The locally designed and built VLocity fleet has marked a major milestone, clocking up 15 years of service and over 370 million kilometres travelled. Read more
Bombardier Transportation Australia has had a solid year in spite of the pandemic, thanks largely to their commitment to local manufacturing. Rail Express speaks to ANZ President, Wendy McMillan.
New VLocity trains are now in service on Victoria’s regional network.
The nine new trains join the existing fleet and are an upgrade on the original design which has been carrying passengers throughout the state since the first cars entered service in 2005. Read more
In the 2020-2021 budget unveiled by federal Treasurer Josh Frydenburg, the total infrastructure pipeline for the next 10 years grew to $110 billion, with a $14 billion increase this year. Read more
Bombardier will provide maintenance services for 636 Bombardier Movia metro cars currently being delivered for Singapore’s North-South and East-West Lines.
The maintenance contract extends Bombardier’s provision of rollingstock and services to the city, with the company providing two orders of metro cars.
The contract is the second services contract of this scope for Bombardier in Singapore, after being awarded a 10-year maintenance and spares support contract for 32 Innovia Automated People Mover (APM) used on the Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit line.
The Movie metro trainsets will arrive from 2021 and are being manufactured in China by the Bombardier and Changchun Railway Vehicles joint venture.
Jayaram Naidu, president of Southeast Asia region, for Bombardier Transportation said the company would support the growth of Singapore’s public transport network.
“We are proud to continue playing such a major role, contributing to Singapore’s public transport network and supporting our customer’s ambitious expansion plan to grow its rail network to 360 km by the 2030s.”
Naidu said the company would ensure the trains maximise their availability.
“We will maintain their assets to the highest levels of reliability and availability throughout their lifecycle and ensure that the trains move people safely and on-time to their destinations.”
Earlier in September, Bombardier also won the contract to enhance the communication system on currently in service Movia rollingstock on the Singapore Downtown line. The upgrades cover digitalising the dynamic route map display from LED to LCD, installing train control monitoring system and automatic track inspection system software.
“This new contract to boost the performance and functionality of the MOVIA metro fleet on Singapore’s Downtown line is testament to Bombardier’s pioneering technology advances in train optimisation and upgrades for our customers. Singapore has always been a showcase for Bombardier’s innovative mobility solutions, from driverless technologies to TCMS methodologies,” said Naidu.
The driverless Movia metro trains on the Downtown line operate on one of the longest automated systems.
In Adelaide, Bombardier have developed an in-house remote diagnostics system.
For over 15 years, the South Australian (SA) Department of Planning, Transport and infrastructure (DPTI) and Bombardier Transportation (BT) have been working together to ensure the safe and efficient running of heavy rail fleets. Their aim is to provide the traveling public with high levels of customer satisfaction and increased availability, by working closely and listening actively to feedback to develop a deep understanding of SA’s specific needs.
Reliability is perhaps the highest priority when it comes to the operations of networks and ongoing rollingstock maintenance and performance is key.
Keeping trains on the tracks and moving passengers safely is a cornerstone of any operation and through BT’s through life support, intrinsic knowledge of the SA network, and true collaboration with DPTI, BT has been able to continue to provide high levels of mean distance between failure (MDBF) and ensure fleet performance.
These realities are front-and-centre for both DPTI and BT, which has manufactured and has the contract for the ongoing maintenance of Adelaide’s EMU fleet. The A-City fleet, currently comprised of 22 three carriage sets, with another 12 on order, were the first electrical units to operate on the Adelaide network.
Introduced in July 2013, with the first entering service in February 2014, the fleet has begun to require modernisation to improve services to the traveling public, through implementation of technical enhancements in the through life support of the vehicles.
According to Todd Garvey, Bombardier Transportation’s head of sales, Australia and New Zealand, a unique solution was required to update the fleet and keep performance of the trains at the high level required for the Adelaide network.
“The system allows real time analysis of signals that can ensure the vehicle is safe to run without attending site,” said Garvey.
The remote diagnostics solution can measure an array of vehicle specifics, including engine speed, temperature, oil pressure, HVAC temperature, converter diagnostics, and other faults.
With this information provided to remote maintenance managers, faults can be reset while a train is in service.
“The quick benefit seen by all is being able to reset faults remotely in traffic such as HVAC and convertor issues; these improve on time running and passenger comfort,” said Garvey.
Not only does the system increase uptime but works to enhance vehicle safety. One example of this is having remote awareness of the door safety interlock. The remote diagnostics solution allows for this safety critical element to be monitored and fixed without returning to a maintenance facility.
A COLLABORATIVE HOME-GROWN SOLUTION
While remote diagnostics are not unique to this fleet, the solution is a demonstration of value creation through collaborative engagement between DPTI and BT, and has empowered BT to develop a system that is based on its local knowledge of the conditions in which the A-City fleet were operating. As a relatively small fleet, the return on investment in implementing and off-the-shelf solution was prohibitive.
“Therefore, it was necessary to engineer a bespoke solution to maximise the return on investment to get to a point of providing real benefit to the operation,” said Garvey.
In addition to supplying and manufacturing the A-City fleet, BT has also provided maintenance services out of Adelaide’s Dry Creek railcar depot.
Site general manger for Bombardier Transportation at Dry Creek Brenton Valladares said the local expertise that BT has in SA was essential for this project.
“Our local experts Carl Parr and Graham Schier – an electrical engineer and IT guru respectively – have together been with Bombardier Transportation for over 45 years across the world,” said Valladares. “Graham is a shopfloor electrician, born and bred in Adelaide, apprenticed by BT with exceptional IT skills that were identified and leveraged for the project. This combination of using in-house talent from both the shopfloor and engineering function to deliver a high-quality solution make this project unique.”
Parr and Schier worked with BT’s local partners and global network to develop a custom-built solution to run real-time remote diagnostics on the A-City fleet.
With capital investment and a true partnership approach with the SA government, BT developed the concept and the system integration with third-party suppliers. How the system works is that onboard equipment is networked via the existing service port of each system to a hardware gateway. This gateway is then connected to a secure remote server. The requested data is sent to an alternate server hosted by Hasler that analyses the signals, looking for data matches that align with predetermined events. Hasler also supply the data logger hardware and platform event diagnostics.
“One of the key challenges was networking the legacy systems into the program. These were overcome with some reverse engineering. The support from DPTI on this project has been marvellous and their ongoing backing of innovation, rail in SA, and BT is something we value greatly.” said Valladares.
When the data aligns with the predetermined events an alert is sent via email or other notification to the maintenance facility. Two full time team members are dedicated to monitoring and reviewing the system now that it is in place.
As the A-City fleet has undergone further modernisation, one of the elements to be aware of was the learning curve for drivers. By taking these diagnostics out of the train cab and into the hands of remote maintenance personnel, drivers are supported to focus on the new elements of the trains.
This new technology is a great asset for both Bombardier and DPTI said Garvey.
“With these upgrades and changes occurring across multiple systems in the fleet, remote access provides real time information, thereby reducing the learning curve for the drivers, this is a great asset for us and DPTI” said Garvey.
Another unique facet of the maintenance and upkeep of the A-City fleet is the structure of the depots. Adelaide’s mix of electrified and unelectrified lines has meant that the Dry Creek depot is unelectrified. This means that when maintenance does need to occur, the EMUs are hauled into the facility. Having remote diagnostics enables access to the vehicle’s systems without needing to go into the yards as often.
“We have also seen improved turn-around times for maintenance due to having an improved understanding of the faults prior to the asset arriving at Bombardier’s facilities,” said Garvey.
“In addition, there are reduced nuisance faults (less time on NFF) and more cars remaining in traffic. We are also able to reset faults in service, so that maintenance can be planned at an appropriate time.”
With the system now rolled out across the fleet, the system has doubled the KPI that was set for it in parallel with other project work. The system has now reached figures of above 100,000 MDBF, highlighting the effect that the delivery of local ingenuity, backed up by global expertise, can have on a unique train fleet.
Bombardier Transportation’s Todd Garvey sat down with Rail Express to discuss the mobility solutions provider’s approach to the booming local light rail market.
Australia, already home to the largest tram network on the planet, has become a hotbed for light rail developments in recent years. With new projects opened across multiple cities in the last five years, the project pipeline remains strong.
Despite this rapid development of a range of new opportunities for light rail vehicle (LRV) manufacturers in the region, Bombardier Transportation’s Todd Garvey told Rail Express the company doesn’t see its role changing drastically. Instead, the company plans to continue to rely on the qualities that have made it a successful player in the local market for years.
“There is a range of projects coming up that have a huge amount of focus for our business that we are excited about,” Garvey, the company’s head of sales for Southeast Asia and Australia, said.
“We’re focused on maintaining our role as a market leader in the supply and end- to-end manufacture of local content for Australia’s LRV needs. We’re working hard to ensure our local LRV manufacturing teams and indeed supply chain have a good, solid pipeline of work ahead of them.”
Maintaining the strength of the local supply chain has long been a key focus for Bombardier in Australia.
“Bombardier is in a unique position given our local manufacturing and supply chain for LRVs,” Garvey continued.
“Given Bombardier has been in this market for so long there is a huge amount of engineering and LRV subject matter experts within the business. That means there is an ability to not only identify and resolve the day-to-day challenges but also evolve the local supply chain capabilities for specific LRV requirements.”
The primary manufacturer of LRVs for Melbourne since 2013, Bombardier has now delivered around 85 E-Class trams to the Yarra Trams network, and has a current orderbook that will bring that figure to at least 100 LRVs.
Garvey told Rail Express the E-Class, which is comprised of Bombardier Flexity model LRVs, is the result of the company’s long-term approach to supply chain and market engagement.
“The Flexity is a world class tram,” he said. “They’re DSAPT compliant and built with passenger safety and comfort in mind.”
Beyond safety and comfort, however, the Flexity LRVs running in Melbourne have been developed to suit a network that presents a unique array of challenges for a fleet manufacturer/maintainer.
“Vehicles in Melbourne operate on a vast network that is unique in so many ways,” Garvey explained.
“One major factor is that in many sections of the network the vehicles will be operating on brownfield tracks. Some sections have been in existence for many decades, and in some cases for more than 100 years.”
“This is a natural phenomenon that happens all around the world,” Garvey said, “but in Melbourne it makes it even more important the LRVs are built to withstand these tough conditions.
“Fortunately, the Bombardier Flexity class is designed to suit this environment and has a proven track record in providing safe and comfortable passenger services in Melbourne.
“The car body is robust to suit local network requirements, and has been built to European fire and crashworthiness standards, which enhance the vehicle’s safety levels to that of worldwide leader status.”
ODAS TRIAL PLANNED
Bombardier plans to trial its Obstacle Detection Assistance System (ODAS) with its Victorian partners midway through 2020.
A joint development with the Austrian Institute of Technology, Bombardier’s ODAS uses an array of stereovision cameras focused on the area in front of the LRV, and highly advanced software algorithms which evaluate the vehicle envelope in real time along the track.
As soon as the system detects a considerable risk in front of the vehicle, it can alert the driver using visual and aural alerts.
“The ODAS product is progressing well and is active in the Flexity class in Europe,” Garvey said, ahead of the Victorian trial.
“In Frankfurt alone we have almost 150 systems in service. So far the ODAS platform has accumulated more than 10 million kilometres of passenger services, ensuring new levels of passenger safety and security.”
Bombardier has designed ODAS to be easy to upgrade, and switch in and out, thanks to its decentralised design featuring three separate components.
The first component is the camera unit: three identical stereo cameras within a single housing, mounted onto the inside of the windscreen. The cameras provide the high-resolution imagery and depth perception needed to provide accurate visual data for analysis.
That analysis is carried out in the second component of ODAS, the control unit. The unit is responsible for picture processing and interpretation, as well as additional routines which can provide further functionality.
The third component of the system is called the sync box, and is responsible for energy supply to the cameras, managing inputs and outputs, and providing a watchdog function to the controller. The sync box also acts as the liaison between the system and the tram, taking in vehicle information and delivering hazard warnings when needed.
LOOKING TO CONTINUE GOLD COAST SUCCESS
Bombardier is in discussions to supply vehicles for Stage 3A of light rail on the Gold Coast, and Garvey took a moment to reflect on the success of the 18 Flexity 2 trams Bombardier supplied to the project’s first two stages.
“The Gold Coast vehicles are performing extremely well,” he said. “Between 2014 and December 2019 there have been more than 46 million paid passenger trips on trams on that system, all on Bombardier LRVs.”
A particular point of pride for Bombardier was the performance of the fleet during the Commonwealth Games in 2018.“On some days during the Games they were running for 24 hours straight, in high traffic and warm weather conditions,” Garvey said, “and they did so without any issues.”
The fleet carried nearly 100,000 passengers a day during the Games, more than three times the daily average at the time – a success highlighted proudly by state transport minister Mark Bailey.
“It’s great to see so many people using the light rail network and other public transport modes to travel to events during the Commonwealth Games,” Bailey said in April 2018. “It is clear south-east Queensland commuters have responded well to taking all forms of public transport.”
Just prior to the Games the state managed to commission Stage 2 of light rail on the Gold Coast, which connected the original terminus at University Hospital to the Helensvale railway station – thus connecting the light rail to the region’s heavy rail network.
The results were immediate, with Bailey citing a “massive uptake of heavy rail commuters from both Brisbane and Varsity Lakes” during the games, and more than 180,000 passengers travelling to the Games via the heavy rail network in the Games’ first week.
With that success in the books, in November 2019 Queensland secured a funding package from the federal government to help deliver Stage 3A of Gold Coast Light Rail, further south to Burleigh Heads.
The state has said the 6.7-kilometre extension will require five new LRVs “similar to the 18 current vehicles,” and industry engagement is underway.