The rail infrastructure woes in NE Victoria don't sound very different to those in southern NSW . On this side of the river there were major delays when the so called drought was on with its hot conditions . WOLOS caused major delays in NSW and no doubt Victoria to the point where the Xs couldn't get to Melbourne in time to make their scheduled return .
I have every reason to believe that some self ingratiating turd woke up and shouted Eureka - concrete sleepers are the answer to out WOLO woes . Tree huggers will rejoice because no need to fell saw poison and plant . The resident bean roaster would have said whats the figure cause conn crete sleepers sound exy .
Australian Rack Trak Corp , cause it feels like rack rails , invests in a side cleaner and some genius comes up with ballast specific chain saw so they can rip the ballast soup out from under the sleepers in problem locations to band aid the same hole as last year and the year before and and and .
Surprisingly I still have a job and it is in an area where conflicts occur between the expectations of operators and the equipment with which they are provided, and much of the difference is credited to the technical people tasked with supplying the equipment.
My fingers are still warm from messages I received this morning when a senior executive rejected what I thought was a routine request and a couple of hundredweight of words came down the line from the operator's planning cell.
However, I sympathise with BDA in that track that provided him with a smooth ride was replaced (or more strictly modified into) track which gave him a rough ride resulting in a slower journey. As someone once involved as an engineer in vehicle track interaction, I'm concerned about the strength of the track as much as how smooth it is to ride over.
However, the track that gave a smooth ride was inherently unsafe, since the fastenings were designed for jointed rail (and in many cases installed on jointed rail) but were attempting to secure long welded rail.
After the concrete sleepers were installed, the risk of derailment reduced substantially but the mudholes remained to be treated.
As I've said before, the mudholes in the NSW Main South were generally there before the sleepers were changed, but seemed to be worse since a sleeper just sitting under the rail won't pump as much as one attached to the rail, and thus a good ride on insecure track became a rough ride on secure track.
The sleepers themselves were often much like John Cleese' description of the Macaw in the "dead parrot sketch". While maybe a third in southern NSW could be reused, only about one quarter emerged from the NE BG in one piece, without considering any re-use.
The side ballast cleaner is better than nothing and the ARTC had two of them, one owned by John Holland and one of their own.
Now the track itself isn't about to collapse, time and money can be put into fixing the ballast while traffic continues.
But as I've said elsewhere, Rail Freight doesn't inherently deserve investment from Government. Roads are improved because most voters drive and every electorate has a road deserving of investment. This is carefully managed so that everybody gets a share according to their vote, if not their need.
Sadly, containers don't vote and the consignors and consignees are relatively small in numbers (and votes). So roads will always get investment and rails not so much, unless votes can be seen in it.
Incidentally, my recollection was it was the down main from Bethungra to Junee that was resleepered years later. I recall the sleepers sitting beside the down line while the gangs were out north of Stockinbingal fixing that line.