CBD & South East Light Rail

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neilrex
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by neilrex »

There seem to be plenty of trams on Sunday.

When I got off the train at Wynyard, I saw a southbound tram at Bridge Street station. This was followed by 2 more going the same way before I got to the corner of George and Alfred. I wasn't timing them, but it was three trams in about 4 minutes.

Then waited about 10 minutes in a queue which had only about 100 people waiting . One of the marshalls was explaining to somebody else that the trams were supposed to be running "about" every five minutes. Some morons with sousaphones were making as much racket as possible to disrupt the announcements. Tram left CQ with only 15 people standing in one half of the train. A lot of the stops were very long for no obvious reason. An idiot woman, who went all the way to Randwick, sat in an aisle seat and forced people to climb over her twice to get in and out of the window seat. One of the women who did this, only travelled one stop.

At circular quay, its very difficult to determine which tram is going where, and which is one is going to depart first. If you are at the end of the tracks at the bottom of Loftus Street, you cannot see the indicators on the platforms. And if a tram is standing at the platform, you cannot see the indicator on the other platform. And the sign above the drivers compartment says the tram is going to Circular Quay. This is a very obvious problem which should have been anticipated.

From Coogee Beach I decided to take the bus back downtown and the one that I caught went to Central via Cleveland St route. As the bus passed the terminus, there were 2 trams there this time. As the bus was waiting for the light at the bottom of Cowper street, a citybound tram sailed past. However, the tram was waiting for the next light and the bus overtook it. The tram did not catch up again by the time the bus turned into Cleveland Street. This was possibly the same tram which arrived at Central, about 2 minutes after the bus did. There were a lot of temporary bus stops for the Illawarra line closure.






At Chinatown stop, someone was yelling repeatedly " exit to your right ", I was thinking, this is obvious, the doors are only open on one side of the tram. This was after the tram was stopped. Apparently, they were forcing people to exit using the pedestrian crossing at the north end of Chinatown platform. There was nothing wrong with the pedestrian crossing at the south end of the platform. Apparently, they were prepared for much larger crowds than actually turned up on Sunday. 7

Lots of people were confused about why there was no stop in Eddy avenue.

At Devonshire Street, Gladys Bin Chicken was dancing to entertain the crowd of about 4 people waiting to board the tram.

There was a longish delay at South Dowling street, which ended exactly when a tram arriving in the other direction. I suspect this might be an RMS scheme, to force one tram to stop until the other one arrives, to minimise stopping cars. The same thing happened at the crossing along Alison street.

Approaching the Randwick terminus, the driver announced that anyone wanting to return directly toward the city should exit the tram and board the other one, which would be leaving before this one leaves. This may be generically useful advice, but there was no tram there. and the driver could see that when he made the announcement. I very much doubt that a tram could arrive after the one I was on, and then leave, before the one I was on did. The two traffic lights between the last two stops seemed unreasonably slow.

I tried to ask a man with an "ask me" T-shirt where the bus stop for Coogee Beach was, I could not hear the answer because another pair clowns with a trombone and sousaphone were prancing around getting in peoples' way. Were the Government paying those imbeciles ? Neither of them looked subcontinental. They were telling people to exit the tram stop at the downhill end, but nobody was falling for it. Not many people there.

I recommend ignoring the traffic light and walking straight across the single car lane at the end of High Street, If you dutifully wait for the green man there, then you are guaranteed a worst-case delay for crossing Belmore Road to the bus stop.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

We know the normal timetable for the 373 and 374 but, out of interest, how long do these services normally take to get from Randwick to their northern CBD terminus in peaks?
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by simonl »

tonyp wrote:We know the normal timetable for the 373 and 374 but, out of interest, how long do these services normally take to get from Randwick to their northern CBD terminus in peaks?
Irrelevant question.

In peaks these are supplemented by the X73, X74 and X77 services. 11 minutes to Bent St in the AM, 18 to Museum. In the PM, about 27 minutes depending on which trip to get from Spring St to Belmore Rd..

The PM is slower because it doesn't use the ED then.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by J_Busworth »

I'm going to give the light rail another go this week, this time actually simulating how I would go about my day to day journeys using the system. Currently if I leave home in Coogee at 7:25am, getting the 7:30am bus, I can get to Town Hall before 8. I would like to thing that the same thing could be achieved by transferring to the tram. I'm not yet sure where or how ill transfer to the tram, given there are no bus stops near any of the tram stops coming from the 374 and I'm not sure how long this interchange will take. I'm hopeful that the total travel time is not more than double the existing travel time.

On Saturday, Randwick to Wynyard took 120 minutes, departing at 12:35pm and finally being let off the tram just past Wynyard at 2:35pm. My return trip from Town Hall to Randwick took just 75 minutes, getting on at 2:51pm and getting off at 4:07pm. Regardless of what went wrong, surely they have a better contingency then keeping passengers hostage on trams along George Street. I was lucky enough to get off after only about 15 minutes of waiting, but I know people who were trapped for well over 30 minutes. Contingency planning for major events is important, and they clearly failed on this one.

I'm hopeful the tram will do better and it seems to have done better today. Still not sure if it can beat the bus to Randwick and to be honest, it probably doesn't need to. Most passengers will be counter peak travels to the SCG, UNSW and Sydney High. I can't imagine that this will ever be a viable system for commuters vs the current buses, but that is ok and there are plenty of other roles for it to play.

The real test would probably be if it can beat a 374 from Circular Quay to Central in the PM Peak. The slowest 374 is timetabled at 25 minutes from Circular Quay to Central. I can walk the 374 route from Circular Quay to Central in a similar amount of time. If it can't beat that timing, the whole project was a waste of money.
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tonyp
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

simonl wrote: Irrelevant question.
Not for me it isn't. I don't want to know about the X routes. I want to know specifically about the 373 and 374.
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neilrex
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by neilrex »

I think it is a very relevant question.

BTW, when the bus on which I was a passenger from Coogee to Central turned right at "the spot", there was a sign on the bus stop stating that the bus stop was closing. This was a rather busy stop, so I assume that the impending closure was for the convenience of someone other than bus users.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by J_Busworth »

tonyp wrote:We know the normal timetable for the 373 and 374 but, out of interest, how long do these services normally take to get from Randwick to their northern CBD terminus in peaks?
The slowest 373 from Circular Quay to Randwick is timetabled at 34 minutes in the PM peaks, same in the AM peak. The 374 is timetabled as quite a bit slower (47 minutes Circular Quay to Randwick, but it doesn't go past the light rail stop there, but it has a more generous run time through the CBD, with the slowest 374 taking 16 minutes between Circular Quay and Museum vs 12 minutes on the slowest 373 and it also has to go to Central, adding the other 9 minutes.

The X73 is timetabled at 30 minutes from Australia Square to Randwick in the PM peak. The X73 is timetabled at 18 minutes from Randwick to Chifley Tower in the AM peak, 25 minutes to Museum Station.

The light rail needs to beat those times to be competitive for commuters in peak. Of course the buses often run late, but usually not by more than 5 or so minutes. I don't think under current operating methods it can meet this, and as such I expect the buses to largely remain unchanged.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by boronia »

This afternoon I hopped onto a tram in Rawson Place to go to QVB. The driver sat there through a T light phase, so we endured another double traffic light phase before leaving on the next T.

These delays seem to be causing bunching. Despite a "6 minute frequency" again today I noticed trams just one stop apart.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by thunderbird »

A lot of comments here about the journey time being so long to and from Randwick, maybe some thoughts to my below observations:

I was a UNSW student full time a bit over 10 years ago, and a frequent rider of 891 bus to and from Eddy Avenue:
-0900 lecture, arrive at Central by train at 750, join queue of about 400 people that has spilled around the corner into Elizabeth street. Watch one bus arrive one after another, slowly filling through single door boarding one at a time. Finally after waiting 20+ mins, board the 9th bus to arrive, and enjoy the 20 min bus trip (used to be timetabled at 16 mins) to Kensington, slowly disembark bus.

Total time 40+ mins.

Similar experience on return trip, the buses came frequently but took ages to load and work through the queue after lecture finish times. Often I would consider waiting till half past each hour to avoid the rush, the risk being a long wait for an 895 from Anzac parade. Often you’d stand there staring at a MKIII or MKIV parked a bit further south with the driver appearing to be waiting for a larger crowd to make the run worthwhile (there was no real timetable then)

Now I look at what is slated as the “conservative” timetable while services are “bedded in” (standard political jargon). The travel time weekday peak from central to high street 22 mins. Add maybe 5-7 mins wait time, this is still a massive improvement on what I used to do every day. One tram could easily clear UNSW’s rush at any time or day and provide the same frequent service any time through the day (not just the on the hour lecture is over rush).

Enjoyed taking a ride to my alma mater today, wish it existed back then.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by rogf24 »

Seem to be aiming for 40 minutes.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/tra ... 53k3h.html

I would hope not, that's not much faster than the current conservative 44 minute travel time.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by J_Busworth »

I think thunderbird perfectly outlines exactly the main strength for this line. In terms of counter peak UNSW and Sydney High travel, this line will be a godsend and should easily have comparable if not quicker journey times for most travellers who currently get the 610 and 891.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

There's no doubt that CSELR wil work well for UNSW either way and that's one of its main purposes. However the other significant functions out that way are serving the hospital complex and collecting and feeding buses through interchanges and on to Coogee, La Perouse etc. It's enough that these commuters will already have a disadvantage in interchange time, they don't need a slower journey time on top of that. Once again, it was a politcal promise early in the piece that they would have a faster journey to town than in the bus.

thunderbird's account reminds me that there are bus operations and bus operations. When living in Pilsen (a major industrial city) in Czech Republic about eight years ago, I observed one day the end of a shift outside the Panasonic factory. There were something like four hundred workers pouring onto the long bus stop outside and three artic trolleybuses (150 pax capacity over there) pulled in, swallowed them up through four doors in no time and left a virtually empty stop behind within a couple of minutes. Buses could do so much more in this country but they don't have the "art".
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by moa999 »

For the 373/4 which currently avoids Randwick Central (though this will probably change), I'd probably stay on the bus to the stop before Lang Rd.

Cross Lang and the tram tracks and enter the stop from the East
(as I found out today there is no way to access the stop from the Eastern side of Anzac Pde) and the Bus stop opp Syd Girls for Southbound services on Anzac Pde is now Closed (albeit still listed for the M10)

So much for the Moore Park Interchange actually being well an Interchange, rather than a Terminus for Special Services
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tonyp
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

This doesn't sound good. It seems like they think cutting the journey to 40 minutes is an achievement. If that's the case, they really have no idea.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/tra ... 53k3h.html
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by STMPainter2018 »

J_Busworth wrote: Still not sure if it can beat the bus to Randwick and to be honest, it probably doesn't need to. Most passengers will be counter peak travels to the SCG, UNSW and Sydney High. I can't imagine that this will ever be a viable system for commuters vs the current buses, but that is ok and there are plenty of other roles for it to play.
This is what I believe too. Like you say this line's target commuters will mainly be students, and event goers travelling from the City to Moore Park. And IMO, it'll be much easier for them to transfer from train to tram, then tram to bus. Reading thunderbird's post justifies this. I'm sure average commuters will flock to this as well but I have a feeling this won't their main mode of transportation compared to buses, at least not now. Once extensions are underway to places like Maroubra and Coogee, then I can see it being a more viable system for them. Nevertheless, I have high hopes that this tramline will definitely justify it's existence over the next few months, especially after end to end journey times are sped up and traffic light priority is finalised (and I have reason to believe priority is in place because the trams I took on Saturday went straight through many intersections and at others only had to wait for at least a minute at worst).
J_Busworth wrote: The real test would probably be if it can beat a 374 from Circular Quay to Central in the PM Peak. The slowest 374 is timetabled at 25 minutes from Circular Quay to Central. I can walk the 374 route from Circular Quay to Central in a similar amount of time. If it can't beat that timing, the whole project was a waste of money.
According to the timetable, trams between Circular Quay and Central are expected to take 15 minutes, and that's just in the slower "bed in" period. Once that's over I can imagine trams running much faster than that. So on that front, the project is justified.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by STMPainter2018 »

tonyp wrote:This doesn't sound good. It seems like they think cutting the journey to 40 minutes is an achievement. If that's the case, they really have no idea.
Sigh... Tony, this is what you need to understand: this is Sydney. And being Sydney, the bar for public transport is set very very low. Problem is you have such anally high standards for how public transport should be run in this city, but you fail to realise those standards can almost never be achieved. You're so set in your beliefs and ways that you haven't even considered the possibility that trams won't be running end to end under half an hour. And I'm sorry, even with traffic priority - which I believe is in place/in the process of being done so - I can't see trams performing within the goals you've set. Compared to other transport run times in this city, I would think 40 minutes is an improvement. But wait! I hear you cry: the buses can run much faster than the trams will? Yeah well... read thunderbirds comment. That puts things into a lot more perspective from my POV. When you factor in every aspect of travel, trams will be far more convenient for commuters in the long run, especially once journey times are sped up and the system is extended. Point is, you need to let go of some of these high expectations you have. You can't brand the CSELR a "failure" just because it doesn't meet your unrealistic standards. And by unrealistic I mean by unrealistic for Sydney. This town is a hotbed of idiocy and incompetence my dear; you almost always have to have low expectations and work up from there. But knowing the transport situation had before, this tramline will be a godsend. And honestly, I think we should all be grateful that trams are finally reestablishing themselves in Sydney once again, along routes upon which they once traveled. That should be enough to get any gunzel's pee-pee hard. Anyway cheers to trams!
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

I'm thoroughly familiar with incompetence and low standards in transport circles thanks. Nevertheless they've done an excellent job with the metro in breaking the "Sydney is different" spell, so it's definitely starting to move forward again. The projected travel time between CQ and Central at Pitt St was 15 minutes, which is the same time that the old system used to take but it did it with 12 intermediate stops and in mixed traffic compared with CSELR's 5 stops in its own lanes. The timetable is currently 16 minutes and they should easily be able to get at least a minute or two off that if they eventually get traffic light priority. The real problem is in the free-running section from Central to Randwick where it has some good long runs. That's timetabled at 24 minutes which is completely terrible. Again no traffic light priority.

Sorry, you can't write off SE bus commuters, that's a really slack attitude and also disregards a political promise made. Feel free to view everything through low standards but some of us get on through life a bit more positively than that, otherwise we wouldn't get anywhere with anything. The fact is that it will be an operational failure if it can't do an end to end journey in 30 minutes or less as it won't fulfil much of its objectives. It will also have the distinction of being both the world's most expensive and the world's slowest new tram system and that's certainly not good value for money. The fact that we now have locally the nifty and well-planned and executed Gold Coast and Canberra lines alongside to compare with make it even more embarrassing.

I prefer to hold off judgement until we see what develops over the next three months or so, but yesterday's item quoting Constance in the SMH doesn't bode well.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by swtt »

I read from the SMH that for doors to open, a passenger needs to press a button?

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/tra ... 53k3h.html

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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by moa999 »

SMH live blog
46min for Randwick - CQ on a 7.09am service.

Yes you need to use the door buttons - although on at least one journey I took the driver is also seemingly able to open all doors and did this at the stops to Town Hall
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by boronia »

STMPainter2018 wrote: According to the timetable, trams between Circular Quay and Central are expected to take 15 minutes, and that's just in the slower "bed in" period. Once that's over I can imagine trams running much faster than that. So on that front, the project is justified.
On Saturday, my trip from Randwick to CQ took 50 minutes, the section from Chalmers St to CQ took 24 minutes. I've recorded stop by stop times if anyone is interested.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by neilrex »

I am certainly interested and will be posting my dwell times once I resolve an issue with the GPS changing recording format.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

I dug out my copy of the capacity and operations analysis done several years back, with its charts for the Rawson Place to CQ section. At that stage there were seven intermediate stops at what is now Chinatown, World Square (later dropped), Town Hall, QVB, King St (dropped), Wynyard and Bridge St. It was anticipated that it would stop at traffic lights (in addition to those at stops at intersections) at Rawson Pl, Ultimo St, Hay St, Goulburn St, Park St, Bond-Jamieson Sts. At that stage the plaza was intended to go as far south as Liverpool St. Speed limit was 60 km/h Rawson Pl to Liverpool St, 20 km/h Liverpool to Bridge St and 25 km/h Bridge St to CQ. Because of the multiple stops, the tram reached between 25 and 35 km/h between Rawson Place and Liverpool St, 18 km/h between Liverpool and Bond St and 23 km/h between there and CQ. One vehicle every traffic light cycle (two in both directions) was assumed.

Journey time was estimated at between 13 and 14 minutes. This was on a basis of headways of 1 minute, 15 seconds (48 trams per hour per direction). Comparison was made with Swanston St Melbourne which had average headways in peak of 63 seconds (57 trams per hour per direction) and crossed several major inetrsections (also with tram routes) and ran through high pedestrian traffic. The team was also aware that the former Sydney tram system did the run in 15 minutes with about 12 compulsory stops. Thus, a working rule of thumb of a 15 minute journey between CQ and Central was adopted - and that was on the basis of seven intermediate stops, not the present five. So when I say CSELR is underperforming (and would still underperform on a 40 minute journey time), I have solid grounds for saying that.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by boronia »

From a random trip on Saturday:
(Cumulative times, min:sec to nearest 5 sec)

Randwick (dep about 15:30): 00:00
Botany St cross: 2:00 -2.25
High St stop: 3:00- 3:40
High St lights: 3:40- 4:50
Wansey stop: 6:45- 7:30
Darley Rd lights 8:40- 9:00
Racecourse stop: 10:00- 11.10 (inc driver change)
Lang Rd lights: 14:00- 16:25
Moore Park stop: 17:05- 17:50
Sth Dowling St lights: 19:20- 19:40
Bourke St lights: 20:25 -20:40
Crown St lights: 21:10-21.25
Surry Hills stop: 22:10-22:55
Elizabeth St lights: no stop 23:50
Chalmers St lights: no stop 24:20
Chalmers St stop: 25:20 -26:20
Pitt St lights: 27:35- 27:45
Haymarket stop: 28:20- 28:35
Haymarket lights: 28:35- 29:35
Hay St lights: 30:20- 31:00
Chinatown stop: 32:10- 33:10
Liverpool St lights: 33:55- 34:10
Bathurst St lights: 34:55- 35:30
Town hall stop: 36:10- 36:55
Park St lights: 37:20- 37:30
QVB stop + Market St lights: 38:25 - 39:15
King St lights: 40:15 no stop
Wynyard stop + Hunter lights: 41:10 - 42:40
Bridge St stop and lights: 43:45 -45.40
Alfred St lights: 46:35 -48:45
Cir Quay stop: 50:10
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by Merc1107 »

STMPainter2018 wrote: ... this is what you need to understand: this is Sydney. And being Sydney, the bar for public transport is set very very low. Problem is you have such anally high standards for how public transport should be run in this city, but you fail to realise those standards can almost never be achieved.
So are you trying to suggest your city shouldn't aim for something better? The whole point of the light rail is to improve upon buses; capacity, journey times and so on, not regress in some ways for an eye-watering price tag.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

Thank you for those figures Boronia. I appreciate your effort as I know its not much fun trying to enjoy a journey while operating a stop watch and noting it down!

I normally wouldn't collect figures for at least a couple of weeks until an operation settles down, but your figures do show a couple of significant things:

1. There is no traffic light priority. The RMS may be dead but its ghost still rules the roost on behalf of the (iirc) less than 20% of selfish people who still drive into or through the city.

2. There is about 11 minutes lost there in waiting for traffic lights.

Edit: Stop dwell times in normal operation should be typically 15-20 seconds. So that's 6 to 7 minutes lost in excessive stop dwells in your figures.

So in total there's 17 or 18 minutes of excessive run time that shouldn't be there. That would reduce your 50 minutes down to less than 35. The rest can be done through some decent acceleration/deceleration to raise the average speed between stops. So that knocks it under 30 minutes.
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