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Inner West Light Rail observations

Sydney / New South Wales Transport Discussion

Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Fri May 17, 2019 1:28 am

tonyp wrote:
Jurassic_Joke wrote:If we order more trams to address the overcrowding issue, I sincerely hope we move away from the CAF’s because they're pretty terrible in their current Sydney spec incarnation.

Just order something with more doors - like Melbournes E Class Flexity. That’s a tram I could be proud of (if Melbourne was my home city)

The E class only has five doors. You can order the CAF with six. The E class also has very narrow aisles that discourage circulation. There are really only two major standee areas, one at each end. In the CAFs you can get a better distribution of standees. The Flexity is a different model. The Gold Coast trams are Flexitys and they have a much better door and internal circulation arrangement. Though they only have fixed bogies, a specification that is the cause of wheel and track wear on the curving IWLR. A Skoda 15T would be the best choice that ticks all the boxes - swiveling bogies, six evenly-distributed double doors and heaps of circulation space.


Yes, but per articulation, the front and end cars of the E Class both have two doors each in them, ensuring offloading / boarding is reasonable. The middle car of the E Class admittedly could be better. Sydney's CAF only has one door per articulation, worse yet, middle car has no doors. I really don't like arriving at Central on a CAF and you wait a century to get off the overcrowded tram because there's only one door in the car you're in, ensuring offloading will move at snails pace. It is absolutely atrocious design. It's just like the front and end cars of the CAF have extremely narrow aisles, it makes the same mistake as a Combino tram.

I'm really looking forward to when these new Citadis X05 trams start, I'm a fan of the internal layout, looks well designed for good passenger flow.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby moa999 » Fri May 17, 2019 1:46 am

As others have posted it's just our poorly chosen spec for the CAF.

Look at these similar 5-cab 30m Urbos 100.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby tonyp » Fri May 17, 2019 6:54 am

moa999 wrote:As others have posted it's just our poorly chosen spec for the CAF.

Look at these similar 5-cab 30m Urbos 100.

This is correct. CAF can produce a layout basically identical to the CSELR Alstom with 6 double doors per set (although the Citadis has a much better seat arrangement over the power bogies than CAF). The IWLR tram we got was down to specification decisions made by TfNSW back in 2011 when they didn't have their head around the issues.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby STMPainter2018 » Fri May 17, 2019 2:14 pm

tonyp wrote: The Citadis has a much better seat arrangement over the power bogies than CAF

Let's just hope they have a stronger wheel wear, a better air-conditioning system more suited to Sydney's environment, and are less susceptible to high maintenance as well. Sigh, have I mentioned I miss the Variotrams? Cause I miss the Variotrams.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby tonyp » Fri May 17, 2019 2:46 pm

STMPainter2018 wrote:Let's just hope they have a stronger wheel wear, a better air-conditioning system more suited to Sydney's environment, and are less susceptible to high maintenance as well. Sigh, have I mentioned I miss the Variotrams? Cause I miss the Variotrams.

All of these trams with fixed bogies batter the track and the wheels, whether Alstom, CAF or Variotram. With the double door at the end - and thus the additional overhang- there is an additional pendulum effect from the front module that has to be kept in check by yaw dampers that of course need replacing regularly - still doesn't eliminate the effect though. The IWLR track wasn't in best condition after a few years of Variotram operation and will similarly decline under the impact of the CAFs. Issues such as requiring higher maintenance than necessary don't make news though.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby matthewg » Fri May 17, 2019 6:32 pm

tonyp wrote:All of these trams with fixed bogies batter the track and the wheels, whether Alstom, CAF or Variotram. With the double door at the end - and thus the additional overhang- there is an additional pendulum effect from the front module that has to be kept in check by yaw dampers that of course need replacing regularly - still doesn't eliminate the effect though.


John Dunn got the Variotrams properly damped. CAF still haven't cracked it. Alstom has, it took them 15 years, but the late model Citadis ride quite well, and Bombardier isn't far behind. CAF still have some learning to do.

Apparently, when the first assembled Variotram hit the test track it swayed all over the place. John Dunn basically said 'we can't ship that' and set the team on working out how to fix it.

None of the CAFs so far shipped to Australia have airconditioning suited to our environment.
I wonder if Alstom has put in Australian strength air conditioning in the Sydney 305s or will they be sweat boxes too?
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby STMPainter2018 » Fri May 17, 2019 8:36 pm

matthewg wrote: I wonder if Alstom has put in Australian strength air conditioning in the Sydney 305s or will they be sweat boxes too?

This is what worries me the most about the Citadis. They seem have gotten everything else right such as multiple doors, flowing interior layouts and well damped wheels, but with our increasingly hot summers will the air-conditioning be up to the task as well? Sigh, why did you have to die on us John?
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby STMPainter2018 » Fri May 17, 2019 9:08 pm

Oh by the way, I found this newly posted video made by a youtuber named "railfan_be". Its a panoramic cab ride, showing the entire trip from Dulwich Hill to Central. It basically reconfirms what I've experienced previously; the Dulwich Hill extension is the fastest part of the line; Lilyfield - Central needs all the help it can get. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv-IbQ0Ynzc
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby Frosty » Fri May 17, 2019 9:12 pm

STMPainter2018 wrote:
matthewg wrote: I wonder if Alstom has put in Australian strength air conditioning in the Sydney 305s or will they be sweat boxes too?

This is what worries me the most about the Citadis. They seem have gotten everything else right such as multiple doors, flowing interior layouts and well damped wheels, but with our increasingly hot summers will the air-conditioning be up to the task as well? Sigh, why did you have to die on us John?


Well there are Citadis trams operating in various hot climates such as Dubai and Africa so they surely would have experience in building an AC system that can deal with hot summers and generally harsh conditions.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Sat May 18, 2019 1:29 am

And Melbourne most of all don’t forget. I was there a scorching day this summer and travelling on a C(itdadis) class tram that day, I remember very well the AC was good. It was the D Class Combino I find over there that is the most likely to fail, in terms of AC.

I remember from my last summer trip to the Netherlands for tram types present in Melbourne, Rotterdam (Citadis I) and Amsterdam (Combino) - cold air conditioning was left out of the spec sheet altogether there for both trams under the reasoning the country wasn’t hot enough in summer (although climate change has of course caught up to bite them), completely ridiculous, so we at least would definitely have it better here in Sydney with the CAF and hopefully Citadis X05
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby tonyp » Sat May 18, 2019 8:45 am

What climate change? Oh you mean the weather? ;)

The reason for the adoption of air con in modern European trams is firstly to replace old types of heating systems and secondly because modern trams don't have the good natural ventilation systems that older trams have in summer - the blowers, opening standee windows and roof hatches.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby boronia » Sat May 18, 2019 4:15 pm

Isn't it the other way around?

People have become so dependent on a/c, they can't cope with life without it.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby tonyp » Sat May 18, 2019 4:20 pm

boronia wrote:Isn't it the other way around?

People have become so dependent on a/c, they can't cope with life without it.

That's certainly the other factor. When every modern automobile is air conditioned it sets an expectation for public transport.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby tonyp » Sat May 18, 2019 4:34 pm

There's a good new video on Youtube of a run from Dulwich Hill to Central:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv-IbQ0Ynzc

Some observations:

I looked up the dwell times I recorded on a 6-door CAF Urbos 2 for the same trip under similar traffic conditions and the dwells on that journey were typically around 15 to 20 seconds. On this new trip they're more like 20 to 30 seconds. I note that at one point the driver told the passengers to move away from the doors and started the old ding dong to move them along. When you don't have enough doors of course they're going to be slow. One day they might stop blaming the passengers and realise that it's the decisions of the operator/agency that fall short. Maybe they'll even realise that on the trains and buses too.

They seem to have livened up the performance of the trams between stops, so the overall journey time is a couple of minutes quicker than it used to be. No doubt the removal of the delay crossing George St has helped too. I can't believe they haven't done anything about priority at Darling Drive (or Pitt and Castlereagh for that matter).

There's a fair bit of yaw along the way, which is hard on the tracks and wheels and on the driver, who may need a chiropractor at some point.

The CAF sounds like it's driven by an aircraft engine, but they are pretty quiet on the outside. The door opening is slow too.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby STMPainter2018 » Mon May 20, 2019 2:54 am

tonyp wrote:There's a good new video on Youtube of a run from Dulwich Hill to Central:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv-IbQ0Ynzc

I... literally made a post drawing attention to this video only a few days ago; provided the link and everything!
STMPainter2018 wrote:Oh by the way, I found this newly posted video made by a youtuber named "railfan_be". Its a panoramic cab ride, showing the entire trip from Dulwich Hill to Central. It basically reconfirms what I've experienced previously; the Dulwich Hill extension is the fastest part of the line; Lilyfield - Central needs all the help it can get. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv-IbQ0Ynzc

I understand if you want to bring attention to it on other forums that I'm not apart of - as you have done on places like TDU - but here on ATBD, I'd like to think I called dibs on this one.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby matthewg » Mon May 20, 2019 6:21 am

tonyp wrote:There's a good new video on Youtube of a run from Dulwich Hill to Central:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv-IbQ0Ynzc

Some observations:

I looked up the dwell times I recorded on a 6-door CAF Urbos 2 for the same trip under similar traffic conditions and the dwells on that journey were typically around 15 to 20 seconds.


Unless you got a group who didn't understand they HAD to push the button to make the door open.

On the other trams the driver just left the doors in 'open on release' mode. Given the CAFs have inadequate airconditioning this makes for an uncomfortable ride in summer.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby gascoyne » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:41 pm

Services between Central and The Star were suspended today during heavy weather. Does anyone know what happened, please? Flooding in Haymarket?
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby swtt » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:42 pm

gascoyne wrote:Services between Central and The Star were suspended today during heavy weather. Does anyone know what happened, please? Flooding in Haymarket?


Flash flooding basically everywhere.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby Swift » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:08 pm

Soy boy trams.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby boronia » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:16 pm

Doesn't take much to turn Hay St into a lake. Big dip near the Capitol stop
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby matthewg » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:53 pm

Swift wrote:Soy boy trams.

CAF trams are afraid of getting their feet wet.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby tonyp » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:22 am

Well there's a manufacturer-stipulated maximum depth of water that trams can enter and an operator would want to observe that in order not to invalidate the warranty. I wouldn't imagine that CAF would be much different from any other model.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby matthewg » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:01 am

tonyp wrote:Well there's a manufacturer-stipulated maximum depth of water that trams can enter and an operator would want to observe that in order not to invalidate the warranty. I wouldn't imagine that CAF would be much different from any other model.


With CAF that would be zero as the motor air cooling vents are about 4cm above the railhead. Other makes definitely can take more than that without damage.
Alstom's motors are much higher for example, others probably ensure the air vents are at the top of the housing. The Variotram hub motors are water cooled anyway, thus totally sealed.

I doubt many procurement panels consider how often services will have to be cancelled in wet weather because the cheapest tram that won the tender has a zero tolerance for water over the rails.

Street tracks are going to get flooded at times. The equipment should be able to cope. Water over the road that will not stop a bus should not stop a tram.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby tonyp » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:42 am

TfNSW didn't consider (or know) much at all when they ordered the CAFs back in 2011. They were at the start of their learning curve back then. They keep ordering them because they're options on the original deal and the financial arrangements are probably more favourable than starting out fresh with a model from another manufacturer. The rain in Spain must stay mainly on the plain and not on tramways.
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Re: Inner West Light Rail observations

Postby Swift » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:43 am

This is what the Dulwich Hill end looked like at the start of the decade.
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