Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is Richlands designed for steam trains?

Richlands - Choo Choo!
On the 5th of March 2011, the first steam train visited the recently completed Richlands station. It is fairly common knowledge that steam trains have to change between the ends of the train at termini, with the stream engine "running around" the carriages in the platform. A single track crossover at each end of Richlands station allows steam engines to change between the ends of the train, and thus Richlands is suitable for steam train operation.

However, electric trains (Electric Multiple Units) do not have an engine, and only the driver needs to change ends. To use an electric train terminus at full capacity, double track crossovers are required on the approach to the station, instead of one. Use of double track crossovers allows for trains to be reversed in both platforms. Allowing 8 minutes for the driver to change ends, the use of two platforms allows for the reversing of 11 trains per hour, instead of only 5.5 if one platform is in use. Unfortunately, Richlands isn't designed for this purpose as it does not have a double crossover on approach! Now, it is possible to reverse a train beyond the platforms at Richlands whilst another train is reversing in the platform, but that is a rather sub-optimal way of operating a railway.

So it seems that despite Steam Trains being retired from regular service 42 years ago, the track layout at Richlands is actually more suitable for reversing the occasional steam train, than it is for running electric trains at high frequency. Only in Queensland!

PS: Still waiting for TransLink Tracker Q2 2010/11.


  1. Are you sure that is a problem?

    Richlands will only be the terminus for a few years. Once the line extends to Springfield, there presumably won't be any more Richlands terminators, except perhaps if they are doing trackwork beyond Richlands.

  2. During on-time operation it probably isn't too much of an issue, particularly due to the restrictive track layout between Corinda and Darra. However, if there are delays, then there is less opportunity for service recovery.

    Many other rail systems provide double crossovers at temporary termini, so why not in Queensland?


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