Mildura Standard Gauge conversion

 
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Big Shunter - The rails in the front of the photo are the new crossing rails on the concrete sleepers.   They are made on site from scratch.   It takes a full day to do each crossing.   They appear to have left several dirt crossings not done.   Maybe will be just pushing the rail across and not putting concrete sleepers on the very minor crossings?   The more distant are the rails that have been there for years.   They have been removing many of the rail joiners, possibly to weld them together to reduce the old click/clack from the short lengths of rail.

The bunkers on the left are new for last season.   The company, Harbergers, are only just starting to move the grain - by truck of course.  (they are a truck company so I suppose they can!)   I think it was in their planning to put a rail siding, but it may not have happened yet because of the gauge conversion.   There are many spare points around from the closed sidings that just need gauge conversion.   The price of grain has gone up since harvest, hence the reason to start carting now.

Bevans - PeaCo were still putting a dozen containers (chick peas for overseas) on each of the 3 trains per week before closure.   They are still loading, but having to cart them to Horsham?   Still using rail and intending to do so after re-opening.

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  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Canola was for a few years not bunkered, and put in sheds or silos only.  With increased tonnages, they moved to bunkers where it is handled much the same way.  
james.au

james, rather a strange statement, relating to where ? Not sure what that means at all Shocked

BigShunter.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Canola was for a few years not bunkered, and put in sheds or silos only.  With increased tonnages, they moved to bunkers where it is handled much the same way.  

james, rather a strange statement, relating to where ? Not sure what that means at all Shocked

BigShunter.
BigShunter

My family farm grew canola back in the early 1990s.  Perhaps 1990, but definitely 1992.  Back then hardly anyone was growing it and so there wasn't much to store.  Bunker tech and process was still developing for wheat at the time.  Handlers were a little hesitant to put canola in bunkers back then (I'm not sure why, though it could be because it is much more 'fluid' than wheat, i.e. moves around easier) and so used sheds and silos.  But they moved on form that (and combined with a big increase in tonnages grown) realised it could be done and now there are canola bunkers as if it was always done that way.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
I'm almost 100% certain the project has budgetted for all rail to be renewed at level crossings (unless  upgraded as part of upgrades done with Auslink funding some years ago), as a result of a derailment on the Swan Hill line which arose out of a broken rail the cause of which was significant corrosion of the foot and web of the rail as a result of them being buried in dirt.

As folks will be aware there are enormous numbers of "dirt" occupational crossings across the Victorian network and this project along with other V/Line maintenance works is targetting all crossings for basically full relaying in concrete sleepers on crushed metal ballast, with geotextile and other treatments to improve drainage and reduce the potential hazard of broken rails and/or other track defects.   It is also quite a challenge monitoring the condition of the track when most of the track is buried but I understand V/Line in response to the issue raised by the ATSB now undertakes closer monitoring of track and rail condition on crossings.

Thanks for the updates.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
The next crews coming through are replacing lengths of damaged/broken rails and well as filling in the gaps where the points to the grain sidings were and the short gap between the level crossings and the current rails.   It appears there are joiners each side of the crossings - ability to replace the line to concrete sleepers later without upsetting the rails at the crossings?
  fc110 Station Master

Been quiet for a while but more pics from St Arnaud, at the moment the sleeper replacing is coming towards me and will add more pics a bit later.

  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Given that the tracks are coming in about 165mm, how much of a ballast reduction does this lead to?  It wouldnt be much Id imagine but surely over a given distance it would add up?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Given that the tracks are coming in about 165mm, how much of a ballast reduction does this lead to?  It wouldnt be much Id imagine but surely over a given distance it would add up?
james.au
Any reduction of ballast would be a function of sleeper width. Given that the new wooden sleepers that have been put in so far are broad gauge width there would be no change.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
I decided to go on safari and had a look at things from Ararat through to St Arnaud yesterday. Took lots of photos - link below.

As Kuldali has already mentioned, the track from Ararat to Maryborough is effectively being rebuilt save for the rails and the formation. The existing line has mostly now gone as far as Elmhurst as well as at varous locations along the rest of the line to Maryborough. All the Concrete Sleepers that had been stockpiled at a yard in Grano Street Ararat have gone and have been distributed along the line. The discarded wooden sleepers are being piled up at many locations.

Burn Street Ararat (on the edge of town) seems to be the starting point as nothing on the Ararat side of that has been disturbed. Relaying has started and goes about 1km so far. Beyond that things are in varying states as it progresses, from clear graded formation ready for tracklaying, to some places that haven't been touched.

There is no sign of any work for the Ararat Triangle / Maroona Connection yet, no earthworks, no survey pegs.

About 20 yellow (ballast?) hoppers are sitting in Ararat yard, beside a huge ballast pile, as well as a couple of very new looking track machines.

Maryborough is currently down to just two roads, the rest of the yard is fenced off with several yard tracks partly or completely gone. The signal facing the Ararat line just short of the junction is still lit (Red) and presently has no track near it!! I wonder if it will survive?

Lots or workers at the south end of Dunolly, but too far from any legal access to see what they are up to. At least one set of points at the north end has been removed. Interestingly, a STOP sign, with flashing lights, was sitting in the 5 foot just beyond the highway crossing on the Sea lake line - about 1km beyond the junction - no sign of why.

St Arnaud looks like it might be losing all the siding connections.

A track machine was in the Platform at Bealiba - presumably arrived by road.

Photos here (excuse the amateur photographer).

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm5Us79G

I wont be able to attempt a follow-up as I will shortly be leaving the country for 4 months (I would if I could!!).
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Awesome contribution @mikesyd.  Im very interested to see that it is a total rebuild of the track.  Gives some good information about what track building cost could be.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

I decided to go on safari and had a look at things from Ararat through to St Arnaud yesterday. Took lots of photos - link below.

As Kuldali has already mentioned, the track from Ararat to Maryborough is effectively being rebuilt save for the rails and the formation. The existing line has mostly now gone as far as Elmhurst as well as at varous locations along the rest of the line to Maryborough. All the Concrete Sleepers that had been stockpiled at a yard in Grano Street Ararat have gone and have been distributed along the line. The discarded wooden sleepers are being piled up at many locations.

Burn Street Ararat (on the edge of town) seems to be the starting point as nothing on the Ararat side of that has been disturbed. Relaying has started and goes about 1km so far. Beyond that things are in varying states as it progresses, from clear graded formation ready for tracklaying, to some places that haven't been touched.

There is no sign of any work for the Ararat Triangle / Maroona Connection yet, no earthworks, no survey pegs.

About 20 yellow (ballast?) hoppers are sitting in Ararat yard, beside a huge ballast pile, as well as a couple of very new looking track machines.

Maryborough is currently down to just two roads, the rest of the yard is fenced off with several yard tracks partly or completely gone. The signal facing the Ararat line just short of the junction is still lit (Red) and presently has no track near it!! I wonder if it will survive?

Lots or workers at the south end of Dunolly, but too far from any legal access to see what they are up to. At least one set of points at the north end has been removed. Interestingly, a STOP sign, with flashing lights, was sitting in the 5 foot just beyond the highway crossing on the Sea lake line - about 1km beyond the junction - no sign of why.

St Arnaud looks like it might be losing all the siding connections.

A track machine was in the Platform at Bealiba - presumably arrived by road.

Photos here (excuse the amateur photographer).

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm5Us79G

I wont be able to attempt a follow-up as I will shortly be leaving the country for 4 months (I would if I could!!).
mikesyd
Many thanks for that. I noticed that the sleepers were the heavy mainline sleepers, which is a wise move.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
There have been several posts that make mention of the length of the sidings at Maryborough.

I had a bit of a look around when I was there on Wednesday and unfortunately the place is hamstrung by the Level Crossing at the South end, and the Rail over road bridge at the North end, which is only 3 tracks wide. Those 3 tracks go almost as far as the Junction that leads to the old Loco and the VLocity Stabling siding as it is and any lengthening in that direction would probably affect access to the VLocity Stabling siding. Time will tell as to what the end result is of course.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Activity around Mildura station today at 15:45 as the rails are set to be moved inwards. The gauge meter or whatever its called between the rails and track machinery in use. Obviously the workers are not AFL fans as my bus arrived at the half time mark.

Mike.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
I decided to go on safari and had a look at things from Ararat through to St Arnaud yesterday. Took lots of photos - link below.

As Kuldali has already mentioned, the track from Ararat to Maryborough is effectively being rebuilt save for the rails and the formation. The existing line has mostly now gone as far as Elmhurst as well as at varous locations along the rest of the line to Maryborough. All the Concrete Sleepers that had been stockpiled at a yard in Grano Street Ararat have gone and have been distributed along the line. The discarded wooden sleepers are being piled up at many locations.

Burn Street Ararat (on the edge of town) seems to be the starting point as nothing on the Ararat side of that has been disturbed. Relaying has started and goes about 1km so far. Beyond that things are in varying states as it progresses, from clear graded formation ready for tracklaying, to some places that haven't been touched.

There is no sign of any work for the Ararat Triangle / Maroona Connection yet, no earthworks, no survey pegs.

About 20 yellow (ballast?) hoppers are sitting in Ararat yard, beside a huge ballast pile, as well as a couple of very new looking track machines.

Maryborough is currently down to just two roads, the rest of the yard is fenced off with several yard tracks partly or completely gone. The signal facing the Ararat line just short of the junction is still lit (Red) and presently has no track near it!! I wonder if it will survive?

Lots or workers at the south end of Dunolly, but too far from any legal access to see what they are up to. At least one set of points at the north end has been removed. Interestingly, a STOP sign, with flashing lights, was sitting in the 5 foot just beyond the highway crossing on the Sea lake line - about 1km beyond the junction - no sign of why.

St Arnaud looks like it might be losing all the siding connections.

A track machine was in the Platform at Bealiba - presumably arrived by road.

Photos here (excuse the amateur photographer).

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm5Us79G

I wont be able to attempt a follow-up as I will shortly be leaving the country for 4 months (I would if I could!!).
Many thanks for that. I noticed that the sleepers were the heavy mainline sleepers, which is a wise move.
Duncs

Duncs, are you sure the sleepers are heavy mainline sleepers, they are supposed to be the low profile or as they call them, TRS - Timber Replacement Sleepers, anyhow what ever they are, the job is looking fantastic.

I might have to say, also how long has it been in Victoria, since we have seen a freshly graded track bed and concrete sleepers going for as far as the eye can see, Terrific !

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikesydney/36640034064/in/album-72157687188428704/

The track between The Borough and Aararat should become the best length of track in regional Victoria, being solely cocnrete sleepers. It will be interesting to see how it rides.

And mikesyd, great batch of photo's, what would be great, is in 4 or 5 months, when you have returned from OS, if you could go back to the original spots, you've taken pics and do a conclusive to your documentary, would make for a great comparison.

I suppose freight lines aren't supposed to be scenic, but the country side particularly from Ararat to Avoca, certainly is.

BigShunter.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Sure is
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I .............I wont be able to attempt a follow-up as I will shortly be leaving the country for 4 months (I would if I could!!).
Many thanks for that. I noticed that the sleepers were the heavy mainline sleepers, which is a wise move.
Duncs
Good news if they are 'proper' concrete sleepers.
Certainly a contrast to the usual Victorian short sighted/cheapskate way of doing things.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
The sleepers in the image are almost certainly low profile. As there's no requirement for high speed operation on the line, low profile concrete sleepers are perfectly sensible.

Mike.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

The sleepers in the image are almost certainly low profile. As there's no requirement for high speed operation on the line, low profile concrete sleepers are perfectly sensible.

Mike.
The Vinelander
The sleepers used on the NE (Victoria) line are much deeper than the above items, the end profile being almost square, so I would say these sleepers are certainly lighter than ones used on the NE line. I though would NOT worry to much about that.

woodford
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
I should have visited one of the sleeper stacks and got a photo of the markings - sorry didn't think to. There is a photo in there showing the rail markings. 80lb I can understand, but not the rest.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

I should have visited one of the sleeper stacks and got a photo of the markings - sorry didn't think to. There is a photo in there showing the rail markings. 80lb I can understand, but not the rest.
mikesyd
Hi Mike,

The information shown on the rail you photographed is as follows:

The steel company's customer - Victorian Railways
Section of the rail - 80lb
Manufacturer - Bolckow, Vaughaun & Co Ltd of Middlesborough, England
Year & Month rail was rolled - 1913, February
Process - Bessemer Acid. The Bessemer process was used to convert iron to steel before Open Hearth became common.

The old English 80lb rails were surprisingly good rails as borne out by their prevalence and longevity. They look to be in fair condition with only a moderate amount of wear. They are limited in their modern day carrying capacity, but should be alright for the intended duty in the medium term, if they look after them...
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Thermite welding occurring in the Cope Cope - Donald section.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Thermite welding occurring in the Cope Cope - Donald section.
Donald

I'm certain the word is 'thermit'...but happy to stand corrected.

Mike.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

Thermite welding occurring in the Cope Cope - Donald section.

I'm certain the word is 'thermit'...but happy to stand corrected.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Thermit is a proprietary name, the process is alumnothermic welding. Colloquially we tend to use the thermit name to describe the process irrespective of the manufacturer, like some people refer to all vacuum cleaners as a hoover. The word thermite gets used as it is a reference to the finely ground magnesium in the portion used to initiate the chemical reaction that takes place in the crucible.
  steven_h Train Controller

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Thermite welding occurring in the Cope Cope - Donald section.

I'm certain the word is 'thermit'...but happy to stand corrected.

Mike.
The Vinelander

Seems to be a US/UK issue:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exothermic_welding

Exothermic welding, also known as exothermic bonding, thermite welding (TW), and thermit welding, is a welding process that employs molten metal to permanently join the conductors.
  Operater Junior Train Controller

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Hi Group,

On the Project to Muldira, I take It that the Project goes from the Southwest as such up to the "End of Steel" in the Northwest to Yelta?  Reasons? was wondering if it might be Easier to start in the North, work South then move over to the Other Branch Lines to Work North? Also Will It B New Ballast, New Ties - Cement, plus I take It there will have to B New Rail if the Deal is to Increase to 21 TAL Loading. Tnx for any Information.

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