Metrolink Update – November 2013 (2) ….

Posted on November 29th, 2013, by The Chairman

Paul Wilkinson writes:

Since Sunday 4 November the Metrolink line of sight working has been extended from Old Trafford Tunnel to the Old Trafford stop near the Cricket Club.

The effect inbound is a smoother transition at the junction with the East Didsbury line so that trams pass their last BR-type signal between Stretford and Old Trafford stops, then work to line of sight through the City centre, with signals only at junctions.

Outbound, the long block section between Old Trafford stop and Stretford stops can cause some bunching of trams at Old Trafford as they have to individually wait for the tram ahead to pass Stretford stop before getting the green light – some three minutes. This does not occur if trams are running to time at six minutes intervals. Originally this bunching used to take place at the ramp near G-Mex when trams came off the road network and joined the railway type block signalling.

The next section to be implemented is likely to be as far as Sale, then to Timperley. Once this update is implemented the Information screens should be able to work.

At a Metrolink Customer Panel meeting on Monday night TfGM Metrolink Director, Peter Cushing outlined some of the issues and plans facing Metrolink. The below summary is courtesy of skyscrapercity.

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Cornbrook: Part of the problem has been found to have been electrical interference from the Network Rail 25kv overhead lines affecting the axle counters – there are 12 axle counters (yellow boxes on legs) around Cornbrook which count the tram axles through junctions, etc. to prevent points moving under trams. The installation of an “earthing farm” to reduce interference appears to be working and there has been a reduction in problems.

East Didsbury: Another double tram will be introduced in the New Year.

Icebreaking: There are now 9 trams equipped as icebreakers and they are progressing with the Teflon trials on parts of the overhead wires and amending software on M5000 trams to reduce the cut outs from voltage changes (a problem which does not apply to the old T68 trams). They are optimistic of reducing problems due to ice in the future.

Timetabling: They are looking at later running on Sundays because of Arena events.

Passenger Information Displays: PIDS should be working as far as Timperley by middle of 2014 and the remaining stops should be sometime in 2015.

Communications: Improvements are coming to the Website and App using a traffic light system for line status. They are introducing an e-newsletter with more details.

Smart Ticketing: To aid busy periods and events, the Get Me There touch screens on posts and at ticket machines will be supplemented by the hand held readers used by Passenger Service Representatives (PSRs) which can also be used as touch in and out points. More readers will be added if needed once patterns are known and paper ticket use diminishes. The group ticket (for 4 people) would be discontinued but family tickets will continue.

Other problems: Technicians are now located at key points on the system at peak times rather than being totally depot-based so they can respond to problems quicker.

Overall Peter Cushing was optimistic that they are moving in the right direction on several fronts.

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