George Street Sydney progress

 
  edison Chief Commissioner

How come the silence on this matter?
I don't get to Sydney much, and would love to see a report/photos.
Can anyone oblige?

Edison

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  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

How come the silence on this matter?
I don't get to Sydney much, and would love to see a report/photos.
Can anyone oblige?

Edison
edison
Plenty of noise by the more excitable press about the road closure and diversion of buses which all seemed to go well in spite of the hysteria by the anti-tram press. Not sure whether they are going to use the rail laying methodology used in the street running parts of the existing light rail route or some other method. Never really come across any information on this aspect of the project. Any ideas. If they use that method then only 4 trenches will need to be cut in the roadway to accommodate the 4 rails. Other methods require more extensive excavations.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
I dont know about '4 Trenches' as you need something to keep the gauge as well as support the weight of the vehicles which is what a 'Sleeper' does, be it Timber, Steel or a Concrete sleeper/pad like in the underground.
I must admit I never gave much thought to the road bed either until now.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

I dont know about '4 Trenches' as you need something to keep the gauge as well as support the weight of the vehicles which is what a 'Sleeper' does, be it Timber, Steel or a Concrete sleeper/pad like in the underground.
I must admit I never gave much thought to the road bed either until now.
gordon_s1942

Well the trenches are filled with concrete with a foam styrene mould in the centre. The styrene comes out after the concrete cures, the rails are suspended in the trench so formed and a metastic material poured in the trench that keeps the rails in proper alignment once cured. That's how the Sydney light rail sections that are street running were laid. Absolutely no connection between the rails and no concrete blocks. I actually observed the laying of these sections but that happened sometime go and anything that happened more than 5 minutes ago seems to be quickly forgotten by today's geniuses.
  edison Chief Commissioner

Further to my opening post, has anyone  heard anything about the idea of currrent collection by other than OHW? Are they going ahead with this lunacy, what method is to be used, and where? And why?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Further to my opening post, has anyone  heard anything about the idea of currrent collection by other than OHW? Are they going ahead with this lunacy, what method is to be used, and where? And why?
edison
Alstom is part of the consortium that is building the new light rail line, so they're using their own APS system.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Further to my opening post, has anyone  heard anything about the idea of currrent collection by other than OHW? Are they going ahead with this lunacy, what method is to be used, and where? And why?
Alstom is part of the consortium that is building the new light rail line, so they're using their own APS system.
LancedDendrite
Some time ago I read of how they powered Double Deck TRAM's many years ago and they used a centre trough with a double sided collector to pick up the power.
Until I reread the article and saw the pictures of the collector and trough, I thought it worked like a 3 Rail system with the Positive in the middle and the outside rails being the return.

These same Trams also used a Pole to run on OHW outside the area covered by this middle trough system.

Back then they used a massive steel framework buried in the road to carry both the running rails and this centre Trough, apparently to keep it correctly lined up on curves.

Although unsightly, I think OHW would be quicker, cheaper and less complicated over junctions/Points etc than any other system.
I saw in a TRAINS magazine years ago where at Grand Central Station, Diesel hauled trains running into it underground turned off the Diesel, so they were fitted with a 3rd Rail 'Shoe' and a roof mounted 'Skid' to be raised over 'Compound Points' as they were too complicated to use a 3rd Rail shoe.
  Matthew Chief Train Controller

George
At some point along George Street , trams will change from overhead to APS 3rd rail power and use that all the way to the Quay.

The change over has to be at a stop, the changeover is not done on the move. The current documents indicate that the power change over will be made at Town Hall - so there will be overhead wires in front of the Town Hall itself.


The APS 3rd rail is divided into sections approx 2m long with dead sections between them with an earthed 'safety' bar in the middle of the insulated dead section. The power is collected by a pair of (retractable) shoes at each end of one of the bogies. The negative return is the running rails as normal.
It's more like stud contact systems of old than conduit systems like London once had.

The powered sections are only energised when the tram is above them - this is controlled by a coded radio signal from the tram. If a section fails to power off when it should, when the leading shoe hits the safety bar, the power supply is shorted out and the segment fuse blows. That segment is then dead until a repair crew get to it.
(This is akin to the brush on the rear bumper of trams on old stud contact systems!)

In Bordeaux the trams were fitted with two sets of pickup shoes so the trams could get over dead sections. The Dubai trams appear to have only one set of shoes thus are probably equipped with batteries. The Sydney trams already have 'on board energy storage' specified.
APS can't support regenerative braking, so the 'solution' was to fit 'storage' to the tram, which then helps with the 'gap' problem of failed APS power segments.

My observations of both the Bordeaux and Dubai tram tracks appears to show instances of power segments failing to turn off - with tell-tail signs of carbon scoring on the ends of the earth safety segments. I was surprised to see evidence of this in Dubai as Alstom claim APS-II as implemented in Dubai is much more reliable than the MK-I Bordeaux version.

That said, APS appears to be more in service proven and reliable than long runs of battery or supercapacitor running. I just hope TfNSW has a water tight contact to hold Alstom to their reliability promises for APS.

A side issue is that APS is proprietary to Alstom - which means if Sydney ever wants more trams, there is realistically only one supplier. Alstom can promise to licence the technology to other tram builders, but that does put everyone else at a competitive disadvantage having to pay for and then integrate Alston technology into their own product.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
That's very interesting indeed and of course with today technology, this activating a 'Live Section' only when a Tram is covering it would ensure a greater safety margin.
And I would presume the area around the 'Live Rail' is suitably drained (although they claim it never rains in Sydney, unless its a deluge) to minimise any arcing.

Remembering the layout of Sydney but too long ago now to remember how the Trams of the day handled the grades, there is a fair drop from Central Station down to the Haymarket with a sharp rise to near the Town Hall which might be why they propose to run OHW in that area.
The grade from the Quay is long and rises steadily all the way to the Town Hall, but I did think there was a bit of a sharp rise from the Quay area to near the Dalley/Bridge St intersection though.
I do remember coming from the Quay and the Tram used to fairly crawl up the grade and screech around the sharp curve into Phillip or MacQuarie streets whatever the route was then.

Compared to Melbourne, going for a ride on a Sydney Tram was like riding the Roller Coaster at Luna Park because you were either going up, down or around no matter where you went.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

From my understanding of what altrac has presented. The Alstom X05's were supposed to be using batteries and quick charging at the actual tram stops along George street and not APS. Has this changed?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

That's very interesting indeed and of course with today technology, this activating a 'Live Section' only when a Tram is covering it would ensure a greater safety margin.
And I would presume the area around the 'Live Rail' is suitably drained (although they claim it never rains in Sydney, unless its a deluge) to minimise any arcing.

Remembering the layout of Sydney but too long ago now to remember how the Trams of the day handled the grades, there is a fair drop from Central Station down to the Haymarket with a sharp rise to near the Town Hall which might be why they propose to run OHW in that area.
The grade from the Quay is long and rises steadily all the way to the Town Hall, but I did think there was a bit of a sharp rise from the Quay area to near the Dalley/Bridge St intersection though.
I do remember coming from the Quay and the Tram used to fairly crawl up the grade and screech around the sharp curve into Phillip or MacQuarie streets whatever the route was then.

Compared to Melbourne, going for a ride on a Sydney Tram was like riding the Roller Coaster at Luna Park because you were either going up, down or around no matter where you went.
gordon_s1942
There is a rise but it certainly isn't a sharp rise. Not Melbourne flat but also not a San Francisco hill. Although the climb up to moore park might be a bit steep.

Modern trams also have a bit more grunt then the old Sydney trams and the grades shouldn't be an issue. The Urbos 3's have no issues climbing up to Central Station.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Bondi, Coogee and Watsons Bay along with 'Heart Break Hill' near Rose Bay used to make them strain somewhat.

I cant ever remember seeing a 'Toast Rack' on the Watson Bay Run but they sure did the run down to the pavilion at Bondi Beach.

3 years ago I walked DOWN the ramp to near Market Street as I didnt want to wait for a Taxi but rode back the next day coming home.
Last I waited and went by Taxi both ways.
  Matthew Chief Train Controller

From my understanding of what altrac has presented. The Alstom X05's were supposed to be using batteries and quick charging at the actual tram stops along George street and not APS. Has this changed?
simstrain
Alstom do not offer 'autonomous power' trams for locations with grades and/or heavy air conditioning requirements. Sydney has both. Hot muggy summers and a long grade up from the Quay.

TfNSW was always going to leave it 'to the market' to decide how to achieve the 'wirefree' specification. It was assumed this would mean batteries and fast-charging at the stops, but they left themselves open to other 'options'.

There was no way fully autonomous battery/supercap with fast charge at the stops was going to meet the required performance parameters.
The battery trams i've actually seen amble along at 10km/hr and spend a full minute at each stop 'topping up' their batteries. The CSELR would collapse with that sort of vehicle performance.

Insider leaks from Alstom indicated that they were intending to offer APS to Sydney from the start of the bidding process. They may have offered an autonomous operation option, but they would have made it clear that the only way to meet the performance criteria would be with APS.

It's going to be interesting to see how APS copes with the first heavy summer storm and the roadway starts to flood when the drains get overwhelmed.

My bet is on a large flash and bang and then trams limping along on their emergency battery supply.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Maybe while the construction is taking place some new drains might go in as well to resolve the issue with flooding.
  edison Chief Commissioner

Maybe while the construction is taking place some new drains might go in as well to resolve the issue with flooding.
simstrain
A further thought or two on this topic:
The planners would do well to look at previous examples of OHW supporting structures involving centre-poles (i) in George St as originally installed in 1900, and (ii) on the T3 line in Paris in recent times. Both examples were/are very elegant and functional, and technically much simpler than the insane system currently proposed.

Also, if you look at the animated fly-through graphic, you can see actual track layouts, showing , e.g, a third centre track in Eddy Ave, various turn-back stubs, and two pairs of connecting curves at the George/Hay Sts intersection.
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
My images show the very recent track construction methods used on the standard gauge Gold Coast tramline. All rails have rubber like surrounds as seen in the images. No idea if Sydney will be similar so my images only show an alternative option.

Steel reinforcing arrangement   http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tram%20Gold%20Coast%20modern/GC-Tram-track-steelwork_zps7zqec4wk.jpg

Head on showing the rubber before the steel reinforcing   http://s311.photobucket.com/user/petanoz/media/Tram%20Gold%20Coast%20modern/GC-Tram-track-rubber_zps4mzr8eav.jpg.html  

Close up of rail portion at a display venue http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tram%20Gold%20Coast%20modern/Gold-Coast-tram-track-section_zps80a93671.jpg
  Matthew Chief Train Controller

My images show the very recent track construction methods used on the standard gauge Gold Coast tramline. All rails have rubber like surrounds as seen in the images. No idea if Sydney will be similar so my images only show an alternative option.
petan

And this has worked so well, the line has been closed on several weekends so the contractor can dig up sections of track to correct 'earth leakage' problems.

The GC track also used insane amounts of re-bar. (Much of the GC area was swamp/sand do I guess they wanted a strong track base). All that steel in the concrete may have contributed to the leakage problems.

The original SLR track was 'glued' into precast slots in the concrete trackbed.

They might use Alstom's Appitrack concrete track casting machines



https://youtu.be/iv-zbW6vOnw


Sydney City Council was only going to get on board with the scheme if some expensive and unproven 'wire free' system was used. Never mode the historic building they want to protect often still have the ears from the old trams still attached to them and first overhead down George street used ornate centre poles.

At least APS has a few years of proven experience in real use. It's expensive, but at least it will probably work as promised.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

My images show the very recent track construction methods used on the standard gauge Gold Coast tramline. All rails have rubber like surrounds as seen in the images. No idea if Sydney will be similar so my images only show an alternative option.

Steel reinforcing arrangement   http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tram%20Gold%20Coast%20modern/GC-Tram-track-steelwork_zps7zqec4wk.jpg

Head on showing the rubber before the steel reinforcing   http://s311.photobucket.com/user/petanoz/media/Tram%20Gold%20Coast%20modern/GC-Tram-track-rubber_zps4mzr8eav.jpg.html  

Close up of rail portion at a display venue http://i311.photobucket.com/albums/kk478/petanoz/Tram%20Gold%20Coast%20modern/Gold-Coast-tram-track-section_zps80a93671.jpg
petan

Of course Sydney will be using this method. It was already used for the existing line from central to darling harbour. It is the reason the Sydney light rail is a smooth ride.
  Matthew Chief Train Controller


Of course Sydney will be using this method. It was already used for the existing line from central to darling harbour. It is the reason the Sydney light rail is a smooth ride.
simstrain


The existing Sydney track is not like the GC track. On the GC the rails were placed, lined and leveled and concrete poured around the 'booted' rails. They appear to have problems with the rubber boot and traction current has been leaking into surrounding structures.

Sydney was done by casting the concrete slab with two slots in it and then the rails placed in the slots, lined and leveled and then 'potted' into position by pouring some sort of filler into the slot to hold rail into position. The 'filler' is stiff enough to hold the rail into position but soft enough to absorb noise.
Unfortunately after 20 years the welds on the Sydney track are starting to 'dish' and the trams now go clatter-clatter through Haymarket now.

And this is different again from the current Melbourne method were they build track, line and level it and then pour concrete only to the underside of the rail. The final surface is applied later and is now often asphalt not another layer of concrete.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner


Unfortunately after 20 years the welds on the Sydney track are starting to 'dish' and the trams now go clatter-clatter through Haymarket now.
Matthew
Why are the welds 'dishing'? The traffic is frequent but the dynamic loads are very low. Years ago I was told by a welding inspector that weld material is harder than the adjoining rails; but it may well be a different brew for tramway service.
There are several fixes that are not difficult, if there is a will to do it.
  Matthew Chief Train Controller


Why are the welds 'dishing'? The traffic is frequent but the dynamic loads are very low. Years ago I was told by a welding inspector that weld material is harder than the adjoining rails; but it may well be a different brew for tramway service.
There are several fixes that are not difficult, if there is a will to do it.
Lockspike


The hub motors of the variotram give it an unusually high unsprung weight for a vehicle of it's total weight, which may have contributed.

As for the hardness of the weld material - I assume an effort is made to match the hardness of the filler with the surrounding metal, but I assume this can be difficult. I've also read that with certain rail steels that have been heat-treated to get a specific head hardness can have that treatment undone in the area of the welding making small amounts of the rail softer. It's a tricky business. The weld steel might be hard but if you have managed to soften the rail steel either side of the actual weld while performing the welding operation in the first place.

However I suspect the main issue with the tram tracks through Haymarket is 20 years with out any significant maintenance. Until there are persistent complaints from adjacent land holders about the noise, they don't do anything. At the speeds the trams run at, there is no safety issue with the joints, it's just annoying noise.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

As for the hardness of the weld material - I assume an effort is made to match the hardness of the filler with the surrounding metal, but I assume this can be difficult. I've also read that with certain rail steels that have been heat-treated to get a specific head hardness can have that treatment undone in the area of the welding making small amounts of the rail softer. It's a tricky business. The weld steel might be hard but if you have managed to soften the rail steel either side of the actual weld while performing the welding operation in the first place.

However I suspect the main issue with the tram tracks through Haymarket is 20 years with out any significant maintenance. Until there are persistent complaints from adjacent land holders about the noise, they don't do anything. At the speeds the trams run at, there is no safety issue with the joints, it's just annoying noise.
Matthew
When I said welds are harder than rails, it's not by a lot. Companies selling the various rail welding processes will not sell much product if they don't get a close approximation to the rail steel.

There was a time when Australia produced the best quality head hardened rail in the world. HH rail wasn't new but the late great BHP at it's Melbourne Research Laboratories perfected the induction hardening process. Alumnothermic welding processes were altered to suit HH rail.

Softening the rail on either side is absolutely unacceptable to an asset owner who does their own maintenance, whether it's a manufacturing fault or poor practice by the welder. Lack of maintenance is a product of having rent seekers running/maintaining a rail system, they are experts at 'sweating the asset'.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
I have never seen or heard of any weld 'dishing' on the State Rail and that includes hauling 4000 tonne coal  trains with 3 loco's hauling and one 'in the rear' leaving Lithgow.
I never understood how it was achieved but doing a Welding Course at Tech years ago, all the publications led me to believe a weld was '110% stronger than the metal on each side'.
Rail head failure is a problem and not all rails (like Oils) are the same.
There was one the Fettlers told me was called a 'French Rail' that had a good hard wearing Head but was very prone to crack or split out.
Another was the rails at the electric platforms at Central have very hard wearing 'heads' because of the constant starting and stopping but have poor electrical conductivity
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

I have never seen or heard of any weld 'dishing' on the State Rail and that includes hauling 4000 tonne coal  trains with 3 loco's hauling and one 'in the rear' leaving Lithgow.
I never understood how it was achieved but doing a Welding Course at Tech years ago, all the publications led me to believe a weld was '110% stronger than the metal on each side'.
Rail head failure is a problem and not all rails (like Oils) are the same.
There was one the Fettlers told me was called a 'French Rail' that had a good hard wearing Head but was very prone to crack or split out.
Another was the rails at the electric platforms at Central have very hard wearing 'heads' because of the constant starting and stopping but have poor electrical conductivity
gordon_s1942
There were two brands of rails from France supplied to NSWGR post WWII, Longeville and ? (I've forgotten!). They initially gave good service but after a few years they were prone to breaking at low temperatures, usually early on a winter's morning. The SOP derailment just north of the Bowral Tunnel (circa 1970) was due to a broken french rail.

The manganese hardened rails used on the City Railway and lower North Shore did have relatively low conductivity, hence the additional rails in the 4 foot in those areas for the traction return current. When they were worn they were replaced with regular rails as they could not be alumnothermically welded, at least not back in those days.
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
Anything happened yet?

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