Bairnsdale Line News

 
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
From V/Line website....

V/Line working to restore train services to Bairnsdale

- Please visit this page regularly for the latest information
Updated 11 April 2013
V/Line is developing both short and long term solutions to the unique rail corrosion issue that has forced the suspension of train services between Traralgon and Bairnsdale for safety reasons.
The local conditions have been causing rapid oxidisation of the rail surface, which can affect the reliability of level crossing warning equipment.
V/Line is working with the State Government to return trains to Sale and Bairnsdale as soon as possible.

In recent days, our service to Bairnsdale customers has been boosted with the addition of an express coach to Southern Cross Station, Melbourne.
This supplements the train replacement coach service that we are operating between Traralgon and Bairnsdale.

The short term engineering solution is to grind the surface of the rail approximately 500 metres on each side of the 32 level crossings between Traralgon and Sale. This equates to more than 60 kilometres of track.
Rail grinding equipment is not currently available in Victoria, so V/Line has sourced a heavy duty rail grinding machine from Western Australia. Once in place in Gippsland, this machine is capable of completing the rail grinding process in approximately 21 days.
Because the grinding machine has been newly manufactured, it has to be commissioned first in Western Australia. Before it can be used on the Gippsland line, the grinding machine needs to be modified to fit our broad gauge track. The brakes for the broad gauge bogies are coming from overseas, so it is not yet possible to confirm a timeline for the start of the works.
On completion of the rail grinding, test trains will run to ensure that the track circuits are operating the level crossing equipment to provide the required 25 seconds warning to road users.
V/Line engineers are also working to design a long term solution which involves the installation of axle counters to detect trains and activate the level crossing warning equipment. This technology is already used on the Bendigo line.

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  J516 Locomotive Driver

Location: Victoria
Perhaps a switch grinder would be better suited to such small track lengths. Lead time of availability would be greatly reduced too....
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
"""The short term engineering solution is to grind the surface of the rail approximately 500 metres on each side of the 32 level crossings
between Traralgon and Sale. This equates to more than 60 kilometres of track."""

If there are 32 level crossings and one grinds 500 metres of track each side of the crossing does this not equate to 32 km of track?

Where does the '''''more than 60 kilometres of track'''' come from?

Do we assume that someone in Vline does not know the difference between 'rail' and 'track'? It's no wonder rail in Victoria is in such a
mess!

What happened to the BG grinder that Metro used on the suburban network?
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
I'm just curious as to what's so unique about the track down there getting about 6 movements per day which is similar to the Ballarat - Ararat siding yet that doesn't seem to have the same problem?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
This whole saga seams very hush hush, with the public not been told the whole truth ?

Is the old V/Line 1990's plan to close down the railway East of Traralgon waking up and rearing It's head again.

A rail grinder has to come from Western Australia ! come on, V/Line have their own or Victorian based maintenance contractors do (?)
  raudteejaam Junior Train Controller

"""The short term engineering solution is to grind the surface of the rail approximately 500 metres on each side of the 32 level crossings
between Traralgon and Sale. This equates to more than 60 kilometres of track."""

If there are 32 level crossings and one grinds 500 metres of track each side of the crossing does this not equate to 32 km of track?

Where does the '''''more than 60 kilometres of track'''' come from?

Do we assume that someone in Vline does not know the difference between 'rail' and 'track'? It's no wonder rail in Victoria is in such a
mess!

What happened to the BG grinder that Metro used on the suburban network?
YM-Mundrabilla
Wouldn't they do both rails? That'd add up to 64 km of actual rail being ground.

Im aware that saying "track" implies both rails implicitly. But I know what government press relases can be like, and they tend to mislead when they can make a bigger claim. Such as this case.

It's like the old joke about a government spokesman defending a $70 screwdriver, on the basis it can both put screws in, and take them out again.
  Daryl Junior Train Controller

Location: Carrum Downs
There's some sort of rail grinder in a siding near Werribee, but it might be SG or I don't know what condition it is.

I wonder if this will be a mystery corrosion disease which will spread to every broad guage line.

It could be spinned to the public as a new rail trail
  bayside1 Station Master

In is 2013 you cannot image this is happening and takes so long.

Imagine the outcry if he Princess Hwy was closed to Bairnsdale you would have people marching in the street, however a railway seems to be so different.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Could It be

Lack of routine maintenance on level crossing circuits and equipment ?

Life expired electrical equipment ?

How many level crossings are not working to standard ? are they on the Traralgon - Sale section (that has suffered ongoing neglect)
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Rail grinding is a fairly standard process.  If there is no suitable equipment in Victoria there should be in NSW which is much closer than WA.  It beggars belief that there is no suitable kit here however given that Victoria has the densest rail network of any state. I smell something bigger than a rat.  Yet another damning indictment on the absence of investment in rail's future.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
What happened to the BG grinder that Metro used on the suburban network?
YM-Mundrabilla
No answer to this question yet?  Metro made such a big thing of grinding their rails, must have used "something".  Do they have an on-going requirement?

"Short term" solution?  Woulbn't the newly ground rail surface just become corroded again?
  skitz Chief Commissioner

A few questions in there. I will try and pick them up.

The issue was there back in 2004. It was isolated to level crossings that had a certain type of predictor set up. I don't know the full explanation of the technical electrical aspect but creating a defined contact band on the rail fixed the issue. It would appear that more level crossing have been upgraded without knowing the issue. Why only here is unknown. Could be soil, ballast, salt, rail type. Who knows.

I could look back at my photo archives to find out exactly when we ran RG8 down there.  I have not been rail grinding for six years so there whereabouts and capability awareness of the machines of the suppliers is not as acute as it once was. The information is the best I can muster and may have a few gaps given the absence.

Last time the job was done it was ground with RG8 turnout grinder. It was fully gauge convertible and very portable. It was well suited to doing an unusual job such as this. However, with John Holland bailing out if rail grinding (3 years ago?) RG 8 was picked up by Loram and was sent to South Africa (I believe, not confirmed)  it certainly not in Australia.

The machine 'near Werribee' sounds like RG 9. It has not worked since JH got out of grinding.  Last I saw the two JH main line grinders were at the CRT siding. RG7 was said to be scrapped and RG 9 waiting for a buyer. Both are SG only and not suitable for the Bairnsdale job. Its been a while

Going by the press release it sound like they are talking to Speno. They are WA based and also the last supplier to have BG capacity. As for the metro grinder it would have been put together to do the job (bogies and grind modules) done the Kobe and then reconfigured for the next job.  The Speno machines are basically modular but the work involved is heavy work and not one that is done for a small contract. Vline have to wait for a machine to be available and the mob and demob will be horrendous. Ben Lombardo will be rubbing his hands together with glee. Captive client, political ramifications = Cha Ching.

To give an idea, the 60km of grinding would be valued in the order of $250k. I would expect the mob and demob to be twice this given the circumstances if a big machine is especially set up for the job. RG8 on the other hand would have been mob'd for around $20k ( depending on where it came from) and done the grinding for around $300k. Being an 8 stone turnout grinder it's not as efficient on plain track as the big machines and of course also take longer too.

Makes me wonder though. To repeat the mistake is unacceptable. Given the situation in the grinding market one would have to question if its cheaper to get rid of the predictor track circuits for simple track circuits. I will leave that to such people as Coils to comment.

Finally. Aurizon (who have the QR grinders) don't have any BG capacity
  L1150 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Pakenham Vic.
Just needs a couple of long freight trains each day to keep the rails nice and shiny! Very Happy
Oh, sorry I forgot, freight goes by road these days.Sad
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Just needs a couple of long freight trains each day to keep the rails nice and shiny! Very Happy
Oh, sorry I forgot, freight goes by road these days.Sad
"L1150"


6 trains a day each with 18+ axles should be plenty to keep the rails shiny.

Tourist railways run a few trains like one or two days a week and level crossings work safely (ells they would be shut down)
  skitz Chief Commissioner

It's the type of level crossing equipment that is making it the issue. The variation in surface condition plays havoc with the smarts determine the speed of the train. The false speed means that it does not know when to turn the lights. Be careful to compare apples with apples as I guess there would be many ways of setting a crossing up.
  Xiphias Locomotive Driver

Location: Riding the rails
V/Line should just hire 32 people, give them a genny and an angle grinder each, and deploy them to each of the crossings! Laughing

Funnily enough it would probably be cheaper too!

Too bad there isn't a spare 32 flag signallers to operate the crossings manually in the mean time... Rolling Eyes

Also, anyone else notice this:

The short term engineering solution is to grind the surface of the rail approximately 500 metres on each side of the 32 level crossings between Traralgon and Sale. This equates to more than 60 kilometres of track.
V/Line
[bold my emphasis]

60km!? Last I checked, 500m each side of a crossing, at 32 crossings, is 32km. (There is no way double track could make up the 28km difference either, as Bosworth Rd LX is the only two-track crossing between Traralgon and Bairnsdale.)

Even if you account for the fact they said approximately 500m, it's still a long way off.
  lkernan Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
It's amazing that V/line allowed the situation to occur where there isn't a rail grinder in the entire state.  

Maybe the vlocity and sprinters should be fitted with rail cleaning pads like a model train uses!  
Otherwise the locals could be armed with wire brushes, would be good for cleaning up the millipedes too.
  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
In is 2013 you cannot image this is happening and takes so long.

Imagine the outcry if he Princess Hwy was closed to Bairnsdale you would have people marching in the street, however a railway seems to be so different.
bayside1

Ironically, the Princes highway WAS closed for months and months last year in Morwell when the coal mine subsided.
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Add the line being closed because of the culvert at Morwell river too.

To think this is a modern 'smart' country is kidding yourself.
  J516 Locomotive Driver

Location: Victoria
Tourist railways are generally low speed and use a different type of track circuit to said locations. Here the situation is high speed (in Australian terms) and a slightly different track circuit. The comparison is quite different.

Seems a very expensive way to use a rail grinder to just clean up the rails to remove built up corrosion. As mentioned above^.

A grinder is much better suited to providing a better head profile for wheel/rail interface.....the main purpose of a grinder, then head defect removal.
  skitz Chief Commissioner

The grinding is not just to clean up the head. A profile is applied as per normal. The defined contact band has proven to be enough to keep it clean and have all the wheel sets operate on one part of the rail.
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
Tourist railways are generally low speed and use a different type of track circuit to said locations. Here the situation is high speed (in Australian terms) and a slightly different track circuit. The comparison is quite different.
J516

Can you elaborate on this point? I can't speak for other TR's but at PBR we've been using Harmon Phase Motion Detector controllers for most of our crossings for years. In fact, our first one was installed a few months before V/Line commissioned their first one.
  J516 Locomotive Driver

Location: Victoria
Learn something every day! One assumption down well for puff anyway, but the speed difference is still a massive increment i.e. 130-160 km/hr compared to say 20-40 km/hr.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
I wonder when this railgrinder will rock up?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Compared to ARTC, WA Network, Queensland and NSW Victoria has been quite some years behind grasping the benefits of rail grinding that extend both rail and wheel life.   Even so there has been quite an extensive program of grinding on the Regional Fast Rail Corridors and selected parts of the Metro system and therefore it is extrordinary that there is not ready access to grinding equipment to address the problem on the Bairnsdale Line.  Admittedly the need to have a dedicated broad gauge unit might not be there given the frequency of grinding but a dual gauge unit could certainly have enough work to be reasonably well utilised.   V/Line is not the first operator to experience this type of problem and I would have thought some form of track scrubber to widen the contact band on the rail head could be set up ahead of waiting for this new machine to arrive.

I think it is just too easy to suspend services replace them with buses until such time as the unit arrives and that will likely be a protracted operation.

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