V/Line Incidents/Disruptions

 
  Valvegear The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Yes Valvegear, we all pine for the good ol' VR days where rolling stock was in abundance, most locations and signal boxes were staffed allowing for prompter solutions when things went bad, and people moved up the ranks and had a better understanding of different roles within the railways (as well as many other things that made for a more flexible system). However it is now 2018 and operating conditions, for better or worse (most would agree with worse), are vastly different.

Perhaps your grudges should be directed to the various governments and their departments that have created the fragmented, privatized and inflexible system we have today that v/line must operate with. As per my previous post, there are always improvements to be had, but as you appear to know how to run a perfect railway system from in front of your keyboard, i would expect you to be putting your hand up for the CEO's (or any managers) position in the near future if it is as easy as you think?
jakar
jakar; you may pontificate all you like, but there are certain inescapable facts that you conveniently ignore.
I agree that operating conditions are indeed vastly different. Railways run fewer trains to  nowhere near the number of destinations that they did in 1976, and yet fail to do it efficiently. The number of cancellations and bustitutions bears witness to this. You have a ready made scapegoat for track and signal failure, but none for "train fault", "maintenance issue", "staff shortage" and so on.
Whatever causes you put up such as government departments etc are no doubt valid, but the facts remain. V/Line does not perform. Your comment that I know how to run a perfect railway system is pure moonshine and completely irrelevant. I don't think it's easy, and I never said it is. But, I'm dealing in facts - 50 years ago it could be done; now it can't.

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  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

 You have a ready made scapegoat for track and signal failure, but none for "train fault", "maintenance issue", "staff shortage" and so on.
Whatever causes you put up such as government departments etc are no doubt valid, but the facts remain. V/Line does not perform.
Valvegear
Maintenance Issue : Maintenance is done by Bombardier, not by V/Line.  The joys of semi-privatisation.  The contract for this is determined by PTV.  Rumours exist of arguments between Bombardier and PTV as to who should stock the spare parts required.  Meanwhile, Bombardier are likely to provide the replacement long distance train for Victoria.  That means they have a vested interest in seeing the current long distance fleet fail.  In usual fashion, PTV have written the contract poorly so that Bombardier can remove two standard gauge N class for servicing on the same day if they wish.  Of course, there is senior management at V/Line who really ought to be making Bombardier perform but something is not working there.  Hot weather seems to be causing a lot of Velocity failures this season, as well. This should be investigated as to why it is worse this year than previously.

Staff Shortage :  The August timetable change ( like the previous January change ) was imposed on V/Line by PTV  At the same time, PTV restricted the number of drivers and trainees that V/Line could employ in the run up to these changes.  Since August, most V/Line staff in all operational areas have been working 12 shifts per fortnight (the maximum allowed for drivers) to enable as many services as possible to run.  It is now apparent why it was allowed to get to this.  The PTV have an agenda to smash through the training requirements for train driving.  The best way to get the public on side is to create a massive shortage of drivers first then tell the public the only way to catch up is by shortening the training.  The attempt to overturn the Enterprise Agreement this weekend has caused all the good will to evaporate.  Unions are not allowed to do anything but informally, everyone is feeling less inclined to work on their days off than they did before Christmas.

What is needed to right the ship?

Home grown Australian management that are respected by the workforce.
Maintenance brought back in house or at the very least heritage fleet given over to someone who doesn't have a conflict of interest in the maintenance of it.
The abolition of the PTV and V/Line management reporting directly to the Minister.
The Minister needs ministerial advisers that have some clue what transport is rather than political animals than wouldn't know the front from the back of a train.
V/Line need a Board of Directors with transport management experience (and no bus company conflict of interest).
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

It's clear that V/Line has been turned into a political football. At the same time I wonder if the union has been too inflexible and stubborn?

What makes a big difference is when employees take pride in working for that enterprise. But management have seen fit to run it into the ground, often at the request of their political overlords...
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Looks like a stray cow near Bacchus Marsh had an encounter with a V/lo:
  jakar Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
Thanks DW for presenting more facts about the constraints and environment v/line operates within, hopefully certain people will consider these before making rash statements/opinions in regards to V/Lines ability to organize things. Wink

It's clear that V/Line has been turned into a political football. At the same time I wonder if the union has been too inflexible and stubborn?
Carnot
From my experience the union has always been entirely reasonable in their negotiations and dealings with management. They will put their foot down though when it comes to safety and a reduction of conditions etc, like any good union should.

To put some perspective on the 'work to rule' situation at the moment, the basics behind it are this:

Despite the EA only having been negotiated 14 odd months ago, James Pinder the CEO wants to remove whole pages and clauses from the EA in order to introduce what he calls '21st century training technologies' (virtual reality, simulators, etc) with a partnership with Deakin University. The trouble is, he can do that within the current EA and he has not provided ANY, and I repeat ANY, details on what the new training will consist of or if drivers will be qualified on all lines and vehicles like they currently are. He has been talking up a 20 week course (to train up an off the street trainee to be a qualified driver) though so it would appear to be a course on one line and one type of train only.

He has asked the union / employees to 'take a leap of faith' and 'trust' him, without providing a single bit of information about what the changes will be. He has been saying that is takes a pilot 20 something weeks to be trained to fly a 767(?) so why can't a train driver be trained in that time, completely ignoring the fact that the pilot is already qualified and has years of experience before stepping into the simulator. Also as has already been mentioned, he has said driving a train is comparable to driving a car! Just for the icing on the cake, he has offered an 'incentive' via letter to everyone just before the vote to change or not, of $1500 tax free if the 'yes' (to change) vote gets up! You would think after the recent IBAC investigations they would be a bit hesitant to try this sort of thing or get in bed with another education provider, but apparently not!

No sane person would criticize the union from trying to stop these 'changes' from occurring to the EA. I'm actually quite impressed at the restraint they and the front line operational grades have shown to have kept the system running.

What makes a big difference is when employees take pride in working for that enterprise. But management have seen fit to run it into the ground, often at the request of their political overlords...
Carnot
As per above and other recent managerial issues, goodwill shown by operational staff is wearing very thin. As DW has said, drivers have been working their off roster days up to 12 days a fortnight, some do this for extra money, others do it as they take pride in their job and to keep the trains moving. If everybody just worked just worked their rostered days and hours the whole show would be a mess with mass cancellations and no doubt heads would roll at the top - which would not necessarily be a bad thing.......
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Despite the EA only having been negotiated 14 odd months ago, James Pinder the CEO wants to remove whole pages and clauses from the EA in order to introduce what he calls '21st century training technologies' (virtual reality, simulators, etc) with a partnership with Deakin University. The trouble is, he can do that within the current EA and he has not provided ANY, and I repeat ANY, details on what the new training will consist of or if drivers will be qualified on all lines and vehicles like they currently are. He has been talking up a 20 week course (to train up an off the street trainee to be a qualified driver) though so it would appear to be a course on one line and one type of train only.
jakar
Hi Jakar, thanks for another informative post.

Can you (or DW or others) explain to us mere mortals why it is so important to the Union and it's members for every driver to be trained on every line / every type of vehicle?

BG
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Despite the EA only having been negotiated 14 odd months ago, James Pinder the CEO wants to remove whole pages and clauses from the EA in order to introduce what he calls '21st century training technologies' (virtual reality, simulators, etc) with a partnership with Deakin University. The trouble is, he can do that within the current EA and he has not provided ANY, and I repeat ANY, details on what the new training will consist of or if drivers will be qualified on all lines and vehicles like they currently are. He has been talking up a 20 week course (to train up an off the street trainee to be a qualified driver) though so it would appear to be a course on one line and one type of train only.
Hi Jakar, thanks for another informative post.

Can you (or DW or others) explain to us mere mortals why it is so important to the Union and it's members for every driver to be trained on every line / every type of vehicle?

BG
BrentonGolding
Keep the boffins out of it.

Flexibility is the key to operational stability with the basic ability for rolling stock and crews to work as and when necessary.

In times of bustitution do the bus drivers say I don't know how to get to Ballarat?

Vline has only three types of rolling stock to qualify for (Vlocities, Sprinters and N class).

How would the VR have succeeded if drivers were only qualified on T class or B class or J class but not K class.
  Valvegear The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Thanks DW for presenting more facts about the constraints and environment v/line operates within, hopefully certain people will consider these before making rash statements/opinions in regards to V/Lines ability to organize things
"jakar"
jakar; V/Line's inability to organize things is a matter of record and I have treated it as such.
However; at no time in any of my posts have I attempted to apportion blame or put up reasons for this inability, because I do not have access to appropriate information. I take your points as to why it's happening, and I am pleased that you have posted them.
The inability of V/Line to perform is a fact, but at least we now know why.

As a matter of academic interest, what planet does this James Pinder guy come from? Telling the Unions, "Trust me"! Does he read Enid Blyton and drive a Noddy car?
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Reports are coming in of a LX crossing incident at Carlsruhe Central Rd just South of Kyneton.  Someone ran up the back of a car stopped at the crossing, flipped over, and landed near the boom-gate.

  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Thanks DW for presenting more facts about the constraints and environment v/line operates within, hopefully certain people will consider these before making rash statements/opinions in regards to V/Lines ability to organize things
jakar; V/Line's inability to organize things is a matter of record and I have treated it as such.
However; at no time in any of my posts have I attempted to apportion blame or put up reasons for this inability, because I do not have access to appropriate information. I take your points as to why it's happening, and I am pleased that you have posted them.
The inability of V/Line to perform is a fact, but at least we now know why.

As a matter of academic interest, what planet does this James Pinder guy come from? Telling the Unions, "Trust me"! Does he read Enid Blyton and drive a Noddy car?
Valvegear
Isn't Pinder yet another Pommie whizz kid here to show us Colonials how not to run a railway?
Read his Linkedin CV and form your own opinion.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Looks like a stray cow near Bacchus Marsh had an encounter with a V/lo:
Carnot
Delays cascaded across the network. I myself got was on a train from Bendigo which was caught up in the traffic jam.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Nice new app to review PTV performance each month: https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiMzE2ZDIyN2YtODY1Yy00ZGY0LWE4YTktNDcxOTcwYWQyMjM5IiwidCI6IjcyMmVhMGJlLTNlMWMtNGIxMS1hZDZmLTk0MDFkNjg1NmUyNCJ9

And some rather poor results for January with heat restrictions and so on.  Albury is a standout with over 10% of services cancelled and 76.6% on-time...  Warrnambool also had a shocker with only 64% on-time.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Trains are stopped on the Ballarat Line for some reason.  Told it is a defective train or accident.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Live Disruptions
Service update - Ballarat lineTrains are expected to be replaced by road coaches on the Ballarat line due to a person having been struck by a train. [16:38 16/02]
Reduced Capacity - Ballarat line16:35 SCS to Melton train has been reduced due to a train fault [16:15 16/02]
Train Cancelled - Ballarat line16:10 SCS to Bacchus Marsh train will not run due to a signal issue. Customers are advised to board the 16:33 SCS to Wendouree with an additional stop at Bacchus Marsh and speak to station staff for further information. [15:58 16/02]
Coach Replacement - Ballarat line17:10 SCS to Wendouree service has been replaced by road coaches due to staff sickness. [14:37 16/02]
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Live Disruptions
Service update - Ballarat lineTrains are expected to be replaced by road coaches on the Ballarat line due to a person having been struck by a train. [16:38 16/02]
Reduced Capacity - Ballarat line16:35 SCS to Melton train has been reduced due to a train fault [16:15 16/02]
Train Cancelled - Ballarat line16:10 SCS to Bacchus Marsh train will not run due to a signal issue. Customers are advised to board the 16:33 SCS to Wendouree with an additional stop at Bacchus Marsh and speak to station staff for further information. [15:58 16/02]
Coach Replacement - Ballarat line17:10 SCS to Wendouree service has been replaced by road coaches due to staff sickness. [14:37 16/02]
bevans

I'll wait at work till 18:00 and see if the down Ararat is running...if not I'll give up and bus it home.

Fatals usually take 2 to 3 hours to clear.

Mike.
  whoistheg Station Staff

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Line is still shut, Just got off the train after sitting 1 hour and 45 min at Melton.

We were on the 16:00 SCS-WEN.

Conductor was great and went well above and beyond to help people. We were in the
back 3 carriages and he was in the front.

Train was really calm and orderly, Aircon was running full time and not uncomfortable.

Hit the person at Melton Station and  train stopped about 70 meters after that..

SES have blocked off the tracks with tarps etc no trains for a few more hours

Can not see any media reports ??
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
You wont usually see media reports.

I waited at work till 19:15 and had dinner in my office and walked down Collins St thinking the 19:50 Ballarat should be the first train to run...I was right. 5 late departing....picked up a mob at Deer Park and rolled into Ballan at 21:00.

If you can do it...always allow 3.5 hours for a fatal to clear and normal service to resume. Sorry to sound so clinical but that's how it goes.

Mike.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Line is still shut, Just got off the train after sitting 1 hour and 45 min at Melton.

We were on the 16:00 SCS-WEN.

Conductor was great and went well above and beyond to help people. We were in the
back 3 carriages and he was in the front.

Train was really calm and orderly, Aircon was running full time and not uncomfortable.

Hit the person at Melton Station and  train stopped about 70 meters after that..

SES have blocked off the tracks with tarps etc no trains for a few more hours

Can not see any media reports ??
whoistheg

I had a mate on the train also.  pretty much tells the same story.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Comedy capers on the Albury line last Sunday.  It's not a good look.

Faulty train is replaced with a faulty bus, and two maxi taxis pickup the stranded passengers at Chiltern....

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-20/vline-pays-for-taxis-after-breakdowns/9464414
  Clarke Hudswell Junior Train Controller

There are 2 Sprinters stabled, shutdown, in the remaining siding at Kilmore East. They have been there since I went past yesterday evening. Does anyone know why?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Swan Hill line has been hit again today:

Service change - Swan Hill line
07:41 Southern Cross - Swan Hill will operate as a VLocity and terminate at Bendigo due to maintenance requirements. Coaches will be available at Bendigo for customers to continue their journey.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
There are 2 Sprinters stabled, shutdown, in the remaining siding at Kilmore East. They have been there since I went past yesterday evening. Does anyone know why?
Clarke Hudswell
Probably no one has missed them yet.

I suggest that you start cutting them up and selling the resultant parts to Vline who already have a number of similar 'rail motors' in service. SmileRolling Eyes

I wasn't aware of a siding remaining at Kilmore East but now that I am I will have it pulled up immediately.  In the meantime I will book the turnout to the main line out of use.Twisted Evil
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
You need to work for Victrack!
  DALEK Locomotive Fireman

"The 8:35 Geelong to SCS service has been reduced to a 3 carriage train due to staff sickness." Anyone got an idea how a staff sickness affects the number of carriages a train has?
  jakar Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
Dalek writes: "Anyone got an idea how a staff sickness affects the number of carriages a train has?"
A driver is allocated 77 minutes to prep a 3 car vlocity unit. If 6 cars are required (2 x 3 car units) depending on the roster a single driver will either be required to prep both units, or just one unit with another driver rostered to prep the second unit at the same time before joining them together. If the second driver is off sick then a single driver will not have enough time to prep two units before departure time hence only a 3 car vlocity running.

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