There is some confusion here about how long TfNSW was involved in IWLR.
TfNSW was basically a 2011 renaming of the former NSW Department of
Transport, so in that sense "TfNSW" (i.e. the same mob of people) was
around in the 1990s and should have plenty of experience to call on, if the
then bus-thinking dominated department had not kept the subject of light
rail at arm's length.
It should be said also that the Variotrams, as fixed truck trams, were
unsuitable for IWLR too. Look at the catastrophic history of the Variotrams
purchased for Helsinki. It's just that John Dunn modified the design of the
Sydney ones to the extent that they could cope reasonably well, but they
contributed their share of "angle grinding" on the tracks over the years.
The Variotram design was selected because, at that time, there was no tram
with swivelling bogies AND 100% low floor on the market - so the design
was patched to make it a fair, but not perfect, choice for Sydney. Fully
low floor trams with swivelling bogies did not come onto the market until
after 2008, so there was plenty of opportunity for Alstom and CAF to say to
TfNSW "you need a swivelling bogie tram for this system" and neither of
them had a fully developed swivelling bogie model at the time, so they
would have lost the jobs if this became a sticking point. Fortunately for
them, TfNSW or its consultants did not know anything about the subject to
hold them to a standard and so we have what we have today.
If you look at the specifications for modern fixed truck trams, somewhere
in the small print (unless the manufacturers' spin doctors have erased it
altogether) you'll see the caveat that these trams are suitable only for
systems with a minimum horizontal curve radius of 25 metres. The minimum
radius on the Central Station loop is 20 metres. Draw your own conclusions
as to which type of tram should have been purchased for Sydney.
On Wednesday, 11 May 2022 at 10:41:30 UTC+10 jewiwa wrote:
> Correction, David: TfNSW is expert in 'modern light rail'. Don't you dare
> use the dirty word 'tram' in its presence!
> *From:*tramsdo...@... tramsdo...@...> on
> behalf of David McLoughlin mcloug...@...>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, 10 May 2022 11:13 PM
> *To:* TramsDownUnder tramsdo...@...>
> *Subject:* [TramsDownUnder] Re: Alstom Angle Grinder
> > The line opened in August 1997. Since then it's had one generation of
> I forgot to add, I recall reading in this group that the Varoiotrams were
> redesigned specially to cope with the profiles of that curve. If I
> recollect correctly, the tram operator was advised of the need for
> modifications and listened to the advice.... I recall the advice even came
> from members of this grouo.
> TfNSW was not involved in the establishment of that original line and only
> became the owner when Gladys (bless her) succeeded in making a start on the
> new George Street lines. It was thus unable to stuff it up from the
> beginning. I presume TfNSW had a similar contempt for that original line
> as it had/has for the George Street lines.
> David McL.
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