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Days after launch, light rail vehicle ‘reboots’ on tracks after stalling

Lachlan Roberts 23 April 2019 72

Canberra’s light rail network has experienced an array of teething issues over the past couple of days. Photos: George Tsotsos.

Days after its launch, Canberra’s light rail vehicles are experiencing an array of teething issues, with one trip taking an extra 15 minutes on Tuesday morning (23 April) after breaking down.

Canberra Metro spokesperson said technicians are currently working through the reasons behind this morning’s delay, but believed it was a software issue with the vehicle. The issue was resolved after rebooting the vehicle.

Transport Canberra deputy director general Duncan Edghill said the system has been working “spectacularly” and said this morning’s delay was an isolated issue.

“As far as I am aware, the issue that we had this morning is the first time we have seen this issue,” he said. “We certainly would expect this to be isolated in nature.

“With any new bus, light rail or another vehicle there are teething issues that may need to be worked through. We appreciate the patience of the Canberra community as we bed down those issues. Overall, the system as a whole over the past four days of its operations is performing exceptionally well.”

Mr Edghill said there were a few other tweaks that will be made to all the vehicles over the coming weeks.

“There are a few bedding in issues that we need to work through with the light rail vehicles,” he said. “There are some tweaks that we think we need to make to the air-conditioning system and there are some tweaks that we will make to the speakers and the volume of the announcements.

“These are issues around optimising the system when we have got real-life people on board. There are some things that we can test before passengers board but it is only when we get passengers onboard that we can actually work through some of the teething issues.

“We are going through that process right now.”

Authorities say they anticipated issues may arise at the initial stages of light rail operation.

Despite the hiccups over the past couple of days, ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the first days of the light rail being fully operational was a raging success.

“I am certainly aware of one incident this morning [23 April] where one light rail vehicle took some extra time to get into the city but I think in the scheme of the operation of light rail over the weekend and again this morning, it has gone very well.

“We will continue to learn and continue to bed down. As we have said, there is bedding down period for light rail that will continue over the coming weeks and months.

“We expect that Canberra Metro will be on top of any issues as they arrive and they have proven to be so far,” she said.

Ms Fitzharris also said that there are no plans in place to remove travel fees for the remainder of the week in light of the issues.

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72 Responses to Days after launch, light rail vehicle ‘reboots’ on tracks after stalling
g210 12:02 pm 24 Apr 19

Launching in a predictably quiet work week was no doubt the idea, given inevitable glitches.

My own experience thus far has been - announcements not working or too quiet; aircon not working at all or blowing furiously without achieving anything; out of action screens; clueless real time systems on platform.

Also experienced one trip where either the driver like to throw everyone around for fun, or the drive system needed some adjustment.

Capital Retro 1:12 pm 24 Apr 19

"There’s always going to be minor issues with new capability."

Capable of what, exactly?

bj_ACT 3:23 pm 24 Apr 19

I've always thought a dedicated Bus lane service was the way to go for Canberra, as Light Rail costs too much per user. But I'm with Canberra Transport and posters here that results have to be judged over the next year or two. No need for a knee jerk reaction.

We need to be provided with trustworthy open data that shows the number of commuters for each ride (not just averages), that way proper analysis can be undertaken to see if the outside peak hour trips and opposite direction trips are being properly utilised.

The ACT public transport data and routing information has been hidden and manipulated for too long. We can get a better public transport system, if we are provided with honest data that we can trust.

HiddenDragon 6:37 pm 24 Apr 19

Unless there are regular, and increasingly serious, incidents like this, it's marginally relevant - at most - to the wisdom or otherwise of committing to this transport option.

The real issues in that regard are the same, now, as they were prior to the decision to commit - although the recent, and very pertinent, opinion piece by Jon Stanhope on the financial costs of the tram, and the opportunity costs of it (particularly in regard to our stretched health system) puts a sharper focus on what we've actually got for our money, and whether further lines should be built.

    Capital Retro 7:46 pm 24 Apr 19

    Surveyors were today working on the road centre leading from Parliament House to Commonwealth Avenue so the commitment for Stage 2 appears to already been made.

Capital Retro 7:55 pm 24 Apr 19

Time to revisit a post a few years ago on RiotACT about a light rail that actually failed!

There are some disturbing parallels.

"The most recent failure of a light rail project was in Spain where Velez-Malaga council, in Spain’s south with a population of 75,000, shut down its light rail line after just six years of operation. Patronage on the line, which cost $60 million to build, fell from a high of 900,000 passengers a year in 2007 to just 700,000 before it was closed. Ironically, 3 of the trams have since been leased to NSW and they are running on the Dulwich Hill line. Notice the population of 75,000, which is about the same that Canberra’s light rail will service, was unable to sustain viability and patronage actually fell after it started.

I'll bet the CAF Super-Euro-Tram salesmen didn't tell Mr Barr and Mr Corbell about this.

    JC 4:39 pm 25 Apr 19

    I think you will find the issues with that system are not even close to be comparable. For example that line never made it to the city! And of course Spain was in serious economic hurt at the time too.

    Also the 3 Urbos 2 trams (an earlier version of what Canberra and the inner west line in Sydney now have) were short term leased and have since been returned to Spain. Ps one was meant for Seville and was leased as it wasn’t needed due to the economic issues I mentioned.

    Malcolm Street 5:55 pm 25 Apr 19

    1. The Spanish town's total population was 75,000 - Canberra's is over 400,000 and this is only the first line. Ultimately the network will cover the great majority of this catchment.

    2. a parallel bus route was continued

    3. the route didn't go to the city centre

    4. the trams were four carriages, twice the size of the Canberra ones.

    5. it's possible the line will be reactivated, with smaller trams.

    6. Canberra's population is growing rapidly.

    It's one of a massive collection of poorly planned Spanish white elephants.

    Capital Retro 11:33 am 26 Apr 19

    But it only cost $60 million and it still failed? Canberra's first leg has cost nearly $1 billion already and will lose millions each year of operation while serving only a fraction of Canberra's population. serve the same number of people.

    Based on $1.5 billion for 70,000 people the total cost of extending a tram network to the rest of Canberra will cost $9 billion. Get real.

Savas Papasokratis Savas Papasokratis 2:57 pm 25 Apr 19

shame on the government for buying the cheapest Spanish made carriages, hopefully the Liberal government will lose their jobs just like they did to the Audtralian manufacturing industry.

    Adnan Asger Ali Adnan Asger Ali 9:11 am 26 Apr 19

    Savas Papasokratis, Labour bought these 🤔

Lucy Baker 7:10 pm 25 Apr 19

One of the many negative texts through to 666 said that the carriages were stiflingly hot - in 24 degree heat! What will travel on the light rail service be like in the summer heat? (Unbearable)

    Capital Retro 11:36 am 26 Apr 19

    There has never been a tram service operating in inland Australia before where temperatures will be between -5 and +40. The trams and infrastructure will fail under these conditions.

John Jenkins John Jenkins 10:30 pm 25 Apr 19

Wast off time

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