Murray Basin standardisation

 
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Free at last, free at last
Not a world class track.

--
For context here, the Mildura line isnt a heavy haul line in terms of traffic.  Its a rural and regional freight line.  So it doesn't need to be top quality.  If it can reliably do 21TAL (maybe 23 and 25 in time if the traffic is there) at 80kph then thats fine.  Pax ops can perhaps run a bit higher speed given their lower TAL, and perhaps what we need in Australia is a train that can run on it, like the Fokkers are good for the FIFO ops, and Falcons/Holdens were good for Australian roads.
james.au
And there is the rub. It does not reliably meet that standard, some parts yes, others not.  
I consider "world class" is achieved when the the rated line standard is fully met.

And no, I do not mean matching class 4 is ok, that's a goat track, not railway.

cheers
John

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  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Another possibility is to use recycled composite sleepers. I would start installing these between Maryborough and Mildura. They are lighter than concrete so less downward pressure on the ballast and softer subsurface. Some replacing of old 47kg rail (I have seen rail dated 1937 at Mildura) will also be required. That will generate an axle load of 22 tons at 80 kph. Job done.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Plastic sleepers are yet to be proved as suitable for mainline freight are they not?
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Plastic sleepers are yet to be proved as suitable for mainline freight are they not?
YM-Mundrabilla
They'd be good for Vlocity stabling sidings where Vline like to put track full of concretes!
  Djebel Station Master

Plastic sleepers are yet to be proved as suitable for mainline freight are they not?
YM-Mundrabilla
They never will be proven one way or the other if nobody ever installs them and runs some freight trains over them.

At some stage concrete sleepers were unproven technology too.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

A trial section of plastic sleepers is on the Caulfield group platforms at Richmond. Unaware of any issues. Other trials or actual installations are between Beveridge and Wallan (44kmp), near Little River (another bridge). I think there is a section around the Bunbury St Tunnel as well, although way too much mud holes there to positively identify.

I believe there are two possible suppliers.

A retired V.R. Civil Engineer was involved with one company; perhaps bloody-minded petty jealousies by current bosses preclude exploring this alternative.

In summary, plastic have all the advantages and characteristics of timber without the environmental impacts. Termites hate them, life span at least double timber. Even low profile concrete sleepers are deeper than timber, leading to cutting of formation and sequential Mud holes; plastic are same profile as timber, avoiding that.

Plastic sleepers can be easily gauge converted. Maybe too easily; perhaps that is the objection?
  PE2010 Station Master

Location: Newcastle
Plastic sleepers are yet to be proved as suitable for mainline freight are they not?
They never will be proven one way or the other if nobody ever installs them and runs some freight trains over them.

At some stage concrete sleepers were unproven technology too.
Djebel

Makes sense vs timber.

But the main problem is these plastic or recycled sleepers are more expensive than concrete to buy and more expensive to install.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
A trial section of plastic sleepers is on the Caulfield group platforms at Richmond. Unaware of any issues. Other trials or actual installations are between Beveridge and Wallan (44kmp), near Little River (another bridge). I think there is a section around the Bunbury St Tunnel as well, although way too much mud holes there to positively identify.

I believe there are two possible suppliers.

A retired V.R. Civil Engineer was involved with one company; perhaps bloody-minded petty jealousies by current bosses preclude exploring this alternative.

In summary, plastic have all the advantages and characteristics of timber without the environmental impacts. Termites hate them, life span at least double timber. Even low profile concrete sleepers are deeper than timber, leading to cutting of formation and sequential Mud holes; plastic are same profile as timber, avoiding that.

Plastic sleepers can be easily gauge converted. Maybe too easily; perhaps that is the objection?
hbedriver
Thanks hbedriver.
Good to see some plastic outside the Metrop where traffic is predominantly light axleload and low speed.
Wallan and Little River are, no doubt, BG where, again, relatively light axleload and short consists. Bunbury Street is presumably low speed for 'whatever' services.
Despite my doubts, I really hope that these things succeed but it would be interesting to see several km lengths of test track of both gauges where heavy/high speed freight trains operate.
  Djebel Station Master

Plastic sleepers are yet to be proved as suitable for mainline freight are they not?
They never will be proven one way or the other if nobody ever installs them and runs some freight trains over them.

At some stage concrete sleepers were unproven technology too.

Makes sense vs timber.

But the main problem is these plastic or recycled sleepers are more expensive than concrete to buy and more expensive to install.
PE2010
I assumed there must have been a cost saving compared with concrete.  Otherwise why would you bother?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Makes sense vs timber.

But the main problem is these plastic or recycled sleepers are more expensive than concrete to buy and more expensive to install.
PE2010

Only the first line is true. Recycled is cheaper then concrete and easier to install since they are perfect for straight out replacing timber unlike concrete due to their weight. They are the perfect match for the low quality regional rail lines in the state of victoria and even for the ARTC.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Makes sense vs timber.

But the main problem is these plastic or recycled sleepers are more expensive than concrete to buy and more expensive to install.
PE2010
No they are not more expensive than concrete.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Makes sense vs timber.

But the main problem is these plastic or recycled sleepers are more expensive than concrete to buy and more expensive to install.

Only the first line is true. Recycled is cheaper then concrete and easier to install since they are perfect for straight out replacing timber unlike concrete due to their weight. They are the perfect match for the low quality regional rail lines in the state of victoria and even for the ARTC.
simstrain
I agree. I would be using them on all the class 4 the grain lines in Northern Victoria, plus the Swan Hill line. Sale to Bairnsdale is also an option. So is Shepparton to Tocumwal. In addition I would look at Maryborough to Mildura.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Basically anywhere side insertion is used they should replace timber and concrete with these plastic sleepers. They will be longer lasting then concrete which crumble in areas of poor quality ballast and drainage.
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Basically anywhere side insertion is used they should replace timber and concrete with these plastic sleepers. They will be longer lasting then concrete which crumble in areas of poor quality ballast and drainage.
simstrain
The comment about crumbling is incorrect.   The root cause of concrete sleeper degradation and ballast failing and thence drainage; is almost always poor rail surface.  Impact point creating a excessive transition of force through to the track structure and formation.   Same with stress driving internal fatigue, predominently (not always) stems from stress caused by impacts (joints, dud weld geometry, wheel burns).  

When you see white poweder on a concrete track, there is a reason.   Mud holes on concrete track are the adavances state (again not always) stem from the same reason.  Force creates the stress to overload the capacity of the concrete/ballast interface.   The fines clogg the drainage of the ballast.  The water then pumps.   The the hole grows.  

Look for the impact point!   It will be there and its where it starts.  Fix the ballast and drainage, but it will start again if the impact is not addressed.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Comments by Peter Walsh MP in Parliament this morning:

"There was $440 million to upgrade and standardise those railway lines in north-west Victoria. We have ended up with the majority of the money being expended with only the Mildura to Maryborough and the Maryborough to Ararat lines being standardised. The Maryborough to Ararat line in particular used second-hand rail—second-hand rail from the old Castlemaine line that was decades old. The two types of steel do not weld together well. That particular line now has to be redone and it is just an absolute disgrace. The Sea Lake and Manangatang lines have not been done. The minister has publicly released a few pages from the supposed business case she submitted to the commonwealth government for this project, and it is effectively only to get the money from the commonwealth to fix up the mess they have made of the project on the Mildura to Maryborough and Maryborough to Ararat lines and to re-rail that particular project. It says nothing about actually standardising the Manangatang or Sea Lake lines. It actually talks about a close-out part of this project, which I think is absolutely devastating to all the freight operators in north-west Victoria.

I urge the minister to put a line item in the budget on 24 November when it comes before this house to demonstrate to the commonwealth that the Victorian government actually has faith in this project and is not just relying on the commonwealth to pick up the tab to fix up a very, very botched project. Having standard gauge lines and having broad gauge lines will lead to even more inefficiency in the transport system. When you are running two different train sets, you do not get the economy of scale or the timely turnaround of trains to the various ports, and it still leaves the Manangatang and the Sea Lake lines blocked out of the port of Portland, which is one of our natural deepwater ports for grain shipments. As anyone in the grains industry would know, boats that go into Geelong cannot always fill up to their maximum load because the draught is too shallow, so they onload two-thirds or three-quarters of their load in Geelong and then call in at Portland to top up. If those lines were done, if all the lines were standardised, and if the line to Portland was upgraded from 19-tonne axle weight to 21- or 23-tonne axle weight, you could actually have whole ships being loaded in Portland, which would lead to some real efficiency for the grains industry in north and west Victoria and would assist in taking trucks off the roads running to Portland, because that is effectively how the majority of grain gets to Portland at the moment."
  Maximas Locomotive Fireman

Location: Geelong
^^ The suggestion being that Portland is being under-utilised it would seem - is there any credence to his implication that the feds might actually back the project if the full scope of the original plans was budgeted for? McCormack has been quite firm in his initial responses to the revised business case thus far.

On another note I have just begun a youtube channel and began with a bit of a rundown on this particular topic, the level of insight is probably more for a casual observer rather than the knowledge base on this forum but thought I would share in any case.  



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naDsoY9Kbx4
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

"There was $440 million to upgrade and standardise those railway lines in north-west Victoria. We have ended up with the majority of the money being expended with only the Mildura to Maryborough and the Maryborough to Ararat lines being standardised. The Maryborough to Ararat line in particular used second-hand rail—second-hand rail from the old Castlemaine line that was decades old. The two types of steel do not weld together well. That particular line now has to be redone and it is just an absolute disgrace.
Carnot

Wasn't the Maryborough to Ararat line upgraded by the ARTC and not part of that $440 million?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

"There was $440 million to upgrade and standardise those railway lines in north-west Victoria. We have ended up with the majority of the money being expended with only the Mildura to Maryborough and the Maryborough to Ararat lines being standardised. The Maryborough to Ararat line in particular used second-hand rail—second-hand rail from the old Castlemaine line that was decades old. The two types of steel do not weld together well. That particular line now has to be redone and it is just an absolute disgrace.
Carnot

Wasn't the Maryborough to Ararat line upgraded by the ARTC and not part of that $440 million?
"simstrain"


Done as part of MBRP Stage 2 by contractor McConnell Dowell Martinus under V/line tender.  I think ARTC have only been involved in the junction at Ararat.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Comments by Peter Walsh MP in Parliament this morning:

"There was $440 million to upgrade and standardise those railway lines in north-west Victoria. We have ended up with the majority of the money being expended with only the Mildura to Maryborough and the Maryborough to Ararat lines being standardised. The Maryborough to Ararat line in particular used second-hand rail—second-hand rail from the old Castlemaine line that was decades old. The two types of steel do not weld together well. That particular line now has to be redone and it is just an absolute disgrace.
Carnot
Ararat to Maryborough line was standardised In 1996

The rails used were mostly the existing ones, new 47 kg/metre rails went Into level crossings.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Lately I've noticed trucks carrying concrete sleepers going Nth through Ballarat. This may have been going on for a while, but I've not been going out a lot in recent times.

Where are they going? Surely someone here knows.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

I think there's a fair few concrete sleepers going in on the Mildura line. Also VLine maintenance works on Swan Hill and Echuca lines atm.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Work has continued on the Rainbow line as seen here in the article from the Dimboola Courier, couple of weeks ago, though.

It would seem they are doing a far renovation of the line, perhaps justarider may not agree but I think the use of concrete sleepers is certainly a move in the right direction.

This project is set to be completed before the task of transporting the new season grain ramps up during harvest and will see 63,000 new sleepers inserted along the 66 kilometres of the line. Both concrete and timber sleepers are being used, and new ballast is also be added where required.

https://www.dimboolacourier.com.au/news.php?newsid=5157

BigShunter.
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Free at last, free at last
Work has continued on the Rainbow line as seen here in the article from the Dimboola Courier, couple of weeks ago, though.

It would seem they are doing a far renovation of the line, perhaps justarider may not agree but I think the use of concrete sleepers is certainly a move in the right direction.

This project is set to be completed before the task of transporting the new season grain ramps up during harvest and will see 63,000 new sleepers inserted along the 66 kilometres of the line. Both concrete and timber sleepers are being used, and new ballast is also be added where required.

https://www.dimboolacourier.com.au/news.php?newsid=5157

BigShunter.
BigShunter
point of order Big..

my issue is the mixing old and new, expecting a quality result.

This latest round of maintenance is all new.
That's a good thing although I'm perplexed what "combination of new concrete and timber sleepers" means.  https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/keeping-rail-freight-network-moving

Being optimistic, maybe it's stretches of 100% concrete, and other acceptable stretches of timber maintained with like.

cheers
John
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Work has continued on the Rainbow line as seen here in the article from the Dimboola Courier, couple of weeks ago, though.

It would seem they are doing a far renovation of the line, perhaps justarider may not agree but I think the use of concrete sleepers is certainly a move in the right direction.

This project is set to be completed before the task of transporting the new season grain ramps up during harvest and will see 63,000 new sleepers inserted along the 66 kilometres of the line. Both concrete and timber sleepers are being used, and new ballast is also be added where required.

https://www.dimboolacourier.com.au/news.php?newsid=5157

BigShunter.
point of order Big..

my issue is the mixing old and new, expecting a quality result.

This latest round of maintenance is all new.
That's a good thing although I'm perplexed what "combination of new concrete and timber sleepers" means.  https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/keeping-rail-freight-network-moving

Being optimistic, maybe it's stretches of 100% concrete, and other acceptable stretches of timber maintained with like.

cheers
John
justarider
Whatever it is it won't be what you are being led to believe it will be.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

A couple of interesting recommendations in the big Infrastructure Victoria Draft document that was released overnight:

78. Revise the Murray Basin Rail project plan Immediately revise the Murray Basin Rail project plan, informed by the project's business case review.

79. Fund an ongoing regional rail freight maintenance program Immediately fund an ongoing periodic regional freight rail maintenance program, informed by a publicly available network asset management plan.

https://www.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Victorias-Draft-30-Year-Infrastructure-Strategy-Volume-1-1.pdf

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