Thursday, February 01, 2007

Stop that train somebody

It would seem some of Melbourne's trains are failing to stop at platforms and sail right on past. Sometimes the passengers have just been taken on to the next station and sometimes the driver reverses the train.

It is only the Siemens manufactured trains, the nicest ones in the fleet of four types by my reckoning.

That is a fact, the rest is less reliable.

Now they seem to be of a standard design with some adaptions for Melbourne's system and no one has heard of this brake failure before. Also, they are built more for underground systems, not predominately above ground systems like ours.

It seems that they can readily slip when the rail track is greasy and the train computer thinks that as the wheels have locked and stopped turning, the train is stationary and isolates the normal brake and the emergency brake from the driver, as the driver would not need them if the train is stationary. So it is purely a software problem then.

No, there is more. Why has it suddenly started happening? I have also heard that the trains computer software was recently changed and some changes were made but the drivers were not told of the alterations. Perhaps that is why?

Even if the trains were designed for underground use, it is not inconceivable that the tracks could still be slippery underground as well.

I am also sure remedies have been delayed because management did not take the matter seriously in the beginning, just as tram management did not believe that there was a problem with old W trams when the braking system was altered.

Now trains have been around for a century or more and have being stopping quite reliably. Yet the newest train Melbourne has can simply stop when it is supposed to.

We need someone to blame. Siemens? The brake manufacturers? The private public transport company Connex? Computer software writers? The government's public transport ministry? The Department of Infrastructure? I don't know, but that so many people have been, and continue to be incovenienced by having thirty plus trains, with more to come, off the rails is outrageous.

Of course our ABC is not doing so well either when a well known regular spokesperson on public transport has his name changed, twice, to Bowden by our national broadcaster. I am surrounded by incompetence and imcompetents.


  1. You are probably closer to the issue than this mere mortal (well, mortal "for a short time only" as the following might indicate) BUT we've noticed on our frequent trips to Dame Edna's former heartland that recently there has been the reappearance( maybe it's always been there but I've not taken notice?) rolling stock which presents the unwary traveller with a gap (the USA Grand Canyon comes to mind) of nearly a foot (and not on the same level) between the train carriage and the platform.

    Given we've not got a degree in abseiling, we'd reckon that's a greater danger to your Everage traveller than rolling stock overshooting their load.

  2. I expect they are the old Hitachi trains M'lord, some of which have been brought back into sevice to replace those with little self control at platforms. Of course, they should not need to be used and would not be used if not for this problem, but which is worse, a leap from platform to train or no train at all? Isn't living in a first world country marvellous?

  3. Easily greasy tracks underground. While trains might be slightly more reluctant to release important fluids than trams (ie hydraulic fluid which can be bad), I'm sure the underground tracks would become greasy over time.

    The whole reason why this has suddenly become an issue is because it has the appearence of a beat-up. Herald yesterday reported that Bracks had told Connex to fix it up or get out, which is interesting owing to the relationship between Connex, the State Government and the rolling stock. This stinks to high heaven as a diversion from something else...

  4. The essence remains Rob. 30 odd less trains on the rails means problems. Enjoy your extra DOCs.

  5. Just call me Bower. One of them did.