Gippsland line closing again

 
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
I agree with Woodford, having seen the Avon in flood it is a massive event. B67 of this board, who lives in the town would tell you more.

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  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Id argue for the times this happens versus a decent dam style retaining structure to encase the embankment that thered be more than sufficient  opening for water to course. Most of the hydro pressure is to the southern bank. I wouldnt envisage a problem. far cheaper than building new piers and such.

As insurance possibly...throw some larger corri culverts between existing piers before filling.
SPSD40T2
In the early 1980's the  approach trestles at the Up end near the  Old stratford Junction Signal Box were shortened as suggested by earth fill, culverts and a single steel span bridge with concrete abutments .  Shortly after the river flooded and the new bridge had one abutment undermined,  The Avon management authority got involved and it was decreed no more replacement of bridge with embankment as not working .  The bridge involved had the  subsiding abutment removed and the structure was altered to two spans with a new centarl concrete pier, and a second deeper steel span  (ex the old bridge at Maffra) was added .

Given the current problems with corroded Armco culverts they will not be using them again .  In due course the long low wooden trestles over the flood plain will be replaced with a new structure of lesser number of spans .
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

To clarify - an upgrade from Class 3 to Class 2 requires re-railing with heavier rail, yes?

I hope that the re-railing at the three stations about to happen as part of the upcoming project would include this heavier rail. Not that any speed improvements would be gained at the stations themselves, of course, but any eventual improvement must start somewhere.
DirtyBallast
In this case  Traralgon - Sale is already  94lb rail CWR in recent years .  The issue to bring it up to Class-2  is  address  weak bridges,  intensive tie renewal/replacement with slimline concrete sleepers, improved ballast depth .  

The only VLP passenger mainline not  CWR is  Eaglehawk to Kerang.

IIRC the only VLP passenger lines not with  94lb/47kg rail  currently is  Mangalore to Murchison East , and Kerang to Swan Hill .  There is plenty of surplus 47kg rail cascaded ex RFR available to upgrade these two sections .
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
In reply to the Blacksmith, it is a long time since any Government seriously considered shutting the passenger service to Bairnsdale. Kennett's 1993 closure was instrumental in causing local public outrage, and the Nats subsequently lost a seat they had held for generations. The Bracks Government returned the passenger train and invested quite a bit in the log loading siding at Bosworth Rd Bairnsdale. When the level crossing protection matter closed the line last year, the Napthine LNP moved very quickly to stump up the cash to fix the problem -the funds for the bridge and track works about to commence would have been approved under their watch.

There are several major resource projects being scoped in East Gippsland that could use rail, the iron ore at Nowa Nowa is only a ten year project and subject to the current price slump. Anyone who thinks that environmental approvals would be rapidly approved for slurry being piped out to sea are dreamers! Iron ore has been sporadically mined for decades and used to be railed out of Nowa Nowa. The copper mine at Benambra is closer to starting and its products would be ideally suited to a road/rail solution. North of Stratford there are massive mineral sands deposits as well, but very early days just yet. Unfortunately some of the mining proponents seem to be seduced by the so-called 'Port Anthony' at Barry Beach, a shallow draft facility for Esso off shore traffic but totally unsuitable for large bulk vessels in the Ramsar-listed Corner Inlet. The roads serving the area are pretty average as well - just wait till the environment lobby starts looking at matters and it will be on for all.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Is the duplication of the Bunyip - Longwarry section still going ahead ?

Or was this a Napthine Government project, that went out the window (along with It's Government)
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

IIRC the only VLP passenger lines not with  94lb/47kg rail  currently is  Mangalore to Murchison East , and Kerang to Swan Hill .  There is plenty of surplus 47kg rail cascaded ex RFR available to upgrade these two sections .
kuldalai
The sooner that is done the better. Even with timber sleepers, with proper bolt fasteners (no more dog spikes!) you could get to class 2 track. All you need is a ballast top up to 350mm. Oh and there are sleepers from grey box ash and similar timbers available, so no need for redgum either.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Is the duplication of the Bunyip - Longwarry section still going ahead ?

Or was this a Napthine Government project, that went out the window (along with It's Government)
Nightfire
Mulder & Napthine promised a lot for PT when they felt the whistle of the axe falling .  None of it had timelines on it, and we all saw how little they implemented of their own initiatives in their 4 year term .  So would have regarded the promise as Alice in Wonderland stuff  really .

Will Labor proceed with that project ?  Wouldnt think it would be their or VLP highest priority on the VLP network .

Traditionally the approach is with new Governments that things that are underway are allowed proceed to final decision stage, but longer term thought bubbles of the previous Government are chucked back in the wish list along with the new Governments priorities.  

So  Rowsley Loop likely to proceed ,  North Western upgrade/standardization likely to proceed to a final recommendation stage for Government to make a decision .  Ditto with a revised/revamped  proposal by Metro for the Dandenong corridor .

New governments priorities are cranking up  50 lx removals within 8 years, getting ready to build Metro rail tunnel, extending Metro to Mernda, minor additions to VLP and Metro train fleets .

We all know PT needs a lot more than that to be done NOW or the system is going to grind to a halt .  The new Government and Minister would be well aware of that when handed the RED book by the  PT bureauracracy .
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The sooner that is done the better. Even with timber sleepers, with proper bolt fasteners (no more dog spikes!) you could get to class 2 track. All you need is a ballast top up to 350mm. Oh and there are sleepers from grey box ash and similar timbers available, so no need for redgum either.
Duncs
Doubt you will find VLP putting any more timber sleepers into passenger lines .  Rather a  progressive installation of the slimline concrete sleepers as tie renewal cycles proceed across the passenger network .  

Concrete sleepers have a 50 year plus life and  lower track maintenance costs .
  skitz Chief Commissioner

snip ! I doubt it .  snip!
kuldalai
So you have studied the actual bridge for yourself?  Actually seen the beams and their construction and how something a bit not right is there?
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Doubt you will find VLP putting any more timber sleepers into passenger lines .  Rather a  progressive installation of the slimline concrete sleepers as tie renewal cycles proceed across the passenger network .  

Concrete sleepers have a 50 year plus life and  lower track maintenance costs .
kuldalai
For the high volume lines I would agree. Plus essential upgrades such as Shepparton etc.. But for the Bendigo to Swam Hill section, I expect timber to be used in future. Don't get me wrong, I would prefer slimline concrete sleepers, but dollars and low traffic volumes will have an influence.
  B 67 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland
So you have studied the actual bridge for yourself?  Actually seen the beams and their construction and how something a bit not right is there?
skitz
Here's the cock-up that skitz is referring to. The cantilever section is angled to the left, when it should've been to the right, to match the curve of the track. As you can see, it has resulted in something of a clearance pinch.



As for the flooding, here's some photos from 2007. It has flooded a couple of times since then.

http://www.signspotters.hobbiesplus.com.au/floods.htm
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Here's the cock-up that skitz is referring to. The cantilever section is angled to the left, when it should've been to the right, to match the curve of the track. As you can see, it has resulted in something of a clearance pinch.



As for the flooding, here's some photos from 2007. It has flooded a couple of times since then.

http://www.signspotters.hobbiesplus.com.au/floods.htm
B 67

May I asume that clearance pinch you correctly refer to is the reason why V Line are reluctant to run V Locities across the bridge?
  B 67 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland
May I asume that clearance pinch you correctly refer to is the reason why V Line are reluctant to run V Locities across the bridge?
Duncs
I believe so. But that myth was debunked in July.

  Duncs Chief Commissioner

I believe so. But that myth was debunked in July.

B 67

That looks a pretty tight squeeze
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Here's the cock-up that skitz is referring to. The cantilever section is angled to the left, when it should've been to the right, to match the curve of the track. As you can see, it has resulted in something of a clearance pinch.






B 67

Is the problem that simple, by the look from this shot what one has here is a straight bridge section with a curved track on it. In this case all that re aligning the straight bridge section will do is shift the clearance problem to another spot. There's very likley no simple solution to this problem other wise it would have been fixed.

woodford
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The steel spans are of three vintages and this can be seen clearly in the flood photos .

The straight wrought iron spans on the wooden piers , then some mild steel rivetted spans on the red brick piers and finally new mild steel spans on the concrete piers .  

As explained previously as originally built the main stream passed under the old wrought iron spans on the wooden piers at the Stratford end, and the rest of the structure was wooden trestles .  Then the main stream moved towards Sale and the steel spans on the brick piers were put in replacing high wooden trestles. Finally circa 1920 the concrete piers and more steel spans were put in on the Sale end again replacing higher wooden trestle structure .

Chris Banger wrote an excellent article on the history of the Avon River rail bridge at Straford in an issue of the ARHS  Bulletin some years ago .
  B 67 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland
Is the problem that simple, by the look from this shot what one has here is a straight bridge section with a curved track on it. In this case all that re aligning the straight bridge section will do is shift the clearance problem to another spot. There's very likley no simple solution to this problem other wise it would have been fixed.

woodford
woodford
It may look simple from the top, but the problem is that the piers are not under the join of that particular span.



The pinch point between the spans shown in the photo from the train, is a few metres from the pier on the left of the photo above. It's not easily fixed without major works.



Above: One of the cantilevered sections showing the join of the spans.

As Kuldalai mentioned, the river originally went under the wrought iron spans with the timber piers. The river has gradually changed course with each flood and this section now only sees water under it during major floods.





Interpretive signage in the park at the township side of the bridge.



The wrought iron and timber pier section at the Stratford end of the bridge.



Trestle bent numbers 73 and 72 at the Sale end of the bridge. Originally, the trestle extended up to the highway bridge.
  B 67 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland
The steel spans are of three vintages and this can be seen clearly in the flood photos .

The straight wrought iron spans on the wooden piers , then some mild steel rivetted spans on the red brick piers and finally new mild steel spans on the concrete piers .  

As explained previously as originally built the main stream passed under the old wrought iron spans on the wooden piers at the Stratford end, and the rest of the structure was wooden trestles .  Then the main stream moved towards Sale and the steel spans on the brick piers were put in replacing high wooden trestles. Finally circa 1920 the concrete piers and more steel spans were put in on the Sale end again replacing higher wooden trestle structure .

Chris Banger wrote an excellent article on the history of the Avon River rail bridge at Straford in an issue of the ARHS  Bulletin some years ago .
kuldalai
Unfortunately, I don't get ARHS Bulletin, so I've not seen the article. I'm sure I'd learn from it. Smile
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Yes, the full extent of the problem is now quite clear. Thank you B67 for those insightful photos.

I guess that some further strengthening of the vulnerable sections would probably be the best option, until and unless the entire bridge is replaced.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

B67 said........

"It may look simple from the top, but the problem..............."

woodford comments.........

Errrrrrrrrrrrrr, the problem does not look simply and of course modifying any old structure is always a ____VERY____ difficult and expensive undertaking, thats why most such things are replaced totally.

Look at the situation with timber trestle bridges. Long logs are now almost unobtainable here in Victoria and in fact the whole of Aus and the cost of 1 inch galvanised steel bolts and other asociated hardware will kill you. Thank god one can get large Diameter allthread at a half reasonable price.

woodford

PS, good pictures of the bridge....................
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

It may look simple from the top, but the problem is that the piers are not under the join of that particular span.



The pinch point between the spans shown in the photo from the train, is a few metres from the pier on the left of the photo above. It's not easily fixed without major works.



Above: One of the cantilevered sections showing the join of the spans.

As Kuldalai mentioned, the river originally went under the wrought iron spans with the timber piers. The river has gradually changed course with each flood and this section now only sees water under it during major floods.





Interpretive signage in the park at the township side of the bridge.



The wrought iron and timber pier section at the Stratford end of the bridge.



Trestle bent numbers 73 and 72 at the Sale end of the bridge. Originally, the trestle extended up to the highway bridge.
B 67
If one looks at the top photo you can see quite clearly that the kink is not a design fault, rather just the way it is .

Back to the top photo the steel span between the two brick piers is  basically straight with a short overhang  slightly wider than the main span on each brick pier. Then in the middle is a dead straight but slightly narrower  canterlevered span .  

As such the available width within the structural beams for the track narrows slightly on the cantilevered span .  At the Statford end the overhang beam creates a change of direction, this added to the narrowing of the cantilever span creates the situation shown from above in earlier photos.  It is designed and constructed that way, it is not a design fault .
  SPSD40T2 Chief Commissioner

Location: Platform 9-3/4 and still waiting !!
All the pix ive ever seen regarding clearance niggles point to the height  of the lower rail of a carbody.  The Piers seem quite capable of standing for some time yet.   I still dont see why effectively jacking the height of the actual track wouldnt solve some of these issues.  Jettison the ballasted idea through the bridge and replace with effectively a new framework resting upon the older one. You could lift the rail height 200-250 quite easily I would suspect. Approaches to the main spans would need adjustements also but hardly rocket science.

The bridge doesnt need to be rated for high speeds as theyd no necessary. Clearance is the issue.

Bit like letting the air down on the stuck truck..

edit


but I wouldnt think replacing the old wrought spans with new steel ones...or something was really that hard either

Bridges are built everyday
  B 67 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland
B67 said........

"It may look simple from the top, but the problem..............."

woodford comments.........

Errrrrrrrrrrrrr, the problem does not look simply and of course modifying any old structure is always a ____VERY____ difficult and expensive undertaking, thats why most such things are replaced totally.
woodford
Ummmm! I was only replying to your earlier comment where you said "Is it that simple". Granted, you then went on to say that it isn't or it would've been fixed earlier.


If one looks at the top photo you can see quite clearly that the kink is not a design fault, rather just the way it is . Back to the top photo the steel span between the two brick piers is basically straight with a short overhang slightly wider than the main span on each brick pier. Then in the middle is a dead straight but slightly narrower canterlevered span . As such the available width within the structural beams for the track narrows slightly on the cantilevered span . At the Statford end the overhang beam creates a change of direction, this added to the narrowing of the cantilever span creates the situation shown from above in earlier photos. It is designed and constructed that way, it is not a design fault .
Kuldalai
I think I know what you're saying about the narrowing. But I've heard others say it's a fault - and it certainly looks to be. So I referred to it as such. The tight section appears to be only on one end of the cantilever. I'd have expected it to be the same each end. I'll wander down for another look when I get a chance.

Here's some earlier photos - back when it still had the timber deck which was replaced before Bairnsdale passenger services resumed in 2004. Photo taken around 2000


[img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7336/16413212480_1103614614_c.jpg[/img]
https://flic.kr/p/r1o1f5

A better view of the cantilever join and the angle between the spans.



https://flic.kr/p/rfBrdC

A side view of the cantilever span taken the same time.



https://flic.kr/p/rhNw3t

And another look at the same spans - looking in the down direction.

Vertical image. May not display correctly it seems.



All the pix ive ever seen regarding clearance niggles point to the height of the lower rail of a carbody. The Piers seem quite capable of standing for some time yet. I still dont see why effectively jacking the height of the actual track wouldnt solve some of these issues. Jettison the ballasted idea through the bridge and replace with effectively a new framework resting upon the older one. You could lift the rail height 200-250 quite easily I would suspect. Approaches to the main spans would need adjustements also but hardly rocket science. The bridge doesnt need to be rated for high speeds as theyd no necessary. Clearance is the issue. Bit like letting the air down on the stuck truck.. edit but I wouldnt think replacing the old wrought spans with new steel ones...or something was really that hard either Bridges are built everyday
SPSD40T2
If it was HO scale (or O scale in our case), you'd just turn the girder spans upside down and lay the track on what used to be the bottom of the bridge. But I suspect the full size isn't as simple as that. Wink  And if you did jack the track up, what goes underneath to keep it there? It would be a lot of mucking around when a brand new bridge would be better in every way (you'd hope). The brick/concrete piers could be reused, but with new spans on them. Maybe even made to resemble the existing ones. The timber trestles and piers could even be replaced by new concrete or steel ones in the style of the original. But if the money comes up to build a new bridge, I can't help thinking that a brand new bridge behind the existing one would be better. The old one perhaps being retained for use in the Gippsland Plains rail trail. Oh, hang on. That would mean even more money, wouldn't it? Laughing
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
In the early 1980's the  approach trestles at the Up end near the  Old stratford Junction Signal Box were shortened as suggested by earth fill, culverts and a single steel span bridge with concrete abutments .  Shortly after the river flooded and the new bridge had one abutment undermined,  The Avon management authority got involved and it was decreed no more replacement of bridge with embankment as not working .  The bridge involved had the  subsiding abutment removed and the structure was altered to two spans with a new centarl concrete pier, and a second deeper steel span  (ex the old bridge at Maffra) was added .

Given the current problems with corroded Armco culverts they will not be using them again .  In due course the long low wooden trestles over the flood plain will be replaced with a new structure of lesser number of spans .
kuldalai
The second deeper steel span near the former Stratford Junction was actually an ex Lake Hume Sandy Inlet span.

When the curved section of the bridge was built (rebuilt to steel spans) It built using straight sections forming a jerky curve, these days there Is the engineering capability and logistical capability to build and Install an evenly curved span on existing piers.

I guess the bridge would need to be of the "U" shape design to match the existing local levels (rail level, river clearance level)

A good example of a recently built steel curved bridge Is the freeway flyover linking Eastlink (South bound) to the Monash (West bound) this bridge was said to of been built In Davenport Tas
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Snip!

A side view of the cantilever span taken the same time.



https://flic.kr/p/rhNw3t
Snip!
B 67
Shows the cantilever off set heading the wrong way quite nicely. (as does the picture previously shown taken from the train)

One would imagine it was a manufacturing error.  The four beams for the two components being made identical when in fact two were required to be 'left' and two 'right'.  

Very hard one to undo!

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