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Sydney’s light rail blowout a possibility here?

By wildturkeycanoe 4 December 2016 60

light rail

Looking at the news a few days ago, an article about Sydney’s South East Light Rail project caught my attention. Apparently the cost of the 12km long project, similar in length to ACT’s version, has blown out by over half a billion dollars.

From the Australian Financial review, 30th November 2016: “Some of this increase was due to scope changes and planning modifications, but the majority – $517 million – was due to mispricing and omissions in the business case,” the Auditor-General said.”

Knowing the details of our own business case it seems quite probable that this could possibly happen here. Also, so many other factors in the political and financial landscape may have adverse influence on the project, such as the re-introduction of the ABCC and increasing interest rates. Will the cost benefits of “value adding” along the corridor be as lucrative if our interest rates were to rise substantially over the next three or four years? Will a resulting slump in the housing market due to unaffordable units affect the promised returns to both the government and builders?

Of course the future is always unpredictable and investing in a project this size a gamble, but is Canberra so insulated from the rest of Australia that it can avoid a repeat of this situation, especially when the odds were so slim to begin with?

Sydney’s project had an original cost benefit ratio of 2.5:1 but with the additional costs  it reduces to around $1.90 in returns from a dollar invested. Should our tram cost blowout by half a billion dollars, returns would drop to 0.65:1, a net loss of 35 cents in the dollar.

We must also remember that these cost benefits are not solely generated from light rail but from the boost to the government indirectly from “value adding”.

With a double whammy of falling sales in housing and cost blowouts, this could be a very big hit to Canberra’s finances. I am of course not a financial expert so if anybody feels the need to correct any errors or my interpretation of the facts, in plain English so everybody can understand, please feel free to do so.

I am simply trying to use reason and the figures available to see if this is a possibility for Canberra’s tram project.


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Sydney’s light rail blowout a possibility here?
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dungfungus 10:25 am 20 Dec 16

Now the government has really lost the plot.

http://www.watoday.com.au/act-news/act-government-considers-public-art-river-resnagging-for-northbourne-avenue-trees-20161212-gt9065.html

“Public art along the light rail route” ?

dungfungus 8:40 am 13 Dec 16

This will happen to pedestrians in Canberra also:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-jWeHXJK8w

dungfungus 9:49 pm 12 Dec 16

JC said :

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

KentFitch said :

David Pollard said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to see the actual penalty clauses in the contract relating to time/distance.

Do you have the details, JC?

I can’t find any mention of the travel time using search terms like “travel”, “transit”, “duration”, “26”, “24” (I thought it was 12km in 24 minutes for an average speed of 30km/h), “minutes”, and combinations of the above, and a few more. I may have been looking in the wrong schedules, though I tried a handful that sounded plausible.

Here is the contract documentation if anyone wants to have a look. The main contract is 279 pages, and there are 21 schedule documents of varying length released. The schedules are numbered 1-27, plus annexures and attachments (only 1 from 8 of the latter 2 is provided) so I’m not sure if the unreleased documents have this information.

http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts/contracts/capital-metro/2016.xxxx.xxx/clr-stage1

This is just the main contract with Canberra Metro for $939 million. There are other auxiliary contracts, like the certifier and more. Search the pre-July 2016 database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” here: http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts_register_functionality/contracts-search

Search the current procurement database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” by going to http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/home and hovering over “Contracts” and selecting the first submenu item.

There’s a sliding scale of penalties to the operator depending on the number of “late arrivals” as a percentage of “completed services”, calculated monthly. A tram is counted as late at the terminus if it left the other terminus more than 26 minutes before it arrived. It seems from Schedule 3 of the contract that it doesnt matter whether it is 1 second or 20 minutes late, the penalty is the same. It doesnt matter if it is a weekday peak or a weekend service: each carry the same penalty for being late.

The formula in section 8.4 on page 15 of Schedule 3 of the contract shows that there is no penalty if only 2% of services are late. The “Late Services Adjustment” is just one component in the calculation of the monthly payment, but all things being equal:

2% late: no penalty
3% late: 0.357% of monthly payment is forfeited
10% late: 2.9% forfeited
40% late: 13.6% forfeited
90% late: 31% forfeited
100% late: 35% forfeited

All this is subject to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator approving the operating speeds, and presumably, other road safety officials within the ACT Government. Such approval should not be taken for granted, because it would mean the Gungahlin tram which crosses over 20 road intersections would need to travel at a much higher average speed than the new Dulwich Hill-to-Central light rail in Sydney (which operates almost the entire route in its own completely segregated “right of way”, only rejoining the road system at Darling Harbour).

The proposed operating speeds are also, for example, similar to those of suburban “heavy rail” in Melbourne on the Cranbourne line, where trains and cars (and cyclists and pedestrians) are kept separate by level crossings, now being replaced at great expense with tunnels and bridges.

I recall that the maximum road speed on Northbourne Avenue used to be 70 kph.

I am not certain but I recall that this was reduced to 60 kph when the vehicle lanes were narrowed for the placement of bicycle lanes.

I suppose that the trams will forced to go at 70 kph or higher all the way from Dickson to City in order to get anywhere near a 26 minute time.

This will make the synchronising of traffic lights (to facilitate road vehicles and cyclists to keep up with the tram) impossible.

The current 200 series bus can do that run in around 27 minutes in the peak (one or two services the timetable says 30 minutes) and as quickly as 17 minutes off peak.

Can you advise why light rail with fewer stops and not having to compete with road traffic would do it any slower?

Not saying it is going to be quicker btw but looking for one good answer as to why it will be slower?

The busses can legally travel at 80 kph (although we all know they do go faster) where allowed.

The tram’s claimed top speed is 70 kph wherever it is.

That still doesn’t actually answer the question, because as you rightly pointed out the maximum speed along Northborne (and Flemmington Road) is 70km/h, with some 60 sections and a short stretch of 80 too splattered in. So why will it be slower? And don’t say the 80 section as buses don’t get any speed there as it is.

By rights even with the same top speed light rail should be quicker, as the trams have a better acceleration and deceleration curve (though of course some Action Drivers think they are Fangio reborn), plus they will get priority, less stops and their own dedicated right of way.

I predict the dedicated right of way for the trams will be short-lived because of the gridlocking of cross-streets that will result.

dungfungus 9:46 pm 12 Dec 16

KentFitch said :

JC said :

By rights even with the same top speed light rail should be quicker, as the trams have a better acceleration and deceleration curve (though of course some Action Drivers think they are Fangio reborn), plus they will get priority, less stops and their own dedicated right of way.

The specifications for the Urbos 3 tram give maximum acceleration of 1.2m/s/s (up to 27km/hr) and service brake deceleration of 1.3m/s/s . The Canberra tram will be the same or very similar.

Buses typically have maximum acceleration from rest of at least 1.6m/s, and typically over 2m/s/s but to avoid inconveniencing standing passengers, an acceleration of 1m/s/s is often the limit. Similarly when braking, although road vehicles, even b-doubles, are required to be able to be able to sustain deceleration at 2.8m/s/s and achieve peak deceleration of 4.4m/s/s, buses with standing passengers risk annoying and injuring them if they brake that rapidly.

Whereas the majority of bus passengers are seated, about 2/3rds will be standing on the tram.

The tram has a shallower/slower maximum acceleration and deceleration “curve” than a typical bus.

Here’s a simulation of trip time, done using the an interpretation of signal priority based on vague (and unfinalised) information in the EIS:

http://canberraautonomouscars.info/tramSim.html

Each run is randomised, so you need to run it many times to get averages. If indeed, all signals give the tram (in each direction!) absolute priority, trip times will be lower, but road congestion and road travel times, including for ACTION buses in the associated road network, will greatly increase (as the EIS documents confess).

You can change the maximum speed, but the Office of National Rail Safety Regulator will probably set it, at least initially.

I have travelled on the same sort of trams in Europe.

As the speed increases the passenger comfort level decreases dramatically. I doubt very much if they will even reach 70 kph running in Canberra.

dungfungus 9:43 pm 12 Dec 16

JC said :

dungfungus said :

Post-Gold Coast tram failure comment in Gold Coast Bulletin today:

“Experts are scratching their heads over the unprecedented outage, with the lightning strike thought to be a world first. The G: Link is one of only a few light rail systems in the world in a thunderstorm-prone region.”

No problems to worry about here in Canberra. We don’t have those pesky thunderstorms.

Over to you JC.

I recall a few years back a thunderstorm that brought down trees on Northborne Ave blocking the road. Not much difference is there?

We are talking about lightning hitting crucial infrastructure, JC.

Gum trees blowing down (or just randomly falling) are a minor problem all over Canberra. The SES usually have them cleared up within an hour of two.

The Gold Coast event disabled the whole network for 48 hours and problems are still not resolved.

After you review the Gold Coast network problems perhaps you can assure all Territorians that we are not going to be exposed to the same event here.

KentFitch 9:21 pm 12 Dec 16

JC said :

By rights even with the same top speed light rail should be quicker, as the trams have a better acceleration and deceleration curve (though of course some Action Drivers think they are Fangio reborn), plus they will get priority, less stops and their own dedicated right of way.

The specifications for the Urbos 3 tram give maximum acceleration of 1.2m/s/s (up to 27km/hr) and service brake deceleration of 1.3m/s/s . The Canberra tram will be the same or very similar.

Buses typically have maximum acceleration from rest of at least 1.6m/s, and typically over 2m/s/s but to avoid inconveniencing standing passengers, an acceleration of 1m/s/s is often the limit. Similarly when braking, although road vehicles, even b-doubles, are required to be able to be able to sustain deceleration at 2.8m/s/s and achieve peak deceleration of 4.4m/s/s, buses with standing passengers risk annoying and injuring them if they brake that rapidly.

Whereas the majority of bus passengers are seated, about 2/3rds will be standing on the tram.

The tram has a shallower/slower maximum acceleration and deceleration “curve” than a typical bus.

Here’s a simulation of trip time, done using the an interpretation of signal priority based on vague (and unfinalised) information in the EIS:

http://canberraautonomouscars.info/tramSim.html

Each run is randomised, so you need to run it many times to get averages. If indeed, all signals give the tram (in each direction!) absolute priority, trip times will be lower, but road congestion and road travel times, including for ACTION buses in the associated road network, will greatly increase (as the EIS documents confess).

You can change the maximum speed, but the Office of National Rail Safety Regulator will probably set it, at least initially.

JC 8:35 pm 12 Dec 16

dungfungus said :

Post-Gold Coast tram failure comment in Gold Coast Bulletin today:

“Experts are scratching their heads over the unprecedented outage, with the lightning strike thought to be a world first. The G: Link is one of only a few light rail systems in the world in a thunderstorm-prone region.”

No problems to worry about here in Canberra. We don’t have those pesky thunderstorms.

Over to you JC.

I recall a few years back a thunderstorm that brought down trees on Northborne Ave blocking the road. Not much difference is there?

JC 5:04 pm 12 Dec 16

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

KentFitch said :

David Pollard said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to see the actual penalty clauses in the contract relating to time/distance.

Do you have the details, JC?

I can’t find any mention of the travel time using search terms like “travel”, “transit”, “duration”, “26”, “24” (I thought it was 12km in 24 minutes for an average speed of 30km/h), “minutes”, and combinations of the above, and a few more. I may have been looking in the wrong schedules, though I tried a handful that sounded plausible.

Here is the contract documentation if anyone wants to have a look. The main contract is 279 pages, and there are 21 schedule documents of varying length released. The schedules are numbered 1-27, plus annexures and attachments (only 1 from 8 of the latter 2 is provided) so I’m not sure if the unreleased documents have this information.

http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts/contracts/capital-metro/2016.xxxx.xxx/clr-stage1

This is just the main contract with Canberra Metro for $939 million. There are other auxiliary contracts, like the certifier and more. Search the pre-July 2016 database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” here: http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts_register_functionality/contracts-search

Search the current procurement database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” by going to http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/home and hovering over “Contracts” and selecting the first submenu item.

There’s a sliding scale of penalties to the operator depending on the number of “late arrivals” as a percentage of “completed services”, calculated monthly. A tram is counted as late at the terminus if it left the other terminus more than 26 minutes before it arrived. It seems from Schedule 3 of the contract that it doesnt matter whether it is 1 second or 20 minutes late, the penalty is the same. It doesnt matter if it is a weekday peak or a weekend service: each carry the same penalty for being late.

The formula in section 8.4 on page 15 of Schedule 3 of the contract shows that there is no penalty if only 2% of services are late. The “Late Services Adjustment” is just one component in the calculation of the monthly payment, but all things being equal:

2% late: no penalty
3% late: 0.357% of monthly payment is forfeited
10% late: 2.9% forfeited
40% late: 13.6% forfeited
90% late: 31% forfeited
100% late: 35% forfeited

All this is subject to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator approving the operating speeds, and presumably, other road safety officials within the ACT Government. Such approval should not be taken for granted, because it would mean the Gungahlin tram which crosses over 20 road intersections would need to travel at a much higher average speed than the new Dulwich Hill-to-Central light rail in Sydney (which operates almost the entire route in its own completely segregated “right of way”, only rejoining the road system at Darling Harbour).

The proposed operating speeds are also, for example, similar to those of suburban “heavy rail” in Melbourne on the Cranbourne line, where trains and cars (and cyclists and pedestrians) are kept separate by level crossings, now being replaced at great expense with tunnels and bridges.

I recall that the maximum road speed on Northbourne Avenue used to be 70 kph.

I am not certain but I recall that this was reduced to 60 kph when the vehicle lanes were narrowed for the placement of bicycle lanes.

I suppose that the trams will forced to go at 70 kph or higher all the way from Dickson to City in order to get anywhere near a 26 minute time.

This will make the synchronising of traffic lights (to facilitate road vehicles and cyclists to keep up with the tram) impossible.

The current 200 series bus can do that run in around 27 minutes in the peak (one or two services the timetable says 30 minutes) and as quickly as 17 minutes off peak.

Can you advise why light rail with fewer stops and not having to compete with road traffic would do it any slower?

Not saying it is going to be quicker btw but looking for one good answer as to why it will be slower?

The busses can legally travel at 80 kph (although we all know they do go faster) where allowed.

The tram’s claimed top speed is 70 kph wherever it is.

That still doesn’t actually answer the question, because as you rightly pointed out the maximum speed along Northborne (and Flemmington Road) is 70km/h, with some 60 sections and a short stretch of 80 too splattered in. So why will it be slower? And don’t say the 80 section as buses don’t get any speed there as it is.

By rights even with the same top speed light rail should be quicker, as the trams have a better acceleration and deceleration curve (though of course some Action Drivers think they are Fangio reborn), plus they will get priority, less stops and their own dedicated right of way.

KentFitch 3:08 pm 12 Dec 16

JC said :

KentFitch said :

JC said :

rommeldog56 said :

GCS14 said :

Ah. Here we see the difference between construction costs and running costs. SO no, not quite what you stated.

Yes – but a “blow out” none the less because the true cost (including running costs) was never mentioned or quantified in 2012 election promise. ACT Labor/Greens must have known what the running costs estimate would have been – there are examples all round the world about that. Regardless, construction costs went from m$614 to m$938. Pretty big increase.

But its a moot point, it doesn’t matter now.

Umm construction cost has not gone to $938m. Construction cost is $707m, the $938m figure you just used is the total value of the contract including 20 years of running and finance expressed in today’s terms. Massive difference.

The misrepresentation delivered by the phrase “In today’s terms” is completely understandable given the enormous effort the ACT Government has undertaken to frame the cost in misleading terms. When people say “in today’s terms”, they almost always mean an inflation adjusted amount, for example “in 2016 dollars”. It is sensible to do this, because a dollar in 2025 is not worth as much as a dollar in 2016, due to inflation.

But there is another, completely different way in which a dollar in 2025 is not worth as much as a dollar in 2016, which has nothing to do with inflation. It is to do with the fact that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: a dollar in your hand NOW is worth more than a promise of a dollar some time in the future, because that future dollar may never eventuate (your bank could go under, your debtor may skip town) AND you cant spend that dollar you don’t have (without incurring additional borrowing costs).

So, there are two entirely different concepts: one is adjusting for inflation so that you can compare dollar amounts over years, and the other is adjusting for risk and the inconvenience of not having the ready cash now.

The first concept requires you to anticipate the rate of inflation, the second concept requires you to additionally anticipate risk and rates of return on money, and is commonly referred to as the “discount rate”. Some accounting standards define it in some situations – for example, Australian Accounting Standard AASB 119 suggests that the discount rate for assessing government super liabilities to be the Commonwealth Government bond rate (which, by the way, opens a massive “black hole” in the ACT budget – see slide 20: http://www.governanceinstitute.edu.au/magma/media/upload/ckeditor/files/IGPA%20Public%20Lecture%20-%20ACT%20Budget%20(Final).pdf )

Now, in coming up with the $938m cost of the project, the ACT Government DID NOT use the normal “inflation adjusted dollars” approach, which they would do if they were forecasting, say, budget to run Canberra Hospital in 2025. If they had done so, the 2016$ value of project payments to the consortia would have been just over $1.3B in 2016 dollars (deflating 2018-19 capital payment and all availability payments back to 2016 dollars, assuming an inflation rate of 2.2%). Instead, they completely inappropriately applied a discount rate of over 6%, with the sole purpose of not to better inform, but to spruik a cost below $1B. The Liberals also tried to mislead by quoting the non-inflation adjusted figure of $1.6B-$1.8B.

Not included in the $1.3B ($2016) project payment to the consortium are expenditure-to-date on the Capital Metro agency (I think around $100m up to the end of this financial year), future project management costs some associated road works, park and drives and the major works at Cape St Dickson (land acquisition and construction for the bus/tram transport interchange). Also not included is a blow-out in costs due to circumstances carefully defined in the contract, for example, due to unanticipated asbestos removal.

I think we will be fortunate if the construction and 20 year operation of the one tram line costs less than $1.5B (in 2016 dollars…). By way of comparison, the all-up cost of running ACTION across dozens of routes (and school and special services) is less than twice the cost of operating this single 12km tram route.

Re Action their costs don’t include capital costs such as new buses which are not procured out of operating money. They are always procured using special capital procurement. Same with depots and interchange capital works. Nor does their costs factor in road construction and maintenance including upgrades and modifications dedicated to buses. Take the Canberra ave bus lane works for example.

So would be interesting for the capital costs of light rail to be treated in the same way and then do a comparison of actual running costs.

According to the latest budget papers [ http://apps.treasury.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/869984/H-TCCS-Budget-Statements.pdf ] the total cost of running ACTION, including the government’s user payment, an extra subsidy (to cover the operating loss) AND depreciation and amortisation of capital assets ($11.4m) was $141m. The ACT Government’s “capital injection” (new capital) was $18.5m. So, the government effectively added another $7m in capital (in excess of the depreciation in the operating statement expenses), making the cost of keeping ACTION going, including subsidy and capital of about $148m.

ACTION uses of the ACT roads, and hence, an “all up” cost of ACTION must include ACTION’s “share” of the annual ACT roads budget. What share is that? According to http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/9208.0/ motor vehicles travelled about 2920 million km in the ACT in 2014. ACTION buses travelled about 25m km in 2014-15 (according to http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/ghost-action-buses-cost-act-government-nearly-12-million-in-one-year-20151002-gjzyi2.html, including “dead running”). That is, ACTION buses travelled less than 1% of the total vehicle km, and less than the distance travelled by light commercial vehicles (406 m km) and rigid trucks (45m km). (Other buses (Murrays, Keirs, QCity …) apparently travelled about 9m km, according to the ABS.)

What did the ACT spend on roads? According to the 16-17 budget papers, the total expenditure on roads, stormwater, footpaths, car-parks was about $208m, which seems to include about $100m on new capital works for roads. I can’t find how much was spent on stormwater, footpaths or carparks , so for argument’s sake, lets assume the spend on roads was almost all of this: $200m. Hence, on a vehicle-km basis, ACTION’s share of road management, maintenance and capital works was 1% of this: $2m. Maybe you could argue ACTION buses are 3 times longer than a car, so it should be $6m.

In any case, this “all up” cost of ACTION (including capital, subsidy and its share of road expenditure) is unlikely to be more than $150m per year. At an optimistic $1.5b in 2016 dollars for the light rail over 20 years, its annual cost will be at least $75m per year (again, 2016 dollars). This is the source of my assertion that “the all-up cost of running ACTION across dozens of routes (and school and special services) is less than twice the cost of operating this single 12km tram route”.

bj_ACT 10:57 am 12 Dec 16

dungfungus said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

KentFitch said :

David Pollard said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to see the actual penalty clauses in the contract relating to time/distance.

Do you have the details, JC?

: .

Not saying it is going to be quicker btw but looking for one good answer as to why it will be slower?

The busses can legally travel at 80 kph (although we all know they do go faster) where allowed.

The tram’s claimed top speed is 70 kph wherever it is.

I think David was correct earlier that the average speed over the full run (including stops) will be about 30kmh. My experience driving next to light rail in Gold Coast and overseas, is that no light Rail vehicle ever travels at it’s top speed. I guess it’s like your car that has a top speed of 200kmh (but your real top speed is actually around 120kmh). I’m sure many people have driven alongside light rail at around 50kmh.

My brother in law who works for GoldLinq say’s it takes 100 metres to stop a light rail vehicle travelling at 60kmh (but much less stopping distance at 45kmh). In areas without fences around the rail lines the drivers have to be diligent as a lot of people walk across the lines at various places. So the Canberra Light Rail, will not travel near capacity speed for most of the journey.

I agree with JC that the light Rail will be quicker or as quick as the Buses (certainly with a decade of population growth). However, a dedicated Bus lane with traffic light priority would probably be quicker than the Light Rail (due to the longer than average distances between stops in Canberra, light rail definitely better than busses when Stations are within a few hundred metres of each other).

dungfungus 10:44 am 12 Dec 16

Post-Gold Coast tram failure comment in Gold Coast Bulletin today:

“Experts are scratching their heads over the unprecedented outage, with the lightning strike thought to be a world first. The G: Link is one of only a few light rail systems in the world in a thunderstorm-prone region.”

No problems to worry about here in Canberra. We don’t have those pesky thunderstorms.

Over to you JC.

dungfungus 10:27 am 12 Dec 16

It’s a good thing we don’t have electrical storms in Canberra.

Then again, erecting a network of wires and steel supporting infrastructure may just be the thing that attracts them:

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/light-rail-services-resume-gold-212820144.html

dungfungus 7:47 am 12 Dec 16

JC said :

dungfungus said :

KentFitch said :

David Pollard said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to see the actual penalty clauses in the contract relating to time/distance.

Do you have the details, JC?

I can’t find any mention of the travel time using search terms like “travel”, “transit”, “duration”, “26”, “24” (I thought it was 12km in 24 minutes for an average speed of 30km/h), “minutes”, and combinations of the above, and a few more. I may have been looking in the wrong schedules, though I tried a handful that sounded plausible.

Here is the contract documentation if anyone wants to have a look. The main contract is 279 pages, and there are 21 schedule documents of varying length released. The schedules are numbered 1-27, plus annexures and attachments (only 1 from 8 of the latter 2 is provided) so I’m not sure if the unreleased documents have this information.

http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts/contracts/capital-metro/2016.xxxx.xxx/clr-stage1

This is just the main contract with Canberra Metro for $939 million. There are other auxiliary contracts, like the certifier and more. Search the pre-July 2016 database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” here: http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts_register_functionality/contracts-search

Search the current procurement database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” by going to http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/home and hovering over “Contracts” and selecting the first submenu item.

There’s a sliding scale of penalties to the operator depending on the number of “late arrivals” as a percentage of “completed services”, calculated monthly. A tram is counted as late at the terminus if it left the other terminus more than 26 minutes before it arrived. It seems from Schedule 3 of the contract that it doesnt matter whether it is 1 second or 20 minutes late, the penalty is the same. It doesnt matter if it is a weekday peak or a weekend service: each carry the same penalty for being late.

The formula in section 8.4 on page 15 of Schedule 3 of the contract shows that there is no penalty if only 2% of services are late. The “Late Services Adjustment” is just one component in the calculation of the monthly payment, but all things being equal:

2% late: no penalty
3% late: 0.357% of monthly payment is forfeited
10% late: 2.9% forfeited
40% late: 13.6% forfeited
90% late: 31% forfeited
100% late: 35% forfeited

All this is subject to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator approving the operating speeds, and presumably, other road safety officials within the ACT Government. Such approval should not be taken for granted, because it would mean the Gungahlin tram which crosses over 20 road intersections would need to travel at a much higher average speed than the new Dulwich Hill-to-Central light rail in Sydney (which operates almost the entire route in its own completely segregated “right of way”, only rejoining the road system at Darling Harbour).

The proposed operating speeds are also, for example, similar to those of suburban “heavy rail” in Melbourne on the Cranbourne line, where trains and cars (and cyclists and pedestrians) are kept separate by level crossings, now being replaced at great expense with tunnels and bridges.

I recall that the maximum road speed on Northbourne Avenue used to be 70 kph.

I am not certain but I recall that this was reduced to 60 kph when the vehicle lanes were narrowed for the placement of bicycle lanes.

I suppose that the trams will forced to go at 70 kph or higher all the way from Dickson to City in order to get anywhere near a 26 minute time.

This will make the synchronising of traffic lights (to facilitate road vehicles and cyclists to keep up with the tram) impossible.

The current 200 series bus can do that run in around 27 minutes in the peak (one or two services the timetable says 30 minutes) and as quickly as 17 minutes off peak.

Can you advise why light rail with fewer stops and not having to compete with road traffic would do it any slower?

Not saying it is going to be quicker btw but looking for one good answer as to why it will be slower?

The busses can legally travel at 80 kph (although we all know they do go faster) where allowed.

The tram’s claimed top speed is 70 kph wherever it is.

dungfungus 10:33 pm 11 Dec 16

JC said :

dungfungus said :

KentFitch said :

David Pollard said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to see the actual penalty clauses in the contract relating to time/distance.

Do you have the details, JC?

I can’t find any mention of the travel time using search terms like “travel”, “transit”, “duration”, “26”, “24” (I thought it was 12km in 24 minutes for an average speed of 30km/h), “minutes”, and combinations of the above, and a few more. I may have been looking in the wrong schedules, though I tried a handful that sounded plausible.

Here is the contract documentation if anyone wants to have a look. The main contract is 279 pages, and there are 21 schedule documents of varying length released. The schedules are numbered 1-27, plus annexures and attachments (only 1 from 8 of the latter 2 is provided) so I’m not sure if the unreleased documents have this information.

http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts/contracts/capital-metro/2016.xxxx.xxx/clr-stage1

This is just the main contract with Canberra Metro for $939 million. There are other auxiliary contracts, like the certifier and more. Search the pre-July 2016 database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” here: http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts_register_functionality/contracts-search

Search the current procurement database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” by going to http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/home and hovering over “Contracts” and selecting the first submenu item.

There’s a sliding scale of penalties to the operator depending on the number of “late arrivals” as a percentage of “completed services”, calculated monthly. A tram is counted as late at the terminus if it left the other terminus more than 26 minutes before it arrived. It seems from Schedule 3 of the contract that it doesnt matter whether it is 1 second or 20 minutes late, the penalty is the same. It doesnt matter if it is a weekday peak or a weekend service: each carry the same penalty for being late.

The formula in section 8.4 on page 15 of Schedule 3 of the contract shows that there is no penalty if only 2% of services are late. The “Late Services Adjustment” is just one component in the calculation of the monthly payment, but all things being equal:

2% late: no penalty
3% late: 0.357% of monthly payment is forfeited
10% late: 2.9% forfeited
40% late: 13.6% forfeited
90% late: 31% forfeited
100% late: 35% forfeited

All this is subject to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator approving the operating speeds, and presumably, other road safety officials within the ACT Government. Such approval should not be taken for granted, because it would mean the Gungahlin tram which crosses over 20 road intersections would need to travel at a much higher average speed than the new Dulwich Hill-to-Central light rail in Sydney (which operates almost the entire route in its own completely segregated “right of way”, only rejoining the road system at Darling Harbour).

The proposed operating speeds are also, for example, similar to those of suburban “heavy rail” in Melbourne on the Cranbourne line, where trains and cars (and cyclists and pedestrians) are kept separate by level crossings, now being replaced at great expense with tunnels and bridges.

I recall that the maximum road speed on Northbourne Avenue used to be 70 kph.

I am not certain but I recall that this was reduced to 60 kph when the vehicle lanes were narrowed for the placement of bicycle lanes.

I suppose that the trams will forced to go at 70 kph or higher all the way from Dickson to City in order to get anywhere near a 26 minute time.

This will make the synchronising of traffic lights (to facilitate road vehicles and cyclists to keep up with the tram) impossible.

The current 200 series bus can do that run in around 27 minutes in the peak (one or two services the timetable says 30 minutes) and as quickly as 17 minutes off peak.

Can you advise why light rail with fewer stops and not having to compete with road traffic would do it any slower?

Not saying it is going to be quicker btw but looking for one good answer as to why it will be slower?

I agree that is an unknown but how much faster would the busses do it in if they were given the priority traffic lights that the trams are getting?

JC 8:17 pm 11 Dec 16

MERC600 said :

I guess people are as wary as all hell due to our previous large project, the Cotter Dam. This thing kicked off at 140 mill back in 2007 (ACT Audit Office media release 24 JUne 2015).

I don’t have the final completion figure with me, but the crimes at one stage said around the 560 mill mark. And so we now have ICON water in debt by 1.5 billion, and we are starting to see how they want to ease that figure down.

So bring on the tram. Let’s blow ICON water debt out of the water, with a bigger shinier debt. It’s only money.

Think you are getting projects mixed up. The googong pipline was $140m, Cotter dam was $299m with a $64m contingency. Total cost of cotter was $410.5. Source act audit office report page 95.

Also the same report states main reasons for the cost over run was in undetected geological fault which was difficult to foresee and of course the flood which cost $11m. Total over run cost was 13%

Out of intrest the googong pipeline and the googong spillway project were bundled together with the dam expansion and on the 3 projects the total cost over run was 5% which is actaully quite reasonable considering all facts.

http://www.audit.act.gov.au/auditreports/reports2015/Report%20No%206%20of%202015%20Bulk%20Water%20Alliance.pdf

JC 8:00 pm 11 Dec 16

dungfungus said :

KentFitch said :

David Pollard said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to see the actual penalty clauses in the contract relating to time/distance.

Do you have the details, JC?

I can’t find any mention of the travel time using search terms like “travel”, “transit”, “duration”, “26”, “24” (I thought it was 12km in 24 minutes for an average speed of 30km/h), “minutes”, and combinations of the above, and a few more. I may have been looking in the wrong schedules, though I tried a handful that sounded plausible.

Here is the contract documentation if anyone wants to have a look. The main contract is 279 pages, and there are 21 schedule documents of varying length released. The schedules are numbered 1-27, plus annexures and attachments (only 1 from 8 of the latter 2 is provided) so I’m not sure if the unreleased documents have this information.

http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts/contracts/capital-metro/2016.xxxx.xxx/clr-stage1

This is just the main contract with Canberra Metro for $939 million. There are other auxiliary contracts, like the certifier and more. Search the pre-July 2016 database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” here: http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts_register_functionality/contracts-search

Search the current procurement database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” by going to http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/home and hovering over “Contracts” and selecting the first submenu item.

There’s a sliding scale of penalties to the operator depending on the number of “late arrivals” as a percentage of “completed services”, calculated monthly. A tram is counted as late at the terminus if it left the other terminus more than 26 minutes before it arrived. It seems from Schedule 3 of the contract that it doesnt matter whether it is 1 second or 20 minutes late, the penalty is the same. It doesnt matter if it is a weekday peak or a weekend service: each carry the same penalty for being late.

The formula in section 8.4 on page 15 of Schedule 3 of the contract shows that there is no penalty if only 2% of services are late. The “Late Services Adjustment” is just one component in the calculation of the monthly payment, but all things being equal:

2% late: no penalty
3% late: 0.357% of monthly payment is forfeited
10% late: 2.9% forfeited
40% late: 13.6% forfeited
90% late: 31% forfeited
100% late: 35% forfeited

All this is subject to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator approving the operating speeds, and presumably, other road safety officials within the ACT Government. Such approval should not be taken for granted, because it would mean the Gungahlin tram which crosses over 20 road intersections would need to travel at a much higher average speed than the new Dulwich Hill-to-Central light rail in Sydney (which operates almost the entire route in its own completely segregated “right of way”, only rejoining the road system at Darling Harbour).

The proposed operating speeds are also, for example, similar to those of suburban “heavy rail” in Melbourne on the Cranbourne line, where trains and cars (and cyclists and pedestrians) are kept separate by level crossings, now being replaced at great expense with tunnels and bridges.

I recall that the maximum road speed on Northbourne Avenue used to be 70 kph.

I am not certain but I recall that this was reduced to 60 kph when the vehicle lanes were narrowed for the placement of bicycle lanes.

I suppose that the trams will forced to go at 70 kph or higher all the way from Dickson to City in order to get anywhere near a 26 minute time.

This will make the synchronising of traffic lights (to facilitate road vehicles and cyclists to keep up with the tram) impossible.

The current 200 series bus can do that run in around 27 minutes in the peak (one or two services the timetable says 30 minutes) and as quickly as 17 minutes off peak.

Can you advise why light rail with fewer stops and not having to compete with road traffic would do it any slower?

Not saying it is going to be quicker btw but looking for one good answer as to why it will be slower?

JC 7:46 pm 11 Dec 16

KentFitch said :

JC said :

rommeldog56 said :

GCS14 said :

Ah. Here we see the difference between construction costs and running costs. SO no, not quite what you stated.

Yes – but a “blow out” none the less because the true cost (including running costs) was never mentioned or quantified in 2012 election promise. ACT Labor/Greens must have known what the running costs estimate would have been – there are examples all round the world about that. Regardless, construction costs went from m$614 to m$938. Pretty big increase.

But its a moot point, it doesn’t matter now.

Umm construction cost has not gone to $938m. Construction cost is $707m, the $938m figure you just used is the total value of the contract including 20 years of running and finance expressed in today’s terms. Massive difference.

The misrepresentation delivered by the phrase “In today’s terms” is completely understandable given the enormous effort the ACT Government has undertaken to frame the cost in misleading terms. When people say “in today’s terms”, they almost always mean an inflation adjusted amount, for example “in 2016 dollars”. It is sensible to do this, because a dollar in 2025 is not worth as much as a dollar in 2016, due to inflation.

But there is another, completely different way in which a dollar in 2025 is not worth as much as a dollar in 2016, which has nothing to do with inflation. It is to do with the fact that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: a dollar in your hand NOW is worth more than a promise of a dollar some time in the future, because that future dollar may never eventuate (your bank could go under, your debtor may skip town) AND you cant spend that dollar you don’t have (without incurring additional borrowing costs).

So, there are two entirely different concepts: one is adjusting for inflation so that you can compare dollar amounts over years, and the other is adjusting for risk and the inconvenience of not having the ready cash now.

The first concept requires you to anticipate the rate of inflation, the second concept requires you to additionally anticipate risk and rates of return on money, and is commonly referred to as the “discount rate”. Some accounting standards define it in some situations – for example, Australian Accounting Standard AASB 119 suggests that the discount rate for assessing government super liabilities to be the Commonwealth Government bond rate (which, by the way, opens a massive “black hole” in the ACT budget – see slide 20: http://www.governanceinstitute.edu.au/magma/media/upload/ckeditor/files/IGPA%20Public%20Lecture%20-%20ACT%20Budget%20(Final).pdf )

Now, in coming up with the $938m cost of the project, the ACT Government DID NOT use the normal “inflation adjusted dollars” approach, which they would do if they were forecasting, say, budget to run Canberra Hospital in 2025. If they had done so, the 2016$ value of project payments to the consortia would have been just over $1.3B in 2016 dollars (deflating 2018-19 capital payment and all availability payments back to 2016 dollars, assuming an inflation rate of 2.2%). Instead, they completely inappropriately applied a discount rate of over 6%, with the sole purpose of not to better inform, but to spruik a cost below $1B. The Liberals also tried to mislead by quoting the non-inflation adjusted figure of $1.6B-$1.8B.

Not included in the $1.3B ($2016) project payment to the consortium are expenditure-to-date on the Capital Metro agency (I think around $100m up to the end of this financial year), future project management costs some associated road works, park and drives and the major works at Cape St Dickson (land acquisition and construction for the bus/tram transport interchange). Also not included is a blow-out in costs due to circumstances carefully defined in the contract, for example, due to unanticipated asbestos removal.

I think we will be fortunate if the construction and 20 year operation of the one tram line costs less than $1.5B (in 2016 dollars…). By way of comparison, the all-up cost of running ACTION across dozens of routes (and school and special services) is less than twice the cost of operating this single 12km tram route.

Re Action their costs don’t include capital costs such as new buses which are not procured out of operating money. They are always procured using special capital procurement. Same with depots and interchange capital works. Nor does their costs factor in road construction and maintenance including upgrades and modifications dedicated to buses. Take the Canberra ave bus lane works for example.

So would be interesting for the capital costs of light rail to be treated in the same way and then do a comparison of actual running costs.

dungfungus 6:09 pm 11 Dec 16

KentFitch said :

David Pollard said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to see the actual penalty clauses in the contract relating to time/distance.

Do you have the details, JC?

I can’t find any mention of the travel time using search terms like “travel”, “transit”, “duration”, “26”, “24” (I thought it was 12km in 24 minutes for an average speed of 30km/h), “minutes”, and combinations of the above, and a few more. I may have been looking in the wrong schedules, though I tried a handful that sounded plausible.

Here is the contract documentation if anyone wants to have a look. The main contract is 279 pages, and there are 21 schedule documents of varying length released. The schedules are numbered 1-27, plus annexures and attachments (only 1 from 8 of the latter 2 is provided) so I’m not sure if the unreleased documents have this information.

http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts/contracts/capital-metro/2016.xxxx.xxx/clr-stage1

This is just the main contract with Canberra Metro for $939 million. There are other auxiliary contracts, like the certifier and more. Search the pre-July 2016 database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” here: http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts_register_functionality/contracts-search

Search the current procurement database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” by going to http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/home and hovering over “Contracts” and selecting the first submenu item.

There’s a sliding scale of penalties to the operator depending on the number of “late arrivals” as a percentage of “completed services”, calculated monthly. A tram is counted as late at the terminus if it left the other terminus more than 26 minutes before it arrived. It seems from Schedule 3 of the contract that it doesnt matter whether it is 1 second or 20 minutes late, the penalty is the same. It doesnt matter if it is a weekday peak or a weekend service: each carry the same penalty for being late.

The formula in section 8.4 on page 15 of Schedule 3 of the contract shows that there is no penalty if only 2% of services are late. The “Late Services Adjustment” is just one component in the calculation of the monthly payment, but all things being equal:

2% late: no penalty
3% late: 0.357% of monthly payment is forfeited
10% late: 2.9% forfeited
40% late: 13.6% forfeited
90% late: 31% forfeited
100% late: 35% forfeited

All this is subject to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator approving the operating speeds, and presumably, other road safety officials within the ACT Government. Such approval should not be taken for granted, because it would mean the Gungahlin tram which crosses over 20 road intersections would need to travel at a much higher average speed than the new Dulwich Hill-to-Central light rail in Sydney (which operates almost the entire route in its own completely segregated “right of way”, only rejoining the road system at Darling Harbour).

The proposed operating speeds are also, for example, similar to those of suburban “heavy rail” in Melbourne on the Cranbourne line, where trains and cars (and cyclists and pedestrians) are kept separate by level crossings, now being replaced at great expense with tunnels and bridges.

I recall that the maximum road speed on Northbourne Avenue used to be 70 kph.

I am not certain but I recall that this was reduced to 60 kph when the vehicle lanes were narrowed for the placement of bicycle lanes.

I suppose that the trams will forced to go at 70 kph or higher all the way from Dickson to City in order to get anywhere near a 26 minute time.

This will make the synchronising of traffic lights (to facilitate road vehicles and cyclists to keep up with the tram) impossible.

KentFitch 3:52 pm 11 Dec 16

JC said :

As for light rail priority making congestion worse, currently the bulk of the flow is down Northborne Ave the same direction as light rail will run. There is no need to have tram only priority and hold road vehicles travelling in the same direction (which is a core assumption in Kent’s tram simulation). Unlike bus priority, which is designed for buses to jump other vehicles and get in front, light rail having its own right of way doesn’t need it.

Actually, it is Capital Metro’s own analyses (from their EIS and DA) that unambiguously show it makes congestion worse: they dont attempt to hide this, indeed, they occasionally make a virtue of it. (The (then) Stage 2 DA noted that the increased tram-caused congestion on Northbourne would extend to Barry Dr, Cooyong St, Coranderrk St, , Constitution Av and even Parkes Way, but reflected that despite clearly warning of “compromised performance of the wider road network” that “represents a risk to the Project and wider road network”, the increased congestion would encourage take-up of the tram. )

You can’t blame them for not owning the increased congestion – they see it as a desirable consequence.

To the specific point that there is no need for a tram-only priority phase which stops all other traffic, I have used this in this model of Northbourne/Mouat ( http://canberraautonomouscars.info/simMouat.html ) because that is what the EIS and DA specified. See Vol3 Part 5 of the EIS, removed by the ACT Government from their web site but preserved by the Internet Archive:
https://web.archive.org/web/20160422000016/http://www.planning.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/41352/Capital_Metro_Light_Rail_Stage_1_Draft_EIS_Volume_03_Part_5-Traffic_and_Transport.pdf

Page viii: “At the above intersections, delays would increase due to the signal priority afforded to the light rail. In the Project, proposed priority indicates that if a LRV approaches an intersection in a phase which does not suit the LRV movement, a special LRV only phase is called allowing the LRV to proceed on its route with minimal delay. While this arrangement is desirable the amount of priority results in underutilisation of green time to vehicles due to inefficient phasing.”

Section 3.5 goes into the details – see “Phase T” in which the only traffic is the tram, Figure 3.2 and Figure 3.3 which shows what happens and notes:

“With the introduction of LRV priority (Phase T), there would be the potential to increase delays for general traffic at the intersection to excessive amounts as total green time for vehicles would be reduced with this phase. With a proposed LRV headway of 6 minutes in each direction, and with cycle lengths of 100 seconds to 120 seconds, there would be the potential for Phase T to be called two out of every three phases.

In some situations, the LRV priority phase could activated up to 6 seconds before the LRV enters the intersection. This is a further loss of 6 seconds of green time for critical vehicle movements, on top of the green time loss for public transport priority, and contributing to overall intersection delay in some locations. It is anticipated that refinements to these operations would exist as part of the detailed design phase.”

These LRV only phases are “desirable” because they are the safest approach.

When a LRV priority phase is “injected” into the regular cycle, it is common practice that other “complementary” traffic doesnt get a green because:
– drivers expect and anticipate a fixed cycle – unexpected cycles are a surprise, and in road safety, surprise is to be avoided
– the LRV cycle is very short compared to the normal cycles, and drivers (and pedestrians!) will be surprised by the quick change to red, and surprise is bad..
– if same-direction traffic is given a green in the inserted LRV cycle , the pedestrian green across the Northbourne lanes has to be interrupted, and time made for pedestrians to clear the 3 lanes in each direction before the green can be activated.

It does make a marginal improvement to delays, but it does not recover the lost yellow and red lost time (and the lost utilisation from the green delay and car acceleration) caused by adding an additional phase in 2 out of 3 cycles). It trades off safety against a marginal gain.

Interestingly, the contract documents (Schedule 7, Appendix 8) suggest that the LRT-only phase might now be used only on intersections on the Gungahlin side of Philip Av, but abandoned at Philip Av and south, I guess in an attempt to make a marginal improvement to congestion, at least until the first accident forces a reversion to safest and best practice. At least then it won’t the tram that carries the can for the congestion, but rather it will be the careless drivers and slow pedestrians…

KentFitch 3:18 pm 11 Dec 16

David Pollard said :

dungfungus said :

I would be interested to see the actual penalty clauses in the contract relating to time/distance.

Do you have the details, JC?

I can’t find any mention of the travel time using search terms like “travel”, “transit”, “duration”, “26”, “24” (I thought it was 12km in 24 minutes for an average speed of 30km/h), “minutes”, and combinations of the above, and a few more. I may have been looking in the wrong schedules, though I tried a handful that sounded plausible.

Here is the contract documentation if anyone wants to have a look. The main contract is 279 pages, and there are 21 schedule documents of varying length released. The schedules are numbered 1-27, plus annexures and attachments (only 1 from 8 of the latter 2 is provided) so I’m not sure if the unreleased documents have this information.

http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts/contracts/capital-metro/2016.xxxx.xxx/clr-stage1

This is just the main contract with Canberra Metro for $939 million. There are other auxiliary contracts, like the certifier and more. Search the pre-July 2016 database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” here: http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/contracts/contracts_register/contracts_register_functionality/contracts-search

Search the current procurement database for the Contract Title “Light Rail” by going to http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/home and hovering over “Contracts” and selecting the first submenu item.

There’s a sliding scale of penalties to the operator depending on the number of “late arrivals” as a percentage of “completed services”, calculated monthly. A tram is counted as late at the terminus if it left the other terminus more than 26 minutes before it arrived. It seems from Schedule 3 of the contract that it doesnt matter whether it is 1 second or 20 minutes late, the penalty is the same. It doesnt matter if it is a weekday peak or a weekend service: each carry the same penalty for being late.

The formula in section 8.4 on page 15 of Schedule 3 of the contract shows that there is no penalty if only 2% of services are late. The “Late Services Adjustment” is just one component in the calculation of the monthly payment, but all things being equal:

2% late: no penalty
3% late: 0.357% of monthly payment is forfeited
10% late: 2.9% forfeited
40% late: 13.6% forfeited
90% late: 31% forfeited
100% late: 35% forfeited

All this is subject to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator approving the operating speeds, and presumably, other road safety officials within the ACT Government. Such approval should not be taken for granted, because it would mean the Gungahlin tram which crosses over 20 road intersections would need to travel at a much higher average speed than the new Dulwich Hill-to-Central light rail in Sydney (which operates almost the entire route in its own completely segregated “right of way”, only rejoining the road system at Darling Harbour).

The proposed operating speeds are also, for example, similar to those of suburban “heavy rail” in Melbourne on the Cranbourne line, where trains and cars (and cyclists and pedestrians) are kept separate by level crossings, now being replaced at great expense with tunnels and bridges.

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