Murray Basin standardisation

 
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
The Murrayville line was converted to about half-way at New Year's.  So should be done or very close to it by now.
Carnot
I had thought I read somewhere that they took the crews south to Ararat-Maryborough to get that part done and open, and would return to Ouyen-Murrayville at a later date?

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  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

BG, it looks like RPV have not taken over from V/Line yet, if they will at all. The Minister has been at pains to point out that V/Line are consulting with them to align works with the Ballarat line works, AND the new works in Ballarat have been given to RPV. She has no reason to lie about this that I can think of.

Interestingly, the project website has been (amateurishly) updated on its front page. The map which referred to the 5 project stages now instead shows Stage 1, Stage 2, a Future Stage incorporating the Sea Lake, Manangatang AND Gheringhap-Ballarat conversions, and the blue highlighting which used to represent Stage 5 is now labelled Freight-Passenger Rail Separation Project.

So the remaining staging is now completely up in the air.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
At least its an update instead of having false information out there.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
The decision to re-use the old 80lb/yd rail on the Ararat-Maryborough line by welding it into Continuously Welded Rail was a poor choice, possibly compounded by poor welding practices (if media reports of welds being performed on 40°C days are true). Old rail doesn't weld well - the metallurgy is different due to the less stringent quality management practices they had over 100 years ago. It's a recipe for defective welds, so the welding needs to be monitored closely.
But of course, V/Line (or the Murray Basin Rail Project contractors) made the decision to re-use the old rail to cut costs, so it stands to reason (this is speculation) that extra quality control (i.e more technical personnel on the project which = $$$) was not likely to be budgeted either.

My conclusion is that managing the existing rail in the condition that it appears to be in is unsustainable. As seen in the NSP, they are concerned enough about the track that they will shut the line down during a WOLO event - on a freshly rebuilt line! They will be chasing defects and imposing TSRs for years. It's like they were assuming that the line would have a couple of years of heavy use and then let it degrade to wheatbelt branch line track quality.

But here's the silliest part of it all - V/Line is classing the track as Class 5 in its Network Service Plan when the perway quality should indicate Class 2, or Class 3 at the worst. They have spent tens of millions on formation rehabilitation, fresh ballast, brand new low profile concrete sleepers, level crossing upgrades, building the Ararat Triangle and so on. And yet they cheaped out on the rail. They should just fix it now and be done with it. Get Whyalla to roll 176 km of brand new 50kg rail, weld it up properly and walk away from this mess. As the old saying goes - buy once, cry once.
LancedDendrite

Thanks for the summary LD, probably all valid points and understand the metal fatigue situation, mainly the re-railing at construction time, a major balls up, I asked the question back over 12 months ago, why the didn't scrounge up even some 47kg reclaimed rail from some where, but they haven't so until, if and when this 80lb goes to the pack, it's fingers crossed.

As for media reports on welding at any given time and temperature, all I could say is just another pile of Bull$hit, you can't tell me that a media crew, with a thermometer was standing by as a welding team was carrying out, how many thousands of welds, on how many days, weeks on hundreds of k's of line, what would some young NumbSkull reporter know about the complexities of welding rail, more than likely been tipped off by Peter Walsh or similar trouble makers.

BigShunter.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

As for media reports on welding at any given time and temperature, all I could say is just another pile of Bull$hit, you can't tell me that a media crew, with a thermometer was standing by as a welding team was carrying out, how many thousands of welds, on how many days, weeks on hundreds of k's of line, what would some young NumbSkull reporter know about the complexities of welding rail, more than likely been tipped off by Peter Walsh or similar trouble makers.

BigShunter.
BigShunter
Alumnothermic welding is spectacular to those seeing it for the first time, even more so at night(!) few fail to be impressed, it's quite a show.
However the critical part of the rail adjustment process is carried out prior to the weld.
The process entails:
Remove rail fastenings (or anchors for spiked track)
Vibrate rail to ensure it is sitting stress free
Cut out the correct amount of steel, according to the rail temperature and the length of rail being adjusted
Apply the rail tensors and pull the rail up until only the weld gap remains (literally stretch the rail)
Weld
Reapply fastenings/anchors
Release the tensors after weld cools sufficiently.

Note; not all welds are adjustment welds. 'Free' welding is carried out until the desired length of rail for rail adjustment purposes  is reached. The adjustment is performed then the adjustment weld done; move on and repeat; in the case of construction work, ad infinitum (seemingly).

Unless a reporter has someone on hand to explain (and reporter has mechanical aptitude to comprehend what they are being told), said reporter would not have a clue what was going on, but it does look spectacular!
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Alumnothermic welding is spectacular to those seeing it for the first time, even more so at night(!) few fail to be impressed, it's quite a show.
However the critical part of the rail adjustment process is carried out prior to the weld.
The process entails:
Remove rail fastenings (or anchors for spiked track)
Vibrate rail to ensure it is sitting stress free
Cut out the correct amount of steel, according to the rail temperature and the length of rail being adjusted
Apply the rail tensors and pull the rail up until only the weld gap remains (literally stretch the rail)
Weld
Reapply fastenings/anchors
Release the tensors after weld cools sufficiently.

Note; not all welds are adjustment welds. 'Free' welding is carried out until the desired length of rail for rail adjustment purposes  is reached. The adjustment is performed then the adjustment weld done; move on and repeat; in the case of construction work, ad infinitum (seemingly).

Unless a reporter has someone on hand to explain (and reporter has mechanical aptitude to comprehend what they are being told), said reporter would not have a clue what was going on, but it does look spectacular!
Lockspike

Great info Lockspike, as you explained quite some time ago, the welding is basically allowing for the expansion and contraction of the rail at a given temperature and of course the tension on the rail will adjusted accordingly, compared to the ambient temperature. You said 35 deg C was the figure, so I'm guessing if it's 38 or 32 on the particular day of welding, the amount of tension, that is applied to the rail, will be + or -  the expansion or contraction rate, of 35.

Something the WeeklyTimes didn't understand.

What device is used to tension the rail and what is the rate of measurement, as ft/lb or newtons ? Also what lengths of rail are we talking about ?

BigShunter.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
Great info Lockspike, as you explained quite some time ago, the welding is basically allowing for the expansion and contraction of the rail at a given temperature and of course the tension on the rail will adjusted accordingly, compared to the ambient temperature. You said 35 deg C was the figure, so I'm guessing if it's 38 or 32 on the particular day of welding, the amount of tension, that is applied to the rail, will be + or -  the expansion or contraction rate, of 35.

Something the WeeklyTimes didn't understand.

What device is used to tension the rail and what is the rate of measurement, as ft/lb or newtons ? Also what lengths of rail are we talking about ?
BigShunter
Adjustment/closure welds can only be performed when the rail temperature is at or below the designated neutral temperature, as if it is higher than the neutral temp the Continuously Welded Rail will be in compression. You can't create compression in the rails by pushing them apart, so you'll end up with a 'shortage of steel' at the designated neutral temperature - which means extra stress on your rail welds = higher likelihood of broken rails. So on a 40°C (air temperature) day, you would have to weld in the morning or at night to avoid that above-neutral rail temperature, as the rails are generally warmer than the air temperature during daylight hours.

V/Line now uses a rail neutral temperature of 38°C in light of the extreme high temperatures that the state is beginning to experience more frequently these days.

Rail is adjusted with a hydraulic tensor that pulls the rail to the correct length required. Length is used rather than rail stressing forces as it is much easier to measure and is directly proportional to the longitudinal stresses within the rail at a given rail temperature.

As for the lengths to be adjusted, this varies based on the capabilities of the tensor at hand (more pulling power = longer lengths of rail between adjustment welds) and the perway geometry (curves present more resistance to a tensor so shorter lengths between adjustment welds are required). Cuttings and other shaded areas can also affect the placement of adjustment welds as the rail temperature will change depending on how shaded an area is.

A good example of the adjustment process is documented here:
https://broadwayextensionblog.blogspot.com/2017/03/stressing-at-laverton.html

And for the curious/masochistic, John Holland CRN have their manuals on the welding and adjustment processes available online:
http://www.jhrcrn.com.au/media/2318/crn-cm-222-v1-2.pdf
http://www.jhrcrn.com.au/media/2311/crn-cm-223-v1-3.pdf
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Great info Lockspike, as you explained quite some time ago, the welding is basically allowing for the expansion and contraction of the rail at a given temperature and of course the tension on the rail will adjusted accordingly, compared to the ambient temperature. You said 35 deg C was the figure, so I'm guessing if it's 38 or 32 on the particular day of welding, the amount of tension, that is applied to the rail, will be + or -  the expansion or contraction rate, of 35.

Something the WeeklyTimes didn't understand.

What device is used to tension the rail and what is the rate of measurement, as ft/lb or newtons ? Also what lengths of rail are we talking about ?

BigShunter.
Just one point Shunter; the welding doesn't allow expansion and contraction, it's just a weld - it's a means of joining two pieces of rail. The magic happens in the rail adjustment process (if done correctly!). Rail adjustment is not a new* concept, it is (should be) applied to jointed track also (different process), but it is more critical with CWR.

Each rail system determines the optimal neutral rail temp that best suits them, but to the best of my knowledge 35 is used all over SE Aust. Note that rail temp does not have a direct correlation to ambient temp. If you adjust at temps in excess of the neutral temp you remove an excessive amount of steel and invite trouble in cold weather due to a shortage of steel (result; track pulled off line [in towards centre of curve], broken rails, broken welds). Not making a big enough gap during adjustment leaves too much steel.

Rail tensors consist of two hydraulic rams (one either side of the rail) connected to the web of the rail by a cast steel 'saddle' with built in wedges, at each end. The adjustment gap (and weld) takes place within the tensors while the tensors literally hold things together until the weld cools off.

The pressure gauge on the tensors I was familiar with measured in tons per square inch (60-70 tons pressure was not unusual). I don't know about the actual forces within the rails (makes a very loud 'crack' when the tensors break or let go!). As to what the tensor looks like, Google it, there's quite a bit there.

* New? CWR has been routine in Australia for 30+yrs.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Thanks LD and Lockspike, re-reading that, I probably have worded that in a bit of a cock-eyed fashion, I was meaning the tension applied to the rail is going to allow for the correct expansion + contraction, for the weather conditions, that the rail will experience. I certainly understand what your explaining, just not sure I'm presenting it correctly.   Embarassed

I'm I starting to sound like a WeeklyTimes reporter Razz

BigShunter.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
I guess we will find out if the rail is flawed or not when they get the Level Crossings sorted, as the Speed Limit should then be increased. Unless...…...
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Tarcoola to Alice Springs (~ 830 odd km) was built with secondhand 80 lb rail (1914 - 1918) ex the Trans-Australian Railway apparently without undue problems albeit on 'proper' concrete sleepers.
May still be 80 lb rail for all I know. ?????
  Jack Le Lievre Chief Train Controller

Location: Moolap Station, Vic

But here's the silliest part of it all - V/Line is classing the track as Class 5 in its Network Service Plan when the perway quality should indicate Class 2, or Class 3 at the worst. They have spent tens of millions on formation rehabilitation, fresh ballast, brand new low profile concrete sleepers, level crossing upgrades, building the Ararat Triangle and so on. And yet they cheaped out on the rail. They should just fix it now and be done with it. Get Whyalla to roll 176 km of brand new 50kg rail, weld it up properly and walk away from this mess. As the old saying goes - buy once, cry once.
LancedDendrite
From memory, there were Six (6) deliveries of brand new rail from Whyalla to Ararat, with each delivery being of Four (4) Wagons, being either RKAFs, RKAXs or RKFXs, which were loaded with Forty-eight (48) lengths per Wagon, which means that there were 1152 lengths of brand new rail from Whyalla delivered for MBRP.

So, the question is where were these lengths used?

At the moment I am going off of memory, as I am not able to lay my hands on any documents that I have because someone dropped my hard drive, which contains said documents, last weekend.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
1152 lengths x 45 feet (?) = 51,840 feet = roughly 9.8 miles = 15.8 km /2 = about 8 km in the track. Where have I gone wrong ? Embarassed

Not going to make a big difference anywhere.

Probably misappropriated to another project especially if Turnbull paid for it ? Rolling Eyes
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

There's a website called made-in-china.com advertising 50kg rail. I know, I couldn't believe it either!

Quoted price is US$840/ton

=US$926/tonne
=AUD$1251/tonne

Now, 50kg rail means
176000*50
=8800 tonnes of rail required

For a total of 1251*8800
=a very cool AUD$11 million

Now multiply this by the "made in Australia" factor for the Whyalla price, and add labour.

Good grief.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Adjustment/closure welds can only be performed when the rail temperature is at or below the designated neutral temperature, as if it is higher than the neutral temp the Continuously Welded Rail will be in compression. You can't create compression in the rails by pushing them apart, so you'll end up with a 'shortage of steel' at the designated neutral temperature - which means extra stress on your rail welds = higher likelihood of broken rails. So on a 40°C (air temperature) day, you would have to weld in the morning or at night to avoid that above-neutral rail temperature, as the rails are generally warmer than the air temperature during daylight hours.

V/Line now uses a rail neutral temperature of 38°C in light of the extreme high temperatures that the state is beginning to experience more frequently these days.

Rail is adjusted with a hydraulic tensor that pulls the rail to the correct length required. Length is used rather than rail stressing forces as it is much easier to measure and is directly proportional to the longitudinal stresses within the rail at a given rail temperature.

As for the lengths to be adjusted, this varies based on the capabilities of the tensor at hand (more pulling power = longer lengths of rail between adjustment welds) and the perway geometry (curves present more resistance to a tensor so shorter lengths between adjustment welds are required). Cuttings and other shaded areas can also affect the placement of adjustment welds as the rail temperature will change depending on how shaded an area is.

A good example of the adjustment process is documented here:
https://broadwayextensionblog.blogspot.com/2017/03/stressing-at-laverton.html

And for the curious/masochistic, John Holland CRN have their manuals on the welding and adjustment processes available online:
http://www.jhrcrn.com.au/media/2318/crn-cm-222-v1-2.pdf
http://www.jhrcrn.com.au/media/2311/crn-cm-223-v1-3.pdf
LancedDendrite
Thanks LD for the current V/Line neutral temp.

Shunter: As LD mentions adjustment lengths can vary, but typically will be 100-200m either side of the adjustment location. While in theory an adjustment gap can be calculated for any given rail length the reality is that it is only the first coupla' hundred metres that get 'stretched', the resistance of the rail sitting on the sleepers after that distance is sufficient to prevent proper tensioning. It is true that in the days after adjustment the compressive and/or tensile forces will equalise to some degree (with daily heating/cooling cycles and tonnage/speed of traffic), but it is not predictable. The ultimate test of rail adjustment is to cut the rail and see what it does. If the rail is below neutral temp one will expect the rail to jump open. The welder has to be physically and mentally prepared for this as it can be quite startling. As well it is an interesting experience to be having the rail grow while trying to cut a gap when there is an excess of steel; the rail fills the gap quicker than the welder can cut it; the rail is seemingly fluid. The welder just keeps cutting until the compression in the rail is depleted and a gap can be created.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner


But here's the silliest part of it all - V/Line is classing the track as Class 5 in its Network Service Plan when the perway quality should indicate Class 2, or Class 3 at the worst. They have spent tens of millions on formation rehabilitation, fresh ballast, brand new low profile concrete sleepers, level crossing upgrades, building the Ararat Triangle and so on. And yet they cheaped out on the rail. They should just fix it now and be done with it. Get Whyalla to roll 176 km of brand new 50kg rail, weld it up properly and walk away from this mess. As the old saying goes - buy once, cry once.From memory, there were Six (6) deliveries of brand new rail from Whyalla to Ararat, with each delivery being of Four (4) Wagons, being either RKAFs, RKAXs or RKFXs, which were loaded with Forty-eight (48) lengths per Wagon, which means that there were 1152 lengths of brand new rail from Whyalla delivered for MBRP.

So, the question is where were these lengths used?

At the moment I am going off of memory, as I am not able to lay my hands on any documents that I have because someone dropped my hard drive, which contains said documents, last weekend.
Jack Le Lievre
A portion of this new rail would be required to build the connection between the Ararat loco depot across to the Adelaide mainline.  There is no urgency about this connection the earthworks are done, whoever is running the show the concrete sleepers should be laid, rails attached and all tamped and ballasted just awaiting connecting at Grano St and at the Adelaide mainline whenever .
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Tarcoola to Alice Springs (~ 830 odd km) was built with secondhand 80 lb rail (1914 - 1918) ex the Trans-Australian Railway apparently without undue problems albeit on 'proper' concrete sleepers.
May still be 80 lb rail for all I know. ?????
YM-Mundrabilla
Its still there.  It will be for a long time yet.  Only operating restriction on it is a speed restriction of 80km/hr which is fine given how much it carries and the impact on the total run-time.

Back to the 80lb rail Ararat to Maryborough, a few dot points to add to the discussion:

- the issue of rail breaks and the reason why, is speculation.  Have not heard anything to say how big the issue is and what was the actual cause.  
- old rail and varied metallurgy is unlikely to cause wholesale issues.  Any fails and odd results are usually the exception and not the rule.  If the rail is 'that bad' it would have just as many issues with joints and parent breaks.
- any rail welded poorly, by thermit or flashbutt, will give you trouble.  This is the most likely area of concern.  It is not new to weld 80lb rail and issues come from not setting the process up properly and my favourite - quality control, quality control, quality control.   Process failure is by far the biggest contributor to poor results.  Of course if the wrong technical solution is applied, no amount of quality control will save you!  Again, its just speculation at this point.
- welding rail in hot weather, above the neutral temperature, is possible and not unheard of.  Yet be careful of understanding what is allowing welding while hot to happen.   It depends on what you are doing.  On a closed line making up stings, go for it.  The point being, the process is not finished until the rail is de-stressed.  Is common for construction (a laying of rail) and de-stressing (finishing of the stress state) to be done as separate work processes.  Observing someone weld on a 40deg day is not conclusive of a bad practice.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
This report I found interesting when i came across it:

http://www.otsi.nsw.gov.au/rail/Boggabri_Derailment_Report_Final.pdf

CWR gets a bit of a write up on page 16. Section 2.44 on page 20 highlights the importance of correct adjustment. The whole report indicates what can go wrong if it isnt done right.
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Tarcoola to Alice Springs (~ 830 odd km) was built with secondhand 80 lb rail (1914 - 1918) ex the Trans-Australian Railway apparently without undue problems albeit on 'proper' concrete sleepers.
May still be 80 lb rail for all I know. ?????
Its still there.  It will be for a long time yet.  Only operating restriction on it is a speed restriction of 80km/hr which is fine given how much it carries and the impact on the total run-time.

Back to the 80lb rail Ararat to Maryborough, a few dot points to add to the discussion:

- the issue of rail breaks and the reason why, is speculation.  Have not heard anything to say how big the issue is and what was the actual cause.  
- old rail and varied metallurgy is unlikely to cause wholesale issues.  Any fails and odd results are usually the exception and not the rule.  If the rail is 'that bad' it would have just as many issues with joints and parent breaks.
- any rail welded poorly, by thermit or flashbutt, will give you trouble.  This is the most likely area of concern.  It is not new to weld 80lb rail and issues come from not setting the process up properly and my favourite - quality control, quality control, quality control.   Process failure is by far the biggest contributor to poor results.  Of course if the wrong technical solution is applied, no amount of quality control will save you!  Again, its just speculation at this point.
- welding rail in hot weather, above the neutral temperature, is possible and not unheard of.  Yet be careful of understanding what is allowing welding while hot to happen.   It depends on what you are doing.  On a closed line making up stings, go for it.  The point being, the process is not finished until the rail is de-stressed.  Is common for construction (a laying of rail) and de-stressing (finishing of the stress state) to be done as separate work processes.  Observing someone weld on a 40deg day is not conclusive of a bad practice.
skitz
I forgot to add the rail between Tarcoola and Alice Springs only has about 200km of 80lb rail.  I don't recall the milages.  The first bit out of Tarcoola is 53kg/m (say 80km???), then the 200km (or so) of 80lb/yd, then the rest is 47kg/m.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I forgot to add the rail between Tarcoola and Alice Springs only has about 200km of 80lb rail.  I don't recall the milages.  The first bit out of Tarcoola is 53kg/m (say 80km???), then the 200km (or so) of 80lb/yd, then the rest is 47kg/m.
skits
80lb/yard is around 40kg/m btw.

How does a railway manage the transition from one type to another?
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
I forgot to add the rail between Tarcoola and Alice Springs only has about 200km of 80lb rail.  I don't recall the milages.  The first bit out of Tarcoola is 53kg/m (say 80km???), then the 200km (or so) of 80lb/yd, then the rest is 47kg/m.
80lb/yard is around 40kg/m btw.

How does a railway manage the transition from one type to another?
james.au
80lb - 36kg,  90lb - 41kg,  103lb - 53kg,  young james

BigShunter.
  skitz Chief Commissioner

I forgot to add the rail between Tarcoola and Alice Springs only has about 200km of 80lb rail.  I don't recall the milages.  The first bit out of Tarcoola is 53kg/m (say 80km???), then the 200km (or so) of 80lb/yd, then the rest is 47kg/m.
80lb/yard is around 40kg/m btw.

How does a railway manage the transition from one type to another?
80lb - 36kg,  90lb - 41kg,  103lb - 53kg,  young james

BigShunter.
BigShunter
Ah yes, but one also needs to allow for the difference between and yard and a meter.

Rule of thumb, just halve it.   For example 94lb/yd = 47kg/m.  60lb/yd = 30kg/m.  You get used to it and don't even think of it flipping between the two.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I forgot to add the rail between Tarcoola and Alice Springs only has about 200km of 80lb rail.  I don't recall the milages.  The first bit out of Tarcoola is 53kg/m (say 80km???), then the 200km (or so) of 80lb/yd, then the rest is 47kg/m.
80lb/yard is around 40kg/m btw.

How does a railway manage the transition from one type to another?
80lb - 36kg,  90lb - 41kg,  103lb - 53kg,  young james

BigShunter.
BigShunter
Interesting.  Google gives 39.6843718....

90 as 40
103 as 51

??
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
I forgot to add the rail between Tarcoola and Alice Springs only has about 200km of 80lb rail.  I don't recall the milages.  The first bit out of Tarcoola is 53kg/m (say 80km???), then the 200km (or so) of 80lb/yd, then the rest is 47kg/m.
80lb/yard is around 40kg/m btw.

How does a railway manage the transition from one type to another?
80lb - 36kg,  90lb - 41kg,  103lb - 53kg,  young james

BigShunter.
Interesting.  Google gives 39.6843718....

90 as 40
103 as 51

??
james.au
All measurements come with ish, on the end, converting imperial to metric  Razz

BigSunter.
  Jack Le Lievre Chief Train Controller

Location: Moolap Station, Vic
It is good to hear that one of the Major customers (Wakefields) appears to be happy with the line and not listening to RRA.

http://www.sunraysiadaily.com.au/story/5499837/ken-wakefield-backs-rail-line-change/

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