Letting agency featured on Channel 4 documentary expelled by ombudsman

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » Letting agency featured on Channel 4 documentary expelled by ombudsman previous nextRegulation & LawLetting agency featured on Channel 4 documentary expelled by ombudsmanManchester firm Property Solutions GB Ltd has failed to pay a TPO award to a disgruntled landlord and is now trading illegally.Nigel Lewis2nd November 201801,837 Views A letting agency featured in a Channel 4 documentary about tenants on housing benefit has been expelled from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) and is now trading illegally.Property Solutions GB is based at a branch in Cheetham Hill, Manchester and featured in the 2016 TV series ‘Britain’s Benefit Tenants’ about the challenges of the city’s lettings market.The company has now been kicked out by The Property Ombudsman after a landlord complained to it about the company’s service, including not responding promptly to queries or providing evidence of charges for repairs and other works made to properties.InvestigationDuring the TPO investigation Property Solutions GB failed to cooperate and provided no evidence to counter the landlord’s claims.The landlord was awarded £2,767 by TPO including £575 in recognition of the avoidable and undue aggravation they suffered.But the letting agency has so far failed to respond or pay the award and has now been expelled.“An agreement between the two Government-approved redress schemes means Property Solutions GB will not be able to register for any form of redress until the award is paid,” says TPO.The business is experiencing difficulties in other parts of operations too. TPO says it has no accounts with Zoopla or Rightmove nor is it a member of any professional organisation. Also, its business accounts are overdue according to records at Companies House.“As a member of TPO agents are obliged to comply with awards made by the Ombudsman, which Property Solutions GB has failed to do,” says Gerry Fitzjohn, Chair of TPO’s Finance & Performance Committee (left).“Consumers should be aware that the company’s website still appears to be active with properties both ‘For Sale’ and ‘To Let’ advertised.” property solutions gb Britain’s Benefit Tenants Channel 4 Channel 4 documentary The Property Ombudsman TPO November 2, 2018Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

Ocean City’s List of Guarded Beaches

first_imgBeachgoers are urged to swim only on beaches protected by lifeguards. The Ocean City Fire Department and the Beach Patrol announced the latest list of guarded beaches.Beaches are guarded from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekends and holidays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Beaches at Brighton Place, Eighth Street, Ninth Street, 12th Street and 34th Street will be guarded for extended hours until 7 p.m. daily.Beginning Monday, the following beaches will be guarded:Seaspray RoadSurf RoadNorth StreetStenton PlaceSt. Charles PlaceDelancey PlacePark PlaceBrighton Place5th Street7th Street (surfing)8th Street9th Street10th Street11th Street12th Street14th Street15th Street18th Street22nd Street24th Street26th Street28th Street30th Street32nd Street34th Street36th Street39th Street42nd Street44th Street46th Street50th Street58th StreetAs per the governor’s guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, please maintain six feet of space between strangers when using the beaches. Avoid large groups.The Ocean City Beach Patrol strongly urges bathers to swim only at guarded beaches. If you have any questions, call 609-525-9200.last_img read more

City Council Takes First Vote For Proposed Public Safety Building

first_imgBy DONALD WITTKOWSKIIn the first formal vote for the project, City Council introduced a bond ordinance Thursday night to pay for architectural design services for Ocean City’s proposed $35 million public safety building.The $1.1 million bond ordinance will allow the city to work with an architect to design the building’s exterior and interior features and also nail down the development cost.City Business Administrator George Savastano said the $35 million price tag is a preliminary estimate based on conceptual plans for the project.The hiring of an architect will allow the city to “drill down” on the cost before Council is asked to approve another ordinance sometime in the future to fund the building’s construction, Savastano explained.Construction on the project is expected to begin in the fall of 2021 and would take about 18 months to complete. A series of preliminary steps must first be taken, including finalizing the architectural designs and hiring the construction contractor through the public bidding process.The bond ordinance unanimously introduced by Council represents the first formal step taken by the seven-member governing body since Mayor Jay Gillian unveiled plans for the project during a town hall meeting on Oct. 24. A public hearing and final vote for the ordinance are scheduled for the Nov. 19 Council meeting.Mayor Jay Gillian wants to modernize the city’s police, fire, emergency management and municipal court operations by building a new public safety complex.The new public safety building would combine Ocean City’s police, fire, emergency management, emergency dispatch and municipal court operations all in one complex. It would occupy most of the block bordered by Asbury and West avenues between Fifth and Sixth streets – the same location currently used for the fire department’s headquarters.The existing fire station at 550 Asbury Ave. would be demolished to create space for the public safety building. In addition, the city plans to tear down the existing police department headquarters at Eighth Street and Central Avenue for downtown parking.Gillian said the old public safety building, which dates to 1890, and the fire department’s headquarters, built in 1983, are simply too outdated to handle the technological demands and complexities of modern police and fire operations.Rising three stories high, the new public safety building would include a parking garage built underneath. There would also be parking in front of the complex on Asbury Avenue.In other business at Thursday’s Council meeting, Savastano and Gillian announced plans for the city to begin using pesticide-free landscaping for all municipal-owned grounds beginning in 2021.Savastano said the move is in response to suggestions from local environmental advocate Donna Moore and other residents for the city to switch to eco-friendly organic measures to take care of the grass, shrubbery and flowers on public property.“We’ve been listening,” he said.Environmental advocate Donna Moore, standing at the microphone, and her supporters use signs to warn the City Council members of the dangers of toxic landscaping chemicals.Gillian has told members of his administration that he wants municipal property to be pesticide-free starting next year, but first the city will study the cost and intricacies of the plan. Savastano said the city plans to issue a report on its findings in 30 days. The report will be made available to the public.“The mayor has directed us to see how it works on all city property,” Savastano said.In an interview after the Council meeting, Gillian said he believes that the city’s goal to go pesticide-free is “the right thing to do.”“I’m all about public safety,” he said. “We have to study it and make sure we do it the right way. But anything you can do to help the environment is a good thing.”As she does at virtually every Council meeting, Moore appeared before the governing body on Thursday to talk about the health hazards of pesticides and fertilizers containing toxic chemicals.Holding handwritten signs that dramatize their warnings about pesticides, Moore and her supporters have been urging Council and the mayor to have the city’s contractors use environmentally friendly methods to control weeds on parks, playgrounds and other public grounds.Moore, who has been appealing to city officials for years, was relieved to hear of Gillian’s plan to stop using pesticides on all public property.Largely based on Moore’s persistence, the city set aside eight of 32 public sites around town last year as a test for organic landscaping techniques.“I’m really grateful to all of you guys for taking this position,” Moore told the Council members and Gillian of the pesticide-free program proposed for all public property.Members of City Council are receptive to plans for pesticide-free landscaping on public property.Some of the Council members praised Gillian for being open-minded to the idea of eco-friendly landscaping.“I think that’s a great next step,” Councilman Michael DeVlieger said.The Council members also thanked Moore for her efforts to educate them and local residents on the dangers of landscaping chemicals. Councilman Jody Levchuk, who has two young daughters, said he and other Ocean City parents appreciate her efforts to help protect their children.“Donna Moore will have a wonderful sleep tonight,” Levchuk said.Also at the Council meeting, Gillian announced that he has reached out to the Humane Society of Ocean City to start a public education program reminding dog owners of the importance of keeping their pets on a leash while walking them on the beach.Gillian noted that he has been receiving numerous complaints from residents about dogs running leash-free on the beaches. Some people have expressed fears of being bitten and want the city to “put the hammer down” on dog owners who don’t restrain their pets, he said.Although dogs are banned on the beaches during the peak summer tourism season, they are allowed to romp on the sand from Oct. 1 to April 30 provided they are on a leash and their owners clean up any messes.The mayor said he believes that even if the city used “a thousand” police officers to patrol the beaches, some owners would not keep their dogs on leashes. Hoping to reduce the problem, he said the city will work with the Humane Society on a public education campaign for dog owners.“You have to take responsibility,” he said of the need for owners to control their dogs.Dogs are allowed on Ocean City’s beaches from Oct. 1 to April 30 provided they are on a leash and their owners clean up any messes. An architectural rendering depicts the front of the proposed public safety building overlooking Asbury Avenue between Fifth and Sixth streets. (Courtesy of City of Ocean City)last_img read more

Motet, Snarky Puppy, & Lettuce Members To Pay Tribute To Herbie Hancock During Jazz Fest

first_imgOver the years, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has evolved into a multi-genre celebration of contemporary live music. However, at its core, the festival–and the various satellite events that take place across the city during the eleven-day musical marathon–is still centered around a love and appreciation for the improvisational jazz music that inspired the modern music community. During this year’s Jazz Fest, keyboard wizard Joey Porter will add to that celebratory vibe with his Herbie Hancock Tribute at Frenchmen Street’s Maison on Sunday, May 6th. With him, Porter is bringing an impressive roster of funk and jazz players from his band The Motet, progressive jazz stalwarts Snarky Puppy, and iconic modern funk-fusion band Lettuce.Porter has been organizing tributes to Hancock–the artist that has influenced him the most in his life–for many years now, always with a rotating lineup and usually in the Pacific Northwest or in Colorado. This past fall, Porter brought his tribute to the NOLA-inspired event Brooklyn Comes Alive, and the lineup he put together had so much fun playing Headhunters-era Herbie Hancock material that he arranged for a similar lineup to join him for this special late-night Jazz Fest show.Porter’s trusted partner in The Motet, Garrett Sayers, and Snarky Puppy/Ghost Note‘s percussive duo, Robert “Sput” Searight and Nate Werth, will all team back up with Porter on bass, drums, and percussion, respectively. Sput has recently joined Hancock’s musical circle, recording with him in the studio and joining him on the road for select dates–which will inevitably bring a certain level of authenticity to his playing while paying homage to the lead Headhunter himself. Finally, a newcomer to the Herbie Hancock tribute universe, Lettuce’s virtuosic tenor saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, will join forces with Porter and company to round out the lineup for this formidable tribute set.[Watch Joey Porter, Robert “Sput” Searight, Nate Werth, Garret Sayers, and special guest Maurice Brown perform Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” at Brooklyn Comes Alive 2017]Tickets for the special tribute to Herbie Hancock are now on sale.[Art by Accepted Perspective – Poster Art by Jimmy Rector]Date: Sunday, May 6th, 2018Artist: Live For Live Music & Nolafunk Present: Herbie Hancock Tribute w/ Joey Porter & Garrett Sayers (The Motet), Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce), Robert “Sput” Searight (Snarky Puppy / Herbie Hancock), & Nate Werth (Snarky Puppy)Venue: Maison – 508 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA 70116Tickets: $30 GA / $55 VIP–gains access to VIP balcony, private bar and expedited entry to the venueTime: Doors 9:30 PM / Show 10:00 PMlast_img read more

Welcoming the world to Harvard

first_imgThere are 25 gates through which thousands of people enter Harvard Yard every day, but with the completion of the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, the Cambridge campus will have a new way for them to experience the University.Thanks to the generous support of the Moise Y. Safra Foundation, the Moise Y. Safra Welcome Pavilion at the entrance of the Smith Campus Center will make the renewed facility an invaluable resource for students, faculty, the local community, and visitors when it reopens in 2018.“The family of Moise Safra has provided the University with a true front door,” said Drew Faust, president of Harvard University. “Thanks to their generosity, aspiring students and their families, as well as visitors from around the world, will come to know Harvard, in part, through a welcoming point of departure at the heart of our campus. We look forward to celebrating the opening of a new common space for the entire community to enjoy.”Safra, a prominent Brazilian philanthropist whose career spanned the worlds of finance and real estate, and his wife, Chella, had three children attend Harvard College and were longtime supporters of the Harvard College Fund. The family also established a chair of economics in 2005, currently held by Professor Jeremy Stein.“Our father always felt that Harvard improved the world and welcomed our entire family. It was a relationship he cherished for so much of his life. What could be a more fitting tribute to his legacy than to return that warm welcome for generations to come?” said his sons Jacob Safra ’92, M.B.A. ’95, and Edmond Safra ’98, members of the foundation’s board.The Moise Y. Safra Welcome Center, and the Smith Campus Center more broadly, are part of Faust’s Common Spaces program. Started in 2009, the program has converted areas across campus — such as Science Center Plaza, the Porch at Memorial Church, the Dudley House patio, and Harvard Yard itself — into informal gathering places.last_img read more

Small media, big payback

first_imgWith a readership in the millions, The New York Times routinely influences public debate on a host of issues through its news coverage.Can a small news outlet of perhaps 50,000 circulation do the same thing?The answer, says Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor Gary King, is that in an age that relies on internet publication and social-media dispersal, even small- to medium-size media outlets can have a dramatic impact on the content and partisan balance of the national conversation about major public-policy issues.In the first large-scale, randomized media experiment of its kind, King and former students Benjamin Schneer, now an assistant professor at Florida State University, and Ariel White, now an assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that if just three outlets wrote about a major national policy topic — such as jobs, the environment, or immigration — discussion of that topic across social media rose by more than 62 percent, and the balance of opinion in the national conversation could be swayed by several percentage points.“For several hundred years, scholars have tried to measure the influence of the media. Most people think it is influential, but measuring this influence rigorously with randomized experiments has until now been impossible,” King said. “Our findings suggest that the effect of the media is surprisingly large. Our study’s implications suggest every journalist wields a major power, and so has an important responsibility.”Those findings, King said, are the result of more than five years of work, much of it spent convincing 48 news outlets to agree to take part in the study. About half of these outlets were represented by the Media Consortium, a network of independent news outlets that was eager to find a way to measure impact and was willing to help.“Much of the work leading up to this study involved finding a way to bridge the cultural divide between journalism and science,” King said. “Through years of conversations, much trial and error, and a partnership with Media Consortium Executive Director Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, we learned to understand journalistic standards and practices, and the journalists learned to understand our scientific requirements. What ultimately made it all work was a novel research design we developed that satisfied both camps.”Credit: Carla Schaffer/AAASThough similar efforts have been tried in the past, they invariably collapsed as journalists chafed at the idea of being told what to report and when to report it. To address the problem, previous researchers fell back on clever tricks, such as studying areas that fell outside the broadcast area of a particular outlet but, because no one knew whether the areas were truly random, were hard to evaluate. Such studies faced many problems, particularly their inability to control for a host of factors such as race, education, or income.“From a scientific point of view, we have to be able to tell the journalists what to publish, and preferably at random times,” King said. “From a journalistic point of view, these scientific requirements seem crazy, and journalists reasonably insist on retaining absolute control over what they publish. The two sets of requirements seem fundamentally incompatible, but we found a way to create a single research design that accomplished the goals of both groups.”It wasn’t only the participation of news outlets that made the study noteworthy, though.“If you’re doing something like a medical experiment, you may randomly assign individual people to one of two groups, and then each person is your unit of analysis,” he said. “But when a media outlet publishes something — no matter how small — the potential audience it could impact includes basically everybody in the country. That means our unit of analysis can’t be a person. It has to be the entire country, which greatly increases the cost of the study.” That means that the equivalent of an entire experiment in many other studies constitutes only one observation in this study.Because collecting each observation was so expensive and logistically challenging, King and colleagues used, and further developed, novel statistical techniques to enable them to collect only as much data as needed. After each massive national experiment they could then examine whether they had amassed enough data to draw reliable conclusions.“That allowed us to keep going until we got to the point where we had exactly as much data as we needed, and no more,” King said. “As it turns out, we ran 35 national experiments that produced 70 observations.”To achieve the randomization needed for the study, King’s team, the Media Consortium staff, and journalists at the 48 outlets identified 11 broad policy areas. They then simulated the tendency of journalists to influence each other and publish stories on similar topics, sometimes called “pack journalism,” by choosing three or four outlets from their participating group of 48 to develop stories together that fell into the same broad policy area.“For example, if the policy area was jobs, one story might be about Uber drivers in the Philadelphia area,” King said. “We would then identify a two-week period where we predicted there wouldn’t be any surprises related to that topic area. So if the president was planning to give a speech about immigration in one of those two weeks, we would not run an experiment on immigration during that time.”Randomization came from researchers flipping a coin to determine which of those weeks would be the publication week, and which the control week.“At first, our outlets didn’t really understand what randomization meant,” said Kaiser. “Our project manager, Manolia Charlotin, and the researchers worked very closely with all the outlets to ensure they followed the researchers’ rules. This was a resource-intensive project for us, but the unexpected benefit was that outlets found they also gained many qualitative benefits from collaborating.”In both treatment and control weeks, King, Schneer, and White used tools and data from the global analytics company Crimson Hexagon to monitor the national conversation in social media posts. (King is a co-founder of Crimson Hexagon; with a previous generation of graduate and postdoctoral researchers, he developed the automated text analysis technology that Harvard licensed to the company.) He explained that this methodology “is used to evaluate meaning in social media posts. So if you have a set of categories you care about, we identify example posts in these categories, which is what humans are good at,” King said. “Then our algorithm can amplify that human intelligence and, without classifying individual posts, can accurately estimate the percent of posts in each category each day.”What they found, King said, was that the effect was larger than anticipated.“The actual effect is really big,” King said. “If three outlets (with an average circulation of about 50,000) get together and write stories, the size of the national conversation in that policy area increases a lot. It’s a 62 percent increase on the first day’s volume distributed over the week, just from these three little outlets.“These national conversations about major policy areas are essential to democracy,” he added. “Today this conversation takes place, in part, in some of the 750,000,000 publicly available social media posts written by people every day — and all available for research. At one time, the national conversation was whatever was said in the public square, where people would get up on a soapbox, or when they expressed themselves in newspaper editorials or water-cooler debates. This is a lot of what democracy is about. The fact that the media has such a large influence on the content of this national conversation is crucial for everything from the ideological balance of the nation’s media outlets, to the rise of fake news, to the ongoing responsibility of professional journalists.”This research was supported with funding from Voqal and Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science.last_img read more

U.S. Clean-Energy Industry Prepares Business-Case Blitz Around Job Creation and Reliability

first_imgU.S. Clean-Energy Industry Prepares Business-Case Blitz Around Job Creation and Reliability FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Axios:America’s clean-energy crowd is looking to shed its climate reputation and appeal more to a Republican-controlled Washington.An unusually broad and diverse coalition of 10 clean-energy associations are organizing a lobbying and advertising push next month to highlight how the industry is creating jobs and providing reliable electricity, with less focus on the sector’s role combating climate change.Clean energy technologies, particularly renewables like wind and solar, have long been known most for their role cutting carbon emissions. With a president who doesn’t think climate change is a problem and both chambers controlled by Republicans, the industry is looking to highlight what else it has to offer on the economic and national security fronts.The groups involved so far: Advanced Energy Economy, Nuclear Energy Institute, Biomass Power Association, American Wind Energy Association, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Clean Energy Business Network, Solar Energy Industries Association, National Hydropower Association, the American Council on Renewable Energy and the Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum. At least two more are expected to sign on next week.The groups are organizing the usual suite of Capitol Hill activities, like lobbying, events with lawmakers and receptions, but also a mini demo fair. At about $500,000, the budget for the week is relatively small. But money goes further with social media advertising and hosting free or lower cost events on and around Capitol Hill. The goal is to make it a yearly thing, say the organizers, which was led by the Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum, the non-profit arm of a conservative group pushing clean energy policies.The coalition wants to ensure its reputation does not remain inextricably linked to former President Obama (even though he jumpstarted the industry’s existence). It’s become common knowledge Trump wants to get rid of almost everything Obama has done on energy and environmental issues.Hot topics to watch:Tax policy. Wind and solar executives will work to ensure Congress doesn’t repeal early a deal it struck in 2015 to extend for five years tax credits for both those industries. Early repeal of those has been floated as a possible way to pay for a tax overhaul if Congress actually pursues it (a big if). Other industries will also be talking about the need to preserve and/or renew tax policies relevant to them.The power grid. By late September, the Energy Department will have likely released its long-awaited study on the reliability of the U.S. electric grid, so expect clean-energy industry officials to focus on defending and boasting their relevance to America’s electricity mix.More: Groups to launch clean-energy lobbying blitzlast_img read more

A look inside the mind of the infamous “Millennial”

first_img 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I’m new here. And I’m a millennial.So naturally on my first day at Weber I got to observe a Millennial panel that focused around their financial habits and banking preferences. Well I have an Alaska Airlines credit card (I’m a sucker for travel points and you can’t knock their companion fare) and 401K, but that is really where my knowledge around financials starts and ends. I couldn’t tell you any details of my 401K, aside from the fact that I got the head nod of approval from my financial advisory (my father); So I figure I’m doing pretty good for myself. It was really interesting for me to sit through this panel and get to see a group of my new coworkers and peers asked questions about how they bank, why they don’t know how to balance a checkbook, and if they know that they should start saving for retirement and not just their next trip to Cabo – because I could relate to every single one.Let’s get back to this blog post…Last month Weber Marketing Group taught the CUES School of Strategic Marketing for managers and executives from credit unions across the country to come and learn about best practices, hear stories from other Credit Union’s successes and leverage current trends in the financial industry. We wanted to kick off the courses for the week by bringing in a target audience that many credit unions struggle to find the right message to resonate with. We are talking about millennials, of course! We put some of our best and brightest millennials from Weber in the hot seat and asked the questions credit unions across the board have been dying to get answers to. The panel was asked a lot of questions about their knowledge of financials and, aside from working in the financial industry and being immersed in banking jargon on a daily basis, the reasoning behind why each individual banks the way they do was surprising to many of the attendees. continue reading »last_img read more

New Amazon facility to take over Central New York warehouse

first_imgAnand Mehta, regional director of Amazon operations, made the announcement with Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon at his daily briefing on the coronavirus. According to our sister station CNY Central it will be bringing at least 1,000 jobs to Clay. With no development, the golf course would pay about $800,000 dollars in taxes over the next 15 years, McMahon said. Even with the tax breaks, economic experts say the warehouse will generate 28% more than that. The fulfillment center will be the “first of its kind” in Upstate New York, McMahon and Mehta said. Employees will work alongside robotic technology to pick, pack and ship customer orders. It will be open by September 2021, in time for the holiday shopping season. CLAY, N.Y. (CNY CENTRAL/WBNG)- Amazon is now making its way to central New York. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, Clay Town Supervisor Damian Ulatowski and Rep. John Katko (R-NY24) joined McMahon at the news conference for the announcement. It’s a $350 million project, McMahon said, which would produce $28 million in tax revenue for local municipalities. The 3.7 million square foot warehouse will be built on the grounds of the Liverpool Public Golf & Country Club off Morgan Road. The warehouse is now being described as a logistics, robotic “state of the art” facility. McMahon was asked about recent protests by Amazon employees over how the company has treated them during the pandemic. McMahon said there are “two sides to every story,” and believes Amazon won’t just be a good neighbor, but “a great neighbor.” Onondaga County approved $71 million in tax breaks over 15 years for the Clay warehouse project. The company will receive $20,000,000 in sales tax breaks, more than $49,000,000 in property tax breaks and nearly $1.7 million in mortgage tax breaks over 15 years. Construction on the warehouse is underway.last_img read more

QR woos passengers with tilting trains

first_imgINTRO: Radical concepts in engineering and interior design are being applied to the tilting trains due to take over Brisbane – Rockhampton services next yearBYLINE: Don Heumiller and Jerry Jirasek*BYLINE: * Don Heumiller is an independent rolling stock design engineer advising Walkers Ltd. Jerry Jirasek is Senior Design Manager for Walkers Ltd.NEXT MONTH will see the roll-out of the first of two six-car tilting trains for Queensland Rail’s trunk passenger route. They mark the culmination of 10 years of upgrading on the 1067mm gauge coastal line from Brisbane to Rockhampton. Passenger traffic doubled in five years following electrification in the late 1980s, notably tourists heading for destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef, and this prompted further investment.With tilt technology firmly established elsewhere, it was a natural choice for the picturesque but curvaceous line, which will be the first in Australia to see regular tilting trains. Designed for 180 km/h, the trains will run at 160 km/h. Journey times fell from 14h to 9h 30min with electrification, and the tilt trains will cut another 2 1??2h, bringing the 622 km trip down to just 7h.In October 1994, QR awarded a A$62·5m contract to a consortium of Evans Deakins Industries, Hitachi and Itochu. Design and construction is the responsibility of EDI’s Walkers subsidiary in Maryborough, with Hitachi supplying traction and tilt equipment.Active tiltJapanese suppliers have considerable experience of 1067mm gauge tilting trains using electric and diesel propulsion; since 1973 some 547 vehicles have been put into service (Table I). The QR tilt equipment is derived from JR-Shikoku’s Series 8000 EMUs.A roller support built into the bogie frame allows the body to tilt towards the centre of curvature. This simple concept was first used for passive tilting, but vehicles built since the late 1980s have been enhanced with active tilt, using servo-controlled pneumatic cylinders between bogie frame and tilt beam.A command unit in each cab is loaded with the track data for the whole route. By monitoring train speed and location data from the station protection AWS track magnets, the leading unit can instruct the tilt controllers on each vehicle. These directly control servo valves supplying air to the tilt cylinders on each bogie (Fig 1).Effective tilting still relies on a low centre of gravity, providing a challenge to the vehicle designers. It was important to limit body mass, so that the existing Japanese bogie design could be used – most suspension and tilting components are configured for this bogie. The low mass had to be achieved within QR’s 1800 kN buffing load limit, against a Japanese standard of 500 kN.Natural tilt also requires accurate lateral location of the centre of mass, so the vehicle sits level in normal running, and does not have a slight tilt either way. The final constraint is a 10% reduction in the width of the kinematic envelope, to avoid any interference with platforms or other fixed structures.One problem with electric tilting trains is keeping the pantograph in contact with the overhead wire. The first Japanese natural tilt vehicles had a fixed rooftop pantograph, and were limited to specific routes where the contact wire stagger was minimised using additional masts. The most common technique uses a support frame between the bogie and pantograph, but this takes up a large space within the body, losing up to eight seats per pantograph.To avoid the loss of space a patented pantograph control system has been developed. This converts the relative lateral motion between the bogie frame and bolster into a vertical shaft rotation, which is then converted back to a lateral movement between the roof and pantograph. On the QR units, the vertical shaft will be housed in the corner of a luggage rack on one car and next to a galley cupboard on the other, with no loss of seats.Body structuresThe trains will be formed of two half-sets, arranged MTM-MTM. Each vehicle will be different, with a range of equipment and facilities which combine to meet the overall requirement (RG 1.95 p41).The bodyshells are made from GradeS301 high-strength stainless steel, with a low carbon content to improve corrosion resistance. Ultimate tensile strength lies in the range of 860 to 1000MPa, and yield strength between 520 and 600MPa. Special attention was paid to the forming and welding of this steel because of the hardness. Roll forming of the main structural members and sheeting increased the material strength through work hardening. As far as possible, fabrication was done by resistance spot welding to avoid heat distortion and maintain steel strength. The underframe bolster and end unit are made from Grade350W/1 high-strength corrosion resistant carbon steel to reduce weight. Paints and sealants are used to avoid corrosion between the carbon and stainless steels.The aerodynamically-styled leading and trailing cars have GRP composite mouldings. There is a one-piece upper moulding, two components covering the ’bull bar’, and a hinged portion over the multifunction coupler. Because only four ends were needed, the normal process of creating wooden moulds was dropped in favour of a fully sculptured foam and resin plug.Considerable effort was required to meet the weight, centre of mass and balance limits. The low profile and low mass affected the bending stiffness, which was partly compensated by making some interior features load carrying. For example, the floor was made from corrugated stainless steel and aluminium, with flexible elements to provide a well damped vibration-isolated composite. To lower the centre of mass, the large extended-range air-conditioning units are squeezed into the underframe, rather than the more conventional rooftop location or a split system. The trailer cars also carry a heavy 25 kV transformer, which resulted in the first bend mode frequency at tare condition being lower than the 10Hz required. This was overcome by incorporating structural window glazing.The design load requirements included an 1800 kN end compressive force and anti-collision force of 1100 kN, combined with a seated passenger load, plus four standees per m2 and a 1·3 dynamic factor. Finite element analysis of a full length half model body structure was performed using Patran pre and post processor and Nastran Analysis Software. Verification on a test rig at Walkers showed good correlation with the FEA results. BogiesThe bogies are being built under licence from Hitachi. The bolsterless design uses self-steering primary suspensions of coil spring and conical rubber elements (Fig 2). Secondary suspension is a combined air spring in series with a rubber element, controlled by levelling valves with a built-in time delay to conserve air.A separate tilt beam sits on top of the bogie frame roller assembly. Besides the main vertical load rollers there are smaller rollers to constrain the beam longitudinally against traction and braking forces. The only other components associated with the tilting system are the air actuator cylinder, an extra lateral damper and a linear displacement transducer. Traction motors are bogie mounted, and drive the axle-mounted gearbox through a compact flexible blade coupling. To minimise noise, measures have been taken to reduce vibration at source. Damping material has been added to the flat areas of the gearbox outer plates, ring damped wheels are used, and the motor cooling fans are designed to avoid resonance.Space constraints on the motor bogies dictated use of wheel-mounted disc brakes with combined hydraulic brake actuator and callipers. These are powered by separate air-hydraulic boosters for each axle. The trailer bogies have conventional axle-mounted disc brakes, but with ’air-off’ spring-applied parking brakes. Where possible, compartments within the bogie frames are used for air reservoirs.Traction and auxiliariesEach motor car will have all four axles powered by 190 kW three-phase AC traction motors. One IGBT converter/inverter feeds each pair of motors, ensuring a high level of redundancy. The equipment is light and compact with low noise emission. As the IGBT requires no external insulation to the cooling units, large capacity de-ionised water heat pipes provide environmentally friendly cooling. No blowers or fans are needed, eliminating any maintenance of rotating parts.Microprocessor controls oversee the traction and braking functions, and record fault data for analysis by maintenance crews. To minimise effects of electromagnetic interference, most cables are enclosed in metallic conduits.To ensure on board services are not interrupted when passing through neutral sections, two auxiliary converters feed a common DC link through the train. For all cases of train speed and neutral section length, only one pantograph will be de-energised at a time. The DC link feeds compact inverters on each car. All large auxiliary motors have their own dedicated inverter with built in soft-start.The air-conditioning unit incorporates humidity control, and has been designed for quick changeover with few mounting points, automatic seals and plug-in electrical connections. Longitudinal ducts above the overhead baggage lockers distribute air to each window area, to ceiling registers and to the end vestibules and toilets.VHF and UHF radio communication will be provided for the train crews, as well as individuallycontrolled public address, intercom and pager systems. Public payphones will beprovided in cars 1 and 5. Interior design The interiors are based on airline concepts, including enclosed overhead lockers to supplement the baggage storage spaces at the end of the cars. GRP mouldings are used extensively, presenting an easily maintained and attractive finish. Aluminium trihydrate is added to achieve an acceptable fire rating. The moulds were treated to provide a surface texture effect.Interior partitions and doors are clad with melamine-faced aluminium. Seating and partitions are solidly fixed to the sub-structure, rather than to the flexibly-isolated lightweight low-noise floor. High quality aircraft seats are used, with the rotating and reclining first class seats incorporating armrest tables. An armrest on all seats has control for reading lights, music selection and plug for headsets, while first class seats also have attendant call buttons. Passengers in both classes will have access to hearing aid loops, phone and fax services, videos, music and radio programmes.Pneumatic sliding-plug external doors are coupled with pneumatically operated folding entrance steps to suit the various platform heights along the route. Inter-car gangways are 1m wide, and without doors. Sound transmission to the saloons is minimised by a double bellows and internal saloon doors. Interior sliding doors are fitted with infra-red sensors and manual push buttons. The sensors will assist with the meal trolley service provided from on-board snack bars in cars 2 and 5. These have aircraft style heating and cooling facilities for pre-prepared food, which is served at-seat in both first and economy class. Passengers will also have the option of purchasing food from a servery in car 5. On-board video monitors in each vehicle will show films, the forward view from a cab-mounted camera, or journey progress using a global positioning system. First class passengers will have 240V outlets for personal computers. Semlet vacuum toilets with a high-capacity waste retention tank are provided in both economy and first class cars. All are provided with electric hand dryers and baby changing tables, whilst the toilet in the leading first-class vehicle is designed for people with disabilities and wheelchair users. Fault management and reliabilityAs there are only two trains and no spare vehicles, reliability is of great importance. Part of the contract covers performance targets in three areas:last_img read more