Miniature Electric Train Staff in NSW

 
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
G'day all,

With Kiama to Bomaderry and Stockinbingal to Coota West losing their Miniature Electric Train staff systems recently, it got me thinking about a few things. When was MES working implemented on this section of track? I understand it used to be used north of Kiama too, could anyone advise when that was implemented/removed? How far did it go, Wollongong? Unanderra?

I understand MES is still used between Berrima Jct and Berrima Cement, as well as in N/W NSW on a couple of the branch lines, could anyone point me to a list of remaining MES operative lines (not counting those suspended)?

Thanks in advance!

Sponsored advertisement

  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
G'day all,

With Kiama to Bomaderry and Stockinbingal to Coota West losing their Miniature Electric Train staff systems recently, it got me thinking about a few things. When was MES working implemented on this section of track? I understand it used to be used north of Kiama too, could anyone advise when that was implemented/removed? How far did it go, Wollongong? Unanderra?

I understand MES is still used between Berrima Jct and Berrima Cement, as well as in N/W NSW on a couple of the branch lines, could anyone point me to a list of remaining MES operative lines (not counting those suspended)?

Thanks in advance!
Raichase


If you go back far enough, even the section between Scarborough to Wollongong was single line with intermediate crossing loops. This can be seen on the ARHS Track and Signal DVD-Rom. The diagram do not necessarily say what system of working was in use; tablet or large or small METS. These lines were gradually duplicated, of course.

Unanderra to Coniston would have been some kind of token working, until the Allan's Creek triangle was build c1960s, in which case token working was replaced by Single Line Track Block, with Unanderra North Junction remotely controlled from Unanderra.

Single line token working between Unanderra, Dapto and then Kiama was converted to CTC in stages as the line was electrified c1990s.
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Thanks for the info! From an old photo, I understand Unanderra to Coniston (Wollongong?) was electric train staff (ie the large staff type). There's a photo of the two instruments standing adjacent.
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

I understand MES is still used between Berrima Jct and Berrima Cement, as well as in N/W NSW on a couple of the branch lines, could anyone point me to a list of remaining MES operative lines (not counting those suspended)?
Raichase

Raich,

Corrections to the following welcome, but as far as I know Miniature Electric Staff is still used:
Goobang Jct – Peak Hill – Narromine – Minore – Dubbo;
Troy Jct (?) – Elong Elong – Merrygoen.
I think Ordinary Train Staff and Ticket is used Gulgong – Dunedoo – Merrygoen.
There are still semaphore signals in use at some of those locations, all worked by train crew.
MES was used Gulgong – Ulan, but I’m not sure if that went with recent Ulan line resignalling?
ARTC web site documents the safeworking in Local Appendices, but appears to be out of date for some locations, eg Ulan line.

Hopefully someone can provide more up to date and accurate advice.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Raich,

Corrections to the following welcome, but as far as I know Miniature Electric Staff is still used:
...
Troy Jct (?) – Elong Elong – Merrygoen.
I think Ordinary Train Staff and Ticket is used Gulgong – Dunedoo – Merrygoen.
"NSWRcars"

These sections were using MES and OTS, as you have described, back in November, when I travelled on a rail motor tour over the section.  Troy Junction is (or was at the time) correct.
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Raich,

Corrections to the following welcome, but as far as I know Miniature Electric Staff is still used:
Goobang Jct – Peak Hill – Narromine – Minore – Dubbo;
Troy Jct (?) – Elong Elong – Merrygoen.
I think Ordinary Train Staff and Ticket is used Gulgong – Dunedoo – Merrygoen.
There are still semaphore signals in use at some of those locations, all worked by train crew.
MES was used Gulgong – Ulan, but I’m not sure if that went with recent Ulan line resignalling?
ARTC web site documents the safeworking in Local Appendices, but appears to be out of date for some locations, eg Ulan line.

Hopefully someone can provide more up to date and accurate advice.
NSWRcars

That's perfect, thanks for confirming the sections still using MES - a friend of mine suggested that this was the case between Goobang Jct and Dubbo via Narromine, and Troy Jct to Merrygoen.

Not sure about the MES on the Ulan line, I can see an argument for replacing it with RVD given the coal traffic.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
CTC to Ulan now. And has been for many years.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Muswellbrook to Gulgong is now CTC controlled from ARTC North Network Control Broadmedow.
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Is Cootamundra West to Stockinbingal MES?
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Is Cootamundra West to Stockinbingal MES?
seb2351

It was replaced less than a week before Kiama to Bomaderry was, sadly. The MLI's had their white LED's replaced with green/yellow and that was that. Sad to see it go!
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
You'd be joking , pulling up sizable trains for the privilege of pulling a staff and losing time and sometimes paths ?
It was a long time between converting Bathurst -Newbridge and finally Coota West to Stock . Everyone remembers getting out at Newbridge and walking over frozen puddles to pull or sink miniature electric staffs , nobody is sorry about it being a memory .
The silly state of affairs at Stock is the approach clearing and Junee Control not officially knowing trains are there until they hit the circuit . Then they can clear the road , better yes but still spiced with a bit of pathetic .

Also there is the question of the landmark acting as a distant signal on the approach to Coota West , the signal it warns of has poor sighting so you crawl down to it because you have to assume it's at stop . More time wasted in a day and age where timeliness is everything to the customer .
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
You'd be joking
BDA

Obviously, the rational person that I am knows why it went, and that it was long overdue coming. I am, as a railfan, permitted to be nostalgic. I would have hoped that I have made enough rational posts on these forums for long enough to be permitted a nostalgic side without looking like some mindless dribbler who "haz to have the rite loco leeding for mah photoz".
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
It was replaced less than a week before Kiama to Bomaderry was, sadly. The MLI's had their white LED's replaced with green/yellow and that was that. Sad to see it go!
Raichase

Oh, thanks for that!
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Point taken . The fact is that it could have been done with very little effort when Coota West and Stock were rationalised .
  Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding
It was replaced less than a week before Kiama to Bomaderry was, sadly. The MLI's had their white LED's replaced with green/yellow and that was that. Sad to see it go!
"Raichase"


Which MLIs were those? The pulsating white lights at Coota west and Stock were starting signals, at least the one at Coota west was (can't remember if the one at Stock was now).

Edit:detail
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Which MLIs were those? The pulsating white lights at Coota west and Stock were starting signals, at least the one at Coota west was (can't remember if the one at Stock was now).

Edit:detail
Fireman Dave

white pulsating signals were never starting signals, they were as their name implies main line indicators, they usually picked up detection for a level crossing or a set of points
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Which MLIs were those? The pulsating white lights at Coota west and Stock were starting signals, at least the one at Coota west was (can't remember if the one at Stock was now).

Edit:detail
Fireman Dave

I couldn't say for sure which signals, I just recall reading it elsewhere that no "new signals" were provided, just that MLI's had the LED colours changed.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
What has replaced the MES between Coota West and Stock?
Is it TO working, or some kind of CTC?
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
What has replaced the MES between Coota West and Stock?
Is it TO working, or some kind of CTC?
MD

If they are using MLI's it would be TO working. CTC requires signals, not indicators Smile

(Translation for the non industry types: If they are using Main Line Indicators, it would be Train order Working. Centralised Train Control requires signals, not indicators)
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
What has replaced the MES between Coota West and Stock?
Is it TO working, or some kind of CTC?
MD

RVDS single line bi-directional.

The MLI's were converted to colour light signals. MLI's would obviously remain beyond Stockingbingal to access Temora and Parkes, both of which are TO.
  Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding
white pulsating signals were never starting signals, they were as their name implies main line indicators, they usually picked up detection for a level crossing or a set of points
"theanimal"


Yes, they were. The pulsating White was used as a starting signal when going from a signalled system to a token system. A MLI was indicated by a diamond plate with a letter (originally only X, Y or Z). If you feel inclined, a check of ANSG 606, pg 9 (found on ARTC website)  will show a Pusating White light as a proceed indication.

Edit: reference added.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Yes, they were. The pulsating White was used as a starting signal when going from a signalled system to a token system. A MLI was indicated by a diamond plate with a letter (originally only X, Y or Z). If you feel inclined, a check of ANSG 606, pg 9 (found on ARTC website) will show a Pusating White light as a proceed indication.

Edit: reference added.
Fireman Dave

Dave, as a former Train Control Supervisor for Staterail I went to Orange in 1997 to train train controllers, drivers and infrastructure staff in Train Order Working. after 2000 I worked on the safeworking rules rewrite as a subject matter expert in Safeworking. and from 2008 until late last year returned to safeworking, also serving as the RailCorp representative on the Australian National Rules Project, believe me I speak with experience and authority on these matters.

whilst the reference you quoted is correct, it is only a part of the knowledge required in the different aspects of safeworking.

the introduction of the pulsating light was an attempt to permit an increase in the sighting distance than that possible with Mechanical Point Indicators.

Whilst Train Order Working (TOW) was designed to allow trains to not stop at former staff stations, there was still the limitation that a driver was unable to proceed at track speed until he had sighted the points indicator and be prepared to stop if the points were against him, remembering that there was no guarantee to the driver that the points had been correctly set.

this philosophy was expanded to give the driver an indication that active control level crossing equipment was also operating correctly, and where there were multiple level crossings at a location (think Wellington ) there was a repeater function.

however back to then being treated as a starting signal, drivers were vehemently opposed (and quite rightly so in my opinion) to the entrance to a section having no interlocking as such. Think Orange on the down to Dubbo. A driver who had been responding to colour light signals  and was not to enter a token section, albeit a train order, there was no prompt to a driver that the signal was no longer the authority for the section, but he needed a train order.

this concept was supported by human factors studies and risk assessments, and was the genesis of the pulsating white light.

However after that trip down memory lane, let us return to the rules.

ANSY 502 Train Order working - states :In Train Order territory, Train Orders are the only
normal authorities for:
- a through-movement only, or
- shunting at a location (Shunt Order), or
- a through-movement with shunt access at a
location.
and further

Authority to enter a block is given by a valid Train
Order.
Train Orders must specify:
- departure and fulfilment locations, and
- if necessary, reporting, crossing and shunting
locations.
Rail traffic must pass indicators at STOP only in
accordance with Rule ANSG 610 Passing indicators
at STOP.


if we look at Electric staff as representative of a token system, the  ANSG 504 Electric Staff states:
The authority to enter and occupy a section in the Electric Staff
system is:
• possession of the correct staff for the section, as authorised by
the Train Controller, and
• where provided, clearing of relevant signals, or the display of
a U indicator.

here there is a clear corollary to clearing a signal, note this is not evidenced in TOW.

You claim they are a starting signal, however ANSG 600 Running Signals states that a Starting Signal is an Absolute, (Table Page 6) then if we go to the glossary the authority to pass an absolute signal is a signallers or a SPA, SPA are generally not issued in TOW areas, the system utilises a mishap order for out of course working.

if they were a single light colour light signal as you postulate, then they would have a marker light below the main light (ANSG 600 Page 8 )

if we go to ANSG 604 Indicators and Signs page 4 talks about main line indicators

Main line indicators:
- advise rail traffic crews about the condition of
the points and level crossings, and
- are identified by a black letter on a white
reflective diamond attached to the indicator
post.

WARNING
Main line indicators do not indicate that the line
ahead is clear.


if we go to ANSG 606 responding to signals and signs, then
The clearing of a signal gives authority to enter the
block for which the signal has been cleared,
provided that, in token systems, the Driver or track
vehicle operator has the token for the movement or
in Train Order systems, the Driver or track vehicle
operator has the Authority for the movement.

Running signals
A running signal authorises a through-movement
between that signal and the next running signal.

therefore if you look at the table on page 9 of 606, there is a clear distinction between a single light GREEN signal indication that authorises

CLEAR
PROCEED.
Next signal
displays a
PROCEED
indication

as opposed to a single light WHITE  that only has CLEAR
PROCEED.
there is no authority statement associated with this indication.

think of it, by your hypothesis, a single flashing light at Parkes on the Down would in your mind be the authority for a movement to Broken Hill.

you have taken me back to possibly the most enjoyable work with a real sense of achievement, when i left RailCorp last year after 41 1/2 years, this was one of the activities that i was proud to be associated with.

enjoy
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
This is a general question about Train Orders thats not specific to NSW, but its one Ive never got a clear answer to.
Is there a maximum distance that a single train order can cover?
eg as an example could a driver receive a TO from Parkes to proceed to Broken Hill, or even more severe
proceed to Crystal Brook.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

This is a general question about Train Orders thats not specific to NSW, but its one Ive never got a clear answer to.
Is there a maximum distance that a single train order can cover?
eg as an example could a driver receive a TO from Parkes to proceed to Broken Hill, or even more severe
proceed to Crystal Brook.






MD

the NSW train Orders end at Broken Hill, which is a signalled location, remember that the train orders that apply from Broken Hill to Peterborough are issued under the National Code of Practise Rules, whilst those issued between Parkes and Broken Hill are issued under the ARTC ANSY 502.
there is also another restriction that train orders are not issued over the border between two train control boards, for example that which occurs at Tarcoola.


therefore maximum case, a train order could be issued between Parkes and Broken Hill only, assuming no opposing movements etc.
  Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding
theanimal, I suggest trying to find the relevant  weekly notices/signalling diagrams for the rationalised/resignalled Cootamundra West from the early '00s. The stick at Coota West was definitely a starting signal, not an MLI.

Sponsored advertisement

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.