NE SG line, post gauge conversion

 
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

This is asking for an opinion which is not what I am on here for, but since you asked............

I do not think the job of upgrading the line would ever be finished to the standards a lot of the community expect. The Albury line is in effect a freight line with passenger traffic on it as well. ARTC has stated that the work over summer should fix most of the problems. I believe the ride on the line for most part has been satisfactory over a good portion of the line for a good while now, if VLine were given the funds for decent modern rolling stock say a long distance version of the VLocity (say 6 6 car SG sets, Note 1) the ride would be very good.
The line now has maintence teams based at Seymour and at Wang, I assume these work as far up as junee so the line should keep improving in the future IF ARTC is given the funds

The most serious problem is that the community is by far and away to short sited to allow either the state of federal governments to spend the money that the railways require to operate correctly. We will in the end pay dearly for this short sitedness.
As far as I am concerend one cannot blame the governements for this short sitedness, both state and federal bodies show no vision for the future, this is due totally to the populations lack of vision.
As has been said "the people get the government they deserve".

Note 1, Have a set permanently (securely) stationed at Albury/Wagga, this is daily swapped with a set comming from Melbourne, this arrangement would largely get around the current major reliablity issues.

woodford
woodford
Woodford
Your opinions are worth more than the ARTC’S over optimistic predictions any day

Duncs

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  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, VIC
Interestingly V/Line and the ARTC are hosting public forums, the first was at Benalla today and the next two are at The Cube in Wodonga tomorrow and the Wangaratta train station.

While I didn't get the chance to attend today nor will I tomorrow, it would be interesting to hear what they have to say.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Interestingly V/Line and the ARTC are hosting public forums, the first was at Benalla today and the next two are at The Cube in Wodonga tomorrow and the Wangaratta train station.

While I didn't get the chance to attend today nor will I tomorrow, it would be interesting to hear what they have to say.
Contrillion

The session at Wang station is at 1345 on tuesday, the only place I could find this is on Cathy McGowan's (independant member for Indi) web site
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Woodford
Your opinions are worth more than the ARTC’S over optimistic predictions any day

Duncs
Duncs
Many thanks for the confidence, but do not be to harsh on ARTC, the original prediction for the time of the ballast rehabilitation program was 5 years. They have done a massive amount of work over all the SG between Broadmedows and Albury. The track for the most part was in poor condition, particularly the BG which was in a terrible state. My estimate at the moment would be at least 80% of the total track distance has now shown little to no deterioration now for in some areas over 2 years. I am confident a long as ARTC is resourced reasonably the job will get done.

Its been a pleasure to see the amount of work being put into the track, specially after Victoria ignored the line maintence wise for so long.

VLine and the Vic governement now needs to come to the party and provide some decent rolling 130kph (Note 1) stock.

Note 1, The effective top speed of the line is 120kph, this is what the XPT sits on for the most part. This is effectively dictated by the unsignaled level crossings all of which have a 120kph limit on them.

woodford
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

I wonder how many of those unsighted level crossings are out there
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I wonder how many of those unsighted level crossings are out there
Duncs
On the Albury line there are I think 7 level crossings with only signs,
A paddock access crossing south of Mangalore.
Angle rd, south of Euroa.
2 between Euroa and Violet Town and
3 between Winton and Glenrowan, 2 of these are not good as the road/s runs parrallel with the line (there is a road each side of the line) and one cannot see trains comming from behind you.

There may be one just south of Wang, I will have to check next time I am up that way.

Lindsay
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Thanks Woodford

These really should be upgraded to at least warning bells and rumble strips, if only to avoid a collision with the increasing number of freight trains. Let alone an XPT or a V Line Service.

Yes  a long haul V Locity would be good for 130 kph running. But even some newer modern loca hauled rolling stock at 130kph would a step in the right direction.

Duncan
  emmastreet Train Controller

Location: Goulburn Valley
Duncs   "....Increasing number of freight trains".
Tell me about them.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Duncs   "....Increasing number of freight trains".
Tell me about them.
emmastreet
They are not there now but overtime, if the ARTC has its way, the number of freighters will expand on both length of train (up from 1500 metres to 1800 metres) and also frequency. At which point the protection of level crossings will become paramount, if it isn't already.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I went up to the do at Wangaratta, John Fulllerton, Cathy McGown, Tim McCurdy (I think) and someone named John from VLine were the officials under questioning.

The meeting was both interesting and entertaining, considering there was little advertising a surprising number of people turned up. The MC stated there were 60 at Euroa around 80 at Benalla, over 100 at Wodonga and there were around 80 at Wang. Around 2/3rds were there to have a go both VLIne and ARTC.

Fortunately after the MC a couple of times pulled up speakers for just venting there anger and said the meeting was for a decent transfer of info between both the management and the users it settled down reasonably well.
By far the greatest disatisafaction was the unrelaibilty of the service.

John Fullerton stated the problem was lack of funds between 2010 and 2011, this was not well recieved, he stated that in 2012 the total delay from Sydney to Melbourne was 100 minutes, but it was now down to 20 minutes. Due to this shorter delay period he stated the amount of freight was well up and that money from the track access fees was well up.

Questions were fielded in answer to a detailed question on Passing lane 1 he stated and was backed up by another ARTC person that it would be being commisioned between January and Febuary after christmass. The VLine rep was asked three times about decent rolling stock for the Albury train. He said this was being looked into, said the Current Vlocity's were not suitable for a number of reasons including no buffet car.

John said users should see a good improvement in times by mid next year, although he stated the ballast rehabilitation plan is for 5 years starting in 2012.

Glenrowan was mentioned and create something of an uproar, both the VLine rep and the state member said this had been the same at all the other meetings and they would be looking into if and how they could provide a platform.

I found the meeting very informative and John had a clear handle on the problem. After the question period an informal questioning took place, During this period at least three of the people that had given John Fullerton a grilling came up to him and comment what a horrible job he had, constantly being attacked, which i thought was kind of them.

I had a strong impression on leaving that both VLIne and the state governement rep had realised they could no longer sit on the problem with out doing anything. Cathy McGowan's presence certainly would have had a hand in this.

One never knows hell may freeze over and the state may actaully do something constructive.

woodford
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The 7.30 programme this evening included an interview with the treasurer Joe Hockey. Hockey's comment was the public of Australia had better get used to less and less money and more importantly less services from the Government.

Treasurer Joe Hockey has told the National Press Club that Australia faces a "challenging fiscal and economic mountain".
Hockey


I thought then a lot of programmes are going to be cut over the next few years.  What was more interesting was not that Hockey is forecasting an economic downturn but an upturn in 4 years time. Personally I think this is very very optimistic.

I believe if ARTC is not sold off by this government (as they will be selling everything else including Australia Post and Medibank) then budgets will probably be cut big time.  The issue is government revenues are collapsing.  Tax receipts are down and pay freezes mean no lift in PAYG revenues.  The perfect storm.

Let's hope what money does get spent will be invested wisely in rail projects which will lift productivity.

Lindsay, did you hear any comments about rolling stock and also the importance of reliable transport and rail access for the towns on the North East line?  The point was made very clearly in this overview at: http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11376527.htm

Regards
Brian
  woodford Chief Commissioner

As to politics, it strongly appears this government has (both state and federal) seriously lost the plot unless they wake up to themselves Aus is in for a very serious down turn. I have developed this opinion from discussing this with a number of financial people I have great respect for.

I believe the officials left the meeting with a REAL good idea that people were NOT happy and something HAD to be done. No mention of rolling stock was done out side of what I have already reported.

For government with a single seat majority the presence of Cathy McGowan has to have been a wake up call and she is not afraid of stiring the pot. Its very likely that both state and federal governements will ignore the member for indi at the own cost.

woodford
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Not sure I understand any of this .
The electorate of Indi is a federal electorate and the federal Govt doesnt have a 1 seat majority.
The Vic State Govt does, but the member for Indi has no role of function in the Vic State Govt.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Not sure I understand any of this .
The electorate of Indi is a federal electorate and the federal Govt doesnt have a 1 seat majority.
The Vic State Govt does, but the member for Indi has no role of function in the Vic State Govt.
MD
Think about what Cathy McGowan managed to do, both major parties hate it like poison.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

from a flyer handout at the meetings

My comments in atlics

Activity

West track upgrades including drainage, undercutting, reballasting and resurfacing works have been taking place in rolling 10 day possessions along the west track until the christmass closedown in December /January.

Removal of temporary speed restriction at Donybrook and Cragieburn during regional rail link closedown over late december early january.

Completion of sholder ballast cleaning and track lifting on the east track between Wangaratta and Somerton.

Removal of large speed restrictions which effects 5 kilometres of the East track just north of Benalla

work in progress at the moment


Delivery of of aprocimately a14kms of intensive shoulder ballast cleaning and asociated track lifting and reballasting the West track.

The shoulder cleaner and the tamper have been working in the Winton Glenrowan area for the past week of more

Up grading and improvements to the track condition at 15 level crossings which are currently associated with rough riding or speed restrictions.

work in progress at the moment


Re-ballasting up to 50 ballast top bridges and the track approaching each structure between Seymour and Wodonga which are currently assocaiated with rough ridng or speed restrictions.

50 bridges that nearly would be all the ballast top bridges there is in the section, this work has been going on for sometime now


From late january approximately 28km of ballast sleddingalong the West track will take place.

woodford
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Woodford,  Did anyone raise the question of Passing Lane 1 commissioning.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Woodford,  Did anyone raise the question of Passing Lane 1 commissioning.
Trainplanner
Read back a few posts.

Jan Feb 2014
  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, VIC
Took a V/Line to Albury and back (from Benalla) today.

The morning down which I took was 41 minutes late (due to speed restrictions and track works further towards Seymour) by the time it got to Benalla. Whilst waiting at the station the ballast train was being loaded with ballast from the huge pile at the down end of Benalla station.

After picking up on platform 1 at Benalla (west track) the train I took ran on the east line until Wangaratta due to works on the west line between there and Springhurst. I noticed re-ballasting works were already underway on large sections of track on the west line from Winton to Glenrowan and to a lesser extent (only on bridges) between Glenrowan and Springhurst. There were ARTC attendants at all signals this morning between Benalla and 10s up end of Springhurst.

This afternoon on the return trip the shoulder cleaner and tamper were at work near Winton again and the ballast train was between the Witt Street and Benalla-Yarrawonga Rd level crossings.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Many thanks
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
I find it amusing that people and Railfans seem to love blaming ARTC for the so called failures of the rehabilitation of the
NE SG line , but no one ever blames the federal dept of Finance, who are the Dept that hands out the money to all federal Govt depts
and Govt owned Corporations and Stat authorities.
They are the reason that ARTC doesnt have enough funds to do anything properly.
Can anyone even tell me who the Minister for Finance even is?
  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, VIC
The growing pile of ballast at Benalla this morning.

The more special end of the ballast train (down end)


The whole ballast train getting loaded this morning for work near Winton today.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
I find it amusing that people and Railfans seem to love blaming ARTC for the so called failures of the rehabilitation of the
NE SG line , but no one ever blames the federal dept of Finance, who are the Dept that hands out the money to all federal Govt depts
and Govt owned Corporations and Stat authorities.
They are the reason that ARTC doesnt have enough funds to do anything properly.
Can anyone even tell me who the Minister for Finance even is?
MD
ARTC is not setup like typical state rail bodies and is expected to operate commercially and provide a return on investment. Any Government funding is not guaranteed - in fact not much in the last few federal budgets let alone future ones.

Back to the NE track, no one ever contracted ARTC to rebuild the track from scratch, which is what it needed after decades of 'under investment'.
Bottom line;
- they had money (a contract) to re-gauge the line
- the majority of sleepers were at or near life expired
- ARTC already had a strategy underway for wholesale resleepering with concrete because of the state of the existing network and its goals to improve the carrying capacity whilst reducing maintenance costs in the long term, short of rebuilding much of the network
- A key (political) driver behind federal funding for mass concrete sleepering were the employment benefits in several regional centres, especially the new sleeper plant at Bomen. The additional work for the NE line keeps it in business
- Much of the ballast and drainage across its network is also life expired which ARTC has been addressing within its BAU maintenance program
- The breaking of the drought with historically unprecedented rainfall simply exacerbated ballast and drainage problems. ARTC has obtained some funds from various sources to bring forward the NE ballast works but it's not going to happen overnight.
- Meanwhile there is a network across five states to spend money on Wink
  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, VIC
For those interested V/Line have this brochure out at stations in the north-east. Pertaining to closures and disruptions over the summer shutdown period.

For the full size click the image.
[img]http://contrillion.com/vlinehs/summer1.jpg[/img]
[img]http://contrillion.com/vlinehs/summer2.jpg[/img]
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I find it amusing that people and Railfans seem to love blaming ARTC for the so called failures of the rehabilitation of the
NE SG line , but no one ever blames the federal dept of Finance, who are the Dept that hands out the money to all federal Govt depts
and Govt owned Corporations and Stat authorities.
They are the reason that ARTC doesnt have enough funds to do anything properly.
Can anyone even tell me who the Minister for Finance even is?
MD

Welcome to my nightmare!

From the beginning of the regauging ARTC has generally done a good job, not perfect, then nobodys perfect. They have clearly though had a problem with enough funds, and this is something nearly everybody has difficulty in grasping.

woodford
  woodford Chief Commissioner

ARTC is not setup like typical state rail bodies and is expected to operate commercially and provide a return on investment. Any Government funding is not guaranteed - in fact not much in the last few federal budgets let alone future ones.

Back to the NE track, no one ever contracted ARTC to rebuild the track from scratch, which is what it needed after decades of 'under investment'.
Bottom line;
- they had money (a contract) to re-gauge the line


cootanee



And this was ONLY to regauge the line, ie it was NEVER intended to be an upgrade.



- the majority of sleepers were at or near life expired



My estimate from walking the line after the BG service ceased was that at least 80% sleepers were doing nothing. Every track worker I talked to considered the track to be unsafe.



- ARTC already had a strategy underway for wholesale resleepering with concrete because of the state of the existing network and its goals to improve the carrying capacity whilst reducing maintenance costs in the long term, short of rebuilding much of the network
- A key (political) driver behind federal funding for mass concrete sleepering were the employment benefits in several regional centres, especially the new sleeper plant at Bomen. The additional work for the NE line keeps it in business
- Much of the ballast and drainage across its network is also life expired which ARTC has been addressing within its BAU maintenance program



Ballast on both lines north of Seymour and also the line South of Seymour was badly clogged with a ___VERY____ stiff grey sand.This was essentially the cause of the mudholes as water could not drain away. Reports I have had from track workers and a quarry state that ARTC was supplied with below standard ballast, the quarry concerend brought this to the purchasing officers attention but no action was considered to be required.




- The breaking of the drought with historically unprecedented rainfall simply exacerbated ballast and drainage problems. ARTC has obtained some funds from various sources to bring forward the NE ballast works but it's not going to happen overnight.



John Fullerton stated at the meeting they had to decide on what to spend the limited funding on, they chose the concrete sleepers. The rerailling of the line with 60kg rail was a one off event. He said they chose that section of the track purely due to the damage the steel train was doing to the line.

Sadly ARTC has a bad name, You simply cannot get it into anyones head the limitations they currently are working under, but from my observations over the last 5 years, there ARE doing a good job under quite difficult conditions.

woodford
- Meanwhile there is a network across five states to spend money on Wink

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