They're Back - Adelaide Hills Railway Diversion

 
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
Source:  AdelaideNow/Messenger Press
PLANS to have freight trains diverted from the hills must be put back on the table, Mitcham Council says.

In its submission to the State Government's 30-year transport plan, Mitcham Council said diverting freight trains from the hills was imperative. As part of the government's transport vision, released in October, the Belair rail freight line would be retained and expanded.

"(It) is opposite to council's current position that this line should be diverted and not run through Mitcham," the council's submission said. Residents, who have long called for freight trains to be diverted, have backed Mitcham's stance.

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

Christine and John Mudge's Eden Hills house is one block from the railway track.  "We've been living in this house for 33 years and over those years the noise has increased so much that when we are in the backyard we have to put our hands over our ears," Mrs Mudge said. "We used to notice a rattle and you just heard the motors, but now we get about 20 go past a day and the screeching of the brakes is just awful so I have to wear earplugs at night to sleep."

Blackwood/Belair and District Community Association president Karen Hockley said her group supported any proposal for freight trains to be diverted. "Increasingly, long and heavy freight trains travelling through the hills are noisy and dangerous and cause long traffic delays due to the waiting times at level crossings," Mrs Hockley said. "One freight train can stop traffic simultaneously at Main Rd, Glenalta, and Main Rd, Blackwood. "This creates concern that people may become trapped in the area when trying to leave in the event of a bushfire."

MORE: Uni expert say monitoring shows freight train noise is worse than noise from Adelaide Airport

Mitcham councillor Mark Ward, who has long been part of a committee lobbying to have the trains diverted, said the problem was not confined to the hills. "A diversion is absolutely necessary and it's not a question of if it will be done, but when," Cr Ward said. "It's fundamental and there's no doubt it should be a priority in the 30-year plan so why isn't it in there?" More than 70 per cent of hills residents surveyed as part of a study released earlier this year supported a freight bypass.

MORE: Unley Councillor wants the speed of ARTC freight trains limited to reduce noise and increase safety

A $3 million study, commissioned by the Federal Government in 2010, found a proposed $2 billion freight rail diversion from Murray Bridge through Truro to Two Wells and Mallala was not cost-effective. But an analysis of that study by economic firm SGS, commissioned by Mitcham, Unley and Murray Bridge councils, found it "did not take into account the wider economic benefits".
Sarah Spencer/Mitcham and Hills Messenger
Anyways....

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  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
not again. if the noise cannot be tolerated then they can always move. it is a never ending problem of minorities who cost the tax payer billions to implement their selfish requirements.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Love to know what the "wider economic benefits" are.

Considering the Holden debacle they should bypass SA altogether.

Ian
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Love to know what the "wider economic benefits" are.

Considering the Holden debacle they should bypass SA altogether.

Ian
"steam4ian"

A bit hard to bypass SA altogether, but perhaps a "wider economic benefit" is simply bypassing Adelaide. I am sure the freight operators running Melbourne-Perth would love to avoid Adelaide.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Organisations not in favour of shifting the line produced feasibility studies saying shifting it was not viable.

Organisations in favour of shifting the line produced a feasibility study saying it was viable.

Any surprises?
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
It would be nice to turn the old Snowy Mountains Authority loose on this, and poke a tunnel from Murray Bridge straight under the hills to an exit point that then allows an easy bypass of Adelaide.
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: By a road taking pictures
It would be nice to turn the old Snowy Mountains Authority loose on this, and poke a tunnel from Murray Bridge straight under the hills to an exit point that then allows an easy bypass of Adelaide.
Valvegear
From a point about the Callington Loop to a point South of Micham Station would be nice and there is about 3m difference in height above sea level. What a lovely dream.....
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
It's just such a ridiculously huge amount of money considering the 'economic benefits'.

$2 billion would buy you four new Adelaide ovals.  The Mandurah railway line in Perth cost $900 million or so.  The entire Victorian Regional Fast Rail project was less than $2 bilion (depending on what figures you use). There's just so much you could do with $2 billion that would provide significantly more benefits to South Australia than an Adelaide Hills freight by-pass; the people who want somebody to spend $2 billion need to focus on something more achievable like sound walls.

Or sell your house if you don't like it; I've got friends who've sold up and moved simply because they didn't like their neighbours - sometimes that's what you've got to do.  And chances are the people who are complaining the trains are 'much louder' have retired in the last few years and now they're at home all the time they have started to actually notice the trains.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
The thing is though with any type of noise you will get used to it given time, but it will not happen over night though! And yes as many have said it is simple enough to sell up and move to Utopia or where ever. I should add that wheel squeal is bad at times but what can really be done to stop it completely, nothing really even spending millions on noise monitoring stations will not stop the problem, it is just one of those things that happens. Not every train does it.
  SAR520SMBH Train Controller

I think Mrs Mudge is in la la land if she thinks that there is 20 freighters per day through the corridor. Without any major delays (derailments, train vs vehicle accidents etc), I don't know of any days where there are 20 freighters per day. The most I've seen is 15 and that was a long day.
Other than the wheel squeal, which I know can be quite loud, surely the locos used now are a fair bit quieter than 33 years ago when Mr and Mrs Mudge moved in at Eden Hills.
I remember Dad telling me, when he used to work at the ANZ bank in Blackwood years ago, he and some work mates used to go to the Belair Hotel after work on Friday evenings. He said when a freighter with 2 or 3 900 class diesels went past you literally had to stop talking because you couldn't hear anything and you could walk quicker than the train!
  fabricator Chief Commissioner

Location: Gawler
I'm also wondering how much effect freight trains not having to stop for Noarlunga trains has reduced the amount of brake and wheel noise. As slow moving freight trains are a lot nosier when it comes to flanging noises, and suspension/coupler knocking noises.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Judging by one train that passed SASMEE on Tuesday night I would say not very much diminution in noise.

There is less engine noise due to trains not having to accelerate after the junction but to me that is music.

What is not music is flange/wheel noise. On the train in question somebody shouted over the din, "That has to get to Melbourne!"

The problem of wheel noise is what makes the complainers aware of the trains in the first place. There are only a handful of level crossings and the two causing most complaint do have access to alternative grade separated crossings.

QUESTION Somebody here might know.
After a derailment are bogies checked for alignment or are they just put back into service.
How often are the bogies checked? (There do not appear to be markers on them indicating service status.)
What are the tolerances for bogies alignment.
What are the tolerances for twist in wagon frames.

Regards
Ian
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Steam4ian I am not to sure but on most bogies I have seen they will have a check date on them somewhere it is usually stencilled on in white on a black background on the bogie sideframe somewhere up near the top, or it used to be anyway. As to how often they get checked these days is open to debate a bit as some seem to miss inspections a lot judging by the noise some make. The other thing these people want to realise as well if there is a squealer or two on a train then cuttings and things of like nature will tend to amplify the noise and make it louder while out of a flat open area the noise will still be there but it will not be as loud though.

It would be an interesting exercise to find out exactly were these people live and to find out if they live adjacent to a cutting etc if so then the only alternative might be to shift. Even a close stand of trees close alongside the railway line can hold the sound into a smaller area and make it seem louder.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
It would be an interesting exercise to find out exactly were these people live and to find out if they live adjacent to a cutting etc if so then the only alternative might be to shift.
David Peters
I would bet you two bob to a pound of cocky poop they've retired recently and now they've suddenly started noticing the trains. Retirement does all sorts of funny things to your perception - like Ms Mudge saying that the trains are 'much louder' now.  As David Peters said, that one just doesn't make sense.  The locomotives in particular would be much quieter than the old 900's and VicRail locos 20 years ago; wheel squeal maybe the same but again, I'd chalk that one up to them being at home all the time.

So after 33 years you've noticed you don't like living near a railway line?  Move.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
Why is the solution to increased wheel noise, and some, not by any means all, trains are worse than others, moving?
If you have lived somewhere 33 years then moving is a traumatic wrench, and is the last resort; I can't help feeling those who suggest this are renters not owners.

Surely the only acceptable solution is for the operators to perform better maintenance and cut the incidence of noise, that is fix it.

I don't like to point the finger at any one company but a certain one based north of the Queensland border would seem to be, from observation,  a particular offender.
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Judging by one train that passed SASMEE on Tuesday night I would say not very much diminution in noise.

There is less engine noise due to trains not having to accelerate after the junction but to me that is music.

What is not music is flange/wheel noise. On the train in question somebody shouted over the din, "That has to get to Melbourne!"

The problem of wheel noise is what makes the complainers aware of the trains in the first place. There are only a handful of level crossings and the two causing most complaint do have access to alternative grade separated crossings.

QUESTION Somebody here might know.
After a derailment are bogies checked for alignment or are they just put back into service.
How often are the bogies checked? (There do not appear to be markers on them indicating service status.)
What are the tolerances for bogies alignment.
What are the tolerances for twist in wagon frames.



Regards
Ian
"steam4ian"


Rollingstock is inspected and signed off before it can move from the derailment site, and then to enter service.
Bogies are checked during periodic maintenance, during full train inspection (that is before a train leaves a terminal) and during a wheel set change.

Bogie alignment is governed by the axle, side bearer clearances and whether the springs are working on the bogie. Basically your bogies are going to be travelling straight all the time more often then not: wheel squeal is the result of a fixed axle having wheels turn at different rates, causing the wheel to vibrate laterally. Factors such as rail profile, angle of attack and loading are going to play more of an influence then bogie alignment.

Wagon frames are set on a centre plate and are seated on king pin. Twist is negligible at best. However, if there is a load shift or incorrectly loaded wagon this will affect the ride of the wagon, and is taken out of service for the load to be placed correctly on the wagon.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Unfortunately this board has no "LIKE" button to acknowledge Neil's comments.

By now it should be realised by all that I am an enthusiastic supporter of viable rail, and some marginal stuff as well BUT I also recognize that the South Line presents particular problems.
Some of the problems are simply NIMBY combined with a sense of exclusiveness (see Mitcham Council) we don't want other peoples trains in our area.
Some problems are more imagined than real, people feeling a bushfire being held up by a train; there are alternate routes, there are cost effective solutions.
General train noise, no worse than  B double on the freeway with exhaust brakes on

But the wheel squeal is a penetrating issue. The noise carries far beyond the track and close to the track, even at SASMEE, has sound pressure levels which cause pain. There is only a slight curve at SASMEE and that has recently been re-aligned but some wheels squeal. This noise pollution and in any other industry would attract a notice followed by a non compliance fine from DEWNR.

It is not beyond the capacity of modern technology to do something about it certainly in terms of detecting offending wheel sets and vehicles.

We have speed cameras linked to radar. Why not cameras linked to directional microphones tuned to the noise frequency. That way a squeal producing vehicle can be identified and the operators served notice. It would be significantly cheaper to implement than either building a long tunnel, the best option, or relocating the line across the ranges to the north. Who knows, identifying a noisy wheel set might even save a later derailment due to wheel failure?
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Why is the solution to increased wheel noise, and some, not by any means all, trains are worse than others, moving?
If you have lived somewhere 33 years then moving is a traumatic wrench, and is the last resort; I can't help feeling those who suggest this are renters not owners.

Surely the only acceptable solution is for the operators to perform better maintenance and cut the incidence of noise, that is fix it.

I don't like to point the finger at any one company but a certain one based north of the Queensland border would seem to be, from observation,  a particular offender.
kipioneer
If the alternative is for the taxpayer or the community to spend $2 billion plus to fix the problem (as is being repeatedly pushed by these people) then yes, you would have to keep advising the people who don't like it to move.  The expense of the proposed 'solution' is really exorbitant; as I said earlier they should be trying to get noise-walls or something more achievable put in place.  I can't help but feel that a Mildura-Broken Hill rail line would be cheaper than an enormous Swiss-style tunnel through the hills; even then a Mildura-Broken Hill line would not remove the freight task entirely from the Adelaide Hills.

I think if you decided you didn't like your location it's a reasonable expectation that you should look for somewhere else to live. It's irrelevant if you are renting or owning: You are ultimately the one responsible for your own happiness.  If you aren't happy with where you are living then it's your mandate to do something about it instead of externalising the problem and saying "it's someone else's responsibility to make me happy".  I could change my mind if they could back up their assertion that the noise was worse.

Now there seems to be some debate as to whether or not the noise is worse as these people suggest - so is there any actual evidence that the noise is worse or is it (as I was suggesting) just a matter of perception?  Is the noise scientifically monitored? Can anyone point to a real, statistical increase in noise?  If that's the case then I'll change my opinion but until then you've got to call it subjective opinion and I return to my original point that people who don't like it need to move.
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: By a road taking pictures
Now there seems to be some debate as to whether or not the noise is worse as these people suggest - so is there any actual evidence that the noise is worse or is it (as I was suggesting) just a matter of perception?  Is the noise scientifically monitored? Can anyone point to a real, statistical increase in noise?  If that's the case then I'll change my opinion but until then you've got to call it subjective opinion and I return to my original point that people who don't like it need to move.
don_dunstan
The scientific reasoning suggests that the noise is much worse than it used to be. The "squeal" is the slip/stick result of poorly maintained tyre profile. The frequency and volume of this resonance is governed by many factors. One large factor is the track rigidity. Before the advent of concrete sleepers the track was nowhere near as rigid and as a result had a dampening effect of this phenomenon. So you could say that the noise is arguably worse. However with the advent of concrete sleepers came welded rail which removes the rail joint noise. This has a combined effect of less noise and less tyre and bearing wear which means even less noise as well.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
Don_dunstan - did I suggest the solution is to move the line?
I thought I suggested a bit of maintenance by the operators  is in order.
Why is it that an Aurizon train squeals its way through Blackwood and a Pacific National train doesn't?
Have you actually heard the wheel squeal (not flanging but full blown wheel squeal)?
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
I'm inclined to agree with a point by steamforian above.

In my very limited sample of train watching in my very irregular trips to Adelaide I've always noticed the wheel squeal on the S
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
What about buildings some Artificial Tunnels to enclose the rail noise?

Remember the artificial "Stanwell Steel" tunnel near Stanwell Park, NSW, which protects that line from landslides.

Amongst other things, this provides work for Arrium (Onesteel).

Worth a trial, to see how much reduction in noise occurs.

The steel tunnel would have openings at the top for fume ventilation.

Sydney has noise walls (rather then tunnels) on East Hills line, and near Macdonaldtown. Some of these walls are transparent.

A steel tunnel is a bit like an Armco Steel Culvert.
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
I'm inclined to agree with a point by steamforian above.

In my very limited sample of train watching in my very irregular trips to Adelaide I've always noticed the wheel squeal on the South Line. I've not heard anything like it in train watching in numerous other countries and I don't really recall it from growing up in Adelaide. Yes you had much louder engines and a lot of clickedy-clack but I've heard squeals that are borderline (or over) painful so I have some sympathy for the locals.

So I'm in agreement with Ian that if this was a fixed location plant making this noise they'd be getting enforceable cease and desist letters.

I've understood that one of the theories of the cause are bogies whose lateral play have been reduced to improve running on straight track. Unfortunately this also means that they won't track to an angle where both wheels are rolling as easily and instead drag. I've never quite understood this though as I'd assume a dragging wheel face or flange would be causing the sort of wear you'd be wanting to avoid.

However I guess poor wheel profile maintenance could be as much of a problem as lateral play but would presumably also cause the sort of wear you'd want to avoid.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Opinion here shows two outcomes:
!/ Move the complainers
2/ Deal with the noise.

The other options are either not palatable or improbable. Moving the line to by-pass Adelaide which is the effect of the northern diversion does not send a good message as SA descends to Detroit style rust bowl status. A long tunnel is too costly for the benefit to be obtained.

One good thing about the noise problem is that it occurs because rail is doing its job. In spite of what the NIMBYs say a high percentage of Melbourne/Adelaide freight continues to move by rail and some of it is time sensitive.

Considering the noise problem is apparent not just at track side but up to almost 1 km away in the next valley* moving the residents is out of the question. (* Personal experience from when I was site engineer rebuilding the Heathfield WWTP.)

I doubt noise walls would be effective due to the terrain and the high intensity.

On a train that is emitting noise my observations suggest it is only one or two wheel sets at most causing the problem. This indicates to me the problem could be dealt with if they knew which wheel sets were causing the problem; hence my photography idea. A few fines of operators imposed by ARTC would help.

For those who have not heard the noise consider the note from ringing of a wheel when struck applied continuously and amplified to levels which cause pain; then you have it. Then think about the effect of that sound in the middle of the night in a quiet leafy suburb like Mitcham in Melbourne.

Even as an enthusiastic rail advocate I say the wheel noise is NOT acceptable.

If DEWNR imposed fines on the noise makers they would soon take action; maybe that is the course.

Ian
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Don_dunstan - did I suggest the solution is to move the line?
kipioneer
No you didn't but I was continuing the dialogue from the gist of this thread which is that some people do want it moved as their preferred solution.

I thought I suggested a bit of maintenance by the operators is in order. Why is it that an Aurizon train squeals its way through Blackwood and a Pacific National train doesn't? Have you actually heard the wheel squeal (not flanging but full blown wheel squeal)?
kipioneer
Yes.  I lived in Blackwood at one stage, I'm familiar with the noise created by the wheels.  It's loud but it's not 20 times a day and it's not every single train (as you rightly point out).  I'm just trying to separate the fact from the fiction here.

If the answer is that some operators are properly maintaining vehicles preventing wheel noise but others aren't then why isn't it policed by someone like ARTC?  Is the solution really that simple?  In that case why hasn't something been done about it?

The scientific reasoning suggests that the noise is much worse than it used to be.
nm39
Evidence?  In the rest of that paragraph you didn't seem to sure if concrete sleepers and welded joints made it better or worse. Before you spend $2 billion you need to have some actual hard evidence that the noise is worse, that's all I'm saying.

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