Rail freight diversion shapes up as a key election issue in Boothby

 
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic

A GROUP campaigning to rid the Hills of noisy freight trains has vowed to make their fight a key Federal Election issue in the marginal seat of Boothby.


The 10-member Rail and Transport Committee, formed last year by Mitcham councillor Mark Ward, says it will push the Labor and Liberal parties to secure funds for a bypass from Murray Bridge to the north of Adelaide.

"Rail freight diversion shapes up as a key election issue in Boothby"

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A perfect job for the blokes at the Snowy Mountains Authority ( or its successor ) . . . a tunnel from Murray Bridge to the outskirts of Adelaide.

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  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".

Lets up the rates and Taxes in these areas to pay for the diversion then watch them scream. It will not benefit me or a lot of others so fairly they should be the ones to pay for this diversion not anyone else.



I admit there is a problem there, but making a diversion somewhere else will only move the problem to some ones else's back yard. This reeks of a ",Stuff you Jack I am right" attitude to most people.

  Railnthusiast Chief Commissioner

Location: At the computer
Hmmm, here they go again.
The terrible tales of 20 years enduring drug enduced sleep and insomnia start again.
I think we really have to throw this broken record out.
On another side thought, what does this mean for a Mt Lofty railcam? Could this mean that if a railcam is put anywhere on the busiest part of the Adelaide- Melbourne corridor could we be feeding these protest groups with anti-railway tripe?
I think that as a trainspotter, there has definately been a reduction in noise, with more modern engines, and the maintained greasers on the tighest curves. I used to be able to hear the trains about 5 or more minutes before they came when trainspotting in the hills. Now, however, they can sneak up too quickly to set up a tripod etc if you don't expect them to come.
What is others opinions on the matter?
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".

I would say overall that there has been a lowering of train noise. However what is commonly termed wheel squeal is the real issue I think they have. Not every train or for that matter wagon does it but some do it more than others. There is really no cheap way to find out exactly what wagons are actually squealing and where they are doing it so they can be fixed or altered. This would need ultra sensitive monitoring equipment which is not going to come cheap to pin point which wagons are doing it. It is possible to do it but it would not come cheap though.



Someone can report a train that is squealing but locating the offending wagon on a stationary train is just not possible. Also some squealing might be cause by local conditions so that a wagon squeals in one place but does not any where else. They will never get rid of it completely and this is what should be explained to these people up there that live with the squeal. It is ear piercing and I have heard it, but trying to locate the wagon doing it is like looking for Hen's teeth almost.

  steam4ian Chief Commissioner


Adding to David's comments.

I am not even sure they know what causes it. I don't mean to belittle anybody by saying this but there are a number of causes. The causes could be bogie not line up to the track, ie skewed, the flange profile, the load distribution for that waggon, the train loading, eg heavy vehicles behind a light vehicle and so on.
I disagree with David about being able to pin point the waggon. A microphone initiated camera would show a great deal. I can pick out squealing waggons from track side. What I can't tell is which wheel set and not really be sure of which bogie. A highly directional mike possibly even stereo recording would bring some precision.

Those who want efficient rail will have to fight hard against this political interference. By all means build a tunnel from Mitcham to wherever but let us not add 2 hours to the Melbourne Adelaide transit time unless they impose similar restrictions on the trucking industry. Send all the trucks via Blanchtown; I can see that point getting legs!

Maybe one way to skuttle this move is to join it and then add in banning semis from the freeway. Plenty of emotive reasons for doing that; noise, accidents polution and the list goes on. Just hope a fuel tank rolls over with just enough carnage to put a dampner on the road trucking industry.

Regards
Ian

  Railnthusiast Chief Commissioner

Location: At the computer
The main offenders with regards to wheel squeal is the SCT trains. Why would this be?
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud

Wasn't there a study done about two years ago that canned the idea on the basis of the multi-billion dollar cost - I think the option that was being looked at was a cheaper one where the line diverted closer to the city but the expense was still in the multi-billions.  I just can't see it getting done when there are so many other priorities for the national freight network, I don't think they'll get any more commitment from any candidates other than another 'study'.

Anyway, noise barriers would be squillions cheaper.

  steam4ian Chief Commissioner


If everybody who corresponded here wrote to the various press organs regarding getting the trucks off the SE Freeway it might cause a real debate.

Not only would it suit Boothby but also other electorates in the eastern suburbs as well.

Almost every Semi has to skirt around Adelaide through residential areas to get to its destination, few are going down south so what is the logic of their using the SE Freeway? Much more sensible to make them enter via Blanchtown and the Sturt Hwy. Would reduce the noise of the SE Freeway which make ssome land unliveable and the noise happens all day continuously not just for the relatively few trains.

How safe is it mixing little commuting bubble cars with B doubles and with PT buses full of precious school children?

Raise issues of driver fatique, log book tampering, overloading, speeding compared with the highly regulated rail industry, cowboys vs professionals and it paints a damming picture.

The messenger press are looking for a story or issue, the fact that it is emotive is all the better. Write tot the RAA magazine

If we can build up enough steam here we could win an arguement.

Regards
Ian

  nscaler69 Deputy Commissioner

Location: There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

The main offenders with regards to wheel squeal is the SCT trains. Why would this be?
"Railnthusiast"


I have always thought that their wagon length could be a major factor, what's their shortest length rolling stock 62' with their longest I think is 78'.

  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud



...

Much more sensible to make them enter via Blanchtown and the Sturt Hwy. Would reduce the noise of the SE Freeway which make some land unliveable and the noise happens all day continuously not just for the relatively few trains.

...

Regards
Ian

"steam4ian"


Hear, hear, Ian. Last time I lived in Adelaide it was about 50 metres off Portrush road and we had noise, dust and vibration from the truck traffic day and night, it was unrelenting. Give me a railway line any day - the noise if far less frequent.

I have a lot of sympathy for your arguments Ian but the problem is the the trucking industry has some really powerful mates and they use their influence frequently. Here in Victoria we've had an announcement today from our new Premier (in the job for only a week) that B-triples in and around Melbourne are a near certainty. Given the intra-state rail freight network is now almost totally destroyed we might as well - hell, why not have road-trains - it's all in the name of productivity don't you know.

  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Wow 10 people... That's a scary sized group to face. Mark Ward is a tool of the highest quality, on more than one occasion I have put him in his place at rail freight community meetings. A man desperately in need of some facts, but blissfully unaware as to what needs to be known and how to go about finding it out.
  4BJ Chief Commissioner

Location: Backside almost trackside at Hawthorn near Mitcham
These idiots are barking up the wrong tree.  Boothby may be a marginal Liberal seat at the moment, but on September 14 it will be a safe Liberal seat.  Why would Tony Abbott throw good money after bad?  As for the Liberal voters who live trackside in Boothby, get used to the trains or move.  I should know.  I live in Boothby, I live trackside and I like trains.  And by the way, I will be voting Labor, which will enable me to change my signature in the future to "Don't blame me, I voted Labor".
  benscaro Chief Commissioner




The main offenders with regards to wheel squeal is the SCT trains. Why would this be?
"Railnthusiast"


I have always thought that their wagon length could be a major factor, what's their shortest length rolling stock 62' with their longest I think is 78'.

"nscaler69"


i am scratching my head as to why that might come into it.  

wagons of whatever length have bogies at the end, which swivel, so doesn't that take the actual length of the wagon out of the equation, provided the bogie is free to swivel across a sufficiently wide arc?  

i would have thought a long rigid wheelbase 4 wheel wagon would have more chance of wheel squeal, but then again i have not seen any evidence that they were worse than bogie stock.  

i wonder if it is something to do with concrete sleepers, long sections of welded track, both resulting in track that just hasn't got enough 'give', or poor track cant on the curves?

just suggestions.

i have not noticed much wheel squeal on UK freight wagons at all .  



  skitz Chief Commissioner






The main offenders with regards to wheel squeal is the SCT trains. Why would this be?
"Railnthusiast"


I have always thought that their wagon length could be a major factor, what's their shortest length rolling stock 62' with their longest I think is 78'.

"nscaler69"


i am scratching my head as to why that might come into it.

wagons of whatever length have bogies at the end, which swivel, so doesn't that take the actual length of the wagon out of the equation, provided the bogie is free to swivel across a sufficiently wide arc?

i would have thought a long rigid wheelbase 4 wheel wagon would have more chance of wheel squeal, but then again i have not seen any evidence that they were worse than bogie stock.

i wonder if it is something to do with concrete sleepers, long sections of welded track, both resulting in track that just hasn't got enough 'give', or poor track cant on the curves?

just suggestions.

i have not noticed much wheel squeal on UK freight wagons at all .



"benscaro"


As an observation of the SCT train there are two aspects that come to mind that may contribute to the observation of that particular train being worse than others:

1. The train is certainly set up for long distance high speed running, in that the bogies I expect will be set up to provide maximum stability for running at speed and not allowing hunting at speed and knocking the payload around. The down side of this set up is that the bogies take a lot of energy to get them to steer and conform to the curve. The result is that the bogie has to lozenge a fair amount to get the bolsters to steer and the angle of attack while the bogie is doing this is higher. While not every vehicle will be like this the probability of having contact pressures high enough to displace the lubrication is also higher and it basically dries the rail out from lube (that's the short version, there is more than this to discuss but that’s enough for now)
2. The train is hauled by AC traction. The result is that a greater load can be hauled at lower speeds for the given HP. Basically the train I would expect to be a comparatively slow runner. This relates to the track by there being less centrifugal force created in the vehicle to force them to the outside of the curve. When there is not enough centrifugal force to overcome the effect of the superelevation and gravity, not all the wheels of the bogie are against the high rail where their best steering action is achieved. The leading axle is against the high rail but in a condition with a higher angle of attack and higher contact pressure (same as what happens as described in point 1). The trailing axle hangs down toward the low leg and operates in a condition of 'negative steering' where the contact on the cones of the wheels is not assisting the curving action. This condition is best described as 'under speeding for the curve' or 'operating in the range of cant excess'

In short the observation I expect is the train is operating too slow for the curves geometry (superelevation) applied and the vehicle set up is not optimal for performance of the trains for that terrain.

Knowing that the Adelaide Hills makes up for a short part of the trains actual journey and ideal solution just for the Adelaide Hills is not going to happen in a practical sense. Freeing the bogie set up up to allow for better steering for example would limit the trains speed due to stability which would limit its overall performance given its coast to coast requirement where it spends most its time at speed. Any set up of this train would be a compromise and no perfect solution is possible.

Can anyone advise what speed the SCT train actually achieves climbing hills? For that matter, what it does going down too?  30km/hr? 40km/hr? 20km/hr?  The slowest typical speed being the driver for any set of calculations.

From a track Owners perspective the noise while a public nuisance is also representing wear and tear. There are gains to be had by setting the track up. These being:
- set the cant so that the slowest train can operate with some level of cant deficiency (allow force in the vehicle to make the bogies conform and steer to the curve by forcing them out centrifugally)
- set the maximum speeds up by the allowable transition change and maximum cant deficiency
- lubricate and lubricate well, not too much, never too little
- grind the high leg with a suitable high leg profile that allows some 'grease relief' on the gauge corner (don’t do this and you will spall out the gauge corner given that there is grease about.
- grind the low leg of the rail to suit the effective gauge of the track at that point in time. By this I mean placing the contact band of the low leg rail relative to the wear on the high leg. The actual profile is to suit the typical wear allowance on the wheel sets so the contact is at the smallest diameter of the wheel.

As a closing comment, I did see a current curve list for the Adelaide Hills, I noted that it was the same as the curve lists we once used rail grinding there 12 years ago.  Is there anyone from ARTC land that cares to comment that the curve geometry has been ruled out as a factor?



  fabricator Chief Commissioner

Location: Gawler







The main offenders with regards to wheel squeal is the SCT trains. Why would this be?
"Railnthusiast"


I have always thought that their wagon length could be a major factor, what's their shortest length rolling stock 62' with their longest I think is 78'.

"nscaler69"


i am scratching my head as to why that might come into it.

wagons of whatever length have bogies at the end, which swivel, so doesn't that take the actual length of the wagon out of the equation, provided the bogie is free to swivel across a sufficiently wide arc?

i would have thought a long rigid wheelbase 4 wheel wagon would have more chance of wheel squeal, but then again i have not seen any evidence that they were worse than bogie stock.

i wonder if it is something to do with concrete sleepers, long sections of welded track, both resulting in track that just hasn't got enough 'give', or poor track cant on the curves?

just suggestions.

i have not noticed much wheel squeal on UK freight wagons at all .



"benscaro"


As an observation of the SCT train there are two aspects that come to mind that may contribute to the observation of that particular train being worse than others:

1. The train is certainly set up for long distance high speed running, in that the bogies I expect will be set up to provide maximum stability for running at speed and not allowing hunting at speed and knocking the payload around. The down side of this set up is that the bogies take a lot of energy to get them to steer and conform to the curve. The result is that the bogie has to lozenge a fair amount to get the bolsters to steer and the angle of attack while the bogie is doing this is higher. While not every vehicle will be like this the probability of having contact pressures high enough to displace the lubrication is also higher and it basically dries the rail out from lube (that's the short version, there is more than this to discuss but that’s enough for now)
2. The train is hauled by AC traction. The result is that a greater load can be hauled at lower speeds for the given HP. Basically the train I would expect to be a comparatively slow runner. This relates to the track by there being less centrifugal force created in the vehicle to force them to the outside of the curve. When there is not enough centrifugal force to overcome the effect of the superelevation and gravity, not all the wheels of the bogie are against the high rail where their best steering action is achieved. The leading axle is against the high rail but in a condition with a higher angle of attack and higher contact pressure (same as what happens as described in point 1). The trailing axle hangs down toward the low leg and operates in a condition of 'negative steering' where the contact on the cones of the wheels is not assisting the curving action. This condition is best described as 'under speeding for the curve' or 'operating in the range of cant excess'
"skitz"


3. Higher center of gravity, compared to say flatcars or single deck containers. Thus in curves on side/wheel is more likely to have altered contact with the rail.

4. Possible unequal loading, say a pallet on one side is food processors, and the other side is beanbags.

In short the observation I expect is the train is operating too slow for the curves geometry (superelevation) applied and the vehicle set up is not optimal for performance of the trains for that terrain.

As a closing comment, I did see a current curve list for the Adelaide Hills, I noted that it was the same as the curve lists we once used rail grinding there 12 years ago. Is there anyone from ARTC land that cares to comment that the curve geometry has been ruled out as a factor?
"skitz"


I don't know about ARTC track, but the parallel AM track has wheel flange squeal on the curves between Mountbatten Road and Roseberry Avenue (Bellevue Heights). How this effects freight trains is an unknown, does it reduce their speed or set up vibrations/changed geometry that creates problems further down hill.

The only thought I have is there is this product called "Shock Watch Stickers" (go watch any Mythbusters episode with Buster in it), could make one be made that responds to really loud squeals instead of gforces ? then fix to any suspect wheels to see the results, getting it to stay stuck on being another challenge.



  skitz Chief Commissioner


I believe the 'shock watch' thing has merit.  I do recal reading somewhere that tests had been done in regard to setting up a noise meter integrated with wagon readers.  

Sighting lubrication as a key contributor I would be cautious that the squealing bogie may not necessarily be the bogie that has stripped the lubrication.  

None the less the leads need to be followed up.   I woudl suggest that a bad acting bogie would give a certain load characteristic to the track and amybe a set of strain gauges collecting data that is integrated with the wagon ID and train speed would show what is going on.

  justapassenger Minister for Railways



Can anyone advise what speed the SCT train actually achieves climbing hills? For that matter, what it does going down too? 30km/hr? 40km/hr? 20km/hr? The slowest typical speed being the driver for any set of calculations.

From a track Owners perspective the noise while a public nuisance is also representing wear and tear. There are gains to be had by setting the track up. These being:
- set the cant so that the slowest train can operate with some level of cant deficiency (allow force in the vehicle to make the bogies conform and steer to the curve by forcing them out centrifugally)

...

"skitz"


In the Mitcham Hills area where these Boothby agitators are from, the speeds are dictated more by the gradient than anything else on the way up the hill (Adelaide to Belair, and onwards to Melbourne direction) but they can operate at the correct curve speeds on the way down. Railhead conditions have been a sporadic problem at times, while failures are in the mix as well.

The last time I saw an SCT train heading up the hill it was moving at about 15-20 km/h through Coromandel Station (I was cycling at about 22-26 km/h on the track next to the rail corridor), but the permanent speed restriction through the area of complaint is 60 most of the way so you have a significant variety of speeds involved. I don't have any similar anecdotal data for other trains though, cycling alongside one going the same direction isn't common.

In short, it's easy to see why this area could be a challenge to work out what to do to please everyone, especially with the single track not allowing the track to be set up for one direction only. As well as having slow speeds due to the curves and gradients, this part of the Adelaide-Melbourne corridor also has quite long runs between full-length passing loops - a 42 kilometre run between loops that can take 1800m trains with one 1500m loop halfway between them, plus a short loop at Mount Lofty. If everything was reworked so it was profiled for the slower trains heading up, the trains heading down the hill may face slower speeds which would in turn add extra restrictions to train paths.

At the end of the day, I think the majority of responsibility for helping the affected residents should fall with the body which approved those houses being built so close to the rail corridor - the City of Mitcham. I don't think the rail industry should be offering to build them some noise barriers or subsidising the installation of sound insulation in houses, they should do it from a moral point of view but the act of doing so would be capitalised upon by anti-rail campaigners who would claim it was an acceptance of liability.

  MaskedRailfan Train Controller

I know it has been posted previously - but there IS a monitoring system for flange squeal located at Heathfield. It can and does identify the vehicle that is causing the squeal.
  RobinOfAdelaide Station Master

Hi guy's. Although I don't live in the seat of Boothby, anymore. However this is  one of this things that is a factor on how I am going to vote. Personly the best thing to do is to build a whole new duel freight line to take freight and the interstate trains away from the Gawler and the Belair line's. Also although it would not change anything in time. In the term's of freight and passenger cost from Adelaide and Melbourne, it will be cheaper because it will use up less petrol with going over the Adelaide Hills. Also by having a duel freight lines would also means that one can be set aside for Adelaide bound trains and the other one for out bound.
  2001 The Snow Lord

Location: The road jump at Charlotte Pass. Paxman Valenta on two planks.

The article quotes a cost of $2 billion dollars.

For that sum,  how much of the interstate highway could be duplicated between Tailem Bend and Ballarat ? Possibly dangle the carrot of highway duplication between Pt Wakefield and Pt Augusta as well.

Compared with this 'hills bypass' proposal, I reckon this would woo more swinging voters, and from a larger number of electorates.

That's how I would allocate 2,000,000,000 gold coins.

  skitz Chief Commissioner


Its common to have a line speed set by the curving arrangement set up for the slow train needs.  Mixing of passenger traffic and freight traffic highlights this.  What can be really hard to manage is the political wants of a fast passenger train forcing and undesirable set up of the track for the freight trains.

An example of this I have expereinced is Kalgoorlie to Koolyanobbing.  The track was set up to maximise the Prospector and the ficticous '115km freight line speed'.  The as found design was bad enough, the trains rarely obtained the line speed, but with the increase in traffic with iron ore and general interstate traffic the result congestion significantly decreased that actual line speed.  The result was curves falling apart and high wear rates.

The new curve design for that route did slow the theoretical Prospector speeds down but in reality when this was compared to the number of speed restrictions in place due to rail damage and the shear cost of the rail damage the political arguement was soon won.

  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".



I know it has been posted previously - but there IS a monitoring system for flange squeal located at Heathfield. It can and does identify the vehicle that is causing the squeal.

"MaskedRailfan"


That is all well and good if it squeals there, but if it decides to squeal further down the line a long way from Heathfield then it is not really worth having it. It might detect badly squealing wheels at some time at Heathfield, but a lot seem to squeal further along the track than this point. It needs monitoring further down but unfortunately back ground noise can then upset the calibrations and usefulness of it.

It really needs each wagon fitted with something to pin point exactly what wheel or wheels are squealing and where are they doing it mainly, to then work out why they do it and how to fix it if it is at all possible. I doubt it will ever be eliminated entirely though. A steel wheel running on a steel rail is going to make some noise at some stage, it is just a natural thing. While I would not tell them to sell up and shift if they don't like the noise etc, but then no one forced them to buy new house's there in the first place though. So as someone said the Local Council could really be held responsible for OKing all the newer homes to be built in the first place. Yes there are some older homes up there as well but a lot are recent, well within the last 30 to 40 years at least.

Anyone who moves into the hills and want's it dead silent is asking a lot though, it is impossible actually, as even the wind through the trees makes some noise, animals and birds make noise, even running water in a creek makes noise. There is noise around us all every where, only some people are more sensitive to it than others. My ex was like this she complained about any noise no matter how small, the rest of the household wondered what she was on about at times.

  defman70 Train Controller


So they build a purpose built underpass at Goodwood.. with money on the table for another at Torrens Jctn.... AND a new loop at Ambleside... only to then move the whole box and dice elsewhere? I think not! That's alot of money there.. only to then spend a couple of billion more to yes... make it someone else's problem...

P.S I concur with Aaron... Mark Ward rarely knows what he is talking about. The amount he would know about ANYTHING to do with rail operations you could safely write on a pin head!

  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
How long did he try and tell us the Belair loop was? 1000m or something? I thought that was a pretty clever and close guess, clearly a quick glance at the measuring tool on Google Earth was a challenge too great.

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