Puneet Varma (Editor)

X'Trapolis 100

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Covid-19
Manufacturer  Alstom
Constructed  2002–2019
Number under construction  48 3-car trains
Replaced  Hitachi trains
Entered service  2002
Built at  La Rochelle, France (complete first 10 units), La Rochelle, France (bodyshells for unit 11 onwards) and Alstom Ballarat, Australia (final assembly and fitout)

The X'Trapolis 100 is a single deck electric multiple unit. It is part of Alstom's X'Trapolis family of trains, and is operated in Melbourne, Australia and Valparaíso, Chile.

Contents

First order

In 2000 Connex Melbourne ordered 58 X'Trapolis 100 trains to fulfill a franchise commitment to replace its fleet of Hitachi trains. The first ten units were completely assembled at Alstom's, La Rochelle factory in France, however, from unit 11 onwards, only the body shells were assembled at La Rochelle, with the rest of the train being assembled in Victoria at Alstom's Ballarat facility.

The trains differ from earlier trains on the Melbourne network in the following ways:

  • Doors open when button pressed
  • Sliding doors between carriages
  • 1 pantograph per 3-car train
  • In service

    The first X'Trapolis 100 entered revenue service on 27 December 2002, the last in the first order on 17 December 2004. It ran a special trip from Flinders Street to South Kensington and back to mark the event.

    The X'Trapolis 100 trains are currently being ported to the former M>Train, or ‘Metro South’ lines for revenue service, as the X'Trapolis trains were confined to the former Hillside Trains network before the two networks merged in 2004. Although Melbourne's trains operate as either one or two 3-car units, it was not until September 2007 that the X'Trapolis 100s were permitted to operate as single-units in revenue service.

    The trains have power-operated doors that open when a button on the door is pressed and are closed by the driver or closed automatically after approximately two minutes. The X'Trapolis 100s are the only suburban trains in Melbourne with external destination displays on the sides of the trains, however this feature is also on the Sprinter and VLocity rail motors. By 2013 all first-generation X'Trapolis 100s had been fitted with a newer display system.

    Several trains were given names: Croydon West (primary school that won a naming contest), Don Corrie (deceased railway employee), Flash, Flinders Flyer, Iramoo (primary school that won a naming contest), Melbourne Rocks and Westernport. X'Trapolis 100 863M-1632T-864M-897M-1649T-898M was the first Melbourne train to receive the new ‘Metro’ livery in November 2009, in preparation for the launch of the new suburban operator. When the Connex livery was retired in place of the current Metro design, the Iramoo name (shown on units 851M and 852M) was erroneously written as Imaroo. This spelling is still unchanged as of December 2013.

    On 22 October 2014, the first X’Trapolis 100 commenced operation on the Frankston line, with two weekday morning-peak services, this was expanded to full time services on 20 November 2016. The introduction of X'Trapolis trains on the Werribee & Williamstown lines occurred on the same day.

    Second and third orders

    In July 2007 the Government of Victoria announced that Alstom was one of two companies invited to bid to build 10 new six-car trains for the existing network. Siemens Transportation Systems was the other company, and both were limited to supplying trains that were the same as those already supplied to Melbourne. The Department of Infrastructure found that the new trains delivered less than one additional peak-hour service across the entire network, and had initially lobbied the Government to buy 20 six-carriage trains. In October 2007 the tender was extended to 18 six-car trains, to be delivered by 2010. The tender was awarded to Alstom in December 2007 and the trains were delivered in a staged roll-out from early 2010. In February 2009 an additional order was placed, with 20 more six car trains added, taking the total to 38 trains.

    The first of 19 trains that were built by Alstom in Italy were loaded onto a ship in July 2009, with the first set arriving at Newport Workshops on 24 August 2009. The remaining 19 trains were assembled at United Group's Ballarat plant, under a state government requirement for a minimum of 40% local content. The new trains were originally used in revenue service on lines already cleared for their operation, with Comeng trains on these lines being cascaded across to the other side of the network. However only one Comeng train is used for the morning peak on the Hillside network.

    From a passenger perspective the new trains differed little from the existing X'Trapolis 100s, but there are minor technical improvements for drivers. By late September the new units, numbered 1M-1301T-2M and 3M-1302T-4M, were moved into the open at the Newport Workshops and had been taken out on test runs without any livery applied. By October the train had received carriage numbers and names, with compatibility testing being carried out with a modified member of the existing fleet. By December 2009 the first set had received the Metro Trains Melbourne livery, and was running stopping-all-stations test runs without passengers on the Epping line.

    The second train to be imported was taken to Ballarat immediately after arrival due to floor damage, with Alstom and United Group Rail spending two months making repairs. This train was transferred to Melbourne on 28 February.

    The first train entered revenue service for a few hours on 30 December 2009 despite the claims that train drivers were still having issues with the train, including getting the onboard passenger information display units to work, the train being taken out of service the next day. On 15 February 2010 rail operator Metro planned to reintroduce the train into service, but drivers refused to drive it citing unresolved safety issues. As a result, Metro took the Rail, Tram and Bus Union to the federal industrial tribunal. On 18 February union representatives and Metro management met for private talks before Fair Work Australia, on 20 February an agreement was reached for the train to enter service that afternoon, an event that became a media circus.

    The final train set comprising units 151M-1376T-152M entered service in April 2012.

    Fourth order

    A further order of 42 carriages was made by the government in 2011. The first train from this order was delivered in September 2012, five months ahead of schedule.

    The final set in this order, comprising units 179M-1390T-180M entered service on 14 June 2013.

    Fifth order

    In April 2013, a further 48 carriages were ordered which like the fourth order will have the body shells imported and fitted out at Alstom's Ballarat Workshops, the last sets in this order, comprising 209M-1405T-210M and 211M-1406T-212M, were put into service on 16 October 2015.

    Theses sets have a few seats removed and have 1 marked wheel chair sign near cabs

    Sixth and seventh orders

    In March 2015, a further 30 carriages were ordered, followed in May 2016 by another 30. The next sets have even more seats removed and have four wheelchair spots marked and an extra bar across top The latest sets have a bar around the outside to hold onto.

    Eighth order

    In September 2016, a further 54 carriages were ordered by the Victorian Government, this order continuing the X'Trapolis production line in Victoria until early 2019.

    Seating layout modifications

    As part of its franchise agreement, Metro Trains Melbourne was required to modify the seating layout of all X'Trapolis 100s to have 2+2 seating which allows better passenger flow through the train and more standing room. Later orders of X'Trapolis 100s were delivered with this modified layout. Passengers on the Lilydale/Belgrave Line refer to trains made of these cars as the 'Kosky Express' in reference to the late Lynne Kosky MLA whose indifference to the needs of the eastern suburb's populace resulted in less seats for the 40km trip into Melbourne by train.

    Mechanics

    Mechanically, these trains are very different from the previous generation Melbourne trains. The X'Trapolis 100 was the first EMU in Melbourne to have computer-controlled traction, braking and safety systems. A continuous electrical circuit runs along the length of the train, which, when energised allows the train's emergency brakes to release. The circuit will be de-energised by a number of events, such as the driver releasing a vigilance control, applying an emergency brake or passing a signal at stop. This will cause the train to apply all brakes.

    Lines operated

    Since delivery the X'Trapolis 100s have been confined to the former Hillside Trains network, namely the Alamein, Belgrave, Glen Waverley, Hurstbridge, Lilydale and South Morang lines. The Bayside Rail Project enabled their operation on the Frankston line, which commenced on 22 October 2014, and works to introduce them on the Werribee line and Williamstown line have been completed as of 20 November 2016.

    Incidents

    On the morning of 11 November 2015, an individual later identified as a then Metro employee gained access to the cabin of an X'Trapolis 100 6-car set stored at the depot of Hurstbridge station and drove it into a derail block, causing it to be derailed. 927M received the most damage in the incident from ploughing into an adjacent X'Trapolis set, whilst other carriages and track equipment were damaged. All carriages are expected to be back in revenue service after being repaired.

    On 6 February 2016, 9M derailed its trailer car just before Rushall station city-bound, where the track is a very tight 30km/h bend. The South Morang line was partially suspended while the car was placed back onto tracks.

    Valparaíso

    Valparaíso has had an interurban passenger train system since the 19th century, but it could not be called a metro due to an infrequent train service and other shortcomings. In 1999 construction began on the current system, tearing down the old stations and building new ones with a homologous design. In Viña del Mar, a tunnel more than five kilometres in length was constructed. The new trains, specially made for the new system, arrived in Chile on 22 February 2005 and the old system was decommissioned on 30 June 2005.

    References

    X'Trapolis 100 Wikipedia


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