Castlemaine to Shelbourne safe working

 
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
While consuming way too many at The Railway in Castlemaine this evening the subject of Safe Working on the line from Maldon > Shelbourne came up.

Trains bound for Shelbourne had to run to Maldon and run back to Shelbourne Junction which raises the question, what safe working was in place to protect these moves?

Was there (in the early days) a Maldon Junction > Shelbourne section or was this broken up into smaller sections? Or was there a magic box at Maldon which allowed a staff for Maldon > Shelbourne to be released only if the Maldon Junction > Maldon staff was in place?

I would welcome any comments on the above but go easy, it has been a long night at The Rails!

BG

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  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
While consuming way too many at The Railway in Castlemaine this evening the subject of Safe Working on the line from Maldon > Shelbourne came up.

Trains bound for Shelbourne had to run to Maldon and run back to Shelbourne Junction which raises the question, what safe working was in place to protect these moves?

Was there (in the early days) a Maldon Junction > Shelbourne section or was this broken up into smaller sections? Or was there a magic box at Maldon which allowed a staff for Maldon > Shelbourne to be released only if the Maldon Junction > Maldon staff was in place?

I would welcome any comments on the above but go easy, it has been a long night at The Rails!

BG
BrentonGolding

http://vicsig.net/infrastructure/line/Shelbourne

May help...Smile

I was going to have dinner at the Railway on Saturday night after a busy day when Vinelander Snr will get up REALLY early and travel bus/train Mildura to Castlemaine and we will do a day of travelling to old haunts whilst he's fit and able.

Sadly the Railway has a big group booked in and Tom, I think his name is, couldn't guarantee us to be out of there in time for the 20:20 Swan Hill as we won't arrive till around 19:10.

After a big lunch at the Clarkefield pub a visit to a Barker St pizzeria will suffice...

Mike.
  BigShunter Deputy Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Interesting topic, gents, located a bit more info here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelbourne_railway_line

The line from Maldon to Shelbourne was opened on 24 March 1891.[2] The line was originally planned to extend about 8 miles (13 km) beyond Shelbourne to Laanecoorie, but work on that section was suspended in 1890. Almost 2 miles (3.2 km) of earthworks and two trestle bridges had been built before construction was abandoned.

Presume these bridges where burnt, during the bush fire, as well.

Couple of links at the bottom of the page as well. Have look at link No5, some very nice photo's, BG

BigShunter.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Was Shelbourne the only junction facing down other than the line to Mount Gambier from the Portland line?

Was Maldon-Shelbourne block worked separate from the Maldon to Castlemaine?  Something I remember reading suggested this was the case.

Thanks for sharing this info Brenton.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Was Maldon-Shelbourne block worked separate from the Maldon to Castlemaine?  Something I remember reading suggested this was the case.

Thanks for sharing this info Brenton.
x31
That is exactly what I am trying to work out.

While a train was running in the Maldon > Shelbourne section was it possible for another to run in the Maldon > Castlemaine section (ie was there a signal at Shelbourne Junction for Down trains from CME). Or alternatively could they run in the CME > Muckleford section if running on the short staff and was there a departure stick at the Down end of Muckleford to protect these moves.

These days we only have Home sticks at Muckleford (on the Up and the Down) to enable Muckleford to be opened as a Staff station and used as a crossing point. And of course the points for Shelbourne Junction are long gone although the embankment remains and someone has placed a short section of track there to mark the spot.

BG
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Remembering way back when I recall a signal at the approach to Maldon from the Shelbourne Line.  There is also or was a single facing down trains to Maldon from Castlemaine before the junction.  This I believe was worked from Maldon.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
I was going to have dinner at the Railway on Saturday night after a busy day when Vinelander Snr will get up REALLY early and travel bus/train Mildura to Castlemaine and we will do a day of travelling to old haunts whilst he's fit and able.

Sadly the Railway has a big group booked in and Tom, I think his name is, couldn't guarantee us to be out of there in time for the 20:20 Swan Hill as we won't arrive till around 19:10.

After a big lunch at the Clarkefield pub a visit to a Barker St pizzeria will suffice...

Mike.
The Vinelander
You really are quite the adventurer Mike, good on you.

You could try the re-opened Criterion in the main drag opposite Victory Park. Owned by the same people as The Rails and has a great selection of beers on tap as well as pretty good food.

The front bar may be a bit "40 miles to Saturday Night" for you and Vinelander Snr but it is really nice out the back.

BG
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
As memory serves me the junction was protected by UP signal from shelbourne.

A DWN signal from Muckleford

HOME signal on UP at end of platform and yard roads.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Best I could do from Weekly Notice Extracts:

October 1903: Shelbourne opened for traffic.

December 1904: Laanecoorie Junction renamed Shelbourne Junction.

May 1911: 2 Up and 1 Down homes provided at Shelbourne Junction.

October 1912: Points at Shelbourne up end secured by Staff Lock.

April 1914: Shelbourne Junction opened as Temporary Train Staff and Ticket station. Sections are Maldon Junction-Shelbourne Junction, Shelbourne Junction-Maldon, Shelbourne Junction-Shelbourne.

Then there are two entries for Shelbourne Junction being closed as a temporary TST station in 1920 and 1924, so it must have reopened at some point.

Interestingly in 1933 special instructions were issued for Time Interval working in the Maldon-Shelbourne Junction section, so te Shelbourne Goods could follow the railmotor. Presumably the TST station never reopened after 1924.

All three homes at Shelbourne Junction were abolished in 1955 and the line closed in 1970.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

All three homes at Shelbourne Junction were abolished in 1955 and the line closed in 1970.
potatoinmymouth

1970 could be when the fires destroyed part of that line and if I recall, what was formerly known as the 'night train'...IE the last of the THREE daily down Bendigo's which in those days left Spencer St around 17:04, or 17:40 on Fridays..I kid you not...and I believe it was held north of Castlemaine.

From my distant memory apparently all was going well in the delayed train until 'Taggerty' buffet car ran out of food and worse...ran out of beer Exclamation

This was a time before bustitution and I don't recall how late the train was when it got to Bendigo...but I seem to recall food/beer supplies being delivered to the very late stationary train.

Mike.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
1970 could be when the fires destroyed part of that line and if I recall, what was formerly known as the 'night train'...IE the last of the THREE daily down Bendigo's which in those days left Spencer St around 17:04, or 17:40 on Fridays..I kid you not...and I believe it was held north of Castlemaine.
The Vinelander
Jan 1969 I think was the fire.

Started at Baringhup and was contained near Ravenswood so would have impacted the Bendigo Line in a big way.

BG
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Possibly then the line was destroyed in ‘69 but not officially taken out of service until the following year.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Best I could do from Weekly Notice Extracts:

October 1903: Shelbourne opened for traffic.

December 1904: Laanecoorie Junction renamed Shelbourne Junction.

May 1911: 2 Up and 1 Down homes provided at Shelbourne Junction.

October 1912: Points at Shelbourne up end secured by Staff Lock.

April 1914: Shelbourne Junction opened as Temporary Train Staff and Ticket station. Sections are Maldon Junction-Shelbourne Junction, Shelbourne Junction-Maldon, Shelbourne Junction-Shelbourne.

Then there are two entries for Shelbourne Junction being closed as a temporary TST station in 1920 and 1924, so it must have reopened at some point.

Interestingly in 1933 special instructions were issued for Time Interval working in the Maldon-Shelbourne Junction section, so te Shelbourne Goods could follow the railmotor. Presumably the TST station never reopened after 1924.

All three homes at Shelbourne Junction were abolished in 1955 and the line closed in 1970.
potatoinmymouth
Great stuff PIMM, thank you.

Re the TST are you sure they were not just single day opening and closings?

Say if 2 trains were to run on the line like a couple of School specials or whatever. They may have opened Shelbourne as a Staff section to enable a ticket to be issued for the second train Maldon or similar.

BG
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Possibly then the line was destroyed in ‘69 but not officially taken out of service until the following year.
potatoinmymouth
Yes, when the dust settled they would have probably sent a crew out to investigate the damage to rail infrastructure and then costed the repairs at head office. From my understanding of the line most of the traffic by this time was grain from Shelbourne, Maldon had ceased to be a major source of traffic in the 1920s when the mining boom fizzled out so they may have wanted to re-open it but the cost of the rebuild was prob too high.

BG
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Remembering way back when I recall a signal at the approach to Maldon from the Shelbourne Line.  There is also or was a single facing down trains to Maldon from Castlemaine before the junction.  This I believe was worked from Maldon.
x31
The Down Home is now much closer to Maldon, on the curve coming up the hill just before the Gangers Shed.

It would make sense if there were originally 2 homes, one protecting the Shelboune line and one protecting the "main" that they may have left the one from CME on the Up side of the junction even after the Shelbourne Line was closed.

I will have to try to find out if the VGR moved the stick to it's current location.

BG
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Best I could do from Weekly Notice Extracts:

October 1903: Shelbourne opened for traffic.

December 1904: Laanecoorie Junction renamed Shelbourne Junction.

May 1911: 2 Up and 1 Down homes provided at Shelbourne Junction.

October 1912: Points at Shelbourne up end secured by Staff Lock.

April 1914: Shelbourne Junction opened as Temporary Train Staff and Ticket station. Sections are Maldon Junction-Shelbourne Junction, Shelbourne Junction-Maldon, Shelbourne Junction-Shelbourne.

Then there are two entries for Shelbourne Junction being closed as a temporary TST station in 1920 and 1924, so it must have reopened at some point.

Interestingly in 1933 special instructions were issued for Time Interval working in the Maldon-Shelbourne Junction section, so te Shelbourne Goods could follow the railmotor. Presumably the TST station never reopened after 1924.

All three homes at Shelbourne Junction were abolished in 1955 and the line closed in 1970.
Great stuff PIMM, thank you.

Re the TST are you sure they were not just single day opening and closings?

Say if 2 trains were to run on the line like a couple of School specials or whatever. They may have opened Shelbourne as a Staff section to enable a ticket to be issued for the second train Maldon or similar.

BG
BrentonGolding
Unfortunately these are the only events listed in the anthology. Not every safeworking change was recorded in the Weekly Notice so the records are often only partial. What you suggest is entirely possible but I don't have access to anything that could give more details, hopefully someone else can fill in the gaps.

I have some more details from Mark Bau's site:

http://www.victorianrailways.net/grades/maldon/maldon.html

In 1892, Shelbourne was open (so I'm not sure what the WNE reference was about) and the staff section was Maldon Junction-Shelbourne.


By October 1947 auto signalling was in place Castlemaine-Maldon Junction. Beyond there the staff sections were Maldon Junction-Maldon and Maldon-Shelbourne, with Muckleford available as an Intermediate Block Post "as required". This seems to be the era which is the focus of our investigation - how was it arranged that the two staffs could not have been held simultaneously? One possibility is that Muckleford was switched in whenever a train ran on the Shelbourne branch, and the driver of the Shelbourne train taking both staffs beyond there, although that seems unnecessarily complicated.

By 1964 Electric Staff had been introduced Castlemaine-Maldon Junction, but the rest of the line remained under the same sections.

As for the fires, the VGR's own website confirms that the Shelbourne bridges were damaged by fire on 9 January 1969 and the line closed the following (perhaps following some "off the books" retrieval of rollingstock and equipment?)
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
As for the fires, the VGR's own website confirms that the Shelbourne bridges were damaged by fire on 9 January 1969 and the line closed the following (perhaps following some "off the books" retrieval of rollingstock and equipment?)
potatoinmymouth
IIRC some GYs were taken to Bendigo by road as they were stranded at Shelbourne.

Not sure if any were still left at Pollard by that time.

BG
  historian Assistant Commissioner

Before the Shelbourne line was opened, the sections were Maldon Junction - Muckleford - Maldon. This reflected the practice at the time that all stations with station masters were staff stations.

When the Shelbourne line was opened on 24 March 1891 the staff sections were Muckleford - Maldon  and Maldon - Shelbourne. Shelbourne, at least according to the WTT of that date. Shelbourne Junction was not open as a staff station.

This didn't last long, however, as on 8 June 1891 Maldon was closed as a staff and telegraph station. All trains were required to carry the staff between Muckleford and Shelbourne. On 4 May 1892 Muckleford was also closed as a staff station, and the section became Maldon Junction - Shelbourne with all trains being required to carry the staff.

In 1912 the old style staff was replaced by a lock staff (i.e. the current style), but the single section remained Maldon Junction - Maldon - Shelbourne (it is possible that 'Maldon' wasn't actually on the Staff).

By circa 1914 Shelbourne Junction could be opened as a temporary staff station. Temporary staffs (possibly just label plates) existed for Maldon Junction - Shelbourne Junction - Maldon, and Shelbourne Junction - Shelbourne. These still existed in 1921, and were still being used in June 1930. By this date the temporary staffs were held at Head Office and so would not have been in regular use.

By October 1931 they were playing with the rules to avoid opening Shelbourne Junction while running the Shelbourne Goods on Monday around the regular rail motor. They appeared to start off by having the Shelbourne goods run without the Staff (or Ticket), but in 1933 issued an instruction that the Rail Motor was to run without the Staff. The Goods would carry the Staff and follow the RM to Shelbourne Junction where it would lock the points for the Shelbourne line. It would then make the return journey to Shelbourne, and did not have to stop at Shelbourne Junction on the return.

These instructions were still in the GA in 1936 (and included provision for opening Shelbourne Junction as a temporary staff station). By the 1953 GA the provision for opening Shelbourne Junction had been removed, as had reference to two trains being on the branch at one time. Of course, by this date the RM had long since been withdrawn.
  historian Assistant Commissioner

Possibly then the line was destroyed in ‘69 but not officially taken out of service until the following year.
Yes, when the dust settled they would have probably sent a crew out to investigate the damage to rail infrastructure and then costed the repairs at head office. From my understanding of the line most of the traffic by this time was grain from Shelbourne, Maldon had ceased to be a major source of traffic in the 1920s when the mining boom fizzled out so they may have wanted to re-open it but the cost of the rebuild was prob too high.
BrentonGolding

The delay would have been to get government permission to close it. I'm sure that the government would have required one grain season to see how road transport worked; then the line was closed.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

@historian, you're a bloody legend. Thanks for that.

It strikes me that on a per kilometre basis, the Shelbourne/Maldon branch might have the most complicated safeworking history on the Victorian network, a trend which is set to continue into the future with the expansion of the VGR's operations at Castlemaine. Living history in more ways than one!
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
@historian, you're a bloody legend.
"potatoinmymouth"
Amen to that ! This isn't the first time that I have been staggered by the amount of detail that historian provides. May he continue for many more years.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
These instructions were still in the GA in 1936 (and included provision for opening Shelbourne Junction as a temporary staff station). By the 1953 GA the provision for opening Shelbourne Junction had been removed, as had reference to two trains being on the branch at one time. Of course, by this date the RM had long since been withdrawn.
historian
Thanks Historian, brilliant stuff as usual.

With Muckleford > Shelbourne or Maldon Junction > Shelbourne being the sections does it still hold that there would have been Home Sticks protecting Shelbourne Junction from all 3 directions?

With my limited knowledge of Safe Working practices I am just wondering if they would have been required if only one train was in the section at a time.

Even operating on a ticket in such long sections they would have only had a use for the sticks if Shelbourne Junction was set up as a TSS or block post to permit multiple movements. A home stick would have protected Maldon yard anyway presumably and an acre could have been sent from there if it was opened as a TSS if and when required?

BG
  prwise Locomotive Driver

Thanks Historian, brilliant stuff as usual.
Have a bit of an interest in this area so thanks to historian and other contributors for some great factual stuff.

I assume this line was built as part of a Gov't initiative/pledge that farms should not be x miles from a rail siding that was common at the time.  It would have seemed more logical for it to be a Shelbourne - Castlemaine line, rather than Shelboune - Maldon line.  

Surely a direct connection to main Vic network would have made more sense?   Especially as Maldon yard hardly lends itself to any sort of serious shunting operations.  Or were extensions past Maldon part of a bigger plan. Would be difficult with that big hill in the way

I know X31 touched on it - but has not be really taken any further
  historian Assistant Commissioner

The early days are obscure.

The 1898 GA clearly states that there were no signals at Laaencoorie Junction and the points were secured for the Castlemaine line by a padlock, the key of which was held by the Guard (clearly there was only one Guard on the line). Trains to Shelbourne had to stop at junction so that the Guard could unlock and reverse the points, and, on return, stop again so that the Guard could restore the points and lock them. This instruction for the operation of the points remained for the entire life of the junction - Staff locks were never fitted.

It was standard practice in 1891 for all points on main lines to be protected by Home signals. I don't know if any were provided at the Junction when the Shelbourne line opened, and they were subsequently removed, or if they were never provided at all.

The list of signals at non interlocked places does record two (subsequently changed to three) home signals provided at Shelbourne Junction on 11 May 1911. The Weekly Notice makes it clear that they were normally out of use and crossed. They were only to be brought into use on instructions issued by the GST (i.e. special occasions). The number is interesting. The WN merely says "Up and Down Home Signals" - which could mean two or three, or, again, they could have made a mistake in the list.

The instructions in the 1913 GA were essentially unaltered from 1898 except to state that the fixed signals were normally out of use and only brought into use when the junction was opened as a staff station. (Given this, I'd suspect that the temporary staffs were provided in 1911.)

In the 1919 GA the instructions were augmented. It was now explicit that only one train would normally work on the Maldon Junction - Maldon - Shelbourne line at any one time and no Staff Tickets were to be issued. Staff tickets could be used, but only if all trains operated between Maldon Junction and Maldon. If Staff Tickets were to be used and trains run to Shelbourne, Shelbourne Junction had to be opened as a staff station. Apart from this the instructions remained the same.

The instructions hadn't changed in the 1928 GA.

In the 1936 GA the instructions were further augmented to allow the Down Shelbourne Goods (with Staff) to follow the Up Castlemaine RM  to the junction after a period of 10 minutes. The Goods (provided it had the Staff) did not have to stop to restore the junction points on the return from Shelbourne, but did so when it returned to Castlemaine.

Around 1950/1 the 8 ft square cabin at Shelbourne Junction was moved to Castlemaine for use by the Train Examiners. Its only contents, a telephone was relocated to a cabinet on a post. It was noted at this time that it was unlikely that Shelbourne Junction would again be opened as a staff station.

In the 1953 GA the instructions for the operation of the RM had been deleted, but otherwise the instructions were largely unchanged.

The home signals were removed on 4 March 1955. I would suspect this was after the formal withdrawal of the Temporary Staffs.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
I assume this line was built as part of a Gov't initiative/pledge that farms should not be x miles from a rail siding that was common at the time.  It would have seemed more logical for it to be a Shelbourne - Castlemaine line, rather than Shelboune - Maldon line.  

Surely a direct connection to main Vic network would have made more sense?   Especially as Maldon yard hardly lends itself to any sort of serious shunting operations.  Or were extensions past Maldon part of a bigger plan. Would be difficult with that big hill in the way

I know X31 touched on it - but has not be really taken any further
prwise
Most people know that the Shelbourne line was originally supposed to go to Laanecoorie and that they actually started building beyond Shelbourne before it was abandoned but what most don't know is that there was a plan to build right out to Arnold's Bridge connecting to the Inglewood > Dunolly line

https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1891Vol2RSCNo2E.pdf

Re the Maldon turnback you need to remember it in the context of Maldon as a major mining centre and very large town which generated quite a lot of traffic in it's own right. Comprehensive shunting was done in Maldon yard right up to the late 60s even though much of the Maldon traffic had ceased by then and most loading was grain.

If the Laancoorie Extension had ever generated enough traffic to justify it would have been pretty easy to build a direct connection at Shelbourne Junction thus removing the need to turn back.

BG

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