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Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Sydney / New South Wales Transport Discussion

Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby swtt » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:40 am

Forking off the other thread about the late 2017 TT changes for rail:

Which do you prefer? Faster limited stop trains (say to the city) or more trains but slower (stops at more stations)?

Give a reason as well

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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby tonyp » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:26 am

As I've tabulated in other threads, in Perth they have faster trains AND more frequent AND more stops (usually all stops) AND shorter journey times. So having now been thoroughly spoiled by this, this is what I expect in Sydney!
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby molybtek » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:02 am

I would prefer higher frequency, however the speed of the train needs to be reasonable as well. I dislike how the trains are running at slow speed to give them extra slack so they can "run on-time". For example, a lot of trains travelling south waits at Liverpool for extended period of time because they arrive there early based on the timetable so they can intentionally miss the connecting train at Glenfield.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby Roderick Smith » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:32 am

Certainly higher frequency, and that shouldn't/needn't be a tradeoff with faster. Sydney's are unnecessarily sluggish.
To measure the true speed of a train, take the running time and add on half of the waiting time.
Perth's much quoted Mandurah line has quite sparse stops. See what the same operator does on a traditional line.

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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby swtt » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:49 am

By slower I did not necessarily mean extra dwell times, but rather this upcoming new arrangement for T2 where in the peak, we are suspecting it is all stops from Granville into town.

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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby tonyp » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:15 pm

Roderick Smith wrote:Perth's much quoted Mandurah line has quite sparse stops. See what the same operator does on a traditional line.
.

You must have missed the comparisons I posted in your Patronage Predictions and other threads. Sydney/NSW Trains take longer for the same distance on similar track profiles, even with less stops. A semi-express Sydney Train is typically slower than an all-stops Perth train. As you've also seen in examples I've posted on TDU, Sydney's trains are also slower by the same parameters than Melbourne's and Adelaide's. They're roughly the same performance as Brisbane's but Brisbane's have the handicap of heavily winding track with grades.

I think the title of this thread encapsulates the Sydney problem. You can have a choice of one or other performance improvement but you can't have all. Personally I think Sydney/NSW Trains is institutionally incapable of delivering such improvements. It's a clapped-out, unmotivated, apathetic, old, failed public service entity that just marks time doing the basics that it has to, like State Transit. I'd say simplistically that it needs privatisation to restore a sense of motivation, high goals and pride in achievement, but yet Transperth is a public entity and its a completely different type of organisation. One way or another the NSW Railways administrations need a big boot in them before anything can happen.

Like Tony said, it's been 40 years and nothing has happened. Both parties have been in government over that time, so it can't be pinned on one political side. Political underinvestment WAS a problem, but subsequently heaps of money have been thrown at the problem and nothing has changed - except a heap of public servants taking home increasingly bloated salaries for doing nothing much.

Edit: re Mandurah, compared with similar good profile line in Sydney, from the other thread -
Perth-Mandurah 70 km, 10 stops (no expresses), 51 minutes.
Sydney-Douglas Park 70 km, 6 stops for fastest semi-express, 61 minutes.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby boronia » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:31 pm

If I have to travel from the outer suburbs, a faster train is preferable,even if it means waiting for a longer time. Quite often the later, faster train will overtake the slower one.

But if, say, weather conditions are bad, slow ride in a comfortable train might be more attractive than waiting around for the faster one. Inevitably, there might only be a couple of minutes difference at the other end..
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby Free Lance » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:58 pm

Back when Gladys was in charge of services she made a big note of how commuters from Campbelltown would save 1 hour every week, (IE 6 minutes on each trip, if they operated on time) never let the facts ruin a good story, in my case a more frequent ( with more seats) is the major factor. *Current timetable, ex Macarthur 9.22am Arr Central 10.16am, next 9.28am arr Central 10.31am, yet the Ex Goulburn departs Macarthur at 9.48am arr Central (terminal) 10.34am (that is the service I mostly use though it seems not to regularly run to its scheduled time. However the earlier commuter services that operate via Sydenham instead of the airport only take 52minutes from Campbelltown to Central (timetable allows 4minutes between Macarthur and Campbelltown departures.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby Ben_Daui » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:40 pm

I would prefer western line peak services to be in operation the whole weekday AM-PM both ways, then with the bus on demand service to pickup people from their homes, it would certainly cut down the traffic on the M4.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby swtt » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:43 pm

Ben_Daui wrote:I would prefer western line peak services to be in operation the whole weekday AM-PM both ways, then with the bus on demand service to pickup people from their homes, it would certainly cut down the traffic on the M4.


What about T2 though, with the (supposed) slowing down of all peak trains to run them every 6 min between Granville & City?
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby simonl » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:33 pm

This has been studied before. Obviously, if you are only going a few km, you don't care much for a faster service and want more frequency. If you are going a long way, you want a faster service. The extreme example of that is if you are flying to Vancouver, you don't care that much that there is only one (I think) service a day. You wouldn't catch a connect flight for more frequency unless you are saving a LOT of money. However, if you have to wait half an hour for a train from Central to Strathfield, you would be mightily peeved off. Or worse from Wynyard to North Sydney, where even a 15 minute wait would be really annoying.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby rogf24 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:49 pm

simonl wrote:This has been studied before. Obviously, if you are only going a few km, you don't care much for a faster service and want more frequency. If you are going a long way, you want a faster service. The extreme example of that is if you are flying to Vancouver, you don't care that much that there is only one (I think) service a day. You wouldn't catch a connect flight for more frequency unless you are saving a LOT of money. However, if you have to wait half an hour for a train from Central to Strathfield, you would be mightily peeved off. Or worse from Wynyard to North Sydney, where even a 15 minute wait would be really annoying.

That's an extreme example, comparing Vancouver to Strathfield, such a comparison is beyond surreal.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby Frosty » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:13 pm

I find know this a bit off topic. But what I find is on the Botany Rd bus corridor during the morning peak with the 309/310/X09/X10 is usually people just board the first service that comes. Due to the irregularity & minor time differences as all trips north of Central on botany Rd unless using m20 require at least one interchange.

I find what is interesting is Melbourne vs Sydney train stopping patterns. Apart from peak hour Melbourne all trains are all stops in Melbourne, Sydney has limited stops trains. A good example is the Frankston Line 10 min frequency 6tph all stations to Frankston off-peak. The T2 Airport Line has 8tph but a mix of all stops & limited stops would people in Campbelltown prefer the 4tph limited stations or a 8tph all stops.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby Ben_Daui » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:41 pm

swtt wrote:
Ben_Daui wrote:I would prefer western line peak services to be in operation the whole weekday AM-PM both ways, then with the bus on demand service to pickup people from their homes, it would certainly cut down the traffic on the M4.


What about T2 though, with the (supposed) slowing down of all peak trains to run them every 6 min between Granville & City?

Well if another line to central was to be built (Metro/existing heavy rail) then T2 could not be affected, it is a balancing act for SydneyTrains but I think if they went back to pre sectorisation people wouldn't be complaining so much about reduced services especially how the government is using the Opal Data figures compared to the past where services were not so much on demand.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby Campbelltown busboy » Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:31 pm

tonyp wrote:Edit: re Mandurah, compared with similar good profile line in Sydney, from the other thread -
Perth-Mandurah 70 km, 10 stops (no expresses), 51 minutes.
Sydney-Douglas Park 70 km, 6 stops for fastest semi-express, 61 minutes.
The service that does the Central to Douglas Park trip in 61 minutes would be the 16:02 Goulburn service according to TripView the full trip between Central and Goulburn is about 3 hours and 5 minutes that includes the service getting divided at Moss Vale witch means that the rear 2 cars terminate there and the front 2 cars continue on their way down to Goulburn
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby simonl » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:24 pm

Frosty wrote:I find know this a bit off topic. But what I find is on the Botany Rd bus corridor during the morning peak with the 309/310/X09/X10 is usually people just board the first service that comes. Due to the irregularity & minor time differences as all trips north of Central on botany Rd unless using m20 require at least one interchange.

I find what is interesting is Melbourne vs Sydney train stopping patterns. Apart from peak hour Melbourne all trains are all stops in Melbourne, Sydney has limited stops trains. A good example is the Frankston Line 10 min frequency 6tph all stations to Frankston off-peak. The T2 Airport Line has 8tph but a mix of all stops & limited stops would people in Campbelltown prefer the 4tph limited stations or a 8tph all stops.

I don't think there is any doubt that people in Campbelltown would prefer the 4tph limited stops. If you save 8 minutes, you can't lose. However, that needs to be considered against the reduced frequency at the missed stations.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby bambul » Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:53 am

With recent rising demand on the rail network, right now I think adding capacity has a higher priority. This can be achieved with higher frequencies, not with higher speeds. So at this point I would lean towards increased frequencies, at least until 2023 when the new rail line through the CBD opens.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby Tonymercury » Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:09 am

bambul wrote:With recent rising demand on the rail network, right now I think adding capacity has a higher priority. This can be achieved with higher frequencies, not with higher speeds.


Higher average speed can produce more paths when done properly.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby tonyp » Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:00 am

Tonymercury wrote:
bambul wrote:With recent rising demand on the rail network, right now I think adding capacity has a higher priority. This can be achieved with higher frequencies, not with higher speeds.


Higher average speed can produce more paths when done properly.

It can also mean that less rolling stock is needed because you can turn trains around faster, thus less are needed for a given level of service - or alternatively more services can be provided with existing stock.

Journey time is one of the most critical issues in Sydney. The longer the journey, the more critical it is. I've made enough of the new north-south line in Perth as a basis for comparison, let's look at a couple of Perth's 19th century legacy lines compared with some counterparts in Sydney:

Central-Bankstown: 18.7 km, 13 intermediate stops, 37 minutes
Perth-Fremantle: 18.7 km, 14 intermediate stops, 28 minutes

Central-Revesby (via Airport line): 21 km, 13 intermediate stops, 37 minutes
Perth-Seaforth (Armadale line): 22.6 km, 13 intermediate stops (all stops services), 32 minutes

The maximum speeds on the Perth legacy lines are really no greater - the close stop spacings limit that on all-stops services. I can see from riding the trains where the gains over Sydney are made: acceleration and deceleration (maintaining a high average speed) and shorter dwell times. You'd think that would be something that could be relatively easily addressed, since everybody says Sydney double deckers are actually good performers that are artificially held back.

A chance for the system to prove itself with both higher (average) speeds and higher frequency - we need somebody like the Top Gear team to do a side by side comparo. Are Sydney's lumbering trains actually Ferraris disguised as golf buggies? This is a question for the ages.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby Liamena » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:23 pm

The Sydney trains often do seem to be gratuitously slow.

On the North Shore Line, they often stop for a couple of minutes at North Sydney, Chatswood and Gordon, probably to avoid them arriving "early".

The problem is with the KPI's that the management have. If the trains are five minutes late, they don't get their bonus. Those pesky wheelchair users often result in trains being five minutes late. The solution is apparently to predict that there will be a wheelchair on every train, and pad out the timetable accordingly.

As a frequent user, I'd prefer the trains to run 5 minutes faster. If a person in a wheelchair turns up, then by all means hold up the train for 5 minutes, I don't mind. But I only see a wheelchair on the train about one trip in ten. The other nine trips could be 5 minutes faster.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby rogf24 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:02 pm

Liamena wrote:The Sydney trains often do seem to be gratuitously slow.

On the North Shore Line, they often stop for a couple of minutes at North Sydney, Chatswood and Gordon, probably to avoid them arriving "early".

The problem is with the KPI's that the management have. If the trains are five minutes late, they don't get their bonus. Those pesky wheelchair users often result in trains being five minutes late. The solution is apparently to predict that there will be a wheelchair on every train, and pad out the timetable accordingly.

As a frequent user, I'd prefer the trains to run 5 minutes faster. If a person in a wheelchair turns up, then by all means hold up the train for 5 minutes, I don't mind. But I only see a wheelchair on the train about one trip in ten. The other nine trips could be 5 minutes faster.

A problem with the timetable is that it has the same travel time for both peak and off peak periods. A number of other places in the world have different travel times for peak and off peak.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby simonl » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:24 pm

bambul wrote:With recent rising demand on the rail network, right now I think adding capacity has a higher priority. .

Only on the lines for which they are reducing the effective capacity.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby tonyp » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:39 pm

Liamena wrote:The problem is with the KPI's that the management have. If the trains are five minutes late, they don't get their bonus. Those pesky wheelchair users often result in trains being five minutes late. The solution is apparently to predict that there will be a wheelchair on every train, and pad out the timetable accordingly.

As a frequent user, I'd prefer the trains to run 5 minutes faster. If a person in a wheelchair turns up, then by all means hold up the train for 5 minutes, I don't mind. But I only see a wheelchair on the train about one trip in ten. The other nine trips could be 5 minutes faster.

I'm hoping the Sydney metro will be designed so that wheelchair and scooter users can wheel/drive themselves straight on and off without assistance within the normal stop dwell, like the Perth trains, so that Sydney people can see what's possible. Basically that accessibility issue is another mark against Sydney/NSW Trains that will take quite a bit of system modification to solve.
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby Tonymercury » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:38 am

tonyp wrote:
Liamena wrote:The problem is with the KPI's that the management have. If the trains are five minutes late, they don't get their bonus. Those pesky wheelchair users often result in trains being five minutes late. The solution is apparently to predict that there will be a wheelchair on every train, and pad out the timetable accordingly.



That's the theory - and as no one knows anything about staffing levels, it had better be right.


I would really like to know if there is going to be any staff presence at Epping and Chatswood, or are Sydney Trains staff expected to deal with all passengers?
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Re: Which do you prefer? Higher frequency or faster trains?

Postby swtt » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:16 am

There will be staff, but not necessarily paid at the same rates? (Not necessarily union members)
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