On another thread I notice some criticsm of ARTC's handling of the Albury line, now as some may be aware I kept a close eye on both the regauging and the early part of the ballast rehabilitation program. I must say I believe this critcism is unfair.
Overall I was very impressed with ARTC's handling of both projects my only criticism is on the signalling. ARTC was going to install NSW signalling along the line and did NOT ask for the required permission from Victoria. This caused nearly a years delay while additional funding and the new signalling was ordered.
A VERY IMPORTANT POINT........................ THIS MEANS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The regauging NEVER
was a track upgraded, I will repeat that, the regauging NEVER
was a track up graded.............................
Hmmmmmmmmmmm now did I mention the regauging was not a track up grade.............. I believe I did!!
The regauging was not a track upgrade!
The regauging was just that a regauging no provision mas made for a track base upgrade. What was done was............
regauge the old BG (West line) and fit new concrete sleepers (Note 1),
redo all bridges, this included replacing the decks on around 75% of the timber deck bridges with new steel decks,
replace all track circuit level crossing warning systems with speed predictive controlers (USA made Harmon controlers were used)
Completely replace the signalling, the lines now use bidirectional Victoran standard signalling, and both lines regulary have trains in both directions.
All switching has backup power systems in case of mains failure, (the signaling and level crossing use the lines original lead acid back up batteries).
Note 1: Bridges's retaining the lines original steel beams retained the use of timber sleepers.
The ballast problems had two causes, both of these were outside of ARTC's control and there fixing was NOT part of the regauging. The problem with the West line came from Victoria putting no maintence into the BG track for more than 20 years, by the time the BG service was suspended the line was in an appalling state, with over 75% of the sleepers performing no function at all.
The old SG ballast problems originate from when the line was built, the build being to a very low standard with a lot of drainage problems, the reason why major problems did not originate sooner was the line had regular maintence crews around. The rot set in as soon as these dissapeared. ARTC to there great credit has put an enormouse amount of work trying to correct this.