Bendigo-Echuca service indefinitely disrupted

 

News article: Bendigo-Echuca service indefinitely disrupted

A faulty level crossing north of Bendigo has indefinitely disrupted the Bendigo-Echuca rail service.

  woodford Chief Commissioner

While people worry about some poor sod rushing around and making a simple spelling mistake, no-body seems to discuss the bizarre official VLP spin; how can they get away with taking people off a train (the safest form of land transport) and onto a bus (which has a far worse safety record) and claim that safety is their biggest concern?
hbedriver
Because the government doesn't care and the opposition is incompetent That's why!

Note that I don't grace either government or opposition with a capital letter and no member of either deserves the honorific 'Honourable' any bloody body.............
"YM-Mundrabilla"


The reason why the government does not care is because transport in rural areas is still largely road based. For most people in rural Victoria public transport is NOT an option. For instance I live near Euroa, the best shopping and personel service  area for miles is Shepparton, the ONLY way to get there is to drive, such a thing applies to most of us in rural Vic.

As a consequence rail is VERY much a second class means of transport and funding and government interest reflects this. The problem we are facing though in the future is energy shortages such as light crude oil. Rail is by far a more efficient fuel user and will come into its own. Sadly almost NO governement looks at ANY projects that will save money in the long term.

For the government to take more notice mans the rural people also need to take more notice, this is unlikely to occur as the rail system is Melbourne centric and there is not that many reasons to travel to Melbourne.

The internet is NOT helping at all as one can find and purchase all sorts of items from far off areas at prices often way cheaper then anything local. Example, a Cam clutch (a special type of ball bearing) are 150 dollars in Aus, one can purchase one of these from England for 30 dollars.

woodford

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  woodford Chief Commissioner

I think funding is the key. Even after the V/Line wheel crisis, V/Line was not given additional funding for maintenance, and they even said they wouldn't need it. Surely that means that other aspects of maintenance were lost while they spent months bringing VLocities back up to scratch and into service?
"TOQ-1"


This is the other big killer, lack of funds, most of the media and then of course most of the public are addicted to lower taxes, this OF COURSE means poor services and this is what we are getting so it should not be to much of a surprise.. There are plenty of people on this site suggesting various cures for VLInes ills but NONE OF THEM ARE SAYING HOW THESE SHOULD BE PAID FOR.

Important Note, Managing anything on a shrinking budget is VERY DIFFICULT, its something thats defeated MANY GOOD PEOPLE, in fact its one of the single most important reasons behind almost every engineering disaster.

woodford
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
The reason why the government does not care is because transport in rural areas is still largely road based.
woodford

Id say it is more because there are low volumes and every train is costing money instead of paying for itself.  True there are some benefits to the bigger cities, and congestion benefits in the Melbourne area, but to smaller centres, these benefits are the same - small.  The only thing it wins is votes and thats a volatile excercise at best.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The reason why the government does not care is because transport in rural areas is still largely road based.

Id say it is more because there are low volumes and every train is costing money instead of paying for itself.  True there are some benefits to the bigger cities, and congestion benefits in the Melbourne area, but to smaller centres, these benefits are the same - small.  The only thing it wins is votes and thats a volatile excercise at best.
james.au

There is not a regional rail operator which has provided such an impact to regional passenger services as V/Line however this great work over the past decade has been allowed to fall into a hole under the previously coalition government.  The rise in passenger growth has not been met with a step change in the delivery of services as the mentality within V/Line is to continue to try and run a cheap service and current passenger volumes.

This is one of the reasons why V/Line is now failing.  Perhaps like with many other business operations it is time to start swapping out the current management for people who have the skills to manage the next level of growth and service.  An example of the mentality is the penny pinching approach to delivery and especially maintenance not seen in many other states including Sydney and Brisbane.

A proper business plan to address the many issues which are now detracting NPS for V/Line is urgently needed and this driving of the plan to address the issues needs to come from the minister.  The minister however is not able or not willing to do this.

A fine example of just how bad this situation has become was the announcement by the minister of the pending upgrades to the Albury Passenger services.  New upgraded trains will be on the route in the next few weeks she says.

Just painting over the cracks once again.  

Until the plan is in place and the capital budget approved for the remediation of many of the issues including freight access, the network to continue to slide and in terms of detractors  they will outnumber passengers who have a favourable view of the travelling experience.

It is no longer sufficient to just say the train is a cost to the community (mentioned many times on RP) rather the train is a mandatory service for getting people to and from work for many meaning there is a DIRECT IMPACT on productivity.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
The problem we are facing though in the future is energy shortages such as light crude oil.
woodford
Not sure how far into the future you are looking, but there has been a worldwide glut of oil for a couple of years now. Increased OPEC production lowers the price; decreased OPEC production allows American shale oil to get a foot in the door and make up the volume. Either way there is far too much of it available at any one time and no producer wants to yield. I know oil is finite, but I can't see electrification of the Albury line as an alternative any time soon!
  woodford Chief Commissioner

The reason why the government does not care is because transport in rural areas is still largely road based.

Id say it is more because there are low volumes and every train is costing money instead of paying for itself.  True there are some benefits to the bigger cities, and congestion benefits in the Melbourne area, but to smaller centres, these benefits are the same - small.  The only thing it wins is votes and thats a volatile excercise at best.

There is not a regional rail operator which has provided such an impact to regional passenger services as V/Line however this great work over the past decade has been allowed to fall into a hole under the previously coalition government.  The rise in passenger growth has not been met with a step change in the delivery of services as the mentality within V/Line is to continue to try and run a cheap service and current passenger volumes.

This is one of the reasons why V/Line is now failing.  Perhaps like with many other business operations it is time to start swapping out the current management for people who have the skills to manage the next level of growth and service.  An example of the mentality is the penny pinching approach to delivery and especially maintenance not seen in many other states including Sydney and Brisbane.

A proper business plan to address the many issues which are now detracting NPS for V/Line is urgently needed and this driving of the plan to address the issues needs to come from the minister.  The minister however is not able or not willing to do this.

A fine example of just how bad this situation has become was the announcement by the minister of the pending upgrades to the Albury Passenger services.  New upgraded trains will be on the route in the next few weeks she says.

Just painting over the cracks once again.  

Until the plan is in place and the capital budget approved for the remediation of many of the issues including freight access, the network to continue to slide and in terms of detractors  they will outnumber passengers who have a favourable view of the travelling experience.

It is no longer sufficient to just say the train is a cost to the community (mentioned many times on RP) rather the train is a mandatory service for getting people to and from work for many meaning there is a DIRECT IMPACT on productivity.
x31

A couple of points prompted by this post..............

The problem with changing management is that I think you will find the senior manager is appointed by some mechanism controlled by the government and they will  be VERY UNLIKELY to appoint someone that does not agree with them.

The governement treats the railways poorly because they believe the majority of the elctorate does not support the railways, if they (the government) believed there was wide strong support throughout the community for the railways we simply would NOT be in this position. Look at how they support something like AFL football.

The government are NOT leaders in anything but ALWAYS follow what they BELIEVE the people are thinking, so if something is NOT widely used, the government sees little of this particular service.

I am NOT supporting the governement, there performance on VLine is PATHTIC to say the least, the problem though is NOT really caused by VLine but the way the governemnt is handling the railways.

The problems will ONLY be fixed when the government sees the light, so it will do no good to grumble about VLine, the management is ONLY doing what the goverment will let them do.

woodford
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
But the spell-checker said it was fine!

I know of some of the older generations (older than me) who would interpret that as a sign of lack of respect for the job, company and it's customers

Are you certain your spelling of it's is correct in this context?

Mike.
That is what I referred to in my post earlier!
Graham4405
yes, it was done to see if anyone noticed. There are at least 2 other people reading this thread that can spell and understand the rules of grammar
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The reason why the government does not care is because transport in rural areas is still largely road based.

Id say it is more because there are low volumes and every train is costing money instead of paying for itself.  True there are some benefits to the bigger cities, and congestion benefits in the Melbourne area, but to smaller centres, these benefits are the same - small.  The only thing it wins is votes and thats a volatile excercise at best.

There is not a regional rail operator which has provided such an impact to regional passenger services as V/Line however this great work over the past decade has been allowed to fall into a hole under the previously coalition government.  The rise in passenger growth has not been met with a step change in the delivery of services as the mentality within V/Line is to continue to try and run a cheap service and current passenger volumes.

This is one of the reasons why V/Line is now failing.  Perhaps like with many other business operations it is time to start swapping out the current management for people who have the skills to manage the next level of growth and service.  An example of the mentality is the penny pinching approach to delivery and especially maintenance not seen in many other states including Sydney and Brisbane.

A proper business plan to address the many issues which are now detracting NPS for V/Line is urgently needed and this driving of the plan to address the issues needs to come from the minister.  The minister however is not able or not willing to do this.

A fine example of just how bad this situation has become was the announcement by the minister of the pending upgrades to the Albury Passenger services.  New upgraded trains will be on the route in the next few weeks she says.

Just painting over the cracks once again.  

Until the plan is in place and the capital budget approved for the remediation of many of the issues including freight access, the network to continue to slide and in terms of detractors  they will outnumber passengers who have a favourable view of the travelling experience.

It is no longer sufficient to just say the train is a cost to the community (mentioned many times on RP) rather the train is a mandatory service for getting people to and from work for many meaning there is a DIRECT IMPACT on productivity.

A couple of points prompted by this post..............

The problem with changing management is that I think you will find the senior manager is appointed by some mechanism controlled by the government and they will  be VERY UNLIKELY to appoint someone that does not agree with them.

The governement treats the railways poorly because they believe the majority of the elctorate does not support the railways, if they (the government) believed there was wide strong support throughout the community for the railways we simply would NOT be in this position. Look at how they support something like AFL football.

The government are NOT leaders in anything but ALWAYS follow what they BELIEVE the people are thinking, so if something is NOT widely used, the government sees little of this particular service.

I am NOT supporting the governement, there performance on VLine is PATHTIC to say the least, the problem though is NOT really caused by VLine but the way the governemnt is handling the railways.

The problems will ONLY be fixed when the government sees the light, so it will do no good to grumble about VLine, the management is ONLY doing what the goverment will let them do.

woodford
woodford
'The problem with changing management is that I think you will find the senior manager is appointed by some mechanism controlled by the government and they will  be VERY UNLIKELY to appoint someone that does not agree with them.'

Correct Woodford. This is they key to not only Vline's problems but also to many of the problems besetting Australia at the moment.

Gone are the days of career public servants, who have conscientiously served governments of all political flavours over many years providing impartial professional advice to Ministers on all manner of issues. These professionals have now been replaced by political appointments, imports from Britain, chancers, itinerants, MBAs and sycophants of all sorts who might be perceived to be brilliant managers from the political rather than the more realistic consumer's perspective.

Management then comes down to the second level of management who, however experienced and competent they may be, are stifled/silenced by their politically appointed CEO.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Management then comes down to the second level of management who, however experienced and competent they may be, are stifled/silenced by their politically appointed CEO.
YM-Mundrabilla

From personal experience on more than one occasion, I know this to be the case.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Harvesting of this season's rice crop in the Riverina has begun.  Sunrice in Deniliquin are expecting to process 800000 tonnes of rice this season, up from 244000 tonnes last year.  Hopefully the line will be open next month to begin carrying some of this massive crop.  Toolamba line is open at present and Qube will have their work cut out for them...

http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/agribusiness/cropping/rice-harvest-up-and-a-weigh-for-riverinas-browne-family/news-story/4a625fc9f3e7fe20f432ea2ac7746fae
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Harvesting of this season's rice crop in the Riverina has begun.  Sunrice in Deniliquin are expecting to process 800000 tonnes of rice this season, up from 244000 tonnes last year.  Hopefully the line will be open next month to begin carrying some of this massive crop.  Toolamba line is open at present and Qube will have their work cut out for them...

http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/agribusiness/cropping/rice-harvest-up-and-a-weigh-for-riverinas-browne-family/news-story/4a625fc9f3e7fe20f432ea2ac7746fae
Carnot

Great information @Carnot and stimulates some discussion about volumes and route.  Can this crop run via Toolamba as this path with the exception of Toolamba to Seymour is double track hared with passenger trains.

How many extra paths are required as this is 3 times the current volume.

Exciting times for Qube.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Great news of a bumper harvest, but the rice harvest will not necessarily be a boon for rail.

Yes the Deni mill will have lots of work coming its way, but there will be lots of road movement of rice around the place.  Remember the rice industry was in its growth phase well after rail was laid out, and at a time when little additional rail was laid out, indeed, rail was closing (e.g. Narrandera-Tocumwal) in the growth phase of rice, and so rice supply chains never really had a rail component, unlike wheat and other grain crops.  

Rice uses rail for export goods (e.g. Leeton and Deni) but not at all for domestic supply chain.  So plenty of work for trucks to take care of.

(and interesting note, Sunrise uses PN out of Leeton, but QUBE out of Deni - interesting...)
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Having both Bendigo and Toolamba lines open gives flexibility to Qube's operation.  It'll probably mean they'll go back to a 5 or 6 day per week service.  The biggest problem they'll have is a shortage of (reliable) BG motive power.  They're stretched as it is with the "Antiques Railshow" and many 100000s tonnes of grain still to move for Emerald!
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Having both Bendigo and Toolamba lines open gives flexibility to Qube's operation.  It'll probably mean they'll go back to a 5 or 6 day per week service.  The biggest problem they'll have is a shortage of (reliable) BG motive power.  They're stretched as it is with the "Antiques Railshow" and many 100000s tonnes of grain still to move for Emerald!
Carnot

There would be plenty BG locos around but perhaps not wagons?

6 day a week service would not be enough would it?

Might Qube now be running

2 x 5 days Echuca Goods
3 days Shepparton

Add Tocumwal goods

PN Grain and Tocumwal and you have some serious traffic on the Shepparton Line.  It is a shame Victrack refuse to provide Graincorp with rail access to Dookie which has a lot of grain to move.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
The deni rice trains are all running via Toolamba at the moment.  According to a source at a bus company they have been contracted to run services daily until August with the possibility of extensions.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The deni rice trains are all running via Toolamba at the moment.  According to a source at a bus company they have been contracted to run services daily until August with the possibility of extensions.
HardWorkingMan

This information makes the announcements by V/Line with regard to timelines inaccurate as it seems we are looking at months and months of line downtime?
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

The deni rice trains are all running via Toolamba at the moment.  According to a source at a bus company they have been contracted to run services daily until August with the possibility of extensions.

This information makes the announcements by V/Line with regard to timelines inaccurate as it seems we are looking at months and months of line downtime?
x31
V/Line website is suggesting it could be until 30th July 2017.  Good Grief!  One would hope they're upgrading the line to Class 2 in the meantime!
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
The deni rice trains are all running via Toolamba at the moment.  According to a source at a bus company they have been contracted to run services daily until August with the possibility of extensions.

This information makes the announcements by V/Line with regard to timelines inaccurate as it seems we are looking at months and months of line downtime?
V/Line website is suggesting it could be until 30th July 2017.  Good Grief!  One would hope they're upgrading the line to Class 2 in the meantime!
Carnot
I would hope so but they have been claiming to do that and increases for each of the upgrades that I know of since 1997 yet each time it doesn't happen because... "latest reason/excuse"

There is an opportunity to catch up on tourist traffic that is currently being missed as well as increased demand from a growing population in the line's catchment
  woodford Chief Commissioner

The deni rice trains are all running via Toolamba at the moment.  According to a source at a bus company they have been contracted to run services daily until August with the possibility of extensions.

This information makes the announcements by V/Line with regard to timelines inaccurate as it seems we are looking at months and months of line downtime?
V/Line website is suggesting it could be until 30th July 2017.  Good Grief!  One would hope they're upgrading the line to Class 2 in the meantime!
Carnot
There changing over to axle counting, this almost certainly means new gear and possibly redoing the signalling. It would take them some time to work out what is required and do the appropriate engineering then order the material. These are steps that MUST be done. This could easily take 6 months. Then it all has to be installed tested and certified and both of these tasks also simply MUST be done properly.

This lack of communication on a railway project is sadly "par for the course", why they will not release info on a projects progress is beyond me as all it does is make the management look bad.

woodford
  MetroFemme Chief Train Controller

I have not read WHY the issue has occurred.

Are axle counters used across NSW and Queensland for boom gate lights etc.  ?
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

I have not read WHY the issue has occurred.

Are axle counters used across NSW and Queensland for boom gate lights etc.  ?
MetroFemme
The rumor I heard was gum leaves on the track.  Not surprising if true given that most of the line has trees beside or overhanging the track.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I have not read WHY the issue has occurred.

Are axle counters used across NSW and Queensland for boom gate lights etc.  ?
"MetroFemme"


So far they have not published a reason. I do not know about other states but I believe the RFR lines (Ballarrat, Bendigo, etc) uses axle counters. The Seymour Albury line uses Harmon predictive level crossing controlers, these use low audio frequncy AC imposed on the DC track circuits used by the signals.

woodford
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
I have not read WHY the issue has occurred.

Are axle counters used across NSW and Queensland for boom gate lights etc.  ?


So far they have not published a reason. I do not know about other states but I believe the RFR lines (Ballarrat, Bendigo, etc) uses axle counters. The Seymour Albury line uses Harmon predictive level crossing controlers, these use low audio frequncy AC imposed on the DC track circuits used by the signals.

woodford
woodford
I notice they have regularly had problems with disk braked rollingstock - particularly those with composite wheels. it appears that the gunk builds up on the wheels making them more susceptible to dirt on the rails insulating them from the various track circuits.

The supporting evidence is they didn't have that problem when the Deni Rice train was heading that daily or every couple of days in at least one direction as it cleaned the track.  It was only when the rice train hadn't headed that way and we had some strong winds that the problem surfaced.

Remember they had a similar problem with sprinters when they were first introduced and a friend working at the Rail Motor Depot said that it was easy to see the sprinters wheels were dirtier than those railcars with tread brakes.  The tread brakes clean the wheel each brake application
  MetroFemme Chief Train Controller

Does the federal budget announced last evening provide money to fix the limb running Echuca rail line?
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Does the federal budget announced last evening provide money to fix the limb running Echuca rail line?
MetroFemme
Nope.  Nothing.

I'm hearing that much of the RRR upgrade would include concrete sleepers, heavier gauge rail for half its length, and new signalling- i.e Class 2 track.  Feds want to see a business case.

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