Back in September I wrote a post on better Newmarket Station Transfers, following up from this & the many comments debating the issue I decided try answer the mystery of Platform 2 once and for all.
On the 22.11.2016 I received a reply to my LGOIMA (Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act) request
Thank you for contacting Auckland Transport (AT) on 25 October 2016 requesting the following information: “What is the reason that Platform 2 at Newmarket cannot be used, and has any investigation taken place to better utilise platform 2.”
Auckland Transport can confirm that platform 2 is currently not in use for health and safety reasons related to how the door control system was designed and configured on the current fleet of trains. At present, although the doors can be opened on the right, or left hand side independently, the door close system works on both sides of the train at once, thus closing all bar the Local Door.
In normal circumstances the Train Manager (TM) will open the doors on one side of the train. At the time of departure the TM places a key in the doorway they are operating from. This door then becomes the Local Door and remains open once the TM has ensured that it is safe to do so and has closed all of the other doors on the train. By keeping the Local Door open, the TM is then able to undertake the second, mandatory safety check to ensure that no one is trapped in any of the doors and that it is safe for the train to depart. Once this assurance has been gained the TM can then close their Local Door and give the departure signal to the Driver.
At Newmarket, if the train is standing with the doors open on both sides and the TM is working from their Local Door on Platform 3, once they have undertaken their first safety check on Platform 3, the TM presses the Door Close button from their ‘Local Door’ (which is located on the Platform 3 side of the train) the door system automatically closes all of the doors on both sides of the train, aside from the Local Door.
This means the doors on Platform 2 could potentially close on or trap a customer as no safety check has been made. Additionally, although the TM is able to make the mandatory second safety check on Platform 3, there would be no doors open on the Platform 2 for the TM to ensure that it was safe for the train to depart.
This, of course is not a safe method of operation and is not permitted. This situation has been recognised as an issue by both Auckland Transport and Transdev and thus Platform 2 at Newmarket has never been formally commissioned, is not equipped with Passenger Information Display and is not included within the Transdev Railway Safety Case as an operational platform. AT are working with Transdev, KiwiRail and NZTA to agree a safe method of operating, to support the commissioning of Platform 2.
Any investigations would have to include, but is not limited to:
- A review of Departure sequencing from Newmarket.
- An understanding of how this may affect Timetable resiliency, Station Dwell Time, and Terminal Congestion.
- Signal sighting requirements from P2.
- Installation of, and upgrade to, a number of required Signalling and Public.
- After these, and other identified requirements have been satisfactorily concluded, Transdev Auckland, would be required to submit a variation to their safety Case for approval from the regulatory bodies.
We trust the above information has addressed the matters raised however, should you believe that we have not responded appropriately to your request, you have the right in accordance with section 27(3) of the LGOIMA to make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman to seek an investigation and review in regard to this matter. If you have any further queries please contact Auckland Transport on 09 355 3553 quoting Official Information request number CAS-432585-S8M8M4.
Yours sincerely Brendon Main Group Manager AT Metro Operation
So what have we learnt, we have learnt that
- Doors can be opened on both sides.
- That with with the right upgrades & training opening the doors on both sides is perfectly feasible.
- That the doors can be opened on just P2 for Northbound Services with even simpler upgrades such as signal sighting and passenger information.
In my post I wrote about opening the doors just on the P2 side for Northbound services, & just for P3 for Eastbound services to allow greater transfer accessibility for those transferring between the Onehunga/Southern & Western Lines, commentators discussed opening the doors on both sides as a solution as well.
What this reply shows us is that both options are feasible, with the option of doors only opening on the side for easiest transfer is very feasible.
I encourage AT/Transdev/Kiwirail to quickly implement either the option I suggested, or the opening on both sides option, as it will make the Network just that little bit better for the users.