The term metro is so misused nowadays that I prefer the term rapid transit,
which does describe a particular design of railway operation. Again I refer
to the two articles I posted for clarification of the distinction between
rapid transit and suburban or commuter railway. You can see that the
designer of the Perth system, an international specialist in metros, had no
problem there referring to the Perth system as a metro because that's how
he designed it and Sydney's is definitely one.
Another point. A rapid transit operation or metro isn't defined by the
number of lines it has nor the distances covered. One can see in the
article about Rapid Transit that these points are not raised at all. This
nonsense argument we see being raised by Sydney metro opponents that metros
are for short distances, suburban for long distances is just that, complete
nonsense. The important thing about long distances is that the most people
possible (meaning not skipping stops and leaving people behind) can cover
them in the quickest time possible and that's precisely what the Sydney and
Perth metros do. The further they go, the better they get. The further the
suburban systems go, the worse they get, even semi-expressing which makes
it even worse because a lot of customers get left out. Horses for course,
best train for the job, etc.
Which brings me to the Cronulla line semi-expresses, a classic case of
what's wrong with the suburban method. Not enough capacity, not enough
frequency, so people get left behind because they can't get on the trains,
so the trains have to skip stops to cope, leaving many people with the poor
alternative of change to a slow, stopping train. It reminds me of the
changeover from trams to buses in Sydney. The trams stopped at every stop,
had lots of capacity and good frequency. The buses were short on capacity
and couldn't increase frequency because they'd end up in a conga line, so
they had to introduce express buses to cope - and people get left behind.
The urban planners also consider this significant because they want every
centre/suburb to have equal access to the same good PT, so they need
all-stops trains. Can't do this with the suburbans, they'd take ages to get
anywhere. The metro has an ultimate capacity of over 40,000 people per hour
per direction, the suburban about 24,000. The metro can get to the outer
edges of the metropolis about 15 minute faster than even semi-expressing
suburbans. That saves commuters a half hour a day. A pity we can't convert
the rest of the suburban system. Maybe we could run it like Melbourne's
with better-performing three-door single deck trains. I suspect that may
end up being the long term solution on the Sydney suburban system.
On Monday, 6 June 2022 at 11:56:04 UTC+10stuart....@... wrote:
> The term "Metro" seems to have been seized by corporate and marketing
> types in recent years and used in their attempts to sell a train or rail
> line to the wider community as something sleek, futuristic, glossy, etc.
> However a Google search turns up Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain
> de Paris, the Paris Metropolitan Railway Company Ltd which is shortened to
> Le Metropolitain or Metro (which opened 120yrs ago). Interestingly, the
> same article says the term Metro is an example of a genericized trademark
> and has been adopted in many languages "...making it the most used word for
> a (generally underground) urban transit *system*."
> The metro marketing enthusiasts espouse "high capacity, high speed, high
> frequency" trains as attributes that poop all over your regular suburban
> operation. I've not visited Paris but I have used the London tube. On any
> one line there, could the trains be described as high capacity? No, they're
> all quite small carriages marshalled (from memory) as 6 or 8 car sets,
> depending on the line. High speed? Hardly, they don't attain any great
> speed but they're probably the quickest way around that big city so using
> that criteria, yes to high speed. High frequency? On the centre section of
> each line they run every 2 minutes or so in the peak so yes to frequency
> although there is some short working involved so the outer ends of each
> line miss out somewhat.
> So does any one or two lines anywhere qualify as a Metro? Well nothing is
> legislated so any individual is free to label anything as he or she sees
> fit so if you want to brand Sydney's suburban line to Penrith as a Metro,
> you absolutely can! (Not sure what you'll do to justify all those
> intercity's, coal trains and the Indian Pacific though...) But if we're
> talking about what seems to be internationally accepted convention, then
> it's systems or networks with certain features that are Metro, not
> individual lines.
> That being the case, then Perth is the closest we have, although it's more
> accurate to describe it as a high performance (rapid acceleration, hard
> braking) suburban system, yes a "metro in waiting"!
> The automated suburban line in Sydney may morph into a metro some time in
> the future, if enough lines are added to make it a true system and not what
> is currently planned which is one long north-west to south-west line and a
> short east-west one.
> On Sun, Jun 5, 2022, 23:37 Daniel Bowen danie...@...> wrote:
>> Thanks Tony.
>> I'm still not sure how Perth meets those criteria (and I appreciate there
>> are shades of grey, and yes you're right, everyone has a different
>> Perth's rail headways are mostly 15-30 minutes, not exactly high
>> frequency except in peak. Not all trains stop all stops, a number of lines
>> have express services.
>> Is it fast? A quick comparison of the Fremantle line to Melbourne's
>> Sandringham line (which of course is run by an operator with the name
>> "Metro" but is really a suburban rail line) indicates similar length and
>> average speed (37.4 km/h vs 35.8 km/h). Obviously Perth has some faster
>> lines along the freeways.
>> Interesting paper, thanks for that.
>> But I'm afraid I'm not seeing what makes it a "metro".
>> On Sun, 5 Jun 2022 at 22:51, TP histor...@...> wrote:
>>> Perth and Sydney Metro systems are rapid transit systems. This article
>>> explores the concept in some detail.
>>> There are variations in detail and in names given to the system but the
>>> common factors include high capacity, close headways, stopping at all stops
>>> and very quick journey times. The conversion of the Perth system to a metro
>>> (rapid transit) system is described in this paper by its principal creator.
>>> Suburban or commuter rail is a different beast, although there are
>>> naturally overlapping characteristics. Be warned, 1,001 different railway
>>> enthusiasts will come up with 1,001 different arguments to challenge these
>>> definitions, which is fair enough because there are inevitably grey edges
>>> according to the requirements of different individual cities. However, the
>>> basic concepts are distinct.
>>> Tony P
>>> On Sunday, 5 June 2022 at 22:26:47 UTC+10danie...@... wrote:
>>>> Hey Tony, I'm interested to know how you classify a "metro" vs a
>>>> "suburban rail system", and thus how Perth has transitioned from one to the
>>>> I still think of Perth's network as suburban rail, along with
>>>> Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney Trains. Sydney Metro is clearly
>>>> On Thu, 2 Jun 2022 at 14:21, TP histor...@...> wrote:
>>>>> It is pretty much the same as other metros I've used, but probably
>>>>> best to compare it with other automated metros. It doesn't quite have the
>>>>> acceleration and deceleration of Prague but I think not many would! It's
>>>>> more comfortable than most, more like Perth which was lucky enough to
>>>>> replace its entire suburban system with a metro system. Sydney and Perth
>>>>> metros are evenly matched for performance given the same parameters
>>>>> (station spacing, number of stops).
>>>>> However, in situations like Sydney where there are two different types
>>>>> of system running side by side doing the same job, the comparison is valid.
>>>>> The metro smokes the suburban system on every criterion: speed and journey
>>>>> time, capacity, frequency, reliability and customer satisfaction. A better
>>>>> opportunity to compare will of course be when that line opens through to
>>>>> Bankstown and the other lines start opening, particularly Metro West.
>>>>> Melbourne will have its turn before too long.
>>>>> Tony P
>>>>> On Thursday, 2 June 2022 at 13:13:25 UTC+10eme...@... wrote:
>>>>>> The other point is that metro operations should ideally be compared
>>>>>> to other metro systems.
>>>>>> How does Sydney compare to Paris, Washington, Prague, for example?
>>>>>> If it's worse than these, explanations must be sought. If, otoh, it
>>>>>> is better, then let's not be worried.
>>>>>> I'm also more concerned that in cities like Melbourne and Sydney,
>>>>>> the rail system is trying to do the work that metros do elsewhere. Or, in
>>>>>> the case of Adelaide, heavy rail is trying to do the work of trams on
>>>>>> several routes. Using the wrong mode for the job always means
>>>>>> inefficiencies that can be used to scrap that mode.
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