Violet Town collision of 1969

 
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

"One surprising thing is the use of the words "Railway Department" - something I never heard or read anywhere else".

Valvegear,
Once a very common term, as 'the railways' had at some time in most or all jurisdictions, been an actual govt dept with a Minister for Railways ruling over the dept.

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  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Valvegear,
Once a very common term, as 'the railways' had at some time in most or all jurisdictions, been an actual govt dept with a Minister for Railways ruling over the dept.
Lockspike

Certainly not common in my 74 year life time, with a father who was a Rolling Stock Engineer. It was commonly "Victorian Railways".

The sequence of names is:-
1857 - 1871 Department of Railways.
1871 - 1877 Department of Railways and Roads.
1877 - 1884 Department of Railways.
1885 - 1973 Victorian Railways Commissioners.
1973-1983 Victorian Railways Board.

I remain surprised that the term "Railway Department" was used in an official report in 1969.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Any Victorian crew who attempted to disable the V.C would not have lasted long. The Hasler Speed Recorder made a record on a chart, and recorded speed, time of day, time travelled and at stop, and distance travelled.

VR report, para 5.3.1: " There is provision on the chart for other readings, and in Victoria this is used for recording the operation of the Vigilance Control System."

VR Report, Section 9, "DISCUSSION", has details of when the V.C. was pressed, and at what distance ( in miles and chains) from Melbourne. The final actuation was at 105 miles, 20 chains, which was within the Violet Town Loop.

"There was a time interval of some 54 seconds from when Fireman Coulthard first saw the Home Departure Signal at Stop to the point of collision, a distance of approximately 1 mile and 5 chains."

"The tests of Westinghouse Brake ( Australasia ) Pty Ltd showed that this train could have been stopped in 48 chains if an emergency brake application had been made from the locomotive, and it is difficult to understand why Fireman Coulthard did not take this action."
Valvegear
Valvegear,

'VR Report, Section 9, "DISCUSSION", has details of when the V.C. was pressed, and at what distance ( in miles and chains) from Melbourne. The final actuation was at 105 miles, 20 chains, which was within the Violet Town Loop.'

Can I ask what may well be a silly question?

How did the Hasler speed recorder know the precise location of the train back in 1969, please?

Regards
YM
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Certainly not common in my 74 year life time, with a father who was a Rolling Stock Engineer. It was commonly "Victorian Railways".

The sequence of names is:-
1857 - 1871 Department of Railways.
1871 - 1877 Department of Railways and Roads.
1877 - 1884 Department of Railways.
1883 - 1973 Victorian Railways Commissioners.
1973-1983 Victorian Railways Board.

I remain surprised that the term "Railway Department" was used in an official report in 1969.
Valvegear
'Proper' railways in Victoria have been known for a very long time as the 'Victorian Railways' (until the politicians started changing names in the late 1980/1990s s [?] in an attempt to appear that they were actually doing something)!
The term 'Department/Departmental' was applied to certain things, however, such as 'departmental residences (DRs) and departmental watches' for example.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
 How did the Hasler speed recorder know the precise location of the train back in 1969, please?
YM-Mundrabilla
It was set at zero and signed by the Driver before the journey commenced. Distance at start was zero, and distance travelled was easily recorded, just your car's odometer does. In the case of an Up train distance travelled subtracted from total distance from start (zero) to Melbourne gave the location in miles and chains from Melbourne. In other words, the start is 185 miles from Melbourne, and this is set at zero. The train has gone 85 miles on the chart, so it is 100 miles from Melbourne.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
It was set at zero and signed by the Driver before the journey commenced. Distance at start was zero, and distance travelled was easily recorded, just your car's odometer does. In the case of an Up train distance travelled subtracted from total distance from start (zero) to Melbourne gave the location in miles and chains from Melbourne. In other words, the start is 185 miles from Melbourne, and this is set at zero. The train has gone 85 miles on the chart, so it is 100 miles from Melbourne.
Valvegear
Thanks Valvegear.
I could not imagine anything much different from what you describe as being available in 1969.
Unlike current GPS based systems the Hasler recorder could be little more than a 'good indicator' incapable of establishing precise locations as it would presumably carry the same inaccuracies as a loco speedo plus any variation in setting the zero point.
  Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding
A skilled reader can get very accurate distance measurements from a Hasler tape. The speed indication is very accurate, as is the time stamp.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
A skilled reader can get very accurate distance measurements from a Hasler tape. The speed indication is very accurate, as is the time stamp.
Fireman Dave
Thanks FD.
Something learnt for the day.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

It never ceased to amaze me that when an incident occurred such as this or someone was hit by a Train, the Guard was 'grilled' more extensively than the driver.
On paper at least, the Guard is the employee in charge of the Train (NSW) and not the driver yet most events were at the front of the Train in many cases out of the sight of the Guard, not the rear where he was.
I remember a Guard of an Interurban heading to Sydney one day when it hit a 'Jumper' at a station out near St Mary's/Blacktown and he told he had just come from the Inquiry and he had spent quite some time being questioned where as the Driver barely gave his name, employee number etc and was gone.
The Guard was asked what speed the Train was doing, as if he would know as he has no speedo to read along with some questions which inferred he was at fault and wasnt doing his job.
From memory there was almost no forward view along the train of those first single decker Interurbans unless you opened either the door or window.
Just before the ultimate removal of the Brake Vans off Freight Trains in NSW, there were experiments carried out to improve the forward view, such as a raised 'hatch' area fitted with mirrors so the Guard could see forward from his seat at the desk because Trains were growing longer and longer.
I only ever traveled a few times in a Brake Van and sat trying to look along the Train which between Penrith and Bathurst was a waste of time as you could rarely see more than a quarter of the Train for most of the journey.

Prior to this happening at Violet Town, I would be very surprised if any Diesel Loco's in NSW were fitted with any sort of Vigilance control.
The only such control as I remember was the "Dead Man' handle fitted to electric Suburban and Interurban  passenger trains.
gordon_s1942
In Victoria  mainline d/e locos were fitted with vigilance controls well before the 1969  Violet Town SA collision .  At that time either the driver or the fireman had to press the VC control  button every so often  (set time period) or a deafening alarm would be set off within the cab .  After Violet Town the system was modified so that it required the operation of the VC by both driver and firemen in sequence, and also a bring train to stand feature was incorporated .
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
At the time of the Violet Town crash, it was the responsibility of the fireman to operate the V.C.

Paragraph 5.3.2:  "In Victoria, all main line diesel-electric locomotives are fitted with a Vigilance Control System.. . .
Whilst the locomotive is in motion, the Fireman must operate the Vigilance Control System but, before pressing the button, he must satisfy himself that the Driver is alert."

As kuldalai says, the rules and method of operation have changed since then.
  outwest Junior Train Controller

They served great coffee in the buffet car
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
They served great coffee in the buffet car
outwest
Southern Aurora did not have a buffet car. There was a full scale dining car and a lounge car only.
SoP (Spirit of Progress) and Intercapital Daylight both had a buffet car.
  outwest Junior Train Controller

Southern Aurora did not have a buffet car. There was a full scale dining car and a lounge car only.
SoP (Spirit of Progress) and Intercapital Daylight both had a buffet car.                                                      
YM-Mundrabilla
Thanks for correcting my horrendous mistake most people understood what I meant and was getting at obviously not your good self
  Turbo Thomas Assistant Commissioner

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