Melbourne West Tower

 
  Liambennett Beginner

Does anybody know if the Melbourne West tower is going be demolished with the west gate tunnel project ?
With the the new road being built from Dudley st to Dynon road it looks like it would be close to affecting the new road.
If something it’s done It looks like it is getting destroyed by vandals anyway.
When was it last used ?

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Some photos from the massive archive here at RP



When control of West Tower moved to Centrol



West Tower area

  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic
A shadow of its former self that place. The Hump was there also i think wasent it?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Sooner it goes the better. An architectural abomination.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Sooner it goes the better. An architectural abomination.
YM-Mundrabilla
Nah, it's not the worst looking thing ever built. Looks Nicer than the Gas and Fuel Towers ever did. Laughing
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Anyone remember the Melbourne Yard East Tower?

Also see:

https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1114047.htm

https://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11355044.htm



View from "West tower" looking south-east showing rail freight yards between city and Victoria Dock at right. Docklands Stadium now occupies central background of rail yards. Dudley Street in foreground, Footscray Road r.h.s. diagonal. Note stacks of sleepers from rail rationalization [picture] / Ian Hill
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Sooner it goes the better. An architectural abomination.
Nah, it's not the worst looking thing ever built. Looks Nicer than the Gas and Fuel Towers ever did. Laughing
Dangersdan707
Probably no worse than the pile that replaced the Gas and Fuel building ........ Rolling Eyes
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
That whole area is a wasteland at the moment, knock the tower down, and put something worthwhile in its place I say.

Unfortunately, the most likely outcome though is just more apartments and a pointless toll road nobody asked for.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
A shadow of its former self that place. The Hump was there also i think wasent it?
Galron
Yes, it was.
If you look carefully at the area in front of the tower you can still see some of the trackwork leading from the peak of the hump in the last of the three colour photos Bevans posted. The hump itself is still there, on the right hand edge of the photo, with its shunters cabin and hump signal still at the crest. The most distant trackwork visible leading from the hump was the lead to C and D balloons and nearer trackwork was the lead to A and B balloons, which you can see still see the splitting points for. Hydraulic retarders were once fitted to both of these stretches. The cutouts in the concrete retaining wall parallel to Dudley Street are where the bridges over the road were leading to the four balloons and the Centre yard, right to left being, respectively, A, B, Centre, C, and D. The D balloon cutout is larger because the northern lead to D balloon was parallel to the D balloon bridge. Wurrundjerri Way is where B balloon and the Centre Yard used to be.
The concrete cutting under the A/B lead was the approach to the Centre Yard; quite a fun bit of track to travel over to enter the yard as it was fairly sharply curved and quite a steep climb to boot, especially if the Pilot had to travel under the actual hump before tackling it. The track under the hump appears to still be in use. More than one Pilot had to back up and have another run at the grade after stalling the first time. The lead to access A balloon from the north is still visible just below the lead from the hump.
Part of the West Towers function was to control the whole process of running the hump, possibly one reason for its being located there with the windows facing the hump.

Neil
  historian Deputy Commissioner


Part of the West Towers function was to control the whole process of running the hump, possibly one reason for its being located there with the windows facing the hump.
"ngarner"


It was not only the whole reason why West Tower was located where it is located, but it's also the reason for its design.

The hump operator's panel was behind the row of windows on the eastern side of the building so as to give a good view over the hump, the arrival sidings (over the top of the flyover) and the balloons. That was the reason for the height of the building. West Tower panel proper was in the same room, but faced the back wall.

The height allowed the Yardmaster's office to be located on the floor below the panel. The floor below that was the relay room - both for West Tower panel and the hump. The ground floor housed the compressors and, from memory, locker rooms. Don't forget the brief stay of the signal panel for the Western line which was housed in the garret above West Tower control room.

East Tower (amusingly towards the south end of Melbourne Yard) housed the Assistant Yardmaster who oversaw the makeup of trains from the humped wagons.
  NSWGR8022 Deputy Commissioner

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
Was the yard master required to see the operation or did they have an office without windows?

It must have been quite the operation back then running and be quite productive.  When you consider the humping of wagons was manual uncoupling of wagons required in Melbourne or was it automated?

Reading the other threads (thanks for posting) their was also an office at the top of the hump what was that used for?
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Was the yard master required to see the operation or did they have an office without windows?

It must have been quite the operation back then running and be quite productive.  When you consider the humping of wagons was manual uncoupling of wagons required in Melbourne or was it automated?

Reading the other threads (thanks for posting) their was also an office at the top of the hump what was that used for?
"NSWGR8022"


The Yardmaster had a desk on the operating floor next to the hump operator. The 'Yard Superintendent's office' (*) on the floor below was the name of the area where the clerks worked. It also had offices for the Melbourne Terminal Manager, and the Superintendent.

(*) not the yardmaster's office; I misremembered.

Uncoupling wagons was manual - that was the job of the pin pullers working at the top of the hump.

The office at the crest of the hump was the Hump Cabin and housed the Hump Foreman who was in charge of the shunters in the arrival yard and on the hump itself. The cabin was so located that when sitting at his desk, the hump foreman was opposite the theoretical cut off point for the wagons going over the hump (i.e. the point where the wagons would separate).

(correction: the ground floor of West Tower contained the substation, Melbourne Yard pay office, first aid room, and workshops.)
  NSWGR8022 Deputy Commissioner

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
This is fascinating.

How did the pin pullers know how many wagons to allow in combo over the hump or did they pull ever pin meaning wagons were solo over the hump.

How did the hump operator know where to send the wagons down to the Balloon area? .
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Historian can probably shine more light on your question than I can, as my knowledge is from the loco side of things, however each wagon that arrived in the Arrivals Yard had a destination and that would have been reported to the Yard Master, from a guards report. From that knowledge, they would have worked out whether a single or block of wagons was appropriate and which road of which balloon to route the cut. This information would then have been provided to the shunters working on the crest of the hump proper although I can't tell you how this was done, fax or phone are possibilities.
The balloons, and the eight roads in each, were designated to hold wagons for specific locations. I can't tell you which road was for where but A balloon was for eastern destinations, mostly Dandenong and beyond but also suburban yards like Bayswater, Port Melbourne, etc. B balloon was for Northern and North Eastern destinations while C was for Western and South Western ones . D balloon was largely, IIRC, for western Melbourne suburban destinations, including the Dock Pilots, Tottenham and other siding locations.
Not everything was allowed to roll off the hump on its own; certain types of wagon or loading had to be placed by the Trimmer Pilot, which was stabled on its own short siding half way up the approach side of the hump - just out of sight in the photo referred to previously. My thread about working out of South Dynon during the 1980's has more detailed information about working the Hump, Trimmer Pilots and Yard Pilots that cleared the balloons, of course, all focused on working of the locos.

Neil
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
This is fascinating.

How did the pin pullers know how many wagons to allow in combo over the hump or did they pull ever pin meaning wagons were solo over the hump.

How did the hump operator know where to send the wagons down to the Balloon area? .
NSWGR8022
They had a cut list with wagon numbers/destinations etc and their position in the rake as it was propelled up the hump .
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
What years did the Hump Yard operate?
  historian Deputy Commissioner

My copy of the Melbourne Yard Orders seems to be hiding, but...

When a train arrived the Consist Checker worked along the train from the southern end. He noted down the identity, destination, and load of each wagon, and also any special characteristics (e.g. not to be humped). This consist list was sent to West Tower by means of a pneumatic tube. The Yard Master then annotated the list with the road that the wagon was to be humped into.

As Neil says each road in the classification yard (the four balloons) was intended for a particular group of destinations. The notional assignments were fixed, but the Yard Master could vary these as required. The original allocations were as follows: 'A' balloon (nearest Spencer St) was used for freight destined beyond Flinders St, spare wagons, the crane siding, and repairs. 'B' balloon  was used for the rest of the country and metropolitan destinations (except Tottenham Yard). 'C' balloon was used for destinations within Melbourne Yard (the sheds). 'D' balloon was used for near Melbourne Yard destinations - the Harbour Trust, Tottenham, Dynon, Kensington etc. Within each balloon each road had a specific purpose - A7 was for wagons to the South East line and the Electric Crane in Melbourne Yard, for example.

The consist list was then sent to the Yard Clerk for preparation of the cut list. This list was typed on a teletypewriter which had the key feature of printing a punched tape as well as a printed copy. The cut list would be headed with information about the rake (including the identity of the first wagon - all hell would break loose if you humped a rake with the wrong cut list). Then each cut would be listed - a group of wagons destined for the one classification road. Each cut had the destination road and the number of wagons in the cut (from memory a bogie was counted as two wagons). The cut list was then checked by the Yard Master and filed until the rake was to be humped.

When the rake was to be humped the hump operator loaded the punched tape into the hump control panel. A copy of the consist list and cut list was sent to the Hump cabin and given to the Pin Puller. The Pin Puller's main job was to uncouple the cuts as they approached the crest of the hump. The hump control circuitry would then route each cut according to the paper tape.

If there was a cut that could not be hump shunted, the rake would be stopped, the hand brakes would be applied on the cut, and the remainder of the rake would be backed down the hump a bit. The trimmer pilot would then come out of its siding, couple to the cut, and place it whereever necessary. After the pilot was back in its siding, humping would recommence where it was left off. The trimmer pilot would also be used to correct misrouted wagons, or push down wagons that hadn't rolled as far as they should.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
There we go; there's a good reason historian goes by his handle.
I thought I remembered someone wandering the length of each rake in the Arrivals Yard once the train locos had departed for Dynon but my memory was vague enough for me not to mention this. As it was I got the information about B and C balloons wrong. Considering how often I worked the Centre and West Yard Pilots, which cleared these two balloons, you'd think I might have remembered where the rakes went a little better - I blame age.

Operating years of the hump appear to be 1970 to 1987. It can't have been any earlier as the H class weren't delivered until 1969. The decline in use was evident over only five years, in my experience. In 1979 it was rare to not have two Hump Pilots, with paired H class operating continuously, except for Saturday evening until Sunday night when working the hump ceased, probably for maintenance of the points, retarders and other equipment, but by 1983 there was usually only one Hump Pilot, with a second called on, if required, but not needed all that often.

Neil
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
West Colton Yard Humping Operations. Shows the pin pulling and cutting the cars.  Not sure how he knows how many cars to cut in a pack looks like one only?



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdnzscigs7M

Yard Master Operations in the Tower



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvNmFEZc9gY

He seems to be controlling the cuts from the computer (these days).  You can see the destination yard on the car as it goes over the hump.   You can see cars destined for Roseville Yard and also Fresno on the screen.

5000+ cars per day in Chicago

An average of 139 trains and over 14,000 railroad cars pass through UP Bailey Yard every day, and the yard sorts approximately 3,000 cars daily using the yard's two humps. The eastbound hump is a 34-foot (10 m) tall mound and the westbound hump is 20 feet (6.1 m) high.
Somebody


Slightly off topic but might assist those understanding how it is done today.
  billjohnston Station Master

Another comment, are we sure the relay interlocking has been replaced. If not then the building can't be demolished until that is done.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Completely out of left field...did a passenger train ever go over the hump Question

I know it would have been impossible in general operation because the hump roads were well separated from North Melbourne, so only a special pass train could have ever gone over.

I once travelled through the city loop on a DERM (Diesel Electric Rail Motor)which was operated as a special train and we stopped for a short time at the newly opened Flagstaff station. So wierd and wonderful trains operated everywhere once upon a time.

Mike.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Completely out of left field...did a passenger train ever go over the hump Question

I know it would have been impossible in general operation because the hump roads were well separated from North Melbourne, so only a special pass train could have ever gone over.

I once travelled through the city loop on a DERM (Diesel Electric Rail Motor)which was operated as a special train and we stopped for a short time at the newly opened Flagstaff station. So wierd and wonderful trains operated everywhere once upon a time.

Mike.
The Vinelander
And once the loco hauled Up Gippy got wrongly routed into the Caulfield Loop late afternpoon, so they just kept it going - no drama. Imagine the VLP "Safety Nazis" allowing that these days !!!
  NSWGR8022 Deputy Commissioner

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
Loving this thread.

What systems where installed in the hump cabin and also what happened if the cars went into the wrong balloon?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Was not the hump cabin only somewhere for the crew of the trimmer pilot to 'hide' away from the engine when not required for hump duties. Some 'facilities' but no 'systems'.?
Open to correction as always.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Was not the hump cabin only somewhere for the crew of the trimmer pilot to 'hide' away from the engine when not required for hump duties. Some 'facilities' but no 'systems'.?
Open to correction as always.
"YM-Mundrabilla"


Depends on your definition of 'hump cabin'. YM is correct in the Trimmer crew 'hump cabin' had basic facilities for heating water and the like, with a single table and two chairs (no need for more, plus enough room to stretch out on the floor to sleep at night) but no 'systems'. If the Trimmer was required the Yard Master would call out the Trimmer crew via a pole mounted speaker near the crew cabin. Night shift sometimes required a couple of calls over the speaker before the crew responded!
The Hump cabin provided for the Pin Puller must have had similar facilities plus systems to handle receipt of the cut list, as described by historian earlier.

Wrongly routed wagons were rescued by the Trimmer Pilot and its crew, who spent the shift in their cabin, not on the loco. An F class was always stabled on the Trimmer siding when the hump was operating, hence F211 earning the moniker 'Little Trimmer'. It obviously spent most of its last years as the dedicated Trimmer Pilot, probably retained for the purpose as other F's were withdrawn. In earlier years any South Dynon F class could end up there for the week - no point in wasting a Y or W class on that job.
A wrongly routed wagon was collected by the Trimmer Pilot, with the Pin Puller going for the ride (to save the fireman from having to actually do any work) then dragged back up to the peak of the hump and let roll into the correct road with the Pin Puller having the honours; actually the real reason for his going for the ride. Occasionally, the wagon would be placed into the correct road by the Trimmer but that was a rarity.

Neil

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