WOLO's or Extreme Heat operation

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I recall around 15 years ago and going even further back in time, WOLO's being implemented, seemingly on an ad-hoc basis and as much the responsibility being placed on the individual drivers to exercise caution in driving their train.

Back in the days of exclusive Morse Code use between stations and head office...WOLO was the code for heat speed restrictions, and there was a whole four letter language of codes used to convey all kinds of messages and safe-working instructions.

Of course this was a time long before very frequent regional trains operating to the minute lest crosses are slowed and opposing trains made to run later than they already are.

In the old days, a train every 90 mins, two hours...or even longer between services didn't matter...and people who were persevering with using the railways just accepted their lot in life and with low expectations knew they'd get home eventually.

I well recall one Summer, a visit to the Rifle Club pub in Bendigo with friends recenly arrived from Nottingham, before RFR and walking along Mitchell Street and seeing a digital temp sign reading 44c, but I don't recall the Sprinter slowing down due to the heat...though it may have.

These days, despite minimal use of timber sleepers and heavy track with individual sleepers weighing over one hundred Kg's each we have extreme heat timetables and V/Line now have a heat timetable to give some certainty to the thousands of travellers who just want to get where they are going.

Never mind that the temperature in Melbourne today when the Extreme Heat timetable was implemented was a mere 22c and Bendigo was 32c, tomorrow will be different but I digress...

See link:

https://www.vline.com.au/Timetables/extreme-heat

Mike.

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  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Nice one Mike, I was about to search for a thread on this subject before starting a new one.

Just had a look at the Extreme Heat timetable for the Bendigo line as I am travelling tomorrow.

Got a bit of a shock with coaches replacing trains for much of the middle of the day.

I don't necessarily agree with the reasoning but at least this way we know in advance what we are up against. And many people will simply choose not to travel due to the heat in the hottest part of the day.

Better to have trains in position for peak services where people don't have as much choice whether to travel or not.

BG
  a6et Minister for Railways

Nice one Mike, I was about to search for a thread on this subject before starting a new one.

Just had a look at the Extreme Heat timetable for the Bendigo line as I am travelling tomorrow.

Got a bit of a shock with coaches replacing trains for much of the middle of the day.

I don't necessarily agree with the reasoning but at least this way we know in advance what we are up against. And many people will simply choose not to travel due to the heat in the hottest part of the day.

Better to have trains in position for peak services where people don't have as much choice whether to travel or not.

BG
BrentonGolding
From my time in NSW as an engineman, from 64 until 88, the use of WOLO's was used once the heat reached 35 degrees (IIRC) I can never recollect a time where trains were actually cancelled as a result of the heat though.

When notified, it was usually at the first signal box when it came into operation, the speed drop was shown on the Wolo form and the driver and fireman had to keep a sharp eye out on the road ahead, once the temp dropped the wolo was removed but as a standard practice the crew alert notice was usually kept in place, this was especially so in areas and on lines that were frequently above the 35mark.

Notices also had the aspect that if you were on the first train over a section where a Wolo had been in place, you became in effect, the ganger as you went over the sections, and notified the next box/station of the condition of the track, and if normal speeds could be reintroduced.

I only ever had two incidents where the track had buckled, the first and worst was between Berry and Gerringong on the Illawarra line which was bad as the line had buckled in three places over a 100metre section, and didn't we feel it even with a big slow down, then one between Gurley & Moree, where a speed restriction was already in place.

Of note though, in the later years if a Wolo was introduced, it often stayed in place for some reason until the next day.

At one point some years back after I had been medically retired, NSW applied a Wolo operating condition on the Southern line permanently for the XPT services, during a particular summer, it created a lot of talk at the time, I forget who was in charge now but gee there was a lot of angst from passengers and workers alike.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
I've got a dose of the V/Lines today.  - Due to the extreme heat, I can't be bothered doing what I am supposed to do!
  aussiealco Station Master

Location: Bathurst NSW
G'day,
Yes, the WOLO does impact on rail travel.
A bit like cancelling air line flights due to volcanic eruptions.
Authorities hafta make a decision, regardless of the consequences.
I think that I would rather get delayed and still arrive, than possibly not arrive safely at all.
I have hit severely buckled track in years before the WOLO was implemented on a routine basis.
It ain't fun, especially with the Silver Streak at track speed.
Made a mess of the dining car, but thankfully we remained on the metals, which looked like spaghetti when we hit the reverse curve in the cutting.
My china coffee cup flew across the loco cab and smashed.
And, watching the car carrier wagon behind the engines attempting to fling the cars into the bush until we shuddered to a stop.
I have also seen buckled rails in Tassie that resembled a right angle, thankfully a WOLO had been issued and I still thought it rough at 30 kph.
The hole in the ozone layer being the first atmospheric condition blamed for extreme heat.
Now, just simply global warming.
Gotta get used to it I guess.
Steve.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

From my time in NSW as an engineman, from 64 until 88, the use of WOLO's was used once the heat reached 35 degrees (IIRC) I can never recollect a time where trains were actually cancelled as a result of the heat though.
a6et
The implementation of WOLO conditions was the trigger for Track Supervisors to carry out an emergency track patrol. This was largely a waste of time as the chances of one being in the right place and time for one to detect track about to 'kick' were very small, (not that we were trained in what to look for, but the 'old hands' showed me).

In country areas we 'ran the length', and unless something had actually happened, went home having carried out our duty according to the regulations.

In Metropolitan areas this was conducted from 'front of train' and continued until atmospheric temperature dropped below the threshold.

On many occasions a 'misalignment', to use the official term, occurred under a train, (but not normally inducing a derailment). The dynamic load of a train being the last straw for track already suffering too much stress.
As time went on methods improved and the Welded Track Stability Analysis was a useful (but not perfect) tool for predicting where track needed attention ahead of the hot weather.

Being able to predict trouble spots ahead of time, and with track often having concrete sleepers, bigger rail and more ballast (the heavier the more stable), cancelling trains due to hot weather is exceptionally poor management, and should be revealed for what it is...
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

Going back 20 years or so, we didn't have "WOLO"s in Victoria. it came down from NSW. Peculiarly, they called them "WOLO"s even though we had removed Morse Code telegraph decades earlier (I think the last was around Mildura, about 1969). I think they came in about the time we privatised things, and started to lose the corporate knowledge of how to run a railway.

Back in those days before WOLO came to Victoria, trains would run without much disruption. Track inspectors would ride trains on hot days, gangs would remain on alert for a call out to a buckle, but only if issues were found would a speed restriction then be imposed.

And all of this was on tracks with 100% timber sleepers, generally lighter rails, and lacking many other things that make a modern railway.

Today we see WOLO's being imposed inconsistently on high quality track which has shown no sign of even attempting to move. They have slowed trains on say the Bendigo line to 90, when other equivalent tracks (Geelong, Ballarat) have speeds down to 130; perhaps they have a concern about the old Up line (which didn't get the RFR upgrade), but why the Down line when it is 100% concrete with 60kg rail?

Then again, today's railway doesn't seem to have so much requirement for ballast. We used to run trainloads every year along each of the main lines, with even the odd train running annually to branch lines on their last legs (such as beyond Leongatha in the late 1980's). Today we seem to prefer to use a tip truck or two, sprinkling a few shovels here and there; I am not convinced they are doing the ballast as well as they should these days. That ballast is a critical part of making a railway strong enough to withstand the stresses of how weather.

I wonder whether the cost of train replacement buses is more than the cost of properly maintaining the track? The track people could avoid expenditure by not running ballast, but the ops people spend more on buses; then again, that's someone else's budget.

And it amazes me that the Bendigo Flagship train (express to Castlemaine) is so affected by WOLO's that it gets terminated at Kyneton, a town that it is not even booked to stop at!
  a6et Minister for Railways

From my time in NSW as an engineman, from 64 until 88, the use of WOLO's was used once the heat reached 35 degrees (IIRC) I can never recollect a time where trains were actually cancelled as a result of the heat though.
The implementation of WOLO conditions was the trigger for Track Supervisors to carry out an emergency track patrol. This was largely a waste of time as the chances of one being in the right place and time for one to detect track about to 'kick' were very small, (not that we were trained in what to look for, but the 'old hands' showed me).

In country areas we 'ran the length', and unless something had actually happened, went home having carried out our duty according to the regulations.

In Metropolitan areas this was conducted from 'front of train' and continued until atmospheric temperature dropped below the threshold.

On many occasions a 'misalignment', to use the official term, occurred under a train, (but not normally inducing a derailment). The dynamic load of a train being the last straw for track already suffering too much stress.
As time went on methods improved and the Welded Track Stability Analysis was a useful (but not perfect) tool for predicting where track needed attention ahead of the hot weather.

Being able to predict trouble spots ahead of time, and with track often having concrete sleepers, bigger rail and more ballast (the heavier the more stable), cancelling trains due to hot weather is exceptionally poor management, and should be revealed for what it is...
Lockspike
I would believe that one of the problems these days is who would be available in each district to do a track inspection when a Wolo was brought into affect.  I personally never saw one in my time as in most cases they came in generally after lunch, by which time most gangers had gone home, but certainly the main ganger in charge would have to come out, and go on a motorised trike or if he had one a Hilux or similar that had road and rail tyres.

A few years back my wife and I decided on a day at Broken Hill, we travelled XPT to Oge, and then on the loco hauled set from there to the Hill, stay a night and then catch the same train back the following evening.  At Oge the loco's had been taken to rescue a failed freighter near Molong, when they came back I was surprised to see 2x422cl diesels, 42203 and 42220 go and pick up the carriages and go to the platform, we departed a few hours late.

At Parkes, a new crew took over the driver and inspector I knew from my time on loan at Parkes in 1970, the 422's were on trial to see how they would go to replace the 81cl on the service, they operated as a single unit with the rear engine in idle unless needed, the idea was to have them run without fueling from Sydney to BH, with 20, doing the main work owing to the super series donk in it.   At Condobolin, a Wolo was served on the crew, meaning they had to run a bit slower, at Ivanhoe it was revoked and normal speed was resumed.  We finally arrived at the Hill around 2 hours late. Thankfully the motel was close and they picked us up anyway.

I spoke to the driver the next day, and he said that Wolo's were common but with the upgraded track it was rare to have any issues with buckles.  The advantage we had on that train was it was only 3 carriages even with the dead weight of the non working 422 time was able to be regained. It became a different matter on the way back as delays became the norm, sat at Tarana for over an hour to wait for the down xpt to come through we should have crossed that on the lower mountains IIRC.
One other aspect is what you say with concrete sleepers, heavier rail and larger ballast is certainly an advantage compared to the old small ballast, and often none, along with the heaviest rail at 106lb, and timber sleepers created issues in those higher temps.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Going back 20 years or so, we didn't have "WOLO"s in Victoria. it came down from NSW. Peculiarly, they called them "WOLO"s even though we had removed Morse Code telegraph decades earlier (I think the last was around Mildura, about 1969). I think they came in about the time we privatised things, and started to lose the corporate knowledge of how to run a railway.

Back in those days before WOLO came to Victoria, trains would run without much disruption. Track inspectors would ride trains on hot days, gangs would remain on alert for a call out to a buckle, but only if issues were found would a speed restriction then be imposed.

And all of this was on tracks with 100% timber sleepers, generally lighter rails, and lacking many other things that make a modern railway.

Today we see WOLO's being imposed inconsistently on high quality track which has shown no sign of even attempting to move. They have slowed trains on say the Bendigo line to 90, when other equivalent tracks (Geelong, Ballarat) have speeds down to 130; perhaps they have a concern about the old Up line (which didn't get the RFR upgrade), but why the Down line when it is 100% concrete with 60kg rail?

Then again, today's railway doesn't seem to have so much requirement for ballast. We used to run trainloads every year along each of the main lines, with even the odd train running annually to branch lines on their last legs (such as beyond Leongatha in the late 1980's). Today we seem to prefer to use a tip truck or two, sprinkling a few shovels here and there; I am not convinced they are doing the ballast as well as they should these days. That ballast is a critical part of making a railway strong enough to withstand the stresses of how weather.

I wonder whether the cost of train replacement buses is more than the cost of properly maintaining the track? The track people could avoid expenditure by not running ballast, but the ops people spend more on buses; then again, that's someone else's budget.

And it amazes me that the Bendigo Flagship train (express to Castlemaine) is so affected by WOLO's that it gets terminated at Kyneton, a town that it is not even booked to stop at!
hbedriver
Interesting comments and totally agree, even though I don't know much about VR and how it operates.  We used to run ballast trains regularly, and two of the main northern area quarries no longer have trains, one has the access removed and the other weed covered rail and track.  Those trains that do run I do not know how they are filled, whether by road at different loading points but the old rail operated quarries seem to have gone.

Many of our ballast trains had large gangs, that would go along and manually pack fresh ballast under sleepers where needed as the train moved slowly forward. The ganger in charge would stop the train when needed to allow such work or more ballast to be dropped.

In NSW, the big thing is line closures for maintenance work, usually for a week but at Christmas its often for most of January in different areas.  The cost of buses is horrendous and its not just the cost of bus hire but the wages they pay the drivers, I know of two who worked weekend back in 2001-2003 they did 12 hours on and 12 off, usually starting at around 2200 on Friday nights, and finish by 0200 on Monday mornings. For the weekend work they got a sum of money that staggered me and the Government picked up the tab for it as well.  The exact amount I completely forget but, I do remember that a weekend of doing 3 shifts totally around 36hours they earnt over $2000.00 for it.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Really interesting comments gentlemen, thank you.

I wonder if the WOLO question is something of a microcosm of the broader tension between viewing the railway as a self-contained universe and viewing it as a mere cog (emphasis on "mere") in the transport machine. The railwayman, naturally, argues that a late train is always better than no train at all; the bureaucrat, drilled in "integration", equally naturally argues that a predictable bus timetable is better than a stop-start train that may not arrive at all. The same goes for maintenance shutdowns: the railwayman will prefer "working around" the problem; the bureaucrat will prefer regular buses that keep the maintenance period shorter and argue that they will make the public less frustrated than slowing down the train.

Despite the general distaste of each of these characters for the other, I'd contend that a balance needs to be struck between the two approaches. The most significant criterion, obviously, must be what is preferable for the passengers. I think the answer to that has changed significantly over the years as alternatives to rail travel have become more comfortable and reliable. In an era of air-conditioned coaches and smooth roads, it's fairly difficult to find a case against the idea of a predictable, if diminished, "summer timetable" that won't see passengers turfed out at Woop-Woop because of track condition ahead.

Of course, all of this ignores the question of whether WOLOs are actually necessary, and all the evidence here suggests that they are not - or at least, they are applied too extensively at present. That fits with the broader pattern of incompetent railway management by V/Line characterised by a poor understanding of risk and reward in many aspects of their operations. Nevertheless, it's not entirely their fault - in the case of WOLOs, it's easy to see that unpredictable delays could cause an afternoon peak death spiral in a timetable that has to perform a number of very different tasks without the fixed infrastructure or rollingstock to support it. Responsibility for that rests squarely on the shoulders of decades of governments.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Going back 20 years or so, we didn't have "WOLO"s in Victoria. it came down from NSW. Peculiarly, they called them "WOLO"s even though we had removed Morse Code telegraph decades earlier (I think the last was around Mildura, about 1969). I think they came in about the time we privatised things, and started to lose the corporate knowledge of how to run a railway.

Back in those days before WOLO came to Victoria, trains would run without much disruption. Track inspectors would ride trains on hot days, gangs would remain on alert for a call out to a buckle, but only if issues were found would a speed restriction then be imposed.

And all of this was on tracks with 100% timber sleepers, generally lighter rails, and lacking many other things that make a modern railway.

Today we see WOLO's being imposed inconsistently on high quality track which has shown no sign of even attempting to move. They have slowed trains on say the Bendigo line to 90, when other equivalent tracks (Geelong, Ballarat) have speeds down to 130; perhaps they have a concern about the old Up line (which didn't get the RFR upgrade), but why the Down line when it is 100% concrete with 60kg rail?

And it amazes me that the Bendigo Flagship train (express to Castlemaine) is so affected by WOLO's that it gets terminated at Kyneton, a town that it is not even booked to stop at!
hbedriver

It's interesting to learn of WOLO's not being in Victoria until around 20 years ago.

Up until around 40 years ago, apart from the NE SG, there may well have been little or no other welded track with long lengths of rail anywhere in Victoria. I well remember around 1971, the Thermit welders joining rails at Laverton on their slow work towards Geelong, which still had a single track between Lara and Corio. So with plenty of short section rails in VR territory, WOLO's may well have not been needed.

The Ballarat line upgrade and Melton duplication works currently underway within clear sight of the Boral ballast siding and utilising tonnes and tonnes of ballast, yet AFAIK the Boral siding hasn't seen a ballast train.

The former Bendigo flagship train terminating at the normally non-stopping station of Kyneton is matched by the former Ballarat flagship train, terminating at the normally non stopping station of Bacchus Marsh.

The RFR tracks that are now exclusively 'light' or standard concrete sleepers and heavy rail, Ballarat in particular as I don't think there are any timber sleepers along this line, are speed restricted to 90 Km/h and I think it's a case of the 'nanny state' factor being the reason we have Heat Speed Restrictions on these heavy RFR tracks on hot days.

Soon enough we may have 200 Km/h trains on the Ballarat and Geelong lines and then will trains be reduced to 90Km/h on hot days Question

https://www.railexpress.com.au/andrews-pitches-ballarat-fast-rail-plan/


Mike.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Going back 20 years or so, we didn't have "WOLO"s in Victoria. it came down from NSW. Peculiarly, they called them "WOLO"s even though we had removed Morse Code telegraph decades earlier (I think the last was around Mildura, about 1969). I think they came in about the time we privatised things, and started to lose the corporate knowledge of how to run a railway.

Back in those days before WOLO came to Victoria, trains would run without much disruption. Track inspectors would ride trains on hot days, gangs would remain on alert for a call out to a buckle, but only if issues were found would a speed restriction then be imposed.

And all of this was on tracks with 100% timber sleepers, generally lighter rails, and lacking many other things that make a modern railway.

Today we see WOLO's being imposed inconsistently on high quality track which has shown no sign of even attempting to move. They have slowed trains on say the Bendigo line to 90, when other equivalent tracks (Geelong, Ballarat) have speeds down to 130; perhaps they have a concern about the old Up line (which didn't get the RFR upgrade), but why the Down line when it is 100% concrete with 60kg rail?

And it amazes me that the Bendigo Flagship train (express to Castlemaine) is so affected by WOLO's that it gets terminated at Kyneton, a town that it is not even booked to stop at!

The Ballarat line upgrade and Melton duplication works currently underway within clear sight of the Boral ballast siding and utilising tonnes and tonnes of ballast, yet AFAIK the Boral siding hasn't seen a ballast train.
The Vinelander
Have to say I was surprised the Boral turnout wasn't removed during the Caroline Springs project. You're more qualified to comment on this than I Mike but last time I went past it didn't look like that siding would ever see a train again.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Back in those days before WOLO came to Victoria, trains would run without much disruption. Track inspectors would ride trains on hot days, gangs would remain on alert for a call out to a buckle, but only if issues were found would a speed restriction then be imposed.

And all of this was on tracks with 100% timber sleepers, generally lighter rails, and lacking many other things that make a modern railway.
hbedriver
Could be the answer, right, there ! How many ' gangers ' are there around, maintaining the lines, these days.

More likely a number base around the the state and if and when a problem occurs, off they go, to the offending location.

And yes, heavy duty concrete sleepers, 50 - 60kg rail, compared to, the above.

WOLO, sounds like reverse psychology, they are removing the out come, but and not addressing the symptoms.

BigShunter.

And Mike mentioned, before CWR, which was every line in the state, the rails had a gap between each length, would this allow enough room for expansion, during Extreme weather, that CWR doesn't, if I've explained that, in an understandable fashion.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
And it amazes me that the Bendigo Flagship train (express to Castlemaine) is so affected by WOLO's that it gets terminated at Kyneton, a town that it is not even booked to stop at!
hbedriver
V/Line might have given up on the Down Bendigo Flagship. it is cancelled altogether or run as a 3 car train more often than not it seems. And yes, when I read the EH timetable for the first time I did a double take when I saw it being terminated at a station that it doesn't normally service - what is the point of that? Castlemaine would have been a bit better option but of course then you are contending with the single track sections.

I finished work early yesterday and got the 14.04 from CME to Footscray. Around 15 minutes longer that the normal service which is not too bad considering, would have been a bit quicker bar some congestion around Albion. Pax loading was light so I assume many chose to stay indoors due to the heat.

Far from ideal but as I said above at least we have some certainty.

BG
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

The Ballarat line upgrade and Melton duplication works currently underway within clear sight of the Boral ballast siding and utilising tonnes and tonnes of ballast, yet AFAIK the Boral siding hasn't seen a ballast train.Have to say I was surprised the Boral turnout wasn't removed during the Caroline Springs project. You're more qualified to comment on this than I Mike but last time I went past it didn't look like that siding would ever see a train again.
potatoinmymouth

At this stage PIMM the Ballast siding is still connected to the main line...however when the planned V/Line high speed tracks are built, it will be interesting to see. But that probably won't be for a couple of years yet.

As an aside, I travelled on the Boral siding right up to the quarry gate in a hired DERM around 1991. V/Line were still operating DERM's at that time.

Mike.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
It seems that WOLO's are introduced in accordance with the Laws of the Medes and the Persians nowadays. I do not remember any such issues when I was younger.
If we really do need these restrictions this summer, I don't want to be anywhere the high speed trains that many are advocating.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Back in those days before WOLO came to Victoria, trains would run without much disruption. Track inspectors would ride trains on hot days, gangs would remain on alert for a call out to a buckle, but only if issues were found would a speed restriction then be imposed.

And all of this was on tracks with 100% timber sleepers, generally lighter rails, and lacking many other things that make a modern railway.
Could be the answer, right, there ! How many ' gangers ' are there around, maintaining the lines, these days.

More likely a number base around the the state and if and when a problem occurs, off they go, to the offending location.

And yes, heavy duty concrete sleepers, 50 - 60kg rail, compared to, the above.

WOLO, sounds like reverse psychology, they are removing the out come, but and not addressing the symptoms.

BigShunter.

And Mike mentioned, before CWR, which was every line in the state, the rails had a gap between each length, would this allow enough room for expansion, during Extreme weather, that CWR doesn't, if I've explained that, in an understandable fashion.
BigShunter
Old short length rails had the gaps meant as expansion joints for the heat with the connecting holes at each end for the fish plates as well.  Depending on the district, there was often at least one of the holes on the rail and fishplates that was left free to allow for more expansion.

As welded lengths became the fashion, and were still connected using fish plates, there was still the holes in the rail sides at set distances for the heat expansion.  As time has jumped, and almost every section now has thermit welded rails but again its heavier than the old rails, along with the weight of the concrete sleepers there's little worries with buckled rails. as mentioned earlier.
  A4000Bear Junior Train Controller

Location: Taradale, Vic

Today we see WOLO's being imposed inconsistently on high quality track which has shown no sign of even attempting to move. They have slowed trains on say the Bendigo line to 90, when other equivalent tracks (Geelong, Ballarat) have speeds down to 130; perhaps they have a concern about the old Up line (which didn't get the RFR upgrade), but why the Down line when it is 100% concrete with 60kg rail?
hbedriver
Its worth noting that there are quite a few sections of the Bendigo (down) line that were never upgraded to concrete sleepers and 60kg rail.

Between Watergardens & Diggers Rest (down line). Later replaced with low profile concrete sleepers when Sunbury was electrified.
Between Sunbury and Diggers Rest (up line). Later replaced with low profile sleepers when Sunbury was electrified.

The down side of Sunbury, going through the cutting - though this has since had low profile concrete sleepers installed.

Most of the section between Macedon and Woodend.

Between Elphinstone and Castlemaine, retained wooden sleepers even though this section was singled.

There may be other sections between Castlemaine and Bendigo that I'm not aware of.

The ride on these sections is noticeably rougher, and there are signs indicating a speed limit of 130 km/hr.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

Between Elphinstone and Castlemaine, retained wooden sleepers even though this section was singled.

There may be other sections between Castlemaine and Bendigo that I'm not aware of.

The ride on these sections is noticeably rougher, and there are signs indicating a speed limit of 130 km/hr.
A4000Bear

One of the most amazing aspects of the cheap 'upgrade' to Bendigo's RFR back in 2005 was not just the singling of the line between ...ok let's leave the Elphinstone tunnel out of it for a moment...but the tunnel was the reason why.

The reason the timber sleepers were left in-situ and the signalling not upgraded for 160 Km/h operation was because speeds of 130 Km/h are ok on timber sleepers and because of the tunnels' now single track also had timber sleepers.

Never mind that the track between Castlemaine and the tunnel is quite straight and easy 160Km/h operation, particularly on the down, but the whole section was dumbed down to 130.

I believe this fiasco may form part of current the Bendigo line review.

Mike.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.

Between Elphinstone and Castlemaine, retained wooden sleepers even though this section was singled.

There may be other sections between Castlemaine and Bendigo that I'm not aware of.

The ride on these sections is noticeably rougher, and there are signs indicating a speed limit of 130 km/hr.
A4000Bear
Good bit of info, Bearman, not sure if I knew low profile sleepers where used on the fast rail, especially given some of the dramatic rules, that seem to be applied, that is currently being discussed above.

Do you mean the ride is rougher on the remaining wooden sleepers or the low profile boys or someone else who travels, the line, may know.

BigShunter.
  Daryl Junior Train Controller

Location: Carrum Downs
I like how signs showing “WOLO” are placed on some platforms around Sydney.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Could be the answer, right, there ! How many ' gangers ' are there around, maintaining the lines, these days.

BigShunter.

And Mike mentioned, before CWR, which was every line in the state, the rails had a gap between each length, would this allow enough room for expansion, during Extreme weather, that CWR doesn't, if I've explained that, in an understandable fashion.
BigShunter
Firstly, let's correct a common misconception, not every track worker was a ganger. 'The Ganger' was the foreman/supervisor/man-in-charge of a gang of track workers. The individual workers were known by various names such as fettler, repairer, and even that old throwback term, navvy.

I can understand the thinking that track with regular gaps in the rails is less likely to misalign than track with regular rail gaps.

I would argue the opposite, for the reason being that with the advent of CWR far more attention was/is paid to correct rail adjustment.
When we had short rails and/or long welded rails rail adjustment was given scant attention, it really was only considered after rails 'kicked' in the summer, or there were excessive breakaways in the winter.

Correct rail adjustment (and good sleepers, fastenings & ballast) is fundamental to the success of CWR. Without it CWR track would be out in the paddock before lunch time on a typical summer's day.
  A4000Bear Junior Train Controller

Location: Taradale, Vic


Do you mean the ride is rougher on the remaining wooden sleepers or the low profile boys or someone else who travels, the line, may know.

BigShunter.
BigShunter
Both.

I was a daily commuter on the Bendigo line until I retired a couple of years ago. I recall the line reopening after the RFR upgrade, and noticing those sections that were not upgraded still being as rough as before. That didn't really change when they later put in the low profile sleepers near Sunbury.

I should mention that it is not horribly rough, but the difference is noticeable compared to the upgraded sections.
  neillfarmer Chief Train Controller

The purpose of the gaps at the end of bolted track was to allow for expansion. On some bridges there were more complex rail joints designed to prevent the blow as the train passed over the joint. The blow on the joints had the effect of hammering the ends of the rail downwards. On main lines it was a constant job repacking these and tightening the fishplate bolts. So, heat buckled track was a rare thing in the old days before CWR.
Neill Farmer
  woodford Chief Commissioner

The purpose of the gaps at the end of bolted track was to allow for expansion. On some bridges there were more complex rail joints designed to prevent the blow as the train passed over the joint. The blow on the joints had the effect of hammering the ends of the rail downwards. On main lines it was a constant job repacking these and tightening the fishplate bolts. So, heat buckled track was a rare thing in the old days before CWR.
Neill Farmer
neillfarmer
The joint between the fishplate itself and the rail was lubricated with graphite oil so the rail could slip. This lubrication had to be redone every so often. One had to take NOT to over tighten the bolts, one tightened the bolts till the spring washer just closed up.

woodford

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