RE: Sydney Light Rail Outage: Overhead Wiring Issues Cause Commuter Chaos In Sydney
  Mick Topp

To put this in perspective, some years ago I was a high voltage switching operator for an energy utility and my assistant and I got a call saying that an 11kV main had come down during a storm onto a car and caravan in an industrial area and was still energised as the HV feeder had automatically reclosed after the initial fault.
We were there within 15 minutes and while we ensured that the occupants remained in the vehicle which was spectacularly discharging across the wet tyres, we ascertained that the fallen main was between the first air break switch on the feeder and the substation, so even as we were racing around to the sub to open the oil circuit breaker we were calling in on the radio to get the switching confirmed in case we had missed something in the crappy conditions. By the time it was confirmed we already had the OCB opened and disconnected and were back at the air break ready to open it as well.

After testing that the main was de-energised we cut it clear of the vehicle and made sure that the couple and their kids in the car were OK.

Within 5 minutes the overhead line crew arrived and started repairing the wire and we reversed the switching once they had finished.

This all took less than an hour from receiving the call.

A properly set up organisation should be prepared for these incidents and have expert crews instantly mobilised.

They squawk about safety but the train incident is ridiculous. A well trained driver or guard should know that healthy people could jump clear and hop away with no ill effects as long as they didn’t walk normally, or they could use a fibreglass ladder or plank to get them out safely. Any elderly or infirm passengers could be carried out by a strong, healthy person or emergency services person and if they couldn’t, at least they wouldn’t be suffocating because the doors would be open.

I don’t think sitting in a sealed train for hours in summer is good safety management by the operator.


Mick in Brisbane who has trained people in this stuff

From:tramsdownunder@... tramsdownunder@...> On Behalf Of Matthew Geier
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2023 9:33 AM
Subject: Re: [TramsDownUnder] Sydney Light Rail Outage: Overhead Wiring Issues Cause Commuter Chaos In Sydney

I've been sent a photo of the failed bit of overhead - not at liberty to repost so don't ask.

Looks like a piece of parafil or it's attachment gave way resulting in a dropper arm hanging below the contact wire in the Chinatown area.

Had the failure not been noticed it could have easily ripped a pantograph off making the incident much more complex.

After they started turning back cars at Central Chalmers, apparently one of the points at Central decided to die adding to their challenges.

Points failures are happening so often there is a 'points reliability enhancement' project underway. Seems the mechanisms are too easily clogged up with dirt and sand.

The Panania incident ripped off a pantograph AND a hatch cover. Not clear what order it happened, but they managed to pull down the catenary as well as the contact wire.

As passengers couldn't be trusted not to 'self evacuate' into a space that had potentially live wires in reach, the passengers had to wait over an hour in a train with no ventilation, non openable windows and closed doors, till overhead crews could 'safe isolate' the accident site.

It took them most of Saturday to repair the damage.

On 12/3/23 10:09, Greg Sutherland wrote:

L2/L3 CBD and South East Lines between Central and Circular Quay closed for 5 hours 30!