Tenterfield Fires

 
  303gunner Station Master

Another fire is burning in the Zig Zag Scenic Reserve,....and has most likely burnt Clarence Station environs itself, as well as the embankment area that has recently been reformed and rail laid in a "Golden Spike" ceremony. I don't know, because they haven't let anyone up there for the last day and a half.
303gunner
Clarence Station has survived!

The Station building was unburnt, although the station area was heavily impacted with some of the timber picket fence burnt away. There was also a WW2 QR "Ambulance Train" carriage in the yard which has survived. Yay!

ACM730 has been completely destroyed, except for the steel chassis frame and bogies. Boo!

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  Hafenbahn Locomotive Fireman

Hi, the word from the Sydney Trains website is that passenger trains between Sydney and Lithgow/Bathurst will not run beyond Mt Victoria until further notice due to damage to railway infrastructure caused by the bushfires this last weekend. Presumably freight will be re-routed where possible which might open up some interesting photo opportunities.
My guess is that Clarence Colliery trains won't be running for a while. A customer at the Railway  Bookshop today showed me a photo of the remains of Newnes Juction signal box. A very sad sight.
  Hafenbahn Locomotive Fireman

Hi, the word from the Sydney Trains website is that passenger trains between Sydney and Lithgow/Bathurst will not run beyond Mt Victoria until further notice due to damage to railway infrastructure caused by the bushfires this last weekend. Presumably freight will be re-routed where possible which might open up some interesting photo opportunities.
My guess is that Clarence Colliery trains won't be running for a while. A customer at the Railway  Bookshop today showed me a photo of the remains of Newnes Juction signal box. A very sad sight.
  exarmidale Train Controller

Western Line will be closed from Christmas Night at Castlereigh Road Penrith for 5 days to install (slid into position) new rail bridge so as road under can be widened.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
Hi, the word from the Sydney Trains website is that passenger trains between Sydney and Lithgow/Bathurst will not run beyond Mt Victoria until further notice due to damage to railway infrastructure caused by the bushfires this last weekend. Presumably freight will be re-routed where possible which might open up some interesting photo opportunities.
My guess is that Clarence Colliery trains won't be running for a while. A customer at the Railway  Bookshop today showed me a photo of the remains of Newnes Juction signal box. A very sad sight.
Hafenbahn
Newnes is controlled from Blacktown I believe but I hope they leave the frame on the platform.
  tom9876543 Train Controller

I am very disappointed with management of the Zig Zag railway.

I believe there is a 494m rail tunnel down from Clarence Train Station.
Why wasn't the rolling stock moved to the tunnel???
  a6et Minister for Railways

I am very disappointed with management of the Zig Zag railway.

I believe there is a 494m rail tunnel down from Clarence Train Station.
Why wasn't the rolling stock moved to the tunnel???
tom9876543
tom, have you considered the effort and man power needed to move them from Clarence to ZIG ZAG?  They would have needed a locomotive, would have to be a diesel, but also need crews and other man power to shift and even do a small shunt, ensure there are working brakes on the R/S and how would one know the condition of the track in getting the loco up there and back to the tunnel you are suggesting.  

Also something to consider is that tunnels are not always the safest of environments either, especially if full of old wooden rolling stock, with a fire either end and wind blowing the flames into the tunnel.
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

Does anyone have information about the work that needs to be done in order for the line between Mt Vic and Lithgow to re-open?

Is it damage to the actual track? signalling?, unstable landforms?, fallen trees?, Overhead wiring, or all of these things......

It has now been several weeks since trains have been running, and no hint of when normal service will be resumed. It seems to have slipped off the media's radar, unlike, say, the status of the nearby roads.

Reliable information is very hard to come by.
  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
I drove the Bells Line of Road on Sunday, and there were multiple power company crews replacing the wooden mains power poles around Dargan and Bell. I suspect this may also feed into the rail power.

There was a temporary genset hooked up to provide electricity to some of the homes around Dargan.

One other observation- I was amazed at the number of houses in that area that “appeared” after the understorey had been burned away. A miracle that more homes weren’t lost.

Bloody heroes, those RFS crews.
  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Additional info from John Holland’s website, which published a Country Train Notice dated 31/12/19 indicating cancellations on the main west on Saturday (4jan), but resumption of WN17 and 1845 on Sunday (5 Jan).

ARxx, on the old Mudgee line, still showing as cancelled- unsurprising, given fire threat remains in the Capertee area.
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

Additional info from John Holland’s website, which published a Country Train Notice dated 31/12/19 indicating cancellations on the main west on Saturday (4jan), but resumption of WN17 and 1845 on Sunday (5 Jan).

ARxx, on the old Mudgee line, still showing as cancelled- unsurprising, given fire threat remains in the Capertee area.
SinickleBird
Thanks for this information, but it may be a tad optimistic for a Sunday re-opening.

I was booked on the Broken Hill Explorer train this coming Monday 6th January; but received a call this morning from TrainLink saying that the service is cancelled, and there is no forecast for a line re-opening. I did appreciate the call, but declined the offer of sitting on a bus all day and night out west.

So, either the damage is far more extensive than I had imagined and/or there are some problems in getting the repairs done due to manpower or equipment sourcing issues. In any event, folks at the top are not saying anything (while presumably at the coal face there are workers doing the best they can with what they have got).
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

Additional info from John Holland’s website, which published a Country Train Notice dated 31/12/19 indicating cancellations on the main west on Saturday (4jan), but resumption of WN17 and 1845 on Sunday (5 Jan).

ARxx, on the old Mudgee line, still showing as cancelled- unsurprising, given fire threat remains in the Capertee area.
Thanks for this information, but it may be a tad optimistic for a Sunday re-opening.

I was booked on the Broken Hill Explorer train this coming Monday 6th January; but received a call this morning from TrainLink saying that the service is cancelled, and there is no forecast for a line re-opening. I did appreciate the call, but declined the offer of sitting on a bus all day and night out west.

So, either the damage is far more extensive than I had imagined and/or there are some problems in getting the repairs done due to manpower or equipment sourcing issues. In any event, folks at the top are not saying anything (while presumably at the coal face there are workers doing the best they can with what they have got).
craigfitz1
Another little update:
I have family who are booked on the Blue Suede Express (run by the LVR) from Central to Parkes this coming Thursday 9th Jan.
We have received emails saying that the line will still be closed by then, but that they will be running the train anyway, via Cootamundra (with a 5-30 AM departure from Central). Of course, this assumes that the main south is open for business by then. I don't know what the TrainLink Elvis XPT service will be doing about all this.

By the way, if you peruse the TrainLink service disruptions page this morning, it is a real horror show for them. They must be in complete scramble mode.
As we all know, is the Dubbo XPT still out of action for the foreseeable future. And so too all Canberra, Melbourne and Griffith trains are replaced by buses.
In addition, this morning's Casino train is a bus out of Central.
Meanwhile, the up Moree train today is also a bus.
There is going to barely be enough space at Central to keep up with the need for bus parking spots!

I wonder when things settle down, if some political or treasury hard-head takes the opportunity to conclude that running a rail service is just too hard, and that they should just cancel the new train contract and put the 'emergency bus replacement' contractors on the permanent payroll. I am probably being too cynical I know.

Meanwhile, the fires just go on and on.......
  exarmidale Train Controller

CRN has amended timetable with TrainLink Elvis Express now ST29 which means will be going via Stockingbingal.
Coming home is as WT38 via Lithgow. This may change if infrastructure is not ready which may well be on the cards.
The cancelation of trans between Mount Victoria and Bathurst is due to the real risk of trees and rocks falling having been impacted by the heat from the fires. Think of the catastrophic consequences if a train was hit by a multi tonne boulder or landslide whist traversing through the area.

If the Main South is closed then only other option may be through Werris Creek - Binnaway - Dubbo - Orange or Peak Hill then Parkes.

Doubt would be allowed via Sandy Hollow and Ulan due to length and ventilation of Bylong Tunnel.

There is also the need for drivers with the road knowledge as well as the Traction Competency.
  Throughwestmail Train Controller

CRN has amended timetable with TrainLink Elvis Express now ST29 which means will be going via Stockingbingal.
Coming home is as WT38 via Lithgow. This may change if infrastructure is not ready which may well be on the cards.
The cancelation of trans between Mount Victoria and Bathurst is due to the real risk of trees and rocks falling having been impacted by the heat from the fires. Think of the catastrophic consequences if a train was hit by a multi tonne boulder or landslide whist traversing through the area.

If the Main South is closed then only other option may be through Werris Creek - Binnaway - Dubbo - Orange or Peak Hill then Parkes.

Doubt would be allowed via Sandy Hollow and Ulan due to length and ventilation of Bylong Tunnel.

There is also the need for drivers with the road knowledge as well as the Traction Competency.
exarmidale
I think you will find that the line is closed between Mt Victoria and Lithgow because of the complete destruction of all signalling and communication cabling between these two locations, plus any damage to the overhead. The line could possibly be reopened by Block Working trains through the sections, but that would be diesel traction only. If both tracks are not able to be opened, it could be done by Pilot Staff Working on one line only, but at the moment this is all pure speculation.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Driving north of Armidale along the New England I couldn't see any damage to the line. Not to say that there isn't any, but nothing visible from the highway.

As others said the fact that the line has deteriorated int he past 30 years is more of a reason why nothing will operate along here.

Fires east of Tenterfield was another matter. Devastating is all I can say. I feel for the communities there, the people, property and forests have all been hit somehow.

Terrible disasters across Australia and I feel for those impacted.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

When I was last along the line a bit over a year ago, it was surprising how good most of the track was in.  But the real thing stopping trains from running is the removal of a few culverts and small bridges
  a6et Minister for Railways

When I was last along the line a bit over a year ago, it was surprising how good most of the track was in.  But the real thing stopping trains from running is the removal of a few culverts and small bridges
tazzer96
Sadly, there is more damage to the line than just the removal of a few culverts and small bridges.  IF, the line was ever to be reopened it would need a complete rebuild, for one reason and one only and that is the aspect of the old genie white anting!

The NT line runs through heavily infested white ant areas, and they love hardwood, when a line is operating the areas that trains run over white ants will stay away owing to the movement and pounding of the rail onto the sleepers, as such they stay away from the lines but generally move in as sidings that are not uses are first to be affected.  

The term used of closing lines being white anted is very very appropriate as all it takes is no movement along the line for 6 months for them to start their work, you don't see the damage as they eat out the insides and leave the crust of the timber looking intact.

When many of the lines were put into suspended or seasonal use, they had the local gangers go over the whole line in their motorised track machines, at least every 6 months but usually under it for safety sake.

The aspect of the lovely great old timber bridges up there still pretty much stand but they also would need to be replaced completely.  Would love to see the line open again but, cannot see it happening.

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