Mildura Standard Gauge conversion

 
  Clyde Goodwin2 Chief Train Controller

Okay the pictured track is just sitting on the formation as skeleton track.

Next a ballast train will run over this for a 1st pass ballasting.
Next a Tamper will come along and lift the track
Next a ballast train over it dropping more metal
Next a Regulator will run over it to box it up level it out and such
Finally for this track the tamper will make a final levelling and lining pass.

In sydney after the above was done a shaker would make a couple of passes over it to bed it all down and simulate 20,000t of traffic over it making it able to be used at line speed straight away.
Shaker = Plasser Dynamic Track Stabiliser ( DTS).

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  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Nice one Clyde, very good info, so I need to stop thinking, just observe and learn Razz making sense now.

BigShunter.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Without observing all that has actually transpired while the sub grade was bare, it is a little difficult to judge the prudence of the work.

It's hard to say if the capping layer is intact (I'm going to assume it was provided on initial construction). In Mikesyd's latest photos (thanks Mikesyd) the material under the sleepers appears a little darker than the surrounding natural fill/soils, so it may have been stabilised. It is not known to us how impervious the stabilised material is. The material doesn't appear to be graded to shed water, which may encourage ponding. However, one cannot put a ballast train over such a graded sub-base as it will break the concrete sleepers; they would be 'centre-bound'. Ideally there would be 150mm of compacted blue metal road base between such a graded base and the bottom ballast. Again ideally, the bottom ballast would be spread and compacted. Then sleepers placed, rails placed, and proceed as CG2 has elaborated.

As Skitz has stated keeping the shoulder ballast clean allowing water to get away will be critical for this track.
It is always a juggling act when funds are limited; the old capital v maintenance seesaw, and also keeping in mind the projected traffic. Having said that, a high quality construction is always the easiest (read as cheaper) to maintain, and provide the best outcomes for the end user.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Without observing all that has actually transpired while the sub grade was bare, it is a little difficult to judge the prudence of the work.

It's hard to say if the capping layer is intact (I'm going to assume it was provided on initial construction). In Mikesyd's latest photos (thanks Mikesyd) the material under the sleepers appears a little darker than the surrounding natural fill/soils, so it may have been stabilised. It is not known to us how impervious the stabilised material is. The material doesn't appear to be graded to shed water, which may encourage ponding. However, one cannot put a ballast train over such a graded sub-base as it will break the concrete sleepers; they would be 'centre-bound'. Ideally there would be 150mm of compacted blue metal road base between such a graded base and the bottom ballast. Again ideally, the bottom ballast would be spread and compacted. Then sleepers placed, rails placed, and proceed as CG2 has elaborated.

As Skitz has stated keeping the shoulder ballast clean allowing water to get away will be critical for this track.
It is always a juggling act when funds are limited; the old capital v maintenance seesaw, and also keeping in mind the projected traffic. Having said that, a high quality construction is always the easiest (read as cheaper) to maintain, and provide the best outcomes for the end user.
Lockspike
Given that the below sleeper base metal is missing at this stage does this mean that they will 'risk' a ballast train to provide the undersleeper material and then lift the track through the initial ballasting?

Part, at least, of the FMG Railway was built with sleepers laid directly onto the capping layer as a first move. The capping layer, however, was perfectly flat and smooth and the sleepers were certainly not centre bound. The sleepers, of course, were 'proper' heavy duty 24 wire concrete rather than the light weight ones so favoured in Victoria.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Okay the pictured track is just sitting on the formation as skeleton track.

Next a ballast train will run over this for a 1st pass ballasting.
Next a Tamper will come along and lift the track
Next a ballast train over it dropping more metal
Next a Regulator will run over it to box it up level it out and such
Finally for this track the tamper will make a final levelling and lining pass.
Clyde Goodwin2
Clyde, can you give us mere mortals some idea of how far the tamper can lift the rails and therefore what depth of ballast ends up underneath it. Does ballast end up under the sleepers in this scenario or only under the rails with the sleepers still sitting on the formation?

I tried watching a few YouTube vids on Tampers but was left more confused than when I started!

BG
  Clyde Goodwin2 Chief Train Controller

BG
I could not give you the exact lift heights as i was NOT a operator just a labourer with them on Points and crossing Tampers and the lovely big CAT09 ones, i think it may have been upto 150mm but our member Skitz would know very much more of the actual details as he is an Operator of them.
Sorry i could not be of much help.
  skitz Chief Commissioner

BG
I could not give you the exact lift heights as i was NOT a operator just a labourer with them on Points and crossing Tampers and the lovely big CAT09 ones, i think it may have been upto 150mm but our member Skitz would know very much more of the actual details as he is an Operator of them.
Sorry i could not be of much help.
Clyde Goodwin2
Just to clarify, I am not a tamper operator.  I was a track engineer that moonlighted in safeworking from time to time.  I am by no means a surfacing production guru!

Lift in tamping is very dependent on what you are trying to do and the capability of your machine.   You can dial on lift to what ever value you like depending on your machine.  Actual operators would know the limit.  Some machines are better at 'pulling through' than others.

In regard to this job I suggest there would be a running lift of a high value of 70mm or so to pull the sleepers through.  The last thing you want to do is for the tamper to punch the 'formation'.  Then, the a final lift of around 40mm (or something like that) to finish it off.

I would not expect them to put a huge quantity of ballast under the sleeper for this job.  ideally you want more than 200mm but here, expect something like 100mm total.  One thing to remember is ballast is expensive and it only takes a small % in ones assumptions to make big $ differences to a project value.   Alice to Darwin had very little applied.  Testing the brains cells it was 100mm for the new track (might be 150mm??), certainly it was a barest of minimums.

Those close to the project might be able to enlighten what the target spec is.  We will see no doubt.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Alice to Darwin was undoubtedly done on the cheap trackwise.

IIRC (and don't anybody take it as gospel) I think that around 10 - 12 inches under the sleepers was the basis for FMG.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Thanks guys, just watched this video of a Plasser 09-16 Dyna CAT tamper and could see the lifting mechanisms as well as the arms working the ballast, I presume they force ballast under the rails and then the rest sort of settles into place when the final run is done. Brilliant.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-01QVb_Sjx0

BG
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Part, at least, of the FMG Railway was built with sleepers laid directly onto the capping layer as a first move. The capping layer, however, was perfectly flat and smooth and the sleepers were certainly not centre bound. The sleepers, of course, were 'proper' heavy duty 24 wire concrete rather than the light weight ones so favoured in Victoria.
YM-Mundrabilla

It's a nonsense to say the light-weight concrete sleepers are 'favoured in Victoria'.

The RRL to my knowledge was built in heavy duty concrete sleepers as well as the RFR lines in 2005.

The light-weight (try picking one up) sleepers are used where timber sleepers are replaced because the light-weight ones fit in without fouling the track bed, whereas the use of the heavy duty, higher profile concrete compared to timber sleepers would necessitate digging into the track bed which may create more problems than it solves.

Mike.
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Thanks guys, just watched this video of a Plasser 09-16 Dyna CAT tamper and could see the lifting mechanisms as well as the arms working the ballast, I presume they force ballast under the rails and then the rest sort of settles into place when the final run is done. Brilliant.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-01QVb_Sjx0

BG
BrentonGolding
There is essentially two bits working on a temper at the same.  The first is the rail clamps that lift and line the track into position as per the control set up of the machine.  There is a bit to this and how its done to give the right finish, especially for curves.  Lining trolleys, sometimes lasers, ALC computer controlled.  Enough to keep a geometry buff and electronics controls person amused.  The second is the tamping head (or heads.)  These penetrate the ballast to vibrate a squeeze the ballast under the sleeper to provide the base for the transfer of track load.  One sleeper will have eight tines pack simultaneously for plain line track.   The bigger tampers have multiple heads to speed up production and also what's called a satellite heads (to overcome the stop start need for the now very large machine).

That's the short version, they are fascinating machines in terms of what is being produced and the function of the equipment to do it.  Driving one is like learning to ride a bike.  Its not instant.  Takes a bit of time in the seat to train yourself in what to do and get the hang of it.  I have only had a go out of my own self interest, for a novice first up its too much information too quick (to the amusement of the operator watching me struggle with the coordination, fun times)

Then of course there are switch tampers.........much the same but configured with a bit more functionality again.
  Clyde Goodwin2 Chief Train Controller

Skitz
Much thanks for the great details.
Sorry i thought that you were a mere operator LOL LOL and again thanks for all the details that i only had a very rough knowledge of.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Thanks guys, just watched this video of a Plasser 09-16 Dyna CAT tamper and could see the lifting mechanisms as well as the arms working the ballast, I presume they force ballast under the rails and then the rest sort of settles into place when the final run is done. Brilliant.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-01QVb_Sjx0

BG
BrentonGolding
Thanks BG.
These machines certainly get along these days.
With 8 tynes each side there would presumably be a slightly less tightly packed area under the centre of the sleeper to avoid the potential cracking mentioned elsewhere recently by Skitz.
One wold think that with a machine of this capacity that Metro/Vline could knock over a hell of a proportion of the network on a regular basis. Or are the 'real' machines only SG - yet another disadvantage of the BG, perhaps?
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Thanks guys, just watched this video of a Plasser 09-16 Dyna CAT tamper and could see the lifting mechanisms as well as the arms working the ballast, I presume they force ballast under the rails and then the rest sort of settles into place when the final run is done. Brilliant.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-01QVb_Sjx0

BG
Thanks BG.
These machines certainly get along these days.
With 8 tynes each side there would presumably be a slightly less tightly packed area under the centre of the sleeper to avoid the potential cracking mentioned elsewhere recently by Skitz.
One wold think that with a machine of this capacity that Metro/Vline could knock over a hell of a proportion of the network on a regular basis. Or are the 'real' machines only SG - yet another disadvantage of the BG, perhaps?
YM-Mundrabilla
Being broad gauge is a commercial disadvantage for Metro getting access to machines.  However they did gauge convert the big unimat tamper and there is enough work to dedicate a tamper (or three/four) in Metros circumstance

Rail grinding on BG is always at a commercial disadvantage.  There is a fine balance between having a machine big enough to have the capacity/bring the unit costs down and a machine that is gauge convertible cost effectively.  Certainly all the big grinders that are on standard gauge would never be gauge converted to service the remnant broad gauge.  the Speno 24 stone machine is probably as big as you will see on BG.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Part, at least, of the FMG Railway was built with sleepers laid directly onto the capping layer as a first move. The capping layer, however, was perfectly flat and smooth and the sleepers were certainly not centre bound. The sleepers, of course, were 'proper' heavy duty 24 wire concrete rather than the light weight ones so favoured in Victoria.

It's a nonsense to say the light-weight concrete sleepers are 'favoured in Victoria'.

The RRL to my knowledge was built in heavy duty concrete sleepers as well as the RFR lines in 2005.

The light-weight (try picking one up) sleepers are used where timber sleepers are replaced because the light-weight ones fit in without fouling the track bed, whereas the use of the heavy duty, higher profile concrete compared to timber sleepers would necessitate digging into the track bed which may create more problems than it solves.

Mike.
The Vinelander
'favoured in Victoria'

Accepting what you say Mike re the RRL and RFR routes.

If 'favoured in Victoria' is not the case why then are we (reportedly) using the light weight sleepers on the Ararat - Maryborough section which we are led to believe is a complete relay.

I realise that these sleepers have advantages as spot replacements in timber track but I wonder as to their long term benefits in those sections that are completely relaid.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Part, at least, of the FMG Railway was built with sleepers laid directly onto the capping layer as a first move. The capping layer, however, was perfectly flat and smooth and the sleepers were certainly not centre bound. The sleepers, of course, were 'proper' heavy duty 24 wire concrete rather than the light weight ones so favoured in Victoria.

It's a nonsense to say the light-weight concrete sleepers are 'favoured in Victoria'.

The RRL to my knowledge was built in heavy duty concrete sleepers as well as the RFR lines in 2005.

The light-weight (try picking one up) sleepers are used where timber sleepers are replaced because the light-weight ones fit in without fouling the track bed, whereas the use of the heavy duty, higher profile concrete compared to timber sleepers would necessitate digging into the track bed which may create more problems than it solves.

Mike.
'favoured in Victoria'

Accepting what you say Mike re the RRL and RFR routes.

If 'favoured in Victoria' is not the case why then are we (reportedly) using the light weight sleepers on the Ararat - Maryborough section which we are led to believe is a complete relay.

I realise that these sleepers have advantages as spot replacements in timber track but I wonder as to their long term benefits in those sections that are completely relaid.
YM-Mundrabilla
The heavyweight concrete mainline sleepers are really only required for high speed passenger lines  Class 1 track, or very heavy freight axle loads.

On this line the low profile concrete sleepers and CWR 80lb rail will result in a Class - 3 freight track suitable for 21t axle loads and an operating speed of 80 kmh, quite suitable to the task .
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The standard for all new/relaid/refurbished track should be a minimum of 23 tonne axleload at 80 km/h in a valiant attempt to build for the future and be competitive in any way with road.

Much SG rolling stock is capable of 23 tonne axleloads and we should be taking advantage of that capacity.

Seems to me that we are (re)building with yesterday's BG operation in mind rather than the SG of tomorrow.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
YM, I don't think anybody would disagree with you, your quite right, but trying to replace a railway system from last century with only a small piggy bank of money, is never going to set the world on fire.

I assume FMG is Fortescue Metals Group, and to compare the Victorian regional freight system to them, well, that's pushing it. How many trains a day and their probably running 30 TAL, I wonder how many Kilo's/Kilometer or how ever it is you measure railway line  productivity, they carry and using the heavy sleepers to their max.

There has been heaps written on here and Trainplanner in particular has written numerous articles about the advantages of 23 TAL and ability to move to 25 and beyond, with a bit of planning and spending some serious coin, the advantages in economies of scale take big leaps and bounds for not only for the movement of freight but productive use of trains.

Now, what happens in Victoria, it must be 8 years or so, since the sleeper gang went through Horsham, replacing the timber sleepers with concrete but do we see freight trains travelling at 120KPH and 25 TAL, no way, same on the North East line, so are the big heavy duty sleepers used to their full potential, questionable, eh. The low profile ones with a max load of 23 tonne and carrying 21 tonne, are they being used to their maximum potential, fairly well.

So even with a 21 tonne load and 80k line speed running I reckon is a big step forward for the freight system of Victoria and hopefully you haven't go to sleep reading this, but in the September issue of Railway Digest, the Naradhan line in NSW, was reopened, a big tick there, 22 TAL, big tick there, 60 km of line, big tick there, line speed 35km/h,( molga bill on his malvern star, could drag them off ) hmmm, not such a big tick there.
I bet those Hill Billies in NSW would love some of our low profile sleepers as well as a big heap of CWR, don't you think, which deal would you prefer ?

And here endith the epistle.

BigShunter.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
As BigShunter says, this is a big step, from 19TAL to 21TAL.  

One thing that I would be very interested to know, is what is the delta between what the project will deliver and 23 or even 25TAL.

I would suspect that there are sections of line that could take 23TAL now, and possibly some that could take 25TAL.  But structures and other parts of the line would limit to 21TAL.  What are those specific items/sections that are limiting the upgrade?

Also, could you do 25TAL up to somewhere like Dunolly, load them to 21TAL north of there and then have them top up at Dunolly?  This might only work for GrainCorp trains though of course.
  themetptc Junior Train Controller

Location: Ballarat
Why are Victorian operators or track providers obsessed with 80kph speed limit for freight trains rather than 100kph?
This is a great opportunity to achieve that as well.
23TAL and 100kph should be the minimum standard, however if it makes the difference between track being renewed or not, then 80kph is probably ok.  You go into axle loads vs transit time benifits debate territory with this.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Traveling speeds of trains (pushing the maximum axle load) over 80 km/h cause accelerated wear and tear on wagons and track.

Time saving are certainly not worth the extra damage caused.

Some heavy trucking companies have also court onto this theory, were less than perfect roads can really chew through tyres and suspension, If they push the maximum speed limits.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Airlines have been onto it for ages - lower speeds, longer flights means less fuel overall in some cases.

Also does crash survival come into it?  Is an 80kph crash much easier to survive than 100kph?  L-plate drivers are restricted to 80kph so there has to be some science behind the 80kph line.
  Clyde Goodwin2 Chief Train Controller

Why are Victorian operators or track providers obsessed with 80kph speed limit for freight trains rather than 100kph?
This is a great opportunity to achieve that as well.
23TAL and 100kph should be the minimum standard, however if it makes the difference between track being renewed or not, then 80kph is probably ok.  You go into axle loads vs transit time benifits debate territory with this.
themetptc
It is Intra state freight it does not require running at anything more than 80kph as it is not time sensitive.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I would argue that grain is a little more time sensitive than you give it credit @ClydeGoodwin2.  Grain is often moved on a just in time basis to meet ships that have fixed sailing schedules.  If they're late, the ship is delayed, costing additional $$.

But agreed, it is not as time sensitive as fresh produce etc and 80kmh is ok for it.  Besides, the supply chain knows about the 80kph and plans for it when planning logistics movements.
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

I assume FMG is Fortescue Metals Group, and to compare the Victorian regional freight system to them, well, that's pushing it. How many trains a day and their probably running 30 TAL, I wonder how many Kilo's/Kilometer or how ever it is you measure railway line  productivity, they carry and using the heavy sleepers to their max.
BigShunter


FMG run at 40 TAL, Rio and BHP at 37.5 TAL or so, Roy Hill is also 37.5 TAL from my understanding, but may also be at 40 TAL (built after FMG line)

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