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Behind the scenes on the electric trains

Looking at the AT website the other day I noticed that some previously confidential board papers had now been published. One of those was an update on our new trains, diving in to some of the technical issues they’ve faced.

PT RESOLUTION EMU_6484

They say there’s been a lot of positives from the project including that deliverables were met within the original time, cost plans and budget. They also point out some fairly impressive figures

The fleet has accumulated over 5 million service kilometres, conveyed more than 24 million passengers and operated in excess of 150,000 services.

As has been reported elsewhere, since the EMU introduction there has been an ongoing increase in ridership and annualised patronage is fast approaching 17 million. Growth is therefore ahead of all original estimates.

The reduction in carbon due to EMU operation has been significant with CO2 emissions reduced by 82%, or 25 kilotonnes CO2e, annually (even with an increase in services).

While the reliability of the new trains has been fairly high, as we know, the roll out of the EMUs hasn’t been completely plain sailing – something to be expected with brand new kit. The report highlights the key areas where there have been reliability issues.

  • ETCS – they say this is mainly caused by balise misreads (transmitters on the tracks that send the signal information to the train as it passes over them). Some of the worst balise hardware has been improved and some issues have been resolved by having the 6-car trains set up a specific way with the pantographs at opposite ends of the train. Most concerning though is the statement below:

ETCS presents an ongoing performance and obsolescence risk as Auckland has the largest install base of this system manufactured by Dimontronics, a Spanish company who were acquired by Siemens in 2014. Unfortunately it has proven to be extremely difficult to agree a long term support agreement with Siemens on realistic terms, who continue to work to extract themselves from their contractual obligations.

Consequently AT will need to maintain in-house ETCS system knowledge to ensure system operation, maintenance and support are managed correctly.

  • Doors – This is door equipment failure rather than the lengthy amount of time they take. AT say the number of door faults have reduced significantly “due to a combination of technical improvements and operator competency”
  • Energy meters – This relates to a couple of issues with the of the overhead electrical equipment and water, one was fixed fairly easily but the other required the French equipment maker only recently managed to replicate in their fog chamber. An interim solution has been implemented and a permanent one is being worked on.
  • Cab related equipment – AT say that overall the cabs have been well received by the drivers but there have been a few issues with the windscreen wipers and the air-con, which they say didn’t perform to specifications. Modifications have been made for both of these issues.
  • Voltage Stability – you may recall some issues after the eastern line went live, there turned out to be voltage issues on the network which they’ve improved but will still be an ongoing issue. They say that if one of the substations was to go out they can only run 48 EMUs or more specifically 96 traction converters (two per EMU). They say current mitigation in that situation would be to limit 6-car sets to 3 traction converters which would only result in slightly longer travel times if it occurred during the peak. A more permanent solution is being tested that will raise the number of EMUs at any one time to 65 which will definitely be needed should something happen post-CRL.
  • Power Harmonics – there had been some issues with harmonics and the Transpower network but these incidents are now less than 50% of original levels and within standards criteria.

 

Next the report gives a hint at some of the changes to come under the title of “Budgeted project extensions“.

Passenger Information – AT are currently trialling digital screens to provide passenger information to replace the need for posters. I managed to catch the train that has them once, unfortunately it was dark so the image quality wasn’t great.

EMU screen trial

  • DOO – AT are obviously thinking about driver only operation and looking at what will be required. They say at a minimum it means an additional display for the driver (to see doors I assume) and planning for this is underway.
  • Communications – AT want to upgrade the communications on the trains to enable things like having the CCTV cameras transmitted to the control room in real time. In addition, they want to have Wi-Fi enabled on the trains. This requires upgrading the systems with 4G gear as they only came with 3G and why it hasn’t happened already.

Lastly there are also a small list of improvements they want to make to the depot now that they’ve had time to get used to it, although it doesn’t sound like these are budgeted for yet. Changes are:

  • Post incident cleaning – AT say the current process is labour intensive and time consuming. At a minimum they say they need improved methods for moving the vehicles through the wash pit.
  • Roof cleaning – There is no current way to clean the roofs of the trains so they want overhead walkways built in the graffiti wash building to do that.
  • Inventory Storage – they want a small add on to the depot to help store all of the spare parts to free up space within the depot.
  • Vandalism – Damages to seats, windows, external body panels and graffiti is costing AT in excess of $500k per year. They say new paint and repair techniques are being trialled to reduce the cost.

At the time of writing the report, AT said 47 trains had achieved final acceptance under the supply contract terms with the remaining 10 due to be completed by October. The completion is based on reacting a set level of uninterrupted service kilometres.

 

107 comments to Behind the scenes on the electric trains

  • Good to hear that it’s mostly bedded in. Congrats to the workers, from front line to management.

    I hope AT have the unions involved when looking into Driver Only Operation. If for no other reason to minimize any disagreements and strikes.

    And it’s unfortunate to hear about the Eurobalise supplier issue. I imagine AT have looked at replacing them with other hardware as they’re supposed to be working to a common standard so technically you should be able to mix and match providers on the same line.

  • luke

    Ditch the etcs. Seems to cause more problems than its worth.

    • BBC

      ETCS is a system used across Europe, and runs an extremely high frequency and dense network of different types of trains. The passage above is unclear as it is presumably referring to the components and implementation of the system that AT purchased that is obsolete, not the system, and Auckland certainly doesn’t have the biggest implementation of ETCS.

    • Alphatron

      The current level of services almost certainly would not be able to be operated without ETCS or an equivalent Automatic Train Protection system to minimise the risk of SPADs occurring. ETCS is however a multi-vendor system so in a worst case scenarios the former Dimtronic (Invesnsys) supplied onboard equipment could be replaced by another suppliers ETCS Level 1 equipment. More likely a deal will be reached with Siemens for it to be eventually replaced with their own design kit.

  • BBC

    I don’t see anything here in regards to improving doors. Having to stand there arm outstretched for the light to go green adds time to the whole procedure. Swiss trains/trams/buses, as examples, allow you to pre-order the door by pressing it before your stop – and it lights up. When the driver releases the doors it opens immediately. Very simple, logical, and easier system to use. So I’m surprised this hasn’t been implemented. Or is it because AT only looks at what countries in the English speaking world do and so isn’t interested in better ways of doing things that happen in countries with far more advanced transit systems and expertise than exist in these countries have.

    What I wouldn’t give to see AT recruiting staff from Switzerland, Germany or the Netherlands rather than just the UK.

    • Seen many people get stuck on or off of train due to lack of pre-order on doors. Also yeah as you mention, sucks having to hold your arm out and wait for the light.

    • Dave B (Wellington)

      BBC +1
      Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands and a good many other rail-focussed countries could teach us an awful lot!

    • Rob Mayo

      There is built-in train halt verification sequence in each of the AKL EMU’s control system that takes exactly 4 seconds from wheel stop til the door release button lights up on the driver’s dashboard. That 4 seconds cannot be reduced – its hard coded into the system and 4 seconds for such a door verification process is not slow at all by international standards – the door verification sequence on EMUs in Japan for instance is 3-4 seconds. Door pre-ordering will thus not save any time at all. Driver’s forcing all doors open during peak hours on wheel stop does save time however. Peak hours are where you want dwell time kept to the bare minimum and for the door operation process to proceed as quickly as possible. A driver can immediately on full wheel stop, during that 4-second train halt verification sequence, hold their fingers down on the cab dashboard’s three door management buttons – the Red Door Release button, the White T Car Ramp Enable button and the Green All Doors Open button – that enables all the doors on an EMU to all start opening automatically from the 5 second mark. After all doors are closed, it takes exactly 7 seconds for the EMU’s system to verify that all doors are closed, re-supply power to the motors and allow the driver to engage the accelerator handle. We must all remember that the AKL EMUs have plug doors, not recessed doors like on the old diesel units. 94% of commuter EMUs in Asia have recessed doors by the way. Plug doors always take longer to open and shut than recessed doors. Plug doors take 4-6 seconds from start of door opening to full door open and 6-8 seconds from door shut sequence start to complete door close. Recessed doors take 3 seconds from to door open start to full door open and 4 seconds from door shut start to full door close. In Auckland, its how the TMs and Drivers collectively manage the entire plug door operation sequence at each station (including the extension/retraction of the T Car ramps), that affects the total per station dwell time during peak and off-peak periods. Its not a given at all thus, that DOO will make AKL EMU doors open/close faster and reduce dwell time at stations.

      • Charles

        Actually, pre-ordering would save time – the 2 seconds it takes most pax to push the button after it lights.

        There are a few TMs who game the door close sequence by about 3 seconds. I have seen how they do it but won’t tell, as I’m sure it would be forbidden.

      • Nick R

        So what is the solution Rob? Because our dwell times are glacial compared to anywhere else I’ve ever rode a train, they need to sort it out one way or another.

        • tuktuk

          Melbourne’s trains have always had cavity sliders, Sydney’s double deckers – plug doors for many years now. Old Queensland EMUs – cavity sliders, new ones – plug doors. Adelaide – plug doors. Wonder which way Melbourne’s new high capacity train will go? There must be good information in oz on whose doors shut the quickest! Reckon that would be a good starting point to discussions on merits of current Auckland design. Are the doors fundamentally slow, or are they set up wrong?

          • Nick R

            Not so, the Siemens trains in Melbourne have plug doors, and only two per carriage. A mistake on both counts in my opinion, for Melbourne and Auckland both. At the time in Melbourne the operator said they were focussing on maximising seating capacity so went with two doors instead of three. Clearly a mistake, as they have now removed a lot of the seating around the vestibule area for more standing and circulation space. I wonder why only two doors were specified in Auckland, probably the same reason.

            The Alstoms, Comengs and even the Hitachis however did have cavity doors, and three per carriage.

            Given all recent train purchases in Melbourne have been the ALstrom Xtraps with three sliding doors per carriage, I think they agree with me that plug doors and two per side was a mistake.

        • Rob Mayo

          Time and motion studies conducted with Transdev staff in 2015 found that during peak periods, dwell time can be kept below 40 seconds (wheel stop to wheel start) by: 1. Having drivers force all doors open at stations and instructing TMs from the time of Local Door open, that all Door Management tasks must be completed within a 30-second timeframe. 2. Limiting the number of paces (no more than two) that a TM needs to take from the train in order to efficiently monitor passenger flow. 3. Use by the TM of two sets of specifically timed and tuned whistle blows to trigger speed-up in passenger boarding, 4. Removal of the need for TMs to wait on the platform to sight the switch-off of the white door light on the train exterior – instead sight that the main doors are 97% closed then confirm full main door close by quickly re- entering the train, sighting the change of the yellow Door Close light status on the interior Door Control Panel, switch the Door Key to the OFF position to close the Local Door immediately, followed by a switch back to the ON position to enable the ROW button press. 5. Changing of the timing of the ROW gongs – to occur exactly 2 seconds after full door close, so that the driver hears the ROW confirmation well before the Loops tab on the dashboard console screen changes from red to black indicating the EMU accelerator can be reengaged. 6. Adding to the left of all interior passenger door open buttons, the same adhesive graphic icon as used on the door exteriors – to indicate which button passengers press to open the doors.

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            Interesting, Rob – and if you’ve got the necessary train/platform technology for drivers to close the doors, step 2 and part of step 4 disappear, enabling a further reduction in dwell time.

        • tuktuk

          ….ahh yes, Quite forgot about those Siemens boxes in Melbourne. That particular Siemens design has its origin if I recall as a metro carriage shell which makes it all the stranger that they went for plug doors. Have been out of the Auckland scene awhile now but from what I recall, issues with curved station platforms was a factor which drove the initial decision to go for 2 doors per side instead of 3. Whatever the decision making at the time, experience has shown it is time for a re-think before the next batch are ordered. Bigger Syndey size twin doors? Their double deckers 1800mm wide from memory. Shorter bodies over articulated bogies and twin doors = more doors per train lineal length as per standard European practise?

          The level boarding/wheel chair accessibility compromise is quite another issue fundamental with station platform location (height/distance) relative to the railway tracks. This is an issue with our mixed traffic network and another selling factor for those advocating new metro lines be to a separate standard system…..

          • Nick R

            One of the advantages of plug doors is you can maintain windows all the way down the carriage. With sliding cavity doors the cavity area is solid wall, so you end up with as much blank wall as you have door width. But thats a worthwhile trade off IMHO.

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            Other advantages with plug doors over sliding doors are that they make the outside easier to clean, they are easier to seal and they take up less space internally. As with most things it’s all a matter of tradeoffs and the specifier’s priorities.

          • tuktuk

            Outside sliding doors appear to be OK sliding over windows……..I wonder how fast they open?
            Check out Bombardier Spacium – a great example of Parisian product design awesome-ness.
            http://www.bombardier.com/en/transportation/projects/project.spacium-paris-france.html?f-region=all&f-country=all&f-segment=all&f-name=SPACIUM

            Note space and weight-saving articulated bodies and scope for more than one pair of doors per segment. Much of the train equipment is mounted on the roof of the low floor car segments. Also if relevance to Auckland’s growing demand – note how much space those cabs take up – longer trains = greater space efficiency due to fewer cabs per lineal metre compared to say, a 6 car current CAF AM set.

      • Rob it would possibly save some time between release and GOG in many scenarios as people generally re-act very slowly once the doors release/light-up. Also its not necessarily all about saving time but about ease of use and also preventing people from getting stuck on-board (I’ve seen less switched-on people press the button before its lit, possibly unaware about it needing to be lit or thinking the light might be broken, look the other way and before they know it they are stuck on-board).

        • Rob Mayo

          Drivers forcing all doors open at every station during peak period services will go some way to alleviating this problem.

          • Bigted

            Rob emphasise the the word ‘peak’ as with lighter loadings this can lengthen the process with the possibility of unnecessarily opening the middle T car doors that take significantly longer to open and close.

      • With ETCS, theoretically the trains can stop in the exact correct location each time? And the platforms have all been reengineered to match the EMU heights as opposed to the varying height issues pre EMU. So why cant doors just be opened automatically and then closed by the driver? Chances of falling between train and platform are virtually non existent now. Am I missing something?

    • Daryl

      @BBC – The newer emu trains here in QLD seem to work exactly how you describe with the pre ordering of the door opening. I’m from Wellington, so at first I kept thinking “why are they pushing the door open button when they train hasn’t stopped?” Then I realized when they opened upon stopping at a station what was happening. I must admit it did seem to speed things up a little. Every bit helps I suppose.

  • Not sure about DOO operation. Might be a bit hard if the union doesn’t agree to changing the LE’s job to include passenger compartment monitoring, and their agreement will indeed be required.

    There’s a 3-person crew trial coming up some time soon. The union wants 1 LE, 1 TM and 1 TI on all services after 1900hrs.

    • Stranded on the North Shore

      We need transit police, not train managers, ticket inspectors or else. Transit police would be able to do all of it and more.

      • Bigted

        When the laws are updated to allow transit police they would be an option but currently any transit police would have no more powers to do anything that a security guard or even the TM and TIs can do now (that is actually nothing).

        • Harriet

          Transit Police could simply mean AT paying the Police to provide officers for them.

          • Nick R

            Yes, my assumption is that transit police is effectively AT and/or NZTA paying for a squad of NZ police officers to police the trains.

          • Bigted

            Great idea if there was enough spare police for AT to take of other duties. There will still be the requirement for TIs, Station staff etc and the police will do nothing with the under age as they end up babysitting them taking up more of the spare time they don’t have. It is not actually illegal to ride a train and not pay, that is a civil mater not a criminal one.

          • Stranded on the North Shore

            re: civil matter. Unfortunately that’s true. Why hasn’t that been changed yet, do you know?

          • Bigted

            Stranded we are lead to believe that is in the pipeline along with the legislation that allows transit police but it is not high priority legislation so it could be some time yet.

          • Harriet

            If you pay the Police for Officers, they will hire some more, with some old and some new doing the services.

            It’s common sense, not hard to get your head around BigTed, though it may be since you seem to live in a static fixed pie world.

          • Nick R

            Ted, paying for a squad of police officers means getting new police officers. The same way the ministry of transport pays for the highway patrol from petrol taxes.

            FYI we have a police college in Wellington that can train 100 new officers every 16 weeks. The only thing stopping them having more is funding. Drop the TM role and there is plenty of funding available for transit police, who could actually police the situation.

            Police already have the ability to fine and detain passengers, however legislation is in progress to give those powers to other officers

            “Public transport fare evaders could be fined up to $1000 for disobeying orders to get off trains, buses or ferries. Transport Minister Simon Bridges says legislation will also be changed next year to empower warranted council enforcement officers to issue more immediate infringement fines of $150 a time. Only police now have the power to do that, and Mr Bridges acknowledged at Auckland’s Britomart railway station this morning that it made the law difficult to enforce.”

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11520701

          • Bigted

            Nick pay for and training the transit cops (once there is legislation available) is not the problem as with normal police the problem is recruitment and retention. Many police see traffic duties as something below them, how will they treat transit duties? There even some ex police working as TMs.

            If you have ever tried getting the police first to respond (due to their heavy workloads) then deal with mainly under age kids (they don’t want to take them as often on trying to return them home they find no one suitable or capable to give them to and end up babysitters) that are well aware that there is nothing anyone can actually do to them, then you would understand why the stuff that happens actually happens.

            AT and public transport operators have been waiting for the legislation your article (from nearly a year ago) mentions but they still wait.
            There was an article not even a week ago about the hospitality industry having ‘dine and dash’ issues and the police not doing anything, riding the train and not paying is no different and probably further down the list.

          • Nick R

            So you’re saying police won’t work as transit police because it’s beneath them, but they will work as TMs?

          • Bigted

            Not at all Nick just saying that while some have left the police for what ever reason and happen to now be TMs. Some (and only some, mainly long serving officers) police don’t like traffic duties as they think it is beneath them so how will we go getting enough to make a difference to then work as transit police. Again I don’t have an issue with transit police once the appropriate legislation allows them, some of the TMs may even retrain for the role but that is not currently and option and while costs maybe moved around it is not as simple as removing them and instantly having a $24 per hour cost saving.

    • TI’s seriously needed on late services, I haven’t been checked once after 9PM ever, and I catch 9PM-10PM trains 5 times a week. Many of the people I see rock up to the station and have no interaction with a VRD or FPD so they are obvious evaders.

      Some LE’s are not even releasing the doors on the later services between Ranui and Fruitvale which is a nightmare, fare-paying people getting stuck on-board and on the platform. Also a pain in the neck running down the length of the train to board and a drama whenever someone needs to board the trailer car, as TM’s keep using the AMA/AMP units to save time waiting for the ramps. Hopefully they will stop this crap when there are TI’s.

      Why do TM’s even bother with fare enforcement though? Anyone can just flash a HOP card and pretend its tagged on.

  • bbqroast

    Ahh shit that sounds likr bad news from the ECTS dept. Can’t believe they didn’t lock im long term support.

    I’d be getting quotes on replacing the entire system. Don’t want to end up like US subways, paying huge amounts to maintain legacy gear.

    • Errol Cavit

      It sounds like they did lock in support, and the other party “continue to work to extract themselves from their contractual obligations.”

  • Harriet

    TOO will be good, lower Opex means better farebox, better farebox means we can increase expenses in other more value for commuter areas as we only need to meet 50% e.g. Off Peak Discount Fares etc.

    Having TOO will mean on the margin easier to add weekend, off peak and later night services which has been called for.

    No reason many TM’s can’t be offered chance to retrain as drivers, station staff or ticket inspectors so may not result in lots of job losses.

    • Don’t forget Opex went up, not down, after removal of onboard ticket staff, due to the lower staff numbers giving rise to far more security issues, which in turn lead to the need to contract security staff. Then on top of the higher staff costs, they also have the new ticketing system (ticket machines etc) to pay for separately. But the additional cost goes to security provision, not the direct train running costs, so it gives the illusion of a saving, when in fact costs went up (and significantly).

      You’ll note the security issues have not eventuated in Wellington, where onboard ticketing staff remain employed. It’s one of the reasons why Wellington’s trains are far cheaper to run than Auckland’s are.

      • Mike (the longstanding one)

        Can you pint us to evidence for opex having increased, and Wellington being cheaper because of on-board ticketing, Geoff?

      • Bigted

        Geoff you hit the nail squarely on the head with the last line.
        There seems to be the myth about that removing staff from trains reduces costs when in reality it increases them.

        Harriet TM will eventually be removed but at what cost? Drivers will expect more due to added responsibly and any faults dealt with by the TM will require the driver to leave his/her cab (removing their key requiring various inputs when it is reinserted) slowing the trains significantly.

        • Mike (the longstanding one)

          Sorry Bigted, but since Geoff has provided no evidence for either of his assertions he has hit nothing on the head as yet.

          It would be really good if you stopped presenting your opinions/myths as facts – and repeating them doesn’t make them true! Until that happens, I suggest fellow readers take all your “facts” with a resonably sized pinch of salt.

          Myth 1 here is that removing staff from trains increases costs; Myth 2 is that drivers leaving cabs because of faults will slow down trains considerably. Zero evidence is given for either myth, and neither seem to be significant issues with the many DOO operations around the world.

          • Bigted

            Without evidence to back up opinions they are just that opinions, I have seen stuff just like those behind Transport blog have that is not in the public arena and can not be quoted so an opinion based on this information is all that is available.
            You may have guessed from some of my comments that I have a freight background more road than rail but enough of both to know each’s strengths and the many limitations, along with a small amount but enough passenger rail to know what the EMUs are capable of.

          • Mike, think before you type. Who do you think pays for the dozens of security guards working on the rail network each day? Security guards that largely weren’t needed prior to removal of onboard ticketing staff, which was the catalyst for unruly onboard behaviour. Those security costs are significantly greater than the former cost of onboard staff. Then on top of all of that, there are the costs of the new ticketing system.

            If you believe that all the additional staff costs on top of the new ticketing system costs somehow equates to a saving, then by all means please explain.

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            Thanks for your advice, Geoff, and thanks for confirming that what you’re talking about is based on your impressions rather than on hard information.

            You may be right, you may be wrong, but neither you nor I actually know, and that’s my point. If anyone does know, I hope that they share that information with the rest of us.

      • Brutus Iscariot

        I’m sure that can be partially explained by Auckland and Wellington’s differing demographics.

        Either way, the “broken windows” theory necessitates that trains continue to be maintained to a certain standard. If train conditions degrade beyond a certain point, there’ll be a markedly negative effect on patronage and overall user experience.

  • nonsense

    500000$ in vandalism every year, how much would it be without TM? guess we’lll find out

    • Given TMs won’t even ask someone to turn loud music down, and that’s when there’s security standing next to them too, they’re not going to do anything to vandals

      • Bigted

        That is not true of all TMs but is in fact what their instructions are to not confront anyone just to run the train on time (nothing else matters). Vandals would have a free rein without onboard staff, some are put off by the TM walking the trains others are not.

        • Harriet

          Not of all TM’s but basically most.

          • Bigted

            Read the rest of the line “their instructions are to not confront anyone just to run the train on time (nothing else matters).”

          • Harriet

            Yeah but you have been on here all the time going oh the TM’s help with x, even though time after time it has been shown they don’t respond well to crisis’s.

            The fact is DOO operates all over the world with no issues, but people still operate under the Luddite economic fallacy that replacing x positions using CAPEX 1. Causes a reduction in LR employment and 2. Employment for the sake of employment is important.

            If I tell road builders they can only build with shovels no diggers, I will employ lots more road builders but that doesn’t create more wealth/employment it simply re-distributes it from one sector to another.

          • Bigted

            Harriet removing the TM will require higher pay to LEs (most LEs would prefer to keep their same pay and TMs) due to having to do more. When there is a door fault (you would be surprised how many there are) the LE would take his/her key out go and sort the problem then when back in the seat put their key back in the train then goes back through it verification process before it can move, by this time the train behind in now also stopped waiting. It is not about keeping them employed as removing them (and it will eventually happen at some stage), with the DOO operation like in places in the world that operate like that there will be a requirement for more station staff (at stations that are currently unmanned) at increased cost not decreased. The Sydney rail network is a prime example TMs ride in the back of the train only coming into the passenger area if required and they still have the extra station staff to signal the driver the doors are closed and they can depart.

            It is a myth that removing onboard staff on trains saves money.

          • Harriet

            Yet all around the world DOO operations exist, and all these issues seem to be surmountable. People need to travel the world a little, or at least research about the rest of the world, because people are talking like no other country has DOO and therefore its completely new and untested ergo therefore impossible.

            We might have to increase salary, but we won’t need to double it.

          • Bigted

            Harriet DOO is not the be all and end all it is made out to be, they have their own problems and there are many DOO operations that still have a TM (or similar title) on board some in a customer service role others like on the Sydney network sitting in the back cab as the go to problem solver to allow the driver to say it their seat. Even driver-less units in some places have a TM/emergency driver walking the train as a customer service person that can sort problems and even in some cases drive the train manually.

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            Bigted, and there are many DOO operations that *don’t* have a TM type person on board, but for some reason you choose to ignore them, instead endlessly quoting the irrelevant (because non-DOO) Sydney system.

          • Bigted

            Mike you have your opinion and I have mine, there are plenty of DOO systems around the world that don’t have a TM and there are plenty that do, they don’t always standout as a TM (or similar what ever title you want to give them) and they are not always seen but there are enough there.
            Mike I don’t want to appear argumentative so can we agree to disagree on this point?

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            Bigted, no problem with disagreeing on matters of opinion. What I do have a problem with, though, is opinions masquerading as facts, and with other people’s opinions being derided as myths but with no supporting evidence.

            So let’s both make sure that we’re clear about the (important) differences between opinion, fact, and myth, right?

          • Bigted

            Mike there are plenty of people that post here try to have their opinions considered as facts, while some are privy to information not released in the public arena and insist people believe their opinion are actually a fact are at the same time also pushing biased interpretations of public information as facts. These people then get upset accusing others of arguing for trying to get them to admit they are pushing their biased ‘opinion’ not actually real facts.

    • Bruce

      probably less amount since TMs don’t do anything about this but by removing them there might be more security/transit police which actually do something about this.

      $500k is just one more reason to gate more stations to a) prevent more anti-social behaviour and b) to generate more revenue by preventing freeloaders.

      • Nick R

        Transit Police would be clearly more expensive than TMs, but I would rather have a cop on every second train than a TM on every train, for the same money.

        • Bruce

          Maybe, maybe not… TM’s are on a pretty decent pay and depending on how Transit Police were created (ie are they just normal fully trained police who do transit, or are they trained to a lower standard and have restricted duties and therefore less pay?). You wouldn’t need as many…every train has a TM but you would only need say 2 transit police for every 5 trains (working in pairs). On certain stations you would probably have an increase in platform staff to ensure smooth operation but overall it would be a reduction in staff numbers effectively.

          Another thing is even if it did end up being more expensive at least the public would be and feel safer so this would improve patronage – especially at night.

        • Harriet

          Other thing is would you need TI’s with transit police, you could just give them a reader, I would say you would have 3 types of police roles for the Network

          1. Police on the trains, these people would check tickets in pairs and at most carry a taser. Would hit targeted services rather than just 1/2 train ratio.
          2. Police patrols at known stations, i.e. Henderson, Te Mahia, Manurewa etc. just keeping a presence. Would have car nearby to respond to events on network, carry tasers & would like all police have arms in car in case required.
          3. Armed Police Post CRL at Aotea & Britomart though seriously (Consider it underlined) unlikely these stations would be some of the highest targets for potential terrorism in the country, and like Airport would need .

          Though I would put in Contract all police working on network are required to wear body cams.

          • Owen Thompson

            Thanks for naming the two closest stations to me.

          • Bigted

            Meanwhile in the real world where everyone else lives.

            Harriet do you even know where the problem stations are because the three you named are in various different positions reasonably far down the list, the worst stations for attracting trouble would actually surprise you.

          • har

            You want to name them then Ted, you come on here spouting nothing but opinions, you never link one source of facts. I mentioned those stations as examples, of course we would do a analysis of which stations would be best to put people at, however since we already had a police op at Henderson this year, and concerns of massive ticket evasion at Te Mahia used it as an example. People on this board are fed up of you coming on here, mouthing off with no evidence and then hiding like a little coward when called on it. Then crying like a baby to Patrick about Matt L because he hit back at you with evidence every time showing you had absolutely no idea what you were talking about.

          • Nick R

            It depends what you call trouble. Henderson is probably the worst for fare evasion, Fruitvale Rd the worst for vandalsim (six schools within walking distance!), but for unrest or violence it would have to be Britomart, being both the busiest station and the only downtown one.

          • Bigted

            har
            No station is any worse than any other for fare evaders (even the gated station have issues but not to the same extent), no particular type of person is worse than others, even flash business people are as bad as the kids (they don’t cause the other havoc that fare evading kids to but they still expect to be subsidized by the honest payers).
            Swanson, Penrose and Onehunga would be the worst for taggers decorating the outside but even Newmarkent is not immune to this, The Stand depot would rate as the worst depot for taggers breaking in to do their thing (no day time guards).
            Biggest stations for trouble makers and fights are Greenlane, Ellerslie, Penrose, Panmure, GI and to a lesser extent a few on the western line but can and do happen everywhere.
            One of the worst stations for loitering teens happens to also be the third busiest and second largest on the network and patrolled by a single security guard (Monday to Friday there is also a guard looking after the park n ride facilities), Papakura.

            Someone from the railways may want to add to the list or give their opinion on what they know.

          • Bigted

            Your opinion Nick, I don’t venture west very often but when I have I have not seen the evidence that you must have to give that response. Hopefully someone from the railways can help out here, if there are any here due to some of the posts being very critical of the HR mode and their staffing structures.

  • kelvin

    How about journey time improvment?

  • Dan

    Why have so many things needed upgrading on these things? Did AT intentionally cheap out to meet budget requirements, or did the trains arrive in a configuration different to what was ordered?

  • Chris Randal

    Harriet you need to look at the RAIB reports on DOO accidents where passengers have fallen between train and platform, including one who suffered life changing injuries.

    The holy grail of DOO is a real myth.

    • Harriet

      Except your example doesn’t make sense since the Driver if they followed procedure incident would not have occurred, they say they can’t remember if they checked the monitor, a trainee was in the CAB looking. The investigation using CCTV footage also found they closed the doors to quickly.

      The door also failed, like our doors is supposed to react to objects however it didn’t & the platform was old and not fit for purpose. The train was built in 1990 and the station the 29 May 1882.

      The incident would have have occurred in the same manner if a TM instead of the trainee cab driver had not followed procedure.

      Many failures occurred in that incident both technically, procedurally as well as not fit for purpose infrastructure.

    • Mike (the longstanding one)

      Chris R: I agree that reading those reports is a good idea, and you will note that in none of them does the RAIB question the safety of DOO operations in principle.

      And yes, there have been life-changing platform/train interface incidents in the UK, but the only life-ending (ie fatal) one involved a guard-operated train.

      So those reports don’t support your assertion that “the holy grail of DOO is a real myth”: in fact, its worldwide successful implementation and the lack of any fundamental safety issues raised by the RAIB (or any other rail safety body, as far as I am aware) demonstrate the precise opposite.

  • Matt P

    I take the train quite a lot, and like it, but I have a pet peeve….
    When waiting at Britomart, when the train doors open, and there is that awful, piercing hissing sound….
    I know this sounds trivial, but it annoys the hell out of me.
    Surely there must be a technical solution???

    • MFD

      On the assumption that it the hissing is compressed air being vented from a valve the solution is a screw-in sintered silencer at a cost of around $4.

    • Nick R

      On a similar topic, I notice our EMUs have a lot of brake squeal which is often quite piercing and unpleasant. My experiences overseas suggest some systems have zero brake squeal, while other like us have it consistently. What is it that makes it not happen and how can we get one?

      • Harriet

        Has anyone noticed a weird sound on some buses as well.

      • Mike F

        I have reported this brake squeal issue to AT and have been told there is a issue however it is a complex fix.
        You make the comment that the sound is piercing and unpleasant. Think about the residents near stations that have this sound every time a train arrives.

      • Yes the squeal can get pretty loud but in some ways is quite a cool steely space age sound…first reminded me of the Ringwraiths in LOTR. Though I can understand it is unpleasant. Certainly the loud break release or whatever hiss sound if your right by it has pierced my ears & made me jump a couple of times in Britomart!

      • Bryce P

        I havent noticed brake squeal but the wheel noise through the Vector curves is awful.

    • Dgd

      I also have a pet peeve when TM refuses to open doors. Only happens at Newmarket when emu from south arrives at NM on the track between platforms 2 and 3. Only the doors on the platform 3 side will open.
      Often there will be a Swanson bound emu at Platform 1. To get to P1 from P3 you have to walk to the escalator to go up then down the escalator to P1. Have never succeeded to make it to a waiting Swanson emu as the doors close and it departs while I’m negociating the escalators.
      Last week I noted 3 elderly passengers ask the TM to let them out to P2 so they could just take a few steps over to P1 and the waiting emu. He refused. As they exited to P3 and miss the emu at P1 one of them who was obviously annoyed sarcastically thanked the TM and told him they won’t bother with the train again and in future drive to Avondale.

      • Harriet

        I asked transdev about this the guys said its a HSE issue and the offical response said they can’t do it.

        Since many of us have seen it been done and the platform distance isn’t to dissimilar I don’t believe this.

        • Mike (the longstanding one)

          It would be interesting to see the safety assessment that led them to that conclusion: railways elsewhere, such as the London Underground and the Docklands Light Railway, open doors on both sides at stations with platforms on both sides.

        • I thought this was confirmed to be a union & safety type thing in that they would have to watch both sides when it’s always only one elsewhere. I kind of understand as it’s the only station layout in Auckland that you could do this isn’t it?…though it is annoying.

          • What? They can’t close one side then move across, look, and close the other? Have to wonder about the HSE/Union match-up sometimes. If similar standards were insisted on the roads; all driving would be instantly banned.

          • Bigted

            It could have something to do with an incident that occurred with an SA on the temporary Newmarket platforms while the current station was being built, I just had a quick look but can’t find a news reference to it. From memory someone fell between the train and the platform and was killed, either the driver or TM were then charged with manslaughter for not following proper procedure. I maybe wrong on the details it was some time ago and I did a quick look for newspaper reports but couldn’t find any.

          • Bigted

            Patrick I think it is train related but probably fixable if the right person wanted it done, the SA and DMU fleets are/were capable of closing one side then the other but these have doors that are completely TM controlled and they can still move with one or more doors open or not fully closed. The computers that control the EMUs (don’t tell the driver that but its true) only allow the closure of all doors or one door.

          • @BigTed: Probably this link: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/2556228/Train-drags-elderly-man-to-his-death but this was at the temporary station so don’t know why overly relevant? My remark was actually from very vague memory of “I think” Matt L saying this in a post not too long ago when the topic of both sides opening at Newmarket came up before.

          • Bigted

            Thanks Grant that is what i was looking for.

        • Mike (the longstanding one)

          Bigted, if removing TMs’ operational role saves time and money, as has been demonstrated many times overseas, it’s worth doing irrespective of any ETCS issues – and these dwell time savings will be in addition to any reductions in running times.

          But you seem to misunderstand what ETCS is. It’s an integrated train control, signalling and train protection system, and it’s not possible for it to “keep out of it” any more than that could be said for lineside signals. It’s an essential part of the current safety system, much much more than an emergency backup (which it isn’t and was never intended to be).

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            Sorry, the above is in the wrong place – it’s a response to Bigted’s 17.06 post.

          • Bigted

            There are lots of comments from lots of different people that complain about the driver crawling along the platform before stopping of after departing, this is not the driver it is the ETCS. These drivers no longer drive trains they operate a couple of computers that do the real driving, some wouldn’t want to admit that as we are only a few steps away from self driving trains making them surplus to requirements like some have already decided the TMs are. Rumor has it (from more than one source but still a rumor) the EMUs will self drive through the CRL as apparently they will be able to do it better than a human driver who will have access to the emergency brake only.

      • Bigted

        Dgd the opening of the doors is not a TM role that can only be done by the driver. The only opening the doors on one side at Newmarket while annoying is for a reason, maybe if there is a TM on here they maybe able to explain it better but I believe the ‘door close’ operation the TMs use closes all doors except the one they are at and as they can only be at one door at a time they are not able to do a safety check out both sides as the doors close, the way around this is to individually close each door but that would take too long.

        Dgd I hope that helps and that there is a TM posting here that could give a better reason if there is one.

        • Dgd

          Thanks Bigted, I understand now it’s not the TM who controls opening the doors but he does control closing them. So why could the LE not just open doors on both sides (enabling the green buttons) and then the TM check one side, close that side’s door, take a few steps through to other side, check it, then close those doors.
          That would seem so easy to do and provide a much friendlier service to passengers rather than force them to rush via escalators from P3 to P1.
          Just yesterday I went through this procedure again and was nearly bowled over by two running passengers. Their panic to get to P1 was so dangerous as they ran along P3, ran up the escalator without slowing and one of them practically fell down the escalator to P1.
          They made the Swanson emu whereas I missed it.

          • Bigted

            The closing appears to be the issue and that all comes back to programming of the computers that control the train operations, the door close button (pushed by the TM that is followed by visual confirmation before closing the final door and getting the train on its way) will close all (not just the side the button is pushed on) doors except the one manned by the TM so there can be no visual confirmation of the opposite side. There is no apparent reason why they can’t be reprogrammed if there was the want by the right person, Newmarket is the only station on the network where it is possible to use doors on more than the one side so there may be an additional reason this option is ‘locked out’.

      • Dan

        It was disappointing when this was implemented because it meant it was no longer possible to quickly jump from a Western to another Britomart-bound train to avoid the five-minute delay at Newmarket.

    • Bigted

      Matt the hiss sound could be brake related (it is hard to know what hiss sound you are referring to), when the park brakes are applied the compressed air is released into the ballast so hard it can spit fines out the side.

  • Matt P

    Thanks guys. I think all these things are really important, and surely not rocket science.
    PT needs to be as comfortable as possible to maximise its value!

  • Bigted

    All this talk about reducing dwell times and speeding up the trains, removing the TM seams to be the best option people can come up with. The trains and ETCS are the major things that cause long dwell times and overall travel time, remove or at least reprogram the ETCS so it will let the drivers actually drive the damn train and they could probably cut 5 plus minutes of the southern and western lines. These trains are fast with quick acceleration and good braking if only the ETCS would keep out of it and be the emergency backup it should have been intended to be.

  • tp

    Wow so much incorrect info. Doors are not allowed to be opened on both sides on platforms 2&3 simple not worh debating unless you have some sway in the organisation. Driver forcing all doors isnt standard procedure and causes confusion with train manager waiting for people to come out of open doors at the front or rear of train when infact no one is there it was the driver who forced it, so can cause further delay overall things always ork better with standard procedure mix and match approach to operational procedures always create problems and thier is always a flip side and related issues to doing things another way.

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