"Goldplating" our suburban lines

 
  RatholeTunnel Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney Area
Like our electricity network, I think we've spent excessively on gold playing rather than new lines or the stuff that matters. Melbourne runs well on a basic system.

We could:

Have track foot crossings 'at grade' rather than using overpasses and tunnels
Waive the "no level crossing" rule for any new suburban line
Use unfenced corridors for new suburban lines
Use a video screen system to reduce use of guards or "flag savers".
In high demand spots, make station carpark users use their ticket to exit or pay parking fees - with opal a new arrangement will have to be found later however
One fare/ticket to cover all modes rather than paying extra to change service
Remove some seats from some rail cars.

Sponsored advertisement

  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Have track foot crossings 'at grade' rather than using overpasses and tunnels
Waive the "no level crossing" rule for any new suburban line
RatholeTunnel
We are trying to remove level crossings in Melbourne because on major roads they hold up EVERYTHING on the road.
  RatholeTunnel Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney Area
Surface corridors with space could also have paved bicycle/walking trails alongside, which is in part of Melbourne. Unfenced corridors allow entry to these trails anywhere. A surface crossing policy would facilitate cheaper building of more foot/cycle or vehicle crossings.
  thefatcontroller Assistant Commissioner

Location: Sydney, Australia
Not sure if this is serious?
  darcyj Chief Train Controller

Can't possibly be serious.  Unfenced rail corridors and at-grade foot crossings are a simple recipe for deaths and vandalism.  End of discussion, thank you for your attention.

What is true is that the space above rail corridors is wasted, and that express lines could be tunnelled under existing corridors, although the obsession with bringing every train into the city becomes a problem.  I'm led to believe that a corridor is available under Pitt Street, so it could be possible to build an underground terminal station at Wynyard, but the gazillions to do it just don't exist.  Now I'm babbling.
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

Like our electricity network, I think we've spent excessively on gold playing rather than new lines or the stuff that matters. Melbourne runs well on a basic system.

We could:

Have track foot crossings 'at grade' rather than using overpasses and tunnels
Waive the "no level crossing" rule for any new suburban line
Use unfenced corridors for new suburban lines
Use a video screen system to reduce use of guards or "flag savers".
In high demand spots, make station carpark users use their ticket to exit or pay parking fees - with opal a new arrangement will have to be found later however
One fare/ticket to cover all modes rather than paying extra to change service
Remove some seats from some rail cars.

I agree there is a form of "gold-plating" in some areas of the railway, but perhaps not the ones you are thinking of.

Importantly, perceptions of gold-plating are subject to political vicissitudes, economic conditions, comparisons, personal and corporate agendas, technological trends, ulterior motives and so on. We often hear of gold-plating when it is time to renew infrastructure and there are plans to somehow downgrade. What one man considers gold-plating might be seen by another as essential. Many risks protected against with what some might see as "gold-plated engineering controls" were originally unmanaged; sometimes those controls are reviewed and removed - they have a way of gradually being melted down by market forces and shifts in politics, for better or worse - I'd say usually for the worse. Watch that space.

Also, I feel that some of the things you have listed are not necessarily gold-plating or excessive redundancy, but justified for safety reasons while in some cases also appearing as remnants of the past. Remnants of the past that could be subject to removal in the future include Guards, station staff giving rightaway handsignals, etc., but whether they are really redundant is not always something that can be determined absolutely. Sure, the technology exists to do away with them, Drivers, Signallers and so on, but that does not mean it is a great idea to implement it, politically acceptable, affordable, etc. Perceptions and the goal posts of safety are subject to move in either direction, so watch that space, too. That's politics.

There is a lot of gold-plating in NSW railways in terms of personnel, namely the extensive bureaucratic empires comprised largely of people with impressive job titles, position descriptions and gold-plated salaries, but who do little to actually move trains, let alone move them better. Apparently some of this has been trimmed of late, but a lot has definitely survived, been moved, renamed, split up etc. the net result being it's still there. As we move towards more private sector involvement, don't assume that will solve the bureaucratic issues, either. Private companies on the take from the State do not always have the incentive to do right by its citizens, and can become inefficient, if not corrupt rent-seekers that are even worse than State-owned entities. Think it will be set up so that can't happen? Believe it when you see it. Oh, and the State regulatory, planning, infrastructure owning and operational bureaucracies would probably still be there, hidden away from the public eye.

Transverse seating is the way it has always been done (except in the ends of suburban cars etc.), but a longitudinal seating trial of sorts is underway.

Sydney once had far more level crossings than it does now, including in what are now some very busy locations like Croydon and Burwood (removed from both locations in 1892). If road traffic decreased due to some sort of major change in society (e.g. economic collapse) or somehow a culture of individual responsibility and respect for State property was reborn, standards of living and the value of human life fell, etc., maybe level crossings or open corridors wouldn't be seen as such a liability, at least outside busy multiple line areas. Of course, open corridors and level crossings could be a good reason to keep front line staff rather than indulge in sexy technology, as could an economic slowdown.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Like our electricity network, I think we've spent excessively on gold playing rather than new lines or the stuff that matters. Melbourne runs well on a basic system.

We could:

Have track foot crossings 'at grade' rather than using overpasses and tunnels
Waive the "no level crossing" rule for any new suburban line
Use unfenced corridors for new suburban lines
Use a video screen system to reduce use of guards or "flag savers".
In high demand spots, make station carpark users use their ticket to exit or pay parking fees - with opal a new arrangement will have to be found later however
One fare/ticket to cover all modes rather than paying extra to change service
Remove some seats from some rail cars.
RatholeTunnel
"Like our electricity network, I think we've spent excessively on gold playing rather than new lines or the stuff that matters. Melbourne runs well on a basic system." You are joking????
  RatholeTunnel Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney Area
At grade crossings are used in the Southern Highlands and in the Blue Mountains.

At grade foot crossings work well in Melbourne and on regional lines with up to 160kmh running.

Governments always coming up with excuses against new lines, maybe we can reduce their cost.

The point reaches the question, does risk outweigh benefit. Should we spend highly to reduce what is already a very low (accidental) death risk. Suicide is usually caused.by other problems, if they're determined to go, a fence or separated crossing won't stop them.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Like our electricity network, I think we've spent excessively on gold playing rather than new lines or the stuff that matters. Melbourne runs well on a basic system.

We could:

Have track foot crossings 'at grade' rather than using overpasses and tunnels
Waive the "no level crossing" rule for any new suburban line
Use unfenced corridors for new suburban lines
Use a video screen system to reduce use of guards or "flag savers".
In high demand spots, make station carpark users use their ticket to exit or pay parking fees - with opal a new arrangement will have to be found later however
One fare/ticket to cover all modes rather than paying extra to change service
Remove some seats from some rail cars.
RatholeTunnel
I think I know where you are coming from and agree on gold plating is very common in Oz.

Yes in Europe much of above is common. Certainly the fences are often simply not there and LX for pedestrians even in middle of stations to change platforms is also common, but much of its also historic and even they are unlikely to repeat the same. LX for traffic if they hold too much traffic up are actually a cost to society. Like ped over passes, when the traffic of people or vehicles reaches some magic number, an alt means to cross is justified.

Drivers and guards are basically a hang up of old technology and can be depensed of if the route is built to the suitable standard. The signally system is basically te same as in 1900's and hbuilt for humans to operate trains using fixed infrastructure and sections. But if you wanted to jam more trains through the city tunnels of all three east coast networks, why not make the trains go on auto computer controlled through the high congestion areas which allows for much tighter spacing where the computer can basically have one train follow another at the safe braking distance.

Sooner or later, one of the network operators will bite the bullet and move to a full computer controlled suburban train system. However currently the cost outweighs the benefit. Sydney however is going down the path of no new lines for the current HR network and has started to build a 2nd network that will be fully automated and eventually use some of the existing routes.

Agree on the parking, but you also risk pushing people out of PT.

Looking at Europe you do see alot of, how to they get away with this? but again based on historic operations with many parts of even western Europe not experiencing the population growth of Australia so their networks are not expanding out in the same way, more just improving existing networks. Its the emerging markets that are more relevent to what is gold plated, like Singapore, Brazil, Middle East etc and they are mostly building fully automated new lines and tram networks that don't differ alot from Australian new stuff.
  Kamz Assistant Commissioner

New pedestrian crossings should be considered as an alternative to installing expensive lifts and ramps. Look at the monstrosity at Lochinvar.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
At grade foot crossings work well in Melbourne and on regional lines with up to 160kmh running.

Governments always coming up with excuses against new lines, maybe we can reduce their cost.
RatholeTunnel

Besides for the fact one level crossing on RFR is one of the most dangerous in the country, and the fact that they are two lane level crossings.

Foot crossings yes, but road lx in Melbourne is shocking.

Compare apples with apples.
  simonl Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
Ped LX and unfenced lines?  How much do you think this would save?

Road LX - no way!  Too easy for some muppet to run into the boom gate and stop rail services or die.

Remove guards - yes.

Integrated fares - lacking this hardly counts as gold plating.

Paid parking would be a good practice but politically difficult.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Like our electricity network, I think...
RatholeTunnel


The electricity network has become sentient!

Road LX - no way!  Too easy for some muppet to run into the boom gate and stop rail services or die.
simonl


Or, to use the Victorian example that the OP seems to be fond of... kill people on the train.  Impeccable timing in their post, given the release of the coroners report.
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

Using the power grid example, there could be some gold-plating in the 1,500 V DC electrification outside the metropolitan area, which was designed to handle multiple electric locomotives under heavy load, drawing thousands of amperes, yet now only has to deal with the occasional interurban EMU. The overhead wiring is some of the heaviest in the world. New schemes may be adjusted to reflect the change in traffic, but if electric locos ever made a comeback, that could present problems.

Busy lines within the metropolitan area are a slightly different story, with new trains using more power than those they replaced (more powerful traction motors, air conditioning, computers etc.). Several trains starting at once in the same area = heavy load.

This is less of a problem with high voltage single phase AC schemes which have lower line currents and allow the use of lighter overhead wiring and other cheaper equipment. Unlike some railways that have converted from DC to 25 kV AC, NSW remains firmly committed to the expensive relic, probably because conversion would be far more expensive and disruptive in the short term, especially in a network like Sydney's where trains from all over the place share the same tracks.

Another form of gold-plating is seldom used civil infrastructure such as crossovers and sidings. It seems most of this is being removed. Removal is not without cost in terms of reduced flexibility, but keeping and renewing it is expensive.
  RatholeTunnel Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney Area
On new twin track corridors, the use of at-grade foot/bike crossings and level road crossings, together with unfenced corridor, would save millions per km.

Paid parking (free on business days for weekly holder) keeps out non train users just looking for a cheap all day park.

I know level crossings hold up cars, but cars should not be priority in this day and age. Longer drive times may incentivate some to change to pushy or public transport. The rail corridor can include sealed cycle/shared trail as well. On approach to level foot crossings, pushys & trains are to have priority over pedestrians.

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: RTT_Rules, speedemon08

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.