Zig Zag Railway - Project Restart & the fire

 
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

As posted earlier on the last page of the "An uncertain future - Zig Zag Railway" thread;
http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11368808-s150.htm
The Zig Zag Railway Board of Directors, upon industry based recommendations, has engaged the services of ATRS (Australasian Transport Risk Solutions) as consultants to address the issue of the ITSR variations upon our commercial passenger train accreditation. That is, the curtailment of locomotive hauled commercial passenger services last December (2011), and commercial Rail Motor services last June 2012 (as reported and discussed in the above mentioned thread).

In the immediate aftermath of the cessation of all commercial services on Sunday June 17 2012 (and staff redundancies a couple of days before), there was much soul-searching and internal reflection within the Co-Op whilst the future of the organisation hung in the balance. Daily expenditure costs were reduced to the barest minimum while reports and meetings with (both local and state) authorities analysed and evaluated the Co-Ops situation.
Subsequently, with no rescue package either imminent or likely, the Board committed the Co-Op to the engagement of ATRS to consult and, where appropriate, assist in the addressing of the ITSR issues and guiding the Co-Op on its journey of variation of its accreditation with ITSR for the express intention of re-establishing steam and rail motor passenger carrying operations over the Zig Zag.

This also required the Board of the Co-Op to commit its remaining (and finite) financial resources to meet the cost of the ATRS consultancy. It also requires the Co-Op as a whole (the Board, the management and the members) to totally re-think and restructure the way we manage, operate and even think about the things we have taken for granted since we began operations in 1975. We have one go at getting this right (and one go only).
We now look at this halt in our services as a hiatus that will enable us to take stock of what benefits we do have, shake off any bad habits we have gotten into, restructure and reshape our future and go forward positively.

So! Why is all this being posted here on Railpage?

Well, I am a foundation member of the Co-Op, (all the way back to formation in 1972) and, while I have been absent for over 14 years (family duties) until the current situation arose, I have come back and ‘rolled up my sleeves’ to get things ‘back on track’. I have also found myself on the “Project Restart” committee, and, from our very first meeting with ATRS, a big topic of conversation was the prevention of the conditioning of/and the public acceptance that, we, the Zig Zag Railway, are closed and not re-opening. Add to that the perception of our credibility and the public (and industry) view of our ability to operate viably and sustainably, (and not just under ITSR and the 2009 Rail Safety Act, but post January 2012 under the [very soon to be] National rail regulator).

To get our message back out there that Zig Zag will re-open, one Board Director has been posting updates on ‘facebook’. Now, when I added to the facebook solution discussion by suggesting placing updates on Railpage (and those of you familiar with volunteer railway society management know what happens to members who make suggestions!!!!) guess what? Yeah! Right!!!!
So, here I am!!!

I have registered as "Zig Zag Reporter" and created this new thread, so welcome!

Now, the said Director (updating facebook) and I will work together to synchronise (as much as reasonably possible) announcements, news and photos (where applicable) to anything related to the Zig Zag Railway “Project Restart”.
I will keep a lookout on this new thread and reply to questions or responses relevant to news and updates within my role and charter on the "Project Restart"  committee.
There are also folks out there in RP land that are members of the ZZR, and membership updates will become more frequent and more detailed than these RP updates as “Project Restart” gains momentum, (expect a detailed email newsletter in the next day or so).

As previously posted, we are targeting mid 2013 for a restart and we would like to inform and engage with the Railpage community with our progress. That way, you can all join in ‘virtually’, if not physically, in our re-birth.
I look forward to these and future discussions as we restart.
(and the feedback on this thread should at least be interesting, if nothing else)

Happy New Year and regards to all here on RP
David H.

Sponsored advertisement

  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
As previously posted, we are targeting mid 2012 for a restart
Zig Zag Reporter"


Suggest with respect that this should read mid 2013.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

Thanks Valvegear
I must have read and re-read the preview and ran MS Word spellchecker over the whole thing several times but failed to pick up on that mistake.
I have now edited and corrected that one.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
David, thanks for that update. I for one look forward to hearing news of the progress being made. Sadly I have not had the opportunity to visit ZZR since 1995 and hope to rectify that at some stage.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Excellent - there is no one better than ATSR to help them.
  Brian 2009 Chief Commissioner

Location: N.S.W.
David H,

Many thanks to you for letting us all know what is happening.
Good luck with the restart and I hope it all goes well for the group in the future.
Regards,
Brian Leedham.
  Hendo Deputy Commissioner

ZZR,

Well done on the information you/the committee have posted and the initiative to keep RP users up-to-date. Hopefully it helps the ZZR manage that public perception of the Co-operative and helps the co-op pick up members, assistance and resources as well as goodwill.


Cheers,
Hendo
  flathog Chief Commissioner

Location: Central West, NSW

Awesome stuff, glad to see your suggestion was noted David!
I can certainly say I am looking forward to working with yourself and everyone else at the railway in getting things up and running again in the New Year. Smile
I think it is fair to say over the past years there has been a lot of banter regarding the railway (admittedly I have had a joke or two are the communities expense about ML070 visiting ZZR etc Wink ) however, it is wonderful to see an official face standing up for the railway in what unfortunately can, and has in the past become a major force in public perception and company image.
It is purely astounding the amount of attention that one site can gain on the internet from even the general public, let alone the 'gunzel' community through word of mouth.

Cheers,

Tom

  Edgecombe1869 Beginner



As posted earlier on the last page of the "An uncertain future - Zig Zag Railway" thread;
http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11368808-s150.htm
The Zig Zag Railway Board of Directors, upon industry based recommendations, has engaged the services of ATRS (Australasian Transport Risk Solutions) as consultants to address the issue of the ITSR variations upon our commercial passenger train accreditation. That is, the curtailment of locomotive hauled commercial passenger services last December (2011), and commercial Rail Motor services last June 2012 (as reported and discussed in the above mentioned thread).

In the immediate aftermath of the cessation of all commercial services on Sunday June 17 2012 (and staff redundancies a couple of days before), there was much soul-searching and internal reflection within the Co-Op whilst the future of the organisation hung in the balance. Daily expenditure costs were reduced to the barest minimum while reports and meetings with (both local and state) authorities analysed and evaluated the Co-Ops situation.
Subsequently, with no rescue package either imminent or likely, the Board committed the Co-Op to the engagement of ATRS to consult and, where appropriate, assist in the addressing of the ITSR issues and guiding the Co-Op on its journey of variation of its accreditation with ITSR for the express intention of re-establishing steam and rail motor passenger carrying operations over the Zig Zag.

This also required the Board of the Co-Op to commit its remaining (and finite) financial resources to meet the cost of the ATRS consultancy. It also requires the Co-Op as a whole (the Board, the management and the members) to totally re-think and restructure the way we manage, operate and even think about the things we have taken for granted since we began operations in 1975. We have one go at getting this right (and one go only).
We now look at this halt in our services as a hiatus that will enable us to take stock of what benefits we do have, shake off any bad habits we have gotten into, restructure and reshape our future and go forward positively.

So! Why is all this being posted here on Railpage Australia?

Well, I am a foundation member of the Co-Op, (all the way back to formation in 1972) and, while I have been absent for over 14 years (family duties) until the current situation arose, I have come back and ‘rolled up my sleeves' to get things ‘back on track'. I have also found myself on the “Project Restart” committee, and, from our very first meeting with ATRS, a big topic of conversation was the prevention of the conditioning of/and the public acceptance that, we, the Zig Zag Railway, are closed and not re-opening. Add to that the perception of our credibility and the public (and industry) view of our ability to operate viably and sustainably, (and not just under ITSR and the 2009 Rail Safety Act, but post January 2012 under the [very soon to be] National rail regulator).

To get our message back out there that Zig Zag will re-open, one Board Director has been posting updates on ‘facebook'. Now, when I added to the facebook solution discussion by suggesting placing updates on Railpage Australia (and those of you familiar with volunteer railway society management know what happens to members who make suggestions!!!!) guess what? Yeah! Right!!!!
So, here I am!!!
I have registered as "Zig Zag Reporter" and created this new thread, so welcome!

Now, the said Director (updating facebook) and I will work together to synchronise (as much as reasonably possible) announcements, news and photos (where applicable) to anything related to the Zig Zag Railway “Project Restart”.
I will keep a lookout on this new thread and reply to questions or responses relevant to news and updates within my role and charter on the "Project Restart" committee.
There are also folks out there in RP land that are members of the ZZR, and membership updates will become more frequent and more detailed than these RP updates as “Project Restart” gains momentum, (expect a detailed email newsletter in the next day or so).

As previously posted, we are targeting mid 2013 for a restart and we would like to inform and engage with the Railpage Australia community with our progress. That way, you can all join in ‘virtually', if not physically, in our re-birth.
I look forward to these and future discussions as we restart.
(and the feedback on this thread should at least be interesting, if nothing else)

Happy New Year and regards to all here on RP
David H.
"Zig Zag Reporter"



David, this is very welcome and positive news! Congratulations to you and all involved. Hopefully, with more updates and as momentum begins to build, more 'lapsed' members (myself included) will also come out of the woodwork to lend a hand in this important project.

Cheers,
Andrew.M

  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman


Thank you to Graham4405, YM-Mundrabilla, Brian 2009, Hendo, Flathog and Edgecombe 1869 for your reply posts and encouraging comments.

Tom, yes, I too look forward to working with you and any other 'lapsed' members out there that have been following these updates.

I do ask that any lapsed members reading this give serious consideration to renewing your membership and involvement with the ZZR.
Membership renewal notices should be going out within the next month, so please, give it some extra thought.

Before I go any further, I should also point out that today is the first business day of the new Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR), the new legislation having become law yesterday, January 20.
We welcome the opportunity to now work with Australia's new national rail regulator, through their NSW regional office (formerly ITSR's) of course.
As the saying goes.....we find ourselves living "in interesting times"!

During the second week of January, a two day inspection of the ZZR's infrastructure, rolling stock and safeworking systems was conducted by ATRS.
To facilitate this inspection, it required the operation of our 'new' Toyota Hy-rail on the railway over the two days to cover all the items being investigated.
This was the first 'rail traffic', so to speak, over the Zig Zag since June 17 2012 (nearly 7 months ago).

Posted below are some photos taken during that inspection.
(and yes, the rails are a bit rusty, but still in good fettle!)



The ZZR's 'new' Toyota Dyna 2000 Hy-Rail vehicle at lower Edgecombe.
This location was originally destined to be the site of the first of 5 planned sandstone viaducts.
During construction during the 1860's, the on-site engineer determined that a retaining wall at this location would suffice, and so it has for the last 145 years.



Just below the formation at Lower Edgecombe is the sandstone retaining wall that eliminated the need for a viaduct at this location.
This is a photo of that retaining wall, as it stands to this day, fully intact, 145 years later. A testimony to its designers, stonemasons and builders.



Having stopped to check Number 3 viaduct, we find ourselves dealing with the ever-present effects of mother nature, especially when there haven't been any trains in almost 7 months.



The Hy-Rail being turned by ZZR operators at Bottom Points ready to take the inspection team back to Clarence. The signs on the rear, give away its Japanese heritage. Also note that a lot of weeds have sprung up since train services ceased back in June 2012.



The ZZR's 'new' Hy-Rail retires to the BP depot at the end of its participation in the two day inspection of ZZR Infrastructure carried out by ATRS during January 2013

Subsequent to this inspection, we are now able to plan for some on-site working bee's to address the condition of our station areas.
Information on the first working bee will be provided as soon as the details are confirmed.

regards to all
David H

  lsrailfan Chief Commissioner

Location: Somewhere you're not

Indeed it would be Awesome for this Iconic Railway to get "Back on It's feet" - I wish all involved the best of Luck

Kind Regards

  flathog Chief Commissioner

Location: Central West, NSW



Thank you to Graham4405, YM-Mundrabilla, Brian 2009, Hendo, Flathog and Edgecombe 1869 for your reply posts and encouraging comments.

Tom, yes, I too look forward to working with you and any other 'lapsed' members out there that have been following these updates.

I do ask that any lapsed members reading this give serious consideration to renewing your membership and involvement with the ZZR.
Membership renewal notices should be going out within the next month, so please, give it some extra thought.

[snip]

regards to all
David H

"Zig Zag Reporter"


I should hope I'm not lapsed given I am currently holding a membership card current until March 2013!!! Wink
Tom

  J516 Locomotive Driver

Location: Victoria

Looking good. In no time the Zig Zag will be back on her feet. It's amazing what can be achieved when talking to the regulators. Have to admit they can be a pain in the donkey and extremely frustrating at times but can be of help other times. And its usually a better bet than sticking ones head in the sand. A good lesson for all.

Apart from Rollingstock maintenance and documentation, is any major infrastructure works required? Ie tie renewal etc

  michaelgreenhill Administrator That's Numberwang!

Location: Melbourne
Stay on topic, people.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman






Tom, yes, I too look forward to working with you and any other 'lapsed' members out there that have been following these updates.

I do ask that any lapsed members reading this give serious consideration to renewing your membership and involvement with the ZZR.
Membership renewal notices should be going out within the next month, so please, give it some extra thought.

[snip]

regards to all
David H

"Zig Zag Reporter"


I should hope I'm not lapsed given I am currently holding a membership card current until March 2013!!! Wink
Tom
"flathog"


Tom, my apologies!
I know you are financial, but I just happened to group my reply to you "Flathog" and "Edgecombe 1869" in the same sentence.
Sorry, my error!

David H

  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman




Looking good. In no time the Zig Zag will be back on her feet. It's amazing what can be achieved when talking to the regulators. Have to admit they can be a pain in the donkey and extremely frustrating at times but can be of help other times. And its usually a better bet than sticking ones head in the sand. A good lesson for all.

Apart from Rollingstock maintenance and documentation, is any major infrastructure works required? Ie tie renewal etc

"J516"


Hello J516
Thanks for your contribution.
I will take your question in two parts.....

(1) is any major infrastructure works required?

For us at Zig Zag, "major infrastructure" consists of the viaducts, tunnels, retaining walls, drains, culverts, embankments, etc.
Without these, we would have no need to have either track, locomotives or carriages. "The Great Zig Zag" is the only reason that justifies our existence.

Even before we began operation in 1975, we sought engineering opinion on the integrity of these sandstone structures, and have had subsequent reviews since then. The news then was that they were "structurally sound", and (calamities and external forces notwithstanding), should remain so for a long time.

That is not to say that we did not hold our breath a few weeks ago.....because we are acutely aware, that the 'terminal' or impending failure of any tunnel or viaduct, would spell the 'terminal' failure of the railway. The outcome is that they are still considered "structurally sound" and (in today's vernacular) determined to be 'fit for purpose'.
That said, there are instances where there are sandstone blocks that need to be re-grouted, some of which we already knew about, with remediation work scheduled to begin in the next couple of weeks. We should be able to provide and post some photos of that work where and when we can.

We also need to take steps to remove, prevent and/or minimise tree growth on the tunnel portals (that is in addition to normal vegetation control) within the corridor. Some of this has already been done, and will be on-going into the future.

(2) tie renewal etc

Like any other railway, we have engaged in a consistent on-going sleeper renewal process for many years, that was up until cessation of operations last year. This means that overall, the track is 'in good fettle', but, once again, we will need to resume that level of maintenance going forward.

regards
David H

  J516 Locomotive Driver

Location: Victoria

Thanks for that. Tie renewal is very much a ongoing cyclic process like vegetation control if you let it slip it's a bi*ch to catch up again.

Out of interest with your major infrastructure (viaducts/bridges/tunnels etc), are these on a 3 year close inspection cycle with more frequent general inspections?

Cheers

  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman


The ZZR Project Re-Start team met with the Office of National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) team on Wednesday 23 January at the Independent Transport Safety Regulator (ITSR) Office in Sydney.  This meeting was one of a  schedule of monthly meetings planned throughout 2013 and is a key interface meeting in which the Project Re-Start team provides a regular briefing of the Rail Safety Regulator on progress being made in all aspects of the work to achieve a re-start of the ZZR commercial passenger operations in a safe, compliant and sustainable manner.

Since the commencement of Project Re-Start three such meetings have been held with the Rail Safety Regulator and each meeting has been highly successful in establishing friendly communications and valuable assistance and advice to help achieve our goals.

In particular, the Project Re-Start team acknowledges the leadership demonstrated by the ONRSR Regional Director Simon Foster in providing a clear way forward and practical encouragement of ZZR to become the premier tourist and heritage railway operation in NSW.

Key aspects of the Project Re-Start work to-date has included the conduct of a major project risk assessment, engineering assessment of infrastructure and rolling stock, safety management system review and development of a revised policy, standards and procedure framework, development of a revised Board and management organisational structure, and the review and development of a proposed new set of Network Rules and Network Procedures.

A program of consultation with all members on the work being developed is currently being prepared and will be rolled out shortly to give all an opportunity to comment and provide valuable feedback to the project team.

While much more work remains to be done, a significant amount of progress has been achieved to date and the Project Re-Start team is "on-track" with our project plan for a potential limited re-commencement of commercial passenger train operation towards the end of July 2013 (subject to Rail Safety Regulator approval).

Yesterdays meeting with ONRSR, while being our third meeting in the Sydney office, was our first under the new national regulatory environment and was a suitable occasion for a photo.

[img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8186/8409684377_8c987112a3.jpg[/img]

From left to right;
James Windsor (ZZR), David Honer (ZZR), David Edwards (ATRS), Simon Foster (ONRSR), Grant Windsham (ONRSR), Colin Holmes (ONRSR), Wayne Eagle (ZZR), Michael Forbes (ZZR).

While this team works towards works towards progressing re-commencement of commercial passenger train operation from the regulatory side, real progress at the railway itself cannot progress without the involvement of the membership and volunteers in the many practical tasks needed to be
progressed/completed as we count down to the re-commencement of commercial operations.

At the end of the day, the most vital and critical resource needed to achieve our project objectives is the "human resource", because, without the members getting involved, we cannot succeed, however, with the members involved and engaged we can achieve all our goals, dreams and more!!!



  Ed Locomotive Driver


Hi David

Sincere thanks for the news updates; great to see the significant progress being made on Project Restart.

Regards

Ed

  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman


3I Diesel
You ask two questions so I will answer them in two parts.

Farmers Creek Viaduct
.....the Farmer's Creek stone arch viaduct just west of Lithgow showing signs of weakening and now visible at the distance as you see it from the old highway are cross tie strengthening rods holding the structure in place.I believe there was supposed to be a structural fault with the Middle River stone arch viaduct as well.


Page 94 of Mark Langdon's book "Conquering the Blue Mountains" (Eveleigh Press 2006) refers specifically to the condition of Farmers Creek viaduct.
Opened in March 1870 as part of the Bowenfels to Wallerawang section, it began showing signs of structural cracks under the arches as early as 1885, only 15 years after opening. With the constant flow of trains on it's single track and increasingly heavier loads, the condition of the arches deteriorated. Speed restrictions were only applied after 1907 and only then to trains hauled by specific double headed locomotive combinations. Deterioration continued and around 1913, as an interim measure, 5 tie rods in each arch were used to reinforce the viaduct until it could be bypassed by a (only then proposed) more easily graded, double track deviation, which was not eventually completed until 1920.
Farmers Creek viaduct had remained in service under constant traffic conditions for over 35 years even after structural cracks had appeared. The ultimate post script is that it still stands to this day (but not carrying trains of course). To get a better understanding of the circumstances around this I consulted the books author,..... his reply follows;

"One issue that would affect the structural integrity of all of the viaducts, both at Zig Zag and those further west at Farmers Creek, Middle River and Coxs River, is the source of the sandstone used in their construction. To avoid the cost of transporting thousands of tons of sandstone over long distances, a search was always carried out to find a source of suitable sandstone close to the proposed work. Therefore, because the three viaducts at the Zig Zag were close together, the sandstone used in their construction most likely came from the one quarry (which no one has found as yet). Similarly, as the Middle River and Farmers Creek viaducts were close together, their sandstone probably came from the one quarry. As the Coxs River Viaduct was further away, the sandstone for this viaduct could have came from a third quarry".


"As well as the structural problems with the Farmers Creek Viaduct there are also problems with the original single bore Marangaroo Tunnel. Sections of the top of the arch in the tunnel have been replaced with brickwork. Therefore, the issue with the Farmers Creek and Middle River viaducts  and the Marangaroo Tunnel, may have been the quality of the sandstone used in their construction, which may have been of a poorer quality that the sandstone used to construct to Zig Zag viaducts. The tie rods were inserted in the Farmers Creek Viaduct owing to cracks appearing in the underside of its arches and this problem, and the problem with the Marangaroo Tunnel, may have been a result of poorer quality sandstone. While the Zig Zag viaducts do not have similar problems owing to a higher quality sandstone being used".
So, it would seem that the structural integrity of the Zig Zag viaducts as compared to Farmers Creek and Middle River viaducts is attributable simply to better quality sandstone being more available locally at Zig Zag than further down the valley.

I will follow up on answer part two in the next day or so.

regards
David H


  allambee Chief Train Controller




To avoid the cost of transporting thousands of tons of sandstone over long distances, a search was always carried out to find a source of suitable sandstone close to the proposed work. Therefore, because the three viaducts at the Zig Zag were close together, the sandstone used in their construction most likely came from the one quarry (which no one has found as yet).

"Zig Zag Reporter"


As there were no motor vehicles in those days the stone for the viaducts would have been sourced as close as possible to the worksite.  Most likely it much of came from excavated rock material from cuttings where it was possible when constructing the line. That's why you haven't found the quarry.

  Edgecombe1869 Beginner




3I Diesel
You ask two questions so I will answer them in two parts.

Farmers Creek Viaduct
.....the Farmer's Creek stone arch viaduct just west of Lithgow showing signs of weakening and now visible at the distance as you see it from the old highway are cross tie strengthening rods holding the structure in place.I believe there was supposed to be a structural fault with the Middle River stone arch viaduct as well.


Page 94 of Mark Langdon's book "Conquering the Blue Mountains" (Eveleigh Press 2006) refers specifically to the condition of Farmers Creek viaduct.
Opened in March 1870 as part of the Bowenfels to Wallerawang section, it began showing signs of structural cracks under the arches as early as 1885, only 15 years after opening. With the constant flow of trains on it's single track and increasingly heavier loads, the condition of the arches deteriorated. Speed restrictions were only applied after 1907 and only then to trains hauled by specific double headed locomotive combinations. Deterioration continued and around 1913, as an interim measure, 5 tie rods in each arch were used to reinforce the viaduct until it could be bypassed by a (only then proposed) more easily graded, double track deviation, which was not eventually completed until 1920.
Farmers Creek viaduct had remained in service under constant traffic conditions for over 35 years even after structural cracks had appeared. The ultimate post script is that it still stands to this day (but not carrying trains of course). To get a better understanding of the circumstances around this I consulted the books author,..... his reply follows;

"One issue that would affect the structural integrity of all of the viaducts, both at Zig Zag and those further west at Farmers Creek, Middle River and Coxs River, is the source of the sandstone used in their construction. To avoid the cost of transporting thousands of tons of sandstone over long distances, a search was always carried out to find a source of suitable sandstone close to the proposed work. Therefore, because the three viaducts at the Zig Zag were close together, the sandstone used in their construction most likely came from the one quarry (which no one has found as yet). Similarly, as the Middle River and Farmers Creek viaducts were close together, their sandstone probably came from the one quarry. As the Coxs River Viaduct was further away, the sandstone for this viaduct could have came from a third quarry".

"As well as the structural problems with the Farmers Creek Viaduct there are also problems with the original single bore Marangaroo Tunnel. Sections of the top of the arch in the tunnel have been replaced with brickwork. Therefore, the issue with the Farmers Creek and Middle River viaducts and the Marangaroo Tunnel, may have been the quality of the sandstone used in their construction, which may have been of a poorer quality that the sandstone used to construct to Zig Zag viaducts. The tie rods were inserted in the Farmers Creek Viaduct owing to cracks appearing in the underside of its arches and this problem, and the problem with the Marangaroo Tunnel, may have been a result of poorer quality sandstone. While the Zig Zag viaducts do not have similar problems owing to a higher quality sandstone being used".
So, it would seem that the structural integrity of the Zig Zag viaducts as compared to Farmers Creek and Middle River viaducts is attributable simply to better quality sandstone being more available locally at Zig Zag than further down the valley.

I will follow up on answer part two in the next day or so.

regards
David H


"Zig Zag Reporter"


Hello David and all,

I’ve spent many hours walking around the Great Lithgow Zig Zag formation and I think I may know where the site of the quarry is. The quarry is located on the left hand side of the road heading towards Lithgow, just over the brow of the hill past Mt Sinai. If you are coming from Lithgow on the Chifley Rd and heading around the left hand curve just past the sight of the WW2 RAF gun emplacements, you will be able to see a sandstone scar on the hill. There is a small dirt track which leaves the edge of the road and heads up the hill to the quarry which is now a rifle range.  From memory, I’m pretty sure that the dirt track which leaves Top Points leads in a direct line all the way up the hill to the site of the quarry (of course, the Chifley Road now cuts through this track). Coincidentally, I also located the spoil chute formation and still open tunnel which is located approximately 100 metres below the junction of top points and middle road.  

Regards,
Andrew

  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman






To avoid the cost of transporting thousands of tons of sandstone over long distances, a search was always carried out to find a source of suitable sandstone close to the proposed work. Therefore, because the three viaducts at the Zig Zag were close together, the sandstone used in their construction most likely came from the one quarry (which no one has found as yet).

"Zig Zag Reporter"


As there were no motor vehicles in those days the stone for the viaducts would have been sourced as close as possible to the worksite. Most likely it much of came from excavated rock material from cuttings where it was possible when constructing the line. That's why you haven't found the quarry.

"allambee"


Hello Allambee
It is not only plausable but logical that the excavated rock would be used as a source for the stone masons sandstone blocks for the viaducts. However, it would appear that construction techniques used in the Blue Montains construction did not favout this technique, mainly because it did not guarantee the sandstone quality needed, and widespread use of the 'cut and fill' method that had been able to simplify the construction teams into several localised sites at the same time. So the excavated rock more than likely was used as fill, especailly as there was a lot to fill, the biggest being the embankment between Clarence tunnel and Mt Sinai, (currently now used by the Bell Rd, and added to during our extension construction during 1987, using the same method of removing rock from Mt Sinai to widen the embankment to facilitate our parallel track).

I consulted with the author of "Conquering the Blue Mountains" again, and a precedent for this occurred in the construction of Knapsack Gully Viaduct, and Clarence Tunnel, quote;
"There is a newspaper report describing the building of Knapsack Viaduct that states a search was undertaken fo find suitable sandstone and a site was found about a mile from the viaduct and a tramway was laid between the quarry and the viaduct. Clarence Tunnel was originally proposed to be unlined, but it was discovered that the stone in the excavated tunnel was unstable and the tunnel then had to be lined. Therefore, these two cases indicate that the sandstone from the cuttings was not used as the excavated rock was not deemed suitable."

The absence of roads and motor vehicles notwithstanding, tramways were used....
So, the search continues.......

  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman








Therefore, because the three viaducts at the Zig Zag were close together, the sandstone used in their construction most likely came from the one quarry (which no one has found).
"Zig Zag Reporter"


Hello David and all,

I’ve spent many hours walking around the Great Lithgow Zig Zag formation and I think I may know where the site of the quarry is. The quarry is located on the left hand side of the road heading towards Lithgow, just over the brow of the hill past Mt Sinai. If you are coming from Lithgow on the Chifley Rd and heading around the left hand curve just past the sight of the WW2 RAF gun emplacements, you will be able to see a sandstone scar on the hill. There is a small dirt track which leaves the edge of the road and heads up the hill to the quarry which is now a rifle range. From memory, I’m pretty sure that the dirt track which leaves Top Points leads in a direct line all the way up the hill to the site of the quarry (of course, the Chifley Road now cuts through this track). Coincidentally, I also located the spoil chute formation and still open tunnel which is located approximately 100 metres below the junction of top points and middle road.

Regards,
Andrew

"Edgecombe1869"


Hi Andrew
Yes, for many years we believed that this was the site for the sandstone used in the viaducts construction, that was until we needed some sandstone from there to rebuild a damaged culvert on the western side of Mt Sinai during the 1987 extension construction. The stone mason who did the rebuild was taken to that quarry, because that is where everyone thought the stone came from, but he gave the opinion that he did not think the sandstone came from there as it did not match the type of sandstone that he was looking for.
The search continues.......

  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman


3l Diesel

Part two of my reply.

You asked;
"Could you clarify though remarks made before ZZR's hiatus concerning troubles with the viaducts. I seem to recall a Prime TV news article about such, but that would have been about two or more years ago"


The viaducts and tunnels are structurally sound. They are in excellent condition (especially compared to Farmers Creek further down the valley and referred to a couple of posts above). Considering they have been subjected to natural wind erosion (and all those other forces) since their construction 144 years ago, remedial work is required to prevent, or just slow down erosion, peeling or just plain old deterioration by time, wear and tear.

As their custodians and to ensure their future as well as ours, we have had several assessments made of our viaduct, tunnel and culvert infrastructure over the years. Now not all of those reports necessarily concurred in regards to either the 'issues' or the 'fixes' or even agreement on the prioritisation of the fixes. The Prime TV segment 'about two or more years ago' may have referred to a report circa 2009, but as I said, that has not been the only report or consultancy we have received. Nonetheless, we have taken notice of these reports and prioritised those parts that reflected a common concern, so, that over time, we can act as responsible custodians of our fabulous heritage at Zig Zag.

For the record, the tunnels were in need of remedial work sooner than the viaducts. The January ATRS Infrastructure report highlighted the missing washed out/blown out grout issue in sections of the roof of the tunnels. While not presenting any immediate danger, we decided to minimise/lessen the risks associated with passenger train operation through the tunnels by re-grouting now!

We asked Heritage NSW for financial assistance to provide remedial and/or preventative action for the Belmore tunnel. Heritage NSW granted funds (dollar for dollar) and after much preparation of the site, the stonemasons started work on February 4. The Clarence tunnel was also re-grouted and the portals cleared of trees while they were established on site. That we were not carrying passengers during the work greatly facilitated access and enabled completion of the work in the time originally estimated.

We have some photos of the Belmore Place tunnel work and I will post these in the next couple of days.

regards
David H

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