Re Opening & Upgrading Maryborough - Avoca - Ararat

 
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

In the latest Ararat diagram at SA Track and Signal, the proposed Arrival Home signal 265/14 on the Maryborough line (Grano Street) has been deleted (see Page 28 of this thread, 3rd post). Is what is currently shown intended to be permanent?

http://www.sa-trackandsignal.net/Pdf%20files/ARTC/AR133.pdf

Sponsored advertisement

  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

In the latest Ararat diagram at SA Track and Signal, the proposed Arrival Home signal 265/14 on the Maryborough line (Grano Street) has been deleted (see Page 28 of this thread, 3rd post). Is what is currently shown intended to be permanent?

http://www.sa-trackandsignal.net/Pdf%20files/ARTC/AR133.pdf
kitchgp
Appears diagram for current interim arrangements .

Fully motorized and remote controlled signalling supposed to be commissioned August, but not sure which  year  !!!!  in this long drawn out  BLUE  HILLS  saga .
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Ah, The Goldmine provides again

http://www.rtbuvicloco.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/LocoLines-Edition-73-web.pdf


Paci????ic National Rural and Bulk
Management has made a concerted effort to try and introduce Driver Only Opera????ons (DOO) between Maryborough and Geelong; a number of requirements have yet to be met by the company. PN Bulk has nominated NR Class Locomo????ves which presents difficul????es for the company:
• NR locomo????ves are over the axle load and can only be compliant if they have 5000lt or less of fuel for the sec????on of track between Maryborough and Ararat, which is impossible to manage.








Unresolved issues are 75% of the track is inaccessible for road vehicles, so if a driver is incapacitated due to ill health or heart a????ack there is no means to recover the driver for medical a????en????on.


• Radio communica????ons are unreliable. A formal radio test regime has not been completed
• A holding test for proposed locomo????ves, should the locomo????ves brake down and air pressure is lost, is yet to be done.
• Managements a????empt to try and extend the strict limita????ons for DOO shi???? lengths beyond 8 has been rejected by the Victorian locomo????ve Division
PN Bulk claims that it is opera????ng DOO in South Australia and Queensland but in Victoria it will not be implemented unless they meet the criteria set out for DOO in Victoria
Chronic issues exist at Bulk in the state of Locomo????ves not being fully repaired, toilets not working properly and radios not working properly. An ongoing concern is some of our members not being as diligent as they ought to be in ensuring these Loco’s don’t come into service if not fully repaired.



  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Dangersdan707Ah, The Goldmine provides again

http://www.rtbuvicloco.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/LocoLines-Edition-73-web.pdf

Pacific National Rural and Bulk
Management has made a concerted effort to try and introduce Driver Only Operations (DOO) between Maryborough and Geelong; a number of requirements have yet to be met by the company.

PN Bulk has nominated NR Class Locomotives which presents difficulties for the company:

  • NR locomotives are over the axle load and can only be compliant if they have 5000lt or less of fuel for the section of track between Maryborough and Ararat, which is impossible to manage.
  • Unresolved issues are 75% of the track is inaccessible for road vehicles, so if a driver is incapacitated due to ill health or heart attack there is no means to recover the driver for medical attention.
  • Radio communications are unreliable. A formal radio test regime has not been completed.
  • A holding test for proposed locomotives, should the locomotives brake down and air pressure is lost, is yet to be done.
  • Managements attempt to try and extend the strict limitations for DOO shift lengths beyond 8 has been rejected by the Victorian locomotive Division.  

PN Bulk claims that it is operating DOO in South Australia and Queensland but in Victoria it will not be implemented unless they meet the criteria set out for DOO in VictoriaChronic issues exist at Bulk in the state of Locomotives not being fully repaired, toilets not working properly and radios not working properly. An ongoing concern is some of our members not being as diligent as they ought to be in ensuring these Loco’s don’t come into service if not fully repaired.

Here is the info fixed up.

2 points of discussion

- RTB Victoria seems to be being obstructive here - this could be part of the Victorian issue with rail....
- Why do we not have a national standard being applied consistently.....  This is also an issue that increases cost of rail across the country.


For anyone familiar with the concept of elasticity, id be interested to know where we lay on the curve.  That is, would a little bit of action from the RTBV to allow more flexibility could lead to a lot more rail work?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
RTBU Victoria seems to be being obstructive here - this could be part of the Victorian issue with rail....
Why do we not have a national standard being applied consistently? This is also an issue that increases cost of rail across the country.
For anyone familiar with the concept of elasticity, I'd be interested to know where we lay on the curve. That is, would a little bit of action from the RTBU to allow more flexibility could lead to a lot more rail work?
james.au
  1. PacNat is being more obstructive by insisting that NRs would be used when they are clearly not an ideal solution due to their weight. The only reason that they want to use them is so that they can use a single loco on trains in place of a pair.
  2. An 8 hour limit on DOO seems eminently sensible. Perhaps it's the other states that are being unrealistic by having a longer shift limit? Remember that fatigue can have some pretty nasty consequences when there's a freight train involved...
  3. If you think that PacNat management would go out and get more business if they can flog their workers harder then I have a bridge to sell you.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

An 8 hour limit on DOO seems eminently sensible. Perhaps it's the other states that are being unrealistic by having a longer shift limit? Remember that fatigue can have some pretty nasty consequences when there's a freight train involved...
LancedDendrite

Exactly. Only in the quasi-deregulated wasteland that is rail could an infamously reckless profiteer propose something like this and expect to be taken in good faith by unions and regulators.

Airline pilots can't do more than 8 hours in a shift. A lone driver on a several thousand tonne train for 10, 12 hours in a manual safeworking area? I will pass on that, thanks very much.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
RTBU Victoria seems to be being obstructive here - this could be part of the Victorian issue with rail....
Why do we not have a national standard being applied consistently? This is also an issue that increases cost of rail across the country.
For anyone familiar with the concept of elasticity, I'd be interested to know where we lay on the curve. That is, would a little bit of action from the RTBU to allow more flexibility could lead to a lot more rail work?
  1. PacNat is being more obstructive by insisting that NRs would be used when they are clearly not an ideal solution due to their weight. The only reason that they want to use them is so that they can use a single loco on trains in place of a pair.
  2. An 8 hour limit on DOO seems eminently sensible. Perhaps it's the other states that are being unrealistic by having a longer shift limit? Remember that fatigue can have some pretty nasty consequences when there's a freight train involved...
  3. If you think that PacNat management would go out and get more business if they can flog their workers harder then I have a bridge to sell you.
LancedDendrite
1. The C Class are weight restricted on Oaklands line and seem to do just fine.  And replacing with NRs seems to indicate that there is a utilisation issue with the NR fleet that PN are looking to cut cost with.
2. Not entirely comparable but https://www.nhvr.gov.au/safety-accreditation-compliance/fatigue-management/work-and-rest-requirements/standard-hours.  Also, NSW shifts of 12 hours seem to be manageable?
3. Not sure how this connects to my comments.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Operating weight restricted on a branch to the terminal is clearly a different proposition to having fuel restrictions on the mainline connection as we do in this situation. It would be a ridiculous balancing act to get NRs enough fuel to get to Mildura and back but then be light enough to get back to the mainline at Ararat, and if you got it wrong, it would screw up the whole line for hours on end.

Not sure anyone should be looking to NHVR as the arbiter of operating standards given the safety record of heavy road transport.

And you did ask about elasticity or the possibility of latent demand that PN might be looking to exploit.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Operating weight restricted on a branch to the terminal is clearly a different proposition to having fuel restrictions on the mainline connection as we do in this situation. It would be a ridiculous balancing act to get NRs enough fuel to get to Mildura and back but then be light enough to get back to the mainline at Ararat, and if you got it wrong, it would screw up the whole line for hours on end.

Not sure anyone should be looking to NHVR as the arbiter of operating standards given the safety record of heavy road transport.

And you did ask about elasticity or the possibility of latent demand that PN might be looking to exploit.
potatoinmymouth
Agreed there would be challenges but they've been overcome before - when do we let those challenges get in the way of possible progress?

The reason I compare to the road industry is because that is what the competition is.  I agree, road drivers arguably have different challenges,  but these are like keeping their vehicle on the road all the time which is something rail drivers don't have as much of a challenge with their trains which are mostly pretty fixed.  Like it or not its not lie the road industry is going to become more regulated to flip things back in rail's favour.

And the elasticity argument was related to pragmatism of relegation and its impact on industry more broadly using new flexibility, not about PN's hunger.


Really, for things that are designed to make rail more competitive I'm again surprised at the reaction here.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

The reason I compare to the road industry is because that is what the competition is.  I agree, road drivers arguably have different challenges,  but these are like keeping their vehicle on the road all the time which is something rail drivers don't have as much of a challenge with their trains which are mostly pretty fixed.  Like it or not its not lie the road industry is going to become more regulated to flip things back in rail's favour.
james.au
And the reason I compare to the aviation industry is because it’s one where there’s a long-standing safety culture rather than a patchwork of cowboys and self-regulation that is still in command of craven regulators.

Again, the safety record of the trucking industry shouldn’t be seen as something to aspire to. The “keeping the truck on the road” argument is an old red herring in any case. If anything the risks of a lone driver rolling into say, Ararat, after hours crawling along at 25 km/h in the dark at the end of a 12 hour shift, and not being sufficiently alert to the complex safe working process, are more profound than the environment of constant stimulation that is the highway.

You’re surprised that people are not receptive to “making rail more competitive”; I’m surprised you seem to think it’s a legitimate trade off.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
And the elasticity argument was related to pragmatism of relegation and its impact on industry more broadly using new flexibility, not about PN's hunger.
james.au
All I'm doing is being blunt with what you're discussing. When you say
a little bit of action from the RTBU to allow more flexibility
james.au
what you're saying in this instance is 'What if the RTBU shirked its obligations to its members by letting PacNat management erode their working conditions without opposition, on the vague promise that PacNat might get some more business from the resulting reductions in cost'.

"Flexibility" is managerial-speak for 'reducing wages and/or working conditions'.

Really, for things that are designed to make rail more competitive I'm again surprised at the reaction here.
james.au
There are far more productive ways to make rail more competitive than shafting workers. Y'know, like lobbying for track improvements so that those NRs can actually do the Maryborough-Geelong trip fully-fueled...
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
NR's would be a waste for the Maryborough line anyway, they'd be much more likely to train up the crews along there on 82's if the axle loading was to be improved and their single-ended nature would be a hindrance up that way. Alternatively, they could just do as they do now and send down a few extra 81's from NSW or convert a few more locos from BG (plenty of XR's sat around doing SFA) when they need some more power...

As for DOO, the G's were all done up for DOO operation back in V/Line days, as were X47, X49 and the XR's and these locos were all regularly DOO used before the RFR works in 2004/2005. That stopped when it was mandated that locos must have TPWS fitted for DOO usage on the RFR lines and they haven't bothered with it since. I dare say the BL's and 81's would also work with DOO being close as they are to G's.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
The reason I compare to the road industry is because that is what the competition is.  I agree, road drivers arguably have different challenges,  but these are like keeping their vehicle on the road all the time which is something rail drivers don't have as much of a challenge with their trains which are mostly pretty fixed.  Like it or not its not lie the road industry is going to become more regulated to flip things back in rail's favour.
And the reason I compare to the aviation industry is because it’s one where there’s a long-standing safety culture rather than a patchwork of cowboys and self-regulation that is still in command of craven regulators.

Again, the safety record of the trucking industry shouldn’t be seen as something to aspire to. The “keeping the truck on the road” argument is an old red herring in any case. If anything the risks of a lone driver rolling into say, Ararat, after hours crawling along at 25 km/h in the dark at the end of a 12 hour shift, and not being sufficiently alert to the complex safe working process, are more profound than the environment of constant stimulation that is the highway.

You’re surprised that people are not receptive to “making rail more competitive”; I’m surprised you seem to think it’s a legitimate trade off.
potatoinmymouth
Aviation isn't what rail competes against.  Road is.  And i think that is the reality that we need to have this discussion.

Air travel is a wholly different form of transport to road and rail.  Perhaps most significantly is the third dimension that it operates in and the exponential level of risk this exposes operators to.  Equivalent mechanical failures on a train cause it to stop after a few kms, but in the air it is devastating.

Now, there is another argument too (and this is in transport research and policy circles - real places of consideration not just the armchair) that air regulations are higher than they need to be from a purely economic efficiency perspective.  Ie that at the margin, the cost of safety does not return an equivalent benefit.  But there is no way to step back from where we are after 911 etc.

It is in this background that i do not assume that current safety regimes are necessarily at the perfect setting.  

I know for a fact that there are elements within TfNSW that think that TfNSW has internalised the risk on things to their detriment and that relaxation of some safety regulations would allow them to do things for far less cost at a next to no safety tradeoff.  But because of politics they cannot do that as if in the expectedly rare event something happens, or more likely something happens in a related area but one that is wholly unconnected to the relaxed regulation, the media would go to town and the political backlash would be unwearable, even though overall the benefits are positive.

Re this current issue - I ask the question, what impact has been seen in jurisdictions with more than 8 hour DOO? Has there been evidence of greater accident/incident/near miss occurrence?  Is there any evidence to contradict this approved operating method?


BTW and for the avoidance of doubt there is nothing personal in this towards to you PIMM or LD, but im seeing this as a way to explore the issue.  Hopefully you see similar.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
what you're saying in this instance is 'What if the RTBU shirked its obligations to its members by letting PacNat management erode their working conditions without opposition, on the vague promise that PacNat might get some more business from the resulting reductions in cost'.

"Flexibility" is managerial-speak for 'reducing wages and/or working conditions'.

Really, for things that are designed to make rail more competitive I'm again surprised at the reaction here.
There are far more productive ways to make rail more competitive than shafting workers. Y'know, like lobbying for track improvements so that those NRs can actually do the Maryborough-Geelong trip fully-fueled...
LancedDendrite

No that is you adding your interpretation to what you think I am saying, where you are not being accurate.

That is a naive interpretation of flexibility.  Yes it has (Orwellianly) been used in that way but the neutral definition of the term can lead to situations where both 'sides' are better off.  Flexibility is a way of improving productivity, which is one of two things - doing more with the same or doing the same with less (or a combination of the two).  The first leg of this is what drivers could see if

Yes there are more effective ways but PN doesn't have much control over that.  Though they are lobbying for improvements including the completion of the MRBP and upgrades to the Main West which I am very supportive of (as they are the users to benefit from it) and was criticised for in a recent thread for supporting.  But they have the obligation to look at their own internal processes to try and reduce their costs too (which is a benefit of privatisation - internalisation of cost management).  They cannot just sit back and ask for improvements from government (which may not happen) and lose market to road...  Because we on here smash them for doing that normally.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
Road, rail and air transport have different risk characteristics, absolutely. What they do have in common however is a human sitting in a chair, vigilantly staring out a windshield whilst also checking on an instrument cluster for hours on end. Fatigue is a common-mode risk for all of them. Humans are practically invariate in those risk profiles - we just can't make humans that are reliably more vigilant for longer shift lengths than the general populace.

Re this current issue - I ask the question, what impact has been seen in jurisdictions with more than 8 hour DOO? Has there been evidence of greater accident/incident/near miss occurrence? Is there any evidence to contradict this approved operating method?
james.au
I'm glad you asked! The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator is currently undergoing a major review of fatigue risk management. The RTBU has made a submission as part of this review. In their submission they noted:
Recent scientific evidence has shown there is a 30.4% increased risk of an occupational accident during the night shift and a clear exponential increase in accident risk beyond the 8th or 9th hour on shift.
RTBU submission
This evidence was obtained from Evidence Based Review of Shift Work Risk Factors for Fatigue and Accident/Injury Risk in the Rail Industry, Clare Anderson, Shantha M.W.Rajartnam and Ron Grunstein, Monash University and University of Sydney, March 2012.

So any shift longer than 8-9 hours has a non-linear increasing risk profile.

There's also some good discussion of DOO vs two-person operation in Australia in the article One is the loneliest number: Exploring the role of the second driver in Australian rail operations, Anjum Naweed, Danielle Every, Ganesh Balakrishnan, Jillian Dorrian, Ergonomics Australia 2014. In particular it notes the utility of having two-person operation on freight trains.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Road, rail and air transport have different risk characteristics, absolutely. What they do have in common however is a human sitting in a chair, vigilantly staring out a windshield whilst also checking on an instrument cluster for hours on end. Fatigue is a common-mode risk for all of them. Humans are practically invariate in those risk profiles - we just can't make humans that are reliably more vigilant for longer shift lengths than the general populace.

Re this current issue - I ask the question, what impact has been seen in jurisdictions with more than 8 hour DOO? Has there been evidence of greater accident/incident/near miss occurrence? Is there any evidence to contradict this approved operating method?
I'm glad you asked! The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator is currently undergoing a major review of fatigue risk management. The RTBU has made a submission as part of this review. In their submission they noted:
Recent scientific evidence has shown there is a 30.4% increased risk of an occupational accident during the night shift and a clear exponential increase in accident risk beyond the 8th or 9th hour on shift.
This evidence was obtained from Evidence Based Review of Shift Work Risk Factors for Fatigue and Accident/Injury Risk in the Rail Industry, Clare Anderson, Shantha M.W.Rajartnam and Ron Grunstein, Monash University and University of Sydney, March 2012.

So any shift longer than 8-9 hours has a non-linear increasing risk profile.

There's also some good discussion of DOO vs two-person operation in Australia in the article One is the loneliest number: Exploring the role of the second driver in Australian rail operations, Anjum Naweed, Danielle Every, Ganesh Balakrishnan, Jillian Dorrian, Ergonomics Australia 2014. In particular it notes the utility of having two-person operation on freight trains.
LancedDendrite

Thanks for this.  Just took a read of Anderson et al (2013) and whilst this is the case, the context is in Germany.  Is this comparable to Australia?  Id guess Germany has a lot more traffic on the lines (ie passengers) and perhaps might be more taxing than longer distance regional runs.  Are the german speeds faster than our slow branch lines?

Naweed et al (2014) is interesting but raises factors both ways. The study is exploratory and qualitative and more of a record of what the surveyed respondents said rather than a determinative study.

What I am looking to understand is if in the current regulations in other states are seeing actual incident increases.

Whilst we wait for that data as im not sure it exists, here is an idea.  How about a split regulatory regime with a risk based approach.  In certain areas of track that are lower risk (maybe rural/regional? ) greater than 8 hours DOO can be allowed, but others that are not (built up, higher traffic areas) with higher risk need 2?  A driver could bring the train down from Mildura on their own but at Ararat (or Ballarat if the FPRSP project works out) they are joined by another to bring it into Melbourne?
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Fatigue is a common-mode risk for all of them. Humans are practically invariate in those risk profiles - we just can't make humans that are reliably more vigilant for longer shift lengths than the general populace.
LancedDendrite
People can produce when bored or fatigued (or even drunk) but lose the higher level skills required for when things go wrong.
Humans do not perform well when they are bored and/or fatigued, and it is illogical to think that operations don't become riskier the longer they go on.

Of course, if you stand to benefit from pushing people beyond what humans can comfortably do, you will never admit that longer operations are riskier.
Not that those doing the pushing will place themselves in the way of harm.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
2 NRs are meant to be running to dunolly on Sunday and returning Monday
Train numbers are D735V and 7938V respectively
  lkernan Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
2 NRs are meant to be running to dunolly on Sunday and returning Monday
Train numbers are D735V and 7938V respectively
Dangersdan707
I assume a road has been built alongside the entire line to allow emergency services to carry stretchers to the ailing crew?
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
2 NRs are meant to be running to dunolly on Sunday and returning Monday
Train numbers are D735V and 7938V respectively
I assume a road has been built alongside the entire line to allow emergency services to carry stretchers to the ailing crew?
lkernan
I assume the Crew will be Barely Alive when they get to there destination!
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
In another first for the Avoca line after the MBRP, the afternoon of the 11th of August 2019 saw the arrival of the 4,000hp NR Class GE's to the cross country route between Ararat and Maryborough, with NR87 and NR94 the locos involved. Due to their weight, the duo were restricted to 5000 litres of fuel in order to remain at or below 129 tonnes.

The purpose of the visit was to perform brake holding tests with a loaded train on the Avoca line, ahead of the class' rumoured introduction on trains on the route. The loaded train came in the form of a rake of VHAF/VHGF grain hoppers ex Murrayville, running as 7938V, which also provided the rare (for Victoria) sight of NR's on a grain train.

Also of note was that when the NR's rolled onto the Avoca line was that they became the most powerful locos to yet appear on the line, and indeed anywhere along the route to Mildura.

Trains seen in order are:
D735V- NR87 and NR94
7938V- NR94 and NR87



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVUeD37xN8c&feature=youtu.be
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
If weight is an issue, might we see a trailing fuel tanker on these trains if NRs become a longer term fixture on the route?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
If weight is an issue, might we see a trailing fuel tanker on these trains if NRs become a longer term fixture on the route?
james.au

Would route distance require a full fuel tank in any case?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
If weight is an issue, might we see a trailing fuel tanker on these trains if NRs become a longer term fixture on the route?

Would route distance require a full fuel tank in any case?
bevans
Fair point.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
What is the brake testing all about, what has to be achieved for these locomotives, anybody ?

129 tonne and 6 axles, pushing the 21 tonne limit, particularly on the Ararat to M'borough sections lighter rail.

And a very nice catch by Schony747 here, sailing along at not a bad pace, thanks for the footage.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IO2R2UpVYfQ

BigShunter.

Sponsored advertisement

Display from: