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All shook up in smog hollow

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Old 22nd January 2018, 15:36
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aussiesteve aussiesteve is offline
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All shook up in smog hollow

Richmond commuters were today all shook up when their train hit the buffer stop at sufficient speed to bounce it backwards.
The train was either an M (Millennium) or A (Waratah) set.
Richmond being the terminal station of the smog hollow suburban branch from Blacktown in the western suburbs.
With the station fronting Market Street, a huge concrete with sprung rams buffer stop protects the footpath and street.
A number of trains have hit this buffer stop previously, especially during wet weather.
An 8 car train does not have much spare platform space prior to this buffer stop.
Plus, the track dives down a 1 in 77 grade just prior to arriving at the station, so approach speed can be affected.
Had the train been a Tangarbage (Tangara set), plus it had been raining, then I could understand this incident.
The Tangara sets have a wheel slide sensor which when activated can release the EP and Westinghouse brake application.
Tangarbages have snotted a number of dead-ends over the years.
How ever, today was extreme heat with no rain.
Plus, I don't know the braking characteristics of either the M or A sets.
With Sydney Trains union threatening strike action, probably the first rail strike to occur in a decade, this incident has added tension.
So, I will eagerly await the Rail Regulator incident report being published.
The original Richmond branch continued beyond Richmond for a further 11 kms to climb the 1 in 30 to Kurrajong.
But, this segment was closed in 1952.
Prior to electrification of the Richmond branch, services were provided by two car DMU sets.
There then being ample platform length for just two cars to safely land.
Another two recent incidents will add to my report reading schedule.
On tuesday southbound SCT interstater 2BM9 collided with the platform awning at Maitland station.
Apparently a tall container was plonked on the wrong flat wagon making it out of gauge.
Next on friday, a northbound interstater derailed at Telarah.

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Old 19th February 2018, 07:54
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The ATSB investigation into the Sydney Trains A set Richmond buffer snot is still in progress.
However, alterations have been made to signal RD5 (Down Home) at Richmond.
Signal RD5 is now timed to check that train speed on approach is not above 20 kph.
The train stop at the signal will remain raised until the train speed is checked not in excess of 20 kph.
RD5 indications being either Green over Red to proceed to platform 2 or Yellow over Red to turnout into platform 1.
Platform 1 here in NSW is always the UP direction platform, 2 the Down Direction platform.
Richmond being a terminal station, trains can arrive and then depart from either platform, 2 being the usual.
Once speed is confirmed, the train stop will lower permitting the train to continue into the designated platform.
Temporary Speed Restriction warning and caution boards have been installed until a Permanent Speed Board can be installed.
This timed situation is normally applied to the Low Speed indication (small green below Red over Red).
The Low Speed permits trains to close up and reduce the normal double overlap applied on the Inner Metrop.
How ever, within the Underground, the train stop will remain raised on a Green over Red (Caution) indication.
Signals within the Underground are positioned much closer than above ground, hence speed check is applied.
The indication of RD5 to proceed into the storage siding is via the small Yellow (Calling On).
Frame D must be manually operated to access the storage siding, hence the train must be stopped at RD5.
Previously, the only Permanent Speed board on approach to Richmond displays 50 kph prior to East Richmond platform.
50kph descending the 1 in 77 grade into Richmond platform is a tad aggressive.
But, with this change, I am wondering what will occur during wet weather when a Tangarbage works to Richmond.
T sets have an aggressive wheel slide sensor, to prevent wheel lock up.
When the wheel slide sensor starts ticking, EP brakes are released.
Worse still, Westinghouse air brake can also be released.
This be the reason that Tangarbages have snotted numerous things in the past, including the Richmond buffer stop.
Tangarbages have refused to stop even when on a climbing grade in wet weather.
Signal RD5 is situated just before the 1 in 77 falling grade.
So, even if train speed on approach is ok for 20 kph, such could quickly increase on descent to the platform.
Without an intermediate train stop positioned between the signal and buffer stop, I can still see buffer snots occurring.
And, I am guessing that if another buffer snot does occur, that an intermediate train stop will be quickly installed.
Simple solution, detrain at East Richmond and hoof the 800 metres to Richmond.
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Old 21st February 2018, 08:46
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Beeyar Wunby Beeyar Wunby is offline  
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Hi A/S, been reading this thread with interest.

Buffer stop collisions are always a bit of a mystery.

A number of trains have hit this buffer stop previously, especially during wet weather.
An 8 car train does not have much spare platform space prior to this buffer stop.
Plus, the track dives down a 1 in 77 grade just prior to arriving at the station, so approach speed can be affected.
Railways always allow these risky operating conditions to continue, and then get all snotty when the inevitable happens.

We have an underground section here in London called the Northern City Line. It's worked by main line trains but used to be part of the London tube system. In winter it suffers from low adhesion problems just like everywhere else, because unlike the old slam door stock of old there aren't brake blocks rubbing on the tire. Modern disk and dynamic brakes don't clean the wheel, so the trains take their leaf contamination down there with them.

The public can't believe that there can be station overruns on an underground system, but we know better.

Fortunately the approach to the terminus (Moorgate) reduces from 30 through 20, to 10mph (16kph). After the horrendous end-wall collision in 1975 (linky here...Moorgate disaster) they put in 3 timed train stops and a fixed train stop at the platform end. That seems to have sorted it....hopefully.

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Old 22nd February 2018, 05:56
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G'day BW,
I am at me occasional haunt, the local library, freebie www.
I have snavelled the Wikileaks Moorgate article and will peruse such at home.
Also grabbed the official incident report from UK railwaysarchive mob.
The Chicago metro attempted to do a similar end of line collision.
The CTV footage shows the lead emu car attempting to mount the escalators.
According to the NTSB incident report the motorman (female version) went to sleep only awakening when the train slammed through the turnout into the deadend.
QR Citytrain also had a buffer stop snot at Cleveland suburb of Brissy.
So, it does seem to occur occasionally.
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Old 23rd February 2018, 08:33
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G'day B.W.,
While not a buffer stop snot, the july 1993 prang at Lithgow was of a similar situation.
Back then, the electric locos working eastbound Silver Streak W2 would be shoved into the Lithgow station east dock.
After the incoming diesels were detached and sent to Loco, the electrics shunted out of the dock and coupled up to W2.
Frame G was manually worked to gain access to and from the east dock, via electric release granted from Yard Box.
Two signal boxes exist at Lithgow, Coalstage at Top Yard, and Yard Box 1 km further west, the station 0.5 km west of Yard box.
Three Down main running signals existing between Coalstage and the station.
95.9 Yard Accept and Close-up co-acting Coalstage Down Starter; 96.3 Yard box Home and Close-up; 96.7 Yard second Home.
On 96.7 a staggered Calling On (small yellow) existed to grant access to the east dock when the points were set.
Signals then identified by mileage to the nearest decimal from Sydney, Down signals an odd decimal, UP signals an even decimal.
Train Stop apparatus was not fitted to signals west of Emu Plains until after the Glenbrook prang in december 1999.
Radio communication was via hand held two-way portables issued to train crew.
A falling grade of 1 in 150 faces westbound trains heading towards the station.
On the day of the incident, a Down interurban empty cars was working west to Lithgow.
This being an 8 car single decker U-boat (U set).
The U-boats were introduced from 1958, built by Comeng to a US Budd design with Metrovick traction gear.
Them U-boats were great beasties and could really motor, though were restricted to a max speed of 115 kph.
You knew that she was going when the front bogie inspection flap in the cab was lifted by the breeze.
The particular Eveleigh interurban driver was nicknamed Turbo, enough said.
As per usual, the 86 class electrics had whistled out of Loco and wandered down to the east dock.
The U-boat then arrived from Sydney.
Coalstage had requested the road from Yard box and was granted the Close-Up (little green) on signal 95.9.
It was assumed that the release from G frame would be restored shortly.
However, the shunter was busy and G frame still had the road set into the dock from the Down Main.
Turbo was in the process of packing his work bag getting ready to abandon ship at the station.
He was due to be relieved by a Lithgow driver.
The usual practice was to encounter Close-Ups on both signals 95.9 and 96.3, plus Main Yellow in 96.7.
This being on days when W2 was not working, or frame G had been restored to normal.
Having squizzed the little green in 95.9, he assumed the usual and began packing his bag.
He did not squiz signal 96.3, which was All On.
Approaching the station, signal 96.7 is partially occluded by the Bridge Street overpass.
Finally espying that 96.7 was All On, he slammed on the brakes, but it was too late.
The U-boat flew into the east dock colliding with the two 86 class.
The Lithgow crew aboard the 86'ers were up the west end cab and did not see what was approaching.
The collision shoved them 86'ers a good 10 feet.
But, fortunately not into the Eskbank Street overpass stone pier located at the end of the dock.
The Lithgow crew were shaken but not seriously injured.
Turbo had to be cut out of the crumpled cab of the U-boat, loosing a leg.
Such was the damage sustained to the U-boat underframes that services were suspended.
The Lithgow East Dock was quickly decommissioned.
The final U-boat service ran from Gosford on the Short North in 1996, all U sets then being withdrawn.
Motive power for W2 was exchanged at Top Yard until Aussie National commenced diesel through-running.
The next incident involving an interurban and the Silver Streak, Glenbrook in 1999, forced some major changes.
The old Automatic signal rule; attempt to make contact, if unable, wait one minute and proceed at caution speed, was kyboshed.
In lieu, we copped Absolute and Permissive signal rules, which really confused the situation for some time.
An Auto stick could become Absolute, and only the signalman could tell you such, meaning that without communication, you were STUCK.
Plus, Train Stop was fitted to all signals as far west as Lithgow (end of the Outer Metrop region).
The train radio system debacle had continued, and was a facet of Glenbrook.
I had written a scathing report about the woeful original Country-Net radio system, having been involved with testing.
But, both management and the union hierarchy didn't accept my report.
The Metro-Net system adopted by the suburban network was at least a tad more reliable, though totally incompatible with the Country-Net system.
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Old 9th March 2018, 07:33
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The ATSB preliminary report into the Richmond buffer snot incident has been released.
While specific details retrieved from the train event recorders plus video recorders have not been included, the general incident is explained.
Train speed prior to impact being a guestimated average of 35 kph along the platform.
We will need to await the final report to discover just what position the brake valve was in.
Plus, whether the train crew were due to be relieved upon arrival, or work the return service back east to the city.
Since the Waterfall prang in january 2003, all emu and dmu trains operating within NSW have been fitted with a vigilance system.
This being in addition to the dead-man throttle control.
The driver of the Waterfall incident having suffered a heart attack and collapsing over the control stand.
When utilizing the T-bar throttle dead-man feature found on Tangarbage sets, it must be twisted from 135 degrees and held in the 180 degs position.
The throttle being moved towards the body to increase notch and power.
Hence when the driver collapsed onto the control stand, his body held the t-bar dead-man horizontally negating an emergency brake application.
The train continuing down hill in full power until going bush.
T sets also possess a dead-man foot pedal which can be utilized in lieu of the t-bar throttle handle.
However, many drivers found the foot pedal awkward to manipulate, especially when traversing rough track.
So, to prevent future incidents, a vigilance system was implemented in addition to the dead-man.
The vigilance system being that which was implemented subsequent to the Beresfield coal train collision in 1997.
Prior vigilance systems found on NSW locomotives were of the 90 second frequency being able to reset at any time within the 90 seconds.
Either the driver or fireman could reset the vigo by depressing the buttons provided.
It was deemed at the Beresfield investigation, that train crew could become automated in current vigo system response.
Performing this even if semi-asleep.
I was involved with the testing and implementation of the randomly timed from 25 to 45 second vigo system being mandated.
Only the driver was to be provided with a response button in the loco cab.
And, response could only be effected once the warning light had illuminated.
If the button was then not depressed after a short period an alarm would sound, thence the emergency brake application would occur.
Consequently, task linking was to be incorporated.
I had discovered that when shunting, the newbie system was not manageable.
With the head out the side window watching for hand signals, it was not possible to observe the warning light.
The very brief period subsequent from the alarm to emergency penalty not providing sufficient time to reach the button.
So, I demanded that a second button be installed at the drivers side window to permit quicker response.
A vigo foot pedal for response was awkward for positioning due to the existing sand pedal.
And would the driver find the correct foot pedal with his head out the window.
Task linking provided being movement of the throttle, dynamic brake handle, full application of the engine brakes, plus suppression position of the automatic train brake valve.
Three classes of diesel motive power not possessing dynamic brake, were thereby limited in task linking function.
I had requested that train whistle operation also be task linked, but such was deemed too expensive to incorporate.
Those three classes of motive power, and indeed others, possessing the old timer dangling cord for whistle operation.
And FORGET about task linking the drivers seat for movement, management just smirked when I blandly suggested that.
Any task linked function occurring within the random time period cycle automatically resetting the vigo.
Otherwise, response could only occur once the warning light illuminated at the termination of the random time period.
I was concerned that drivers when shunting would resort to manipulating the throttle in repetition to negate the vigo.
That potentially creating a dangerous situation if powering at the wrong time.
I have not squizzed the controls of an A set (Waratah), but presume that such would be similar to a T set.
I am assuming that task linking on emu and dmu sets would be similar to that found on locomotives.
Manipulation of the brake valve negating the vigo via task linking during stopping at a station.
A sets being provided with regenerative blended EP on motor cars.
Regenerative brake system returning to the overhead the traction motor current created during braking.
Dynamic brake system dispensing the current created in resistance grids on the roof.
Otherwise driver distraction would occur if required to respond to the vigo while in the process of stopping.
The right hand on the T-bar dead-man throttle in idle position, the left hand working the brake valve.
Remove the right hand to respond to the vigo and the dead-man penalty emergency brake application would occur.
Remove the left hand from the brake valve to respond and you could stop short or overshoot.
OK, the driver could be utilizing the dead-man foot pedal, permitting the right hand to be liberated from the throttle.
But, I wonder if the A sets have a similar awkward dead-man foot pedal as do T sets.
There may indeed be a vigo foot pedal with which to respond as well as the button.
I will need to ask questions of me ETR buddy.
I certainly would want a foot pedal in companion with the button, had I been involved with the emu and dmu adaptation.
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Old 10th March 2018, 13:24
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Hi Steve, lots of interesting stuff there - as always.

I think the first question my mob would be asking is the approach pattern.

In the UK, the Rules state that entry or exit of a terminal platform is 15 mph (24 kph) maximum. Several of the companies I've worked for also have an in-house 'Driving Policy' for the maximum speed on approach of 10 mph (16 kPH) at a distance of 4 cars from the stops, and 5 mph (8 KPH) at one car length from the stops.

Actually I find these guidelines very helpful, as they give you something specific to aim for, and counter the urge to 'get it done quicker' as you run into a platform with all the 'hostile' passengers making rude gestures and tapping their watches.

Additionally there is TPWS (Linky here...Train Protection & Warning System) fitted on the approach to passenger buffer stops. These are mini-grids, set to trip at about 10 MPH (16 KPH). If I'm driving to all the above requirements, I should pass safely over the grids at about 7.5 MPH (12 KPH) without tripping the brakes. Usually.

Despite all of this though, low speed collisions do still occur. The two most recent here were a driver just completing the first long night turn, and a trainee grabbing the power handle at the last moment, instead of the brake - on the old type of train with separate handles. All our trains now only have CPBCs (Combined power & brake handles), where it's Forwards for brake & backwards for power.

Mind you, it's still just as easy to move it the wrong way when you're inexperienced, so that risk is just as prevalent IMHO.

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Old 11th March 2018, 08:47
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G'day BW,
We don't got ATP here in NSW yet.
It is again being trialed.
That being on the Big Trains.
The SLR trams have got ATP.
Common sense and ROUTE knowledge being the prima facie constraints.
Me ETR amigo advises that A sets don't possess a vigo foot pedal.
Hence the dash button must be depressed to acknowledge.
Howsoever, manipulation of the task linked brake valve would negate the vigo cycling.
Yes, the 50 kph speed board on approach to East Richmond station being the then final board presented was probably asking for trouble.
The final report will make for interesting reading, as do all accident investigation reports.
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Old 21st January 2019, 05:02
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The ATSB (OTSI) have released an update.
The preliminary report provided some details of the incident.
The final report may appear later this year.
The prelim report being published a month after the incident.
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