Sydney trains lack of Bicycle/disabled access

 
  beanzs27 Assistant Commissioner

recently went for a bicycle tour where I used Sydney trains in certain sections, especially from Muswellbrook to Bathurst. I noticed a different level of service depending on what type of train I used. The Hunter line and trains close to Sydney where fine with decent size spaces for bicycles or a wheelchair. However the Inter-City trains where just terrible with hard doors to force open when you have a bicycle in hand and a narrow space to try to fit bicycle into. Not practical when you have pannier bags on. With the stop start nature of the Blue Mountian trains bicycle was constantly falling over.

The other issue I found was the number of station with no disable access, where I was forced to carry bicycle with bags on up and down stairs. Not sure how people in wheelchairs manage. Was curious to see the special blue disable ramps at station like Glenbrook or Hawkesbury River yet stair were the only access to station platform.

I have taken bicycle on all other suburban services in Australia and found Sydney to be the least friendly, especially in terms of disable access. Is this an issue that is talked about in NSW?

Did like the $2.50 Opal card on Sunday's, allowed me to go from Muswellbrook to Bathrust for only $2.50

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  Colonel Leon Junior Train Controller

Location:
recently went for a bicycle tour where I used Sydney trains in certain sections, especially from Muswellbrook to Bathurst. I noticed a different level of service depending on what type of train I used. The Hunter line and trains close to Sydney where fine with decent size spaces for bicycles or a wheelchair. However the Inter-City trains where just terrible with hard doors to force open when you have a bicycle in hand and a narrow space to try to fit bicycle into. Not practical when you have pannier bags on. With the stop start nature of the Blue Mountian trains bicycle was constantly falling over.

The other issue I found was the number of station with no disable access, where I was forced to carry bicycle with bags on up and down stairs. Not sure how people in wheelchairs manage. Was curious to see the special blue disable ramps at station like Glenbrook or Hawkesbury River yet stair were the only access to station platform.

I have taken bicycle on all other suburban services in Australia and found Sydney to be the least friendly, especially in terms of disable access. Is this an issue that is talked about in NSW?

Did like the $2.50 Opal card on Sunday's, allowed me to go from Muswellbrook to Bathrust for only $2.50
beanzs27
As for the Blue Mountains trains, they are called V Sets and were built in the 70s and 80s and bikes and wheelchairs were not in mind. The vestibule area in the V sets do not allow huge space for bikes. The outer - suburban trains (Oscars) do intercity services but not as far as the V Sets (except on the South Coast Line). The Oscars are far better for wheelchairs and bikes. Eventually, the V Sets will be replaced with new intercity trains that are both wheelchair and bike accessible. Not all intercity stations are wheelchair accessible, but the government hasn't said much about this.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
recently went for a bicycle tour where I used Sydney trains in certain sections, especially from Muswellbrook to Bathurst. I noticed a different level of service depending on what type of train I used. The Hunter line and trains close to Sydney where fine with decent size spaces for bicycles or a wheelchair. However the Inter-City trains where just terrible with hard doors to force open when you have a bicycle in hand and a narrow space to try to fit bicycle into. Not practical when you have pannier bags on. With the stop start nature of the Blue Mountian trains bicycle was constantly falling over.

The other issue I found was the number of station with no disable access, where I was forced to carry bicycle with bags on up and down stairs. Not sure how people in wheelchairs manage. Was curious to see the special blue disable ramps at station like Glenbrook or Hawkesbury River yet stair were the only access to station platform.

I have taken bicycle on all other suburban services in Australia and found Sydney to be the least friendly, especially in terms of disable access. Is this an issue that is talked about in NSW?

Did like the $2.50 Opal card on Sunday's, allowed me to go from Muswellbrook to Bathrust for only $2.50
As for the Blue Mountains trains, they are called V Sets and were built in the 70s and 80s and bikes and wheelchairs were not in mind. The vestibule area in the V sets do not allow huge space for bikes. The outer - suburban trains (Oscars) do intercity services but not as far as the V Sets (except on the South Coast Line). The Oscars are far better for wheelchairs and bikes. Eventually, the V Sets will be replaced with new intercity trains that are both wheelchair and bike accessible. Not all intercity stations are wheelchair accessible, but the government hasn't said much about this.
Colonel Leon
Also no other cities in Australia use DD cars and one disadvantage with them is access to the decks. However in Italy I rode a DD that had a ramp to the lower deck for disabled and prams and the (female) guard helped the person to her seat (young teenage woman with physical disability) and asked other passengers to move on so she could get a seat, then enquired about which station she was getting off and told her she will be back then to help. So for my mind there is more to DAA than building a ramp and Australia is lacking here as well.

One of the other issues with Australia's legacy railway stations and trains is that 35 years ago there was no DAA policy or very limited. So for the trains you need to wait a generation for them to be replaced. In Qld the ICE sets fall into this category and for the stations you need a budget allocation that starts at the most relevant stations and then over 30-40 years upgrades to the last station but at some point how much do you spend for very rare use?
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

recently went for a bicycle tour where I used Sydney trains in certain sections, especially from Muswellbrook to Bathurst. I noticed a different level of service depending on what type of train I used. The Hunter line and trains close to Sydney where fine with decent size spaces for bicycles or a wheelchair. However the Inter-City trains where just terrible with hard doors to force open when you have a bicycle in hand and a narrow space to try to fit bicycle into. Not practical when you have pannier bags on. With the stop start nature of the Blue Mountian trains bicycle was constantly falling over.
beanzs27

I think you are wrong on this point: RailCorp has gone to huge expense to retrofit accommodation for wheelchairs and other mobility compromised users.  But ... the design of the V sets is 50 years old, done well before any such considerations were every made.  And their narrow bodies make them the only rolling stock that will fit through the loading gauge west of Springwood in the Blue Mountains.

And if you think panniers is difficult, try it with a tandem Smile.   Here are some pics on how I did a tour with my (then) 5yo son on a Bike Friday tandem (for those non-cyclists, Bike Friday is to bikes what Ikea is to furniture: everything is assembled and disasewmbled with a single allen key)





  simstrain Chief Commissioner

recently went for a bicycle tour where I used Sydney trains in certain sections, especially from Muswellbrook to Bathurst. I noticed a different level of service depending on what type of train I used. The Hunter line and trains close to Sydney where fine with decent size spaces for bicycles or a wheelchair. However the Inter-City trains where just terrible with hard doors to force open when you have a bicycle in hand and a narrow space to try to fit bicycle into. Not practical when you have pannier bags on. With the stop start nature of the Blue Mountian trains bicycle was constantly falling over.

The other issue I found was the number of station with no disable access, where I was forced to carry bicycle with bags on up and down stairs. Not sure how people in wheelchairs manage. Was curious to see the special blue disable ramps at station like Glenbrook or Hawkesbury River yet stair were the only access to station platform.

I have taken bicycle on all other suburban services in Australia and found Sydney to be the least friendly, especially in terms of disable access. Is this an issue that is talked about in NSW?

Did like the $2.50 Opal card on Sunday's, allowed me to go from Muswellbrook to Bathrust for only $2.50
beanzs27

There are several hundred stations in the Sydney trains / NSW trainlink intercity network and it is expensive to build every station with lifts all in one go. Stations like Hawkesbury River miss out at the moment because there are many more important stations to make wheelchair friendly.
  Colonel Leon Junior Train Controller

Location:
djf01 - Regarding the bike - I thought you are only allowed to have bikes in the vestibule of the V Sets?
  sunnyyan Station Master

The other issue I found was the number of station with no disable access, where I was forced to carry bicycle with bags on up and down stairs. Not sure how people in wheelchairs manage. Was curious to see the special blue disable ramps at station like Glenbrook or Hawkesbury River yet stair were the only access to station platform.
beanzs27
I think the wheelchair ramps at non-accessible stations are for emergency use when they need to get a wheelchair user off the train. However, they are all marked with the old Cityrail stickers that don't make sense. For example, the ramp at Canterbury is marked full access (no lift at Canterbury) and the ramp at Hurlstone Park is marked Assisted Access.
  mboi84 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney
The V Sets whilst they have the most comfortable seats and have a somewhat smooth ride feeling, for wheelchair access, they suck big time.

From memory there is only 4-6 cars in the entire V Set that are wheelchair accessible and it can be a mixed bag to try and get one (happy to be proved otherwise cause I did have a list but I have lost it somewhere).

Most V sets have at either end is a place for luggage and a bicycle but I have noted a lot that have had the metal hook removed or quite possibly sheared off.

The OScars don't from my knowledge have a bike rack and I always wondered why they didn't have a place to leave your bike out of the way. Personally from an accessible point, if you're in a wheelchair, walker, walking frame, crutches etc, use or trying and catch an OScar service. If you're willing to forego those requirements and rather comfort and a smooth ride, then the V sets services are the best ones to get
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

I remember when prams and pushbikes were required to have a ticket, perhaps the bike riders would support the reintroduction of this

under a "user pays" system.

Disabled access is another thorny issue, I remember being part of a working party looking at

the design on the steps that were being designed to be fitted in the Sydney underground for

evacuating passengers they were designed to clip over the front auto and passengers came through the access door, even worked

with the Tangara doors,

We were presenting a mock-up and a briefing to a wide group of end-users,  including the Greens the Pensioners and Superannuation lobby and several groups representing disabled people.

I was attacked by a purple haired harridan who was all excited that a wheelchair would not fit down  steps, I agreed but told her it was

not a problem, as the wheelchairs would not fit through the access door.

When asked what would happen to them in the event of a fire, my reply was that they would die. I told her we were having the meeting on the 15th floor of an office block where the evacuation instructions were to assist mobility impaired people if safe to do so.

I asked her how many wheelchairs she had seen coming out of the twin towers. It was an inconvenient truth for her.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The harsh reality is that should a fire occur in most situations be it underground or in a building or train or plane. The mobility challenged will likely die if there are any deaths. In a fire the vast majority will not stop to assist another if they fear for their own lives and/or running from obvious smoke and flames and in the crush or panic they will most likely be pushed aside or walked over.

There has been a few high rise evacuations in some of the taller residential buildings in Dubai, buildings over 300m or 75 floors. The injury toll from an organised evacuation usually includes at least one heart attack and often a few leg injuries from walking down the stairs from such a large height. People I know who stayed in the Dubai hotel that caught fire on new Years eve 2 years back couldn't go to work for 1-2 days because their leg muscles were jelly.  

For me most DAA access is purely about normal day to day access. DAA emergency access is rarely part of any design criteria due to the unlikely event of an actual emergency and the very small number of disabled to be caught up in such an event.

Boeing and Airbus plane designers have to evacuate a plane in less than 90sec through 50% of the doors to be certified. The people taking part in the exercise are randomly placed in the plane and given no more instruction than normal pre-flight safety briefing, but they know they will be asked to get off quickly in a few minutes and their life isn't at risk so more prepared than the average traveler. I've watched a few of these trial video's, but never seen a wheel chair being part of them and as there is a ~5% injury rate including broken legs and hips for real plane emergency evacuations you could imagine in the trials they probably do not use children or elderly.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

djf01 - Regarding the bike - I thought you are only allowed to have bikes in the vestibule of the V Sets?
Colonel Leon

Sorry, I didn't see this at the time.

I was unaware of that being a hard and fast rule.  I elected to do this as the unusually shaped bike in the designated area was fouling the primary entrance to the carriage in the say a normal bike wouldn't, but was not fouling the passage way inside the train.

The services was an 8 car V-Set operating a contra-flow/off peak service and I correctly surmised it would be lightly loaded and no-one was deprived of a seat as a result.  

If push came to shove (ie I encountered an all too common caravan-park-nazi guard wanting to throw their weight around for the sake of it), I could have disassembled the bike more - provided the complainant was prepared to mind my 5yo stoker Smile.  

I set the bike up the way I did to fit into the bike racks of the Endeavours, for which I had a reasonable idea of the dimensions.  I almost got it right for the V-Set bike hanger too, but once on the train it was too late really fix it "properly", and there was a reasonable alternative anyway.

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