NE SG line, post gauge conversion

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
I wonder how long the latest track repairs will last before more mud-holes appear after the heavy rain in the north east these past few days.

Mike.

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  Duncs Chief Commissioner

I wonder how long the latest track repairs will last before more mud-holes appear after the heavy rain in the north east these past few days.

Mike.
The Vinelander

If they have done their job properly, there should be no mud holes.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I wonder how long the latest track repairs will last before more mud-holes appear after the heavy rain in the north east these past few days.

Mike.
The Vinelander


Most of the mud holes have been caused by either poor ballast or lack of maintence of the ballast, some of the damage south of Seymour has been caused by poor drainage. The crews that ARTC have put onto the job have been well resourced and do know what they are doing and as much as possible any faults found (poor drainage, faulty ballast) has been repaired or replaced.

Compared with the performance of the track immediately after the regauging MUCH less ballast damage is currently appearing.

ARTC is now VERY WELL aware of good drainage and top quality ballast.

woodford
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
ARTC is now VERY WELL aware of good drainage and top quality ballast.
woodford

It's called learning the hard way.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

It's called learning the hard way.
Valvegear

Well if some long term good comes of this so much the better.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Let's hope this is the case as there is a NSW thread related to Southern line sinking under TSR s and it says mud holes are back up there following recent rain.b I would suggest though that ARTC has been under far greater scrutiny by Government, media and the community in Victoria and perhaps as such we may fare better.  

Has anyone any feedback on the commissioning of Passing Lane 1 and it's impact on train operations. Was due to start late February.  Thanks
  Campaspe Junior Train Controller

I went for a trip on the XPT on Thursday, 20 March between Melbourne and Albury and was very impressed by the ride. The section between Albion and Seymour was very smooth, except for one hole we hit just north of the Donnybrook Passing Lane.

We used the East Line (the original 1962 standard gauge line) north of Seymour, and again the ride was very smooth with no apparent problems. The ride was actually smoother than my normal commute on the Melbourne suburban network! I could easily write down notes on the XPT, which is sometimes not that easy on my suburban commute.

At Benalla and Wangaratta were crossed over to the West Line to access the original broad gauge platforms, but crossed back to the East Line shortly after leaving these stations. We used the East Line on the Wodonga Rail Bypass.

We only encountered problems at the following points:

(1) We moved through Euroa at reduced speed after passing over detonators south of the station. The ARTC appeared to be doing some work on the track near the creek (Seven Creek?)on the north side of the station (A more definitive explanation of what they were doing would be appreciated).
(2) We reduced speed near Bowser. I'm note sure why.
(3) We passed over detonators on the south side of Chiltern and reduced speed. We passed the new ARTC ballast shoulder cleaner at work on the West Line at Chiltern.
(4) We also passed over detonators near Barnawartha. It appeared that a gang was doing some work on the track at this point.

As mentioned  by Woodford, a large stockpile of ballast was being built up at Benalla.

We arrived at Albury only 6 minutes late (11 55 arrival as against the schedule of 11 49).

Trainplaner, I noted that there were workmen beside the track in the area of Passing Lane 1, but I was unsure if they were working on the track or Passing Lane No.1.  I can't find any relevant circular on the ARTC website suggesting the date as to when this Lane will be commissioned.

One of the interesting things I noted related to the old standard gauge crossing loops.  In some cases the loop track was still in position, even though the mainline turnouts had been removed. For example, the loop tracks at Longwood, Glenrowan, Alumatta and Chiltern were still in position. I'm not sure about the old loop at Violet Town as I missed it.  Anyone know why these tracks have been retained and if the loop track at Violet Town is still in position?

Things worth noting about the NSW TrainLink service:

(1) A noticeable proportion of passengers in the carriage in which I was travelling (Car D - XF 2206) had their ticket on their Smart Phone.  I'm not sure what the percentage was, but it seemed to be around 20%.  Does anyone know what the real percentage is?
(2) The windows were cleaner than what is normal on V/Line.
(3) Passengers at Broadmeadows, Seymour, Benalla and Wangaratta, boarded and alighted through one door in Car D, i.e. all the other doors were locked. All the doors were opened at Albury. Metro Trains Melbourne had an attendant on the platform at Broadmeadows.
(4) I travelled on a special $30 one-way fare that can only be bought in person 7 days or less before travelling at either the Southern Cross or Albury booking offices. This deal is excellent value, but very poorly marketed (The marketing of this offer seems non-existent!).
(5) NSW TrainLink appears to be more active in trying to coax passengers up to the buffet than V/Line. The buffet was opened as soon as the train left Southern Cross, they promoted a special Devonshire Tea offer after breakfast and didn't close the buffet until after we had left Wangaratta. The buffet apparently re-opened after the train left Albury.

Regards

Campaspe
  woodford Chief Commissioner

The loop at Violet Town has been converted to a siding, in fact a two track siding by the removal of the southern end points.
One every now and then one will see track machines or the AK train in there.

There are currently  3 different works going on, first Ballast repair, poor ballast is being removed by an excavator with an undercutting attachment, base is cleaned up and new material being put back. Sholder cleaning, they appear to have done a large portion of the distance between Glenrowan and Euroa and a crew is doing some pit and pipe work it appears on some level crossings, the one south of Violet Town is currently getting such attention.

woodford
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Just wondering how the track drainage is holding up after the recent rain?
  packa Junior Train Controller

Well, I am very happy to say that this time around the track is smooth at Barnawartha. Previously they performed botch jobs only to sink weeks after.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
... ARTC is now VERY WELL aware of good drainage and top quality ballast.
woodford
woodford


ARTC were aware of ballast and drainage issues, however those problems were to be addressed under ongoing maintenance as there was no dedicated funding for this work. Back in 2007 (before the big wet) ARTC laid out its strategy and approach to addressing all the significant issues associated with the track and the priorities in respect of sleepers and ballast/drainage. After the big wet ARTC pulled funds from other projects to fund its Ballast Rehabilitation Program and bring forward this work by many years.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Ballast is currently being stockpiled at Benalla, Euroa, Locksley and Seymour with the main activity being at Euroa and Seymour, the pile at Seymour being huge. The ballast train is currently stabled at the siding that was the old loop a few kilometres north of Seymour. All indications are that much work is going to be put in to the West line between Seymour and Euroa.

Passing lane 1,

Now this is difficult to get a good look at as the train does not slow down at all, insipite of work being in progress.

The following appears to be going on............ the signal gantry (with signals for both tracks, ie for NORTH bound trains) has been installed on the double track at the north end of the loop, the southern one was not in place, on the last trip down it was lying on the east side of the track. There was a team with at least two trucks working on inner rail, ie the SG rail around half way down the loop, a number of sections around 3 or 4 metres in length had been removed, there is some possibilty that new insulated joints were being installed. I saw at least one new track tap for the signals in place so this work is possibly being done.

woodford
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks woodford
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Bye the way, the train to Melbourne (VLine) only took 2 hours 21 minutes stop to stop from Benalla to Southern Cross, considering the distance and the fact the train is limited to 115kph an excellent result.. It only took 26 minutes stop to stop from Broadmedows to SC. We never struck a single red signal the whole way (from Benalla), an almost unheard of condition.

woodford
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks woodford.  I know theres been lots of previous discussion but I think there are quite a few more minutes that could be wrung out of the schedule throughout a reset of the actual official section running times and some increase in speed.  I know you've done the modelling but on good track I've had excellent cab rides in N's nudging 125km/hr
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Thanks woodford. I know theres been lots of previous discussion but I think there are quite a few more minutes that could be wrung out of the schedule throughout a reset of the actual official section running times and some increase in speed. I know you've done the modelling but on good track I've had excellent cab rides in N's nudging 125km/hr
Trainplanner

With a cruise speed of 115kph almost no more time can be made up. The distance from Benalla to Broadmedows is 178 kilometres. the time of the above train for this distance is 1 h 55 minutes. The train stops at 5 stations the train loses just under 3 minutes at each stop, this means the train has taken around 1h 40 minutes (exclusive of station stops) to do the distance this is an average of 107kph. The service did run into two speed restrictions 80kph from Avenal to Mangalore and a 60kph for 1 kilometre or so at Wallan. Taking these into account would give the train speed at close to 115 kph for most of the distance.

The N class locos do have decent legs, lets put it this way I have been on an south bound Albury train that was doing well over 120kph between Euroa and Avenal.

Note: One of the senior maintenece people told me the D77 traction motor fitted N class loco's, ie the three SG ones, are definitely limited to 115kph.

Interestingly I have found some drivers like the N's but most appear not to due to there rough ride.

woodford
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Mr Woodford do you know what happened to the idea of re railing the NESG with 60kg/m rail ? If it did start where did it get up to ?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The distance from Benalla to Broadmedows is 178 kilometres. the time of the above train for this distance is 1 h 55 minutes.
woodford

So an average speed of 92.8km/h

Not to bad for a climb over the rangers and running on a fair bit of single track.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
BDA.  The entire original SG main is now 60kg/m rail. The former broad gauge main referred to as the west track between Seymour and Wodonga retains 47kg/m rail. It has had a lot of dipped welded joints straightened etc. As well as grinding. From Tottenham to St Dynon the track is a mix of 50 kg new and 47kg.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Mr Woodford do you know what happened to the idea of re railing the NESG with 60kg/m rail ? If it did start where did it get up to ?
BDA


As Trainplanner the old SG  (East line) was rerailed from where the 60kg ended which was from memory just south of Tallarook all the way to Albury and apparently some way beyond, as I did see the rail train in the yard at Albury going north a couple of times.
The west line is still the original 94 lb/yard (47 kg/m) rail. Allthough most of the dipped welds have been straightened  the track (this is the West ljne) south of Violet Town is quite rough. Mostly due to small very short vertical deviations in the rails. It appears ARTC is preparing to do a lot of work on this section, judging by the massive stockpiles of ballast being built at Seymour (near the old loop), Locksley. Euroa and Benalla). I Noticed also a decent sized pile of ballast also at Barnawatha the other day.

The East line is now quite good, I do not know if they are still doing this (I believe they are) but in the past if possible the controlers were were putting all pass's on the East line. You cannot do this for the mid day trains as they cross somewhere around Violet Town, so one must be on the West line.

woodford
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Thanks for that . One would hope that the West line will get 60 kg/m rail as well to better support higher axle load locomotives .
We have an issue in Sydney , Sydney - Newcastle actually , where 93 class locos can't use more than the low max fuel load (7400L) while they have a 13500L tank . ARTCs standards appear to be different to Sydney Trains who don't seem to think that over 22.2 tonne axle load is allowable , even at reduced speeds , on 60 kg/m rail and concrete sleepers .
I'm not sure if 93s can run around in Victoria with the intermediate or full fuel load which is more like 22.7 and 23.2 tonne axle load .
Does anyone down there know the real gross max or axle load of C and L classes and the speeds they can run on the Victorian Interstate std gauge lines ?
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Thanks for that . One would hope that the West line will get 60 kg/m rail as well to better support higher axle load locomotives .
We have an issue in Sydney , Sydney - Newcastle actually , where 93 class locos can't use more than the low max fuel load (7400L) while they have a 13500L tank . ARTCs standards appear to be different to Sydney Trains who don't seem to think that over 22.2 tonne axle load is allowable , even at reduced speeds , on 60 kg/m rail and concrete sleepers .
I'm not sure if 93s can run around in Victoria with the intermediate or full fuel load which is more like 22.7 and 23.2 tonne axle load .
Does anyone down there know the real gross max or axle load of C and L classes and the speeds they can run on the Victorian Interstate std gauge lines ?
BDA

The 47kg rail in the West Line is not all that old and is of course now CWR on concrete sleepers.  No doubt in the longer term ARTC would plan to re-rail with new 60kg rail  BUT  the  Adelaide sg  line carries more trains and between Gheringhap and Maroona the rail is very old although now CWR on concrete sleepers.  This section would have a much higher priority with ARTC to get new 60kg rail first .  (The current  94lb rail between Gheringhap and Maroona was cascaded ex the Ararat - Serviceton bg line yonks ago when the Plains line was just a back up bg freight route.  In 1995 when standardized it was just cropped and made as CWR.  So quite old rail that is well overdue for replacement especially considering the punishment it has been under since 1995  as the Adelaide mainline.)
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Interesting . For the record what are the heaviest locomotives permitted to run on these lines at what speed . I understand 93s have run from Melbourne to Adelaide and if on the Overland I guess 115 km/h is permitted ?
If these sections of 47kg/m were re railed with at least 60 kg/m rail the extra rigidity and support should easily be good enough for 23.3 TAL locomotives - up from 22.2 TAL .
Hunter valley standards in NSW permit 180 tonne locomotives (5000 and 5020 class) and 120 tonne coal wagons (30 tonne axle loads) to run on 60 kg/concrete sleeper perway . The Newcastle Sydney Wollongong under wires perway is mostly 60 on concrete yet they baulk at anything over 22.2 TAL and at 115 km/h - is fine .

One hopes the people setting the standards in Victoria use their god given brains and not rely on the idiot factor to supply the numbers .
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Does anyone down there know the real gross max or axle load of C and L classes and the speeds they can run on the Victorian Interstate std gauge lines ?
BDA

The C Class had an on paper mass of 132 tonne (there are suggestions that they are / where heaver than this)

The Western line between Ararat and Serviceton line had an 80 km/h speed restriction for the C Class until the early 80's when the line was re railed with 60 kg/metre rails.

Does anyone know If the Ararat - Ballarat, Ballarat - North Geelong, Warrenheip - Sunshine lines also got upgraded with heavier rails, to permit the C Class to run at 115 km/h ? or was 80 km/h the maximum permitted speed for the class on these sectors ?

The L Class (WAGR) was known to have uneven axle loads (had the same restrictions as the C Class and only used on the North East Standard Gauge before 1995)

Also what Is the rail size on the Ararat - Maroona (historically part of the Portland line) ?
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
In the pre NR days I heard suggestions that Cs had partitions in the fuel tank to limit their fuel and axle load . Any truth in this and Cs avoiding weigh bridges ?
Also interesting that the solution to high axle loads is reduced max speeds , must be something in that ....

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