Alstom Xtrapolis/Siemens/Comeng

 
  Xtrapolis Beginner

Hi Everyone!

Complete newbie here, and a massive rail enthusiast. I'm so happy to finally be on here!

I've just got something that is really pestering me. It's to do with the Xtrapolis's ride comfort. How can it be so bouncy in every direction. Whenever I take a Comeng on the same line to Lilydale it's so much smoother. I used to think that the tracks were at fault, that they were really bad quality but it appears that the Xtrapolis just puts bumps in where there ought to be none! And I just happened to go on my first Siemens train today and I thought it was much smoother apart from the increased noise and louder knocks over the joints in the tracks.

So is it just my imagination that the Alsoms are so bouncy or do others also know what I am talking about?

Thanks!

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  Gauntlet Chief Commissioner

Location:
It's because X'Trapolis trains suspension uses springs instead of airbags.
Connex chose this because it was the cheapest option.
  Xtrapolis Beginner

You've just got to love our Government! The difference between the base suspension and the better one was probably like a few bucks, but it was cheaper... All that counts. All of our infrastructure is like this. Our roads need to be repaired the day after that they're completed... When are the new Bombardiers coming? Hopefully they'll be better in the ride department...
  L1150 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Pakenham Vic.
I haven't had much opportunity to ride the X-traps, but the few times I have, my perception is that they do seem to have a slightly rougher ride. Not that I would class the ride as very rough but perhaps a bit rougher than the Comeng and definitely more than the Siemens. Perhaps, as Gauntlet has suggested its due to the "Home Brand" spring bogies. Interestingly, the Xtraps are limited to 90Kmph, even on 115Kmph track. There is differing views as to why this is so, with some suggesting that the suspension is the reason. (although, I've heard rumors that the 90K limit has been removed recently, but I haven't been able to verify that.)Very Happy
  Braddo Deputy Commissioner

Location: Narre Warren
I very rarely travel on the Xtraps but I did have the pleasure of riding on one today. I can't say I noticed anything wrong with the suspension, and I think the interior is far nicer than that of the Siemens. I did notice that if you are near the other end of the carriage you can not read the PID. I have no idea how such an obvious design flaw was not picked up on.
  Xtrapolis Beginner

I've just seen them labeled X'Trampolines, perfect description of the way they ride. Its not rough or anything just really bouncy. When I rode on one, I initially thought that the tracks were so bad and that this awesome train was dealing with the bumpiness quite well, rebounding from the undulations. And then one day I got the hissing Comeng, on the same tracks and I was amazed! It's as if the Alstom just bounces around for no reason! Makes the ride more fun though!
  Tribitaka Station Master

The speed restriction is actually due to an ineffective breaking curve on the train. It also has something to do with the computer breaking assistance.
Word is that tests conducted have found it to be ok, with only a few of the large fleet being effected, however there is no need to go above the 90kmh limit (par the mount Waverley-glen waverly stretch) on the lines it runs on!
I'm sure when they day comes and it is needed on lines with much higher speed limits, a solution will be rolled out, much like the Siemens issues.

Having travelled on an x'Trapolis almost every day on the Hurstbridge line I find the ride to be ok. While it may not be as smooth and cloudy as the Siemens or Comeng fleet, it isn't as bad as made out to be. The X'Traps are very nice trains on the inside, but many noticeable cost cutting measures have been taken by the government. But I guess, if we want new trains we just have to deal with it. There are worst problems in life!
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
I have found the Xtraps to be quite noisy. Also if you are in the front carriage or close to the front carriage, the horn is unbelievably loud. I feel the Siemens are quieter, the motors are not as loud.

Edit: changed word motors instead of engines.
  Braddo Deputy Commissioner

Location: Narre Warren
glen waverly
Tribitaka
Evil or Very Mad
  Xtrapolis Beginner

When I use the Xtraps on the Hurstbridge line I find them not to be too bad as they simply can't get up to any real speed between the ridiculously shirt distances between stops. But if you allow the Xtrap to stretch its legs on the Lilydale dale line on a limited express out of Richmond to Box Hill at peak hour with carriages full of people, to say that its a trampoline would probably be an understatement... No-one can do anything on their phone and when standing up, you will definitely be in some awkward situations. Whenever I take the Comeng on the same tracks, its as if the bumps never existed... And that weird whining noise when the Xtrap starts rolling... Like some intergalactic weapon being deployed! Siemens are just so relaxed, no noise, jumping and jolting... That said, I do prefer my Xtraps, they always sprinkle a bit of fun into your dreary, boring, everyday commute!
  Madjikthise Deputy Commissioner

Evil or Very Mad
Braddo

Yeah get it right, it's Glenn Waverley.Razz
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
that weird whining noise when the Xtrap starts rolling... Like some intergalactic weapon being deployed!
Xtrapolis
So true. I think of them sounding like a futuristic space ship or a flying saucer or something.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
I rode standing in 171M on the 2048 from Mitcham to Ringwood tonight (Belgrave service), it took the 60 year old rails quite well with minimal bouncing, although the curve into Ringwood (near signal L777) feels as rough as guts. Maybe it was because this car was practically brand new, or because the driver was actually doing line speed instead of tram speed, who knows. They are known to have better ride quality at speed. Yes, the rails at Mitcham station have dates showing years between 1952 and 1954. Find a newly laid piece of track and these trains are as smooth as a billiard table, provided the track bed was smoothed out to begin with.

I can't imagine X'Trap suspension being any worse than that of a Harris car (H sets). Also, N/Z cars have coil springs too.
  Skipdaddyo Chief Train Controller

Location: Living the dream
Find a newly laid piece of track and these trains are as smooth as a billiard table, provided the track bed was smoothed out to begin with.
Heihachi_73
Bingo!  On well maintained track, their ride is as good as any other train on the network.

Some may argue that we should be buying trains that can handle our sub par track, others may argue that our track shouldn't be sub par.

They're a great train to drive, plenty of get up and go, and they stop reliably well.  They can be a pig to drive in the wet (light rain especially) but, driven correctly you'll hold the timetable.

As mentioned, there are some shocking sections of track on the Lilydale line.  Down side of Burnley (centre track), Camberwell everywhere to East Cam, Box Hill both sides, Mitcham up side, Ringwood turning right to Belgrave, Lilydale points into platform 1.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
At least you won't have to worry about the points at Mitcham being a 4WD track in the next year or so. As for the rest of the Burnley group, who knows when that will ever be completed, or whether we'll still have wooden sleepers and 107lb rail in 2050. Smile

Also, the 40km/h jointed curve up of East Richmond, complete with 30km/h points and stupid signalling which makes the majority of up Lilydale/Belgrave trains change from the "express" line to the local line, through East Richmond's platform 1 at snail's pace (this is where you see one or two people stand up on the platform thinking their Flinders Street has come early), then over the 30km/h points back to the through line to Richmond platform 8.

With Ringwood, it makes you wonder why Bedford Rd wasn't grade separated umpteen decades ago when the siding was done (which sits at "grade separated" level for those who don't know the area).
  electric Chief Train Controller

Location: Ist mir egal
Bingo!  On well maintained track, their ride is as good as any other train on the network.

Some may argue that we should be buying trains that can handle our sub par track, others may argue that our track shouldn't be sub par.

They're a great train to drive, plenty of get up and go, and they stop reliably well.  They can be a pig to drive in the wet (light rain especially) but, driven correctly you'll hold the timetable.

As mentioned, there are some shocking sections of track on the Lilydale line.  Down side of Burnley (centre track), Camberwell everywhere to East Cam, Box Hill both sides, Mitcham up side, Ringwood turning right to Belgrave, Lilydale points into platform 1.
Skipdaddyo
Unfortunately this rare thing called "well maintained track" isn't seen much in Melbourne Razz

Indeed, XTrapolis trains make Comengs feel as slow as they really are. A late, express X'Trap ride is quite fun (except for the bumps).
Ah yes, what is it with them and slightly slippery track? They really do struggle when it's been raining just a little.

Also, try standing up on an express train through Fairfield when the driver's going for it... you can find the suspension's hard stops Very Happy
  alstom_888m Chief Commissioner

Location:
I can't imagine X'Trap suspension being any worse than that of a Harris car (H sets). Also, N/Z cars have coil springs too.
Heihachi_73
I'd rate the H sets being about the same as the X'Traps. Really terrible at 80km/h+ on old track, but H sets are perfectly fine on the RFR. I'd expect an X'Trap to be fine on RFR track too (not that would ever happen).



No-one can do anything on their phone and when standing up, you will definitely be in some awkward situations.
X'Trapolis

I'd say that this is a Good Thing. Twisted Evil


And that weird whining noise when the Xtrap starts rolling... Like some intergalactic weapon being deployed!
X'Trapolis
This is to do with the GTO Thyristor motors, an early type of control system for AC traction motors that was popular with EMU's in the 1990s. Later EMU's used IGBT control which makes are more constant high-pitched squeal (such as the Siemens). Why was the X'Trap built with GTO when newer and better systems were available? Probably cost again.
  Bullucked Assistant Commissioner


Also, the 40km/h jointed curve up of East Richmond, complete with 30km/h points and stupid signalling which makes the majority of up Lilydale/Belgrave trains change from the "express" line to the local line, through East Richmond's platform 1 at snail's pace (this is where you see one or two people stand up on the platform thinking their Flinders Street has come early), then over the 30km/h points back to the through line to Richmond platform 8.

Heihachi_73
30km/h points? don't remember reading that anywhere. Only 30km/h points I'm aware of are between Southern Cross and North Melbourne with the exception of Franklin Street.
  Xtrapolis Beginner

I'd rate the H sets being about the same as the X'Traps. Really terrible at 80km/h+ on old track, but H sets are perfectly fine on the RFR. I'd expect an X'Trap to be fine on RFR track too (not that would ever happen).




I'd say that this is a Good Thing. Twisted Evil


This is to do with the GTO Thyristor motors, an early type of control system for AC traction motors that was popular with EMU's in the 1990s. Later EMU's used IGBT control which makes are more constant high-pitched squeal (such as the Siemens). Why was the X'Trap built with GTO when newer and better systems were available? Probably cost again.

Thanks for the info regarding the electrical systems!
alstom_888m
  Skipdaddyo Chief Train Controller

Location: Living the dream
Ah yes, what is it with them and slightly slippery track? They really do struggle when it's been raining just a little.

Also, try standing up on an express train through Fairfield when the driver's going for it... you can find the suspension's hard stops Very Happy
electric
Not 100% sure what it is - but my guess is that the Xtrapolis spin/slide equipment isn't as clever as it could be...  A Siemens in the same conditions can be given full power from a standing stand and it won't spin, and very rarely slides when braking.  The sanders do a fantastic job when required, you can really feel them grab and have to back off braking or you'll stop short.

The Hurstbridge also has several poor sections.  Westgarth - Alphington, Rosanna up line on the down side, Macleod up side, and everywhere beyond Greensborough...
  Some rail man Junior Train Controller

Location: CIA Headquarters in Washington D.C
And that weird whining noise when the Xtrap starts rolling... Like some intergalactic weapon being deployed! Siemens are just so relaxed, no noise, jumping and jolting... That said, I do prefer my Xtraps, they always sprinkle a bit of fun into your dreary, boring, everyday commute!
Xtrapolis
Don't the Tangara's in Sydney make a weird noise when accelerating too?

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