Monday, January 12, 2009

Issues with 'Super Trams'

Not sure if you caught the papers and the news the other day regarding the tram incident near St Vincent's Hospital?

The Age reported it online here.

There can be issues with the longer trams at some interstections where they cross divided roads suach as the one in the photo. With the tram length they cannot stop in the median, resulting in the trams having to go through the entire intersection without stopping resulting in the trams travelling faster and potentially more accidents.

No doubt the investigations will result in some findings but, this highlights the need to ensure adequate light sequencing to allow free, priortised tram movements.


RVB said...

I think you'll find that these incidents are relatively rare. Sure, shorter trams are less likely to derail, but the government's goal is capacity expansion - so it's more cost effective.

But in truth, they could have chosen better. The Siemens trains, for example, had massive brake problems and were essentially faulty. Yet Connex and the government just shrugged their shoulders in amusement.

dam buster said...

I have no problems with the trams themselves. In fact I think that longer trams with more doors are a lot more efficient, especially on busy routes in peak times.

My issue is that the infrastructure and traffic light sequencing needs to be adequate.

That intersection and the next one south are shockers. I used to work in Orica House (1 Nicholson St) and there were a number of car/ tram accidents in the area.

RVB said...

I agree. MOTC was meant to address that very issue. Unfortunately Kosky got bored with MOTC's centerfold and invented something called the Victorian Transport Plan.
It remains uncertain whether some MOTC initiatives will take place. The Merri Bridge duplication (north of Clifton Hill station) was part of the plan and is coming along at a cracking pace. Same with the South Morang Extension (which, ridiculously, costs 5 times more than the Manurah Line in Perth - which is almost the length of the entire Frankston line...Daniel Bowen is still calculating the carats of gold for the tracks required to meet that cost).

dam buster said...

The Clifton Hill duplication was well overdue.

The South Morang extension is a joke in civil engineering consultancy circles as almost every engineer has worked on some report or costing at some stage to do the works. I know of at least 3 (myself included) who have worked on it but not at the same time.

I agree regarding the costs of the extension. I know that they are doing some works at Epping as part of it. Hopefully they get the station right so that it can capture the huge growth corridor north of there and they throw in a heap of bus services along the way.

A few things to note:

1. they don't have to do any land acquisition as it is still a reserve (look on google maps);
2. the alignment is reasonably simple from earthworks point of view;
3. they may have to do a significant amount of noise abatment for the adjoining houses.

RVB said...

Did I mention that the project costings have increased exponentially since it was first proposed in early 2000? Transport Textbook have shown this on a graph; it's self-parodying.

dam buster said...

Of course they have. I worked on it in about 2001.

I do have to admit when i saw the costing I thought it was for a much longer extension. But without going through all the figures I could not comment on what else has been included (such as additional buses)

RVB said...

And still no word of response from the government regarding these figures. I might do a post on 'predict the excuse'. Actually...yeah, I will.

dam buster said...

This is what the govt web site says:

Melbourne's north, including the areas around Lower Plenty and South Morang, is booming. To serve this area, the Epping line will be extended to South Morang.
Five kilometres of track will be duplicated between Keon Park and Epping, and a second platform built at Thomastown. Thomastown and Epping stations will also receive upgrades to improve accessibility.
Three and a half kilometres of new double track will be laid beyond Epping, and a new fully staffed, premium station will be built at South Morang . Services will run from South Morang every 10 minutes in the peak and every 20 minutes at off-peak times.
The new station will include 500 car parks, a safe drop off area, taxi rank, bus facilities and bike lockers.

so any costing needs to include the duplication of track which is more difficult as you have to have adequate safety provisions. there would also be some mucking around with the overhead works in that area too.

RVB said...

It's still no excuse. Perth did it; why can't we?

Kosky - are you listening to this?

dam buster said...

Oh I know it is still no excuse. effectively it is 12km of track, overheads, one new station and a few station modifcations.

I cannot figure where they are spending $650m in that. There are no major road crossings, no major earthworks.

There has to be other things attached to the project. It is the only way they can come up with such a figure.

RVB said...

Dam Buster, I think you'll find that the excess money pinched from the public's purse is going directly to Connex's international Zurich Bank account...with $1.2billion given in subsidies since 2004, I wonder how many gratuitous ads regarding giant hamsters on what appears to be Thomas the Tank Engine tracks... or Sir Rod Eddington's Connex could buy.

dam buster said...

Well I doubt that Connex will see much of the $650m as most wil be in infrastructure costs.

I was amazed the lines that Connex were using for the train cancellations last night and this morning.

Anonymous said...

The particular incident in the photograph shown was caused, in part, by an outdated set of manual points being set to the right instead of being straight at the intersection.

Although, the tram stopped at the tram stop and facing points to pick up passengers, the driver was distracted from observing the points setting because of a passengers' question and certain 'pressure', to maintain running on time!
It was highly unusual for the points to have been changed to the right in such a busy intersection.

In todays traffic conditions there are so many things going on, very different from 50 or 80 years ago when manual points were the 'norm'!

It would be a simple matter to have the tram signal, a white 'T' or 'Arrow', interlocked to all points, manual and automatic!

Had this have been the case at Nicholson street and Victoria Parade at that time, the driver would not have proceeded because the signal would have shown that the manual points were for turning to the right!

The manual points had been turned to the right by a driver of a 'City Circle', tram starting duty from the depot in Nicholson Street.
This policy has been changed now and the 'City Circle', trams go straight and shunt back in Spring Street for Victoria Parade.

This intersection is used by trams on route numbers 96,86,95,89 and 35.

From the 'Horses Mouth'.

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