News & Discussion: Adelaide Metro Trains

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Al
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News & Discussion: Adelaide Metro Trains

#1 Post by Al » Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:38 am

This is from the Advertiser.
Rail costing demand

11jan06

THE Opposition has urged the State Government to release all costing documents on its plan to electrify Adelaide's rail system.

Transport spokesman Iain Evans said the Government needed "to level with the community and release those costings today".

TransAdelaide is undertaking a feasibility study into electrifying and upgrading the suburban rail network.
I didn't even know they were looking into such an upgrade. To someone who knows very little about trains, what benefits does "electrifying" the network provide? Will this increase the load on our already limited electricity infrastructure? It sounds like a good idea because the Adelaide rail network could do with some upgrading.

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#2 Post by Howie » Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:04 am

I was under the assumption that most australian suburban rail networks were electrified? And we've still got our diesel chuggers.

As for benefits... less pollution/quieter?

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#3 Post by AG » Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:22 am

Not if the electricity is coming from coal which would be extremely likely. The amount of pollution isn't reduced, but just shifted elsewhere.

The study into potential electrification began several months ago and will probably be complete soon.

Electrification mainly affects services and timetables. Typically, electric trains have far better acceleration and deceleration rates (typically 1 to 1.2m/s2 on newer EMUs) than their diesel counterparts. Because the distance between stations is typically about 1km in the inner suburbs and up to 5km between stations near the outer terminii, all stopper services would be a lot quicker and express services quicker to a lesser extent. Usually with electrification other projects also need to be undertaken such as grade separating crossings and upgrading stations, and in some cases duplicating or quadruplicating lines where traffic warrants it.

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#4 Post by Howie » Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:59 am

True it's shifted, but so is the nature of how we generate electricity.

In less than 15 years we'd have hit peak oil production, diesel as we know it will probably be phased out or rationed. We'll eventually have to make the shift to an electrified system anyhow.

Also I do imagine in that time we'll have quite a significant amount of our electricity generated by cleaner technologies. Solar engines/Solar farms/LED lighting/Wind farming/Hydro electricity. And who knows what will happen with the Nuclear debate. I'm all for nuclear power, so long as we're responsible in how we store it.

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#5 Post by Al » Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:48 am

Good point Howie. I guess if prices of oil continue their trend then eventually this will force the hand of TransAdelaide and perhaps they will need to electrify the system (perhaps at a greater cost in the future). It's important to look at alternative ways to generate the required electricity but at least SA has a good lead in the generation of renewable sources of energy. I love the wind farms and I believe they can serve as a tourist attraction too. Nuclear? Well, if there is no choice then I suppose it's an option but with the amount of wind, wave and sun that we get in this country, I think there's still other options.

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#6 Post by Howie » Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:02 am

There was an interesting documentary i remember watching about, how we got into the dilemma that we're in right now.

Post WWII there was a keen interest from politicians and scientists around the world to have all their energy produced by Nuclear power. There were mass demonstrations, rallies, conservatives who rejected the idea as proposturous - and everyone reverted back to burning fossil fuels. Which then contributed to the greatest tradegy in recent times, increased heat through global warming and increased pollution resulting in global dimming.

We've now got about 100 years before this planet becomes very uncomfortable to live in, and with about 70 plus percent of our species dead.

Last year was the highest recorded average temperature not only in Australia but globally. There was a news report also that mentioned that the increase in temperatures were equivalent of taking our cities and shifting them 100km north. If we take that analogy then how long before we're at where alice springs is?

I'm glad the summit on global warming is coming up, hope it proves fruitful.

Anyhow.. i reckon we should have a thread dedicated to climate change and environmental issues :)

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#7 Post by AG » Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:00 pm

Any government willing to say that they'd like to see nuclear used as energy for electricity or a dam is almost bound to commit political suicide because of the enormous uproar among the public it would cause, particularly regarding environmental issues. Just by mentioning nuclear waste creates a lot of uproar.

The alternatives that are more environmentally friendly also happen to be far more expensive and far less reliable. Wind farms always need backup, which is usually provided by coal anyway. Solar energy requires quite an expanse of land to get a decent amount of energy.

Anyway, back on topic. One issue that sort of affects the decision of whether to electrify or not would be the pesky gauge issue. While standard gauge EMU sets can be manufactured in Australia (for Sydney) and also narrow gauge EMU sets (for Brisbane and Perth), there isn't a single manufacturer in Australia that designs or manufactures broad gauge EMUs. There used to be (Commonwealth Engineering), but they no longer exist. The two types of EMUs that were introduced to Melbourne recently (X'Trapolis and Siemens) were both imported as "off the shelf" from Europe, although the last X'Trapolis sets were constructed at Ballarat.

Adelaide can't even manufacture it's own suburban trains any more because Islington Works closed down about a decade ago. This begs the question as to whether we should spend and convert the broad gauge to standard gauge so that Broadmeadow is New South Wales can manufacture for Adelaide, or whether we should just ship them in for a higher price from overseas. Maybe we could look to Bombardier at Ballarat.

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#8 Post by Algernon » Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:17 pm

The libs are on a witch hunt :lol:

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#9 Post by Al » Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:36 pm

I didn't realise there were four different EMU standards in Australia. How do the interstate trains get around then? I guess the type of tracks we 'upgrade' to will dictate the type of trains we get in. If this is case, it's basically a wholesale redesign of the network bar the existing stations. Sounds really expensive.

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#10 Post by Algernon » Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:40 pm

Al wrote:I didn't realise there were four different EMU standards in Australia. How do the interstate trains get around then? I guess the type of tracks we 'upgrade' to will dictate the type of trains we get in. If this is case, it's basically a wholesale redesign of the network bar the existing stations. Sounds really expensive.
Aren't the majority of our lines gauge convertible?

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#11 Post by AG » Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:55 pm

AFAIK, the entire Grange and Outer Harbor line has gauge convertible sleepers already laid. Parts of the Gawler line now do as well which makes conversion to standard gauge later on a fair bit easier if it does go ahead.

The entire country runs interstate trains by standard gauge. In Adelaide, the standard gauge line runs parallel with the Belair broad gauge line and with the Gawler line until Salisbury. There's also a short stretch between Port Adelaide and Glanville where standard gauge trains run as well.

The states and territories run the following gauges:
NSW - Standard
VIC - Standard, Broad
ACT - Standard
TAS - Narrow
NT - Standard
WA - Standard, Narrow
QLD - Standard, Narrow
SA - Standard, Broad, Narrow

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#12 Post by Al » Wed Jan 11, 2006 5:27 pm

Well at least we have all the different gauges covered. :D

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#13 Post by AG » Wed Jan 11, 2006 8:21 pm

It's really not a good thing at all, if not, quite bad. It makes operation of the entire network more difficult and really doesn't make good use of the corridors where two different gauges operate only as a single track.

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#14 Post by Al » Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:50 pm

I spoke with someone who's a real train buff and he tells me that the reason Adelaide has the broad gauge is because of the colonial days and we based it on the Irish system which was also broad gauge. He also said that there are sections of the network which can be converted relatively easily by moving the rails over on the concrete sleepers. Other sections may be more difficult. (Lack of concrete sleepers?) Apparently he reckons that the city trams could be setup to run on the Port Adelaide rail line too. Maybe that was what the government had in mind.

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#15 Post by tayser » Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:50 pm

Bombardiér build BG stuff, as they're in Dandenong, but it doesn't matter what company and in what state they're in, it's not hard to temporarily alter bogies to allow them to be pulled by a loco from Brisbane/Perth/Sydney/Melbourne to Adelaide over the SG network.

Electrifying would do what Adelaide's rail network is in desperate need of: an image boost.

Perth did the same thig 10-15 years ago and it's high time Adelaide did the same. They now have some of the highest rail frequencies in the country, and they're still to this day extending the network. An electrification project which kick-start the momentum to start building new lines.

I'd take it a little bit further and move the whole of SA to SG while they're at it, electrifying involves a lot of work, might as well go that one step further and stadardise - the Belair line could go back to dual track then, allowing higher frequencies for TransAdelaide and faster freight options for interstate traffic (although you could argue Adelaide needs a whole new high-quality higher-speed link built through the Hills).

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