Bethungra Spiral. Future Rail Trail?

 
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
The proposed Inland Rail route will bypass the spiral with a new section of track starting just north of Illabo and rejoining the existing Forbes line at Stockinbingal.

Is there a compelling reason for ARTC to continue to keep the existing track open once this new section is operational?

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  M636C Minister for Railways

The proposed Inland Rail route will bypass the spiral with a new section of track starting just north of Illabo and rejoining the existing Forbes line at Stockinbingal.

Is there a compelling reason for ARTC to continue to keep the existing track open once this new section is operational?
cootanee
Traffic will still travel from Junee and further south to Sydney and that will all run via Bethungra.

The new link from Illabo to Stockinbingal will be only single track and would not have the capacity of the existing double track line. It would be much longer and slower from Illabo to Cootamundra West than by the existing line.

Only direct Melbourne Brisbane traffic will be diverted via the new line, Some Melbourne Brisbane (and vice versa) traffic will continue to run via Sydney in trains conveying both Brisbane and Sydney traffic.

Grain traffic will continue to run to Port Kembla via Bethungra.

Peter
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
There is already one by-pass of the spiral, why not just build a 2nd line alongside and close the spiral?
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
There is already one by-pass of the spiral, why not just build a 2nd line alongside and close the spiral?
RTT_Rules
Too steep? The bypass you refer to is the original alignment that the spiral was built to overcome. But in this modern world of "just throw more horsepower at a problem" it could probably be done.

Not that I see much point in turning a couple of kilometres of track into a rail-trail.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
There is already one by-pass of the spiral, why not just build a 2nd line alongside and close the spiral?
Too steep? The bypass you refer to is the original alignment that the spiral was built to overcome. But in this modern world of "just throw more horsepower at a problem" it could probably be done.

Not that I see much point in turning a couple of kilometres of track into a rail-trail.
apw5910
The by-pass is there now, are there trains that cannot take it and must use the spiral? I assume most trains don't have an issue and just use HP and momentum to resolve the more direct uphill route. I think considering the traffic volumes on the main south, they can afford to send most trains that can use the by-pass on the by-pass. Hence does the spiral justify need to be removed?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
The spiral is only used one way no?  Northbound I had thought....

Ie, there is no bypass, one line is the north or south mainline, and the spiral is the other.  I could be wrong.
  7334 Chief Commissioner

Location: In the workshop wondering why I started 7334 in the first place
The spiral is only used one way no?  Northbound I had thought....

Ie, there is no bypass, one line is the north or south mainline, and the spiral is the other.  I could be wrong.
james.au
You are not wrong.  There is no bypass.

The section between the Tanyinna level crossing and Bethungra is double track although the two tracks follow different routes.

The spiral forms the UP main and is graded at 1 in 66 or thereabouts

The DOWN line was the original single line, does not traverse the spiral, and given that it falls / climbs the same amount in a shorter distance is steeper at around 1 in 40.  The spiral was built to eliminate that grade.

For what it is worth the section to the north of Frampton has a similar situation

The DOWN line was the original.  It was replaced by what is now the UP line (in the 1890s I believe but happy to be corrected) in order to reduce the grade and the original line was abandoned.  When duplication arrived in the 1940s the original line was resurrected to become the DOWN line and the Frampton deviation became the UP line
  M636C Minister for Railways

There is already one by-pass of the spiral, why not just build a 2nd line alongside and close the spiral?
Too steep? The bypass you refer to is the original alignment that the spiral was built to overcome. But in this modern world of "just throw more horsepower at a problem" it could probably be done.

Not that I see much point in turning a couple of kilometres of track into a rail-trail.
The by-pass is there now, are there trains that cannot take it and must use the spiral? I assume most trains don't have an issue and just use HP and momentum to resolve the more direct uphill route. I think considering the traffic volumes on the main south, they can afford to send most trains that can use the by-pass on the by-pass. Hence does the spiral justify need to be removed?
RTT_Rules
The tracks are each automatic signalled for one direction only.

The train that would be most likely to use the down line in the up direction at Bethungra is the Melbourne Sydney XPT and I photographed it on the spiral last time I visited.

It would be relatively easy to install crossovers and signals for both directions, but clearly neither the operators nor the ARTC see a problem.

The justification for the Illabo to Stockinbingal line is purely for clearances, since it would be very expensive to enlarge the two spiral tunnels which although short are through solid rock. The fact that the down line crosses the up on a bridge north of the spiral (to get back to the left side running) doesn't help double stacking either.

If money is being thrown at National Party electorates, you might as well build a new line from Illabo to Stockinbingal which reduces the distance to Brisbane (well so far to Toowoomba, the Federal Goverment isn't funding construction beyond Toowoomba so far) and allows double stacking.

But there is nothing to suggest that all the freights to Sydney and Port Kembla will not continue to use the spiral, nor even the passenger trains.

The same thing occurs a couple of kilometres further north at Frampton, where the up line sweeps off into a horseshoe while the down line goes straight down grade. The XPTs use the long line there too.

If you avoided both deviations, you might save five minutes in a twelve hour journey.

Peter

Edit: this was posted at the same time as the post above, so says much the same.
  M636C Minister for Railways



The DOWN line was the original.  It was replaced by what is now the UP line (in the 1890s I believe but happy to be corrected) in order to reduce the grade and the original line was abandoned.  When duplication arrived in the 1940s the original line was resurrected to become the DOWN line and the Frampton deviation became the UP line
7334
As I understand it the original line was used until 1946 when the spiral was opened.

I think the Frampton deviation was also a WWII change.

The spiral did indeed arrive with duplication, but that was in 1946.

Peter
  7334 Chief Commissioner

Location: In the workshop wondering why I started 7334 in the first place
In a series of articles published in the ARHS Bulletin over a period spanning WW2 the late C.C.Singleton covered the history of the Main South.  "Sing" as he was known was well regarded for the quality of his research and writings. In the issue dated April 1947 he wrote:


In 1898 a deviation 2 miles 73 chains in length was made on the Sydney side of Frampton giving a ruling grade of 1 in 75 against up trains in place of the original 1 in 40, but adding 1 mile 7 chains to the journey. The above alterations had the effect of allowing a greatly increased single engine load to be hauled from Junee to Cootamundra - if assisted in the rear up Junee and Bethungra banks of 3 miles and 3 miles respectively.

Deviations during Duplication


When duplication was approved, it was decided to extend the work­ing of 57 class engines to Junee and improve the grades and structures to permit of these engines hauling through goods loads of 1000 'tons from Junee to Cootamundra without assistance, thus making a standard load to Goulburn. As the existing grades against down trains provided for approximately a balancing number of empty vehicles they were not altered.

At the old Frampton Deviation a grade of 1 in 75 uncompensated existed giving the standard load required, but the abandoned formation, which descended at a grade of 1 in 40, was utilised as far as practicable for the new-down line, incidentally saving 1 mile 7 chains of running for each down train. This new down line was brought into use as part of the Cootamundra South-Tanyinna duplication in 1942

  7334 Chief Commissioner

Location: In the workshop wondering why I started 7334 in the first place
The previous post included some text scanned and run through Optical Character Recognition which must have upset it as it refused to behave when dropped into the reply.  The following was meant to be included but I gave up!!!

Singleton's writings suggest that the original line north of Frampton was abandoned in 1898 and then resurrected in 1942.

This was not the only location at which deviations were introduced early in the piece as even then the limitations of the original line were causing difficulties.  The current line up Morrisons Hill is another example.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Thanks for info guys, I thought the original line was the less direct and the more direct was bi-di.

In other threads there has been discussion about abandoning the current curvy corridor south of Macuthur in various places to use the original more direct steeper ROW, indicating that modern trains have less issue with the hills compared with the steamers of the past and that time is money more so today than historically.

So I suppose 5min saved at Bethungra + few min at Franston +....... all adds up eventually, if the trains can handle ok.
  M636C Minister for Railways

The previous post included some text scanned and run through Optical Character Recognition which must have upset it as it refused to behave when dropped into the reply.  The following was meant to be included but I gave up!!!

Singleton's writings suggest that the original line north of Frampton was abandoned in 1898 and then resurrected in 1942.

This was not the only location at which deviations were introduced early in the piece as even then the limitations of the original line were causing difficulties.  The current line up Morrisons Hill is another example.
7334
Firstly my apologies...

I tend to use John Forsyth's diagrams of the Southern Line as a quick reference.
I misread the 1942 date of the reactivation of the old line as the down line as the date of the deviation.

There was a very similar deviation just north of Mittagong, (on the former "loop Line") also to the west of the old line in 1897.

More significantly there was a deviation to the present route just west of Demondrille in 1900 to the north of the old line which with adjustments in 1922 became the present double track.

Most of the realignments dated to 1915 to 1917 and were introduced with double tracking as far as Cootamundra, which as has been pointed out was extended to Junee by 1946.

All of these changes were to reduce the grades from 1 in 40 for up trains to 1 in 66 or less, exactly as the Bethungra Spiral did in 1946.

Looking at the Forsyth diagram, the old line at Jindalee which was basically east of Morrisons's Hill, crossed under the present line at the bridge currently used by North Jindalee Road, and then crossed the present line on the level just before it curved away to the West towards Morrison's Hill. It then followed North Jindalee Road all the way to Wallendbeen. One clue that the new line was single track originally is that each track has a separate girder bridge across North Jindalee road.

Peter
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
I too have thought about using crossovers each side of the Spiral to enable those trains that can to bypass the spiral.   What impact would it have in reduced running times for intermodal's etc that have the power to weight ratio to enable them to negotiate the steeper but more direct original main.

Benefits for justifying such changes are based on cost versus time saving.   If that stacked up it might be worth exploring even initially as a desktop exercise!!!
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

its probably a case of by crossing over and using the more direct line, you would need to stop another train, and doing that negates any advantages and fuel/time savings
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Its really not a busy railway
  M636C Minister for Railways

I too have thought about using crossovers each side of the Spiral to enable those trains that can to bypass the spiral.   What impact would it have in reduced running times for intermodal's etc that have the power to weight ratio to enable them to negotiate the steeper but more direct original main.

Benefits for justifying such changes are based on cost versus time saving.   If that stacked up it might be worth exploring even initially as a desktop exercise!!!
Trainplanner
I'll check later, but the difference in distance is about 3 kilometres at Bethungra and maybe two kilometres at Frampton.

Assuming that the speed restriction for the curves is no greater than the loss of speed on the 1 in 40 and that the trains don't drop below 60km/h in either case, the loss of time using the spiral will be at most three minutes, less if the train runs faster (as the XPT probably does).

To avoid this you have to install two reasonably high speed crossovers and signalling with continuing maintenance costs and a greater risk of derailment.

What is the big problem, other than the cost of modifying it for double stacking.

The ARTC assure me that despite raising clearances for double stacking as far as Illabo (which is about half way to Sydney) there is no intention to try to get double stacking into Sydney (or even Moorebank).

If there ever was a need, I guess trains could run back from Stockinbingal to Cootamundra West avoiding the spiral.

Have you ever watched two 81 class with 40 NGPF/NGKF on a 1 in 66 grade? They often get down to below 30km/h climbing Cullerin Bank. During the wheat season half the trains south of Medway Junction are grain trains running to and from Temora, Cootamundra and Junee and surrounding areas to and from Port Kembla.

That is exactly what the spiral, and all the other deviations were built for.

It al works well. Grain trains are overtaken by intermodal trains at Cunningar, Yass Junction and Goulburn.

Why is the spiral seen as a problem when it is a solution?

Peter
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

The spiral was built during a time where steam locomotives where the only motive power and were very limited on what they could haul.   Spending an extra few minutes taking a longer route meant the train could haul more freight, increasing its profit.  It wasn't to negate the speed decrease on steeper sections of track.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
... The ARTC assure me that despite raising clearances for double stacking as far as Illabo (which is about half way to Sydney) there is no intention to try to get double stacking into Sydney (or even Moorebank).

If there ever was a need, I guess trains could run back from Stockinbingal to Cootamundra West avoiding the spiral.

Have you ever watched two 81 class with 40 NGPF/NGKF on a 1 in 66 grade? They often get down to below 30km/h climbing Cullerin Bank. During the wheat season half the trains south of Medway Junction are grain trains running to and from Temora, Cootamundra and Junee and surrounding areas to and from Port Kembla.

That is exactly what the spiral, and all the other deviations were built for.

It al works well. Grain trains are overtaken by intermodal trains at Cunningar, Yass Junction and Goulburn.

Why is the spiral seen as a problem when it is a solution?

Peter
M636C
Thanks for that info.

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