Upgrading the Shepparton Line

 
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

I just got back today from looking at some parts of the Shepparton line between Nagambie and Shepparton.

I wonder what is needed to take the line standard up from class 3 to class 2. So N sets can do their 115 kph top speed.
Is it simply replacing some more timber sleepers? I saw some sleepers in very good condition, and others that are better suited to firewood. Is it just a case of replacing those worn out sleepers? My estimation (from the sections of track I saw) would be a timber replacement of 1 in 4. The rest appear to be in good to very good condition.

I would add that the ballast I saw appears both plentiful and in some areas, recently topped up.

Interestingly I also saw concrete sleepers used for the track that runs alongside the platforms at Nagambie, Mooroopna, and Shepparton.

The line itself, from what I could see, appears fairly straight with no obvious sharp curves. So why not 115 kph top speeds for N sets?

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  packa Junior Train Controller

I see a lot of the road crossings are being done with an extra rail for when standardised, Were the concrete sleepers also multi gauge ?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I see a lot of the road crossings are being done with an extra rail for when standardised, Were the concrete sleepers also multi gauge ?
packa
Extremely unlikely...

In fact.... NO Exclamation
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Extremely unlikely...

In fact.... NO Exclamation
The Vinelander
I can confirm this as the concrete sleepers that I saw were BG only. IMO it is unlikely this will change given the investment in the NE SG line. Including heavy mainline concrete sleepers. Keeping in mind that to expand this line you only have to duplicate the section between Wodonga and Junee.

So the line to Shepparton and Tocumal should be a simple up grade with some extra timber sleepers, I estimate a 1 in 4 replacement should do the job. Or else start installing low profile concrete sleepers on a 1 in 4 basis..
  ab123 Chief Train Controller

I cannot see the Shepparton line being upgraded to 115kph running any time soon. The actual time saving would be well less than 10 minutes.

Removing the 60kph speed restrictions by upgrading level crossings would be more of an advantage.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

I cannot see the Shepparton line being upgraded to 115kph running any time soon. The actual time saving would be well less than 10 minutes.

Removing the 60kph speed restrictions by upgrading level crossings would be more of an advantage.
ab123
How many of these crossings are 60kph and why does that speed limit exist?
  712M Chief Commissioner

Real time savings would come about if the service was upgraded to DMUs with their quicker acceleration and 130km/h running between Broadmeadows and Seymour.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I cannot see the Shepparton line being upgraded to 115kph running any time soon. The actual time saving would be well less than 10 minutes.

Removing the 60kph speed restrictions by upgrading level crossings would be more of an advantage.
ab123

Just a minor point............

I have traveled on the Shepp traijn a number of times in the past 6 months and the speed of the train was 100 kph except on 2 of the bridges where from memory 60kph speed restrictions existed. The unsignaled level crossings were taken at 100kph. Considering the distance from Mangalore to Shepp upgrading the line to 115kph would have little effect. Previous threads on this topic (N class loco's and unsignaled crossings) stated that different rules from DMU's apply to these trains. ON the ARTC controled NE line unsignaled crossings (there are at least 6) have a 120kph speed limit on them

woodford
  ab123 Chief Train Controller

Just a minor point............

I have traveled on the Shepp traijn a number of times in the past 6 months and the speed of the train was 100 kph except on 2 of the bridges where from memory 60kph speed restrictions existed. The unsignaled level crossings were taken at 100kph. Considering the distance from Mangalore to Shepp upgrading the line to 115kph would have little effect. Previous threads on this topic (N class loco's and unsignaled crossings) stated that different rules from DMU's apply to these trains. ON the ARTC controled NE line unsignaled crossings (there are at least 6) have a 120kph speed limit on them

woodford
woodford

Speeds are:

115 Seymour - Mangalore
95 Mangalore - Murchison East
100 Murchison East - Mooroopna
95 Mooroopna - Shepparton

The restrictions on the bridges were lifted a couple of months ago.

There are 3 crossings subject to a 60kph restriction, O'Connors Rd, Aerodrome Rd & Kirwans Bridge to Longwood Rd. The first two result a 4km long restriction that starts just after you leave the standard gauge at Mangalore.

The other works being completed is on the bridge between Mooroopna & Shepparton, but last time I was there it looked as though all work and stopped and all the machines taken away.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

What is needed with the Shepparton line is a minor upgrade of track by CWR , tie renewal, ballasting and tamping, plus lx upgrades of protection to allow  115kmh operation by V/Locity & Sprinters , coupled with an increased frequency of service up to say 5 return trips a day . So do away with the loco hauled and convert it to  a faster DMU operation allowing (already 130kmh) Craigieburn - Mangalore, and then 115kmh Mangalore - Shepparton and you take like 20 minutes off the existing time.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

What is needed with the Shepparton line is a minor upgrade of track by CWR , tie renewal, ballasting and tamping, plus lx upgrades of protection to allow  115kmh operation by V/Locity & Sprinters , coupled with an increased frequency of service up to say 5 return trips a day . So do away with the loco hauled and convert it to  a faster DMU operation allowing (already 130kmh) Craigieburn - Mangalore, and then 115kmh Mangalore - Shepparton and you take like 20 minutes off the existing time.
kuldalai
That would do the job nicely, but I wonder why (if this upgrading is done) you cannot run DMUs at 130 kph from Mangalore to Mooroopna?
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

After an incident some years ago where a truck loaded with a slab of bluestone went through a STOP sign and drove into the side of a V/Locity set doing 130kmh on the Ballarat - Ararat line VLP have a fairly strict policy in respect of operation of DMU's over 80 kmh in respect of lx protection .

For example  Ballarat - Maryborough and North Bendigo - Echuca are restricted to lower than linespeed potential till most lx are fitted with boom barriers .  Parts of Maryborough line now allow 100kmh, and Echuca was supposed to go up to 100kmh this year but speed is still 75kmh .

For 130kmh DMU operation Class-2 track is required, plus boom barriers at most lx .  So those are the factors preventing 130kmh opertaion between Mangalore & Mooroopna .
  woodford Chief Commissioner

What is needed with the Shepparton line is a minor upgrade of track by CWR , tie renewal, ballasting and tamping, plus lx upgrades of protection to allow  115kmh operation by V/Locity & Sprinters , coupled with an increased frequency of service up to say 5 return trips a day . So do away with the loco hauled and convert it to  a faster DMU operation allowing (already 130kmh) Craigieburn - Mangalore, and then 115kmh Mangalore - Shepparton and you take like 20 minutes off the existing time.
kuldalai
The amount of time saved would be slightly less than 10 minutes. The amount of time that can be saved between Craigeburn and Seymour is minimal due to the profile of the line and in the worst section of this the train stops 4 times. Even with a Sprinter the only areas fro real 130kph running is beween Craigeburn an Wallan and  for a few K's around Kilmore east.
The calculated time savings for 115kph running for the 72 kilometres between Seymour and Shep come to just under 5 minutes, for 130kph running a further 4 minutes would be saved.

So for a service 130kph max line speed to Seymour and 115 to Shep say save 10 minutes for 130kph all the way save 14 minutes.

I believe the reason the Seymour was not included in the RFR project was the expense of trying to straighten out the line between Wallan and Schoolhouse lane would have been way way way more than anyone could possibly justify.

woodford
  scollyalan Station Staff

The amount of time saved would be slightly less than 10 minutes. The amount of time that can be saved between Craigeburn and Seymour is minimal due to the profile of the line and in the worst section of this the train stops 4 times. Even with a Sprinter the only areas fro real 130kph running is beween Craigeburn an Wallan and  for a few K's around Kilmore east.
The calculated time savings for 115kph running for the 72 kilometres between Seymour and Shep come to just under 5 minutes, for 130kph running a further 4 minutes would be saved.

So for a service 130kph max line speed to Seymour and 115 to Shep say save 10 minutes for 130kph all the way save 14 minutes.

I believe the reason the Seymour was not included in the RFR project was the expense of trying to straighten out the line between Wallan and Schoolhouse lane would have been way way way more than anyone could possibly justify.

woodford
woodford
A lack of an upgrade to the Shepparton line is NOT an excuse to not provide immediate improvements to the service and the timetable. The weekend timetable is appalling with only 2 return trains each way and an additional train/bus combination on Sundays. Without any additional rolling stock and faster speeds, three return trains at weekends can be created by adding midday departures from both Shepparton and Southern Cross, instead of trains idling for long periods of time at either end. And by utilising the current Seymour timetable, connecting express coaches between Seymour and Shepparton can fill in the gaps provided by the through trains, thus providing Shepparton with a service every 2 or 3 hours.

Likewise on weekdays, four return train services services can easily be achieved by extending the 1631 Seymour SSH set to Shepparton (saving 17 minutes on the current train/coach service), and this set then departing Shepparton at 0551 the next morning and then taking the path of the 0656 service from Seymour which urgently needs extra capacity at the moment due to overcrowding on the 3VL set which normally runs this service. This would allow the normal morning service (VN set) from Shepparton to depart an hour later at 0730 with more acceptable times from the connecting coach service from Griffith and Cobram. An earlier departure from SCS in the morning (0815?) would allow three am departures from Shepparton - 0551, 0730 and 1130.

The down service from SCS on weekdays could look something like this:
0610  Train/Coach
0815ish  Direct train (N set)
1032  Train/Coach
1232 or 1252  Direct Train (N set)
1432  Train/Coach
1631  Direct Train (SSH set)
1822  Direct Train (VN or FN set)
2145  Train/Coach (Fridays only).

Just one last thing - I have had occasion to travel from Seymour to SCS on several occasions during the last 12 months. I cannot fathom why an Inter-City train needs to stop at Wandong. At the most I have seen only up to 2 people joining this train, but usually it is zero! Wandong seems to be well serviced by local Seymour trains. Is there a reason?

Scollyalan.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Do not assume anyone, in this case VLine, is stupid because they have not either done what you would wish or given no explanation. While these days its wise to treat what most people say with much sceptisim, You should __ALWAYS___ give them the chance to explain there position.

In the current circumstances the most likely reason for not giving improved services to Shepparton is lack of resources, both rolling stock and staff. One should also keep well in mind that improving the service to Shep would put great pressure on VLine and therefore the governement to also increase services to Echuca, Maryborough and very likey at least Albury.

The current Albury situation is very aptly demonstrating that the existing level of rolling stock and maintence regime ______CANNOT______ reliably run a 3 train per day service over that distance. This would appear to indicate the current levels of both rolling stock and maintence through out VLine would not handle any great increase in services.

woodford
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Do not assume anyone, in this case VLine, is stupid because they have not either done what you would wish or given no explanation. While these days its wise to treat what most people say with much sceptisim, You should __ALWAYS___ give them the chance to explain there position.

In the current circumstances the most likely reason for not giving improved services to Shepparton is lack of resources, both rolling stock and staff. One should also keep well in mind that improving the service to Shep would put great pressure on VLine and therefore the governement to also increase services to Echuca, Maryborough and very likey at least Albury.

The current Albury situation is very aptly demonstrating that the existing level of rolling stock and maintence regime ______CANNOT______ reliably run a 3 train per day service over that distance. This would appear to indicate the current levels of both rolling stock and maintence through out VLine would not handle any great increase in services.

woodford
woodford
Hopefully the rolling stock situation improves as Z-cars come back in service....

BTW, are there still "Geelong only" N-Sets (not Warrnambool trains) running about?  Perhaps new Velocity DMUs will replace them?

The inertia shown by the Govt to lift Echuca's linespeed and service frequency is telling IMO.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

How many Z carriages are due to come back into service? When will we see them?

For lines with a lot of unprotected level crossings (so no warning bells / boom gates etc) locomotive trains are clearly safer for both train drivers and passengers. Should we consider producing some more carriages to be locomotive hauled in these situations? I am sure carriages are cheaper and faster to produce that a v locity unit. Locomotives to haul them are not a problem.

I agree with some of the previous sentiments, that some additional N sets can be used on the Shepparton line, to improve the frequency of services. I also think a progressive upgrade to low profile concrete sleepers and CW rail can make a difference in speed and ride quality. When I looked at Nagambie, Moorooopna and Sheppartons stations, they all had concrete sleepers installed.
Nagambie station looks like deserted bus shelter and badly needs an upgrade. Or should that be a rebuild?
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
How many Z carriages are due to come back into service? When will we see them?

I am sure carriages are cheaper and faster to produce that a v locity unit.

Locomotives to haul them are not a problem.

Duncs
1) A few now, they have gone back onto the 3 car N sets.

2) Not by much.

3) Actually V/line are stretched for locomotives at the moment. Hence why the A class seems to be doing a run every Friday now instead of bi weekly.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
How many Z carriages are due to come back into service? When will we see them?

For lines with a lot of unprotected level crossings (so no warning bells / boom gates etc) locomotive trains are clearly safer for both train drivers and passengers. Should we consider producing some more carriages to be locomotive hauled in these situations? I am sure carriages are cheaper and faster to produce that a v locity unit. Locomotives to haul them are not a problem.
Duncs
I guess a 4 or 5 car set of Vlocity Intermediate cars could be built, minus their engines and drivetrains for locomotive hauled use.

If their use for loco hauled became redundant, the engines and drivetrains could be fitted later, for use with the rest of the Vlocity fleet.
  Flygon Train Controller

Location: Australia
How much would that cut manufacturing time, and cost, compared to the self-propelled versions? I personally doubt the savings would be worthwhile enough to make such an idea viable.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

How much would that cut manufacturing time, and cost, compared to the self-propelled versions? I personally doubt the savings would be worthwhile enough to make such an idea viable.
Flygon
I agree

Better to either make complete three car V Locities, or else a modern style N class carriage.

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