Belair line new timetable

 
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
Channel 10 has advised that there were major delays on the Belair Line. Reporting delays of up to 30 minutes delays. Mostly trains stuck at Mitcham. More details after 5:30pm.

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  Seldom_21 Junior Train Controller

Location: South Australia
Obviously both up-track and down-track services would be affected, did anyone, however, get a chance to see it, or experience it? Got to be in on time tomorrow, almost considering taking the bus Very Happy
  fabricator Chief Commissioner

Location: Gawler
7 News report delays due to 2 separate mechanical problems, the first was a pump that failed in the switching system, the second was a mechanical problem with a train. Given that information was directly from a Transport Dept spokesperson, we can be sure it is accurate for once.
  mclaren2007 Assistant Commissioner

Location: recharging my myki
There are a lot of people that haven't heard of teething problems when it comes to things like this
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

There are a lot of people that haven't heard of teething problems when it comes to things like this
mclaren2007
I hope that's not the case, because it would indicate that the testing done all last week wasn't done thoroughly, AND that the Rail Commissioner told a blatant lie to the public when she said they were two "separate mechanical problems" that "had nothing to do with the signalling problems."

7 News report delays due to 2 separate mechanical problems, the first was a pump that failed in the switching system, the second was a mechanical problem with a train. Given that information was directly from a Transport Dept spokesperson, we can be sure it is accurate for once.
fabricator

Has that been independently confirmed yet? Better to keep an open mind than make the assumption that spokesbots are telling the full truth, the chance of it being a "coincidence" that this happened on the first day of a new full service timetable when even an hourly service on the weekend couldn't be run reliably is pretty low.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Justapax.

You are being a more than a little cynical

The point blades are operated by a hydraulic pump and if the pump fails the switches can't change or can't travel though to lock fowling up the interlocking.
If you have studied equipment reliability you would know that equipment often fails early in its life then settles down to a relatively long period of satisfactory operation before finally wearing out and becoming unreliable. It is called a "bath tub curve" and we experience all the time with a range of goods, hence warranty periods.
A mechanism failed early, that's it. A warranty claim will be made no doubt.

Trains do fail.

Two coincident but unrelated failures likely but unfortunate.

Ian
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Justapax.

You are being a more than a little cynical
steam4ian
It's the only sane approach to take when a project runs over by three weeks and suffers a major failure on the first day of full operation.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Justapax.

If they made any mistake it was announcing the opening too early.

On another page I expressed my concern at what I saw to be slow progress with the signalling, see my reports about the progress at Millswood Loop. Supposedly functioning signals popped up overnight like mushrooms; how much opportunity did the engineering staff get to do rigorous commission checks. See my report about an IRJ that was put in as late as last Tuesday. Others may be able to clarify the issue, but I think this is the first use of axle counters in lieu of track circuits (apart form that IRJ).

I am not party to the contract agreements nor aware of the issues regarding the order in which works were completed so cannot tell if the signalling people, both contractors and engineers, got timely site access.

Ian
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Justapax.

You are being a more than a little cynical

The point blades are operated by a hydraulic pump and if the pump fails the switches can't change or can't travel though to lock fowling up the interlocking.
If you have studied equipment reliability you would know that equipment often fails early in its life then settles down to a relatively long period of satisfactory operation before finally wearing out and becoming unreliable. It is called a "bath tub curve" and we experience all the time with a range of goods, hence warranty periods.
A mechanism failed early, that's it. A warranty claim will be made no doubt.

Trains do fail.

Two coincident but unrelated failures likely but unfortunate.

Ian
"steam4ian"
Poisson processes?

Track actuating machinery and train faults are most certainly independent for statistical purposes.
  Seldom_21 Junior Train Controller

Location: South Australia
7:13 ended up being a 46 minute trip into the city with a delay at Mitcham waiting for a Belair bound train obviously due to slow TSRs; we passed two Belair bound trains on our way to Adelaide, both waiting at cut-ins on the line. Realistically, the line is not designed for the amount of traffic which the new timetable has scheduled for. The delays are, until Wayville is built, certainly something that is likely to continue for quite some time.
  dvdplaza Chief Train Controller

If the present circumstances are causing so much delay running the frequency that they are, wouldn't the overall service be quicker if the timetable were revised with a reduced frequency?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

If the present circumstances are causing so much delay running the frequency that they are, wouldn't the overall service be quicker if the timetable were revised with a reduced frequency?
dvdplaza
That would require the department admitting they got something wrong! I don't think they have many staff who have that kind of expertise, some consultants may need to be hired from overseas to teach them.
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
The new points at Millswood Loop that have been installed appear to be magnetic, rather than motorized, as well as the other sets that have been installed during the upgrade.

The mechanical fault with the railcar Monday was believed to be a thermostat. This is what Emma from the Rail Commissioner said on Ten News last night.
  62430 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Metro Adelaide
The new points at Millswood Loop that have been installed appear to be magnetic, rather than motorized, as well as the other sets that have been installed during the upgrade.

The mechanical fault with the railcar Monday was believed to be a thermostat. This is what Emma from the Rail Commissioner said on Ten News last night.
witsend
The new points are hydraulic. They can be operated manually by inserting a lever into the trackside pump unit.

The Millswood loop is operational.  During today's evening peak trains were regularly crossing at Millswood rather than north of Keswick as timetabled.  I also saw a couple of trains that weren't crossing routed through the loop rather the the main line.

Alex C
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
One has to expect some teething problems though only a fool would assume everything will work as designed with out failure after a long lay off. After being out of action for a while the points and even the signalling are not really doing a bad job considering only one point failure in the whole line this would simply be a little speck on the overall graph of the track. The media making mountains out of molehills here as usual.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

One has to expect some teething problems though only a fool would assume everything will work as designed with out failure after a long lay off. After being out of action for a while the points and even the signalling are not really doing a bad job considering only one point failure in the whole line this would simply be a little speck on the overall graph of the track. The media making mountains out of molehills here as usual.
David Peters

And then some contributors here jumping on said molehill as a platform to air their particular beef.

Give the system a week.

Drivers have to get familiar with it, the controllers have to get confidence in using the facilities; that Millswood loop is getting significant use shows the controllers have sufficient confidence to be able to take advantage of the what flexibility there is in the system.

The 15 minute time table is particularly intensive for a single track and needs a level of operating precision of Swiss proportions.

Let's all hope it succeeds.

Ian
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
needs a level of operating precision of Swiss proportions.
steam4ian
Give up now!
  wisp Station Staff

Location: Adelaide
The Millswood loop is operational.  During today's evening peak trains were regularly crossing at Millswood rather than north of Keswick as timetabled.  I also saw a couple of trains that weren't crossing routed through the loop rather the the main line.
62430

The 1815 Adelaide to Belair terminated at Goodwood due to failure of points at Millswood (with an announcement using the American term "switches").  The following down train used the loop.  I suspect that all trains did for a while because they had no choice.
  62440 Chief Commissioner

Could explain the crowd there today

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  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Who was doing the work?

Reminds me of the hierarchy system at BHP Whyalla.

When the mill stopped on account of electrical fault the elec. tech got on with the investigation and repairs, the foreman dealt with mill foreman, the engineer dealt with the superintendent, the senior engineer dealt with the mill manager and the chief electrical engineer dealt with the steel works manager. All very well until I was left as the only bunny looking after everybody from superintendent up. I rang the CEE who was at "choir practice" and his response was "You can handle it can't you?"; so I did.

You don't need the superintendents and managers reminding how much the delay is costing as you try and fix the problem.


Ian
  Mark Parnell MLC Station Staff

Now that the train is back, I spent two hours this morning surveying passengers at Glenalta about the timetable changes. I had a colleague at Pinera today and tomorrow at Belair.

I'm using a short Survey Monkey questionnaire and I'll use the results to lobby Minister Chloe Fox for a better deal for Belair passengers, especially the 30 minute peak service. You can access it here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VT5YRN7

I see that there has been plenty of debate on this topic about the technicality of running more frequent services. I accept that it's possible, but probably at the expense of the strict 15 minute service from Blackwood that the Govt seems so wedded to. For mine, the old timetable which had morning peak intervals of 17, 13, 13, 19, 13mins was close enough and we know it works for the Belair end of the line as well as further down. I think the Govt is probably putting too much emphasis on exact 15 minute frequencies - which may be an unrealistic aim with single track running.

The other comment that has been made to me many times is the real problem is the closure of the "depot" at Belair, meaning that cars aren't stabled overnight as they were in the past.  I've been told the union fought this and lost.  If cars were stored at Belair and if drivers were able to start and finish their shifts at Belair, then the more frequent peak services would be possible.

I'd appreciate any feedback, either here or directly: parnell@parliament.sa.gov.au
Mark Parnell MLC
Parliamentary leader
Australian Greens (SA)
parnell@parliament.sa.gov.au
Ph: (08) 8237 9111
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
I went into town around 10:30 and it took forever.    Crosses at Sleeps Hill, Mitcham and at the beginning (or is the end) of the double track.    Lots of slow running and sitting doing nothing.

Coming back at around 4:00pm it was a different story - a nice fast run with just 2 crosses at the right places - Sleeps Hill and at Blackwood.   Hopefully this signals things are back to normal.

The eastern car park at Blackwood was distinctly empty, the much smaller western car-park was full.   It could be that the new footbridge is a disincentive to use the main car-park, but I fancy traffic lost to driving.

Coromandel carpark looked full.

A question for you electrical engineering types: there are a couple of large square concrete bases with bolts in them, obviously mounts, at the Millswood loop.    Any idea what they are for?   Signal gantry bases comes to mind - there was a similar one holding up a signal gantry elsewhere on the line.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Mr Parnell

As you observed the old time table had about 4 trains per hour. The 13 minute time interval could only occur if a movement started from Belair rather than be formed from a return movement.

This can be achieved if trains are stabled at Belair AND can also be achieved if a down train consists of enough cars to make up two return up movements.
For this to work a down train from Adelaide comprises tow trains which split on arrival at Belair. The first portion departs as the first up train
The second train leaves 13 minutes after the previous train which allows the next down train 17 minutes to come from Blackwood, split if necessary and form the next up movement or movements.
Likewise in the evening, two down movements could combine at Belair to form a single up movement to return the cars to Adelaide and Dry Creek RC Depot. No additional cars or crews are required over the number required for the services starting/terminating at Blackwood

With cars for the Belair service having to make the empty runs to Dry Creek to fuel up, overnight storage at Belair may no longer be practical. Formerly the cars which stabled at Belair could be serviced and fuelled at the Adelaide RC Depot during the day, now it requires a run out to Dry Creek with has to be slotted into the Gawler line timetable.

The 15 minute intervals is consistent with the proposed services to Seaford and Tonsley, also 15 minute intervals. Keeping the Belair line trains in synchronism with this allows better use of the infrastructure. The 13 minute interval for departures from Belair would work if these trains waited at Blackwood for 2 minutes such that from Blackwood they followed the previous train by 15 minutes. The 13 minute interval may in practice have to be 12 minutes with a 3 minute hold at Blackwood.

The problem with your survey is that people will almost always want more than they have. I suggest you should also conduct the survey at Blackwood to see how many people, if any, drive from Belair.

Regards
Ian
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

I went into town around 10:30 and it took forever.    Crosses at Sleeps Hill, Mitcham and at the beginning (or is the end) of the double track.    Lots of slow running and sitting doing nothing.

Coming back at around 4:00pm it was a different story - a nice fast run with just 2 crosses at the right places - Sleeps Hill and at Blackwood.   Hopefully this signals things are back to normal.

The eastern car park at Blackwood was distinctly empty, the much smaller western car-park was full.   It could be that the new footbridge is a disincentive to use the main car-park, but I fancy traffic lost to driving.

Coromandel carpark looked full.

A question for you electrical engineering types: there are a couple of large square concrete bases with bolts in them, obviously mounts, at the Millswood loop.    Any idea what they are for?   Signal gantry bases comes to mind - there was a similar one holding up a signal gantry elsewhere on the line.
kipioneer

Neil

At the down end of Millswood loop two weeks ago there as a signal gantry complete with head lying on the ground, I think the old number, which was still attached, was 419.

The footings for the gantries at each end and the present masts were poured at the same time. the gantries are necessary to put the signal heads on the left hand side. At present the loop exit at the up end is on the wrong side, as is the main exit at the down end. This latter signal is on the immediate left hand side of the ARTC track and caused the Overland to stop.

Ian
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

The eastern car park at Blackwood was distinctly empty, the much smaller western car-park was full.   It could be that the new footbridge is a disincentive to use the main car-park, but I fancy traffic lost to driving.
kipioneer
I expect that it's just traffic being slow to return, but not necessarily just to driving*. It certainly takes the complaints aired in the Messenger about street congestion in that area and hits them for six. The test with Coromandel is not so much whether the two small car parks are full, but how many cars are parked along the surrounding streets.

What the rail side of Adelaide Metro could really do with to get back the users who've walked away during all the shutdowns would be a week-long PR blitz with free train fares to 'relaunch' rail after a bad few years while all the heavy reconstruction work was done, at the same time as launching the initial Seaford service with the first few EMUs in service.

The week of the WorldTour Down Under from Saturday 18 January to Sunday 26 January would be the perfect opportunity, there are still race stage naming rights up for grabs, four race stages ideal for access by train (combined with dedicated shuttle buses for the Barossa on the Tuesday and Willunga Hill on the Saturday) and a tie-in with the other city-based events on Australia Day.

* I don't think it's a coincidence that the period since all the rail shutdowns started has also seen a sharp increase in cycling as a form of transport. It's not just the WorldTour race.

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