Ardglen - banking and train operations

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Hi,

I am seeking information regarding the operations at Ardglen.  Having never been there I would like information please on:

Banking direction (UP/DOWN)
Where the bankers are located
Where the bankers are added and removed
best location for photos.

Thanks
Brian

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  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
I am seeking information regarding the operations at Ardglen.  Having never been there I would like information please on:

Banking direction (UP/DOWN)
Where the bankers are located
Where the bankers are added and removed
best location for photos.

One might start with the track diagrams for the CTC era, such as:
Willow Tree, see: http://www.sa-trackandsignal.net/Pdf%20files/ARTC/AR558.pdf

Steam era diagrams are found on the ARHS T&SV3 DVD, which is not viewable online.

The loops involved are:
Murrurundai - which used to have a engine depot in steam days.
Pages River - a new recent CTC long loop on levelish ground.
Pangela - a short loop on 1 in 40 rising grade, now abolished. Had catchpoints.
??????? - signals in CTC days allow Up bank engines in rear to be detached just past tunnel. Includes floodlighting?
Ardglen Tunnel - at summit.
Ardglen - a long loop on the 1 in 40 falling grade. Has catch points on downhill end.
Kankool - a short loop on the 1 in 40 falling grade.
Chicotts Creek - a new recent CTC long loop on fairly level grade, with two purpose-built engine sidings at northern end.
* Designed for for trains to be banked in the rear.
* Engine sidings have power worked points.
Willow Tree - a long loop on fairly level grade, with no particularly convenient engine sidings.
* Sidings are ground frame worked.

In steam days, trains would be banked in both directions.

In diesel days, only loaded trains in Up direction are banked.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for the assistance.  I will announce shortly why I need this.  Remebered the radar would also have some info.  Here is a snapshot from 10 minutes ago.

  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
PacNat and Aurizon have separate loco sets for banking their own trains over the range.

Locos usually detach on the move at Ardglen.

A third set of bankers (SSR) are to start work soon over the range soon - they are likely to be attached at Willow Tree.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
SSR have been using GM10/44206/B61 for banking their grain trains over the range this week.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
SSR have been using GM10/44206/B61 for banking their grain trains over the range this week.

They are likely to be attached at Willow Tree.
bingley hall

Can you confirm that the bankers were attached at Willow Tree, or otherwise?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
ARTC has established a fairly new special designed bank engine stabling and attaching facility on the Newcastle (UP) side of Willow Tree about 2km from the existing station (as per Google earth).   It's plugged into a new and/or extended crossing loop.   As far as I could observe from the road there are at least 3 holding roads for sets of bank engine units.   It's set up in such a way that the train to be banked comes to a stand on either the mainline or the loop so the bank engines can move directly from the holding facility to either the loop and/or mainline.   The entire facility is fully signaled and depending on traffic movements the attaching of bank engines is completed very quickly with trains on the move within minutes if there are no opposing movements of northbound trains or returning bank engines.

When I was there very recently there were some very intense periods of train activity and whilst it can be a bit fraught because of the heavy road traffic following the bankers out of Willow Tree is a delight.   At Ardglen the bank engines automatically couple on the move which is magic to watch if you've never seen it before and often there will be an opposing train waiting in which cases the bankers then follow or if not the bank engines get away fairly promptly back to Willow Tree.

The fact that SSR are now basing helper units at Willow Tree is great news as that means traffic is on the increase for them.   In addition the scenery and location is also very nice.  There are a couple of basic motels in Murrurundi on the Newcastle side of the range very convenient to Ardglen and Willow Tree.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
ARTC has established a fairly new special designed bank engine stabling and attaching facility on the Newcastle (UP) side of Willow Tree about 2km from the existing station (as per Google earth).   It's plugged into a new and/or extended crossing loop.   As far as I could observe from the road there are at least 3 holding roads for sets of bank engine units.   It's set up in such a way that the train to be banked comes to a stand on either the mainline or the loop so the bank engines can move directly from the holding facility to either the loop and/or mainline.   The entire facility is fully signaled and depending on traffic movements the attaching of bank engines is completed very quickly with trains on the move within minutes if there are no opposing movements of northbound trains or returning bank engines.
Trainplanner

This diagram below shows the loops and engine sidings at Chilcotts Creek and Willow Tree, dated AFAIK, two or three years ago.

See: http://www.sa-trackandsignal.net/Pdf%20files/ARTC/AR558.pdf

Trainplanner seems to say that bank engine facilities have been updated more recently.

Chilcotts Creek is about 2km on the Up (Newcastle) end of Willow Tree. Trainplanner does not give a name for the new facility.

Chilcotts Creek surely cannot be an "extended loop" as it seems to have been built at its current and presumably satisfactory long length. Of course, it is NSW practice to CTC signal a loop that is uselessly short, and then extend it two or three times to get the right length for the trains that are trying to run. This provides more work for Perway and Signalling engineers.

The above diagram shows Chilcotts Creek with two power-worked engine sidings, and who knows if the number of sidings has been increased since.

IMHO, the sa-trackandsignal.net diagrams are resonably accurate and up to date.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks AWSGC24.    The diagram mirrors everything I saw as being Chilcotts Creek but I didn't see a name board in the twilight.  As I say I was not sure whether it was a 2 road holding are or three road but PN that evening had 2 sets of banker units there.

It really would be a great place for railcam!!!
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville

The fact that SSR are now basing helper units at Willow Tree is great news as that means traffic is on the increase for them.   In addition the scenery and location is also very nice.  There are a couple of basic motels in Murrurundi on the Newcastle side of the range very convenient to Ardglen and Willow Tree.
Trainplanner
I'm pretty sure the images I've seen of the SSR train departing Werris Ck were with the bankers already attached.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney

The fact that SSR are now basing helper units at Willow Tree is great news as that means traffic is on the increase for them.   In addition the scenery and location is also very nice.  There are a couple of basic motels in Murrurundi on the Newcastle side of the range very convenient to Ardglen and Willow Tree.I'm pretty sure the images I've seen of the SSR train departing Werris Ck were with the bankers already attached.
bingley hall

Will ARTC be installing purpose-built engine sidings at Willow Tree, like nearby Chilcott, complete with power-worked points and signals?

Are bank engines always marshalled in the rear?

Can the bank engines operate the front coupling so as to detach on the move at or past Ardglen?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik

The fact that SSR are now basing helper units at Willow Tree is great news as that means traffic is on the increase for them.   In addition the scenery and location is also very nice.  There are a couple of basic motels in Murrurundi on the Newcastle side of the range very convenient to Ardglen and Willow Tree.I'm pretty sure the images I've seen of the SSR train departing Werris Ck were with the bankers already attached.
Will ARTC be installing purpose-built engine sidings at Willow Tree, like nearby Chilcott, complete with power-worked points and signals?

Are bank engines always marshalled in the rear?

Can the bank engines operate the front coupling so as to detach on the move at or past Ardglen?
awsgc24
I thought that there were bank engine sidings at Willow Tree (and Chilcott [?]) and that they were single user sidings but not absolutely sure as it was a long time ago......so open to correction.
Bank engines must be on the rear so as not to exceed drawgear limits
Bank engines run/ran uncoupled and simply dropped away from the train at Ardglen - or at least that's the way they always used to do.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I believe there are only 2 sidings at Chilcotts for bank engines, with both holding 4 engines, unless its changed.

Bank engine working refers to assisting trains from the rear, if on the front its referred to as assistant/assisting engines.

In days past banking was always performed on the rear of the train, steam days and when guards vans were on the train it was easy with the bankers just going onto the rear, when ready and they had the staff, whistle codes exchanged they pushed, just short of Ardglen Tunnel. The bank engine carried the section staff as far as Ardglen where a bank engine key was exchanged allowing the banker to return.

When diesels took over initially the banking did not change, the 48cl, then 47 and 49cl were fitted with a device on the cow catcher, that was swung up under the auto, on the lift bar there was a U channel welded on and the device would be swung up into the channel with a threaded pin screwed in to secure it in position.  To swing it up you had to open the jaw of the auto and once in place test to see if the auto would remain open, if the auto shut, then you had to drop the device a extend it by screwing it out further (hard to explain it without a photo) once it was set, the same principle and working took place likewise with the staff.

With the longer wheat trains, a 44cl was stationed at Willow tree to assist in the front either to Pangella or MDI. A system later came into operation where 1800 tonne wheat trains started the next work program for bank and assisting of trains. The first train would depart WCK with 3x44cl and work to MDI, Stable the whole load and return to WCK LE, depending on the program, two of the 44's would be stabled at MDI. With the single 44 returning to WT, the 44's at MDI would be split and one left shut down on the train and the other in an empty road.  Through evening the next wheat train that came through be a 1200 tonne train with a single 44cl and was assisted by the returned 44 to MDI, where it would pick up 1000 tones plus the on train 44 and form a full load to BUllock Island.

The assisting 44 would return to WT and perform the same duty with the next wheat train, and that would usually finish that working. In the meantime a 48 would come down LE to perform normal banking duties. There were other variations to that wheat train workings.

The next phase of working ended up being heavier trains and whilst still having the breakvans on, the so called bank engine working ended up becoming assistant engines full time. This was when approval was given for trains over 1800 tonnes to be assisted, which meant 2x44 ex WCK, and the assistant engines being a branch line engine and a main liner, but the rear engine of the bankers had to have heavy auto's, meaning it needed to be Mk4 48, 47, or 442, later changed to allow 45cl. What then took place was trains ex WCK could have any combo of 2 main liners to WT, if non heavy auto on the train, the bankers had to go on the train and the train engines on the front. It required reversing at WT and at MDI.  As much as possible if a heavy draw gear loco was available ex WCK it was marshalled against the train meaning a straight attach and detach.

The removal of BV's and introduction of WB working again brought the engines on the rear, but as there was no lifting pins, and the heavier working, the banker had to couple up and have the air connected, the banking then went back all but to the old system.  However this time round the banker was detached at a specific location on the southern side of the tunnel, where the train engines would pull up at set distance pegs and the banker would uncouple and the fireman ensured the air was tight.  All communications at this time was two way radio.  Initially the new working had 81cl on the roster but after mods were carried out initially on 2 of the 45cl they were brought into the working, following on from the first two another 2 were modified and allocated to WCK, and further tests allowing them to operate on trains to Ardglen and Tamworth, before the reclassing to 35cl

That was the working when I was medically retired end of 88.
  a6et Minister for Railways


The fact that SSR are now basing helper units at Willow Tree is great news as that means traffic is on the increase for them.   In addition the scenery and location is also very nice.  There are a couple of basic motels in Murrurundi on the Newcastle side of the range very convenient to Ardglen and Willow Tree.I'm pretty sure the images I've seen of the SSR train departing Werris Ck were with the bankers already attached.
Will ARTC be installing purpose-built engine sidings at Willow Tree, like nearby Chilcott, complete with power-worked points and signals?

Are bank engines always marshalled in the rear?

Can the bank engines operate the front coupling so as to detach on the move at or past Ardglen?I thought that there were bank engine sidings at Willow Tree (and Chilcott [?]) and that they were single user sidings but not absolutely sure as it was a long time ago......so open to correction.
Bank engines must be on the rear so as not to exceed drawgear limits
Bank engines run/ran uncoupled and simply dropped away from the train at Ardglen - or at least that's the way they always used to do.
YM-Mundrabilla
My understanding is that Chilcotts is the preffered attaching point as it does not block the Merriwa road (old new england highway) crossing for as long. Bankers can still be attached there.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
My understanding is that Chilcotts is the preffered attaching point as it does not block the Merriwa road (old new england highway) crossing for as long. Bankers can still be attached there.
a6et

The generously long crossing loop at Willow Tree is 1800m long.

There are three sidings, Stock, Goods, and Wheat. The points are ground frame operated, and not necessarily in positions to stable bank engines. A new Engine siding, with power points and signals, should be provided at the north end of the loop, so that access to the rear of trains waiting in the Main and Loop. Who operates the ground frames? Guard, Signalman or a Ghost?

Does the so-called Stock Siding at WT and elsewhere mean that Stock Trains are still running?

The Merriwa Road level crossing is clear of the loop and should not be a problem with trains waiting to attached bank engines.

Ardglen does have a level crossing inconveniently located in the middle of the loop.

I seem to remember that at the place just south of the Arglen Tunnel, where Bank Engines are sometimes/mostly detached, has some flood lighting, which may well activated by track circuits. Like the Electric Staff Hut at Joppa Junction.

See diagram http://www.sa-trackandsignal.net/Pdf%20files/ARTC/AR558.pdf
  a6et Minister for Railways

My understanding is that Chilcotts is the preffered attaching point as it does not block the Merriwa road (old new england highway) crossing for as long. Bankers can still be attached there.

The generously long crossing loop at Willow Tree is 1800m long.

There are three sidings, Stock, Goods, and Wheat. The points are ground frame operated, and not necessarily in positions to stable bank engines. A new Engine siding, with power points and signals, should be provided at the north end of the loop, so that access to the rear of trains waiting in the Main and Loop. Who operates the ground frames? Guard, Signalman or a Ghost?

Does the so-called Stock Siding at WT and elsewhere mean that Stock Trains are still running?

The Merriwa Road level crossing is clear of the loop and should not be a problem with trains waiting to attached bank engines.

Ardglen does have a level crossing inconveniently located in the middle of the loop.

I seem to remember that at the place just south of the Arglen Tunnel, where Bank Engines are sometimes/mostly detached, has some flood lighting, which may well activated by track circuits. Like the Electric Staff Hut at Joppa Junction.

See diagram http://www.sa-trackandsignal.net/Pdf%20files/ARTC/AR558.pdf
awsgc24
Looking at that diagram, what is called the stock siding, depending on the length could hold 3 bankers if needed meaning the train could head to Chilcots and the bankers then follow and attach there. Would be some sort of close up of calling on signal at the home to allow that,
It looks very much like the new longer loop a Willow Tree has used a storage road that was used for the bankers when waiting to attach to the rear of a train in the loop, a set of points to the main off the old shorter loop existed just to the north of the ones from the silo road.

The point in regards to The Merriwa road is that if the bankers are attached at WT, the lights have to be on before the starting signal is cleared, so even with the bankers on there is a fair time span between when the lights operate, the train at WT starts and the rear of the train with or without the bankers passes the crossing and the lights go out.  Trains going to Chilcotts for the bankers would take a lot less time as they are going through at full throttle and likely track speed.

The road crossing at Ardglen is for the lazy drivers who want to short cut from the top of the range and possibly only used for a few from the village and those on the other side of the range who have farms on the western side of the range rather than go to the bridge over the line.  It would not be used greatly, except by people of the village to go to MDI for shopping perhaps also by rail vehicles etc.

We had freinds who owned the home at the top of the range first one you come to off the T junction to WT and up into the range further.  It was a 4 wheel road only unless done up.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney

See diagram http://www.sa-trackandsignal.net/Pdf%20files/ARTC/AR558.pdf
Looking at that diagram, what is called the stock siding, depending on the length could hold 3 bankers if needed meaning the train could head to Chilcots and the bankers then follow and attach there. Would be some sort of close up of calling on signal at the home to allow that,
It looks very much like the new longer loop a Willow Tree has used a storage road that was used for the bankers when waiting to attach to the rear of a train in the loop, a set of points to the main off the old shorter loop existed just to the north of the ones from the silo road.

The point in regards to The Merriwa road is that if the bankers are attached at WT, the lights have to be on before the starting signal is cleared, so even with the bankers on there is a fair time span between when the lights operate, the train at WT starts and the rear of the train with or without the bankers passes the crossing and the lights go out.  Trains going to Chilcotts for the bankers would take a lot less time as they are going through at full throttle and likely track speed.

The road crossing at Ardglen is for the lazy drivers who want to short cut from the top of the range and possibly only used for a few from the village and those on the other side of the range who have farms on the western side of the range rather than go to the bridge over the line.  It would not be used greatly, except by people of the village to go to MDI for shopping perhaps also by rail vehicles etc.

We had freinds who owned the home at the top of the range first one you come to off the T junction to WT and up into the range further.  It was a 4 wheel road only unless done up.
a6et

The diagrams are not to scale, so it is difficult to say
* how long they are (probably enough)
* how far it is from the siding points to the starting signals protecting the level crossing (probably to short as these siding points date from when the WT loop was only ~400m long).

If bank engine is position on the main line, while a heavy train enters the loop, then shunt signals do exist to shunt down the single line and back up to the rear of the train waiting in the loop. Or vice versa.

As for bank engines following the train to CC to attach in the rear, the Up Home Signal at CC does not have a shunt signal to enter the occupied Main/Loop as the case may be.
* Clearly the need for a following on shunt signal has not been thought of.

Bank engines could follow and attached at CC if
* the bank engine is authorised to pass the Up Home Signal at Stop, or
* perform a "Zig Zag" to shunt into an Engine Siding, and then use a shunt signal to attach.

Clearly to attach bank engines at WT a purpose-built siding with power worked points and signal is needed at the north end of the loop:
* this requires a turnout and catchpoint and 100m of track for one set of bank engines.
* at CC, 4 turnouts and one catchpoint and 200m of track are provided for two sets of bank engines.

* This is a bit clumsy.

It is quite possible that the turnouts to the three sidings at WT have just be renewed even if the Stock Siding for one is next to useless, and the other turnouts are in the wrong position for current needs. Do stock trains still run? When will they start running again?
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
See diagram http://www.sa-trackandsignal.net/Pdf%20files/ARTC/AR558.pdf

The point in regards to The Merriwa road is that if the bankers are attached at WT, the lights have to be on before the starting signal is cleared, so even with the bankers on there is a fair time span between when the lights operate, the train at WT starts and the rear of the train with or without the bankers passes the crossing and the lights go out.  Trains going to Chilcotts for the bankers would take a lot less time as they are going through at full throttle and likely track speed.
a6et
51 Points at the south end has 1 point motor, and is probably capable of 25km/h, the default in absence of any speed board.

52 Points at the north end has 2 point motors, one for the points and one for the switched crossing. There is no speed board. Is is capable of a higher speed than this. If so why is there now X80 or whatever speed board?

51 Points should be upgraded to have a switched crossing and flatter crossing angle for higher speed, with a suitable speed board. This may reduce the time that a banked train occupies the level crossing. Somewhat similar to Scone and IIRC Gunnedah.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Speed Boards around Willow Tree, etc.

The following diagram from ARTC show speed boards for main lines, but for turnouts at crossing loops. It also hasn't been updated since Dec 2012, and does not show the new crossing loop at Chilcotts Creek. DRAT.

See: https://extranet.artc.com.au/docs/eng/network-config/cd/nsw/section_1_north_hv/section_1_north_hv_N00.pdf

You have to scroll to page 12. DRAT.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
My observations from today:

- I did see 3 x 81 class sitting in Kankool Loop, they eventually proceeded Northwards, crossing an SSR Wheat at Chilcotts Creek - they could have been bound for the North end sidings there, but I didn't go back to see.

- 3 x CFCLA liveried CF Class were sitting in one of the Engine sidings at Chilcotts Creek but they did not appear to move over a 3 hour period. Perhaps Aurizon use them? (didn't see any loaded Aurizon trans, but two empties only had 2 Locos on the front, which suggests they would need some help on the loaded journey).

- a PN Loaded Coal headed by 3 x 92/93 Class was in the Loop at Chilcotts Creek, with 3 x TT Class on the rear - where they were attached I don't know. The 3 x TT detached 'on the move' at the Ardglen Level Crossing. That train had 84 hoppers (If I counted right!).

At Willow Tree, the "Stock Siding" was occupied by Track Machines. The "Goods Siding" opposite the Station seems to have gone, or is overgrown. The Loop points (at least at the Sydney end) are power operated. My guess is that the Banker operations have moved from Willow Tree to Chilcotts Creek.

The Quarry siding at Ardglen has been removed, including the Mainline points.

Beware of Snakes, I saw two on the road at Ardglen between the Overbridge and Level Crossing.

And beware of "Cowboys" - one driving a B-Double Fuel Tanker (presumably loaded as he was heading north) tailgated be down the hill from Ardglen towards Kankool - I had to put the foot down to 125kmh to get away from the idiot and only lost him when he slowed for the checking station.
  2LaGrange Train Controller

A few points.
CF class used as bank engines are now owned by Aurizon and are used to bank all Aurizon coal services and their grain train.

Due to contractual arrangements some White Haven coal trains hauled by PN are still banked by Aurizon CFs

All PN and Aurizon bank engines are attached at Chilcotts Creek. Willow Tree Stock Road was used in the past but resident and local buisness complaints about noise and fumes have ended that practice.

Points into and out of Chilcotts Creek Loop are 50km/hr.

Only exceptions to these practices would be occasional SSR grain services banked out of Werris Creek but generally they have enough power on the front and don't require banking.

In the past PN sometimes had bank engines sit at Braefield Loop and attach to rear of train once it came to a stand at Willow Tree.
  tom9876543 Train Controller

Would anyone know..... what ruling grade would be adequate so that a bank engine is NOT required?
  2LaGrange Train Controller

1 in 60 are the grades same trains face further south unassisted on their journey to Newcastle.
  tom9876543 Train Controller

Thanks 2LaGrange.

With Google Maps in terrain mode I drew a possible deviation between Willow Tree and Ardglen tunnel at 1/70. It would be about 15.5km long.
  DesL Station Master



With Google Maps in terrain mode I drew a possible deviation between Willow Tree and Ardglen tunnel at 1/70. It would be about 15.5km long.
tom9876543
Have a look at this file from the ARTC website: https://www.artc.com.au/library/news_180107_A1.pdf

They did this study of the Liverpool Range options just over 10 years ago.

Des

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