Murray Basin standardisation

 
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Lack of a triangle at Ararat does not impact port competition nor loading times at silos. Direct that money into siding work and more containers and wait for Maryborough to Gheringhap SG.

Sponsored advertisement

  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
' And three years on, trains are still restricted to just 30kmh on parts of the much vaunted national rail highway.'

Where, over what distances and in what circumstances?

'Well, apparently Australia has NEVER managed gauge change without ridiculously long-term TSRs appearing'

Where, over what distances, for how long and in what circumstances?

The basic successes of the Melbourne - Adelaide and Adelaide - Port Pirie gauge conversions are simply not comparable with the debacle of the Mildura SG conversion.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

' And three years on, trains are still restricted to just 30kmh on parts of the much vaunted national rail highway.'

Where, over what distances and in what circumstances?

'Well, apparently Australia has NEVER managed gauge change without ridiculously long-term TSRs appearing'

Where, over what distances, for how long and in what circumstances?

The basic successes of the Melbourne - Adelaide and Adelaide - Port Pirie gauge conversions are simply not comparable with the debacle of the Mildura SG conversion.
YM-Mundrabilla
The Tottenham - Ararat section was remarkable in it's early days for long sections between loops and long low speed temporary speed restrictions.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
' And three years on, trains are still restricted to just 30kmh on parts of the much vaunted national rail highway.'

Where, over what distances and in what circumstances?

'Well, apparently Australia has NEVER managed gauge change without ridiculously long-term TSRs appearing'

Where, over what distances, for how long and in what circumstances?

The basic successes of the Melbourne - Adelaide and Adelaide - Port Pirie gauge conversions are simply not comparable with the debacle of the Mildura SG conversion.
The Tottenham - Ararat section was remarkable in it's early days for long sections between loops and long low speed temporary speed restrictions.
Lockspike
Were these TSRs an actual result of gauge standarisation or simply not upgrading the steam era route?
The line via Cressy was a 'product of Victoria' and suffered to an extent like the NE line. At least SG killed off the grain traffic that used to infest the route and left more paths for the interstate traffic.
There was a strong school of thought back in the early 1990s in Victoria that the SG should go via Bacchus Marsh, Ballarat and Beaufort. (That might have set light to some Vline tail feathers - we could have had SG Vlocitys long ago Rolling EyesSmile )
  skitz Chief Commissioner

The number one most cited example of a successful gauge conversion in this thread is the Melbourne-Adelaide job, apparently accomplished by AN's forethought and brilliance.

You can imagine my consternation when I stumbled across the following in the State Library archives:

Mr Keating said the program would do what should have been done 100 years ago; create a standard guage national rail highway from Brisbane to Perth via Melbourne and Adelaide. In June 1995, the Adelaide-Melbourne gauge standardisation was opened by Mr Keating. This was the last major work of his three-year capital works program. And three years on, trains are still restricted to just 30kmh on parts of the much vaunted "national rail highway".

What does that prove?

Well, apparently Australia has NEVER managed gauge change without ridiculously long-term TSRs appearing!
potatoinmymouth
One cannot pull out an arbitrary quote/statement without knowing what it applies to and apply it to the whole project.  To add some clarification, the Adelaide standard gauge project had four significant work scopes (there were more, but for the sake of the post):

 SA border to Adelaide - the AN part, done brilliantly due to forethought and planning
 Maroona to the SA border - 60kg on Pandrol plates - no issues of mention with this section
 Gheringhap to Maroona - was a relay job to put in new concrete sleepers - where the issue was relating to speed restrictions (will explain)
 Melbourne Geelong - the new construction

Regarding the Gheringhap to Maroona section.  I don't know the reasons why, but the concrete sleepers were laid up to Pura Pura.   Whether it was run out of money or run out of time the section between Pura Pura and Maroona was not relaid.  The decision was to regauge the remaining timber sleepers and 47kg rail to allow it to open with the other projects and have the corridor running.  It was not in a fit state and hence this is the section that had 30km/hr applied.

One cannot throw mud at that project in the same context as the Murray Basin.  The decision to use the Pura Pura Maroona section in that state was the right one given the overall picture of what needed to be achieved.   Ironically, the relay of this section was not at all on the critical path of the corridor being shut down.  

When one looks back at the SG of the Melbourne Adelaide Corridor, it was an amazing achievement (the Project Manager, while retired, is still kicking about).  

The Pura Pura to Maroona section was later relaid in 60kg rail and concrete sleepers (by Transfield I believe under traffic) in the early days of ARTC.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Have it on good authority that the latest interstate grain to come down (6CK6) is from Junee to Woomelang with 8116, 8177 and 8176, currently near Gheringhap where the locos will likely refuel.

Will be the first interstate grain from the Murray Basin lines, and something that prior to conversion could not have been done.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The number one most cited example of a successful gauge conversion in this thread is the Melbourne-Adelaide job, apparently accomplished by AN's forethought and brilliance.

You can imagine my consternation when I stumbled across the following in the State Library archives:

Mr Keating said the program would do what should have been done 100 years ago; create a standard guage national rail highway from Brisbane to Perth via Melbourne and Adelaide. In June 1995, the Adelaide-Melbourne gauge standardisation was opened by Mr Keating. This was the last major work of his three-year capital works program. And three years on, trains are still restricted to just 30kmh on parts of the much vaunted "national rail highway".

What does that prove?

Well, apparently Australia has NEVER managed gauge change without ridiculously long-term TSRs appearing!
One cannot pull out an arbitrary quote/statement without knowing what it applies to and apply it to the whole project.  To add some clarification, the Adelaide standard gauge project had four significant work scopes (there were more, but for the sake of the post):

 SA border to Adelaide - the AN part, done brilliantly due to forethought and planning
 Maroona to the SA border - 60kg on Pandrol plates - no issues of mention with this section
 Gheringhap to Maroona - was a relay job to put in new concrete sleepers - where the issue was relating to speed restrictions (will explain)
 Melbourne Geelong - the new construction

Regarding the Gheringhap to Maroona section.  I don't know the reasons why, but the concrete sleepers were laid up to Pura Pura.   Whether it was run out of money or run out of time the section between Pura Pura and Maroona was not relaid.  The decision was to regauge the remaining timber sleepers and 47kg rail to allow it to open with the other projects and have the corridor running.  It was not in a fit state and hence this is the section that had 30km/hr applied.

One cannot throw mud at that project in the same context as the Murray Basin.  The decision to use the Pura Pura Maroona section in that state was the right one given the overall picture of what needed to be achieved.   Ironically, the relay of this section was not at all on the critical path of the corridor being shut down.  

When one looks back at the SG of the Melbourne Adelaide Corridor, it was an amazing achievement (the Project Manager, while retired, is still kicking about).  

The Pura Pura to Maroona section was later relaid in 60kg rail and concrete sleepers (by Transfield I believe under traffic) in the early days of ARTC.
skitz
The Pura Pura - Maroona bit initially was just gauge conversion with old rail on the wooden sleepers, owing to cost overrun .
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
The Pura Pura - Maroona bit initially was just gauge conversion with old rail on the wooden sleepers, owing to cost overrun .
kuldalai
Point of order, was Pura Pura mentioned in the recent RP thread about double barreled place names? I note it is near Vite Vite which definitely rated a mention.

BG
  Gavin J Junior Train Controller

Location: Stawell
Ah the good ol days of the slow 'new' SG line via Cressy , I remember it well.

When it was BG, the line speed was 80kph and apart from the trains having to stop at each crossing loop to use the
automatic electric staff, chasing a train was pretty full on, especially the Pura Pura to Westmere section where the
road takes an indirect route compared to the railway line.

When the new SG opened in May 1995, I mainly concentrated on the extra traffic that National Rail first provided on
the west of Ararat section.

The first train I chased on the new line confused me...it was going soooo slow !
I thought climbing away from Tatyoon seemed a bit slower, but based on the BG running times I ventured further afield
to Berrybank.....where I waited and waited.
When the train finally arrived in the loop to cross a down train, I knew the driver and asked him why he was going so
slow, whereas he replied that the track speed was only 50 kph.

Other delays were that the safeworking system was train staff and ticket, each loop was manned 24/7, so trains had to
slow down to 25kph to exchange the staff.

Also trains had the 'magnetic' end of train marker (ETM) which bizarringly was put on and taken off at Maroona
so the etm was not taken all the way to Adelaide.
The train would slow down into Maroona, staffs exchanged, then the driver would pull up until 'red lighted' by the
signalman, and he would exchange the ETM on the rear for a normal one or visa versa !!
This strange practice was later performed at Dimboola station by the train's change over crew.

The section Maroona to Ararat was also quite low speed, if i remember it took something like 30 mins to get thru.
Thus in those early days, train chasing was a pleasure....so many shots taken, but you rarely saw any photographers
out, thinking, like I originaly did, that the new SG would be quicker than the old BG.

Indeed meeting a famous photographer from work one day at Mt Emu ck bridge, whilst chasing C-C on up steel
I asked him where he got his last shot.....he replied Ararat....i said you could get about a dozen shots from Ararat
as the trains go so slow....the reason why he had been waiting almost an hour for the train to show up.

Then it even got better, next summer they started the remedial works to put in concrete sleepers, with TSR's of 10 kph
in whole sections.

I remember chasing the up Ghan one summers evening, he doing 10 kph from Tatyoon to Mininera to Westmere, anyone who
knows the section would know of perfect light and a road beside the railway, so many photos taken !

Long sections were also a cause of disruption with the long section at the Melbourne end of Newport to Manor to
Gheringhap.

In fact, we as Spark drivers were not specificaly informed of the safeworking on the new SG.....unless you read your
Weekly Notice as you should.
This was relevant for a Spark driver for if we derailed or obstructed the new SG line, our first job would be to put
down the track circuit jumper cable, to put the signals to stop. but of course there were no signals nor track
circuiting.

I remember having an argument with a 'meal room mouth', when he asked me what the safeworking system was on the new
SG, as he noted there were no signals on the line, he thinking it was gps/computer based modern technology or at least
a paper train order.
When I told him it was train staff and ticket with manned crossing loops all the way to Pyrenees loop he laughed at
me, saying when he was based at Geelong years ago and ran on the line it was crew worked auto elec staff.

I won't go into the changes to the present current working now, except for the strange section from Pyrenees to Ararat
to Maroona to Tatyoon.

West of Pyrenees loop we have 1985 CTC with mid section auto signals which allow follow on moves with following
trains, much like a suburban line, the more auto signals mid section, the more trains you can run in the same
direction.

Only 2 years ago on a Tuesday morning, we used to have the down steel doing 80kph being followed by the 110kph down
Dooen.

Because we have mid section auto signals, these trains could run at full track speed about 8 minutes apart,
with numerous signals from Lubeck to Murtoa, as you photographed the steel, you could just about see the headlite of
the down Dooen leaving Lubeck, both in the same section, separated by signals running full speed.
The Maroona to Newport section has no mid section autos, thus trains cannot follow, they must wait at the previous
loop for the next train to arrive at the next loop.

Thus the 1985 CTC is better than the 2000   CTC !

West of Pyrenees we have loops at 15 min intervals with follow on provision....east of Maroona we have loops at 15 min intervals.

This leaves us with the bizarre Pyrenees to Maroona section, the last to be converted from train staff and ticket.
This section is longer than normal, from Pyrenees, thru Ararat to Maroona.

On the up, the departure signal is from Pyrennees loop, with an automatic signal near Maroona for the home arrival
signal. So not only, no follow on moves, but on the up there is no intermediate signal at Ararat.

The sand train used to run in front of the Overland, and the Overland would catch up to it at Pyrenees loop
where it would have to wait until the sand train arrived in clear at Maroona.
If there was a signal at Ararat, the Overland could do its waiting at Ararat platform whilst doing its station work,
but no signal is provided, so it would sit at Pyrenees loop for 20 minutes, then when the sand departed Maroona it got
the signal and went  down to Ararat platform to stop to do its station duties, thus wasting more time.
Bizarre thou, on the down they put in a mid section home signal near the Ararat highway crossing, so a train could leave
Maroona and get as far as this signal to await a BG train to arrive or depart Ararat station.

The other complication is Maroona is not a fullsize loop, and before CTC it was even smaller, thus if 2 big trains
arrive at Pyrenees or Tatyoon to do a cross , they have to wait 25 minutes to go in the section Pyrenees thru Ararat
thru  Maroona to Tatyoon and visa versa.

Indeed some Train Controllers would not even use Maroona to cross smaller size wheat trains in the early days for some
reason, but they seem to use it more nowadays !

This section is still an operational headache in train running, with many follow on moves occuring, and putting in 2-3
mid section auto signals would bring the train running back to the 15 min sections either side of it.

Up trains following in the afternoon, the good ol days on Monday and Friday of up Sand followed by up Overland
followed by up Dooen followed by up Superfreight ! all 15 minutes apart on the 1985 CTC but having to 'wait line'
on the Pyrenees to Maroona section.

and the evening down trains....down superfrieght, sct and sand train all waiting for each other to clear to get going
again.

You can also read up on the ATSB report on the grain train crash at Ararat in 1999, for further history of this
strange section.
  TheMeddlingMonk Deputy Commissioner

Location: The Time Vortex near Melbourne, Australia
Thankyou for a very interesting and informative post, Gavin!
  Jack Le Lievre Chief Train Controller

Location: Moolap Station, Vic
Also trains had the 'magnetic' end of train marker (ETM) which bizarringly was put on and taken off at Maroona so the etm was not taken all the way to Adelaide. The train would slow down into Maroona, staffs exchanged, then the driver would pull up until 'red lighted' by the signalman, and he would exchange the ETM on the rear for a normal one or visa versa !! This strange practice was later performed at Dimboola station by the train's change over crew.

Long sections were also a cause of disruption with the long section at the Melbourne end of Newport to Manor to Gheringhap.

I won't go into the changes to the present current working now, except for the strange section from Pyrenees to Ararat
to Maroona to Tatyoon.

West of Pyrenees loop we have 1985 CTC with mid section auto signals which allow follow on moves with following trains, much like a suburban line, the more auto signals mid section, the more trains you can run in the same direction.

The Maroona to Newport section has no mid section autos, thus trains cannot follow, they must wait at the previous
loop for the next train to arrive at the next loop.

Thus the 1985 CTC is better than the 2000 CTC!

West of Pyrenees we have loops at 15 min intervals with follow on provision....east of Maroona we have loops at 15 min intervals.

This leaves us with the bizarre Pyrenees to Maroona section, the last to be converted from train staff and ticket.
This section is longer than normal, from Pyrenees, thru Ararat to Maroona.

On the up, the departure signal is from Pyrennees loop, with an automatic signal near Maroona for the home arrival signal. So not only, no follow on moves, but on the up there is no intermediate signal at Ararat.

The other complication is Maroona is not a fullsize loop, and before CTC it was even smaller, thus if 2 big trains arrive at Pyrenees or Tatyoon to do a cross , they have to wait 25 minutes to go in the section Pyrenees thru Ararat thru Maroona to Tatyoon and visa versa.

Indeed some Train Controllers would not even use Maroona to cross smaller size wheat trains in the early days for some
reason, but they seem to use it more nowadays!

This section is still an operational headache in train running, with many follow on moves occuring, and putting in 2-3 mid section auto signals would bring the train running back to the 15 min sections either side of it.

Up trains following in the afternoon, the good ol days on Monday and Friday of up Sand followed by up Overland followed by up Dooen followed by up Superfreight ! all 15 minutes apart on the 1985 CTC but having to 'wait line' on the Pyrenees to Maroona section.

and the evening down trains....down superfrieght, sct and sand train all waiting for each other to clear to get going again.

You can also read up on the ATSB report on the grain train crash at Ararat in 1999, for further history of this strange section.
Gavin J
The reason why they had to change ETMs at Maroona was because of the limited number of 'magnetic' ETMs which were used as part of the D.I.C.E. System. They were what caused the Automated message to be heard by crews informing them that their train had cleared the previous section eg "Gheringhap Loop Down End Clear.". There are still a number in use, mainly on Grainies.

There are now Two Mid-Section Auto Signals between Maroona and Gheringhap, they are 'Werneth' Geelong Rd (Reddies Rd), Cressy and 'Hesse' Peel Rd LX, Inverleigh. They have both been installed in the last Five years and were formerly Block Points.

The Pyrenees-Maroona-Tatyoon Sections are annoying as you say, and if a nice new 1800m Loop was built say around the former Langi Logan and maybe be called 'Jacksons Creek' it would be of great help.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The original signalling concept for connecting the Maryborough line towards Maroona at Ararat(Posted earlier on this thread)  had a sg Up Home signal at the Up end of the sg mainline platform at Ararat to both to protect bg crossmoves to/from Ballarat and  Maryborough - Maroona merges with the sg mainline .

When and if VLP ever get the direct connection commissioned (now running 6 months late !!! and yet another of VLP infamous "Ble Hills" sagas ) we will find out .  In that case it would give an intermediate signal in the Pyrenees Loop - Maroona sectionfor up sg trains and presumably allow follow on moves for Up trains Pyrenees Loop to Maroona .
Begs the obvious question why ARTC hasnt re instated Jackson Loop and extended it ?as preumably the former loop is still sitting there in the grass ?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The original signalling concept for connecting the Maryborough line towards Maroona at Ararat(Posted earlier on this thread)  had a sg Up Home signal at the Up end of the sg mainline platform at Ararat to both to protect bg crossmoves to/from Ballarat and  Maryborough - Maroona merges with the sg mainline .

When and if VLP ever get the direct connection commissioned (now running 6 months late !!! and yet another of VLP infamous "Ble Hills" sagas ) we will find out .  In that case it would give an intermediate signal in the Pyrenees Loop - Maroona sectionfor up sg trains and presumably allow follow on moves for Up trains Pyrenees Loop to Maroona .
Begs the obvious question why ARTC hasnt re instated Jackson Loop and extended it ?as preumably the former loop is still sitting there in the grass ?
kuldalai
The former Jackson Loop Is long gone.
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Ah the good ol days of the slow 'new' SG line via Cressy , I remember it well.

When it was BG, the line speed was 80kph and apart from the trains having to stop at each crossing loop to use the
automatic electric staff, chasing a train was pretty full on, especially the Pura Pura to Westmere section where the
road takes an indirect route compared to the railway line.

When the new SG opened in May 1995, I mainly concentrated on the extra traffic that National Rail first provided on
the west of Ararat section.

The first train I chased on the new line confused me...it was going soooo slow !
I thought climbing away from Tatyoon seemed a bit slower, but based on the BG running times I ventured further afield
to Berrybank.....where I waited and waited.
When the train finally arrived in the loop to cross a down train, I knew the driver and asked him why he was going so
slow, whereas he replied that the track speed was only 50 kph.

Other delays were that the safeworking system was train staff and ticket, each loop was manned 24/7, so trains had to
slow down to 25kph to exchange the staff.

Also trains had the 'magnetic' end of train marker (ETM) which bizarringly was put on and taken off at Maroona
so the etm was not taken all the way to Adelaide.
The train would slow down into Maroona, staffs exchanged, then the driver would pull up until 'red lighted' by the
signalman, and he would exchange the ETM on the rear for a normal one or visa versa !!
This strange practice was later performed at Dimboola station by the train's change over crew.

The section Maroona to Ararat was also quite low speed, if i remember it took something like 30 mins to get thru.
Thus in those early days, train chasing was a pleasure....so many shots taken, but you rarely saw any photographers
out, thinking, like I originaly did, that the new SG would be quicker than the old BG.

Indeed meeting a famous photographer from work one day at Mt Emu ck bridge, whilst chasing C-C on up steel
I asked him where he got his last shot.....he replied Ararat....i said you could get about a dozen shots from Ararat
as the trains go so slow....the reason why he had been waiting almost an hour for the train to show up.

Then it even got better, next summer they started the remedial works to put in concrete sleepers, with TSR's of 10 kph
in whole sections.

I remember chasing the up Ghan one summers evening, he doing 10 kph from Tatyoon to Mininera to Westmere, anyone who
knows the section would know of perfect light and a road beside the railway, so many photos taken !

Long sections were also a cause of disruption with the long section at the Melbourne end of Newport to Manor to
Gheringhap.

In fact, we as Spark drivers were not specificaly informed of the safeworking on the new SG.....unless you read your
Weekly Notice as you should.
This was relevant for a Spark driver for if we derailed or obstructed the new SG line, our first job would be to put
down the track circuit jumper cable, to put the signals to stop. but of course there were no signals nor track
circuiting.

I remember having an argument with a 'meal room mouth', when he asked me what the safeworking system was on the new
SG, as he noted there were no signals on the line, he thinking it was gps/computer based modern technology or at least
a paper train order.
When I told him it was train staff and ticket with manned crossing loops all the way to Pyrenees loop he laughed at
me, saying when he was based at Geelong years ago and ran on the line it was crew worked auto elec staff.

I won't go into the changes to the present current working now, except for the strange section from Pyrenees to Ararat
to Maroona to Tatyoon.

West of Pyrenees loop we have 1985 CTC with mid section auto signals which allow follow on moves with following
trains, much like a suburban line, the more auto signals mid section, the more trains you can run in the same
direction.

Only 2 years ago on a Tuesday morning, we used to have the down steel doing 80kph being followed by the 110kph down
Dooen.

Because we have mid section auto signals, these trains could run at full track speed about 8 minutes apart,
with numerous signals from Lubeck to Murtoa, as you photographed the steel, you could just about see the headlite of
the down Dooen leaving Lubeck, both in the same section, separated by signals running full speed.
The Maroona to Newport section has no mid section autos, thus trains cannot follow, they must wait at the previous
loop for the next train to arrive at the next loop.

Thus the 1985 CTC is better than the 2000   CTC !

West of Pyrenees we have loops at 15 min intervals with follow on provision....east of Maroona we have loops at 15 min intervals.

This leaves us with the bizarre Pyrenees to Maroona section, the last to be converted from train staff and ticket.
This section is longer than normal, from Pyrenees, thru Ararat to Maroona.

On the up, the departure signal is from Pyrennees loop, with an automatic signal near Maroona for the home arrival
signal. So not only, no follow on moves, but on the up there is no intermediate signal at Ararat.

The sand train used to run in front of the Overland, and the Overland would catch up to it at Pyrenees loop
where it would have to wait until the sand train arrived in clear at Maroona.
If there was a signal at Ararat, the Overland could do its waiting at Ararat platform whilst doing its station work,
but no signal is provided, so it would sit at Pyrenees loop for 20 minutes, then when the sand departed Maroona it got
the signal and went  down to Ararat platform to stop to do its station duties, thus wasting more time.
Bizarre thou, on the down they put in a mid section home signal near the Ararat highway crossing, so a train could leave
Maroona and get as far as this signal to await a BG train to arrive or depart Ararat station.

The other complication is Maroona is not a fullsize loop, and before CTC it was even smaller, thus if 2 big trains
arrive at Pyrenees or Tatyoon to do a cross , they have to wait 25 minutes to go in the section Pyrenees thru Ararat
thru  Maroona to Tatyoon and visa versa.

Indeed some Train Controllers would not even use Maroona to cross smaller size wheat trains in the early days for some
reason, but they seem to use it more nowadays !

This section is still an operational headache in train running, with many follow on moves occuring, and putting in 2-3
mid section auto signals would bring the train running back to the 15 min sections either side of it.

Up trains following in the afternoon, the good ol days on Monday and Friday of up Sand followed by up Overland
followed by up Dooen followed by up Superfreight ! all 15 minutes apart on the 1985 CTC but having to 'wait line'
on the Pyrenees to Maroona section.

and the evening down trains....down superfrieght, sct and sand train all waiting for each other to clear to get going
again.

You can also read up on the ATSB report on the grain train crash at Ararat in 1999, for further history of this
strange section.
Gavin J
Maroona was not used on account of its status as a manned location.  After the initial commissioning with staff (and sometimes ticket) it was Section Authority Working with the radio based computer authorities.   The section Pyrenees to Tatyoon was painful and one was always hopeful Maroona was manned (usually to take a move off the Portland line) for refuge of track machines.  The politics of Freight Australia and ARTC were always a bit painful, especially as a contractor just trying to get things done.

It much easier and flexible now on account of the extension to the CTC system extension.   It was at Maroona by 2005/2006 to test the grey matter out if I recall correctly.   That was about the last time I worked out there, the junction had been ralligned by then too.

On a funny side, I recall a great internal debate at ARTC.  They could not understand that at the entry to three position signalling required a repeating signal that displays only yellow-over-yellow and green-over-red.  'why have a signal that cannot have a stop position?' was there point of confusion not understanding it purpose in regard to the new home signal at Maroona
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

On a funny side, I recall a great internal debate at ARTC.  They could not understand that at the entry to three position signalling required a repeating signal that displays only yellow-over-yellow and green-over-red.  'why have a signal that cannot have a stop position?' was there point of confusion not understanding it purpose in regard to the new home signal at Maroona
skitz

What a great story. Would they rather the signal at stop be the driver's first and only indication of entering a three-position area?
  skitz Chief Commissioner

On a funny side, I recall a great internal debate at ARTC.  They could not understand that at the entry to three position signalling required a repeating signal that displays only yellow-over-yellow and green-over-red.  'why have a signal that cannot have a stop position?' was there point of confusion not understanding it purpose in regard to the new home signal at Maroona

What a great story. Would they rather the signal at stop be the driver's first and only indication of entering a three-position area?
potatoinmymouth
I kid you not.  Yes that was their understanding.

There was even discussion about broke rail protection between the repeating signal and the home signal.  Minds were blown when it was explained that the section in question was not even track circuited.  'How can there be a signal out there with no track circuits?'  Amazing.  No operational understanding of the principles underlying the hard discipline at the base of the system.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Had to chuckle at the Nationals Member for Mallee Andrew Broad arguing that passenger rail to Mildura was a bad idea because it would take 30% patronage away from the airport.

Apart from showing how the Nats are totally beholden to the ideology of their Liberal masters (how is supporting a price-gouging series of private operators at the expense of a successful public venture “standing up for the Bush”?) I’d really like to see his modelling!

On the page linked below where the Nats promise a big upgrade to the airport (oh - what do you know - there’s a vested interest here) annual patronage is given as 210,000, meaning that in Mr Broad’s nightmare scenario, a full 200-seat VLo set departs Mildura for Melbourne every single day of the year.

What a compelling reason to avoid doing it. Note: I am not actually ascribing any credibility to the patronage claim but rather pointing it out as an example of how hopelessly politicised the debate about any public service has become, and how it effectively precludes a passenger train ever returning to Mildura.

http://vic.nationals.org.au/coalition_commits_4_7_million_to_extend_mildura_airport_runway
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Had to chuckle at the Nationals Member for Mallee Andrew Broad arguing that passenger rail to Mildura was a bad idea because it would take 30% patronage away from the airport.

Apart from showing how the Nats are totally beholden to the ideology of their Liberal masters (how is supporting a price-gouging series of private operators at the expense of a successful public venture “standing up for the Bush”?) I’d really like to see his modelling!

On the page linked below where the Nats promise a big upgrade to the airport (oh - what do you know - there’s a vested interest here) annual patronage is given as 210,000, meaning that in Mr Broad’s nightmare scenario, a full 200-seat VLo set departs Mildura for Melbourne every single day of the year.

What a compelling reason to avoid doing it. Note: I am not actually ascribing any credibility to the patronage claim but rather pointing it out as an example of how hopelessly politicised the debate about any public service has become, and how it effectively precludes a passenger train ever returning to Mildura.

http://vic.nationals.org.au/coalition_commits_4_7_million_to_extend_mildura_airport_runway
potatoinmymouth
I don't think it is anything to do with Liberal ideology more like looking after there own mates in the bush.

You also need to consider the consequences of moving people from a private air service which may or may not have a subsidy attached to it (I don't know if it does or doesn't) towards a V/Line service that is heavily subsidized by the taxpayer. Not that I think a whole bunch of people would opt for an 8 hour rail trip over a quick flight to Tulla especially if they are then flying on to other destinations.

Also the airport has many other uses besides getting pax to Melbourne, there will be freight services, flights to other destinations such as Adelaide and agricultural users as well.

BG
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

What a compelling reason to avoid doing it. Note: I am not actually ascribing any credibility to the patronage claim but rather pointing it out as an example of how hopelessly politicised the debate about any public service has become, and how it effectively precludes a passenger train ever returning to Mildura.

http://vic.nationals.org.au/coalition_commits_4_7_million_to_extend_mildura_airport_runway
I don't think it is anything to do with Liberal ideology more like looking after there own mates in the bush.

You also need to consider the consequences of moving people from a private air service which may or may not have a subsidy attached to it (I don't know if it does or doesn't) towards a V/Line service that is heavily subsidized by the taxpayer. Not that I think a whole bunch of people would opt for an 8 hour rail trip over a quick flight to Tulla especially if they are then flying on to other destinations.

Also the airport has many other uses besides getting pax to Melbourne, there will be freight services, flights to other destinations such as Adelaide and agricultural users as well.

BG
BrentonGolding
To the best of my research there is no subsidy for Mildura Airport or for the routes serving it, except indirectly by capital works programs (and that's a bit of a red herring anyway as every airport expects government contributions to capex, and that's another argument altogether.)

For what it's worth the 2010 analysis done by AECOM for the then Department found that a daylight service would require capital expenditure of ~$500 million and annual operating expenditure of $25 million. In fact the report found that there was no option for improved public transport to the region - not evena single extra bus to Swan Hill - that was economically justifiable.

As I said, I am totally unconvinced by the arguments for a passenger train, much as I'd like to see one. This simply happens to be a particularly bad argument against it.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Murray Basin Standardisation in a nutshell
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
It's Safari time again.

On Thursday I had a look at the Mildura Line from Birchip up to the end of the Line at Yelta.

Photos are here : https://flic.kr/s/aHsmiyMj11

I didn't drop into every location as that would have taken all week.

A grain train was loading at Woomelang as I passed, and the locos for the Merbein Freight were moving around as well.

There a quite a few piles of Concrete Sleepers at various locations, though a look at one stack near Bronzewing suggested they had been there for a while.

It all 'looks good' but of course how well it rides can only be determined by the crews that do so for a living.

Yelta yard must have been in a sad state before, as it seems that almost every sleeper has been renewed (in timber). There are also two container flat wagons parked in the loop at Yelta, presumably cripples.

I had a look at the Murrayville line yesterday and will post that one separately. I intend to check the rest from Ararat through to maybe Donald over the next few days.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Murray Basin Standardisation in a nutshell
Dangersdan707
One of your better efforts DD707 Smile
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
Now for the Murrayville Line.

Photos at the link below, from the West to East.

https://flic.kr/s/aHskHWnN1L

I travelled this on Friday from West to East but only as far as Walpeup. Though the Ouyen photos in the earlier thread suggest that all is complete at the Ouyen end.

The end of SG is at the 582km marker - just on the Murrayville side of the Mallee Highway Level Crossing, which is about 200m or so further than where the baulks used to be closer to Cemetery Road. The now isolated BG continues for another 20km to the AWB facility just over the border. I have photos of that section as well and will post them in the Archeology forum later.

Apart from Murrayville, Underbool appears to be the only Grain Loop that has been retained. The whole lot looks to be complete (don't know about the 3 Protected Level Crossings at Murrayville East, Boinka and Ouyen West of course - all of which have signposted limits (changed speed limit signs are there too) of 60kmh). There is a bit of shine on the rail, though that could be from Hi-rail use too - I have no idea if a train (Ballast or Grain) has been out there.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Now for the Murrayville Line.

Photos at the link below, from the West to East.

https://flic.kr/s/aHskHWnN1L

I travelled this on Friday from West to East but only as far as Walpeup. Though the Ouyen photos in the earlier thread suggest that all is complete at the Ouyen end.

The end of SG is at the 582km marker - just on the Murrayville side of the Mallee Highway Level Crossing, which is about 200m or so further than where the baulks used to be closer to Cemetery Road. The now isolated BG continues for another 20km to the AWB facility just over the border. I have photos of that section as well and will post them in the Archeology forum later.

Apart from Murrayville, Underbool appears to be the only Grain Loop that has been retained. The whole lot looks to be complete (don't know about the 3 Protected Level Crossings at Murrayville East, Boinka and Ouyen West of course - all of which have signposted limits (changed speed limit signs are there too) of 60kmh). There is a bit of shine on the rail, though that could be from Hi-rail use too - I have no idea if a train (Ballast or Grain) has been out there.
mikesyd

First off, mikesyd, thanks for posting your photo's, terrific for us to observe and would seem you have had nice weather and wonderful tour around a great part of Victoria, well done

Murrayville GrainCorp is a Primary Site and Underbool is recieval and storage, as part of their project regeneration program, a few years, back, so any other grain sites, would be decommissioned or abandon or ? Underbool's grain bunkers are on the opposite side of the track too the silo's, so perhaps they use a portable loader for loading trains ?

The yard at Murrayville looks very smart, clean, had the grader over it and in great shape, they seem to have placed ( i would call them screenings ), along the shoulders of the ballast, along the track, which gives a very finished look to the job.

I must say, also the Murrayville station, looks well kept and in  great condition, platform also, well done to who ever maintains that area. Although the goods shed could do with a bit of TLC  Laughing

And last of all, the concrete sleepers at level crossing's, are they YM's big boys or my low profile little boys ?

Thanks, again.

BigShunter.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
'And last of all, the concrete sleepers at level crossing's, are they YM's big boys or my low profile little boys ?'

I think that I promised a while ago not to comment on the concrete sleepers again. If I didn't, I probably should have. (Dead horses and and that ...)

However, what about the coachscrews in the LH rail in the second last photo? I have some 4 inch nails I could have let them have.

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