaide says it was, this was just before Bowden on the down trip by the way. The dot matrix sign in the train even said it was. It even announced it was before leaving as well.And before anyone has a go at me about them not being able to speak English or something they spoke it perfectly.

They are just to lazy to look by the look of it. There is no other way to describe it! I admit that those going back to the depot can be a bit of a trap for the unwary though!
  Jumbo2001 Junior Train Controller

Ah yes those Gawler trains returning to the city I always tend to get caught out on them I can never figure out which ones are returning to depot and which ones go back to Adelaide. I remember one time I was sitting near the front of the train had no idea the train was stabling at the Gawler yard for the night luckily the driver was very nice and informed me that the next train coming would take me back to Adelaide.

Brings me to a sort of off topic and odd question have any passengers been caught out on trains returning to depot and gotten a ride into Dry Creek depot for example?
Milkomeda


Not really Dry Creek as they always come via Adelaide Station, and get checked clear by the Platform Coordinators and drivers as they walk up the train. At Gawler it has happened a few times though. Gawler Central is a troublesome one, check the train as you go and occasionally people jump on when you aren't looking.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Not really Dry Creek as they always come via Adelaide Station, and get checked clear by the Platform Coordinators and drivers as they walk up the train. At Gawler it has happened a few times though. Gawler Central is a troublesome one, check the train as you go and occasionally people jump on when you aren't looking.
"Jumbo2001"
If they issued train drivers with Tazers that could help there.

"Get off the train"
"No"
Zzzzzzzzzzzz "Ouch!"
"Get off the train"
"Okay"
  hosk1956 Deputy Commissioner

Location: no where near gunzels
Not really Dry Creek as they always come via Adelaide Station, and get checked clear by the Platform Coordinators and drivers as they walk up the train. At Gawler it has happened a few times though. Gawler Central is a troublesome one, check the train as you go and occasionally people jump on when you aren't looking.
Jumbo2001

It was quite common at the old railcar depot (Adelaide) and has happened a couple of times at Dry Creek so far, on the 2 occasions that I know off the passengers had gone to sleep on the train into Adelaide and got a free ride and rude awakening at Dry Creek, both times on very late fallouts. PTS sent a driver out on both occasions to deliver the confused passenger to their desired location, the wayward passengers are generally found by maintenance or cleaning staff after the drivers have delivered the cars.

Wayne

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