Zig Zag Railway - Project Restart & the fire

 
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

I have some good news to report this week.

With 5802 now fully operable, and the bushfire season looming, opportunity was taken to shunt the depot and relocate some stored passenger carriages from Edgecombe to Bottom Points depot for some restoration work as a prelude to re-commencement of tourist passenger operations.

Beginning with clearing an empty wagon from the ZZR Bottom Points workshops and making space in one of the depot roads, 5802 ventured out of the depot area last Saturday and ascended Middle Road and then to Top Points for this photo opportunity becasue this was the first time since June 2012 one of our locomotives has taken a ride on the tracks with passenger carriages.


[img]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2838/10289870163_ecb5e28ca7.jpg[/img]
5802 and crew Top Points - Sat October 5 2013

5802 then proceded up Top Road as far as Edgecombe siding where the carriages were stored. When our crews got there they then had to spend about two hours replacing stolen brake components and gauges and securing doors where locks and handles had been stolen before the carriages could be moved. Virtually every peice of wire and every fitting contianing copper or brass on all the carriages stored at Edgecombe has been stolen, with many windows having been smashed and the outside of the carriages being extensively graffitied.

The carriages are now in the depot at Bottom Points and work begins on their restoration this weekend.

This is an opportunity for any readers if they are interested in joining the Zig Zag and becoming involved in our re-start work, now would be a good time to let me know, so pm me if you are interested.

regards
David H

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  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
I have some good news to report this week.
Zig Zag Reporter


Thanks for the good news David! I hope there will be much more to come.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Virtually every peice of wire and every fitting contianing copper or brass on all the carriages stored at Edgecombe has been stolen, with many windows having been smashed and the outside of the carriages being extensively graffitied.
"Zig Zag Reporter"
Wouldn't you like to catch the *##=!'s responsible.  Pity you don't have two or three Rottweilers to roam the depot at unattended times.
  Blackadder Chief Commissioner

Location: Not the ECRL
Have heard reports of a building destroyed in the vincinty of Zig Zag Railway due to the bushfires, hope all at ZZR stay safe and any damage is minimal.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

Thanks Blackadder
I cannot confirm your report just yet, but will follow up, but in the meantime here is some history and an update:

Yesterday a bushfire broke out in the Marrangaroo area and spread to the Newnes Plateau.
This fire is rated as "out of control" and earlier to day cut off the State Mine Gully road and has been burning around northern fringes of Lithgow and Oakey Park and earlier today was reported that property and homes in the Clarence and Dargan area may come under threat.

While I cannot speak for the State Mine heritage precinct, at this stage it has not directly affected any property or infrastructure on the Zig Zag Reserve, as the fire burned its way along the eastern boundary of the Zig Zag reserve.

The current situation (from the RFS website) at 12.37 states:
"The fire is burning near Oaky Park, Morts Estate, Clarence, Dargan, Doctors Gap and Hartley.
An emergency alert telephone message has been sent to residents in these areas.
The fire has now crossed the Bells Line of Road and is out of control.
Conditions are deteriorating, with hot and gusty winds."

I now have a report that the fire is heading towards Clarence, so our station precint and all the homes on the southern side of the Chifley Road are under direct threat (even as I write this).
Under such conditions there is little we can do, except hope and pray.
If there are property loses we can accept that, but lives are too precious to risk if defending property in such severe and high risk conditions.
This fire is also affecting roads and transport:
•Bells Line of Road is closed between Lithgow and Bell in both directions.
•The Darling Causeway is closed northbound at the Great Western Highway in Mount Victoria.
•Motorists are advised to use the Great Western Highway as an alternative.
•State Mine Gully Road has been closed until further notice.
•The Central to Lithgow train (Blue Mountains Line) is being replaced by buses between Mount Victoria and Lithgow.
•As a result of the closure, passengers travelling to Bell Station should speak to station staff at Lithgow or Mount Victoria.
•Both train passengers and motorists are advised to allow extra travel time.
If I get any further updates I will post here.
regards
David H
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

The Lithgow fire has now burnt more than 1,100 hectares in the past 24 hours.
Over 100 firefighters are involved and the conditions are extremly hot and windy, making for very challenging fire fighting conditions. My heart goes out to all the firefighters toiling under these conditions.
There have now been business property loses in the eastern end of Lithgow, with more to come.
There has also been serious property losses at a separate fire that has now broken out at Springwood.

The RFS web site is down, so via Twitter the Commissioner, Rob Rogers has reported that winds are hampering the firefighting efforts, so much so that a later response was;
"All aircraft have been grounded at the Lithgow fire due to dangerous winds," he said on Twitter.
The grounding of these aircraft and helicopters is a blow to the efforts to save property.

There is a storm front approaching, but little chance that is contains any rain, with the biggest risk of it bringing a big change in wind direction, which could change the whole direction of the fires.

The State Mine Gully railway precinct has only just survived being burnt out, but are still not out of danger.
As for us at ZZR there is a huge pall of smoke over the Bottom Points/ Clarence area and I fear that the news will not be as good as I may have indicated earlier today.
  lsrailfan Chief Commissioner

Location: Somewhere you're not
I Hope and Pray that Zig Zag is spared, You guys have been through enough as it is Sad
  Silver S Set Junior Train Controller

The fire had better spared the railway!
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

Our caretaker vacated the site as requested by the police, and the site is not accessible due to road closures.
That means we have no way of knowing what the extent of the fire damage has been.

I have just seen a clip from the SBS news of a reporter on the dirt access road to Bottom Points at the western end of Oaky Park and while the home near the waterworks is visible (apparently undamaged), it is surrounded by spot fire damaged trees and grass caused by falling embers just recently extinguished.
If the Bottom Points depot area has been subject to falling embers like this, the news may not be good.

I have just had a report texted to me that there are railway sleepers on fire in Lithgow yard (not sure if they are stored on in-situ in the track).
We are not the only railway exposed to fire damage.....

As soon as the ZZR site is accessible, we have some members who will check the site and report back to the management team.
As soon as we find out the status of the site, I will report back

Thanks for your interest and comments.

regards
David H
  allambee Chief Train Controller

Our caretaker vacated the site as requested by the police, and the site is not accessible due to road closures.
That means we have no way of knowing what the extent of the fire damage has been.

I have just seen a clip from the SBS news of a reporter on the dirt access road to Bottom Points at the western end of Oaky Park and while the home near the waterworks is visible (apparently undamaged), it is surrounded by spot fire damaged trees and grass caused by falling embers just recently extinguished.
If the Bottom Points depot area has been subject to falling embers like this, the news may not be good.

I have just had a report texted to me that there are railway sleepers on fire in Lithgow yard (not sure if they are stored on in-situ in the track).
We are not the only railway exposed to fire damage.....

As soon as the ZZR site is accessible, we have some members who will check the site and report back to the management team.
As soon as we find out the status of the site, I will report back

Thanks for your interest and comments.

regards
David H
Zig Zag Reporter
Do you have a "last resort" fire suppression system (translation - sprinkler system using agricultural sprinkler components) in place around the workshop area to dampen it down in case of ember fires? Buried PE pipe with gal pipe risers with sprinklers attached is all you need.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

Thanks for the idea Allambee.
When we perform our post-bushfire assessments I will suggest that we put it on the list of possible mitigations for bushfire risks.

After this weeks posts now I am not sure which mitigation suggestion I would give the greatest priority to;
Allambees depot sprinkler
or
Valvegears rottweillers

David H
  a6et Minister for Railways

Thanks for the idea Allambee.
When we perform our post-bushfire assessments I will suggest that we put it on the list of possible mitigations for bushfire risks.

After this weeks posts now I am not sure which mitigation suggestion I would give the greatest priority to;
Allambees depot sprinkler
or
Valvegears rottweillers

David H
Zig Zag Reporter
David

I would suggest that sprinkler systems be installed with some sort of remote or radio control to set them on/off in times such as this at least in the areas that are likely to be severely affected in times such as this.

While the idea of rottweillers sounds ok, again some sort of movement senser alarm to set sprinklers or some other deterent off would be better, otherwise you might only end up with hot dogs:lol:
  NSWGR_23cl Beginner

Location: Knapsack Siding
Not looking good I'm afraid Sad

  NSWGR_23cl Beginner

Location: Knapsack Siding
Care of the NSWRFS Current Incidents page.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

Thanks NSWGR_23cl and a6et for your responses.
(and no, we do not want hot dogs on the menu:oConfused)

(trying to disguise my pain with humour) .....the picture does not look good.!!!
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

We are currently awaiting permission to access roads in the area.

Buses are replacing trains on the Blue Mountains Line between Lithgow and Mount Victoria in both directions
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

I have recieved an update from a reliable source and the news is not good I am afraid.
Unfortunately we have sustained severe damage in the Bottom Points depot area.

The locos have been able to resist the ember attacks, but our wooden carriage fleet not so.
All accomodation cars in the depot area destroyed
All wooden carriages in '0' road (that part of the original Bottom road formation) destroyed
One (maybe two) Railmotor cars destroyed.
The office inside the workshop destroyed with severe damage to the workshop area below it.
The carriages inside the shed have survived (the ones brought down from Edgecombe last week)

Bottom Points station and signal box have survived
Not sure about Top Points station or signal box at this stage
Not sure about Edgecombe siding.
No assessment made about sleeper/track damage as yet.

The rural fire service have performed excellent work in the Clarence area and the Clarence station precinct appears to be intact. Some homes in the fringe area of Clarence affected by fires.

I will be sent some pictures during the day and I will post these when I get the chance.

regards
David H
  Penguinapple1 Station Staff

Anymore news yet David?
Around how many carriages were in the 0 road? - do you think we will have enough carriages to resume services?
also were the carriages in o road the nice ones that were painted blue or the ones that the zig zag used for daily services?
  oldghan Station Master

Thanks for providing the information.  In the southern states the news coverage has not mentioned the zig zag at all.  This is terrible news.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

During the course of the day we have been able to gain access to the Railway and I can supply some additional details.

The total carriage count lost is six, with most of them being those stored on 'O' Road.
The fire damage extended further along "O" Road to Rail Motor 2016, and did not affect the next RM vehicle.

[img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5532/10341330096_cede376dfa.jpg[/img]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92327956@N07/10341330096/

This photo was taken from Rose Gardens looking down on the burnt underframes on "O" Road and beyond the remains of the EAM, VAM, LAM & AL (ex NSWGR sleeping carriages used for accomodation).

[img]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2874/10341329986_52059ff471.jpg[/img]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92327956@N07/10341329986/


Whats left of the EAM

[img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7414/10341309604_a81f28e47e.jpg[/img]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92327956@N07/10341309604/



The base of the Bottom Points Signal Box was still smouldering this morning, and may still have taken further hold of the box, but was extinguished in time.


[img]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3694/10341309964_e64275dc70.jpg[/img]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92327956@N07/10341309964/


The Bottom Points Station building is still intact, and surprisingly, no vehicles stored in the shunting neck at Bottom Points were affected.
A full journey in the Hi-Rail was then undertaken from the Bottom Points depot and we can reveal the following;

There has been minimal damage to the running lines, with only the odd sleeper here or there damaged by the fire.

At Top Points the station precinct and the signal box have survived, however burning grass around the Top Road (Outer Home Signal) relay hut set the hut on fire and it was destroyed.

[img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5550/10341329656_dc0de9f281.jpg[/img]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92327956@N07/10341329656/

At Edgecombe, the crews first sight was of both the Crane and Front End Loader burnt out, but then on travelling further along to the siding were surprised to find the rest of the carriages stored there still intact.

[img]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2883/10341311655_431f9563a2.jpg[/img]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92327956@N07/10341311655/

As stated earlier the Clarence Station is intact but the fire went through the back block where many of our spares are stored.

This photo is taken from 1072's tender and shows the damage to the Office and Machine Shop

[img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7411/10341312035_1c9c693548.jpg[/img]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92327956@N07/10341312035/

A close up views of the Machine shop damage.

[img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5476/10341500023_1a9373c21d.jpg[/img]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92327956@N07/10341500023/

[img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7449/10341500653_19f0df1e5c.jpg[/img]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/92327956@N07/10341500653/


Thats all for now

David
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Like many I wish the society well with this latest huge hurdle in the history of the ZZR. I did as mod think about splitting the fire posts to their own thread, but the work to restart has had a major disaster, and  thus continue to be managed......so is a part of the long term aim to be running again..

So I altered the title slightly for now.  

Again best wishes.

Regards,
David Head
  a6et Minister for Railways

Guys, if any sort of consolation - It could have been worse.
& thankfully it wasn't
Its been a tough 12 months or so but I think the fighting spirit of those involved with ZZR will see it climb up (literally) from the ashes.

A question though what sort of insurance coverage is held, & how far will it go?  The big thing I guess is to get the sheds vandal proofed ASAP, as I would hate to see the amount of brass & the like go missing, maybe time for a temporary employment of the rottweilers.

Cheers
  MC3801 Train Controller

Hopefully ZZR can get back on track soon.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
Thanks for posting the pictures. It's very sad to see the damage to the ZZR especially the loss of the former QR carriages. Do you know if the former SAR Long Tom carriages down the other end survived?
  Silver S Set Junior Train Controller

I have recieved an update from a reliable source and the news is not good I am afraid.
Unfortunately we have sustained severe damage in the Bottom Points depot area.

The locos have been able to resist the ember attacks, but our wooden carriage fleet not so.
All accomodation cars in the depot area destroyed
All wooden carriages in '0' road (that part of the original Bottom road formation) destroyed
One (maybe two) Railmotor cars destroyed.
The office inside the workshop destroyed with severe damage to the workshop area below it.
Zig Zag Reporter
Nooooooooooooo Sad I am soooooo sad! Sad(((((((((((((((((((Crying or Very sadSad

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