XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Take the following in a constructive manner...

A long, long time ago, in a life far, far away, I used to run a little kiosk.  If CountryLink aren't covering the incremental labour costs of their buffet car I'd be surprised - it is not exactly a high cost operation.
donttellmywife

This is RailCorp, if there is a high cost way to do it, they'll find it!

I must say CL buffet prices are extremely reasonable.  Most things are rec-retail.  The meals are about what you'd pay in a supermarket for a Lean Cuisine still frozen (ie under $10).  A privatised operation would be gouging their captive market.  And staffing costs would almost certainly be substantially lower than a CL TA.


I don't see an allowance for depreciation or up-front purchase cost in any form.  Obviously here we're all just guessing, but without that guess this comparison is a bit too far off.  For a certain quality of service, one of the reasons that operations are structured the way they are is because they've made a trade-off between the up front capital costs and the ongoing operating costs.
dtmw

Absolutely right.  And I meant to mention that in the caveats but forgot.  

The big problem I had here was loco hauling the XP trailers extend their effective life, and this changes an appropriate depreciation rate for them.  Their book value is probably next to zip anyway ATM.  "Fairly" accounting for this could be done any number of equally valid ways, and these would impact the outcomes.


Maintaining three underfloor engines and the passenger cabin costs $150, but maintaining two engines and no passenger cabin in an XPT set costs $300?  Hmmm.
 

Assumptions were $50/hr for a DMU vehicle (550HP for an Xplorer plus an aux).  $15/hr for a trailer.   But yeah, I take your point.

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  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I believe there was a discussion earlier regarding XPTs with failed power cars. On the evening of 27 April 2013, what I understand to be the up Grafton XPT suffered the failure of the rear power car. I believe it slugged it to Gosford, and then ended up being towed by 48123 onwards to Sydney Terminal.



djf01, what happens if you have a galley but no buffet, having trolley service instead?
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Yep with half or less (remember needs hotel power) the X becomes a slug and I reckon North Control was stressing over lost time and a snails pace up the River Bank . The Billy Cart wouldn't have been the fastest way ("slant six" an' a B7 brake) but as they say to win first you must reach the finish line .
Wonder what Billy would look like in CL paint ...
  a6et Minister for Railways

Yep with half or less (remember needs hotel power) the X becomes a slug and I reckon North Control was stressing over lost time and a snails pace up the River Bank . The Billy Cart wouldn't have been the fastest way ("slant six" an' a B7 brake) but as they say to win first you must reach the finish line .
Wonder what Billy would look like in CL paint ...
BDA
Nil problems using a B7, you just bypass lap & go to service application of 10psi reduction as minimum, or depending on grade 12-15, don't use full release.

I guess an extra 900 horses along with the single Xpower car would be better than just the X's Power car.

I think any colour scheme would be better than that one, which looks like its out of a dog.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

My latest "thinking" on a post XP fleet allocation using loco hauled trains if anyone is interested: http://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1829095.htm#1829095
  Straya Station Staff

NSW TrainLink should replace the XPT and V Sets with the same train model. This would ensure inter operation within the fleet and a standardized image. The V set replacement could operate with an all coach design similar to the current V set. The XPT replacement would have First Class (similar to new tilt train lie flat seats) and a Buffet. The best option would be for the train to be based on pendolino / QLD Tilt Train / current xpt, being of either double or single deck design with a push pull cab car set up. The cab cars would be either electric for the V set replacement or Diesel electric/hydraulic for the Xpt replacement. Tilting trains have a top speed of up to 250 kph, however significant improvements would need to be made to the system such as signaling, track condition and upgrades to level crossings. These improvements would be incredibly expensive to the Government however and it is unlikely NSW TrainLink could get the funding needed for such upgrades. Such rolling stock is also expensive and without a upgrade to the network (currently limited to 160 kph) the trains would be a waste of money.

If TrainLink can't get the funding for the upgrades a cheaper option for the fleet renewal would be for a return to modern loco hauled trains. Loco hauled has been the direction the United States has gone on when replacing stock and reintroducing "new" services to city's who had joined the freeway age. Modern Loco hauled systems use one locomotive (either electric or diesel) at the front and passenger coaches with a cab coach at the rear. The train can be controlled from the rear cab effectively operating like a XPT. The Hyundai Rotem range would be the ideal choice https://www.hyundai-rotem.co.kr/Eng/Business/Rail/Railroad/Product/rail_car08.asp. NSW TrainLink could use existing locomotives such as the 86 and 90 class locos with the option of purchasing newer locos when needed. Considering speed restrictions on our current network, these loco hauled trains wouldn't be slower then the current XPT / V sets. The passenger coachs could be fitted out in a typical commuter train layout for the V set replacements
with the XPT replacement operating a service similar to the AMTRAK Pacific Surfliner
.

Whatever option undertaken the NSW TrainLink replacement rolling stock needs to be standardized and ideally replacing the older stock at the same time.
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
Straya, can I have some of whatever you have been taking, it is some seriously good gear!

Dave
  Straya Station Staff

Straya, can I have some of whatever you have been taking, it is some seriously good gear!

Dave
thadocta
So replacing the XPT with Loco hauled trains using old carriages which dont have a rear cab car (how is the train going to reverse back to Sydney) and need significant upgrading is a good idea, but the suggestion of a modern loco hauled system with modern comfortable carriages with a rear cab, meaning the train can get back Sydney is not. Hmm
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
So replacing the XPT with Loco hauled trains using old carriages which dont have a rear cab car (how is the train going to reverse back to Sydney) and need significant upgrading is a good idea, but the suggestion of a modern loco hauled system with modern comfortable carriages with a rear cab, meaning the train can get back Sydney is not. Hmm
Straya
I'm catching up on some RD mags from last few months and noted in Vic they ordered $400m worth of Velocities, about 25. So about $16m per car. I thought this was a bit high per car, but so be it. If it was just engineless trailer how much less could it actually be, $2-3m?

Now, this is the Vic who bought this, the only operator in Australia of both loco hauled an DMU for interurban/regional work. They have old trailer cars and spare locos to use, read close to fully depreciated, so effectively they are free. I assume there are more available if they want them esepcially as some loco hauled services are being phased out, like Stoney Point and now I think Sunbury. But what are they doing, BUYING NEW DMU's.

I'm guessing the main reason the NE SG doesn't get a Velocity is the gauge issue. Much easier and cheaper to have some old trailers plus some spares and a few aging unused locos on SG and leave the entire Velocity fleet on BG, however the size of the velocity fleet is such it probably doesn't matter anymore. ARTC won't let them do 160, so may as well use stock that fits in the speed limit better.

This to me says volumes and ongoing talk about buying new locos and loco hauled cars to replace XPT's is way off reality. As a stop gap, placing a redudent SG loco upfront of the XPT cars because some think the XP cars are on their last legs has numerous issues

- Issues at Casino and Roma St to start with turning the locos if they are not double enders.

- Extra crewing costs. Assume 7 XPt sets running at any one time. Means about 28 or so drivers plus spares. Lets say 40. Employment costs about $8pa. Now the new locos will probably be twin driver, so add another $8m to the salary bill. What about shunting?

- If you cannot maintain the timetable, ie ARTC let the lightweight XP's do 130km/hr, you will need to find a 90t'er to achieve the same axle loadings. NR's, 81's etc won't be allowed or do the same performance. If you cannot match the timetable to within even 30min per route, now you need more cars. There are a few spare EC cars during quiet periods, but there are only 1 spare of the FC sleeper, seater, buffett and crew cars. So now you need to order probably at least one more set.

Won't happen, the govt will buy a set of DMU's to deal with Dubbo and go from there. Knowing that the XPLR cars are within a decade or much less of much of the XPT cars, the new DMU to Dubbo will be a trial for future orders, also looking at replacing the aging ENDR cars, so now the order is growing, oh yes, they might want to can the V-sets and the Overhead within 5-8 years to Lithgow, more DMU's, so maybe start sooner, then the XPT's can be added at the end or at anytime.

The order is now so large (pushing 100 cars) they have heaps of flexibiilty with one platform and can have the fit out to suit as required + trailers. By 2030, NSW now has only two diesel motive power to play with for passenger use. The huge in DMU order + Hunters.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
So replacing the XPT with Loco hauled trains using old carriages which dont have a rear cab car (how is the train going to reverse back to Sydney) and need significant upgrading is a good idea, but the suggestion of a modern loco hauled system with modern comfortable carriages with a rear cab, meaning the train can get back Sydney is not. Hmm
Straya
The same way they do now when the XPT goes with a single power car!
Yes... it happens! (You can look on Google Earth to see how they do it in Dubbo)

But, they are not going to replace XPTs with loco hauled trains, nor are they are not going to replace V Sets with DMUs, so it is really irrelevant. (As Dave asked....what are you on?)
  Straya Station Staff

DMU's and EMU's are not the answer, unless the government is willing to take away their Sydney focus and invest in a faster regional system, which isn't likely. Loco hauled trains with hyundai rotem trailers are the best option for the XPT, Xplorer/endevour and V set replacements. The Hyundai Rotem trailers have a cab car built into the rear trailer, allowing the driver to operate the train in the reverse direction. For standardization purposes trailers will be configured by type. Economy trailer, first class trailer and buffet trailers. For services under 3 hours (v set replacement)  economy trailers, 8 for newcastle / lithgow, 4 for blue mountains and 2 for bathurst and southern highlands services are arranged, with a electric loco (for services within the sparks) and a diesel loco (services outside of the sparks). For longer services 2 First class trailers (fitted with the new Qld Tilt train lie flat seats, which eliminate the need for cabins), 4 economy trailers and a buffet trailer are arranged together with a diesel loco. This allows great inter operations within the fleet. Hyundai Rotem trailers are affordable and comfortable and of double deck design. New loco's may need to be procurred, options include https://www.hyundai-rotem.co.kr/Eng/Business/Rail/Railroad/Product/rail1_pop16.asp and bombardiers traxx range.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
FWIW, when the Hunters were designed one of the criteria for the basic platform was that it could be adapated to be either a short distance commuter set or a long distance regional set (not terribly revolutionary - look at the Endeavour/Explorer platform).  That's starting to become ancient history now, but I take that as an indication of Railcorp's thinking was about CountryLink fleet replacement at that time.

(Fourteen Hunter cars (seven sets of two each) for ~$102 million in 2006, which does make the Velocities seem a little expensive if RTT_rules' figures are right.)
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
It would be an option that I doubt the NSW Government would follow... they don't seem to like change.

Now the new locos will probably be twin driver, so add another $8m to the salary bill. What about shunting?
Somebody
Why are we still on an old habit that if it is a "loco" you need two crew up front?
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
DMU's and EMU's are not the answer, unless the government is willing to take away their Sydney focus and invest in a faster regional system, which isn't likely. Loco hauled trains with hyundai rotem trailers are the best option for the XPT, Xplorer/endevour and V set replacements...
Straya
The EMU's and DMU's that are in current use seem to be doing a reasonable job.  What's a "faster regional system" got to do with choice of rolling stock?  

"Best" will come down to the cost argument.  Sticking a loco in front of four or less carriages isn't going to be pretty from a cost point of view.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
It would be an option that I doubt the NSW Government would follow... they don't seem to like change.

Why are we still on an old habit that if it is a "loco" you need two crew up front?
Jim K
Because despite some of teh other states going to DOO driving and even DOO shunting and NSW setting the pace way beack in 1984 with the XPT DOO, little has changed. I agree it could be DOO, but as some of the punters are saying the XP's need to go now and quoting using 81 class etc, then it would be twin driver. I totally agree a new loco with right design could probably avoid such an option.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
FWIW, when the Hunters were designed one of the criteria for the basic platform was that it could be adapated to be either a short distance commuter set or a long distance regional set (not terribly revolutionary - look at the Endeavour/Explorer platform).  That's starting to become ancient history now, but I take that as an indication of Railcorp's thinking was about CountryLink fleet replacement at that time.

(Fourteen Hunter cars (seven sets of two each) for ~$102 million in 2006, which does make the Velocities seem a little expensive if RTT_rules' figures are right.)
donttellmywife
Yeah, I'll look up again tonight in RD.

From Wiki.

On 26 November 2012, Transport Minister [i]Terry Mulder[/i] announced that an additional 40 carriages would be delivered between 2014 and 2016. The $207 million order would comprise seven additional 3-car sets plus 19 intermediate cars

Thats $5m each, with nearly half a trailers which getting close to an XPT order replacement where you would need 5/7 of the cars trailers.

Hunters by your figures are $7m each (2006 order)
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
DMU's and EMU's are not the answer, unless the government is willing to take away their Sydney focus and invest in a faster regional system, which isn't likely. Loco hauled trains with hyundai rotem trailers are the best option for the XPT, Xplorer/endevour and V set replacements. The Hyundai Rotem trailers have a cab car built into the rear trailer, allowing the driver to operate the train in the reverse direction. For standardization purposes trailers will be configured by type. Economy trailer, first class trailer and buffet trailers. For services under 3 hours (v set replacement)  economy trailers, 8 for newcastle / lithgow, 4 for blue mountains and 2 for bathurst and southern highlands services are arranged, with a electric loco (for services within the sparks) and a diesel loco (services outside of the sparks). For longer services 2 First class trailers (fitted with the new Qld Tilt train lie flat seats, which eliminate the need for cabins), 4 economy trailers and a buffet trailer are arranged together with a diesel loco. This allows great inter operations within the fleet. Hyundai Rotem trailers are affordable and comfortable and of double deck design. New loco's may need to be procurred, options include https://www.hyundai-rotem.co.kr/Eng/Business/Rail/Railroad/Product/rail1_pop16.asp and bombardiers traxx range.
Straya
I'm not against loco trailing in a similar arrangement, I've seen many of these operations in Germany and Tassie runs a short freight train loco trailing for 26km with the driver using a remote in the shell of an old BO-BO Y class. However this approach has been disputed many a time here for reasons I don't fully understand such as curve radius, track quality etc.

Considering the current issue of a diverse fleet with little redundency and operational issues on certain routes, the govt will I believe chase one flexible technology platform with various fit outs, a bit like the Vic's which keep buying more Velocities.

I originally proposed fixed sets, made of 2, 3 and 4 cars that are put together to suit the demand of the day and if the fleet is large enough you have this flexibilty with the benefit you have less but larger engines. However I have walked away from this and think the base line will be they will want one train technology that serves the smaller trains ENDR routes as well as the longer train XPT routes. The comfort levels needs to be similar for both trains as realistically some of ENDR routes match or are longer than some of the XPT routes.

DMU's suit the above requirements, without the inefficenies of loco hauled although the Germany/Hyundai closes the gap, it however is not suited to the smaller train ENDR services. If the DMU can run 13hr to Broken Hill/8hr to NW, they can do Brisbane/Melbourne. Currently for CL, (ignoring XP cars), max train length is 7 cars average train length is 4 cars.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Yeah, I'll look up again tonight in RD.

From Wiki.

On 26 November 2012, Transport Minister [i]Terry Mulder[/i] announced that an additional 40 carriages would be delivered between 2014 and 2016. The $207 million order would comprise seven additional 3-car sets plus 19 intermediate cars

Thats $5m each, with nearly half a trailers which getting close to an XPT order replacement where you would need 5/7 of the cars trailers.

Hunters by your figures are $7m each (2006 order)
RTT_Rules

There is some interesting stuff on this in this thread: http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11368183.htm

I got from that a V'Locity - domestically built - is about $6mil a car - at least now the design is settled.  The first batch were expensive because they respeced their top speed from 135 to 160 IIRC, among various other changes.  Obviously the bigger the order the further you spread your development costs, and then there is always the option of having them partially or completely built in China which would roughly halve the price.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Considering the current issue of a diverse fleet with little redundency and operational issues on certain routes, the govt will I believe chase one flexible technology platform with various fit outs, a bit like the Vic's which keep buying more Velocities.
RTT_Rules

I think you are right, but I also think the fact the recommendations will come from NSW Trains will influence the preferred selection.

As discussed in the V Set replacement thread, NSW Trains are going to left with large fleet of interurbans that are either facing life expiry or are regarded as inappropriate for the task.  Their commuter task is ~15000 seats per peak, and (to cater for all the suburban PAX who use interurban trains) CityRail runs ~25-30k seats per peak of interurban trains, in addition to ~20 trains worth of off-peak and contra flow services.

For NSW Trains I think addressing the shortcomings of their commuter fleet is going to a much more pressing priority.  It probably should be a priority for the Gvt too given the interurbans traditionally service marginal electorates.  I expect NSW Trains will be urgently asking for ~$1bil worth of new fleet: 12K of new seats for commuters and 4k seats for CountryLink routes.  If they get both I'll be very surprised.  So *if* they get a new fleet for CL I'm certain they'll put up a spec that allows this distance fleet to do commuter routes as well (read 2+3 seating).
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Someone needs to quantify what DOO is and mention the difference between driver only operation and single man crewing . An XPT has a single person operating the train as in making it move and stop but he/she is not the only crew member on those trains . This is why dredging up the X as an example of how successful DOO is is garbage . Take every human off an XP set except the driver and then quote it as a single man DOO train . Thats effectively what you have with a DOO freight train .
I'm not sure what the on board services staff on an XPT can actually do outside the train itself - maybe away from a platform , nothing ?  Can they protect their train and its human cargo wth flags crackers and radios ? If it comes apart and has to be coupled back up can they do this ? If the complete set needed to set back and couldn't be driven in the direction of travel can they pilot it ? Lots of quite simple things can't be done with any train with just one person . Can't move backwards unpiloted , can't couple up to anything at all ever because you can't see in between . Can't do brake and air tests by yourself particularly if you are the examiner too . Can't protect trains in both directions at once . Can't always help yourself if you fall sick or hurt yourself and even if you can raise the alarm how long does it take the cavalry to get to you ?
EMUs/DMUs in NSW are another example of DOO trains that do not have a single human crew .
DOO shunt has been mentioned and again the single driver is not the only person present , the driver does not do all the ground work to make the shunts happen . They can stop and pull points just like they can uncouple from wagons but they can't be at both ends of lengthy strings of wagons at the same time .
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
So replacing the XPT with Loco hauled trains using old carriages which dont have a rear cab car (how is the train going to reverse back to Sydney) and need significant upgrading is a good idea, but the suggestion of a modern loco hauled system with modern comfortable carriages with a rear cab, meaning the train can get back Sydney is not. Hmm
Straya
No, your suggestion that NSW Trains uses a common fleet to service all markets - Sydney-Springwood as well as Sydney-Brisbane, along with first class seats for the longer journeys that rival airline seats (when they can barely get people to pay for first class at the moment) is what is making me hope that you are selected for a random drug test when NSW Police are conducting such operations, I don't want you on our roads in the state you must have been in when you made such a suggestion.

Dave
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
I think you are right, but I also think the fact the recommendations will come from NSW Trains will influence the preferred selection.

As discussed in the V Set replacement thread, NSW Trains are going to left with large fleet of interurbans that are either facing life expiry or are regarded as inappropriate for the task.  Their commuter task is ~15000 seats per peak, and (to cater for all the suburban PAX who use interurban trains) CityRail runs ~25-30k seats per peak of interurban trains, in addition to ~20 trains worth of off-peak and contra flow services.

For NSW Trains I think addressing the shortcomings of their commuter fleet is going to a much more pressing priority.  It probably should be a priority for the Gvt too given the interurbans traditionally service marginal electorates.  I expect NSW Trains will be urgently asking for ~$1bil worth of new fleet: 12K of new seats for commuters and 4k seats for CountryLink routes.  If they get both I'll be very surprised.  So *if* they get a new fleet for CL I'm certain they'll put up a spec that allows this distance fleet to do commuter routes as well (read 2+3 seating).
djf01
Simple.  Using "stuff from Sydney to the north" as a template (adaptation to other compass points left as an exercise to the reader):

- Impose martial law.
- Buy a score or so of four car DMU sets - with similar makeup to the current CountryLink Explorer fleet (you can bump the first class hard product seating experience up a bit, but your fares reflect any improvement).
- Listen attentively to people whining about having to sit in a "hard seat" for a long time on interurban services.  Murmur in agreement.  Then completely can the interurban service beyond the points at which travelling in an OSCAR is deemed "too uncomfortable" (Wyong, perhaps, as you head north, Gosford even).  Complaints addressed!  Maintain the "local" all stopping shuttle service.  
- Remove restrictions on CountryLink selling shorter distance trips (e.g. Fassifern to Hornsby).
- Replace previous interurban runs with a mix of now shortened OSCAR runs (you might need to buy a few more) and DMU services, with select DMU services continuing further afield to regional destinations.  
- If "operationally convenient" (which includes consideration of potential revenue) those regional destinations might still, at some sort of very restricted frequency, include the current intercapital runs.  If anyone complains about the lack of sleepers, tell them they would probably have been better off chartering a private jet.  If anyone complains about having to sit on a DMU for ten hours, then tell them that expecting the NSW taxpayer to subsidise their interstate holiday is just rude.  If they continue to complain, shoot them.
- Introduce yield management pricing.  Peak travel times?  Peak prices!  Tell anyone that complains about the large increment in prices from current "MyTrain" fares (or whatever the system is called today) for the current interurban market that they can continue to catch the all stopper local and change at Gosford.  If they continue to complain tell them that expecting the NSW taxpayer to subsidise their excessively lengthy commute is just rude.  If they continue to complain, shoot them.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Yeah just shoot em , shoot em all and don't run pass trains . Brrrrilllliant .
Buy a score of DMUs at what was 7 mill a car ? Brilliant , spent more money we don't have and increase taxes or cut funding somewhere else . Rude ?
Hooking and pulling the southern and north coast ONLY XPTs , which is what THIS thread is about , would cost a pittance by comparison . As has been explained again and again and again other operators already have networks in place to cover the Roma Street to Spencer Street corridor and nothing is new to them . Little would have to be spent other than the motive power and crewing capacity which they could justify for the potential revenue stream .
And still mugs want to know how to turn engines or how to set back from Melbourne to Sydney or Brisbane . Well geniuses , the same way GSR does which means not at all , if smart you place the outgoing engine on the departure end and eureka - have it facing the right way . Lucky the metroseptuals here weren't helping NASA put two men on the moon in 1969 , the eagle would have had legs and marker lights top and bottom just incase it had to set back to earth with its single driver doing a continuous sheet .
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Im a bit curious to know what currently pulls the XPT.
Its obviously not a loco, as everyone wants the XPT to be pulled with a loco.
So precisly what is an XPT power car.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Im a bit curious to know what currently pulls the XPT.
Its obviously not a loco, as everyone wants the XPT to be pulled with a loco.
So precisly what is an XPT power car.
MD
Go back to an earlier post of mine, re the original decisions that the SRA brought forward at the federal arbitration/industrial commission.    The XPT is a complete train, composing of various types of vehicles. Each one makes up one complete XPT train, that being the amount of passenger carriages & normally 2xXP power cars.

Basically speaking when they arrived they were deemed locomotive types. Under the AFULE award that required 2 men on locomotives & especially locomotive hauled passenger trains there be two men in the cab. The SRA wanted 1 man so a debate & argument arose that they were affectively separate DMU power cars attached to each end of the train.

The railways argued the basis was on the Silver City Comet, which had a single power unit with driver cabs at each end.  The primary difference being 2 single power units on each end & no need to run round as the comet had to do.

As such the XPT power car is simply a dedicated type power vehicle powered by a diesel prime mover, equipped with single driving control features at one end, to be used on dedicated train types.

The argument for using other than the current type of dedicated power units is to have dual purpose locomotives haul the carriages, in place of the current power units. Simple as that.

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