V/Line Incidents/Disruptions #2

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Yesterday, one of my twice a week visits to the City post pandemic, I decided after completing my tasks to head home.
I missed the 14:36 by a big margin. I saw the 14:56 Melton depart with a good load and then went to Platform 3A to await departure of the 15:16.

Which docked late as a three car V'Locity and in vain the public address announcements tried to stop people getting on the train.

Bear in mind the previous 14:36 Ballarat was cancelled... a lot of that going on these days and the following Ballarat, the 15:16 was three cars. The train departed 5 late and was full and standing. Almost a crush load.

More on at Footscray and Sunshine then we arrived at Caroline Springs where the train was cancelled Exclamation
An apparent 'track fault' at Rockbank.

The previous Melton train was on Platform 1, we arrived on Platform 2. There were already people waiting at the bus stop off the Melton train. By the time our 300+ crowd got to the bus stop, there was a common theme. Every 20 mins a crowd will arrive and the buses were at least 30 mins away.

The text message from V/Line advised at least 2 hours before trains would start again.

I thought, no way am I going to wait here like cattle in a corral, so with the announcement of one of the trains going back to the City and the trains being dry, warm and empty, that was the logical choice.

On the way back to the City I decided my office after 20+ years is definitely my sanctuary so I made my way to Treasury Place to settle in for a few hours where I worked on my next 'working' e-bike holiday.

The fault cleared and I caught the 19:28 and was home by 20:30, about 5 hours later than I planned.

My question, why can't trains travel through these track faults SLOWLY like they used to, instead of cancelling trains and inconveniencing hundreds of people.

I'm copying and pasting this to V/Line complaints and I'll post the reply in a few weeks.

Mike.

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  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Now young Vinelander, you mustn't complain about the service because there isn't any.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
How does an 0115 train run 'this evening'?
"YM-Mundrabilla"
Greenwich Mean Time, my dear sir.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Yesterday, one of my twice a week visits to the City post pandemic, I decided after completing my tasks to head home.
I missed the 14:36 by a big margin. I saw the 14:56 Melton depart with a good load and then went to Platform 3A to await departure of the 15:16.

Which docked late as a three car V'Locity and in vain the public address announcements tried to stop people getting on the train.

Bear in mind the previous 14:36 Ballarat was cancelled... a lot of that going on these days and the following Ballarat, the 15:16 was three cars. The train departed 5 late and was full and standing. Almost a crush load.

More on at Footscray and Sunshine then we arrived at Caroline Springs where the train was cancelled Exclamation
An apparent 'track fault' at Rockbank.

The previous Melton train was on Platform 1, we arrived on Platform 2. There were already people waiting at the bus stop off the Melton train. By the time our 300+ crowd got to the bus stop, there was a common theme. Every 20 mins a crowd will arrive and the buses were at least 30 mins away.

The text message from V/Line advised at least 2 hours before trains would start again.

I thought, no way am I going to wait here like cattle in a corral, so with the announcement of one of the trains going back to the City and the trains being dry, warm and empty, that was the logical choice.

On the way back to the City I decided my office after 20+ years is definitely my sanctuary so I made my way to Treasury Place to settle in for a few hours where I worked on my next 'working' e-bike holiday.

The fault cleared and I caught the 19:28 and was home by 20:30, about 5 hours later than I planned.

My question, why can't trains travel through these track faults SLOWLY like they used to, instead of cancelling trains and inconveniencing hundreds of people.

I'm copying and pasting this to V/Line complaints and I'll post the reply in a few weeks.

Mike.
The Vinelander
An excellent Plan B.
All you will get is 'Reply 1' which will be signed 'Nanny'.
'Thank you for your email ................ Safety is our first priority ........'
Are most of these so called 'track faults' really rails, sleepers etc ie the old Way and Works Branch or are most of them actually signalling faults?
Are all these faults reported to the Rail Safety Authorities?
Rhetorical questions, of course.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
How does an 0115 train run 'this evening'?
Greenwich Mean Time, my dear sir.
Valvegear
Have you considered a career at Vline in the spin department?
Sorry. You don't qualify; you need to be a work experience female with a Micky Mouse degree in spin.
You would be totally unable to say what they say and keep a straight face.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

My question, why can't trains travel through these track faults SLOWLY like they used to, instead of cancelling trains and inconveniencing hundreds of people.

I'm copying and pasting this to V/Line complaints and I'll post the reply in a few weeks.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Short answer, no good reason.

It’s very rare that there is a track fault so bad that trains can’t be put over it very slowly for a few hours.

A sharp misalignment can be pulled to ease it to get trains over.
Even a nasty (as opposed to a neat) broken rail can be plated and/or clamped to keep trains just trickling through.

Extremely bad top can be rectified manually in a few minutes, good enough for walking speed, (top doesn’t go that bad quickly unless there’s a sink hole, or earthquake!).

A crew needs to get on site quickly, do what’s needed to get trains moving, then actively monitor the site until there’s a break in the traffic.

Such can be done even with a 10 minute service frequency. This gives time to gather resources to make an effective repair. Then, with busses already on hand, stop a few trains. A lot can be achieved in say, 45 minutes.

As for signalling faults; if it's an issue in the field, get technicians on site quickly.

As for why it’s not done like that anymore, I’m sure is tied up in contract service levels, willingness to pay, and exceptionally risk averse senior managers.

It also doesn’t help that the politicians have learnt that an unreliable railway with frequent major delays doesn’t damage their election results.
  hbedriver Assistant Commissioner

The equipment is barely 12 months old out that way. There seems no valid excuse for the signals to have failed so badly, the track is all supposedly in excellent condition. Even a broken rail might go in-detected, given everything out there is pretty much axle counters. It all sort of makes you appreciate the Double Line Block Telegraph system on the Seymour line; a total failure lasting close to 3 years and no train delays!
  jakar Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
I'm sure we've been over this before but don't take the reasons given for delays too literally. The 'track fault' was a vehicle ripping off a boom arm at the Leakes Rd LX at Rockbank. It would have had to be inspected and some form of traffic management would have had to have been arranged and put in place before trains could resume crossing it. Mike's 15:16 departure does appear to have continued on 50 minutes late as a revenue service.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
I wonder if the person who puts out the information that it was a track fault understands how bad it makes his organisation look. "Why can't you keep your track properly maintained", sings the chorus.

Tell us the truth; it was damage caused by a third party. If it ain't your fault, say so.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

I'm sure we've been over this before but don't take the reasons given for delays too literally. The 'track fault' was a vehicle ripping off a boom arm at the Leakes Rd LX at Rockbank. It would have had to be inspected and some form of traffic management would have had to have been arranged and put in place before trains could resume crossing it. Mike's 15:16 departure does appear to have continued on 50 minutes late as a revenue service.
jakar
Fairy nuff. Even so, such events are reasonably foreseeable. Have resources available to address such situations pronto!
According to Mike's post, V/Line was advising no trains for two hours;
I think two hours of no trains in a peak period is absolutely unacceptable.
In most industries customer service is paramount, but rail has divested itself of the service imperative.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
You have to be reminded of the award-winning hospital with no patients in "Yes Minister".  V/Line is the same; it would be super efficient if it didn't have passengers.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
You have to be reminded of the award-winning hospital with no patients in "Yes Minister".  V/Line is the same; it would be super efficient if it didn't have passengers.
Valvegear
They could then devote their entire expertise into running busses.
  Djebel Junior Train Controller

You have to be reminded of the award-winning hospital with no patients in "Yes Minister".  V/Line is the same; it would be super efficient if it didn't have passengers.
They could then devote their entire expertise into running busses.
YM-Mundrabilla
They should have considerable expertise at that by now.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

If the blockage was at Rockbank and they managed to terminate the trains at Melton, what was stopping them from running further on the down?
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Sorry, the previous Melton train terminated at Caroline Springs.
  Jack Le Lievre Assistant Commissioner

Location: Moolap Station, Vic
In the last week, I have been on the scene at the time of or shortly after boom strikes by trucks. The first was at Separation St Level Crossing, where a B-Double Grain Truck came through an activated crossing, removing the boom with the B-Trailer. ARTC Signal Fitters were on the scene within 10mins. From strike to the completion of work was a little over 2hrs. The second was the North Shore Rd Level Crossing. This time, a prime mover went through the active crossing, with the boom being removed by the exhaust stack. Again, from the strike to the completion of the work, it was around 1hr 30mins.

From my understanding, the Separation St Booms have been struck at least six times this year alone, with most of them occurring in the last two months. I have noticed that most PN crews pass through the group of three, Separation St, Thompson Rd and Anakie Rd Level Crossing, at a reduced speed. I would guess that this is to avoid taking out a vehicle, as I have also seen several trucks and cars drive across the active level crossing, on the wrong side of the road, thus avoiding the lowered booms.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Yesterday, one of my twice a week visits to the City post pandemic, I decided after completing my tasks to head home.
I missed the 14:36 by a big margin. I saw the 14:56 Melton depart with a good load and then went to Platform 3A to await departure of the 15:16.

Which docked late as a three car V'Locity and in vain the public address announcements tried to stop people getting on the train.

Bear in mind the previous 14:36 Ballarat was cancelled... a lot of that going on these days and the following Ballarat, the 15:16 was three cars. The train departed 5 late and was full and standing. Almost a crush load.

More on at Footscray and Sunshine then we arrived at Caroline Springs where the train was cancelled Exclamation
An apparent 'track fault' at Rockbank.

The previous Melton train was on Platform 1, we arrived on Platform 2. There were already people waiting at the bus stop off the Melton train. By the time our 300+ crowd got to the bus stop, there was a common theme. Every 20 mins a crowd will arrive and the buses were at least 30 mins away.

The text message from V/Line advised at least 2 hours before trains would start again.

I thought, no way am I going to wait here like cattle in a corral, so with the announcement of one of the trains going back to the City and the trains being dry, warm and empty, that was the logical choice.

On the way back to the City I decided my office after 20+ years is definitely my sanctuary so I made my way to Treasury Place to settle in for a few hours where I worked on my next 'working' e-bike holiday.

The fault cleared and I caught the 19:28 and was home by 20:30, about 5 hours later than I planned.

My question, why can't trains travel through these track faults SLOWLY like they used to, instead of cancelling trains and inconveniencing hundreds of people.

I'm copying and pasting this to V/Line complaints and I'll post the reply in a few weeks.

Mike.
The Vinelander

Thanks all for your comments and on the spot knowledge which is very helpful and reassuring.

Below in italics is the quite prompt reply from V/Line which echoes your earlier posts about this incident.

Mike.


Dear Mike



Thank you for your feedback regarding your travel from Southern Cross to Ballan on Thursday 15 April.



I apologise for the frustration caused when the 15.16 service was delayed and ultimately terminated at Caroline Springs.



This was due to a broken boom arm at the Leakes Rd crossing in Rockbank, caused by an unknown vehicle.



We understand how frustrating it can be when a service doesn’t run as per schedule and V/Line will always try our best to minimise disruptions where we can.



I acknowledge your suggestion that services continue to operate at a slower pace when there are track faults.



In the event of a boom gate being struck, not only do the boom gates need to be inspected to ensure they are working but the track also needs inspection to ensure no infrastructure damage has occurred.



Our operational control team determine whether services can safely continue to run based on the information available at the time.



I apologise for the delay in your journey home and as a goodwill gesture I would like to arrange for a myki money refund to be credited to you.



Please provide your myki card number so I can arrange this for you.



Once again I apologise for any inconvenience caused.



Thank you for your interest in V/Line and for taking the time to write to us.



Should you wish to further discuss these matters please contact the PTV customer service centre on 1800 800 007 or by replying to this email.



Yours sincerely
  route14 Chief Commissioner

At least they should give you a taxi fare.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
My partner was provided with a taxi a few weeks ago when he fronted up at Ballan station with his e-bike when he wanted to travel to Ballarat.
An earlier 'track fault' incident at Bacchus Marsh had stopped everything for several hours that day.
Nevertheless, not being a rail fan as I am, he was impressed with the compensation offered on that day.

Mike.
  emmastreet Train Controller

Location: Goulburn Valley
What's with the spate of "without buffet service" of late? Not just Albury but Shepparton has figured prominently in the last week or so.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

I thought buffet resumed from 31st Jan.
  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, Victoria
What's with the spate of "without buffet service" of late? Not just Albury but Shepparton has figured prominently in the last week or so.
emmastreet
From that list it suggests staff shortages at Seymour but I've noticed the same whenever I've caught a Warrnambool lately (a couple times in as many weeks, admittedly).
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Latest V/line performance numbers are out for March 2021.  Albury line cancellations, and Gippsland line tardiness both stand-out like a sore thumb.  Cancellations on the Ballarat line also quite high.

https://www.vline.com.au/About-V-Line/Performance
  Tii Junior Train Controller

Latest V/line performance numbers are out for March 2021.  Albury line cancellations, and Gippsland line tardiness both stand-out like a sore thumb.  Cancellations on the Ballarat line also quite high.

https://www.vline.com.au/About-V-Line/Performance
Carnot
Those figures will make a great baseline reference point to assess how the RRR program goes when its all done around 2022. One can only hope for improvement of something...
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Plenty of delays for V/Line trains through Footscray this morning. Geelong and Bendigo groups seemed to be affected but not Ballarat.

The Down Bendigo service that I am on was delayed around 15 minutes and the CSO on the platform said it was because they were waiting for a driver!?!?!?!

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