V/Line trains pulled from tracks due to safety concerns

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 16 Jan 2016 13:06
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Some more info on the political machinations behind the level crossing drama:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-20/boom-gate-safety-issues-with-victorian-trains-existed-for-years/7100160
But what has the level crossing issue to do with the flange and rail wear problem? What is causing the rail and flange wear problem? Excessive bogie hunting, wheels pressed onto the axle out of gauge or rail out of gauge or a combo of all 3. That is what you get using a weird gauge no one uses any more.
Thinking about it and discussing with a few colleagues, it would be a number of things that have combined to catch them out.

The root cause is lubrication, or lack of, to have such wear. The bit to figure out is what happened to the lubrication. The hot topic of attention is the tight curves on the North Melbourne fly over. The curves there are tight and are not lubricated when they need to be. However, the opening of the new Regional Fast Rail (RFR) metro bypass for the Geelong traffic is also a step change. This is important.

The trains originally going via Newport would have seen the wheels sets of the Geelong traffic pick up lubrication on the Metro system through places such as Newport. This would also apply to Ballarat and Bendigo trains operating through Footscray, Sunshine, Albion etc. There would be some carry of lubrication. Enough to do the job on curves a long distance away with the flanges maintaining a cover of grease. The distribution of grease on the Metro system must also be understood that most their lubrication is on the eastern side of the city. The grease is distributed across the system via the electric trains and that in turn is picked up by the VLine trains.

The opening of the RFR would have seen a large % of V/line traffic removed from Metro tracks and with that the lubrication they would be getting would effectively cease for all trains servicing the west of Victoria.

I will also throw in a potentially contributing issue at the North Melbourne fly over where trains frequently have potential to travel under the equilibrium speed of the curves due to signals. This is a bit complicated to explain here but the result is high flange pressures due to the loss of steering characteristics. These high pressures are high enough to exceed the film capacity of the grease – ie remove what grease is present. The wear at that location is horrendous. It can also set up wear/damage for areas seemingly not related. Taking off what grease was present would mean the damage will be contributed at any tight radius curve on the system. For example I would expect wear on the curves at Geelong too that otherwise have behaved up until the change in traffic.

The solution in simple terms is to re-establish the opportunity to have the curves lubricated. I would also study the track set up at North Melbourne to determine exactly what is going on with the train speeds and adjust the superelevation accordingly.
Also, don’t discount issues with the wheel materials and maintenance practices. The change is traffic may also have changed the throughput for the workshops and wheel maintenance. They could also be caught out with the frequency and volume of servicing exceeding their capacity and having to deal with a back log. They could have change wheel suppliers and they are not lasting as long.

Also flange worn wheels are usually thrown in the bin as they wont take a wheel turn.  Soon quickly eats into available stock.
skitz
Agree that the RFR is probably the major change of operating conditions especially if the Geelongs go into/from 15/16 at Spencer Street generally avoiding by the NM flyover to some extent at least.

Do we actually know whether the new RRL (whatever it is called) has also been built to tight gauge as was the RFR? One would hope not, but.....................?

Apparently the wheels all come from Comsteel who have made millions of wheels for donkeys years. I hope that no one has been importing dodgy Chinese wheels.

Also agree that flange wear will destroy a wheel much quicker than just tread wear and minimal flange wear.

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  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
Pictures have appeared on VicSig showing two N class loco's on either end of a 6 car V'Locity. At least the N's are still running - have heard & viewed the up & down Bairnsdale trains today.

http://vicsig.net/photo/20177
  woodford Chief Commissioner


Do we actually know whether the new RRL (whatever it is called) has also been built to tight gauge as was the RFR? One would hope not, but.....................?

Apparently the wheels all come from Comsteel who have made millions of wheels for donkeys years. I hope that no one has been importing dodgy Chinese wheels.

Also agree that flange wear will destroy a wheel much quicker than just tread wear and minimal flange wear.
YM-Mundrabilla

The RFR was built 1.5mm undergauge, I have measured this with my own gauge in many locations. This difference is a non issue, the distance between the flanges being something like 12mm less than the gauge. Note, timber sleepered track will vary in gauge bay around 8 to 10mm under normal conditions. It being impossible I have found to build a timber sleepered track exactly to gauge.

Note: on a straight track neither flange of a rail vehicle will be touching a rail, this can be clearly seen if one examenes any long straight. The behaviour on a curve though is very complex, much more so than most people think. On a curve what flange is touching depends on quite a few variables.

A comment on the steel (a woodford opinion, you have been warned). Remember its VLine management that appears to have been complaining about the steel quality. Given there apparent lack of tecnical knowledge  its likely they could not tell a rod of steel for a HB lead pencil, so untill much better evidence becomes availaible one should excersize some scepticism.

woodford
  doyle Deputy Commissioner

Excuse my ignorance where is Spion Kop? Yes I've searched google maps Tasmania a street in NSW and a road near the great ocean road here in Victoria
Doyle
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Excuse my ignorance where is Spion Kop? Yes I've searched google maps Tasmania a street in NSW and a road near the great ocean road here in Victoria
Doyle
doyle
Spion Kop is what used to the Arrivals for the Melbourne Yard. It is between North Melbourne and where the Broadmeadows and South Kensington lines diverge a bit on the down side of the Moonee Ponds Creek.

It is now used for stabling Vline rolling stock and Metro trains including a Metro train wash.
  doyle Deputy Commissioner

Thank you

Doyle
  MetroFemme Assistant Commissioner

Forgive me I do not work in the rail industry but use the Vline service each day for work.

What is the exact cause of the problem?  Is is the track or is it the maintenance on the velocity sets which causes the level crossings not to work. Confused.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Forgive me I do not work in the rail industry but use the Vline service each day for work.

What is the exact cause of the problem?  Is is the track or is it the maintenance on the velocity sets which causes the level crossings not to work. Confused.
MetroFemme
As I see, it it is a combination of a lot of factors none of which should have occurred and all of which were preventable.

  • Tight track gauge
  • Poor track maintenance
  • Poor rolling stock maintenance
  • Poor track and rolling stock inspection
  • Poor management by bean counters and economists etc with no rail experience
  • Governments and ministers who have no idea of rail
  • Spin rather than honesty and competence
  • Privatisation and everything that it has caused.
  perwaynut Deputy Commissioner

Location: In the Land of the Mighty Hawks, and our favourite footy President Jeff
Another thing about those tight curves and wheel wear. With the rail being new, and I am assuming unground, the contact patch on the rail will tend to be on the gauge corner. Through the turnouts this will be further exasperated as the rails are not inclined. As the wheels track through the tight curves, this very narrow contact patch on the rail will be on the fillet (is that what's it called?) of the wheel between the wheel flange and tyre (flat?). This concentrated pressure would increase the wear rate of the flange. And those iron fillings you see on some curves, is mostly from the wheels and not the rail. Rail steel is a fair bit harder than wheel steel.

There was a trial conducted a number of years ago on Cowan Bank to see if switching the lubricators off would reduce the number of train failures due to wheelslip. The trial was halted after the rails started to be eaten quite significantly. And if the rails were wearing fast, the wheels no doubt would have been too.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Another thing about those tight curves and wheel wear.

As the wheels track through the tight curves, this very narrow contact patch on the rail will be on the fillet (is that what's it called?) of the wheel between the wheel flange and tyre (flat?). This concentrated pressure would increase the wear rate of the flange. And those iron fillings you see on some curves, is mostly from the wheels and not the rail. Rail steel is a fair bit harder than wheel steel.
perwaynut

Agreed entirely..

The tracks before the North Melbourne flyover, on the SCS side which btw are inclined, have so much iron filings on the inside rail that the filings have almost completely buried the ballast Exclamation

That is there for all to see from the window of your down train, moreover the inside of the rail is highly polished due the the rubbing of the wheel against the rail and the shaving off the wheel of the iron filings.

There are some..but not a large deposit of iron filings on the inside rail through the 40kph curves.

Also the RRL tracks on the approach and departure from Sunshine also have a large deposit of iron filings on the inside rail, so IMO it would be safe to say the sharper curves on the RRL will also have iron filings from the wheels deposited on the inside rail.

This is quite a serious situation and the mere replacement of the wheels won't be the end of the problem as it clearly needs more than just that to rectify the issue.

Mike.
  NSWGR8022 Deputy Commissioner

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
Almost no trains on the Geelong line today which is not good so the free vline riding is really a bus ticket?
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Another thing about those tight curves and wheel wear. With the rail being new, and I am assuming unground, the contact patch on the rail will tend to be on the gauge corner. Through the turnouts this will be further exasperated as the rails are not inclined. As the wheels track through the tight curves, this very narrow contact patch on the rail will be on the fillet (is that what's it called?) of the wheel between the wheel flange and tyre (flat?). This concentrated pressure would increase the wear rate of the flange. And those iron fillings you see on some curves, is mostly from the wheels and not the rail. Rail steel is a fair bit harder than wheel steel.

There was a trial conducted a number of years ago on Cowan Bank to see if switching the lubricators off would reduce the number of train failures due to wheelslip. The trial was halted after the rails started to be eaten quite significantly. And if the rails were wearing fast, the wheels no doubt would have been too.
perwaynut
The rails are inclined inwards at the same angle as the wheel so the flat of the wheel runs on the flat of the rail. ON timber sleepers the incline is provided by the sleeper plates. With concrete sleepers the rail mount itself is inclined.

What happens is this is NOT done on a line with heavy traffic is all the weight is taken as you described on the inside edge of the rail, this stress's the head of the rail where it attachs to the web and one ends with the inside edge of the rail breaking off through fatigue.

For both flanges to drag on the inside edge of the track the track must be  AT LEAST 13mm under gauge and I seriously doubt the RRL is that much under gauge. It was widely circulated that the RFR was 12mm under gauge THIS IS NOT CORRECT. I am NOT trying to be a pain in the neck here just trying to provide accurate information.

A senior manager told me the reason why the RFR is 1.5mm undergauge is the sleepers and rail unsulators were made for rail lighter than the 60kg rail used and the 1.5mm under gauging is because the head of the rail is that much wider. I do not know if this is true or not. I have been told on concrete sleepers the rail insulating pads are made interchangeable so different ones are used for rails of different weights so the gauge will be correct (the sleepers used on the NE line are this way) apparently this was not followed on the RFR sleepers.


woodford
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
James Merlino MP, quoted on this evening's ABC Radio news, " . . . . V Line is on notice."  Oh yeah? Notice of what?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The Rail Safety Public Servants at work:

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2013/rair/ro-2013-026.aspx

Two years and three months work.........................
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
The Rail Safety Public Servants at work:

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2013/rair/ro-2013-026.aspx

Two years and three months work.........................
YM-Mundrabilla

I'm not reading a voluminous report as the summary sufficed.

What's an out of gauge track overseen by ARTC, known to be hopeless in rail matters anyway got to do with the current VLocity issues Question

Mike.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
An interesting assertion by Tony Morton today:

Our second structural problem is the dearth of recurrent funds for root-and-branch renewal of the rail network.

Generous funding only tends to flow when attached to a big announceable project, and even then can be poorly applied.

Insiders have long been aware that some ageing track circuits in the suburban network, meant to trigger level crossings when trains pass over them, cannot reliably detect shorter trains. If all trains are long enough – it was convenient that three-car operation had already ceased on many suburban lines – the problem could be ignored. Yet a side effect of the VLocity wheel wear issue is that V/Line was forced to run shorter trains, which now can't be trusted on the suburban network.
Tony Morton


So is the issue really Metro Trains not renewing the level crossing track circuits which are very old according to the PTUA?

More details at: https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/how-decades-of-neglect-ran-the-v-line-network-off-the-rails
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Again comes down to lack of maintenance and Investment, to keep the system running smoothly.

Their running a slowly find a way to fix when things fail, game.

Their are army's of consults and bureaucrats on the payroll (sucking up taxpayer funds) that do sweet f^*k for the good of the system.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The Rail Safety Public Servants at work:

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2013/rair/ro-2013-026.aspx

Two years and three months work.........................

I'm not reading a voluminous report as the summary sufficed.

What's an out of gauge track overseen by ARTC, known to be hopeless in rail matters anyway got to do with the current VLocity issues Question

Mike.
The Vinelander
The point that I was trying to make is the snail pace, lethargy, inaction, underfunding (whatever) of the Rail Safety Authorities who are supposed to be auditing the actual operators.

A year or so ago there was a great hoo-haa about the condition of the Metro Network IIRC. It was created, I think, by the RTBU (?) and where the ATSB was called in who after about 5 minutes said everything was OK.
  hotdogpants1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Here.
Walked past the Poath Road level crossing in Hughesdale last night around 1-1:30am, Metro track work appeared to be going on at the crossing as they triggered the booms a couple of times. Had a couple of trackwork vehicles sitting on the up side of the crossing as well. Unsure if related to the incidents or not, perhaps someone could shed better light on this.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
What's an out of gauge track overseen by ARTC, known to be hopeless in rail matters anyway got to do with the current VLocity issues Question

Mike.
The Vinelander
According to the person who posted

"I'm told ARTC look after the maintenance of the tracks and in their view they are 'fit for purpose', bumps and all"

I would say quite alot! LaughingLaughingLaughing

BG
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
What's an out of gauge track overseen by ARTC, known to be hopeless in rail matters anyway got to do with the current VLocity issues Question

Mike.
According to the person who posted

"I'm told ARTC look after the maintenance of the tracks and in their view they are 'fit for purpose', bumps and all"

I would say quite alot! LaughingLaughingLaughing

BG
BrentonGolding

I've never said I'm happy with ARTC undertaking track maintenance as my sources have told me they do despite your rants to the contrary and ARTC's fit-for-purpose standards are nowhere near as high as they were previously, hence the rough riding issues right across the network and getting worse.

Try riding in a loco cab on the fabulously re-instated NE or the Swan Hill line beyond Eaglehawk and find out just how 'wonderful' the standard of the track is at present.

Mike.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Again comes down to lack of maintenance and Investment, to keep the system running smoothly.

Their running a slowly find a way to fix when things fail, game.

Their are army's of consults and bureaucrats on the payroll (sucking up taxpayer funds) that do sweet f^*k for the good of the system.
Nightfire

I tend to agree with this statement in terms of the impact the failure of successive governments to build on what has now become (apart from the Bendigo line singling issues) a large investment with positive impact, the RFR works.

The government at the time backed bracks and we invested in the RFR.  Ever since there have been token investments.  I am not convinced the way RRL has been implemented is leading to the same positive outcomes for patronage as has RFR.

Vline has enjoyed passenger growth which has been terrific however, management has fumbled about ever since.  Scrambling to understand the investment profile required, taking a lot longer than required to deliver critical projects, and lacking longer term vision at the same time as trying a one size fits all approach to rail.  This has not worked.

Victoria according to 2014 ABS statistics (from October 2014 actually) has the highest national average KMs travelled per vehicle. Much higher than NSW and Queensland and the national average. People are turning back to their cars.  Vline are failing. This is a sign vline management is not working to provide services desired by the community and on par with driving. The PTV is also not delivering as projects which should have already been delivered in terms of capacity upgrades etc have not been planned for.  e.g.: Electrification to Ballarat together with duplication of much of the track.

It get's worse.  The Victorian Rail Freight Network is in crises also suffering from gross negligence. In 2014, freight vehicles registered in Victoria travelled the most tonne-kilometres (53,667 million), followed by Queensland (47,018 million), New South Wales (39,797) and Western Australia (37,866).  This is simply unacceptable and again highlights the disgraceful way rail has been treated in this state.

Combine this with gross mismanagement of port rail projects and you have a crisis which is only going to cost the State of Victoria billions to fix.

The Liberal answer was a $30b road tunnel.  A blind person can see just what an unwelcome waste of precious resources this was going to be and to solve what problem?

Rail is the answer like it is in other parts of the country and the situation is just getting worse.  Daniel Andrews has come into power promising transport upgrades.  He has delivered a few level crossing removals and announced (with the exception of the Melbourne Metro Project) a range of large road projects.  Disappointing.

(my 2 cents worth and might turn this into a news post)

Infact I have: https://www.railpage.com.au/news/article-19393/
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
There is a theory Metro Trains want the V/line business and are deliberately trying to  make operating for v/line harder and near impossible.  Two years ago the Metro Pommy Head went to the government and asked for V/Line to be handed over to MTR.  They also asked previously to remove trains from the Gippsland line between Packenham and flinders street.

This would mean passengers for the Gippsland line would need to change to overcrowded metro train services between the locations what lunacy!

Metro does not like v/line and does not like freight.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Metro does not like v/line and does not like freight.
"8077
Probably doesn't like passengers either.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

There is a theory Metro Trains want the V/line business and are deliberately trying to  make operating for v/line harder and near impossible.  Two years ago the Metro Pommy Head went to the government and asked for V/Line to be handed over to MTR.  They also asked previously to remove trains from the Gippsland line between Packenham and flinders street.

This would mean passengers for the Gippsland line would need to change to overcrowded metro train services between the locations what lunacy!

Metro does not like v/line and does not like freight.
8077
The problem with conspiracy theories is that history shows most of the population do not have the inteligence and mental coordination to carry them out with it blowing up in there faces.

The whole VLine situation does not look hopefull no one in the governmet has so far as far as I can see come up with any thing constructive, given the problem is very likely to be very poor managment triggered by a lack of funds to do proper maintence.

woodford

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