Regauging Victoria's railways (!)

 
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
Ultimately the plan is to replace the existing short manual loop at Camperdown station with a duplicate remote controlled loop of Warncoort design 1250m around Boorcan .
kuldalai
Sounds like a redux of the Rowsley Loop debacle. 1250m loop length is too short to do running crosses with freight trains at any reasonable speed. Crosses on the Warrnambool Line are almost invariably going to involve a passenger train. Why not modernise the loop at Camperdown instead?

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  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Ultimately the plan is to replace the existing short manual loop at Camperdown station with a duplicate remote controlled loop of Warncoort design 1250m around Boorcan .
Sounds like a redux of the Rowsley Loop debacle. 1250m loop length is too short to do running crosses with freight trains at any reasonable speed. Crosses on the Warrnambool Line are almost invariably going to involve a passenger train. Why not modernise the loop at Camperdown instead?
LancedDendrite
1. The issue at Rowsley is the gardients at the  Down end not so much the length.

2.  1250m is plenty for Warrnambool line and allows two container trains to pass.

3. Also Warrnambool line is Train Orders and will be for some time, so not an issue of running crosses.

4. One sites a new 1250m loop  away from Camperdown station at  Boorcan, and that avoids the need for a second platform at Camperdown, or archaic  time wasting  set back crosses .
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The original question now in a nutshell:

I'm sure you all know why any water main replacement is only ever done a little at a time. In order to regauge a large railway (or tramway network) without too much disruption, the regauging must also be done a little at a time. This can be done if the gauges differ by more than the width of standard rails because dual gauge track is possible.
Could the Melbourne suburban be regauged a little at a time, given that Victoria and standard gauge differ by less than the width of the foot of standard rails, and the speed restriction imposed by dual broad a standard gauge track, or would nearly all the suburban network need to be shut down for an extended period of time during regauging?
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

The original question now in a nutshell:

I'm sure you all know why any water main replacement is only ever done a little at a time. In order to regauge a large railway (or tramway network) without too much disruption, the regauging must also be done a little at a time. This can be done if the gauges differ by more than the width of standard rails because dual gauge track is possible.
Could the Melbourne suburban be regauged a little at a time, given that Victoria and standard gauge differ by less than the width of the foot of standard rails, and the speed restriction imposed by dual broad a standard gauge track, or would nearly all the suburban network need to be shut down for an extended period of time during regauging?
Myrtone
No
  RustyRick Chief Commissioner

Location: South West Vic
Myrtone

In a nutshell, you (you, yes you personally) don't appear to know how a water main is replaced. Please stop using that as an analogy for your ideas.

Ok, basic engineering design 101. You replace as much as required when the original pipe no longer can serve it's purpose because of condition or size. There's pipe in Melbourne that's over 100 years old and is likely to be there for another 100. You don't replace it because a salesman has come along with some nice new pipe material that may have marginal benefits over the existing asset. You replace as much as you can in one project to minimize the impact on consumers. You determine the best method of replacement that minimizes costs and customer interruptions depending on the critical nature of the asset. This may involve different construction methods. Gee, isn't that like "Sky rail" vs open cut? In another nutshell, isn't that causing a lot of disruption?

Rick
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
I do have some understanding as to how water mains are replaced, but water mains over a wide area are replaced a little at a time, no matter what the benefits of replacing them is. At least sometimes temporary water lines are run on the surface when and where the water mains are replaced being temporarily attached to each building.
Whatever the benefits of replacing water mains over a wide area, it is never done all at once, it is only ever done a little at a time.

Likewise, tracks on a large rail network are also only replaced a little at a time, and there needs to be equipment (such as buses) to provide replacement service. Regauging a rail network, whatever the benefits, is more complicated than it's worth unless it can be done a little at a time.
Or take a look at Melbourne's tramway network, large enough that tracks are only ever replaced a little at a time. Proper contingencies must be made. For example, 96 trams can be diverted along LaTrobe street when track replacement is going on in Bourke street. This would not work if tracks in both Bourke and LaTrobe were replaced at the same time. Or I believe trams to Moreland were diverted along Royal Parade and Sydney road last time there was track replacement in Lygon street, Brunswick. Again, this would not work if tracks had to be replaced in Sydney road at the same time.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
The original question now in a nutshell:

Could the Melbourne suburban be regauged a little at a time, given that Victoria and standard gauge differ by less than the width of the foot of standard rails, and the speed restriction imposed by dual broad a standard gauge track, or would nearly all the suburban network need to be shut down for an extended period of time during regauging?
Myrtone
The answer, yes it could be, in the same way that anything theoretically could be done, if there is enough will and desire to do it. The fact is, there is no will and desire to gauge convert the Melbourne Metro Network as the cost would be astronomical and the benefits would be minimal.

How it would be done is irrelevant, it just aint going to happen.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Of course it's not going to happen. How complicated the regauging would be makes a difference and is more important that how much money it costs. How it would be done it if were done makes a difference to the inconvenience of the conversion. I know dual gauge track is possible, but it needs narrow footed rails, and also places a speed restriction on broad gauge rolling stock. Would the need for narrow footed rails and that speed restriction complicate regauging?
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Myrtone, you seem to be focusing on smaller details while simultaneously ignoring the main issue, that it isn't going to happen. The issues surrounding narrow footed rails are irrellevant because it isn't going to happen.

It's the equivalent of asking how we are going to feed the crew on a manned space mission to Pluto. The question is irrelevant because there is not going to be a manned space mission to Pluto, so who really gives a damn how the crew would be fed?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Of course it's not going to happen. How complicated the regauging would be makes a difference and is more important that how much money it costs. How it would be done it if were done makes a difference to the inconvenience of the conversion. I know dual gauge track is possible, but it needs narrow footed rails, and also places a speed restriction on broad gauge rolling stock. Would the need for narrow footed rails and that speed restriction complicate regauging?
Myrtone
If the system was to be re-gauged the preparation would take years to complete, where the existing sleepers would be changed out and replaced with new full size gauge convertible concrete sleepers (as per Adelaide)
Major rail mounting conversion work would be needed In the likes of the City Loop

BG Turnout points would probable be fully replaced by new SG points (all delivered and set up line side)

The major train maintenance and stabling depots would probably be temporarily expanded and dual gauged to permit the re-gauging of rolling stock (thousands of new or refurbished SG wheel sets would need to be on standby)

During a major system wide shutdown during Christmas, New Year, January holiday period.
Trains would be re-gauged,
The BG rail would be un clipped and moved over the SG position and clipped back.
Loading gauge clearances through platform pits and past bridges would be adjusted.
BG turnout points would be change out and replaced with SG one's.  

Testing and driver training would be conducted before everything gets back to normal.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
There's how complicated the regauging would be, at least by the method mentioned above. Well, I'm not quite sure whether dual gauging facilities would be providing them with (three-rail) dual gauge track, or simply adding extra tracks of a different gauge.
Are you saying that the whole network would be regauged during a period where it is all shut down? That would mean no suburban train services anywhere in the metropolitan area for months.
If dual gauge track is possible, a network can be regauged without modifying existing rolling stock, just by buying new rolling stock for the new gauge and putting dual gauge track where the old and new rolling stock share tracks. The programme can be completed once the old rolling stock is withdrawn.
While the Victoria gauge and standard gauge do differ enough to make three-rail dual gauge track possible, two of the rails would need to be narrow footed, and a speed restriction would apply. Would this complicate this method of regauging?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
There's how complicated the regauging would be, at least by the method mentioned above. Well, I'm not quite sure whether dual gauging facilities would be providing them with (three-rail) dual gauge track, or simply adding extra tracks of a different gauge.
Are you saying that the whole network would be regauged during a period where it is all shut down? That would mean no suburban train services anywhere in the metropolitan area for months.
If dual gauge track is possible, a network can be regauged without modifying existing rolling stock, just by buying new rolling stock for the new gauge and putting dual gauge track where the old and new rolling stock share tracks. The programme can be completed once the old rolling stock is withdrawn.
While the Victoria gauge and standard gauge do differ enough to make three-rail dual gauge track possible, two of the rails would need to be narrow footed, and a speed restriction would apply. Would this complicate this method of regauging?
Myrtone
Where do get this Idea that train services would be out for Months ?

Dual gauge just causes complicated costly mess, go have a look at dual gauge points ! (loading gauge at paltforms one major headache !)

Where would the justification be to do a whole scale replacement of rolling stock ? what happens to the broad gauge stock ?
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Previously you wrote "During a major system wide shutdown during Christmas, New Year, January holiday period." You said "system wide" and during the Christmas, New Year and January holiday period. That's during December and January. It's certainly a long time for a shutdown period.
We have done plenty of whole scale replacements of our trains before, all the wooden bodied ones, for example, have since been replaced by newer steel bodied ones.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
In the mid 19th century, the Great Western railway had a track gauge of 7 feet (a quarter of an inch was added later). Towards the turn of the century, this was converted to standard gauge, with dual gauge track during the changeover. Note that Brunnel's gauge differed from Stephenson's (standard gauge) by more than the width of the rails, so dual gauge track didn't need narrow footed rails, and I guess that the gaps between the rails were wide enough that it didn't mean a speed restriction. So conversion to standard gauge was pretty trivial.
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
So why don't we organise a compromise between the gauge differences of both states, and regauge both NSW and Victoria to 4'11" gauge, so that it costs NSW 98% of the gauge conversion cost and Vic 2%?

M
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The difference between the axle lengths is too much.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Starting from the ground up, does Victoria use any concrete/steel sleepers on its broadgauge lines because if so, each and everyone would have to be replaced as unlike wood, you cant just wack a rail on it anywhere you like.

While it sounds like a great idea to shrink B/gauge and extend Standard to meet a new gauge of 4 foot 11', that just aint gunna work when you look at how a rail axle is supported by a bearing box on the outside.
The bearing box is held in place by the bogie frame which allows some vertical movement but NOT horiziontal so we now have one axle too short and the other too long !!!

Apart from all the work required to re space the rails from Broad to Standard gauge, it would be simpler to just replace all the Bogies on the vehicles currently using Broadgauge as was done during a brief period before the Standard gauge project was completed to connect all capitol cities.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
So why don't we organise a compromise between the gauge differences of both states, and regauge both NSW and Victoria to 4'11" gauge, so that it costs NSW 98% of the gauge conversion cost and Vic 2%?
"Grantham"
It seems that some of our number just don't appreciate irony.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
So why don't we organise a compromise between the gauge differences of both states, and regauge both NSW and Victoria to 4'11" gauge, so that it costs NSW 98% of the gauge conversion cost and Vic 2%?

M
Grantham
I assume that this post is in jest but please don't encourage them......
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
Starting from the ground up, does Victoria use any concrete/steel sleepers on its broad gauge lines because if so, each and everyone would have to be replaced as unlike wood, you cant just wack a rail on it anywhere you like.
gordon_s1942
Most of the Regional Fast Rail network was re-sleepered with concrete sleepers. The Metro network is riddled with 'timber replacement' (low-profile concrete) sleepers. This is the main technical problems with gauge-converting the Victorian/Melburnian passenger rail networks.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
The only Suburban lines in Melbourne that would actually be worth Standardising would be Sunbury, to allow more access to freight on the Bendigo Line, and the Dandenong lines, to connect more freight to Gippsland (and the potential Port of Hastings). These lines are also the ones being connected by the Melbourne Metro Tunnel, so theoretically be the easiest to convert to SG.

If SG access is required, however, it would be almost just as easy, and probably more justifiable to Standardise the RRL, and extend it to Sunbury, and construct a new SG track pair alongside the Dandenong Line.

Converting the whole suburban network to SG would be a waste of resources and time for very little gain. It's not like freight trains will start running to South Morang or Sandringham because the tracks are slightly closer together.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
...Dandenong lines, to connect more freight to Gippsland (and the potential Port of Hastings)
TOQ-1

The Port of Melbourne lease is likely to put off the construction of the Port of Hastings (or any other new container port) for at least another 25-30 years thanks to the legal chicanery in the contract. You don't get a sale that lucrative without some anti-competition clauses.

The Gippsland and Bendigo lines are going to be connected to the broad-gauge only Metro Tunnel, presenting a prickly gauge interface issue if standardisation works are performed. You'd need some sort of big inner-city freight bypass line or hideous lengths of dual gauge to overcome that issue. Regional Rail Link would need conversion to dual gauge, as it's a reasonable assumption that broad gauge is still going to be used over the medium term on the Geelong and Ballarat lines.

If you were happy with booting a pair of lines out of the City Loop in order to convert them to standard gauge then you might have a chance. Frankston/Craigieburn or Sandringham/Upfield (with Upfield-Somerton rebuilt) could work. Frankston/Craigieburn have very high volumes of suburban passenger traffic along them but do have existing freight services running along them (the Long Island Steelie and irregular shunting of the Kensington Flour Mills, respectively). Sandringham/Upfield is very much a pair of metro-style services and happen to have lower passenger volumes too, so potentially there's more paths available for freight or standard-gauge V/Line services on the Upfield section. Of course, the Sandringham line has bugger-all potential freight traffic along it so it's a bit useless in that respect.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Switzeland is making progress with so-called "Gauge Change Trains", which have variable gauge axles, rather than the more familiar bogie exchange.
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See: http://Railpage.com.au/f-t11385109.htm

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  NOELWB Locomotive Driver

Switzeland is making progress with so-called "Gauge Change Trains", which have variable gauge axles, rather than the more familiar bogie exchange.
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See: http://Railpage.com.au/f-t11385109.htm

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awsgc24
The Spanish have had operational "gauge changing trains" for many years ie the Talgo trains. I understand that other European countries also have operational gauge changing trains.The concept and even the practical application is not new.
Unless there are some practical engineering issues that are not immediately obvious it is difficult to understand why this technology has not been investigated for application in Victoria. Perhaps it has!
Certainly it would seem unlikely to be more expensive than the major infrastructure "work arounds" that have been suggested in this and other fora.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

A Talgo train would appear much easier to run through a gauge converter, as each car runs on a single axle. I think that bogies, with the axles close together, are much more difficult.

It may have been investigated, but wouldn't be cheap, and I've yet to hear a convincing reason why it should be implemented. Why would we need gauge-convertible trains?

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