NE SG line, post gauge conversion

 
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Channel 2 news at 7PM just now had an item about speed restrictions between Sydney and Melbourne caused by the poor state of the tracks. They had some pictures of mudholes. They said that it would be another 3 years before the problem will be fixed. They talked about the "base" failing.

How does one fix mudholes?

Would it help to make the track stiffer?

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  steamfreak711 Locomotive Driver

On a mostly topical note, I dined in the new restaurant in the old Wodonga Station last week - the restaurant aptly named "Broadgauge"...  Food was great and reasonably priced, the restaurant is in the old Railway Refreshment Rooms area of the station.  A top job has been done of renovating the old building.  The menus have old VR publicity images of the S-Class Pacifics and Spirit of Progress cars.  However there is little else in the way of railway history on display.  The toilets have an audio track playing, apparently taken from a station on the Norwood - West Croydon line in London...  It's worth a visit, but book beforehand as it was packed!
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

On a mostly topical note, I dined in the new restaurant in the old Wodonga Station last week - the restaurant aptly named "Broadgauge"...  Food was great and reasonably priced, the restaurant is in the old Railway Refreshment Rooms area of the station.  A top job has been done of renovating the old building.  The menus have old VR publicity images of the S-Class Pacifics and Spirit of Progress cars.  However there is little else in the way of railway history on display.  The toilets have an audio track playing, apparently taken from a station on the Norwood - West Croydon line in London...  It's worth a visit, but book beforehand as it was packed!
steamfreak711
Basically mudholes are the result of rainwater not draining away properly from the track. The track then pumps as the train goes over it creating a depression by sleepers and the holes fills with water and becomes mud.  

The poor track drainage is created by fouled ballast  (ballast full of rubbish and weeds) ,  poor quality ballast (that has pulverized to dust), blocked lineside drains, and or a poorly prepared and compacted sub base for the track .

The only real way to fix mudholes is to correct the underlying drainage problem .  Properly done this involves removing the track and sleepers, digging out to the sub-base the problem area. Then one compacts/restores a solid sub base with adequate drainage to the trackside drains. Then one puts fresh clean ballast and restores the track and sleepers . This is then all tamped and packed to good line and top .  

Unfortunately in the past the ARTC  band aid approach has been largely to just pile on more ballast, but in time this just dissapears into the mudhole like quicksand and the same mudhole still exists, as the underlying track drainage problem has still not been fixed.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Basically mudholes are the result of rainwater not draining away properly from the track. The track then pumps as the train goes over it creating a depression by sleepers and the holes fills with water and becomes mud.  

The poor track drainage is created by fouled ballast  (ballast full of rubbish and weeds) ,  poor quality ballast (that has pulverized to dust), blocked lineside drains, and or a poorly prepared and compacted sub base for the track .

The only real way to fix mudholes is to correct the underlying drainage problem .  Properly done this involves removing the track and sleepers, digging out to the sub-base the problem area. Then one compacts/restores a solid sub base with adequate drainage to the trackside drains. Then one puts fresh clean ballast and restores the track and sleepers . This is then all tamped and packed to good line and top .  

Unfortunately in the past the ARTC  band aid approach has been largely to just pile on more ballast, but in time this just dissapears into the mudhole like quicksand and the same mudhole still exists, as the underlying track drainage problem has still not been fixed.
kuldalai

I have to  make a comment here........

The last paragraph gives the impression that ARTC has not been correctly working on the track, THIS IS NOT CORRECT. ARTC has put  an enormous amount of work all the way from Broadmedows to Albury. From my observations over hundreds of trips inspecting the works, in all cases the faulty ballast has been removed right down to the track bed (Note 1). If required the base is redone and the ballast replaced with as good a material as ARTC can get. Much work on the drainage has been done. There is still work to be done but the line from Seymour to via Albion rides well on the VLine Albury train. I have yet to ride over both tracks north of Seymour as the controlers are consistently routing the pass's over the best track if possible, but the sections of the track I have been on have greatly improved although the ride improves the more north of Euroa one goes.

Note 1: The depth of ballast under the sleepers of the East line is at least 200mm, under the West line would be a minimum of 250mm.

Note 2: I have closely inspected damage sections of ballast at least a dozen times, in all cases the damaged ballast was directly under the sleepers only to a relatively shallow depth. The sleeper effectively sitting in a pocket of stiff mud from pulverised ballast. The ballast below that being in relatively good condition although usually badly clogged. The base though was effected in a number of locations south of Seymour in these cases the poor base was removed and replaced with good material.
Now that must have been a pig of a job for the maintence guys to do, they were quite cheerfull about it though.

woodford
  packa Junior Train Controller

Made a return trip to melbourne from chiltern.  The east line was mostly smooth and fast.  The west line all the way from Seymour was mostly rough with exception around Benalla and north of Wang till almost springhurst.  it was also at only 80, 90 or 100km/hr never more.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I traveled on the VLine  a few days ago from Albury to Southern Cross basicly to asses how they were going on the track.

I found a number of problems exist when trying to make an objective assesment the track condition from riding a pass. The first being the ride varies from train to train, even from car to car. VLocity's and Sprinters riding far better than the N sets and even on these the ride varies quite a bit.Some cars particularly the first class vehicles being very quiet.
The second point is unless one records the areas of track that are poor its trivially easy to over estimate the amount of poor track.

Any way, on the whole  the line is quite good substantial progress has been made over the last year or more. The line to Seymour being very good, there's always an occasional bump but the ride is good. The East line is good from Albury to Wang and very good from Benalla to Seymour. The section between Wang and Benalla being quite rough in places. This area of the track though has had a great deal of work done on it over the past 6 months or so and ARTC is planning a "blitz" on this section over the January this summer.

With the  West line there is a particular issue with the ride quality. The rail itself has a lot of small vertical deflections in it. If one compares the rail on the East line with the West line. The east line is quite smooth except for variations in sleeper settling. The West line resembles a very small scale roller coaster, the height being a less than a millimetre lenghts being in the oder of 1 to 2 metres.
The impact this has on the ride is that the bogies are constantly working and one can both hear an feel the results. Note inspite of the this N class loco's inspite being a rough rider handle this with little problem.

There is more overall bad bumps on the West line the poorest sections being from Avenal the Euroa and Benalla to Wang. I do not regard it though as being real bad.I kept an eye on the loco and it was on the whole riding well. A far cry from the past performance. Surely a good sign.

ARTC is preparing for some major work between Benalla and Wang over the summer, large quanties of ballast being stockpiled at Benalla so it looks like the ballast train will be in action and possibly the undercutter. The new Loram edge cleaner is already at work in the area.

woodford
  woodford Chief Commissioner

The train itself was around 18 minutes late in both directions of this time around 75 % was due to conflicting traffic.

On the way down no less than 4 freights were being held in loops to allow the pass through. We ended up sitting at a signal just short of Footscray waiting for ANOTHER freight to clear the path through Dynon.

On the way north the problem was a south bound grain train followed by the south bound XPT, with another freight immediately behind us (at Benalla it would have been no more than 10 minutes behind us). With this kind of traffic given the limited number of passing loops there was no way delaying one of the pass's could be avoided.

If they are planning to increase traffic (and they are) they will need to consider more passing loops, really!!.

woodford
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
The train itself was around 18 minutes late in both directions of this time around 75 % was due to conflicting traffic.

On the way down no less than 4 freights were being held in loops to allow the pass through. We ended up sitting at a signal just short of Footscray waiting for ANOTHER freight to clear the path through Dynon.

On the way north the problem was a south bound grain train followed by the south bound XPT, with another freight immediately behind us (at Benalla it would have been no more than 10 minutes behind us). With this kind of traffic given the limited number of passing loops there was no way delaying one of the pass's could be avoided.

If they are planning to increase traffic (and they are) they will need to consider more passing loops, really!!.

woodford
woodford

if you traveled in the past few days could the issues around west footscray have been responsible for the traffic congestion?  A line into melbourne has been taken out of service due to a derailment. (see other thread)

not being from the east coast the line is duplicated right?  so why the need for more crossing loops or are we suffering again from a bad initial design and implementation?

is there really that much additional traffic?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Not being from the east coast the line is duplicated right?  so why the need for more crossing loops or are we suffering again from a bad initial design and implementation.
JimYarin
The line from Tottenham to North Seymour Is single track with long and short passing loops/lanes ranging from around 900 metres to 6800 metres.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

if you traveled in the past few days could the issues around west footscray have been responsible for the traffic congestion?  A line into melbourne has been taken out of service due to a derailment. (see other thread)
JimYarin


Very likely it seems, one the way into Melbourne starting from passing lane 3 all loops were occupied by freights expect Tullmarine. This include two freights on the East line at Tottenham. This is something I have never seen before.




not being from the east coast the line is duplicated right?  so why the need for more crossing loops or are we suffering again from a bad initial design and implementation?



Its single line from Totenham to Seymour with 4 7 kilometre long passing lanes although currently only three are in use. There is a loop around 900 metres long within the metro area, this length being to short except for grain and passenger trains. North of Seymour to Albury there is two bi-direcctional tracks to the Murray river.



is there really that much additional traffic?




I am extrapolating here on some data given in an interview on ABC Goulburn Murray (97.70 Mhz) yesterday (Note 1). The morning presenter had a representative of the inland freight line people on. Joseph (the abc guy) asked straight out (diplomaticly, its the ABC) if this was rubbish or were they really going to lay sometrack. The railway man said there was an adequate path from Melbourne via Albury up to Parkes but work would need to be done further north and this would be started within 12 months. He stated that due the the extra traffic more loops would be required on the single line sections in Victoria and NSW. Asked about the Sheparton option he stated that for that to get up Victoria would have to fund the gauge converson and upgrade of the lines concerend.

Note 1: Unfortunately the inteview does not appear to be up on the ABC website.

woodford
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Despite the impact of the West Footscray derailment, a big factor affecting both train pathing and performance into and out of Melbourne has been the non-commissioning of Passing Lane 1 between Jacan and Albion.  This impacts schedulingh of V/Line trains by up to 15 and 20 minutes
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Despite the impact of the West Footscray derailment, a big factor affecting both train pathing and performance into and out of Melbourne has been the non-commissioning of Passing Lane 1 between Jacan and Albion.  This impacts schedulingh of V/Line trains by up to 15 and 20 minutes
Trainplanner
So what's behind the non commissioning of passing lane #1 ?

I assume Tullamarine loop has been de commissioned !

So shouldn't the lane of been commissioned before the old loop was decommissioned or like only a day or two around the other way !
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Very interesting.  I tend to think that standardization of the Tocumwal line is only really feasible if the East BG track to Seymour is also standardized.  
Question: Does that fit in with all the current RRL work around North Melb with the flyover etc when it comes to passenger trains?

Thus the costs involved will probably keep the Vic Govt from biting that bullet.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

So what's behind the non commissioning of passing lane #1 ?

I assume Tullamarine loop has been de commissioned !

So shouldn't the lane of been commissioned before the old loop was decommissioned or like only a day or two around the other way !
Nightfire

The Tullamarine loop is part of Passing Lane 1 (Note 1), I believe the reason for the latter not being commisioned is ARTC simply ran out of funds for the signalling. The signalling for the Seymour to Albury line costing far more than they budgeted, the reason for this is that ARTC original plan was to use NSW signalling down to Seymour. This was rejected as the states control railways standards in Aus and Vic simply was having no part of any such strange signalling practices.

Note 1, The other loop mentioned in the freight stabling post should have been Somerton NOT Tullamarine.

woodford
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The Tullamarine loop is part of Passing Lane 1 (Note 1), I believe the reason for the latter not being commisioned is ARTC simply ran out of funds for the signalling. The signalling for the Seymour to Albury line costing far more than they budgeted, the reason for this is that ARTC original plan was to use NSW signalling down to Seymour. This was rejected as the states control railways standards in Aus and Vic simply was having no part of any such strange signalling practices.

Note 1, The other loop mentioned in the freight stabling post should have been Somerton NOT Tullamarine.

woodford
woodford
As far as I know, Passing lane #1 Is a dual gauge section of the parallel broad gauge track, Tullamarine loop was on the other side of the standard gauge track.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Very interesting.  I tend to think that standardization of the Tocumwal line is only really feasible if the East BG track to Seymour is also standardized.  
Question: Does that fit in with all the current RRL work around North Melb with the flyover etc when it comes to passenger trains?

Thus the costs involved will probably keep the Vic Govt from biting that bullet.
Carnot

It appears the switching around the flyover will be something like the following......

The single dual gauge line comming through Dynon will split into probably 4 tracks on crossing the creek. The northern most one of these will be a dual gauge line heading under the underpass's to the freight bypass line at Southern Cross. The other three proceed up a much widened ramp to the fly over where a mass of switching is currently being constructed to merge these and the two RRL lines into the two tracks over the flyover.
Its not clear whats happenning at the Southern Cross end of the fly over, Very little has been done other than the new Dudly st bridge.
There going to have to light a fire under themselves if the wish it to be finished by December 22nd as there is a mass of items to remove/extend including a fair bit of signal wiring and a number of 1500v overhead support gantries will need to be extended.

So it would appear the main thrust of the new track work from the SG's point of view is some much need stabling space relatively close to the station.

woodford
  woodford Chief Commissioner

As far as I know, Passing lane #1 Is a dual gauge section of the parallel broad gauge track, Tullamarine loop was on the other side of the standard gauge track.
Nightfire

A check on ARTC doc TA400017 shows that was is the term for the old loop, its been removed. There,s only the McIntyre loop and Passing lane 1.
  Highrise Assistant Commissioner

A check on ARTC doc TA400017 shows that was is the term for the old loop, its been removed. There,s only the McIntyre loop and Passing lane 1.
woodford
Is passing lane 1 operational yet?
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Very interesting.  I tend to think that standardization of the Tocumwal line is only really feasible if the East BG track to Seymour is also standardized.  
Question: Does that fit in with all the current RRL work around North Melb with the flyover etc when it comes to passenger trains?

Thus the costs involved will probably keep the Vic Govt from biting that bullet.
Carnot

if this is to be seriously considered then victoria must look at yard space for SG freight.  what is available in melbourne in insufficient now especially when artc have issues like they encountered over the past week.

tottenham yard needs to move partially to SG to permit stabling of inbound trains to melbourne when the port lines are congested.  we have this in adelaide and it works well.
  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, VIC
As woodford has stated above the ARTC's new shoulder ballast cleaner has been doing its thing around the Benalla area since around the weekend before last.
  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, VIC
Photos of SBC34 in the yard at Benalla this afternoon.


  woodford Chief Commissioner

Is passing lane 1 operational yet?
Highrise

No, The bases for the signals have been installed a good while ago, no movement since then.

woodford
  Highrise Assistant Commissioner

No, The bases for the signals have been installed a good while ago, no movement since then.

woodford
woodford
Bases for the signals were installed late 2009. Around the same time the points were installed. My guess would be they are waiting until capacity sees a demand for it.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Bases for the signals were installed late 2009. Around the same time the points were installed. My guess would be they are waiting until capacity sees a demand for it.
"Highrise"

It's needed now. Many down trains especially V/Line northbound passenger services are delayed waiting on southbound trains.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
I can't understand why the demo crew came In and decommissioned Tullamarine loop before passing lane #1 was up and running.

If Tullamarine loop was still In service, the mentioned traffic congestion wouldn't be !

The future opening of passing lane #1 would be an upgrade that would supersede the old loop.

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