NE SG line, post gauge conversion

 
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Mr Woodford I'd say you are going to find that most of the main southern railway in NSW and the north east line in Victoria has severly fouled ballast . I believe the only thing that can ever fix it is to start the ballast cleaner (under sleeper ripping chain machine) at the start of ARTC territory down your way and run it all the way to the newish Wodonga Bypass on one line and all the way back to Seymour on the other . That should go a long way to fixing the NE lines issues and then all thats left is a bit over double the distance in NSW , the majority of it with double lines .

I don't think ARTC is stupid , I think they know exactly what the problem is and would have known from day 1 . The stupidity was that they ducked and weaved around the real issue and tried to ignore it .
Anyway its pleasing that they've got the ball rolling and lets hope they can prove to the Feds that this is the right way to go but it isn't cheap .  

Sponsored advertisement

  woodford Chief Commissioner

Mr Woodford I'd say you are going to find that most of the main southern railway in NSW and the north east line in Victoria has severly fouled ballast . I believe the only thing that can ever fix it is to start the ballast cleaner (under sleeper ripping chain machine) at the start of ARTC territory down your way and run it all the way to the newish Wodonga Bypass on one line and all the way back to Seymour on the other . That should go a long way to fixing the NE lines issues and then all thats left is a bit over double the distance in NSW , the majority of it with double lines .

"BDA"


I agree with most of what you say, I am unsure on why they prograstinated for so long but there is some evidence pointing to the fact they did not either have the funds or did not wish to spend the money (the old problem with railways).

It would be safe to say every track worker including managment and drivers I have spoken to have said the same thing about the track condition. I have been told by someone in a position that really knows that ARTC is well aware of the answer but have not the funds to do what is required.



I don't think ARTC is stupid , I think they know exactly what the problem is and would have known from day 1 . The stupidity was that they ducked and weaved around the real issue and tried to ignore it .
Anyway its pleasing that they've got the ball rolling and lets hope they can prove to the Feds that this is the right way to go but it isn't cheap .  



Over the past few years I have spoken to ARTC managment twice and the contractors management quite a number of times, this has led me to the conclusion that ARTC is NOT stupid. The managment and enginnerring staff are trying to do the best they can under the really impossible conditions inposed on them, and I may say I feel genuninely sorry for them as they are in a VERY difficult position.

The organisation behind this latest work is clear evidence they know the problem but in the end they need the funds and resources to do the current work to the whole line AND be able to have regular track maintence staff assigned to each individual area.

BTW has everyone gone to sleep, no one spotted the error.............................................

The two locos on the ballast train are T342 and T386. T320 I THINK is a BG loco with the SRHC.

Woodford
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Mr Woodford the big issue as you say is resources mainly money so once the public at large locks that one in they can gp to the source and lay the shame/blame at their door .
We all know governments are going to be most of this source and they will have a go at ignoring /drip feeding something thats not well publicised or exposed to the masses .
We could be excused for thinking that ARTC is taking one for "the team" here and the Feds who should be copping the flack are just distanced enough from ARTC to be shielded from most of the heat . Behind this Teflon lies a transport minister a treasurer and a prime minister and its about time prominent people started asking them publically whats the deal and wanting to know why after years of ARTC/Fed control these corridors are still basket cases ... 
  Serviceton_Kev Chief Commissioner

Location: Fecking here!
Seymour Violet Town work,
The main work of the first 2 days is the effectively the replacement of the ballast from a kilometre or 2 north of Mangalore going south on the West line. A Ballast cleaner was active around 3 kilometres south of Mangalore, it was discarding the vast majority of the material being removed from beneath the track. The amount of ballast it was returning was pitifully small. One could easily see it was the same at least all the way from Managlore.
The repacement ballast was coming from the ballast dump mentioned in a previous post at Locksley. The amount of ballast being shifted is enormous. A ballast train is doing the honours, it consists of around 20 to 22 yellow ballast wagons type ADFF, the motive power being T342 and T320 both on the north end of the train, so it backed all the way from Locksley to the work site south of Mangalore (Note 1). While it was loading I sited two trucks bringing more ballast and on the way back two more were unloading with another one the way. I assume the train was doing two trips a day putting out roughly 1000 tons each trip and it looks like the trucks are bring in 1000 tons more ballast a day. So ARTC is expecting to use much ballast during this job.

This I believe does show what poor condition the ballast is in on this line.

There was  a decent sized team had just finished some kind of work just north of the cutting between Mangalore and Avenel. A tamper and Ballast plough were working nearby on the East line.
There was a good number of portable lighting units around the whole mangalore area so they appear to have been doin an all nighter.
The only other work team sited (mind you I did not have much time and did not have a good look) was doing ballast replacemnet around 5 or 6 kilmetres south of Violet Town.


Note 1, One thing I noticed the train used two brake pipes, the brake line and the main resivour line.

Woodford
"woodford"


Thanks again Woodford. It seems the ATRC is replacing a heck of a lot of ballast! I wonder how much more they need to do before the job is finally completed and the re - sleepered SG line can operate as intended?

Duncs






"Duncs"


Maybe when we're all dead and buried! Mr. Green
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Why arnt the NSW and VIC Govts who OWN the lines that ARTC are improving
contributing to the costs of their improvement?
What does the NSW and VIC Govts do with the lease payments that ARTC have to pay them
for leasing the lines?
  Barrington Womble Photo Nazi

Location: Banned
MD, I believe - and someone please correct me if I'm wrong - that the Vic and NSW Governments have handed over all control of the track to ARTC. I don't know whether it's leased or a peppercorn arrangement. This means that ARTC control, and also have to maintain to the tracks and infrastructure, and as such the state governments have nothing to do with it's upkeep.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

MD, I believe - and someone please correct me if I'm wrong - that the Vic and NSW Governments have handed over all control of the track to ARTC. I don't know whether it's leased or a peppercorn arrangement. This means that ARTC control, and also have to maintain to the tracks and infrastructure, and as such the state governments have nothing to do with it's upkeep.
"Barrington Womble"


Only the SG lines are ARTC the BG is state government.
  Barrington Womble Photo Nazi

Location: Banned
MD, I believe - and someone please correct me if I'm wrong - that the Vic and NSW Governments have handed over all control of the track to ARTC. I don't know whether it's leased or a peppercorn arrangement. This means that ARTC control, and also have to maintain to the tracks and infrastructure, and as such the state governments have nothing to do with it's upkeep.
"Barrington Womble"


Only the SG lines are ARTC the BG is state government.
"Duncs"

I refer to the North East and Western SG lines.
I should have been a bit more specific. Embarassed
  woodford Chief Commissioner

A more complete picture of the work between Semour and Violet Town.

There are quite a number of teams active,

There is a small team with one excavtor (I think, could be two) working it appears on the  East line, also working on the East line is a tamper and a ballast regulator.

There is a a large team with probably 4 excavators and an asociated tamper and ballast regulator working on the West line. This team appears to have started near Violet Town and working its way south.

Looks like there are three separate teams working between Seymour and Avenel, first is the ballast cleaner and its support including the ballast train.The second is a large group of excavators and other equipment, this team knocks off around 1400 so I have not seen what its doing. The third is a ringer and is confusing the issue a bit as its doing a sleeper cycle on the GV  BG line.

I seriously underestimated the amount of ballast being used one of the staff at the dump at Locksley said they were looking at shipping out 3 train loads a day, that being around 3000 tons. There looked to be a truck arriving every 10 minutes or so with more ballast, trucks hold around 40 to 42 tons each.

This staff member said he was told the aim of the exersize was to be able to remove all the speed limits between Seymour and Violet Town.

A final there is some concern over the quality of work done by the spot teams using excavtors, I have been able to get a real good look at there methods and what they can acheive and I certainly have no concern on the excellent job they can do.

There is a seriously LARGE effort going into the track  at the moment, Note the East line is still carrying some traffic two freights went through today.

Woodford
  St12NR18 Locomotive Driver

Location: Victoria
There is a freight sitting on the east track I think it is heading North been sitting there about half an hour.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Mr Woodford the big issue as you say is resources mainly money so once the public at large locks that one in they can gp to the source and lay the shame/blame at their door .
We all know governments are going to be most of this source and they will have a go at ignoring /drip feeding something thats not well publicised or exposed to the masses .
We could be excused for thinking that ARTC is taking one for "the team" here and the Feds who should be copping the flack are just distanced enough from ARTC to be shielded from most of the heat . Behind this Teflon lies a transport minister a treasurer and a prime minister and its about time prominent people started asking them publically whats the deal and wanting to know why after years of ARTC/Fed control these corridors are still basket cases ... 
"BDA"


Although it's bleeding obvious, fact is nobody said rebuild the line from the ground up and here's the money to do it...

ARTC's strategy was reasonable given the piece meal funding under LNP then Labor. It's priority was to address the greatest risk between Melbourne and Brisbane - sleeper condition. Concrete sleepers could be funded by gov as a capital investment. It was appealing to LNP as it provided regional manufacturing jobs, so they kick started it and Labor coughed up a few more times.

ARTC was always going to have to fix the underlying ballast and drainage but that would be 'down the track' - as maintenance. And for those with short memories - mudholes are hardly an issue when dam levels are at record lows and everyone's running around building desal plants Exclamation

As for one bunch of pollies is better that another Rolling Eyes ... ARTC was set up by the LNP as a 'can do' commercial org as opposed to inefficient socialist public service run state rail bodies and that expectation has simply continued under federal Labor. Won't change when the next lot move back in either Razz
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
It must be bliss to be that naieve . Ballast full of dirt is smeg wet or dry because , well you wouldn't guess it because you spend SFA time running over it , it doesn't support horror of horrors the sleepers and rail above it .
Ya think we don't remember those hot summers and getting smashed about by combinations of wood concrete and steel sleepers ?
And the "ballast"that didn't support them properly because its full or dirt and crap .
I can't seem to get it through your armor plated skull that the line is the slowest its been in twenty years including the WOLOs of the great dry when No1 planet earth moron Flannery claimed it would never rain again .
As to why NSW and Victoria don't or can't cough up for this rail corridor .
Do mental giants think the two state governments paid for the bulk of the Hume Hwy/Freeway on its current alignment and condition ? Clearly not .
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Never take life to seriously, you will never get out of it alive......... Very HappyVery HappyVery Happy
Possibly with apologies to BDA and cootanee

First a word on what Woodford considers to be good clear posting on the forum. Think about the information you are trying to put across to find out what you REALLY wish to say. If someone has put up poor information, discuss, providing EVIDENCE on why they are incorrect. DO NOT repeat DO NOT attack anyone under any circumstances if you are trying to get through to them, all a direct attack will do will cause the opposition to dig in and YOU WILL NEVER SUCCEED in getting though to them. Lets say think about the result of the last time some verbally or really attacked you...................

In posts do not use negativity , hostility or slang, none of these are clear, negative information is particularly bad as that is the first thing people will take in. Also becarefull of even using jargon as most of the readers will NOT have a clear idea of the meaning.

Now on the condition of the line, the speed limit on the West line between Seymour and Violet Town is likely to be lowest its been in a long time. This mainly because ARTC has had the guts to post a reasonable speed limit WITHOUT the drivers holding the proverbial gun to there head. When the line was BG as I understand the DRIVERS not VLine or Victrack imposed the speed limit of 80kph (60kph between Benalla and Glenrowan) north of Seymour for the whole distance to Albury.
The track was in an APPALLING condition. A number of the BG track people said they would not travel on the train as they considered the track to be unsafe. After walking a good bit of the line after services were suspended I agree with this assesment, more than 80%  of the sleepers were doing nothing, one could remove the spikes from most of these with the toe of your footware without difficulty. when the line was regauged the despiking team had 4 workers going ahead of it with a tool that allowed these spikes to be lifted out without bending down. These 4 were getting most of the spikes. The situation not being helped by old ballast that was a good way down the road to disintergration and was well and truly clogged. For this latter I refer readers to ballast cleaner currently at work, the amount of decent ballast its returning is pitifully small and ARTC is not putting back around 2 to 3000 tons of ballast per kilometre for no reason.

Woodford
  Loco Administrator Railpage 2 Developer

Location: Banned
MD, I believe - and someone please correct me if I'm wrong - that the Vic and NSW Governments have handed over all control of the track to ARTC. I don't know whether it's leased or a peppercorn arrangement. This means that ARTC control, and also have to maintain to the tracks and infrastructure, and as such the state governments have nothing to do with it's upkeep.
"Barrington Womble"


Only the SG lines are ARTC the BG is state government.
"Duncs"

I refer to the North East and Western SG lines.
I should have been a bit more specific. Embarassed
"Barrington Womble"


Would have thought it was obvious, this is the "SG discussion thread" after all... Smile
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Never take life to seriously, you will never get out of it alive......... Very HappyVery HappyVery Happy
Possibly with apologies to BDA and cootanee

...
Woodford
"woodford"


True... the sun did come up today and there's a good possibility it will come up tomorrow Wink
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
...
Now on the condition of the line, the speed limit on the West line between Seymour and Violet Town is likely to be lowest its been in a long time. This mainly because ARTC has had the guts to post a reasonable speed limit WITHOUT the drivers holding the proverbial gun to there head. When the line was BG as I understand the DRIVERS not VLine or Victrack imposed the speed limit of 80kph (60kph between Benalla and Glenrowan) north of Seymour for the whole distance to Albury.
The track was in an APPALLING condition. A number of the BG track people said they would not travel on the train as they considered the track to be unsafe. After walking a good bit of the line after services were suspended I agree with this assesment, more than 80%  of the sleepers were doing nothing, one could remove the spikes from most of these with the toe of your footware without difficulty. when the line was regauged the despiking team had 4 workers going ahead of it with a tool that allowed these spikes to be lifted out without bending down. These 4 were getting most of the spikes. The situation not being helped by old ballast that was a good way down the road to disintergration and was well and truly clogged. For this latter I refer readers to ballast cleaner currently at work, the amount of decent ballast its returning is pitifully small and ARTC is not putting back around 2 to 3000 tons of ballast per kilometre for no reason.

Woodford
"woodford"


Yep, sounds like a reasonable assessment.

One thing to consider is that is if you rebuild short sections as funds allow, the rest of the line (at or near life expired sleepers) continues to deteriorate. The result would still be lengthy speed restrictions and increased risk of derailments for years until you finally got around to them.

Based on Hume Highway that could take around 35 years.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Just noticed a team consisting of a hi-rail tipper with a ballast spreader, a loader and a hi-rail excavator doing drainage work in the Baddaginnie area. Probably doing some ballast repair work to.

Woodford
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Just noticed a team consisting of a hi-rail tipper with a ballast spreader, a loader and a hi-rail excavator doing drainage work in the Baddaginnie area. Probably doing some ballast repair work to.

Woodford
"woodford"


Slowly but surely they will get there.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

...
Now on the condition of the line, the speed limit on the West line between Seymour and Violet Town is likely to be lowest its been in a long time. This mainly because ARTC has had the guts to post a reasonable speed limit WITHOUT the drivers holding the proverbial gun to there head. When the line was BG as I understand the DRIVERS not VLine or Victrack imposed the speed limit of 80kph (60kph between Benalla and Glenrowan) north of Seymour for the whole distance to Albury.
The track was in an APPALLING condition. A number of the BG track people said they would not travel on the train as they considered the track to be unsafe. After walking a good bit of the line after services were suspended I agree with this assesment, more than 80%  of the sleepers were doing nothing, one could remove the spikes from most of these with the toe of your footware without difficulty. when the line was regauged the despiking team had 4 workers going ahead of it with a tool that allowed these spikes to be lifted out without bending down. These 4 were getting most of the spikes. The situation not being helped by old ballast that was a good way down the road to disintergration and was well and truly clogged. For this latter I refer readers to ballast cleaner currently at work, the amount of decent ballast its returning is pitifully small and ARTC is not putting back around 2 to 3000 tons of ballast per kilometre for no reason.

Woodford
"woodford"


Yep, sounds like a reasonable assessment.

One thing to consider is that is if you rebuild short sections as funds allow, the rest of the line (at or near life expired sleepers) continues to deteriorate. The result would still be lengthy speed restrictions and increased risk of derailments for years until you finally got around to them.

Based on Hume Highway that could take around 35 years.
"cootanee"


Its likely that unless everyone starts looking at reality (Note 1) it will take quite some time to get the line up to a good class 2 track. But one thing I have noticed is that ARTC is using priorities along the line. That is the worst sections are being tackled first. From my observations over the whole length of the line is that they are making progress. It would be nice if it were quicker though but considering there (ARTC's) funding we in Victoria appear to be doing reasonably well.

One of the problems I believe is that everyone reports the bad items (Note 2) no one reports the kilometers of good track in between. In my opinion since the regauging the character of the West line has changed, from a long uneven length with fairly extensive mud holes to lengths with some good patches particularly but not eclusively north of Wangarratta the rest being some what uneven but with far fewer mud holes. Even some of the locals not in anyway railway savy have mentioned the track looks far better. Before, looking down the track from almost any level crossing one saw quite a sorry site, this has now changed quite substantialy.

Note 1: Over the past months I have heard news items from three states, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, from the states manufacturing/business asociations the much money needs to be spent on transport including rail if Australia wishes to be able to keep growing. The population simply cannot keep its head planted in the sand for ever.

Note 2: A problem here is two fold the first is the passenger rolling stock VLine uses does not ride anything like as well as most of the latter items do (sprinters and Vlocity's both having far more modern suspension systems), The second is that the N class's do not ride well at speed even on good track. These two points tend to amplify any problems encountered.
I have asked drivers about the ride of the N's particularly in relation to other DE and the answer was it's the N class the others ride OK, including the G class (the A class does not get a real good card though).  I asked about the G's as they were manufactured near the same time as the N's.

Woodford
  Barrington Womble Photo Nazi

Location: Banned
MD, I believe - and someone please correct me if I'm wrong - that the Vic and NSW Governments have handed over all control of the track to ARTC. I don't know whether it's leased or a peppercorn arrangement. This means that ARTC control, and also have to maintain to the tracks and infrastructure, and as such the state governments have nothing to do with it's upkeep.
"Barrington Womble"


Only the SG lines are ARTC the BG is state government.
"Duncs"

I refer to the North East and Western SG lines.
I should have been a bit more specific. Embarassed
"Barrington Womble"


Would have thought it was obvious, this is the "SG discussion thread" after all... Smile
"Loco"

I concur.
However; I thought it might be an idea to clarify what I meant so nobody goes off on a tangent.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
...

Its likely that unless everyone starts looking at reality (Note 1) it will take quite some time to get the line up to a good class 2 track. But one thing I have noticed is that ARTC is using priorities along the line. That is the worst sections are being tackled first. From my observations over the whole length of the line is that they are making progress. It would be nice if it were quicker though but considering there (ARTC's) funding we in Victoria appear to be doing reasonably well.
...
Woodford
"woodford"


ARTC has a sound vision and strategy however it probably came along 20 years too late (sounds familiar Rolling Eyes).  They were never given that magic wand to turn things around overnight. Assess risks, prioritise and get on with it. It maybe NFG but that's the reality of it.

Fullerton noted 5 years to address ballast and drainage side, now accelerated by juggling the finances. It won't happen overnight Wink
   
  pheonics The Gardener

Location: Meal room with a hot cuppa
While shunting goofey's at Kensington yesterday with BL32.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pheonics153/7554113872/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pheonics153/7554114620/

Until next time,
Cheers
Dan


  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Hi Woodford

You may know the answer to this. When you observed the new signalling being put in place for the line, was any consideration given to allowing for 160kph running in the future between Seymour and Albury?

Did anyone say anything to you about this?

If yes, which sections of track have the potential for 160ph running in the future?  If no, can you speculate as to why the track was still limited to 130kph top speed under the new signalling regime?

It seemed a perfect opportunity for such an upgrade to occur.

Duncs
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Hi Woodford

You may know the answer to this. When you observed the new signalling being put in place for the line, was any consideration given to allowing for 160kph running in the future between Seymour and Albury?

Did anyone say anything to you about this?

"Duncs"


Ahhhhhhh been put on the spot Very Happy


No,
The regauging was just that a regauging, from the info I have there was never any consideration given to anything other than bringing the track up to class 2 standard. Even then ARTC was only given the funds to regauge the line NOT straighten it out at all. During one of the meetings the drivers representaive caused much consternation when he found out they were not going to straighten out the kinks through Benalla left when they pulled out the points for two road. To ARTC's great credit the engineering staff did manage to dig up the funds for the track work to allow freights full speed through platform 1 and this did require a good deal of effort to relocate everything.



If yes, which sections of track have the potential for 160ph running in the future?  If no, can you speculate as to why the track was still limited to 130kph top speed under the new signalling regime?

It seemed a perfect opportunity for such an upgrade to occur.

Duncs


Now this WOULD be a real good subject for a llllllllllleeeeeeennnnnnnngggggtttttthhhhyyyyy debate..........................

The obvious sections for 160kph running without having to spend the earth would be Avenel to Longwood, Euroa to the base of the Glenrowan hills and Wangarrata to Springhurst. This would require newer high powered rolling stock such as a long distance version of the Vlocity even then for a stopping all station service the time saving is not that much.

It is very likely  no one not even VLIne (they were insisting on 130kph max speed) considered 160 kph as the cost would not have been worth the relatively small saving in time that would have resulted (for the money that was avaible). They would have had to completely rebuild both lines (Note 1) and that was NEVER going to happen, where as class 2 track was an achieveable goal.


Note 1: the amount of effort that went into the RFR lines was massive and VLine (and likely ARTC) was well aware of how much effort and time that took.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Thanks Woodford, for clearing that up.


Sponsored advertisement

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.