Metro Infrastructure

 
  Lockspike Chief Train Controller

Currently visiting Adelaide and I'm impressed with the state of Metro's infrastructure, observing both from train and looking over the fence. I haven't seen any mudholes, sleepers and fastenings are A1, top and line is good (some spots on the Glenelg line need attention), signalling components that can be observed are in good condition.
I did note that the turnouts on the Belair line seem sharp, with the railcars hitting the switches rather hard. The switch tips must chop out rather quickly; a design problem with maintenance consequences. On the other hand the 3000 class cars do lurch about quite a bit.
Overall 9 1/2 marks out of 10, very good.
Melbourne could learn a lot should they care to look over the fence!
P.S. How are the power supply issues on the Seaford line (and the 4000 class), over their teething troubles?

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  Halo Chief Train Controller

We still only have Lonsdale feeder station. It has two 66k feeds from SA power networks (two gas saftey switches) and two main output channels, one from Lonsdale to Seaford, the other from Lonsdale to Adelaide.. You can hear the changeover in the trains as the main contactor drops the 25k feed to the converter, then "rebooting" it.

The plan is to add another feeder station at Dry Creek near the rail depot, but as to if one station could carry the entire system from Gawler to Seaford I highly doubt.
Personally I hate any vital system to no have at least one redundant fall back. But I expect the substations are not cheap so you can't just buy them and drop them around the countryside  only for use as a backup.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

To supplement Halos's answer.

The 66 kV network adjacent the Lonsdale substation is very strong, four feeds into the adjacent 66kV substation. This area used to supply the Pt Stanvac Refinery and the Lonsdale Foundry. The 66 kV feeders originate from either the Happy Valley or Morphett Vale Zone substations.

There are two 66 kV feeders supplying the Lonsdale traction substation which for some reason is on s cramped site. Gas insulated switchgear is used to save space and supposedly enhance reliability. There are separate traction transformers either of which, I understand, can supply the entire system. Although all switching equipment is in the one building there is adequate physical separation to prevent a fault in one section tacking out the entire system.

What happened when the system failed is as follows.
A fault occurred in one module of the incoming circuit breaker at such a location that the switchgear itself could not instantaneously detect it, an inherent blind spot. This meant the fault was sustained longer than necessary doing significant damage until an external circuit breaker could isolate the system. The fault energy was sufficient to blow out a blast cover on the switchgear and blow open the door of the switchroom. The healthy part of the system was still live.

First responders were sent to the site to determine why one part of the system had failed and on arrival found the switchroom door open and smoke in the air. Their immediate assumption was some kind of foul play and the entire system was shut down. At this stage nobody was aware what had happened, remember the switchgear could not itself detect that a fault had occurred because it occurred in a blind spot in the system.
It took a while for engineers to determine the failure events, this involved liaison between SAPN and PTS staff. Then confidence could be gained to know what equipment would still be serviceable such that power could be restored.
Meanwhile overhead line staff had to ensure the network was capable of being reenergised.
Understandably this took some hours before trains could run.

I have not been privy to why the module in the incoming circuit breaker failed, suffice to such that such an event is extremely rare. There may have been some shortcomings in the commissioning which meant that systems detecting faults in the blind spot were slow to act or failed to act.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Currently visiting Adelaide and I'm impressed with the state of Metro's infrastructure, observing both from train and looking over the fence. I haven't seen any mudholes, sleepers and fastenings are A1, top and line is good (some spots on the Glenelg line need attention), signalling components that can be observed are in good condition.
I did note that the turnouts on the Belair line seem sharp, with the railcars hitting the switches rather hard. The switch tips must chop out rather quickly; a design problem with maintenance consequences. On the other hand the 3000 class cars do lurch about quite a bit.
Overall 9 1/2 marks out of 10, very good.
Melbourne could learn a lot should they care to look over the fence!
P.S. How are the power supply issues on the Seaford line (and the 4000 class), over their teething troubles?
Lockspike
We here in Victoria don't need to look over the fence at SA.
We already know everything are are like Mary Poppins - 'Perfect in Every Way'.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Nice explanation steamforian - I have looked at Lonsdale a couple of times and had a distinctly less professional feeling that the site felt small for the energy supposedly controlled within. Still, I figure it’s functioned ‘more or less’ well for 7 years so it must be okay.

For those interested there’s a properly detailed (like 40+ pages IIRC of info) epic report on the 2016 failure somewhere on DPTI’s website. I only happened to read it earlier this year.
  Halo Chief Train Controller

If I remember correctly the gas isolator made by siemens had a impurity in the gas, either when manufactured or when charged with gas on installation.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

The plan is to add another feeder station at Dry Creek near the rail depot, but as to if one station could carry the entire system from Gawler to Seaford I highly doubt.
Halo
According to DPTI, once Gawler electrification is complete they will be able to have either of the Lonsdale or Dry Creek substations supply the whole system in the event of one substation having both transformers simultaneously out of action, but it would not have the capacity to sustain a full peak service on both routes.

The interesting part will be how close to a full peak service can be maintained from one substation. The ability to sustain just a handful more trains 'in steam' at a time than the normal off-peak service would be all that's needed to provide a decent emergency timetable, a couple of services against the peak flow could be sacrificed to get more of the peak flow moving.

If this projection is correct, more would be gained by installing additional crossovers than a third substation complex. Allowing for shorter sections to be bustituted (or run using a single line) during routine preventative maintenance of the track or overheads will reduce the public backlash when those necessary closures do take place, and for better degraded working options when disruption is unplanned.

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