Tram Fan identifies Shortcomings in EIS

Submission to the Light Rail EIS (62 pages)  from engineer and Light Rail supporter identifying major shortcomings -click to read more

Wire Free Operation It is incomprehensible that the EIS documentation appears to accept wire free operation as a ‘given’ for the Sydney CBD light rail when there is no system of wire free operation operating anywhere in the world that has successfully functioned under the operating conditions forecast for Sydney. The minute number of systems currently in use operate over essentially flat terrain (unlike the grades to be found in Sydney), do not have air conditioning or alternatively operate in cities with a lesser air conditioning load requirement than Sydney and operate over very short wire free distances and at extremely low speeds. There can be significant doubt, given the above acceptance, that TfNSW and its technical and operational advisers are capable of properly and objectively evaluating the operational and cost implications of “wire free operation”. Wire free operation, if implemented, will introduce serious impediments into the successful operation and maintenance of the most critical section of the whole CSELR. Dwell Times Given that dwell times of approximately 20 seconds will be the norm for a successfully operating CBD light rail system it will be necessary for the fast charge facility at each stop to be able to meet the following duty cycle – pantograph up, contact, switch on, fully charge, switch off, pantograph down – all within a 20 second period. Failure to meet this dwell time criteria will introduce delays and bottlenecks into the services and, in extreme cases result in the need to place more LRVs into service to maintain system schedules. Each additional LRV required to meet these constraints will add considerably to the cost and size of the LRV fleet with no service improvements to the travelling public. Cost Sydney’s CSELR proposal is about 12 km in length with an Estimated Cost of $1.6 billion –that is approximately $133m/km. If the cost of 26 LRVs at, say, $7 million each is deducted, the infrastructure cost is approximately $1.4 billion, or around $117m/km.This infrastructure cost of $117m/km is seven times as much per kilometre as Melbourne’s most expensive tram extension of recent years, and more than double the cost per kilometre of the most expensive recent projects in either the USA or France.This could amount to the world’s most expensive tram/LRV line by a large margin. Layouts To suggest that “The layout of the proposed crossovers and turnouts would be finalised during the detailed design to provide sufficient light rail operations.” is indicative of a failure to plan the CSELR as an operating entity with the necessary flexibility to maximise system performance under operating conditions even when untoward and often unexpected adverse conditions occur. George Street An implicit acceptance that curtailment of the operation of the light rail service between Town Hall and Circular Quay should be a regular occurrence is unacceptable. This operational scenario would be unacceptable in Melbourne and indeed was no part of the operation of the Sydney Tramway system. Anzac/Dacey/Alison intersection The junction of Anzac Parade, Dacey Avenue and Alison Road was a significant congestion point in the days of the Sydney tramway system when there was a large passenger demand relating to the staging of special sporting events at the multiple venues in the area.Today the area is marked by significant motor vehicle congestion in business peak hours, as well as when special events occur. It is an intersection famous for its frequent motor vehicle accidents. Given the Government’s stated objective of increasing the use of public transport by attendees at special events and also for general peak hour travel it will be necessary for close attention to be paid to both motor traffic and light rail traffic through this critical intersection. As it stands the current busy intersection represents a potential major source of delays and unreliability for both the light rail system and the road network. The opportunity should be taken as part of the CSELR project to incorporate a road rebuilding project at this junction to ensure the separation of light rail and general traffic by grade separation. In conjunction with this work it would be appropriate for a grade separated light rail junction to be provided, so outbound Kingsford light rail vehicles could pass under inbound light rail vehicles from Randwick