Bendigo line - Ballarat line track riding standard

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Yesterday I travelled from Mildura on the bus thence & ACN car on the up Swan Hill train (at least nobody can say I don't use the Mildura service), and though the quality of the ride in the ACN car, directly behind the loco was not the best, it improved only marginally when we departed Bendigo on the RFR track.

I'm aware the Bendigo line still has timber sleeper sections that will probably be replaced when the Traralgon line has been upgraded however the standard to the track compared to the Ballarat line was stark.

The Bendigo line was a MUCH rougher riding track than the Ballarat line and this was very apparent when I changed at Sunshine and joined a down Ballarat VLocity to Ballan.

The Bendigo line had a lot more rough riding and noisy curves, a lot more yawing, and more up and down motion and not limited to the timber sleeper sections either.

All this was aside from the driver who couldn't offer a smooth stop if his life depended on it, and after departure from each station the train was bunched up so each start was with a jerk as the train stretched out its 4 cars.

I don't recall the ride being so rough on the down journey 2 days earlier.

Could all this be the seemingly poor condition of the Bendigo line, the ACN car set needing an overhaul or just the superior riding quality offered in the VLocity cars, or a combination of the above.

Mike.

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  woodford Chief Commissioner

I beleive its likely to be a combination of all three. From what I rememeber in the RFR Bendigo and Ballarat lines were done by different contractors although I know from observation the Bendigo line had as much work put in it as Ballarat (Note 1), although it definitey appears to have slightly rougher ride. The VLocity's are a far newer vehicle than the N sets and a lot has been learned about railway vehicle suspension.

Note 1: During the construction I did about a 3 kilometer walk along the track after the base had been prepaired and the ballast rolled just before the new track was laid, this was near Malmsbury, it was like walking on a billiard table, nothing like walking on track base of deep ballast. So why it appears to have rougher ride I do not know

Woodford
  fast01 BUTTSCRATCHER!

Location: Somewhere your not.

All this was aside from the driver who couldn't offer a smooth stop if his life depended on it, and after departure from each station the train was bunched up so each start was with a jerk as the train stretched out its 4 cars.

"The Vinelander"
It's comments like these that make me realise that ignorance is indeed bliss. I'd pay to see you stop 460 tons of train. I do sincerly hope the next thing you smeg about bites you in the smeg one day.

Rolling Eyes
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Must run and get my violin, someone's offended.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned

All this was aside from the driver who couldn't offer a smooth stop if his life depended on it, and after departure from each station the train was bunched up so each start was with a jerk as the train stretched out its 4 cars.

"The Vinelander"
It's comments like these that make me realise that ignorance is indeed bliss. I'd pay to see you stop 460 tons of train. I do sincerly hope the next thing you smeg about bites you in the smeg one day.

Rolling Eyes
"fast01"
I think the only jerk was in the ACN, fast01.
  sas85 Chief Commissioner

Location: V1
I don't see how anyone could compare travelling loco hauled with travelling in a railcar...
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

All this was aside from the driver who couldn't offer a smooth stop if his life depended on it, and after departure from each station the train was bunched up so each start was with a jerk as the train stretched out its 4 cars.


"The Vinelander"
It's comments like these that make me realise that ignorance is indeed bliss. I'd pay to see you stop 460 tons of train. I do sincerly hope the next thing you smeg about bites you in the smeg one day.

Rolling Eyes
"fast01"


Thank you for your comments Exclamation

Agreed, I'm told VLocity's are much easier to drive than loco hauled trains. But this doesn't explain the differing track quality between the two rail lines.

However a good friend of mine who is a V/Line big wheel driver of many years can pull up a loco hauled N set, without a rough stop and stretched to eliminate a rough start and maintain schedule.

Moreover he instructs his pupils to do the same. No ignorance here, maaaate.

Mike.

PS, If you're available for re-training as a pax driver, I'm sure he could assist in this regard.    
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Smooth braking is the mark of a good driver.
I appreciate Vinelander's point about what was basically not good driving.

And, fast01, whether Vinelander or I or anyone else could stop 460 tons of train is entirely irrelevant. We don't claim to be trained to do so; the guy in Vinelander's train is (presumably ) qualiified.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

[Could all this be the seemingly poor condition of the Bendigo line, the ACN car set needing an overhaul or just the superior riding quality offered in the VLocity cars, or a combination of the above.
"The Vinelander"

I think a fairer comparison would be to ride both lines in a VLocity. It's difficult to state that the track standard is different when you are riding in different types of vehicles, with different characteristics, and built a generation or two apart.
  412M Assistant Commissioner

The railways dislike having to spend any more money on maintenance than they have to. As a result, some railways (not sure if V/line is one or not) put some pressure on their drivers to not use the air brakes if they can avoid it. So, maybe the driver of The Vinelander's train had been taught not to use the air brakes unless it's an emergency. As a result, he was using the dynamic brakes to stop the train only.

To avoid all the slack being bunched up when the train started, he could have used a small amount of air brakes from a lower speed (30-40km/h), and lessened the power of the dynamic brakes to stretch the slack out when stopping. Then, by keeping the air brakes on until the throttle is put into 1st notch, he would have kept the slack out during the departure.
  RustyRick Chief Commissioner

Location: South West Vic
I have to agree with Vinelander. Bendigo is the worst of the RFR lines. I thought it was pretty good (compared with suburban expresses) until I travelled on the other 3. The quality of the ride has nothing to do with the driver. A fair bit of vertical and sideways movement and some fairly rough transitions when going through points at speed. It's almost like the DOT were running out of time and money and allowed the contractor to get away with the bare minimum for safe running.

Rick
  Bruce McLean Junior Train Controller

Location: Kangaroo Flat
I have travelled regularly on the Bendigo line from F. Flat to SC over the last 12 months and in my opinion the new RFR track has deteriorated noticeably in places during that time.  I understand there has been little or no preventative maintenence carried out since re-construction only patch up work.
Bruce
  fast01 BUTTSCRATCHER!

Location: Somewhere your not.
Must run and get my violin, someone's offended.
"wobert"
You know where to stick the violin..

However a good friend of mine who is a V/Line big wheel driver of many years can pull up a loco hauled N set, without a rough stop and stretched to eliminate a rough start and maintain schedule.

Moreover he instructs his pupils to do the same. No ignorance here, maaaate.

Mike.

PS, If you're available for re-training as a pax driver, I'm sure he could assist in this regard.
"vinelander"
No one said expierence wasn't the key to a good stop, but for you to judge when you were not up the front is bullsmeg. He might've had any number of braking issues that might've caused him to bring it in rough.

Typical know it all.  Rolling Eyes
  wongm GEEWONG

Location: Geelong, Victoria
From what I remember in the RFR Bendigo and Ballarat lines were done by different contractors although I know from observation the Bendigo line had as much work put in it as Ballarat.
"woodford"

Geelong and Ballarat was the Thiess/Alstom joint venture, Bendigo and Latrobe Valley was John Holland Group and Westinghouse.

From my observations, the Bendigo line had a lot more timber sleepered track left in place, especially on lower speed curves.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
However a good friend of mine who is a V/Line big wheel driver of many years can pull up a loco hauled N set, without a rough stop and stretched to eliminate a rough start and maintain schedule.

Moreover he instructs his pupils to do the same. No ignorance here, maaaate.

Mike.

PS, If you're available for re-training as a pax driver, I'm sure he could assist in this regard.  
"vinelander"
No one said experience wasn't the key to a good stop, but for you to judge when you were not up the front is bullsmeg. He might've had any number of braking issues that might've caused him to bring it in rough.

Typical know it all.  Rolling Eyes
"fast01"


That being the case, the driver, knowing the pax are his bread and butter, and mindful of their travelling comfort particularly in the ACN would advise the conductor to announce the rough starts and stops were unavoidable due to a mechanical fault.

No announcement was made in this regard.

Idea  Ohh that's right, pax are just a damn nuisance, little better than cattle really, and get in the way of the driver playing trains Exclamation

Mike.    
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
Ohh that's right, pax are just a damn nuisance, little better than cattle really, and get in the way of the driver playing trains
"The Vinelander"
Sort of like economics and reality getting in the way of your foamer fantasies over unnecessary passenger services?
  712M Chief Commissioner

However a good friend of mine who is a V/Line big wheel driver of many years can pull up a loco hauled N set, without a rough stop and stretched to eliminate a rough start and maintain schedule.

Moreover he instructs his pupils to do the same. No ignorance here, maaaate.

Mike.

PS, If you're available for re-training as a pax driver, I'm sure he could assist in this regard.  
"vinelander"
No one said experience wasn't the key to a good stop, but for you to judge when you were not up the front is bullsmeg. He might've had any number of braking issues that might've caused him to bring it in rough.

Typical know it all.  Rolling Eyes
"fast01"


That being the case, the driver, knowing the pax are his bread and butter, and mindful of their travelling comfort particularly in the ACN would advise the conductor to announce the rough starts and stops were unavoidable due to a mechanical fault.

No announcement was made in this regard.

Idea  Ohh that's right, pax are just a damn nuisance, little better than cattle really, and get in the way of the driver playing trains Exclamation

Mike.    
"The Vinelander"


Just a question so don't start abusing me, what line were you travelling on? Because if you were travelling on the "east" line (platform 1 at stations between Kyneton and Clarkefield) then it would certainly have experienced rough riding as it was not upgraded to RFR standards. Also remember that N sets are quite a few years older than VLocities. I think it would be better to compare the two if you ride both lines with a VLocity (I don't think N sets have run Ballarat services in a few years now).

In regards to the rough starting and stopping of the train, as previously posted, the N class locos are not easy to drive and if the train was already running late (as they often do!), then the driver would have wanted to arrive and depart stations quickly to avoid losing a path through the suburban area.
  A4000Bear Junior Train Controller

Location: Taradale, Vic
I'm a regular on the Bendigo line, using Vlocity and N-set services about 50/50.

My experience is that the Vlocity is much smoother than the N-set on the same track. As 712M observed, the time of day determines whether or not you travel on the upgraded track. Vinelander, could you let us know which service you were on?

Also note there are long stretches of old wooden sleepered track still remaining even on the upgraded side. Notably on the down side of Sunbury, also most of the stretch between Macedon and Woodend, also between Elphinstone and Castlemaine, and there may be more towards Bendigo. I'm not really familiar with the line past Malmsbury.

I recall being rather disappointed when the track reopened that there was so much of the old track left behind.

I also remember about a year or so after the line reopened, some serious bumps developed in the new track near Clarkefield and again near Gisborne. They were repaired after a week or two.
  hidden Chief Train Controller

-snip-

However a good friend of mine who is a V/Line big wheel driver of many years can pull up a loco hauled N set, without a rough stop and stretched to eliminate a rough start and maintain schedule.

Moreover he instructs his pupils to do the same. No ignorance here, maaaate.

Mike.

PS, If you're available for re-training as a pax driver, I'm sure he could assist in this regard.  
"The Vinelander"


Interesting, none of the big wheel drivers at Vline are instructors.  Which part above in red is wrong?
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Err Buttscratcher, Mike was explainig his trip, and he stated along the lines that at every station,  was rough entering and leaving. Now since I wasn't on the trip I'm quite happy to take Mikes word for it.Unless you were there, or you were the driver, STFU
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Well, we've all learnt one lesson.
Don't criticise a driver or fast01 goes off his tree.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
-snip-

However a good friend of mine who is a V/Line big wheel driver of many years can pull up a loco hauled N set, without a rough stop and stretched to eliminate a rough start and maintain schedule.

Moreover he instructs his pupils to do the same. No ignorance here, maaaate.

Mike.

PS, If you're available for re-training as a pax driver, I'm sure he could assist in this regard.  
"The Vinelander"


Interesting, none of the big wheel drivers at Vline are instructors.  Which part above in red is wrong?
"hidden"


Sorry, in that case you must be incorrect with your information. Obviously for privacy reasons I'm not going to name him in here.

Mike.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line


Just a question so don't start abusing me, what line were you travelling on? Because if you were travelling on the "east" line (platform 1 at stations between Kyneton and Clarkefield) then it would certainly have experienced rough riding as it was not upgraded to RFR standards. Also remember that N sets are quite a few years older than VLocities. I think it would be better to compare the two if you ride both lines with a VLocity (I don't think N sets have run Ballarat services in a few years now).

 
"712M"


The 12:53 ex Swan Hill.

Hard stops etc between Swan Hill and Eaglehawk.

Had a running cross at Ravenswood. Stopped at Castlemaine's down platform. Travelled via the up platform at Kyneton and switched over to the down track at Gisborne, thence back to the up track at Sunbury.

BTW, out of the two concerns, the rough track was by far the worse, particularly from a safety aspect than the drivers rough driving.

Mike.
  fast01 BUTTSCRATCHER!

Location: Somewhere your not.
Err Buttscratcher, Mike was explainig his trip, and he stated along the lines that at every station,  was rough entering and leaving. Now since I wasn't on the trip I'm quite happy to take Mikes word for it.Unless you were there, or you were the driver, STFU
"wobert"
And he has no explanation except to automatically blame the driver. And since his only experience is word of mouth, he has no right to judge/criticize unless he can back what he thinks he knows up.

Public forum mate, I'll say whatever the hell I want. Evil or Very Mad

Well, we've all learnt one lesson.
Don't criticise a driver or fast01 goes off his tree.
"Valvegear"


Not really, criticize when you have a bit of credible evidence by all means, but smeg, his first thought was to blame the driver, its typical of people with zero knowledge of anything other than they're foaming desires.
  MOM Chief Commissioner

Location: here, there, everywhere....
err , no.. It isn't word of mouth, it's a factual report of the trip, not something passed on through other parties.

Forums are great, just need to stick to the facts.

Had a bad day, great!
Then tell everyone what made it such in The Lounge, but don't shoot the messenger..

Err Buttscratcher, Mike was explainig his trip, and he stated along the lines that at every station,  was rough entering and leaving. Now since I wasn't on the trip I'm quite happy to take Mikes word for it.Unless you were there, or you were the driver, STFU
"wobert"
And he has no explaination except to automatically blame the driver. And since his only experience is word of mouth, he has no right to judge/critisise unless he can back what he up.

Public forum mate, I'll say whatever the hell I want. Evil or Very Mad
"fast01"

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