Chickens come home to roost

 
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

It would seem that QR holds stocks of critical components and is a ridiculous situation that each operator should insist on different equipment in this case a one off for their system.  
Mufreight
That would suggest that QR regards the continued operation of their rail system as essential.

The SA Government, on the contrary, seems to think their rail system is expendable. Should we really be surprised that even the people whose travel needs it theoretically suits also treat it the same way, as a convenience when it works but still keeping a car in the garage for when it doesn't?

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  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I actually think they keep the car in the garage mostly for when they want to go someplace the train doesn't...
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Do we know for sure that QR keeps a spare of their switchgear like that which failed here on hand? Lots of suggestion they do, but no evidence yet.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
I don't think your assessment is fair, commonality does not mean it's easy to source a spare. Availability of a spare component is not necessarily linked to its frequency of use.
Aaron
For most larger companies the availability of a spare component is usually linked to it's projected failure rate, not it's frequency of use.
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
Do we know for sure that QR keeps a spare of their switchgear like that which failed here on hand? Lots of suggestion they do, but no evidence yet.
Aaron
A sparkie from one of the Central Queensland overhead crews has confirmed that the contractors have access to all major spares and pointed out that the QR system is set up so that if a supply substation goes off line that the substation on either side of the outage can feed the section that would be fed by the failed sub but there would be a restriction on the number of trains that could draw current through those sections until the failed sub was brought back on line.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

I don't think your assessment is fair, commonality does not mean it's easy to source a spare. Availability of a spare component is not necessarily linked to its frequency of use.
It would seem that QR holds stocks of critical components and is a ridiculous situation that each operator should insist on different equipment in this case a one off for their system.  
There would be considerable savings by having common equipment from the design to initial instillation to maintenance, obviously the concept of having different bells and whistles just to be different is sadly flawed.
Mufreight
I understand the HV switchgear in Adelaide is Siemens. Qld and WA could use a raft of other manufacturers including ABB or Schneider or GE or other. QR's spare would be of no value if a different type of gear.
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
I don't think your assessment is fair, commonality does not mean it's easy to source a spare. Availability of a spare component is not necessarily linked to its frequency of use.
It would seem that QR holds stocks of critical components and is a ridiculous situation that each operator should insist on different equipment in this case a one off for their system.  
There would be considerable savings by having common equipment from the design to initial instillation to maintenance, obviously the concept of having different bells and whistles just to be different is sadly flawed.
I understand the HV switchgear in Adelaide is Siemens. Qld and WA could use a raft of other manufacturers including ABB or Schneider or GE or other. QR's spare would be of no value if a different type of gear.
steam4ian
Which makes the decision to use an oddball system having only one point of supply less than intelligent, there are times when putting purchasing of equipment out to tender is badly flawed, in this case having made the decision to only have one point of supply for the system at this time it would have been prudent to have a system that either held spares of any crucial parts on hand or a system that was common to one of the other systems operating in the country that holds critical component spares and piggyback off their spares stocks.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I don't think your assessment is fair, commonality does not mean it's easy to source a spare. Availability of a spare component is not necessarily linked to its frequency of use.
It would seem that QR holds stocks of critical components and is a ridiculous situation that each operator should insist on different equipment in this case a one off for their system.  
There would be considerable savings by having common equipment from the design to initial instillation to maintenance, obviously the concept of having different bells and whistles just to be different is sadly flawed.
I understand the HV switchgear in Adelaide is Siemens. Qld and WA could use a raft of other manufacturers including ABB or Schneider or GE or other. QR's spare would be of no value if a different type of gear.
Which makes the decision to use an oddball system having only one point of supply less than intelligent, there are times when putting purchasing of equipment out to tender is badly flawed, in this case having made the decision to only have one point of supply for the system at this time it would have been prudent to have a system that either held spares of any crucial parts on hand or a system that was common to one of the other systems operating in the country that holds critical component spares and piggyback off their spares stocks.
Mufreight
I agree that the government should have specified either compatibility with more readily available spares, or for a long term service level agreement with specified supply timelines. The government has admitted they have neither, and it's by no means the first example of the Seaford electrification project having a bungled contract.

Specifying compatibility is no obstruction to putting it out to a competitive tender. Some bidders may have to consider a licence fee or subcontracting certain elements, but they can still be genuinely competitive.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Mufreight, do you actually know if the QLD and WA systems are common vendor? Because I am pretty sure they're not. Even if they were, even if SA was common vendor with both, there is zero gaurantee that this failed component would be featured in either of their systems. You can hear what you like from sparkies, I would be very surprised if QR had a duplicate of a breaker like this sitting idle on hand, that is just not typical.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
I understand the HV switchgear in Adelaide is Siemens. Qld and WA could use a raft of other manufacturers including ABB or Schneider or GE or other. QR's spare would be of no value if a different type of gear.
Which makes the decision to use an oddball system having only one point of supply less than intelligent, there are times when putting purchasing of equipment out to tender is badly flawed, in this case having made the decision to only have one point of supply for the system at this time it would have been prudent to have a system that either held spares of any crucial parts on hand or a system that was common to one of the other systems operating in the country that holds critical component spares and piggyback off their spares stocks.
Mufreight
Mufreight, the only 'commonality' with the three systems is that they are 25kV ac.
The Brisbane system dates from late 1979 - 36 years ago! {I believe they originally used ASEA components}
The Perth system dates from late 1991 - 24 years ago! {Also believe it was originally ASEA}
The Adelaide Metro system dates from 2013 {Siemens}

Now it would be TOTALLY "odd ball" to use technology from 22 years or even 34 years ago wouldn't it?
There is even some 12 years difference between the QLD and WA systems -  A lot can change in 12 years, let alone 34 years.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
On reflection you might be right Pressman, maybe they are both ASEA, I don't do high energy stuff, and I thought ASEA disappeared with the ABB take over, which I figured occurred before WA electrified. Ian's post mentioning vendors and not ASEA reinforced my thinking, I now see that ASEA exist in some form still. Either way, tech sharing with a system designed 12 years ago isn't necessarily the best thing to do.
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
I understand the HV switchgear in Adelaide is Siemens. Qld and WA could use a raft of other manufacturers including ABB or Schneider or GE or other. QR's spare would be of no value if a different type of gear.
Which makes the decision to use an oddball system having only one point of supply less than intelligent, there are times when putting purchasing of equipment out to tender is badly flawed, in this case having made the decision to only have one point of supply for the system at this time it would have been prudent to have a system that either held spares of any crucial parts on hand or a system that was common to one of the other systems operating in the country that holds critical component spares and piggyback off their spares stocks.
Mufreight, the only 'commonality' with the three systems is that they are 25kV ac.
The Brisbane system dates from late 1979 - 36 years ago! {I believe they originally used ASEA components}
The Perth system dates from late 1991 - 24 years ago! {Also believe it was originally ASEA}
The Adelaide Metro system dates from 2013 {Siemens}

Now it would be TOTALLY "odd ball" to use technology from 22 years or even 34 years ago wouldn't it?
There is even some 12 years difference between the QLD and WA systems -  A lot can change in 12 years, let alone 34 years.
Pressman
It would seem that you have lost sight of the fact that the Central Queensland coal lines are using equipment for the power supply that has been installed as recently as 2014, definitely not old hat technology
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

On reflection you might be right Pressman, maybe they are both ASEA, I don't do high energy stuff, and I thought ASEA disappeared with the ABB take over, which I figured occurred before WA electrified. Ian's post mentioning vendors and not ASEA reinforced my thinking, I now see that ASEA exist in some form still. Either way, tech sharing with a system designed 12 years ago isn't necessarily the best thing to do.
Aaron
ASEA and Brown Boveri merged to become ABB many years before Qld electrification. Their HV gear may well be labelled ASEA. ABB supply a number of specialist manufacturer's products under their label like Calor Emag for MV switchgear. HV/MV switchgear I have purchased from ABB for HV (up to 275kV) and MV systems has been supplied under the ABB label. I am painfully aware that they draw in components from around the world, see my reference earlier to faulty fuses and "blown up" switchgear.

Unfortunately products do evolve so what was purchased 10 years ago can't be procured today; products might be interchangeable but they are not the same.   Even for the same product materials evolve, or more likely devolve, to accommodate cost pressures and/or changes of manufacturing sites.

By now most persons should be aware that I don't think electrical engineering and project management for the Seaford line involved the sharpest pencils in the box; however I will give them the benefit of the doubt in this case.
Part of the problem was that a couple of interstate "specialists" were brought in and combined with local people who had no idea what they were dealing with, understandable, they had never done it before. From my experience they were relying too much on consultants to tell them what to do. I walked away from one task because they wanted me to tell them how to interpret their own standards, they didn't understand them; I was not prepared to carry the can with my limited PI cover.

Ian
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Now it would be TOTALLY "odd ball" to use technology from 22 years or even 34 years ago wouldn't it?
There is even some 12 years difference between the QLD and WA systems -  A lot can change in 12 years, let alone 34 years.
It would seem that you have lost sight of the fact that the Central Queensland coal lines are using equipment for the power supply that has been installed as recently as 2014, definitely not old hat technology
Mufreight
In addition, it is worth remembering that the Perth system includes the Mandurah passenger line, which entered service only just over three years before the Seaford line construction started and included two dedicated new build substations.

I doubt that so much would have changed in the less than three years between the Perthlings switching on the Mandurah line and the Seaford project being prepared that the potential benefits of becoming an early adopter of this wonderful new gear would have outweighed the benefit of having common (or interchangeable) parts of proven design for an improved economy of scale.

These are all aspects which should be considered by a Royal Commission into the Seaford line. We should get the first one right before making any further progress on repeating the same failures on the Gawler line.
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
One other consideration when asking why the systems aren't more common is that the question has an underlying assumption that the other networks would be willing to provide their spares to SA.

That SA simply failed to source and store the spares is the problem here.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

That SA simply failed to source and store the spares is the problem here.
SAR523
I agree. The government has admitted they are hard to get.

Using common components doesn't need to imply using someone else's spares though, the benefit is in the economy of scale and ensuring the reliability of future supply.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
ASEA and Brown Boveri merged to become ABB many years before Qld electrification. Their HV gear may well be labelled ASEA. ABB supply a number of specialist manufacturer's products under their label like Calor Emag for MV switchgear. HV/MV switchgear I have purchased from ABB for HV (up to 275kV) and MV systems has been supplied under the ABB label. I am painfully aware that they draw in components from around the world, see my reference earlier to faulty fuses and "blown up" switchgear.

Unfortunately products do evolve so what was purchased 10 years ago can't be procured today; products might be interchangeable but they are not the same.   Even for the same product materials evolve, or more likely devolve, to accommodate cost pressures and/or changes of manufacturing sites.

By now most persons should be aware that I don't think electrical engineering and project management for the Seaford line involved the sharpest pencils in the box; however I will give them the benefit of the doubt in this case.
Part of the problem was that a couple of interstate "specialists" were brought in and combined with local people who had no idea what they were dealing with, understandable, they had never done it before. From my experience they were relying too much on consultants to tell them what to do. I walked away from one task because they wanted me to tell them how to interpret their own standards, they didn't understand them; I was not prepared to carry the can with my limited PI cover.

Ian
"steam4ian"
I will always bow to your much more closer to the coalface knowledge on this sort of stuff, the closest I have come to any serious high energy lately is having a girl friend years ago whose mum worked at Kraus & Naimer, yes, the link is that tenuous...
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
I will always bow to your much more closer to the coalface knowledge on this sort of stuff, the closest I have come to any serious high energy lately is having a girl friend years ago whose mum worked at Kraus & Naimer, yes, the link is that tenuous...
Aaron
If you mean their Adelaide outlet, then I think I know that woman!
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
That SA simply failed to source and store the spares is the problem here.
SAR523
I agree. The government has admitted they are hard to get.

Using common components doesn't need to imply using someone else's spares though, the benefit is in the economy of scale and ensuring the reliability of future supply.
"justapassenger"
I don't know that there would be economy of scale here, this is specialised low volume stuff, there's no real scale to speak of. It's not like buy one, get one free burgers at Hungry Jacks.

I created some device that is used by some organisation here in SA, I was commissioned especially for the project, I quoted, then designed and built the requisite 10 solutions (plus one - which was not a spare*). This thing was mentioned to Victorian counterparts of the SA people and so the victorians wanted some for themselves. They asked me to produce 15 for them, a large increase on the original scale of the project. The Victorian order was quoted at 150% of the original quote and they got their 150% order. There are still no spares... The secondary customers did not save on the back of the first order, and the original customers were certainly not rebated for providing me with new orders. The only saving in the whole thing was to me and my R&D time because I already had the solution mapped, but that's not something that gets passed along, that's what pays my bills. If someone in NSW or somewhere internationally or whatever wants some, they'll pay the same way.

*Where possible, physically and contractually, I have always kept one of everything I have ever made, I don't do this for spares, I do it because I like to keep a catalogue of my work.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I will always bow to your much more closer to the coalface knowledge on this sort of stuff, the closest I have come to any serious high energy lately is having a girl friend years ago whose mum worked at Kraus & Naimer, yes, the link is that tenuous...
Aaron
If you mean their Adelaide outlet, then I think I know that woman!
"Pressman"
You likely might, I don't think there's probably more than a few people working there and likely not more than one woman. Don't remember the woman's name, it was 15+ years ago!
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
Are the electric trains running  this weekend?

I tried getting one to Goodwood tonight by a Seaford service and a 2000 class showed up.
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: By a road taking pictures
Are the electric trains running  this weekend?

I tried getting one to Goodwood tonight by a Seaford service and a 2000 class showed up.
GeoffreyHansen
That's strange! Did it arrive by road on the back of a low loader?
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Any news on where the Gawler substation will be - assuming it actually goes ahead all the way to Gawler as announced earlier this year. Some built in redundancy would probably be sensible with two substations but I'm not holding my breath...
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Are the electric trains running  this weekend?

I tried getting one to Goodwood tonight by a Seaford service and a 2000 class showed up.
GeoffreyHansen
Weekend maintenance works on the electrical infrastructure and overnight on the Brighton Road level crossing. The last two services in each direction were replaced by buses last night and tonight.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Any news on where the Gawler substation will be - assuming it actually goes ahead all the way to Gawler as announced earlier this year. Some built in redundancy would probably be sensible with two substations but I'm not holding my breath...
don_dunstan
Somewhere around Kilburn or Dry Creek.

The previous intention was to have one at Mile End (for the 'inner' sections of all routes, with overlap for redundancy) and one further north. Then some genius decided to trade the additional substation to extend the wiring from Dry Creek to Salisbury.

It is my opinion that the Gawler line electrification project should be put on hold until a Royal Commission into the problems with the first electrification project has been conducted and the lessons learned. The oldest of the DEMUs still have a good ten years of service left in them, so there is time to get it right for the Gawler line and no need to rush it through. There's even time to do it with night and weekend works, to avoid a full shutdown.

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