New Waverley Escalators Flawed

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DaveNewcastle

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They haven't all been working at any one time since their installation at the New Year, have they?

Quote "One of the problems with fixing the escalators has been their heavy usage". Ah well, that would explain everything. Its the passengers' faults. Why can't people just walk up and down the traffic ramps and leave the escalators alone?

As for 'a software glitch' that can only be fixed by contracting for a new system, I'm surprised. Who was the supplier of the control system software that cannot be fixed?
 

HSTEd

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Once upon a time the railway company would have its own department that wrote control software for things like that, and would therefore know exactly what to do to fix whatever problems.

But this is progress I suppose.
 

DaveNewcastle

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I see that the main contractor, Morgan Sindall, have a policy in place to ensure that their supply-chain of subcontractors meets adequate standards; in fact, they have a 3-tier grading, with "Strategic" Partners being the highest standard. The requirement for a "Strategic" Partner is a minimum assessment score of 75% on all previous projects.

In my mind, that allows for quite a high rate of persistent failure in design and delivery to become one of M-S's perferred suppliers. It shouldn't be too difficult to find another control-systems supplier who can get a quarter of their projects wrong!
 

PaxVobiscum

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How complicated does it need to be?

At first I thought:
"Up?/Down?/Stop?"
would cover it, but then I realised one would probably need to add
"Motor Temperature high (in Edinburgh??)" and (definitely)
"Moisture hazard" plus
"help ma boab - too many fat passengers"

But perhaps it really is much more complicated than this. :D
 

John55

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Once upon a time the railway company would have its own department that wrote control software for things like that, and would therefore know exactly what to do to fix whatever problems.

But this is progress I suppose.
No UK railway has ever manufactured escalators in house. From the first installation in Seaforth Sands in the 1900s all escalators have been supplied by companies such as Otis, Kone etc.
 

tom1649

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Why do escalators suddenly need 'software'? I'm sure escalators around the world have run quite reliably for decades without needing it.
 

Blindtraveler

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Why do escalators suddenly need 'software'? I'm sure escalators around the world have run quite reliably for decades without needing it.


one can only asume that its to monitor loadings and maybe switch direction automatically at busy times and or stop them at quiet ones?

My own view is the wrong moddle for the job has been installed. Pax are using them with heavy luggage and one in particular has begun to squeek v v badly!
If this the case, its very sad as yet another Edinburgh transport hub is failing on the job with passenger movement. The other main offender is our otherwise good bus station which has 2 escalators which even when new were not quite up to it.

Slightly O/T after nearly 5 weeks in opperation I finally managed to clear all 3 up escalators consecutively for haulage yesturday night :) :)
and yes I know im sad and perhaps mental but it shows how bad they are!

 

tom1649

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Perhaps they should have used whoever London Underground uses. Their escalators must have to work extremely hard - harder than the Waverley ones.
 

thelem

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clicky
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Given that this is a new installation these should still be under guarantee from their manufacturer, so there shouldn't be any cost to the TOC/farepayer.

I don't understand their 'too busy' excuse though. Surely they aren't that busy that you couldn't shut down a pair at a time outside of peak periods?
 

Clip

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one can only asume that its to monitor loadings and maybe switch direction automatically at busy times and or stop them at quiet ones?
To add they probably have sensors to monitor the speed they are going at also,Id imagine a fully laden escalator with a few suitcases on it would place greater pressure on the motors driving them if they stayed at one speed and thus slowing it somewhat so it has to change.

pure speculation on my part.
 

flymo

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In my admittedly rather limited experience of such devices, many new escalators installed these days have inverter control of the drive motor(s) to allow for more efficient power consumption, constantly varying the current to the motors to maintain optimum performance.

Gone are the days of simply a motor and a switch, things are way more technical complicated these days....:D
 
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Blindtraveler

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clicky
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Given that this is a new installation these should still be under guarantee from their manufacturer, so there shouldn't be any cost to the TOC/farepayer.

I don't understand their 'too busy' excuse though. Surely they aren't that busy that you couldn't shut down a pair at a time outside of peak periods?


agreed, and I'd go as far as to suggest shuting all 3 banks down and getting rite in a wonner. Lets face it, wev managed without for this long. And maybe banning heavy luggage too?
 

PFX

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I moved from Embra years ago but I worked in the Bad Morale hotel and had a 'panoramic' window view of the Waverley Steps from my basement room. I never once thought that escalators would be installed there as it was assumed if you couldn't face the gruelling ascent, that you would take the vehicle ramps to the front. There were many ocassions that I came back from a gig in Glasgow and was faced with that climb, much the worse for wear.

Interestingly enough, or not, I managed to shower the steps in broken glass when I tried opening one of the rather large windows in the room and it fell out the frame. Luckily enough, there were no people using the stairs at the time or I could have been on the end of a very large claim.
 

Schnellzug

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Once upon a time the railway company would have its own department that wrote control software for things like that, and would therefore know exactly what to do to fix whatever problems.

But this is progress I suppose.
once upon a time, Escalators didn't need Software.
This is why everything these days costs too much.
 

michael769

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But perhaps it really is much more complicated than this. :D
These days escalators are expected to do clever things, like slow or even stop if no one is using them. This is done to save energy. Yes it seems adding complex control systems that consume more power than is saved by stopping the motor saves energy.
 

eastwestdivide

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On the "heavy use" thing, to be fair, the Herald article makes it clear that it's heavy in the sense of "used all the time, so we only have the wee small hours to fix it", rather than too much weight.
 

jopsuk

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Yes it seems adding complex control systems that consume more power than is saved by stopping the motor saves energy.
Do the control systems use more power than is saved though? Or is that just an assumption pulled out of somewhere dark and smelly?
 

John55

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It might interest some of you to know that some escalators have features like regenerative braking to reduce overall energy consumption, This is only for down escalators of course but is indicative that an escalator is not such a simple piece of equipment as some seem to think.

To address another comment that at one time escalators didn't need software. This is true but the alternative might involve a great number of relays and electromechanical devices all of which are a major source of faults and need maintenance.

Do not confuse poor design and implementation (of whatever kind) with "all software is a bad and all electromechanical design is good". At least a software fault can be fixed without getting a pneumatic drill or angle grinder out!

If there was no software there would not be a forum like this to winge on.
 

michael769

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Do the control systems use more power than is saved though? Or is that just an assumption pulled out of somewhere dark and smelly?
Well I cannot, of course, speak for Waverley's system.

We looked at a similar system, and found that the electronic controller's 24-hour power (actual as opposed to the manufacturers rather optimistic ratings) consumption was such that it required the system to be in power saving mode for 14 hours of the day to break even.

For our application downtime was closer to 6 hours so clearly it increased consumption - enough that we decided to remove it to save energy. Energy saving is very much in fashion at the moment when it comes to marketing, and vendors like to push it heavily. Like anything that needs to be heavily marketed it requires a lot of caution and cynicism before one commits.

We never did manage to get the vendor to explain to us why an electronic micro controller needed to consume 300w of power - six times as much as my laptop!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Anyway back to Waverl Station.

Large complex systems often have teething problems when they are first put in. These escalators are no different - I am confident that given time they will be tuned so that they work more reliably.

Hopefully Network Rail's contract negotiators were on the ball and the financial liability for the teething issues is falling on the contractor.
 

michael769

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well if if its not theres sumit badly rong as the contractor in question are still on site working on the lift access
On major contracts, contractors are very keen to slip the most outrageous exclusion of liability clauses in. Most of the time these quite rightly get rejected by the clients legal team.

Sadly on occasion an inexperienced or inattentive negotiator sometimes lets one get past and a client gets royally done over by a contractor. Unlike in the consumer area there is no "unfair contracts" statutory protection for corporate contracts.

Fortunately Network rail have loads of experience in this area so one would expect such a scenario to be unlikely.
 

michael769

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Can someone tell me what the software is for and what benefits it provides (if any)?
As mentioned some modern escalators can sense when people are on them and slow or even stop when they are not required. The power to the motors can be varied according to the load. Other features include the ability to detect and stop on overload to protect the motors from being damaged. Many now also have diagnostic systems so than a technician can connect a laptop and download a history of the device to help identify problems. There is even the option to have them online so that they can send out an automated all for service if they malfunction, not to mention the ability for a control room to operate them remotely.

But even without any of these features - digital electronics are fashionable and you will struggle to find any electrical device these days that does not have some kind of microcontroller. Even the simplest escalator today will have a small lcd display at the end (take a look at the ones in your local shops!), and that requires software to run.
 

Jonny

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Equally, though, surely it would be possible to monitor the motor just by how much (or little) back EMF is being created (because every moving motor doubles up as a generator), and a simple feedback controller could do the job without messy and un-necessarily complicated software.
 
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