VLocity trains the ‘glimmer of hope’ for rail North East rail line

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 11 Oct 2017 13:19
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Waiting another 8 years for new rollingstock?

VLocity trains the ‘glimmer of hope’ for rail North East rail line

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  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Velocitys are already a fairly old design and they are based on even older models. But in the interests of having a standardised mid range fleet, it's fair enough to keep building them until we have enough for their current purpose, plus a few spares.

But the idea that we will still be building a version of them in 9 years time when the basic design will be over 40 years old doesn't strike me as the wisest decision as things like design, materials, motors, sound abatement and a dozen other areas evolve quite a lot in four decades. The proposed long distance Velocitys may well be profoundly obsolete before they even start to be built.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Vlocity - The lowest common denominator...................
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Vlocity - The lowest common denominator...................
YM-Mundrabilla

The old proverb comes to mind.

'When you're on a good thing...stick to it'

V'Locity's have proven over the past 12 years to be an excellent workhorse for commuters and engineering wise they should make excellent long distance trains when fitted out as such.

Why change something that's working so well to something else, entirely different that may not Question

Mike.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Vlocity - The lowest common denominator...................

The old proverb comes to mind.

'When you're on a good thing...stick to it'

V'Locity's have proven over the past 12 years to be an excellent workhorse for commuters and engineering wise they should make excellent long distance trains when fitted out as such.

Why change something that's working so well to something else, entirely different that may not Question

Mike.
The Vinelander
Why change? ... Well the world has changed in the 40+ years since the overseas design that became the NSW Endeavour and then the Velocity was first built . Materials change, design changes, technology changes.

If you look at a 40 year old family car, they are so unsafe that they could not be legally registered if they were introduced today, they have no ABS, no stability control, no airbags, dodgy brakes, etc. Their engines were horrifically inefficient and wasteful, today you get the same power from an engine half the size and the materials the old cars were built from could best be described as "primitive", no composites etc., just old fashioned cast iron and steel. Then there's the comfort, or rather the lack of comfort in a 40 year old car compared to a modern one. Need I go on?

In the same way, almost everything we have has changed since 40 years ago. (Compare todays huge, hi resolution flat screen TVs that cost a days wages to the old small screened low resolution CRT TVs that cost over a weeks wages.)

Most things from 40 years ago "worked well", so if we took that approach there would have been very little innovation since. But innovation and invention has made almost every product, better, more reliable and cheaper than it was 30+ years ago when the first variant of todays Velocitys was first built. That is why we should NOT be building them in 10 years time when they will be even more antique than they are now. Technology has made modern things better, more reliable and cheaper, and yes, that includes the design of Diesel Multiple Unit trains!

* Rant ends.*
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned
Vlocity - The lowest common denominator...................

The old proverb comes to mind.

'When you're on a good thing...stick to it'

V'Locity's have proven over the past 12 years to be an excellent workhorse for commuters and engineering wise they should make excellent long distance trains when fitted out as such.

Why change something that's working so well to something else, entirely different that may not Question

Mike.
And that is why Victoria is way behind NSW when it comes to rail transport, never mind the rest of the world. Whatever way you look at it Mike, the V/locity is a pretty low bar. A basic DMU that belches diesel fumes into the air and is loud. Seriously NSW has it right and we in Victoria has it wrong when it comes to Interurban rail travel. Interurbans should be electric services, in the same way that they are in forward thinking rail jurisdictions like NSW and Queensland. I find it absurd that suburbs like Tarneit and Deer Park that are less than 30Kms from the CBD are served solely by V/Line diesels.

So yes I think that Bogong is right. Basically like the Xtrap, they are going to build new trains on a platform that will be over 20 years old by the time they are built. Mind you if the Liberals get in they may just refurbish old carriages and locos of which Victoria has plenty.

Michael
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The beauty of the vlocity, xplorer and endeavour class is bogong that they are modular and the design can be updated with the latest propulsion systems and other sound proofing and technological updates regardless of if the original design is 40 years old.

The hunter rail car is just a suburban version of the Transwa WD class made for use in the hunter valley. So the basic vlocity design will not be outdated. It will just be modified to meet modern standards.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Err....yes Craig, your argument is at best...poor and your comparison between motor vehicles and railcars is quite tenuous.

Rail cars have no need for airbags, self parking systems, ABS, reversing cameras, lane diversion warning, 4 channel stereos with the latest connectivity to enhance the entertainment experience. But what modern trains and in particular V'Locity's in Victoria have is reliable, comfortable, not as noisy as some posters say they are and like motor cars they feature modern brakes and unique for V/Line trains, air-bag suspension. It's also old fashioned iron and steel that stands up to maltreatment by some when modern aluminium engines warp when they overheat, as I see them do in Summer.

In a few weeks, I'll travel to Ballarat on the 80th Anniversary of the Spirit of Progress. That train featured such comforts as filtered air-conditioning, heating, double glazed windows, chromium leather upholstery and layers and layers of sound deadening materials. It could arguably be said to be one of the most quiet and comfortable trains in Australia. So not everything that's old is obsolete.

The argument that diesel services operate to Tarneit and Wyndham Vale is also poor as the Regional Rail Link was castrated early in its design and those stations should have been and invariably will be connected to the METRO system via Werribee when the investment in quadruplication is made at that time.

Mike.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I think you mean Bogong vinelander.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

For your attention bogong the endeavours and xplorers used the kta19 engine that only produced 514 hp (383 kW) of power and the vlocity uses a QSK19 engine that produces 559 kW (750 hp).

The endeavours/xplorers use a Voith t311R transmission and the vlocity a T312R transmission. The hunter railcar uses an updated T312BRE transmission and there is nothing stopping the updated transmission going into an updated vlocity design unless someone wants to go to an electric instead of hydraulic drive system.

There is nothing antiquated about the vlocity that warrants you calling it a dinosaur.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Let me try another perspective to explain the point I was making. Starting with a 1977 Holden with a live axle and cast iron ladder chassis, you can drop a new engine in it, adapt the brakes to take ABS, put better seats in it and dozens of other updates, but the time comes when it's just not possible (or sensible) to keep updating and upgrading the ancient design and it is better to start again and design an entirely new and modern car using modern principles.

Another analogy is that you can hook up a set top box to an old cathode ray tube TV to view digital TV stations, you can probably adapt it to make it a "smart TV" with internet access to watch pay TV and YouTube. But basically you are trying to update a piece of ancient and obsolete technology, and it would be better to design and produce an entirely new television.

Now the base design of the Velocity is about 30 years old, so if they are still building it in 9 or 10 years as proposed, that makes it about 40, the same age as the Holden I mentioned earlier, is now. Like the old Holden, it is possible to put a new engine in it and update other parts of it. However you can't deny the basic design will be 40 years old and perhaps it would be better to come up with an entirely new design utilising modern design and engineering principles along with all the wonderful advances over 40 years, rather than trying to do lots of bodge updates of an antique design.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Bogong the analogy you need is the 747.  It was introduced ~50 years ago.  Its been through multiple variants, (i.e. -100, -200, -300, -400) and now even with the incorporation of the latest technology in the -8, it is struggling to sell and won't be produced much past the end of this decade.

Granted, the capacity that it had that is no longer needed is a factor in this decline, but the incredible sales of the 787 and A350 families which incorporate brand new design (e.g. carbon fibre frames) are just what the market wants now.

As this applies to trains, sure, the VLo could still go for a few more years in its same basic design (and should be converted to SG right now IMO), but it will need replacing somewhere down the track.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Even the 747 isn't an equivalent analogy because the 747-8 is struggling for the same reason the A380 is. They are 4 engine jets in a 2 engine jet world. There is no reason technically why either the a380 or 747-8 couldn't have composite materials. Only financial reasons will prevent this.

The endeavour / xplorer is not a 1977 model but a 1993 model and the vlocity is like a mid range make over for a car. A mid life make over for a car is about 2 years. For a train it is every 20 years. The other difference is that being a modular design allows new technologies to be added to the basic design without any issues. If a new order is being built in 2017 then all of the latest technologies can be added to it.

Those old loco hauled carriages and the XPT are definitely showing their age but I see nothing in the basic vlocity design that is showing age in any way what so ever. So in summarising my point is that in no way is the vlocity a cathode ray tube TV in a 4K OLED TV era.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Oh and the base design of the vlocity is 12 years and not 30. Do you really think there wasn't any improvements in the base design and construction of the vlocity over the endeavour and xplorers.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Some interesting analogies with cars and 747s etc.

We recognise, on the one hand, that a motor vehicle design lasts only a year or two before basic replacement/new technology takes over. On the other hand the 747, which has now been around for the best part of 50 years, is not the same aircraft as the original. The 747-100, 200, 300, 400 and 748 are each a dramatic improvement over their predecessor so as to be a virtually different aircraft. Capacity, take off weight, range, engines, cockpit design and a million other things have been improved. There is little to compare a 747-100 with a 748 of today.

I am not aware of developments in Vlocity design and would be interested to know in what technical ways a new Vlocity delivered today is different from the class leader of 2001.

It seems that by simply replicating what we have forever means one or both of two things:

  1. That the original design and specification was perfect.
  2. That there will never be an improved version and that we will never have the benefit of improved technology.

We are no longer buying/building A2s, B classes or Tait sparks.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The Adelaide metro a-city 4000 is a variant of the vlocity. That is a 25kv electric train which shows the adaptability of the design. What sort of design are you expecting to improve for our needs in Australia?

UGL has the hunter rail car and transwa prospector design. The brits have the br800 class which is diesel electric but there is nothing mechanical or electric that can't be put into a modern vlocity design.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
... there is nothing mechanical or electric that can't be put into a modern vlocity design.
simstrain
Yep it's the same with my 40 year old "modern" Kingswood, I got all trendy and changed the engine over to that new fangled LPG and it now gets 10 miles to a gallon!

And I won't hear a word against its ladder frame chassis, live rear axle, iron block engine, lack of crumple zones or air bags or ABS or stability control or any of those things that have appeared in the last 40 years. Give me solid, heavy iron and steel construction over those trendy composites any day!

I'm suspicious of all those new fangled design thingys and I can bolt anything that is absolutely necessary onto the old girl anyway. The Kingswood is reliable and works well, so why change the design?

----------------

P.S. This post is made with my tongue in my cheek. I appreciate that trains have a longer design life than cars, but I do see some of the attitude I pretended to have in earlier posts. The first version of what is now the Velocity was designed 30 years ago and if it's still being produced in 10 years time, that would make it 40 years old. As far as I understand, almost everything in train design has changed since then, even basic things like carriage underframes are now built to an entirely different design which is both stronger and lighter.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
V/locity in 10 years time verus today could from the outside look exactly the same and even on the surface inside.

However,
- It could have a different engine
- Different transmission
- Different control system
- Different seating
- Different toilet system
- Different Aux supply system
- Different bogie design

All very easy but still from a lay mans point of view loo k the same but enables V/Line to capitalise on technology improvements
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The first version of the vlocity was in 2005. There are enough differences between the xplorer and vlocity to make your analogy of the vlocity being 30 years old defunct. The vlocity would have had that modern undercarriage you talk about for starters. It has a more modern engine and gearbox. More modern electronics and driving instruments.

The Xplorer was the first digital train and so your continued analogy to a 1970's car with a ladder frame is null and void. In victoria you wouldn't be allowed to have that light rail body that the europeans have because of all the level crossings south of the border. In NSW's our trains will always be made from high strength steel and not aluminium or carbon fibre because of our rugged conditions. There is not a suspension system in Europe that could handle our track quality regardless of gauge. What updated undercarriage or suspension system would be able to be used in this country.

The A-city 4000 shows that the vlocity design has nothing holding it back from having a modern undercarriage or an electrical propulsion system. Let's say that you could choose a new long distance rolling stock what design that is new and currently available would you choose instead of the vlocity?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
'....enables V/Line to capitalise on technology improvements...'

That is the question we are asking ourselves. But will they?

It matters little about appearance changes in 10 years (although the windows may have been cleaned in that time) it is technical, efficiency, safety and comfort that we are trying to explore.

There are benefits in standardisation from a parts and maintenance perspective but there comes a time like in 1937 when the SoP replaced the wooden cars on the Sydney Express.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Thanks for the elegant and informed rebuttal Simstrain. While you haven't changed my mind yet, what you wrote has given me cause to ponder things a bit. Confused
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

That is good to hear bogong. I had a look around and obviously the Transwa prospector comes to mind but that is essentially UGL's version of the xplorer / vlocity with a prettier exterior and interior + 2 KTA19 engines per carriage instead of 1. The hunter rail car is of the same design but has a vastly different interior configuration and 1 more powerful QSK19 engine.

The BR800 class is the next thing that came to mind for a new design and obviously this has a more striking aerodynamic shape. However the a-city 4000 proves there is nothing the BR800 could do that a more modern vlocity design couldn't do except look a little more sleeker and modern.

I had a look at the Bombardier website and the only other viable dmu aside from the vlocity was maybe the talent DMU. I don't think however that really would work in Australia.

Maybe you have some other ideas Bogong?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The perfect analogy is to the USB port and it's plug and play capabilities. The endeavour / xplorer was usb 1.0, The vlocity is usb 2.0 and the A-city 4000 is USB 3.0. Evolution while maintaining the same basic design.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
... Maybe you have some other ideas Bogong?
simstrain
Umm, not really. I know a little about trends in construction, industrial design and technological advancement, but not much about specific models of DMU available in international markets.

But I still suspect that a more up to date type of DMU is out there somewhere, which would be sturdier, lighter, quieter, more fuel efficient, safer and more comfortable. But I'm not a rail industry expert, so I have to concede that is nothing more than an informed hunch based on knowing something about innovation in recent decades.

Of course if such a model of DMU exists, then it would need to be partly made or assembled in Victoria for political reasons. So that would add yet another layer of complexity to any negotiation to buy it.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

... Maybe you have some other ideas Bogong?
Umm, not really. I know a little about trends in construction, industrial design and technological advancement, but not much about specific models of DMU available in international markets.

But I still suspect that a more up to date type of DMU is out there somewhere, which would be sturdier, lighter, quieter, more fuel efficient, safer and more comfortable. But I'm not a rail industry expert, so I have to concede that is nothing more than an informed hunch based on knowing something about innovation in recent decades.

Of course if such a model of DMU exists, then it would need to be partly made or assembled in Victoria for political reasons. So that would add yet another layer of complexity to any negotiation to buy it.
Bogong
Most of the DMU's not built for the US and our market do not meet our end compression standards.

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