This week in transport (21 September 2014)

Posted: September 22, 2014 in Transport
Tags: , , , ,

Monday: 40km speed limits for the city

A large part of Sydney’s CBD will become a 40km per hour speed zone for cars by the end of September. The Roads Minister Duncan Gay said that “the new 40km per hour limit zone will operate in the area bound by Castlereagh Street to the east, Kent Street to the west and Hay Street to the south” and was due to be introduced by the Christmas shopping period at the end of the year. Large parts of the central Sydney area already have 40km per hour speed limits, including Millers Point, Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Redfern, Chippendale, Rosebery, Leichhardt, and Erskineville.

Tuesday: NWRL trains announced but will include 6-7 month shut down for Epping to Chatswood Line

Trains on the North West Rail Link (NWRL) will run every 4 minutes in peak and 10 minutes during off peak initially using a fleet of driverless 6 carriage trains. With platforms designed for 8 carriage trains, these can eventually be upgraded to longer trains. The line will initially have a capacity of about 17,280 passengers per hour, which could be doubled (34,560) if the maximum capacity of 30 trains per hour is reached. This maximum capacity of almost 35,000 passengers per hour is higher than the current 24,000 passengers per hour capacity for double deck trains, but will see fewer seated passengers per hour.

Artists impression of the trains to run on the NWRL at Kellyville Station. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

Artists impression of the trains to run on the NWRL at Kellyville Station. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW.)

The line will require a 6-7 month shutdown of the Epping to Chatswood Line in order for it to be converted to operate on the new Sydney Rapid Transit system. This will occur in early 2019 and possibly also late 2018.

Friday: Rail workers lost right to not be retrenched

Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink employees have agreed to an enterprise agreement in which they have given up conditions which protected them from job redundancies in exchange for a higher pay in the agreement. Previously rail employees could not be retrenched if their positions were made redundant, a working condition that had become increasingly rare. The agreement was agreed to by two thirds of employees and according to Transport for NSW the state will save $20m per year.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that 200 rail employees are currently employed despite having their positions being made redundant. The organisation responsible for managing these employees, INS, spends a reported $8m in administrative costs each year. Employees will be able to be retrenched after 12 months if no job is found for them during that time.

  1. Alex says:

    Re fully automatic operation and platform doors on the NWRL: obviously there are a number of systems with these features, but how many have long stretches operating above ground as proposed for the NWRL?

    I was thinking that there is greater potential for obstructions on the track – birds, even animals, people jumping on tracks, trees, etc, (though admittedly not too many of the latter given that most of the surface running will be on viaduct).

  2. QPP says:

    Quite a few

    From full-on high speed rail (all of which is effectively automatic because line of sight signalling can’t be used with 300kph+ speeds) to systems that really are “Mickey Mouse” like London’s DLR

    Is the concern about stopping to avoid collision, or having someone on the train to manage the results of collision/stoppage?

  3. Simon says:

    HSR doesn’t need to be automated, but you need in cab signalling. Not the same thing.

  4. Alex says:

    @QPP – Good point re DLR. I forgot it was fully automated, though it runs so slowly the system (or somebody monitoring it) would have plenty of time to respond. And yes – I was curious about both collision avoidance and failing that, management.

    @Simon – I think the point in the case of QPP’s HSR example isn’t so much whether it is automated or not, but rather that like a fully automated metro system it would need a collision avoidance/management system of some sort. I imagine however that these would be quite different.

  5. Peter says:

    Much of the Singapore system is above ground (once you get out into suburbia), and runs on the same principle of driverless trains.

  6. MrV says:

    Most of Vancouvers Skytrain is above ground. Seems to work fine.

  7. > Most of Vancouvers Skytrain is above ground. Seems to work fine.
    Which has the distinct advantage that virtually no-one uses it :-).

  8. Ray says:

    Also I think only 2 – 3 car trains.

  9. Simon says:

    What TTR? Skytrain is a star performer patronage wise.

  10. MrV says:

    @ttr Odd comment?
    Skytrain has patronage approaching 400,000 ppd as far as I am aware on a 68km system.
    What is Sydney, 1million ppd on an 800km system?

    Not hard to work out which system is cheaper to operate.

  11. Connor Brady says:

    The idea is very dangerous what happens if there is a egmargcy on the train

  12. QPP says:

    >>The idea is very dangerous what happens if there is a egmargcy on the train<<

    Help points on trains, hit the button and you're connected straight away to the control centre with video and audio link up. Control centre staff can direct response teams to wherever they are required.

    Some trains may have a customer service agent on there. I don't think exact plans yet, they won't want to set a precedent that every train must be attended

    As others have said, quite a few driverless (UTO is the latest BS acronym) systems operate globally

  13. ben says:

    Just wanted to point out that the ultimate capcity of the system at 30 trains per hour will be about 45000 people per hour not the 35000 stated in your post. The 35000 you state is based on 30 x 6 car trains per hour, however the line has the capability to operate 8 car trains with platform lengths of 168m.

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