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NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby tonyp » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:16 am

Fleet Lists wrote:That does not mean that we all agree with you on that subject

Yes, long live different opinions! :wink:

Linto63 wrote:Without wanting to tread over the whole Perth vs Sydney argument for the umpteenth time (there is a thread titled 'Perth Compared with other cities' in the General Transport section for those interested), the two are completely different.

The point I was making is that, even when there's a nice, long, unrestricted, modern length of line of similar standard to Perth's in Sydney, the trains here still don't let rip, but continue to amble along. The feedback I get from Sydney Trains people on Railpage is that to do so would upset operations in other parts of the network because it's all interrelated and it all has to be slowed down for everything to work. That may well be the case, but it's hardly a satisfactory situation for long-distance operations that are the very nature of a suburban commuter train service.

This is why the metro is a better solution even for longer-distance services in Sydney's case. As isolated new-builds, they bypass all the restrictions of the old system - restrictions that look like they're going to take decades to overcome. To assist those who can't come to terms with the concept of a "metro" doing distance work, they should stop calling the thing a metro, because it's really a blend of metro and Perth-style S-bahn. It needs a new word to describe it ("Perthbahn" lol?), plus it could do with another 20-30km/h on the maximum speed of the trains (i.e. TfNSW should also stop thinking of it as just another metro).

To give a more extreme example of how much better a "metro" service would be over a long distance in the Sydney context, let me dream wistfully of a metro line being extended from Sydney to Wollongong to solve the present terrible situation (both journey time and capacity). Once again, taking Perth as a yardstick, this would be be the equivalent of Mandurah to Stirling in Perth, where it takes 60 minutes (compressing the 2 minute stop at Perth Underground) with 13 intermediate stops. The NSW Train presently takes 90 minutes to Wollongong with 7 intermediate stops. The former can offer 4 minute headways, the latter struggles with half-hourly headways - and the former can offer many more seats per hour and the convenience of nearly twice as many stops (if it needs to).

In any other railway discussion elsewhere, the notion of a metro being used for an 80 km intercity link would be laughable, but in Sydney, when you look at the above figures, it's devastatingly feasible. That's the example it takes for it to sink in how completely dreadful the present train system is. And before anybody asks, I can confidently say, without even asking them, that the people of Illawarra would be overjoyed to sit for an hour in a simple metro/S-bahn carriage than stand for 1 1/2 hours in whatever superduper luxury train comes out of South Korea.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Linto63 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:45 am

Glen wrote:Sorry I was not meaning to sound critical.
No problems. There has probably always been a big of dwell time built into timetables, with the on screen platforms now displaying how many minutes until departure time, it is probably now just more noticeable.

tonyp wrote:The point I was making is that, even when there's a nice, long, unrestricted, modern length of line of similar standard to Perth's in Sydney, the trains here still don't let rip, but continue to amble along. The feedback I get from Sydney Trains people on Railpage is that to do so would upset operations in other parts of the network because it's all interrelated and it all has to be slowed down for everything to work. That may well be the case, but it's hardly a satisfactory situation for long-distance operations that are the very nature of a suburban commuter train service.
I don't think anybody is professing that the Sydney network is perfect, but endless comparing of Sydney to other cities like Perth and Prague which seemingly most people agree are quite different is pointless. It's comparing apples to oranges. Reality is that none of us are privy to all of the facts and what from the outside may seem nonsensical, may actually happen for a valid reason.

We can all play fantasy train networks, but reality is we have what we have and change is only to occur incrementally. Blowing it up and starting again isn't an option.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby tonyp » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:18 am

Linto63 wrote:[I don't think anybody is professing that the Sydney network is perfect, but endless comparing of Sydney to other cities like Perth and Prague which seemingly most people agree are quite different is pointless. It's comparing apples to oranges. Reality is that none of us are privy to all of the facts and what from the outside may seem nonsensical, may actually happen for a valid reason.

We can all play fantasy train networks, but reality is we have what we have and change is only to occur incrementally. Blowing it up and starting again isn't an option.

You forgot option 3, which is starting again without blowing it up and that's what's happening right now. We need to continue down that path if Sydney is going to function properly under the impact of all that growth that happening now and coming up in the future. The Sydney/NSW Trains system is essentially unequal to the task of supporting that growth. So it needs to be trimmed back until it's functional again and then improved from a refined base until it does deliver something adequate for the areas it serves. The metro-that-should-be-called-something-else needs to be expanded to support the old system along corridors where that's needed, as well as opening up new corridors.

Regarding comparative statistics, I'm not comparing Sydney with Perth in detail, but using Perth performance as a benchmark for what needs to be achieved in Sydney. To be blunt, this will be through metro for the foreseeable future. The Transperth data is pretty close to, if not in some cases exactly how metro will perform in Sydney, where all parameters are the same or close. I'm not stupid enough to be comparing serpentine lines to dead-straight ones for example and, when I talk about Sydney/NSW Trains performance, I have access to all the curve and gradient and line speed limits etc data. I still have no explanation from anybody (except indirectly via Railpage and Glen) why a train should be ambling along a long stretch of straight, zoned at 100 km/h+ for suburban trains, at 60 or 80 km/h. This is what happens every day.

The comparitive real-life data technique I picked up when previously working on the Sydney tram projects where I'd be working with transport planners who were calculating journey times with complex mathematical calculations including the acceleration/deceleration rates of the trams. They'd come up with a ludicrously slow result and I'd be saying "don't you realise that the old Sydney trams covered that stretch much faster than that?" "Oh really, but that's impossible acccording to our calculations". :roll: It happens that the Czech Republic not only has benchmark levels of performance in its tram systems, but more significantly, a large amount of detailed performance data in English. I know from there, again wherever within the same parameters, how a tram will perform in real life over a given section of line that is comparable to a counterpart in Australia. I'm using the same approach with trains, with Perth as the benchmark - at least for the metro.

The first Sydney metro line will deliver the fastest suburban commuter services in Australia alongside Perth. Performance is almost identical, but if metro lines ever go out into areas with longer station spacings, the trains will need that extra maximum speed to continue to match Perth timings over long distances. If we want to attract people out of cars over longer distances, given the performance constraints of Sydney/NSW Trains, we need to continue along that "metro" path to deliver competitive travel times, with greater frequency to make up seating capacity to match the existing trains - and obviously greater total capacity.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby swtt » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:57 pm

Glen wrote:
Linto63 wrote:The introduction of dwell times was done to build some robustness into the timetable. ........ A T1 coming down the North Shore line with no delays will have 2 minutes dwell time at Chatswood, North Sydney, Town Hall and Central.

I think you have been reading too many press releases. :-)

Anyone would think there was no dwell time before.

That's an extraordinary amount of time over and above the time required to load and unload.


What made the trains run on time during the Olympics? :)
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby SthnStarRail » Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:10 pm

Probably the fact that the Olympics were on and the government didn't want any screw ups during it
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Linto63 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:12 pm

swtt wrote:What made the trains run on time during the Olympics?
IIRC the timetable was rewritten so that each line operated as out and back services with as little as possible interaction with other lines with bustitution on some of the lines at the extremities such as Campbelltown-Goulburn, Wollongong-Kiama and also on the Inner West. Plus a large amount of fat built in.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Glen » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:50 pm

swtt wrote:What made the trains run on time during the Olympics? :)

One of the reasons I heard, apart from perhaps a high level of staff morale to make it work, was the sheer level of resourcing put into the system e.g. extra staffing to be on the spot to fix issues, that you normally could not afford on an ongoing basis.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Glen » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:57 pm

Linto63 wrote:
Glen wrote:Sorry I was not meaning to sound critical.
No problems. There has probably always been a big of dwell time built into timetables, with the on screen platforms now displaying how many minutes until departure time, it is probably now just more noticeable.

No, that wasn't the case.

In 2005 the trains were noticeably slowed down, prior to that the timetables were more nimble but certainly not what you could call unachievable.

tonyp wrote:The point I was making is that, even when there's a nice, long, unrestricted, modern length of line of similar standard to Perth's in Sydney, the trains here still don't let rip, but continue to amble along. The feedback I get from Sydney Trains people on Railpage is that to do so would upset operations in other parts of the network because it's all interrelated and it all has to be slowed down for everything to work.

I don't think they are quite seeing it in the right sequence.

The reason that 'letting it rip' would result in a train catching up to the train in front, is that they have all been deliberately slowed down.

If all trains were scheduled properly, with sufficient but not excessive running time, it would still work.

There seems to be a view around that Sydney has the most complex system in the world but I wouldn't think that would be the case.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby boronia » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:03 pm

Depends on what you define as "complex". Try Tokyo for example, a very complex network, with several operators involved, but operationally is it quite simple as most of the lines are independent of each other.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Linto63 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:43 pm

Glen wrote:In 2005 the trains were noticeably slowed down, prior to that the timetables were more nimble but certainly not what you could call unachievable.
Am guessing this roughly coincided with the introduction of data loggers and GPS, which took away the option for trains to operate above speed limits to regain lost time.

Glen wrote:There seems to be a view around that Sydney has the most complex system in the world but I wouldn't think that would be the case.
I expect there are more complex, certainly Sydney's problem of trying to feed multiple lines into a few tracks are not unique. And in a way perhaps not as complex as it once was when Illawarra services also used to operate via the City Circle and North Shore lines until the Eastern Suburbs line opened in 1979, admittedly with less overall services.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Glen » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:02 pm

Linto63 wrote:
Glen wrote:In 2005 the trains were noticeably slowed down, prior to that the timetables were more nimble but certainly not what you could call unachievable.
Am guessing this roughly coincided with the introduction of data loggers and GPS, which took away the option for trains to operate above speed limits to regain lost time.

Apart from the perennial desire to use a slowdown in the mistaken belief that this was the only way to improve on time running (a belief that I can trace back to initial attempts to do so in the early 1980's when I worked there) it also coincided with a lot of safety-paranoia post-Waterfall, even though Waterfall had nothing to do with train speeds or on time running.

Linto63 wrote:
Glen wrote:There seems to be a view around that Sydney has the most complex system in the world but I wouldn't think that would be the case.
I expect there are more complex, certainly Sydney's problem of trying to feed multiple lines into a few tracks are not unique. And in a way perhaps not as complex as it once was when Illawarra services also used to operate via the City Circle and North Shore lines until the Eastern Suburbs line opened in 1979, admittedly with less overall services.

Right now it's at the least complex that it has been in some time, with the segregation of T1 and T2 trains between the City and Granville.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Tonymercury » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:23 am

And one way of decreasing running time is to increase speed limits, something we seem to avoid. Perhaps TfNSW have already declared that it won't work.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby matthewg » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:43 pm

Tonymercury wrote:And one way of decreasing running time is to increase speed limits, something we seem to avoid. Perhaps TfNSW have already declared that it won't work.


That costs money. Higher speeds mean better maintenance required all round and things wear out faster.
And the improved travel times might encourage more people to use the service, can't have that, the toll road owners have loans to pay off.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Glen » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:59 pm

matthewg wrote:
Tonymercury wrote:And one way of decreasing running time is to increase speed limits, something we seem to avoid. Perhaps TfNSW have already declared that it won't work.

That costs money. Higher speeds mean better maintenance required all round and things wear out faster.

Would I be right in thinking that speed limits have actually been reduced in some areas over recent years?
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Tonymercury » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:15 am

matthewg wrote:That costs money. Higher speeds mean better maintenance required all round and things wear out faster.


And how much is about to be blown on the Bankstown line? Considering we are always ripping up the network and replacing it, how much does a change in engineering standards add to the cost?

Also, how about crossovers at near line speed?
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby sunnyyan » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:04 am

^ The only change in speed limit I have noticed on the Bankstown line is that in the past few years the crossover east of Campsie had been upgraded to an X50 from something like X25.
Also north of Sydenham, there is a speed board with a crossed out 70 and a 65 board next to it (DKRD says 65).
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby andy_centralcoast » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:53 pm

Seems to be a trend of the Sydney Trains social media pages lately to post memes...
https://www.triplem.com.au/sport/cricke ... ion=sydney
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Newcastle Flyer » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:08 pm

This is just general, but I'll post it here. Are guards, etc allowed to say "Wickham Interchange" instead of "Newcastle Interchange",or would they get in trouble?
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Fleet Lists » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:05 pm

Do we know whether the documentation from which they make the announcements, has been updated? There is a fair chance that it has not,
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby mandonov » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:10 pm

It’s not called Wickham Interchange, so why would they call it that? All announcements that I’ve heard say Newcastle Interchange.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby andy_centralcoast » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:24 pm

mandonov wrote:It’s not called Wickham Interchange, so why would they call it that? All announcements that I’ve heard say Newcastle Interchange.

The station is in the suburb of Wickham, and is basically the old Wickham station redeveloped into the terminus interchange. It was originally going to be named "Wickham Interchange" but the government changed it to "Newcastle Interchange" earlier this year.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Fleet Lists » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:42 pm

Different thing altogether. Central may be in Haymarket but the Newcastle interchange is in Wickham but not in Wickham Interchage.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby boronia » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:45 pm

Probably just another part of Sydney Trains / Trainlink's ongoing policy of making signage and announcements confusing for passengers
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby andy_centralcoast » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:43 am

Speaking of confusing signage, station staff have covered up the cryptic trackwork poster with a far more useful hand written train timetable.
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Re: NSW Railway Observations - December 2017

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:41 pm

boronia wrote:some new "directional" signage at Blacktown:

DSC01705 (Small).JPG


My initial reaction to the new “KEEP TO THE LEFT. Thanks for keeping the trains moving” signs that came up after the new timetable was “...wow it’s so sad we live in a Nanny state and need to be belittled like that”, but upon second thought, we actually need them.

ESPECIALLY Town Hall escalators during non peak times
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