Steamrail's Eureka Express feauturing R711's return to Ballarat

 
  SavyIsJoshoArts Station Master

Location: Southern New South Wales
Last time I was there (19/06/2016) there were large trees growing between the rails in tracks either side of the table, thus it hadn't been used for some time!

Graham4405
Hasn't been used since 2004. AFAIK, it was de-commissioned in 2005 and has not been used since.
Sad to see Albury Yard in this state now.

Cheers,

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  K160 Minister for Railways

Location: Bendigo
Best laid plans:

Unfortunately our return journey has been altered due to operational reasons and will now run via Geelong on the way home. Below is our new return timetable and as always, this is indicative only and actual times may vary. We will try our best to keep you updated.

NEW RETURN TIMETABLE:
Ballarat dep 15:44
Lal Lal 16:06
Lethbridge 16:54
Gheringhap 17:15
Corio 18:27
Lara 18:38
Little River
18:48 Wyndham Vale
19:02
Sunshine 19:35
Southern Cross arr 19:51
Steamrail FB Page

Un-official reports is that the Ballarat East turntable was unable to be certified in time for use. Also been reported the Gunzel Convoy was about 40 cars long near Bacchus Marsh this morning following the train.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Do you mean to say that trains going via Bacchus Marsh and  returning via North Shore can do so without changing ends?  I can't see how it's possible from the map.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Is the turntable at Maldon ex Skipton?

Yes it is. Re-located to Maldon in 1988 to replace the 50ft beam that was still in situ at Maldon. Otherwise they would have been splitting K and J-class locos just to turn them.
K160
Thanks Matt, confirmed what I thought. And Castlemaine is ex Woodend?

Was that an increase in size or like for like, an R class can be turned on the CME table IIRC

BG
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Woodend was 70 foot.
Could certainly turn an A2.
Was there a VR turntable size between 53 foot and 70 foot. Believing not; if you could turn an A2 you could turn an R.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Un-official reports is that the Ballarat East turntable was unable to be certified in time for use.
"K160"
A combination of old age and bad experiences, heavily loaded with cynicism, says it could have been done if there was any official will to do it.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Do you mean to say that trains going via Bacchus Marsh and returning via North Shore can do so without changing ends?  I can't see how it's possible from the map.
route14
They ran tender first between Ballarat and North Geelong and used the triangle and yard at North Geelong to return to Melbourne "the right way 'round".

The locos are restricted to running at a slower speed when going tender first, meaning they couldn't have fit between the timetabled services on the busy Ballarat line.

A combination of old age and bad experiences, heavily loaded with cynicism, says it could have been done if there was any official will to do it.
Valvegear

I too suspect this is the case. A damn shame if that is all it is, the crowd today certainly shows there is enough interest in the general public, not just us gunzels to justify keeping the required infrastructure available for use.

Also been reported the Gunzel Convoy was about 40 cars long near Bacchus Marsh this morning following the train.
K160


At least, if not more than that. Particularly between McCormacks Rd (AKA Dog Trap Gully Rd, near the top of the infamous Ingliston Bank) and Ballan. Easily the biggest gunzel convoy I've ever been a part of. Mostly well behaved too from what I witnessed, which is not always the case.

-----

All in all the Down journey ran very well. The train ran express all of the way from Southern Cross to Bank Box loop where it crossed an UP after only waiting about 5 minutes. It then continued on to Ballan and arrived into the new platform 2 where it was greeted by a large crowd of locals. It then departed and made its way to the down end of Ballan crossing loop where it was overtaken by a DOWN service and waited for a corresponding UP to cross.

It was then full steam ahead and arrived on time into Ballarat platform 2 at 11:08.

This when the news was floating around that access to the turntable had been denied and the return re-routed.

I must say both locomotives appeared to be running beautifully and the carriages looked excellent, especially BK700 and BRS14 which have both had an overhaul including a decent repaint and now look brand new again.

I didn't stick around for the return via Gheringhap, but I assume all went well?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Un-official reports is that the Ballarat East turntable was unable to be certified in time for use.
A combination of old age and bad experiences, heavily loaded with cynicism, says it could have been done if there was any official will to do it.
Valvegear
Is the current Ballarat turntable electric or push, please?
If it's not electric not much 'to certify'.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Ballarat East turntable is electric.
  K160 Minister for Railways

Location: Bendigo
Is the turntable at Maldon ex Skipton?

Yes it is. Re-located to Maldon in 1988 to replace the 50ft beam that was still in situ at Maldon. Otherwise they would have been splitting K and J-class locos just to turn them.
Thanks Matt, confirmed what I thought. And Castlemaine is ex Woodend?

Was that an increase in size or like for like, an R class can be turned on the CME table IIRC

BG
BrentonGolding

Correct. The Woodend table was relocated to Castlemaine in 1994. The previous table at Castlemaine was 70ft so all that was done to re-instate the replacement was to dig out the pit (filled in possibly in the 1960s), construct the ring rail and check the old pivot (or they might have used the one from Woodend not 100% sure there) before plonking the replacement beam in. Forward thinking payed off here as it was always intended for visiting R-class locos to use the Castlemaine facilities once the service returned on the branch.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Ballarat East turntable is electric.
Gman_86
Thanks.
Perhaps therein lies the problem?
Electricery, like steam, scares people.
(KISS = Keep it simple stupid)
  route14 Chief Commissioner

When did they get notified of the issue?  Was it not possible to marshall the train in push-pull?  Although I'm sure it would be interesting to see the train taking a non-routine route.
  hbedriver Assistant Commissioner

I was a passenger on the ARE group’s 10th anniversary trip; 761/707 to Ballarat, Maryborough, Castlemaine, back to Melbourne about 2 hours late. Both locos were turned at Castlemaine, this was about 1971/72. So I assume they had a 70’ TT, removed later.

You feel for the crews running tender first from Ballarat down to Geelong, they would have been cold going up the hill, then frozen going down. And the less said about comfort the better.

It’s nice that crews these days are so tolerant, in the old days they would have had no hope of running a fan tour so far tender first.

Speed would be restricted to about 50km/h; those locos are just not balanced to run backwards. They are also much more dangerous to crews in the event of meeting a truck/tree/obstruction.

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