(TA days) crazy driving

 
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
During the days that I used to catch suburban trains regularly just for rides, there was the one driver that stood out for his driving style. When arriving at a station, he'd literally activate the doors, and do the departure warning almost simultaneously in an attempt to keep on time with the ridiculous schedules that the trains had back then before the timetables were revised some time later. I do remember his name, but I'd prefer not to publicise it. He'd frequently do the 1832 train from Gawler Central (all stations except North Adelaide in 53 minutes (including one occasion when he only had 2 minutes to change ends), and I also recall walking past a platform just as he pulled up in a Jumbo from Gawler Central one minute early on the 2054 service. Some of the other observations as a result of his driving style that I recall include:

1829 Noarlunga to Adelaide service (all stations to Goodwood) in a 3 car jumbo in 44 minutes (all stops to Goodwood), and doing the near impossible 42 minute schedule from Noarlunga on time in a pox box

Outer Harbor to Adelaide all stations in 32 minutes, arriving Adelaide a minute early (after leaving Outer Harbor 5 minutes late)

Belair to Adelaide (1831 service) in 32 minutes (stopping at Keswick) with a cross at Eden Hills (the only time I ever saw that service arrive Adelaide on time. This service had no extra minutes between stations in the schedule like the interpeak ones used to)

Belair to Adelaide (1750 service) All to Goodwood. Crossing a train at Blackwood, and Lynton loop (a timetable error giving 2 minutes for the down train to leave Lynton and the other to arrive there), then 14 minutes to get to Adelaide. Did this on time.

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  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
I do wonder how/why a train can be 5 minutes late in the space of a few miles (9 min journey taking 14 min) after departing Adelaide on time, on brand new track.
  Jumbo2001 Junior Train Controller

I do wonder how/why a train can be 5 minutes late in the space of a few miles (9 min journey taking 14 min) after departing Adelaide on time, on brand new track.
simont141


Simple.
a) Timetable doesn't permit enough time between stations
b) Temporary Speed Restrictions
and the big one
c) Loading and unloading motorised mobility aids. The railcars were never designed to carry these things, and they just seem to multiply and get bigger and bigger. There needs to be size limitations to it, I have had one so damn big that it couldn't turn into the wheel chair bay and had to sit in the doors. Because of that, as a matter of safety I could not carry the person and their mobility aid. Safety is paramount, some ridiculously huge scooter that cannot fit without blocking egress from the train is unacceptable.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I agree.

The simplest way to classify them would be the steering mechanism - if it rotates about the main axle with any other wheels freely castering it's a wheelchair which is to be allowed on board or a taxi provided for free if the train/tram/bus is too full to get it on (or provided to any passengers who make way for it), but if it has rack steering controlled by handlebars then it's a road vehicle which is not to be allowed.

Chance of ever having it enforced? Zero, the grey vote simply has too much power and this will only be fixed by ending voting at age 70 in the same way that youth are disenfranchised up to the age of 18.
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
Simple.
a) Timetable doesn't permit enough time between stations
b) Temporary Speed Restrictions
and the big one
c) Loading and unloading motorised mobility aids. The railcars were never designed to carry these things, and they just seem to multiply and get bigger and bigger. There needs to be size limitations to it, I have had one so damn big that it couldn't turn into the wheel chair bay and had to sit in the doors. Because of that, as a matter of safety I could not carry the person and their mobility aid. Safety is paramount, some ridiculously huge scooter that cannot fit without blocking egress from the train is unacceptable.
Jumbo2001

I would rather have an accurate timetable than one that tries to be unrealistic. Recent trips across UK, France, Germany, Netherlands saw trains being, on average, no more than 20 seconds (yes seconds) late and were often early. Time lost was always made up, even though there's potential for a large variance at 300km/h.

Certainly give a wry smile when I catch a train in the morning thinking it's a minute or two early, only to realise that it's the previous train running 5 - 10 min late.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I agree.

Public transport is rarely going to be faster than a car on a door-to-door journey time, so it has to compete in other areas such as reliability of service.

Transfield (aka Light City Buses) finally seem to be understanding this, the last round of new timetables now have drivers on certain peak arterial routes with a good frequency of service (e.g. the G20X/G21X to Aberfoyle Park via Goodwood Road) being given permission to go full speed once they've cleared the last pickup stop (Sturt St outbound, Ayliffes Road 25 inbound), any stops further along the route are allowed to be passed early.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I have to agree about wheelchairs and gophers in particular. Wheel chairs can turn on their own length but some of these gophers are huge and then you get the fool in one that gets a lot added to them like a shelter over the top of them or trays etc to carry shopping plus God knows what else they can get on one. A standard gopher is not that bad but still large enough to cause a problem.

The other thing with these is the need of the driver to stop the train, open the doors put out the ramp for the wheelchair etc, then after folding the ramp back up again and locking it away, then getting back into the cab to shut the doors and then move off. It would be better if every train had a PSA on board to do this it would actually be a lot quicker! Usually the person in the wheel chair etc is in no hurry either to get off the train. I have seen it take about 3 minutes one day to go through the above scene.
  Jumbo2001 Junior Train Controller

We have tried for years to get timetables with sufficient dwell time at terminii to make up for late running. Problem is, providing timetables with appropriate running time then makes the service look slow and hides their other issues (ie the stupid 40km/h rule). That is the single biggest issue with our running times. Especially on the "Seafortykay" line. From Showgrounds through to Marino Rocks you are hampered with continuous 40km/h rule. Not only that, this would be rectified if the signals were set at "Clear" rather than "Stop" at every bloody level crossing near a station. Some instances make sense, where there are lots of traffic. But back streets in the suburbs? Give me a break. Road priority is the issue /end rant.

Anyway, as for the gopher things, I agree. The problem is that the AFULE agreed to driver only operation in 1991, and in 1991 the plague of gophers wasn't foreseeable, nor did it exist. So the delays were acceptable, because you don't tend to get LOTS of genuine wheel chairs onboard. The issue now is that (particularly on the Harbor line), gophers are in plague proportions. You get people going ONE station in them. Seriously, one bloody station. Argh. Its no wonder our train services run late.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Jumbo.

I suggested elsewhere a modification to the 40 kpm past yellow rule.

Each signal should have a circular yellow disc fixed to the mast with a speed shown on it relevant to the safe speed to pass that signal at yellow. The safe speed would be determined by the length of block in advance, sighting of the next signal and degree of danger caused by a spad, On some signals 60-70 kph would be appropriate on a few a figure of 30 kph would be appropriate.

This proposal would cost relative peanuts to apply.

I put this past a signals engineer on another forum and he thought it had merit, gave it a green in fact.

Ian
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I do wonder at times about those up top in Government Depts , slowing things down is going to turn people away, so personally I would be trying to speed up the services if it was at all possible. Interstate they have minimum dwell times at all stations or they did anyway, you either get on or off or miss out. Even Terminal stations are like this. It is a case of the quick or the dead. Sure we don't have that many travelling by train here but it would be well to do it trains only stopping at stations for a set very short time. So if you are running up the ramp at a station the train leaves, not wait for you like they do sometimes.

If wheelchairs etc are not in the designated spot you simply don't pick them up. I have been on a train when a person in a wheel chair was not in the right place on a platform. It is clearly marked in nearly all cases where to sit and wait if you are in a wheelchair on the platform so it is not that hard to work out. I will admit that sitting under a shelter in inclement weather is not so bad but they could put the actual passenger shelters closer to the ramps or marked spots on the platforms for wheel chairs etc! So we had to wait while this person slowly moves down to the right place goes up the ramp and inside. This can add up on a long run though. Say it took 2 minutes or something if you have a lot of stops about the same time say 10 stops like that on a long run that is 20 minutes added on to the trip almost!

Yes people in gophers going one stop is just laziness in most cases. My Mother has a gopher and they are designed to go a bit further by themselves than one stop on the train. I admit for a longer run it is not so bad though to take it on a train!
  Milkomeda Chief Train Controller

Also there are times on the 3000 class trains where the access ramp is at the other end of the carriage from where the train driver is and both the passenger and the driver have to go to the other end of the carriage delaying the journey noticeably.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

It really points to the unpopular idea that those needing such aid should be given a taxi voucher. It has to be more cost effective and probably provides a better service.

Like other here I have seen gopher users travel about two stations, they are normally not in a hurry, think the train belongs to them and can add about 4 mins to the trip.

Its about time we brought back step down platforms!

Ian
  Jumbo2001 Junior Train Controller

Jumbo.

I suggested elsewhere a modification to the 40 kpm past yellow rule.

Each signal should have a circular yellow disc fixed to the mast with a speed shown on it relevant to the safe speed to pass that signal at yellow. The safe speed would be determined by the length of block in advance, sighting of the next signal and degree of danger caused by a spad, On some signals 60-70 kph would be appropriate on a few a figure of 30 kph would be appropriate.

This proposal would cost relative peanuts to apply.

I put this past a signals engineer on another forum and he thought it had merit, gave it a green in fact.

Ian
steam4ian

Ian,

That idea does have merit, the only issue I would suggest is it would then have to be added to a drivers route knowledge and having every signal have it on it would make this difficult. I think simple enough, would be to drop the 40km/h rule all together for a situation where the train has to make a scheduled stop at a station, and the signal at stop is after said station (be it on the end of it, or further along). Talking to many people in the know, there has not in any recent memory been an occasion where a driver has had a SPAD at a signal located at the end of the platform when they are stopping there (Plenty departing though).

I think alot of this speaks of how the signalling system is worked, etc... As I have said many times, easiest way to not have SPADs is to eliminate the risk, ie more CLEAR signals, so that Caution and Stop are not the norm, and stand out as something to look out for. Removes complacency.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Ian,

That idea does have merit, the only issue I would suggest is it would then have to be added to a drivers route knowledge and having every signal have it on it would make this difficult. I think simple enough, would be to drop the 40km/h rule all together for a situation where the train has to make a scheduled stop at a station, and the signal at stop is after said station (be it on the end of it, or further along). Talking to many people in the know, there has not in any recent memory been an occasion where a driver has had a SPAD at a signal located at the end of the platform when they are stopping there (Plenty departing though).

I think alot of this speaks of how the signalling system is worked, etc... As I have said many times, easiest way to not have SPADs is to eliminate the risk, ie more CLEAR signals, so that Caution and Stop are not the norm, and stand out as something to look out for. Removes complacency.
Jumbo2001

Jumbo

True comment, you blokes shouldn't be having to drive "on the signals" and crawling through the yellows unless it is an exception.

Shouldn't the APT manage the signalling for the driver.


In days of yore when Red Hens were introduced to the Port Line there were a lot of SPADs resulting in collisions; blocks were quite short. The solution them was to have two reds, one protecting the block and the second protecting the red.

Ian
  Jumbo2001 Junior Train Controller

Jumbo

True comment, you blokes shouldn't be having to drive "on the signals" and crawling through the yellows unless it is an exception.

Shouldn't the APT manage the signalling for the driver.


In days of yore when Red Hens were introduced to the Port Line there were a lot of SPADs resulting in collisions; blocks were quite short. The solution them was to have two reds, one protecting the block and the second protecting the red.

Ian
steam4ian

I had always wondered about the double reds. Particularly on the approach to Port Adelaide up Platform. There is double red protection through Port Junction, I guess there must have been a few accidents down that way.

Hmmm. Not sure on the ATP front.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

I had always wondered about the double reds. Particularly on the approach to Port Adelaide up Platform. There is double red protection through Port Junction, I guess there must have been a few accidents down that way.

Hmmm. Not sure on the ATP front.
Jumbo2001

I have seen a photo of where two up movements side swiped each other at that junction, pealed the side out of a ECL and a lad was killed. The loco on the train from Commercial Road was an F, not quite so sure about the loco from Port Dock.
Date early 50s or 1947 I think.

Quite a number of other run-ins involving Red Hens and both 75 and 55 Brills.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Yes with the red hens at the time they were a lot faster than what the signalling was really set up for so as steam4ian said there were lots of accidents. There is a photo in the book "Rails through Swamp and Sand" that shows the results of a Red Hen slamming into the back of a 55 railcar at West Croydon! This was just one of the incidents though!
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
I know this thread has been inactive for ages now, but I'd like to ask a question.

There's a service from the TA days (early 2000s) which I used to observe regularly due to something regarding it (I was in my early teens back then, so dffferent perceptions of things etc). It was the 5:45PM Gawler Central which ran express to Elizabeth, then stopped at Womma, Smithfield, Gawler (+Oval and Central).

Anyhow, I was just thinking about it out of boredom, in regards to why it was almost always a two car 3000 class set. What I can't remember is exactly when the set would split and become 2 single car consists.

From memory, it did the following runs

3:50PM GC (4 cars, 2 3000s at front, 2 3100s at back), returned to Adelaide, got split into two two car consists to do the 5:45PM, and 5:53PM Gawler Central runs.

The 5:45PM run would then return to the city from Gawler at 6:32PM, and do the 7:50PM Gawler Central again, then return, do the 10:02PM Noarlunga Centre run, return to the city on the 42 minute timetable that one could only just do on time in a poxbox, and then do the 11:50PM to Gawler Central and stable.

The next morning, it would do the 5:19 AM all stopper to Adelaide. I think it may have done the 6:42 AM all stopper to Gawler, but from there, I can't remember what it does.

Is there anyone at all here who may have been observing movements/whatever in this era, and would be able to tell me what it did next, or when the consist would have split? I just can't pinpoint it.

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