Observations (Transperth, A & B series)

 
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
Looks like the last Joondalup/Mandurah line A set is gone as of today - so now exclusively run by 6 car B sets during the day on weekdays. The bus forum also reports that the remaining "short" off-peak services have been strengthened to 4 cars on the Fremantle-Midland and Thornlie lines, along with some but not all services on the Armadale line.

Presumably set 115 at least is in service now?

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  thewaratahtrain Chief Train Controller

Looks like the last Joondalup/Mandurah line A set is gone as of today - so now exclusively run by 6 car B sets during the day on weekdays. The bus forum also reports that the remaining "short" off-peak services have been strengthened to 4 cars on the Fremantle-Midland and Thornlie lines, along with some but not all services on the Armadale line.

Presumably set 115 at least is in service now?
Mouse
yep that's correct, B set 104 is the only set that hasn't entered service BET 6104 had to be sent back to Queensland for repair works, their is also another set off traffic for the B3 upgrade program, presumable once that work is complete the older B sets might be refurbished, the same with the A series one set off traffic for refurb works, their is only 2x 2car A sets left on Armadale during peak times and off peak and 2 3 car sets on Butler/Mandurah during peak.
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
Bs are running Midland-Freo tonight. (Presumably Claisebrook depot is offline due to the Armadale Line shutdown?)
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
^ And the Bs are running again this weekend.

Nice start to the year.
  X Class Locomotive Driver

B sets were used on the Midland - Fremantle run for a few weekends recently.  Anyone know why?  Seems to have coincided with the Armadale line shut down but I'm trying to work out the link between the two scenarios.
  steve_w_1990 Junior Train Controller

Location: Trying to fix something on the PTA Network
B sets were used on the Midland - Fremantle run for a few weekends recently.  Anyone know why?  Seems to have coincided with the Armadale line shut down but I'm trying to work out the link between the two scenarios.
X Class
As far as I know (and I'm open to correction) over the shutdown weekends, there was no access in and out of Claisebrook depot to get the A series out, so B series trains were substituted in their place.

A few A series cars were stored at Thornlie to keep the limited services on the Armadale line running.
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
B sets have been running to Armadale this afternoon.
  hack404 Station Master

B sets have been running to Armadale this afternoon.
Mouse
Is that any different to the average weekend?
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
My observations for Sundays have usually been 2 car A sets on the express services (typically upgraded to 4 car sets if there are major events on) and 4 car As on the all stations runs.

Edit: from my subsequent observations it appears to be a regular occurrence during Sunday daytime AFL matches to release A sets for footy specials. Haven't seen it in use for Saturday matches (which finish after the timetabled frequency has reduced to every 30 minutes.)
  LL10194 Station Master

Location: Perth
Correct me if I'm wrong on a few things:

The A-series sets are approaching their 30 year design life and there are no proposals for life extension?

We now have all the B-series sets from the third order taking us to 116? (And to clarify - I think of the the third order as being for 22 sets - the 15 ordered in 2011 plus the two extensions of 2 and 5 sets whilst deliveries were in progress.)

The two older orders of B's should all have been upgraded to the newer standard by now?

The fourth order of of 10 sets is yet to make a delivery?

OK, now net me go look for another old thread that may be worth resurrecting.
  steve_w_1990 Junior Train Controller

Location: Trying to fix something on the PTA Network
A series are nearly 30 years old. Not sure about design life, but they are still being regularly overhauled at Claisebrook and there is no word on them being replaced.

B series upgrade to B3 standards almost complete. Set 78 is being done at the moment and set 79 is the last one to be done.

B series railcar BET6104 still away for repairs in Queensland, other than that, all railcars from the third order have been delivered and are in service.

No railcars from 4th order have arrived, nor are in the process of delivery at this time.
  LL10194 Station Master

Location: Perth
Thanks for the comprehensive reply Steve.

As for the 30 year design life figure I quoted, I took that from an engineering report on the A-series that I came across dated April 2015. It lists a few life extension options, the first being no extension – design life expiry 30 years. Then two options for “minor modifications” to extend life to 35 or 40 years, and two options for “re-engineering” both extending life to 50 years. The conclusions of the report didn’t seem to support the re-engineering options.

By comparison the Public Transport for Perth in 2031 draft report from mid 2011 refers to replacement of railcars (not referring to the A-series in particular) after 35 years of service (p23), but elsewhere it refers to "an operating life of up to 35 years before they need substantial refurbishment" (p31) at "75% of the replacement cost" (p32).

As an outside observer I'm guessing that the PTA would prefer to move on from the A-series as soon as possible, but may need to hang on a bit longer for the B's to start cascading down as the C-series is introduced.
  LL10194 Station Master

Location: Perth
I was curious about how things would go for yesterday’s first public use of Perth Stadium Station so I was watching Transperth’s online live departure boards for it and Perth Station. Not the best way of making observations, I know, but it still gives some insight into an unusual day.

The first eight trains stopping at Stadium Station were all Armadale and Thornlie line trains in each direction. The very first being a four car A-set departing Perth from platform 5 at 6:30 (the first train of the day) and departing Perth Stadium Station from platform 5 at 6:34 for Armadale. First heading towards Perth was a four car A-set on the Thornlie line using platform 2. Oddly trains for Armadale depart the Stadium Station four minutes after they are listed as leaving Perth, but those heading for Thornlie show a five minute difference. Maybe just a consequence of rounding to whole minutes?

The first six car B-set shuttle was scheduled to depart Perth platform 9 at 7:04, arrive at what time I’m not sure, as only departures are listed. The first little (on line) glitch – that first shuttle had its destination listed as ‘To Belmont Park’ which was soon changed to ‘To STADIUM’ and ‘PE pattern’ soon changed to just ‘All stops’ (...except McIver and Claisebrook).

The first return shuttle from the Stadium was scheduled to depart platform 1 at 7:48, it was listed as ‘To Perth’ and ‘PE pattern’.

Six trains in the first half hour from 6:30, twenty seven in the hour from 7:00, from 8:00 on things are moving toward the standard for most of the day. From a bit before 10:00 am until 9:00 pm there were 32 trains per hour stopping at the Stadium following a regular fifteen minute cycle:
- 8 six car B-set shuttles per hour in each direction.
- 4 four car A-sets per hour on the Armadale line in each direction, C- pattern up, All Stops down.
- 4 four car A-sets per hour on the Thornlie line in each direction, T- pattern.

The only delays that could be observed watching the live departure boards were on the Armadale and Thornlie lines. The occasional minute or two heading to Perth to be expected plus a few the other way, and more surprisingly several longer delays heading from the city. A few three minute delays on the Armadale, a four and a seven on the Thornlie and the worst was the Armadale all stops listed as departing Perth at 8:30pm that didn’t depart the Stadium Station until 8:45, listed as a ten minute delay. Most of these longer delays were clustered in that hour eight till nine pm.

From 9:00 things start to change to getting the last people out. The last shuttle from Perth to the Stadium surprisingly left as late as 9:26, I can’t imagine it having may passengers. The bigger surprise was seeing from 9:05 until 10:20 ten six car B-sets leaving Perth for Butler (all stops) and Clarkson (K-pattern), however these were not listed as such from Stadium Station, these departures were all still listed as ‘To Perth’ ‘PE-pattern’ I would like to think that these were the proposed standard through service from the Stadium, but the departure timing was just not quite right (although I do have my reservations about the accuracy of the times listed for Perth, no train departing Perth was ever listed as delayed or had its departure time change, even if it was still on the list and the one scheduled after it had already departed and was off the list.) I guess this was the way of getting the B-sets back on the Joondalup / Mandurah lines with a bonus of practicing that movement with passengers. Slightly surprised that they would need ten trains to service that shuttle schedule, then again perhaps they over committed to enable practice of other movements east of the stadium and to give more drivers more experience.

So from nine the service is winding down, the last B-set shuttle left the Stadium at 10:11pm from platform 7, with twelve total departures in that hour ten till eleven (two B-sets the rest on the Armadale and Thornlie lines.) Three more departures, the last being a Thornlie line set leaving platform 2 at 11:33 heading for Perth. After the last B set left Perth for Butler, Perth Station was back to finishing off its normal Sunday schedule.

I’m not sure what kind of future event would require a sustained all day service to the stadium like this, an all day music festival maybe? Does anyone know how the extra services for the Royal Show compare?

It seems to have been a successful exercise in familiarisation, for both the general public (I get the feeling that most of those that went are those that will be attending sporting events) and for Transperth. Now for the next test, the cricket ODI on Sunday with far more people arriving and especially departing in one hit.

Did anyone here attend the open day? Any comments on the station? The TV coverage focussed mainly on the new stadium of course, but there were some positive comments about the trains.
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
Does anyone know how the extra services for the Royal Show compare?
LL10194
Typically the Royal Show would see half the frequency of what was provided for the stadium open day i.e. 4 Fremantle Line trains and 4 Showgrounds specials per hour, with the specials using either 4 car A sets or 6 car B sets (with the exact combination fluctuating from year to year.)
  LL10194 Station Master

Location: Perth
Thanks Mouse for the well informed reply. Looking at Royal Show attendance figures, I guess they are planning for a peak day demand of around half of what they planned for at the stadium open day, so those numbers do more or less correspond.

It was reported that about 40,000 of the 110,000 that had free tickets to the opening chose not to go, so the pressure on the system wasn’t as great as had been expected. No wonder things went so smoothly. 69,028 was the attendance figure of which the transport minister says 90% used public transport.

The only complaints that I have heard is about the lack of escalators and waiting in queues. Waiting in queues is to be expected, didn’t that happen with Subiaco? I had noticed the lack of escalators myself just looking at the plans for the station, same for the East Perth Station upgrade which was done as part of the stadium transport plan. I assumed that is was quite deliberate, for something like crowd control. During the week I read that Transperth’s chief spokesperson David Hynes said that escalators are considered dangerous under crowd conditions and that the stairs slow people down which helps manage the crowds. That sounds like a simplification of the issue, but it does sound plausible. There are probably many people (e.g. the elderly) who can’t cope with that many stairs in crowd conditions who could have used an escalator, but are forced to put an extra load on the lifts instead, so I can understand the complaints too.

I have gone a little off topic, so back to observations of A’s and B’s. Last week I had been using Transperth’s online live departure boards for Perth Station and Perth Stadium Station. An imperfect observation method I know, but it did seem to give a reasonable overview. For the one day cricket yesterday, the first paying event, we knew that they were planning for different peaks of usage and adding direct services each way on the Fremantle and Joondalup lines. So I added Leederville, Perth Underground and Elizabeth Quay to my list of departure boards to watch to get a bigger overview.

Things started well in the morning although it soon became apparent that the amount of information I was compiling was going to take longer to interpret and distil into something worth describing. The fact that I only had departure times so was lacking info on a service that terminated at a station compounded the problem.

On the destination boards last week’s ‘To STADIUM’ changed to ‘To Perth Stadium’ however this wasn’t used as widely as one would hope. For example looking at Leederville for the Joondalup line, all up services were listed as being ‘To Perth’. Some were listed as ‘K pattern’ which I think is normally only used for some trains heading north that only go as far as Clarkson. Looking at the timetable there are several up services that originate at Clarkson, but they are not marked with a K. Perhaps the information displays on the platforms are different, I would hope that people knew if they were getting on a train to the stadium or a normal through service towards Mandurah. Does anyone know? Perhaps there were platform announcements. As for trains heading north, everything at Leedervile was all stops to Butler until 7:20 when a few K patterns started to appear, perhaps these were a clue as to which trains were coming from the stadium. For Stadium Station itself, the online departure board listed no destination on the Joondalup or Fremantle line. Everything heading west from the stadium was apparently just going to Perth, once again I expect that things were different at platform level. Looking just at the departure board, I guess that the 4 cars for Perth were all continuing to Fremantle, the six cars heading for the Joondalup line or some just Perth shuttles.

Last week I noted that on the online system, at Perth Station every train was always listed as ‘On Time’ even though some services remained on the list several minutes after their stated departure time. Yesterday I found that this glitch extends to the online departure board for Perth Underground. Of course some aspects of Perth Station and Perth Underground Station are combined such as the platform numbering (for anyone outside Perth, Underground has platforms 1 & 2, the main surface station has platforms 3 to 9.)

The boards for the other three stations that I was watching do list delayed trains, noting how many minutes they are delayed and the revised departure time. However as the day wore on the glitch of what I assume to have been delayed trains staying on the board with their original departure time started to appear at other stations also. When it really started getting excessive I started making note of it, for example at the Stadium Station the 19:29 to Perth was still listed as ‘On Time’ at least twenty minutes later, the same for the 19:44. Over at Leederville things seemed better with a few services listed as delayed by a minute or two, the 19:24 to Clarkson reached a ten minute delay, then the 19:44 to Clarkson stayed on time for over twenty minutes, so again the glitch had spread. The 19:44 to Clarkson stayed ‘On Time’ for ages, until about 35 minutes later when it was listed as ‘Cancelled’ for a few minutes before vanishing. Another train appeared listed as delayed by 30 minutes but vanished from the list some time before the rescheduled departure.

One odd thing that I noticed earlier, the train listed as departing the Stadium for Armadale at 15:35 was cancelled, then popped up again some time later listed as delayed by 20 minutes but with a destination ‘To Gosnells’ (!?)

From around half past seven I started to feel that the online system was approaching meltdown, either that or I was as I was extracting the information and keep up with the changes. I guess this partly reflected the fact that Transperth were changing their plans on the hop, starting with the fact that the game finished early for which I would expect they had a contingency plan to increase services out earlier, and later responding to the actual demand on the platforms. It is reported today that Transperth acknowledge underestimating Joondalup line demand and so reallocated some services from the Armadale line.

By eight thirty I was losing faith with the information coming out of the online system and my ability to keep up with it. I gave up. I could go through the earlier stuff and extract something from that, but it seems pointless without the full day. I think that I can put my on line anorak away now, I doubt that I’ll be trying that again.

So my planned observations of the A’s and B’s for this special event has turned more into observations regarding the online departure board system.

As for the new station I’m sure that Transperth will learn from the first lot of events and adapt quickly. The people that regularly go to sporting events will soon learn new habits. The bridge will be completed and take a little pressure off public transport, the Thornlie - Cockburn Link will take more people towards Mandurah and the new C-Series trains with more doors will improve platform dwell time.
  Northmetro Junior Train Controller

I was travelling to Perth from Clarkson around 10:30. I can confirm (at least at Clarkson) that there was a specific platform announcement for the stadium trains. Also the scrolling message at the bottom of the indicators advised that K pattern trains would continue nonstop from Perth to the stadium.

At the west end of Perth, the train crossed over to the southernmost track through the tunnels to arrive on platform 6.

Another 6 car B set arrived about 7 minutes later. I am assuming this must have come off the Fremantle line. Interestingly the destination on the train itself showed "Football"! There were a few passengers already on it. The train off the Joondalup line was well loaded (a few standing passengers) but not crowded.

I also noticed the Armadale/Thornlie trains were alternating their destination on the indicators with "stops at stadium"
  X Class Locomotive Driver

I did attend the open day.  The station seemed well designed with easy access to the stadium.  Compared with attending football matches at Subiaco I'm sure it will be much easier for attendees to walk from station to ground.  Most fans (myself included) would use West Leederville Station to get to Subiaco Oval which involved walking down what would usually be a quiet residential street.  If catching a Perth or Mandurah bound train after the match with fans walking out en masse there was a bottleneck that formed at the approach to the pedestrian underpass.  Of course the news stadium with adjoining station is designed to have us all walk from the station without having to walk down any street and indeed the bottleneck situation should not arise.

I'll be attending the AFLW match this afternoon, so I'll see how it all holds up and give a report some time during the week.
  X Class Locomotive Driver

Re my last post regarding operations at Perth Stadium.

I attended the AFLW match as mentioned, which was attended by about 42 000 fans.

I caught my train from Bayswater (would normally be Bassendean) and changed to a stadium shuttle at Perth.  Had just missed one (which looked fully loaded anyway), so waited about 7 minutes for the next one, though I didn't really watch the clock.  My train filled up quickly, but we were whisked away without incident.

After the match I walked with the crowd from the stadium to the station.  While there is a clear direct path, there were two barriers placed across the direct route, putting the flow of pedestrians on an indirect snake like path, which I'm assuming was to keep us moving instead of having to stop-start which may cause some problems on the staircases.  I contemplated boarding a full train that was waiting on the platform when we were advised by a station attendant that another train would soon arrive on the opposite platform, so I went over there and waited and was soon joined by another train load of people.  We boarded and I found a seat.  We waited for a while and heard one impatient passenger behind me comment on the apparent delay.  "Our train's full, so why can't we just go?" I heard him ask.  It seems there are many people who have no idea about the scheduling and safe working protocols.  I think we had to wait for a tabled train from Armadale to go through (couldn't see too much, so don't know for sure) and of course the train that was already on the opposite platform was still there and would have right of way over my train.  

My train ran me to Perth (skipping Claisebrook and McIver)  where I changed for my Midland train which was also full.  This was first stop East Perth, so was still full when we got there.  I know stadium patrons are being encouraged to walk over the Windan Bridge to East Perth Station if we want the Midland line, but it seems that I would have trouble boarding at East Perth if I were to do this, though I'm sure I'd quite enjoy the walk.

I was home about an hour after the match concluded, which is comparable to the transit time from the old ground in Subiaco.

It seemed to work well.
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
From the Queensland section:

The latest series of Perth B sets began on March 2nd, with Downer's DH73 delivering the first set to Maryborough West plus six HO wagons carrying bogies. PN's 8328 then took the special working to Brisbane.
Sulla1

http://www.railpage.com.au/f-p2095466.htm#2095466
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
B series railcar BET6104 still away for repairs in Queensland, other than that, all railcars from the third order have been delivered and are in service.
steve_w_1990 (in October last year)
Just to update this - set 104 is now in service as well.
  LL10194 Station Master

Location: Perth
A couple of things regarding the A and B sets that come from the recent C-series announcements.

The first 17 C’s being notionally for the growth created by various Metronet projects, the first in service at the end of 2021, then five sets per year. It will be 2025 before the A’s are starting to be retired. So the PTA gets 35 years of life out of the A’s. I wonder if we will be able to sell them on. The ADK/ADBs that we sold to Auckland have since been sold to Mozambique apparently.

The 24 new six car C-series that have been announced to allow for the retirement of the A-series implies the cascading of 48 B-series to the older lines. That is a one-for-one replacement of two car A’s with three car B’s. So a decent increased overall passenger capacity – by 2030.

The eventual extension of platforms at older stations to accommodate six-car sets is unlikely to be complete in my lifetime, so I guess we will be seeing the B sets running at greater frequencies instead. And that should be a reasonable solution for many years. Although a few six car stopping patterns may be worked out first.

A month or so back I picked up a set of the current timetables. I had just been looking again at Geoff Higham’s book Marble Bar to Mandurah, and it includes a table with a summary of the number of services on each of the suburban lines for a typical weekday. I was quite surprised to discover that in essence things have not changed in ten years for the older lines.

Obviously with all of the A-series now serving the older lines there are more four car sets running giving greater capacity. Correct me if I am wrong but I think that only the Armadale line regularly sees two car sets these days. The exact timing and stopping patterns have undoubtedly changed, but I still find it remarkable that the number of services has not.

I guess future ATC, integration of the FAL and eventual cascading B-sets will change that.
  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
If anything there are actually fewer services today on the Fremantle and Midland lines than there were ten years ago, though sensibly so IMO given the extra services back then weren't to increase frequencies so much as to compensate for Loch Street and Grant Street having short platforms - hence the A/B pattern services that remain today ran with only 2 carriages while being supplemented with all manner of strange stopping patterns (at one point including an in-service express run from Fremantle to Perth.) Instead now it's a simpler 20-minute frequency for each of the two patterns operated exclusively by 4-car sets.

I'm also intrigued that the Fremantle and Midland timetables weren't reviewed (other than the tweaks to evening services on the Fremantle line) back in 2015-16 along with the other lines - presumably waiting for the Forrestfield Airport Link carriages to enter service if not for the Forrestfield line itself?
  Dd592 Beginner

Anybody know what's going on with A series set 47? It's been sitting in Claisebrook out of commission for about 2 months now. From what I can see the coupler on the AEB car has been removed. It's been moved around the depot quite a lot lately but it seems to have found a more permanent home at the east end of Claisebrook for the last couple of weeks.

Slightly off topic but I've noticed Claisebrook seems to have had an ADP car in the depot all the time lately as well, usually in DMU shed. I don't know if they're all due for a big service and are being rotated through or it's been one ADP car that's been having a few issues

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