Zig Zag Railway - Project Restart & the fire

 
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

To the Zig Zag Railway people, and others such as Blue Mountains residents, transport companies, since the defence force has now admitted fault, I know what I would be doing if I was you, and yes, I would include the federal defence minister in that, as he or she (whoever it is this week) may not be responsible directly, but is responsible overall.

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  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

To the Zig Zag Railway people, and others such as Blue Mountains residents, transport companies, since the defence force has now admitted fault, I know what I would be doing if I was you, and yes, I would include the federal defence minister in that, as he or she (whoever it is this week) may not be responsible directly, but is responsible overall.
Newcastle Express

It is my understanding that this process will be handled by our insurance company. We deal directly with them and they would handle any negotiations that would be a part of any on-going recovery process.

The idea is that they compensate us, and then they pursue recompense from the causee.
I have heard that in some quarters, the idea of a 'class action' is being discussed. This sort of thing takes years to sort out and we cannot afford for it to take that long if we were depend upon that process to be compensated.
It is in our interest that we get remediation for our losses ASAP.
This issue will get a lot of media focus in the coming weeks, so watch that space for what will happen!!!
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

ISTR that the ZZR eventually bought some NSWGR cowboy carriages that later went to the State Mine.

Also we're the SX carriages purchased so that they would be fireproof? Would the ZZR consider something similar in the future?
GeoffreyHansen

Hello GeoffreyHansen (again)

Yes, we did acquire some ex-NSWGR 'cowboy' cars.
It was at a time when we did not necessarily need them (we were still running Middle Road only at the time and the ex-SAR NG 'Long Toms were still adequate) but were not sure about what would be available in the future for when we opened to Clarence, so we took what we could get at the time.
We had made enquiries to QR about the Evans Cars becoming available in the future but they could not assure us that they would let them go any time soon, so when the cowboy cars became available, we obtained them. Difficulties with sourcing suitable bogies and the overall conversion to narrow gauge as they were high level platform loading cars was the major challenge, and so they languished.
After much debate we let them go to the fledgling State Mine operation and they departed the depot over a 'temporary turnout'. The last such time we had need to get anything in or out via the mainline. I think that some (or all) of them may have been  lost in a subsequent fire at State Mine.

The SX cars!!! Ohh Dear.
Great cars to operate, simple to run, clean and maintain. We even had the air operated doors working properly.
But!!!
The members hated them, and the public hated them even more!!!
Even putting brown and cream paint over the stainless steel could not make them look any less than the stainless steel suburban car that they really were. Talk about trying to 'make a sows ear out of a silk purse' (ehh! thats an adage on an old twist).

A sight in Brisbane that would be repeated at ZZR; A DD17 pulling an SX set. 1046 (in this photo) would be on site at ZZR but not serviceable to repeat the exercise. 1049 would have been the DD17 to perform this role.
[img]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3292/2388787465_b8c943c4aa.jpg[/img]

[img]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3648/3580359242_3d2c555b82.jpg[/img]
Len Mathews - via flickr
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The opportunity to sell them to the Auckland suburban commuter rail re-habilitation project made them look like we had made a great investment (but it was never intended to be that way).


[img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8361/8367853355_e341ba6036.jpg[/img]

"DC4279 hauling seven former Brisbane suburban carriages, acquired from the Zig-Zag heritage railway in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, for use on the Auckland's suburban trains. The carriages were being towed to Dunedin's Hillside Workshops.
The locomotive-hauled carriages of class SX were some of a fleet of 112 which were built between 1961 and 1963 with the aim of eventually converting them to electric multiple-unit sets. However, when the Brisbane suburban electrification proceeded in the 1970s it was decided to buy new air-conditioned 25kV ac sets, and some SX cars were disposed of, including the seven seen being hauled here, which were acquired by the Zig-Zag Railway."
Wayne Duncan - via flickr
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I happened to be in Auckland for work on the very day they first operated there, and by a great fluke I was able to ride on it in the morning peak and got back just before my appointment was due (damn thing ran late).
That, I can tell you, was a very unusual feeling indeed. They 'polished' up pretty well considering the life they led at ZZR ('sooted up' and all that).
The average suburban Aucklanders had no idea of its history.
Might have some photos that I can add to this later - will look!
PS
I have now added some photos I found on flickr.
Thanks to those who have allowed public use of their photos for others to enjoy
David H
  moaner Train Controller

Location: Foever greasing those bevel gears
I hope people don't take this the wrong way. Maybe ZZR could (if insurance co allows) sell off "collectables" from the destroyed stock to help with the rebuilding.
Chris
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

I hope people don't take this the wrong way. Maybe ZZR could (if insurance co allows) sell off "collectables" from the destroyed stock to help with the rebuilding.
Chris
moaner
Please name a few examples of what you have in mind. Destroyed to me means destroyed.
  moaner Train Controller

Location: Foever greasing those bevel gears
Things like "builders plaques" or other metal fittings that did survive the fire. A friend had a couple of old carriages stored on his property , VIC high country. When the fires went through there few years back burning the carriages out, he sold the frames for scrap then advertised "the fittings" on forums EBay etc. I remember him ending up with somewhere around 10 grand.
You would be surprised what people will buy of say EBay and the amounts they will pay for it , no matter what condition it is in.
It is only an idea that may help in some way.

Chris
  flathog Chief Commissioner

Location: Central West, NSW
Things like "builders plaques" or other metal fittings that did survive the fire. A friend had a couple of old carriages stored on his property , VIC high country. When the fires went through there few years back burning the carriages out, he sold the frames for scrap then advertised "the fittings" on forums EBay etc. I remember him ending up with somewhere around 10 grand.
You would be surprised what people will buy of say EBay and the amounts they will pay for it , no matter what condition it is in.
It is only an idea that may help in some way.

Chris
Unfortunately I can't see any such sale being viable given the recent theft of such 'collectables' from our carriages stored at Edgecombe which did survive the fire.
Not to suggest that we wouldn't have had a use for those 'collectables' if they hadn't of been stolen from our other carriages.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Unfortunately I can't see any such sale being viable given the recent theft of such 'collectables' from our carriages stored at Edgecombe which did survive the fire.
Not to suggest that we wouldn't have had a use for those 'collectables' if they hadn't of been stolen from our other carriages.
flathog
I would think that there may be a fair amount of items that are salvageable from the burnt out items, such as piping & brake equipment that would be useable on other items, at least as spares.  Any sort of plates would be better held in location in a viewable museum on the property.

What is not re-useable & of value for memory or other is not likely to fetch much on ebay or other areas either.


I was sent the following link that shows a drone over Lithgow, including some areas of the ZZR. May be of interest to some, & the bits at ZZR really show the intensity of the fires.  In all the years working to Lithgow in the 60's & 70's also travelling over the mountains after fires I have never seen the hillside so devoid of flora, & gives another perspective again.



//[color=#009e9e]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EAp_NhbF68[/color]
  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
That link should be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EAp_NhbF68
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

That drone video clip is very moving and it has deeply affected me. It is not like any TV news crew sensationalising things, it captured things just as they were, and the bravery and continued effort of the RFS teams under relentless and exhausting conditions were displayed in just simple but nonetheless dramatic terms.

It is now a just over a week since the terrible destruction of Thursday, October 17, and the fires are still not extinguished and the risk of flare up elsewhere in the Blue Mountains, and other regions, is still not far away..... and Summer has still not yet begun.

I cannot help but wonder the meaning of the coincidence that this date has for the Zig Zag. For this date was the eve of the original opening of the Zig Zag to traffic on 18 October 1869.
One hundred and forty four years later, to the day, a couple of our members checked out the Bottom Points precint and discovered the damage that has now been revealed. Number two viaduct in particular, lay bare, and now looks as exposed as it did, exactly 144 years before.
The difference though, was that the 18th of October 1869 would bring the railway its first through train. The 18th of October 2013 would not see any trains, either passing above, over or beneath its sandstone portals.

Returning to todays reality, I can advise that representatives of our insurance company have performed an initial site visit and brief assessment of conditions. The site will now be secured closed from members and visitors (unless on specific authorised remedial business). This is in line with the request made by Phil Koperberg, the co-ordinator of the bushfire recovery that all damaged homes and property's be made safe before further entry by owners and family, either because of contamination, unstable building rubble, falling fire damaged branches or trees  or exposed damaged gas or electrical fittings.

While it is recognised that we, as Australians are used to freedom of movement, if there is anything that you could do that will help us restore normality, is that we respectfully ask that members of the public limit their visits for now, and visit us at a time in the future when we will welcome your patronage.

We also do well to remember that the Zig Zag Bottom Points precinct is a shared railway corridor with Sydney Trains (formerly Railcorp/Cityrail) and while you think that there may be no through trains, it is still an accredited and live operational rail corridor and trespassers can and will be challenged, especially as the Sydney Trains organisation are performing continuous work and movements of vehicles of all kinds in their efforts to restore through freight and passenger rail services out of the Lithgow Valley for the people of NSW.

Our insurers have also authorised the installation of monitoring technology.
You have been warned!!

David H
  jayrail Assistant Commissioner

Location: te Anau Southern Alps NZ
TomTR ,quite horrific the spread,the difficulty of terrain for the fighters.
Drone a marvellous tool.
What was the ruins in the last vision  in a town ?
  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
Jayrail, the last ruins are what is left of a steel works that closed about 70 years ago. I believe that everything portable was moved to Port Kembla during the war, anyway the site has not changed much since I began to pass through Lithgow in the '60s.
  Silver S Set Junior Train Controller

Correct, it was a monument to Lithgow's industrial history. It was here that the first iron and the first steel in Australia were cast.

William Sandford established the blast furnace in 1886 and it continued production until 1928 when the entire industry was moved to Port Kembla.

The site has now been developed as a park around the remains of the pump house and the foundations of the furnace.
  Dave46 Station Master

Correct, it was a monument to Lithgow's industrial history. It was here that the first iron and the first steel in Australia were cast.

William Sandford established the blast furnace in 1886 and it continued production until 1928 when the entire industry was moved to Port Kembla.

The site has now been developed as a park around the remains of the pump house and the foundations of the furnace.

Silver S Set
No, the first ironworks were at Mittagong, in 1848.   There are interesting remains under the Highlands Marketplace, where the excavated foundations and relics may be seen in the underground car park.   Refer http://www.fitzroyironworks.com.au/

Regards

David (Bowral)
  Silver S Set Junior Train Controller

No, the first ironworks were at Mittagong, in 1848.   There are interesting remains under the Highlands Marketplace, where the excavated foundations and relics may be seen in the underground car park.   Refer http://www.fitzroyironworks.com.au/

Regards

David (Bowral)
Dave46
Sorry, I forgot about it. Sorry about that. The lithgow must have been the 2nd one.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Working in insurance my opinion would be that ZZR press for the best settlement they can from their insurers in order to secure funds in the short term.  However this should not be to the exclusion of an offer from the defence forces of substantial and ongoing assistance in remediation.

Normally one may only benefit from one party in an insurance claim.  In other words you take your insurer's settlement or you accept an offer from the other side.  The two are mutually exclusive.  However there are extenuating circumstances and the ZZR is not in the same situation as two car drivers with bent Holdens.  There has been an admission of liability which the insurers will surely act upon.  But a part of the long term recovery could be negotiated to include material assistance in what ever form is felt appropriate.  

I would start with some input into site clean-up and restoration of business as usual.  If the logistics units could source and ship in some new accommodation vehicles (whether or not paid for by the insurer) then even better.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

Working in insurance my opinion would be that ZZR press for the best settlement they can from their insurers in order to secure funds in the short term.  However this should not be to the exclusion of an offer from the defence forces of substantial and ongoing assistance in remediation.

Normally one may only benefit from one party in an insurance claim.  In other words you take your insurer's settlement or you accept an offer from the other side.  The two are mutually exclusive.  However there are extenuating circumstances and the ZZR is not in the same situation as two car drivers with bent Holdens.  There has been an admission of liability which the insurers will surely act upon.  But a part of the long term recovery could be negotiated to include material assistance in what ever form is felt appropriate.  

I would start with some input into site clean-up and restoration of business as usual.  If the logistics units could source and ship in some new accommodation vehicles (whether or not paid for by the insurer) then even better.
Gwiwer

Thanks for that Gwiwer.
I will pass your comment on to our managment team.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

Today our website was updated with a notification and an official Press  Release which is now available for download to any media or other organisation that may require it.

http://www.zigzagrailway.com.au/index.php

There is also a link referral to a spectacular utube video filmed by a drone operator called:
"Lithgow on Fire"

This was filmed independently and not sponsored or commissioned by us at Zig Zag.
If you wish to make any comments of any type about this utube video, please place them on the utube site and not this thread - please!

regards
David
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

There is some possible good news on the horizon.

We have not been briefed on this offer at this stage, as the offer has been made to the state government, not us. We would imagine that there would be a lot of formalities to sort out first, but we hope that this offer is accepted.

Read the full story at:
http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/defence-offers-troops-to-blue-mountains/story-e6frfku9-1226748746633

I have quoted some important lines....and the quote from the Mayor of Lithgow below

Defence has apologised after admitting to sparking the State Mine fire, ....
It has reportedly offered 270 personnel to the fire-ravaged region west of Sydney, plus helicopters, engineers and trucks.
Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham says discussions with a senior official at Glenbrook defence depot about a possible partnership with the council and Rural Fire Service are at an early stage.
....
"It's a very difficult situation and playing the blame game is not going to fix the problem," she told AAP.
"They've apologised ... and it was obviously an accident."
She said a top priority would be the Zig Zag Railway, a local tourist attraction that had been set to reopen just before the fire.
Bushfire recovery coordinator Phil Koperberg met with defence and Emergency Management Australia about the offer on Tuesday.
.......
Mr Koperberg said a recommendation would be made to the state government, which would decide whether to accept the defence offer.
The Defence Department has confirmed an offer has been made but would not divulge the details.

There is also an article in the on-line section of the Lithgow Mercury.
http://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/1870119/smoke-may-be-clearing-but-for-the-zig-zag-railway-the-agony-lives-on/?cs=1212

regards
David
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Obviously a long way to go and a lot of hard talking to be done before results appear on the ground but very encouraging indeed.  And nothing less that I would have expected in the circumstances.
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
Probably a little left field but perhaps a portion of the insurance payout could go towards the construction of replica new build rollingstock built either at Zig Zag or possibly at the QR Ipswich workshops where some of the trades needed are still being used for the maintenance of the QR heritage rollingstock.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

Probably a little left field but perhaps a portion of the insurance payout could go towards the construction of replica new build rollingstock built either at Zig Zag or possibly at the QR Ipswich workshops where some of the trades needed are still being used for the maintenance of the QR heritage rollingstock.
Mufreight

Mufreight
Leveraging off workshops where these few remaining carriage building trades still exist is a great idea, and while it certainly is from 'left field', it would be a great benefit to future generations, but for the moment, we have not even begun to think that far ahead.

Thanks for the thought anyway.
regards
David
  Expost Deputy Commissioner

Please allow me to throw you another idea from Left Field.

The sad sight of RM 2016 had me thinking over the last few days.

Don't scrap it. Its obviously not rebuildable, but the sheet metalwork may be valuable.

When Dick Johnson crashed Greens Tuf into the wall at Forest Elbow, at Bathurst, all those years ago, the wreck ended up at Sims Metal, where it was ceremoniously put through a shredder, as the first item through the new shredder. The pieces were then collected, each piece being encased in resin, then sold off as souveneers, or given away as momentoes to Sims Metal businesses.

What I am suggesting is, that the bodywork of RM 2016 be cut up into small sections, say postcard size, and sold off to collectors, as a premium piece in a frame that shows pics of how she looked before the fire, working history, life at ZZR, etc, etc, etc, or as a cheaper piece as is, with the info on the back.

It might be surprising as to how many people might be interested. Yes, it is probably a longer term idea, but it may bear consideration.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

There is some possible good news on the horizon.

We have not been briefed on this offer at this stage, as the offer has been made to the state government, not us. We would imagine that there would be a lot of formalities to sort out first, but we hope that this offer is accepted.

Read the full story at:
http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/defence-offers-troops-to-blue-mountains/story-e6frfku9-1226748746633

I have quoted some important lines....and the quote from the Mayor of Lithgow below

Defence has apologised after admitting to sparking the State Mine fire, ....
It has reportedly offered 270 personnel to the fire-ravaged region west of Sydney, plus helicopters, engineers and trucks.
Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham says discussions with a senior official at Glenbrook defence depot about a possible partnership with the council and Rural Fire Service are at an early stage.
....
"It's a very difficult situation and playing the blame game is not going to fix the problem," she told AAP.
"They've apologised ... and it was obviously an accident."
She said a top priority would be the Zig Zag Railway, a local tourist attraction that had been set to reopen just before the fire.
....
"The Defence Department has confirmed an offer has been made but would not divulge the details"
Zig Zag Reporter
I have been taken up with several issues concerning our situation since I last posted here on Railpage, and I have been meaning to post recent developments and happenings since then, but time has eluded me. However, concerning the ADF help referred to above I am very pleased to report good news on this development and I wish to acknowledge that in this post.

Four ZZR representatives met with four representatives of the Australian Defence Force on November 4 at Bottom Points depot. During the course of that day, the damaged ZZR facilites were visited and the extent of the damage noted and recorded by the ADF personel. It was a frank and honest exchange and an offer of 20 ADF personel to assist with immediate remedial labour (on a date to be agreed upon) was forthcoming by the end of the day.  
With the Bottom Points depot area unsuitable for large groups until facilities can be restored, a works plan was developed for the societies storage yard area that would provide access and assessment for materials that we had collected over recent years that had now been damaged by the bushfire.

On Wednesday this week, November 13, a contingent of ADF personel (predominantly Air Force personel from Glenbrook and Richmond) attended our storage site and, in conjunction with some ZZR members, cleared the areas in and around our stored (ex-NSWGR LLV) louvre vans allowing us to assess more thoroughly what material may be redeemable and what was not, and what would be worth keeping. This assistance is invaluable, as, for in our case, we are still stunned by the extent of the damage and I do not think that we are still yet to fully come to terms with what has happened.
I will post some photos of this work in the next week or so, but I wish to acknowledge and thank the ADF for such valuable and immediate assistance to help get us back up on our feet. The enthusiasm of the Air Force personel, especially those who lived in the lower Blue Mountains area in particular, was very touching. Many had travelled on the railway as children, or had taken their children on our trains over the years, and, who looked forward to travelling with us once again, wanted to contribute to the restoration of that experience to enjoy once more.
I was contacted today by the officer who organised this assistance and they are going to return in a couple of weeks to provide further help, and so we are currently negotiating the next joint task in this process of restoration.
WIN TV also visited on this day to film some footage of the work being done by the ADF and so you might want to look out for some news footage in and around the WIN viewing area.

David H
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

It is very sad to have to report that there has been another episode of theft from the Zig Zag Railway.

This time it is lever nameplates from Top Points Signal Box.
All indications concerning the nature of this theft and the way it was carried out appears to be the work of a railfan (and a lowlife one at that).
The following lever plates have been removed:

1:  Down Inner Distant
3:  Down Home Top Road
6:  Down Home Middle Road
7:  Down Second Home to No 1 Road
10: Down Call-on No 2 Road
12: Middle Road No 1 ROAD
13: FPL 12 & 14 Points
19: PLAT 1 UNATTENDED
23: PLAT 2 TO MAIN          
24: SHUNT NECK TO PLAT 2
28: PLAT 1 TO MAIN

Keep in mind that these plates have now been reported stolen to the police.
Anyone found to be in possession of them is liable to be charged with possession of stolen property and breaches of the Rail Safety Act (which can carry a penalty of up to two years imprisonment).

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