Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

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boronia
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by boronia »

Reported elsewhere a couple of days ago that Fire+Rescue were called out to the depot to a report of smoke issuing from the roof of of one of the trams. Battery/capacitor failures already?
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by tonyp »

https://www.nbnnews.com.au/2020/02/18/o ... ight-rail/
ONE YEAR OF THE NEWCASTLE LIGHT RAIL
By Samantha Poate - February 18, 2020

It’s been 365 days since Newcastle light rail launched, and the service has become a popular public transport option for Novocastrians.

The trams have carried about 1.2 million passengers since the first day of service last year.

The patronage, about 3400 per day, is more than the 1800 forecast during the planning phase.

Transport for NSW’s Acting Regional Director, North, Anna Zycki, said she was pleased to see locals and visitors embracing public transport.

“The light rail has made Newcastle Transport a truly integrated network, with almost half of passenger trips using the light rail to connect with bus, ferry or train services,” she said.
“We’ve seen public transport use in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie increase by more than 23 per cent in 2019, compared to 2018.”

The busiest days to date was December 20, 2019, recording over 5000 passenger trips.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by boronia »

Cracks found in Newcastle light rail tracks, 10 km/h speed limit imposed on parts of the line
Paywalled article:

https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/stor ... d-FiH6vNSA

Thought they didn't go much faster than this anyway?
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by lunchbox »

I guess the cracks are in the concrete, not the rails!
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by Newcastle Flyer »

Paywall even in private mode.

^^ At Lunchbox, not sure.
^^ At Boronia don't think it will make that difference in time, the top speed limit is only 40 for both road and tram traffic.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by Swift »

So what's the problem? It won't impact average running time at all, even less so if it was the CSELR.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by matthewg »

Swift wrote:So what's the problem? It won't impact average running time at all, even less so if it was the CSELR.
And the rails don't carry any traction return current either, so even if the rails cracked, as long as the concrete was holding the rails in gauge there shouldn't be much of a problem. According to the drawings in the presentation given by WSP in May 2019, there are insulated joints on each side of the stations, so there is no electrical danger from having a broken rail, they only have to worry about a misalignment.

Street tramways elsewhere operate over broken rails frequently, often at line speed if its mass concrete and the there is no danger of actual misalignment and there is a decent traction power return path. (It's not uncommon to have a negative feeder buried in the track with connections to the rails at regular intervals to ensure a good return path.)
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

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https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/stor ... s/?cs=7589
Newcastle Herald editorial March 14, 2020: Newcastle light rail extension business case published after FOI request

AFTER a Newcastle Herald application under NSW freedom-of-information laws, Transport Minister Andrew Constance has released a 64-page summary - prepared by Transport for NSW - of a business case on the extension of the Newcastle light rail, which in turn was produced by a private consulting firm Corview.

Having begun with 18 possible routes, consultants Corview narrowed these down to four, and then chose an almost straight line to the John Hunter Hospital through Broadmeadow and Russell Road as the "most suitable" next stage.

Little financial detail is included in this summary, but the consultants say that economically, there is "no urgent need" for a light rail extension.

Further, they make it plain that an obvious obstacle to the John Hunter proposal - a gradient of up to 9 per cent up going up the hill at Russell Road - poses "significant constructability issues".

Such a gradient would make that section one of the steepest light rail lines in the world.

Against these concerns, the John Hunter link "meets multiple strategic planning and transport goals, intersects major urban renewal and employment precincts and has lower impacts to the traffic network compared with other options".

Overall, however, two major problems remain.

The first is Newcastle's "very high levels" of car use and the correspondingly low level of public transport use. More importantly, though, it seems the numbers are just not there for light rail.

The report says Newcastle has a "growing" population, and the figures it presents - a 28 per cent increase in the study area population and an extra 117,000 people in Greater Newcastle - seem substantial enough.

But these are figures for the 40 years from 2016: a population increase of just 0.7 per cent annually for the project area, and 3000 a year across Greater Newcastle.

For perspective, Greater Sydney's population is set to grow by about 3 million over the same time, at a percentage rate about as twice as fast as Newcastle's.

This disparity is a major problem for the Hunter when it comes to prising money from governments that know the bulk of the NSW population is clustered in the capital.

But better services and infrastructure is one way the government can encourage growth in Newcastle as the state's second-largest city.

As controversial as it would be, an extended light rail could be part of that.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by Newcastle Flyer »

Trams have been cancelled since Sunday afternoon from about 17:30, due to a fire, and they are still suspended until further notice. Hunter St between Auckland & Union Sts is still blocked off.
Newcastle Light Rail - buses replacing light rail services
UPDATED 6 Apr 19:48

Ongoing
Buses are replacing light rail services in both directions between Newcastle Interchange and Newcastle Beach due to an earlier building fire on Hunter Street. Extra buses are running on routes 11, 13 and 14. Allow extra travel time.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

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Further, they make it plain that an obvious obstacle to the John Hunter proposal - a gradient of up to 9 per cent up going up the hill at Russell Road - poses "significant constructability issues".

Such a gradient would make that section one of the steepest light rail lines in the world.
I was questioning this, but it seems an accurate statement that it would be one of the steepest in the world - but they do exist. The J Church line in San Francisco ( a "Muni Metro" light rail line - not a cable car) has a 9.1% grade, as does the suspended Allentown light rail line in Pittsburgh (52/Brown Line).

I am not sure what the "constructability issues" are though - to me it's more of ensuring that the vehicles can handle such a grade, as it seems standard vehicles may top out at around 6%. I don't know too much about Pittsburgh, but I believe in San Francisco, the Muni Metro's vehicles are specified for higher grades than normal (which I presume requires increased torque on the traction motors).
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

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You need all wheels powered.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

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What's the max gradient on the Carlingford Line?
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by Newcastle Flyer »

^^ Now closed Carlingford Line steepest part was about 1:37 (ie: about 2.7%)!
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by Glen »

From the Newcastle Herald:

Newcastle light rail services suspended after mechanical issue
Sage Swinton

Light rail services suspended after mechanical issue

Newcastle light rail services have been suspended until at least Monday due to a mechanical issue.

Keolis Downer shut down the services from 5pm on Thursday after inspections of the fleet identified the mechanical problem. Buses are replacing the trams while they are out of action.

"The fleet has been suspended as a precaution until inspections are completed," a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.

"This issue is unrelated to the cracking issues identified in the Inner West light rail fleet."

Sydney's Inner West tram line is out of action for at least 18 months due to cracking in all 12 of its Spanish-made CAF light rail vehicles.

Keolis Downer uses similar CAF vehicles in Newcastle but said last month that it had found no problems with its fleet.

The Transport for NSW spokesperson said Keolis Downer aimed to have some trams running by Monday.

"Obviously, as investigation works progress over the weekend we will be able to provide customers with a more accurate update in coming days," the spokesperson said.

"We will keep customers informed as we progress and when services resume."

Labor seized on the suspension of services as another example of government failure in procuring transport infrastructure.

"This is the NSW government's second light rail fail in a month," shadow transport minister Jo Haylen said. "As if we needed more evidence to build transport infrastructure here in Australia."

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said the vehicle fault followed the discovery of cracking in the light rail tracks early last year.

"Novocastrians were promised the world with this light rail and they've been delivered a dud," he said.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by ScaniaGrenda »

Given the rarity of the Light Rail being out of service in Newcastle, I figure I'd note down my observations for today.

Okay so went and caught the Light Rail Replacement Buses today, only two out at a time when Replacement Bus 1 reaches the Queens Wharf stop, the other is just departing from the Interchange.

The Buses Can't be tracked on any real time feed

This possibly ties into the above, currently there is no need to tap on the replacement buses with your Opal card or contactless payment nor pay for the Journey. When the bus reaches the Queens Wharf replacement stop on Bolton Street (Stop ID 230070) It would make walking down to Queens Wharf tedious just to tap off so I can't see enforcement of payments being done unless they enable it on the replacement buses.

The Buses used were two Volvo B8RLE Bustech VST's (2802 and 2819) from Newcastle Transport. So it appears it is Newcastle Transport replacing the LR, makes sense.

Given the small size of the Newcastle Light Rail Network, there really isn't a Replacement route number for the replacement bus. The Destination of the buses just say "Light Rail Replacement".

The sole Marshall was only there from 9 through to possibly a little after 10 this morning.

TransportNSW Trip Planner doesn't really advise where the replacement stops are, nor is there any Signage. These are the Stops for the Light Rail Replacement Bus;

Newcastle Interchange Stand A (Stop ID 230233) Newcastle Interchange Replacement Stop
Hunter St at Steel St (Stop ID: 230222) Replacement stop for Honeysuckle Station
University House, King St (Stop ID: 230048) Replacement stop for Civic Station
King St at Perkins St (Stop ID: 230040) Replacement stop for Crown Street Station
Bolton St before Church St (Stop ID: 230070) Replacement Stop for Queens Wharf Station
King St at Bolton St (Stop ID: 230039) Replacement stop for Newcastle Beach

Hopefully some of this Information is useful or helpful, especially the part about where the replacement buses stop. Trip Planner was otherwise just telling me to walk and catch a service bus when I'd try to input anything about the Light Rail Station.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by Aurora »

That’s some good info.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by ScaniaGrenda »

Thanks

Although the Newcastle Light Rail being out is rare, I definitely think a much better job needs to be done of advising the public when & where to catch the replacement buses from.

Yesterday they had some Light Rail services running alongside the replacement bus, 131500 even confirmed this (tho their just reading from what I can already see on their alerts page). I'd guess nothing is coming up in Trip Planner for the replacement bus because a proper "route" or something needs to be put into the system and currently it appears it doesn't exist, therefor if you put Newcastle Interchange to Honeysuckle for example into trip planner, it isn't going to bring up anything about a replacement bus (at least it didn't on Sunday). As usual Newcastle commuters getting vague information when the Transport System fails.

I knew a "replacement bus" was running to a degree on Sunday however I wasn't sure until I turned up whether it was a full on replacement bus or they were just advising people to travel on the 11 or 13 since they pretty much run spot on close to the Light Rail (or nearby stops).

My advice even through it would fall on death ears (because honestly who cares about us?)

Give the replacement route a number, Just call it LR1 (Newcastle Interchange, All stops to Newcastle Beach) and then maybe LR2 from Newcastle Beach all stops to Newcastle Interchange.

Advise Commuters where the replacement stops are, just telling people to walk when a replacement bus is clearly running is downright poor.

And advise Commuters when exactly to catch the replacement bus if the wait for the next light rail service is some time away.

Just my advice, will it happen? Definitely not although never hurts to put the word of things out there.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by Swift »

At least this mediocrity is temporary. Actually that would be an improvement in that case.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by Aurora »

If this becomes a longer term issue, then they will produce a bus timetable, but until more is known, it will be run as an emergency operation.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by tonyp »

The issue is now identified as a gearbox failure.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by moa999 »

So very different to Sydney.

And I'd assume they would have pulled up the floor to thoroughly check for cracking like Sydney?
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by Swift »

There's minimal curves in Newy's glorified theme park ride isn't there?
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by moa999 »

Minimal. No 90 Deg bends. Worst is a couple of 45 Deg turns.
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Re: Newcastle light rail, renewal & integrated transport

Post by matthewg »

tonyp wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:52 pm The issue is now identified as a gearbox failure.
It wasn't the actual gearbox, but in that general area. Given the glacial speed the NCL trams run at, the offending part should not have failed.

Given CAF heavy rail carriages are developing weld and structural failures in the UK, it's looking like CAF has a design and welding capability deficiency. The common thread appears to be they have underestimated the stresses undergone by parts and structures in their vehicle designs, leading to premature failure.
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