Grain Harvest 2016/2017 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Id do the business case and go for the standardisation to be extended back to Inglewood, connect it into the SG network and be done with it.  Much shorter distance (maybe5-7km?) and so lower cost too Id imagine.  It could be something that they come back and do later once the site is open, though sites these days can be up and running within months.

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  cbinyon Junior Train Controller

Yes it was a failed train. 9044 UP Piangil. XR 554 & 550 sent to help it home with BL32 & XR 552 Chief Commissioner
  Dd893 Train Controller

Location: Castlemaine
This morning at 7:30 in Castlemaine, both Loco's were at the down end of the train and I just gathered it was an empty down grainy waiting for the morning passenger peak trains to clear before it would head north.
I took a pic on an angle with the VGR signals in front of it, so I know i wasn't seeing things.

Did the fault occur in Elphinstone/Taradale loop and the loco's swapped ends and hauled it back to Castlemaine to clear the loop for passenger trains?

  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Latest ABARE forecast (12th Sept) for this year's winter crop:

"In 2017–18 total winter crop production in Victoria is forecast to fall by 34 per cent to 6.8 million tonnes, driven by expected falls in yields from the record highs set in 2016–17. This forecast production is 28 per cent above the 10-year average to 2015–16. Planted area is estimated to have remained largely unchanged.

Wheat production in 2017–18 is forecast to decrease by 33 per cent to 3.5 million tonnes. The average yield forecast to fall by 33 per cent to an above average 2.3 tonnes a hectare.

In 2017–18 barley production is forecast to fall by 38 per cent to 2.0 million tonnes, as a result of a forecast 35 per cent fall in the average yield. Planted area is estimated to have decreased by 4 per cent to 900,000 hectares, reflecting unfavourable expected returns compared with canola and pulses."
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Pics over at Vicsig of SSR 3MC3 unloading at Appleton Dock yesterday, Tuesday the 19th.

Any ideas where they loaded this time, they ran back via Melb late last week.

  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Last Friday there were SSR wagons at Uranquinty and Junee
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Pics over at Vicsig of SSR 3MC3 unloading at Appleton Dock yesterday, Tuesday the 19th.

Any ideas where they loaded this time, they ran back via Melb late last week.


ex Oaklands

loading Henty West today Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Pics over at Vicsig of SSR 3MC3 unloading at Appleton Dock yesterday, Tuesday the 19th.

Any ideas where they loaded this time, they ran back via Melb late last week.


ex Oaklands

loading Henty West today
bingley hall
who is paying them this time?
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Pics over at Vicsig of SSR 3MC3 unloading at Appleton Dock yesterday, Tuesday the 19th.

Any ideas where they loaded this time, they ran back via Melb late last week.


ex Oaklands

loading Henty West today
who is paying them this time?

Pretty sure it's Emerald  - sourcing grain from other marketers to fill their order book.
  BigShunter Assistant Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Wimmera harvest boost for truck loads.

WIMMERA farmers have welcomed a move to increase truck loads during harvest, but believe more work is still needed to improve freight movements.

The state government has announced that heavy vehicles will be allowed to transport five per cent more grain this harvest.

Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan said the Grain Harvest Management Scheme would allow heavy vehicles, except for road trains, to increase their load when delivering grain to receivers that are also participating in the scheme.

“The change will boost safety and productivity by reducing the number of trips between farms and grain receivers during harvest,” he said.

The scheme will run from October 1 to April 30.

Yesterday's Wimmera MailTimes;

So this means a semi with a gross vehicle mass of 45.5 tonne, will be allowed to carry 5% more weight.

45.5 x 5% = 2.27 so gross weight goes up to 47.77 tonne

B-Double 68 tonne

68 x 5% =3.4% so their max is up to 71.4 tonne

However, the scheme will only apply to vehicles built after January 1, 2002. “The need for a registration newer than 2002 is a great concern,” Mr Weidemann said.

Warracknabeal farmer and Victorian Farmers Federation grains group president Ross Johns said the scheme would be unworkable because of the 2002 vehicle restriction.

I disagree with these two blokes, the government is on the money, here, I don't think it's in anybody's best interest to be over loading older trucks.
Probably the best comparison I can give you, if you think of the safety features and performance of a car today, compared to a car from 2002, you will get the picture.


Ps; I'm a bit here and there, with this scheme, there are a set of guide lines of which vehicles are to operate under, so why stretch those rules just for the harvest period.

Imagine if we gave a 5% concession on speeding, just over the holiday period, so people could get there and home again, quicker.

When I worked at GrainFlow, Mallala, their weight concession was 7.5%, GrainFlow, Jondaryon, 12.5 % for the harvest period. Shocked Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I don't like it.  Will they be paying 5% extra in their road user fee on this to account for the additional road damage/consumption they are incurring?
  trainbrain Deputy Commissioner

passing thorgh Wycheproof yesterday G151 B76 and B74 on an up Grainie early onSat arvo with 49 wagons
  trainbrain Deputy Commissioner

passing thorgh Wycheproof yesterday G151 B76 and B74 on an up Grainie early onSat arvo with 49 wagons
ooops G515........................I am fired
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
SSR grain UP into Melbourne this afternoon with C on the lead.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
I don't like it.  Will they be paying 5% extra in their road user fee on this to account for the additional road damage/consumption they are incurring?
it could also be argued that as there are fewer trips there's actually less damage occurring to the road.  After all you are looking at the weight of a motor bike per axle to cover the extra weight.

Most of the damage to roads is done where trucks take tight turns and the bogie setups drag the tyres a bit across the surface.  For reasons nobody can explain the old-style bogie-spreads with 10 foot axle centres were the worst for this. The tri-axle trailers don't do it as badly as the load seems to share better even though the outside axle centres are the same.

Most, if not all of these trips, are for farm to silo so not really competing against rail but in most cases bringing traffic to the rail line.  Most farmers need their trucks turned around quickly so they can get their crop off and keep the harvester running so one harvester will be feeding 2 to 3 trucks to take the crop away - even if it's being stored elsewhere on the farm.  They don't have time to wait while their truck does a couple of hundred km run to the port and back.  

There is also a problem with grain weight as the moisture level can vary even in parts of the same paddock making one truck light but the next heavy with the same volume (ie cubic metres) of grain on-board.  The weight can even vary from the paddock to the silo in the same load as extreme height or humidity changes the moisture level in the grain.

In most cases a full load by cubic volume a vehicle can carry is equal to the current maximum weights anyway. I can't see people spending thousands to modify and have engineered changes to a tipper body to save 2 or 3 trips to the silos. It doesn't stack up from a business sense as you won't recover your expenditure.  Add to that the permit is only valid for the harvest (around 3 months) and you would be carting the extra body weight for the other 9 months reducing your payload for the other 9 months and it doesn't make sense unless you have trailers specifically for carting grain.  Most aren't, they are used for other things throughout the year

so in summary the real gain to farmers is they will be able to fill according to the truck's volume rather than trying to calculate weights every 10 metres
  cbinyon Junior Train Controller

G543 was sent light to assist XR550 & 555 on 9146 UP (not sure where from). Was there a failure? Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW

Its a decent argument and I guess it takes us into the world of the tradeoff between weight and damage.  I think that the engineering profession is yet to really work this out.  Up to a point I'm sure that the damage being incurred would not exceed the benefit from the extra weight.  But above it, it would.

Its a fair question to raise, which side of this point are we on?

When I used to load trucks on my family farm, we once sent a groaning and creaking B double with IIRC 80-85t grain.  It was 2am on a Saturday night and a storm front was coming across.  Now that wouldnt be possible, and watching that truck get up onto the road and drive out, being able to see the tar crush from under the tyres, tells me that is well over the line.  Watching that  volume go out unused does feel like a waste, but thats logistics with variable volumes for you.

And for me this isn't a road vs rail argument.  Its a who pays for the roads argument.
  Z VAN Locomotive Fireman

Spread amongst the replies are a varied selection of opinions.
Weight is weight and one day we have to say our roads and bridges can only take so much. We cannot keep adding and adding just to satisfy some sort of short term, short haul trip.
Mentioned, in the USA electronic logs will be introduced some time in 2018.
Some years ago I was talking to a Truck Driver about how we can monitor the engine performance remotely and track our delivery.
The conversation was eventually swung to truck speed etc will be tracked.
"His response was the Fellas are pretty savvy and will find away around them"
I said true but if you have an on the spot $50,000 dollar fine and impound the truck for three months pretty soon people will stop fiddling with the safety devices.
I always think it is rail verses trucks.
We currently have millions being spent and rightly so on the Murray Basin project after many enquiries and more recently a formal business case analysis yet the truck weights are increased by a department with outwardly no such business case or safety analysis. Just make it if the truck was built after 2002 it will be fine.
I find it interesting to say the least?
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Mass is mass.  Yet velocity has the 'squared' element attached to it.  The extra weight allowance is just more creep in the system that sees an extra axle every now and then and articulated vehicles considered 'the same' as a traditional semi trailer.  Big horsepower means the mass will input the maximum force into the pavement.

I believe the issue is the convoluted method of cost recovery and multiple responsible organisations that operate our roads.   The truck will win every time.  Three levels of government and different road types - the truck don't care.

What happens is happening silently and slowly in the background.  The cost of the damage of the little bit extra will show in the lesser council roads first.   They fall apart and then someone screams about their shire not doing their job.  Then there is a squeeze on rates. Ultimately the rates go up and the farmer become unviable, unless they get an even bigger truck!  The cycle is slow and free of direct accountability of the root cause (as an over simplification of what happens of course.)

Then there is a grain truck on a highway.  The motorist is stuck behind it.  The motorist is bouncing around over the broken down pavement where it has failed.  The motorist is delayed by the road works to keep it all going.  Yet all the motorist can think of is 'I want another overtaking lane and they should fix these roads'.   All along in total ignorance it is they who are paying for what is happening in front of them. Alanis Morissette has plenty of material for another song (or six).

Yet to those on this page know all this and I repeat the obvious I apologise.  

I am a full supporter of electronic metering of all vehicles.  One where you pay based on use, load, location and congestion.  We have the technology but no will to do it.  While we are at it, administer the system nationally too.   I understand it difficult, as the herding of cats with ego and political ilk will make it all but impossible.   Ultimately do we want to be smart and efficient in what we do?  (I say that in total sarcasm observing what is happening with our electricity system)
  kitchgp Chief Train Controller

Braking downhill does its fair share. The curves don't have to be particularly tight; an undulating and mildly winding section of road will do. The poor condition of the Melba Highway between Yarra Glen and Yea is a good example, particularly the section between Dixons Creek and the Healesville turn-off (semis and B-doubles to and from Sydney, quarry trucks and log trucks). Dynamic load is different to static load.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
a couple of things to keep in context here.

The extra weight is only for grain trucks, only for the harvest period to get the grain to the silos.  It's basically local area stuff to feed the silos. It doesn't mean every grain truck running to the port and back.  Once the grain is leaving the silos these concessions don't apply.
A lot of vehicles (such as cranes, those that regularly carry over-weight loads etc) already have permits for higher axle loadings then this will allow for the truck/semi/b-double/road-train combination (and a lot of the new milk tankers are a road-train-style combination at a mini-b-double (19 metre) length as the rules for allowable vehicle combinations changed a few years back to be performance based (ie fit within a prescribed swept arc, overall max height, overall max length etc) then prescriptive to allow for innovations and improvements in trailer design and road-impact minimisation.

As grain is mainly grown in flat country the impact on the roads from hill braking etc will be minimal.  Most farm trucks sit around the 80-90kmh mark anyway which takes a lot of the impact stress out off the road. Also the roads have been made worse as in a lot of areas trucks are not allowed to use their exhaust brakes, which is effectively the road version of dynamic braking, so the speeds tend to vary more and the brakes used more often.  To give an example in my (historic) truck if I head south over the slide and start to come down at 75kmh I only touch the brakes twice - once at each of the 50kmh corners and don't get over the 80kmh speed limit. Modern trucks of the same sie (9 tonne) coming down without exhaust brakes end up braking every corner as they try to keep to their schedule (timetable) as without the exhaust brake they build up speed too quickly. My vehicle is putting a lot less stress on the road then theirs is - even if both are empty

These permits don't allow every truck on the road to carry increased weights around the entire road network - its only to feed the silos. Remember you need to get freight to a rail terminal/siding/silo before a train can carry it and you can't put railway lines through every paddock or theirs nowhere to grow the crops!
  cbinyon Junior Train Controller

Four separate 40 wagon PN granies running the past 24 hours alone on the two NW BG branches. Also including the fruit flyer running UP and DN yesterday too.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Probably the most busy these lines have been for a very long time!!!
  darcycammo Chief Train Controller

Location: cockatoo vic
The same weekend as the 707 ops trip to Sea lake while I stayed at my land in Korong Vale between Friday night and Sunday we counted 12 trains through the town

I have been going up there for a couple of years now we used to be lucky to get even 1 grain train a weekend now with both Cube grain PN grain and the PN fruity there is always something to see up there!

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