Echuca line upgrade

 
  emmastreet Chief Train Controller

Location: Goulburn Valley
Echuca Line to be shutdown from August 31 to Nov 1 according to PTV website.

Either the Deni rice and grain trains won't happen, or the Toolamba line will need reopening...
Carnot
Word from someone who should know is " there are no plans to reopen the Toolamba to Echuca line".  These things can always change but I'm told there would be a tremendous amount of work needed to reopen the line.
Just something else to think about: Deni rice doesn't have to be a train.

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  Carnot Minister for Railways

1000's of new concrete sleepers are now trackside ready to install from Bagshot to Goornong.  This will be a hive of activity in the next few months.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Yes for the track upgrade  Epsom to Goornong is getting the most work as it needs it to realize the long awaited line speed increase. (First promised by VLP & Terry Mulder in 2009, then denied by VLP from the next CEO who is actually 3 CEO ago now !!!)

VLP for the third time have failed to maintain Toolamba - Echuca as fit for purpose 65kmh line and just let it degrade till now it is untrafficable.  So now just as the rice traffic starts up again it has to go by road because VLP will NOT maintain the freight only lines like they are supposed to .  The last departed VLP CEO got a very public boot from Government last year for failing to maintain the Rainbow line , and yet here we go again .  As Fawlty would say hopeless  !!!!  Worse still there are said to be significant new freight opportunities going begging along the Toolamba - Echuca line if and when it finally gets re-activated .

Government needs to get fair dinkum in that their media releases say they are committed to getting more freight on rail. BUT last State Budget and Media Release allocated $ 3.6m to rail and hundreds of millions $ to upgrade regional road network for over 1000kms of new routes approved for A double road trains. This year Geelong grain receivals 70 % by road, 30 % by rail . Again a damning emdightment on the State Governments record in getting more freight on rail.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Worse still there are said to be significant new freight opportunities going begging along the Toolamba - Echuca line if and when it finally gets re-activated .
kuldalai

Can you elaborate on this?

Are we talking more containerised hay? Bulk grain? Something else entirely?
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Worse still there are said to be significant new freight opportunities going begging along the Toolamba - Echuca line if and when it finally gets re-activated .

Can you elaborate on this?

Are we talking more containerised hay? Bulk grain? Something else entirely?
Gman_86
Not clear but knowing the area more likely to be dairy or processed foods exports one would think.

Re-opening Inglewood - Eaglehawk is another no brainer but so far the Government's actions are NOT displaying that they are fair dinkum about getting more freight on rail .  In the Inglewood - Eaglehawk case there would be 100 plus export containers a week ex Bridgewater automatically attach to the Up Ultima Intermodal train at marginal cost, plus the Ultima Intermodal train would realize a shorter more direct overnight route to and from Melbourne. Plus we could run more than one grain train a day on both the Sea Lake and Managatang Lines, increasing rails falling share of grain carriage. An absolute no brainer not to re-activate  Inglewood - Eaglehawk and its 47kg rail throughout too.  

The money thrown at road improvements to allow another 1000 plus kms of regional roads to be accessible to A doubles, would have been much better spent in re-activating both Inglewood - Eaglehawk and Toolamba - Echuca and ACTUALLY  getting more freight on rail .
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Re-opening Inglewood - Eaglehawk is another no brainer but so far the Government's actions are NOT displaying that they are fair dinkum about getting more freight on rail .  In the Inglewood - Eaglehawk case there would be 100 plus export containers a week ex Bridgewater automatically attach to the Up Ultima Intermodal train at marginal cost, plus the Ultima Intermodal train would realize a shorter more direct overnight route to and from Melbourne. Plus we could run more than one grain train a day on both the Sea Lake and Managatang Lines, increasing rails falling share of grain carriage. An absolute no brainer not to re-activate  Inglewood - Eaglehawk and its 47kg rail throughout too.  
kuldalai

I thought everybody's dream was up trains via Bendigo and down trains via Ballarat, thereby solving the problem caused by the massive single track distance between crossing places. If that's the case how do the empty containers get to Bridgewater?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

A shunt from Inglewood could do it if they put in provision for a run-around there (or alternatively a triangle).

It's not just Bridgewater where containers might be loaded. Other sites have been proposed West of Inglewood.

Slightly back on topic - reopening Toolamba and Inglewood lines would also provide an alternative pathing for Deni and Piangil freight trains during the regular and long shutdowns of the Bendigo line which will continue to occur until the Airport line project is completed... (Ie. The next 7 years!)
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Re-opening Inglewood - Eaglehawk is another no brainer but so far the Government's actions are NOT displaying that they are fair dinkum about getting more freight on rail .  In the Inglewood - Eaglehawk case there would be 100 plus export containers a week ex Bridgewater automatically attach to the Up Ultima Intermodal train at marginal cost, plus the Ultima Intermodal train would realize a shorter more direct overnight route to and from Melbourne. Plus we could run more than one grain train a day on both the Sea Lake and Managatang Lines, increasing rails falling share of grain carriage. An absolute no brainer not to re-activate  Inglewood - Eaglehawk and its 47kg rail throughout too.  

I thought everybody's dream was up trains via Bendigo and down trains via Ballarat, thereby solving the problem caused by the massive single track distance between crossing places. If that's the case how do the empty containers get to Bridgewater?
duttonbay
With the grain trains the best way to maximize capacity for both bg and sg grain trains on the Murray Basin network would appear to be Up bg via Eaglehawk and Bendigo, and Down Emptys via Warrenheip.  The trains via Bendigo on the Up primarily runninng late evening and overnight.  The Ultima inter modal would operate via the shorter direct route via Bendigo in both directions.  Up Ultima mid evening attach export loaded containers to the rear at Bridgewater.  Down Ultima early am drop of the Empty containers trailing at Bridgewater en route to Ultima(for reloading with loaded conatiners during the day.)

To run a 40 minute Off Peak Weekday Bendigo passenger frequency as promised there is going to have to be restoration of duplication probably for a couple of kms on the Down side of Kyneton, and a further couple of kms on the Down end of Castlemaine loop.  That will then also increase the ability to handle broad gauge trains off the Korongvale Group and the Swan Hill line. Also restoring double track between bendigo station and Golden Square would eliminate a senseless bottlkneck making things flow more smoothly through Bendigo.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Re-opening Inglewood - Eaglehawk is another no brainer but so far the Government's actions are NOT displaying that they are fair dinkum about getting more freight on rail .  In the Inglewood - Eaglehawk case there would be 100 plus export containers a week ex Bridgewater automatically attach to the Up Ultima Intermodal train at marginal cost, plus the Ultima Intermodal train would realize a shorter more direct overnight route to and from Melbourne. Plus we could run more than one grain train a day on both the Sea Lake and Managatang Lines, increasing rails falling share of grain carriage. An absolute no brainer not to re-activate  Inglewood - Eaglehawk and its 47kg rail throughout too.  

I thought everybody's dream was up trains via Bendigo and down trains via Ballarat, thereby solving the problem caused by the massive single track distance between crossing places. If that's the case how do the empty containers get to Bridgewater?
With the grain trains the best way to maximize capacity for both bg and sg grain trains on the Murray Basin network would appear to be Up bg via Eaglehawk and Bendigo, and Down Emptys via Warrenheip.  The trains via Bendigo on the Up primarily runninng late evening and overnight.  The Ultima inter modal would operate via the shorter direct route via Bendigo in both directions.  Up Ultima mid evening attach export loaded containers to the rear at Bridgewater.  Down Ultima early am drop of the Empty containers trailing at Bridgewater en route to Ultima(for reloading with loaded conatiners during the day.)

To run a 40 minute Off Peak Weekday Bendigo passenger frequency as promised there is going to have to be restoration of duplication probably for a couple of kms on the Down side of Kyneton, and a further couple of kms on the Down end of Castlemaine loop.  That will then also increase the ability to handle broad gauge trains off the Korongvale Group and the Swan Hill line. Also restoring double track between bendigo station and Golden Square would eliminate a senseless bottlkneck making things flow more smoothly through Bendigo.
kuldalai
Fair enough - I had not considered the down Ultima running via Bridgewater.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Quick trip to Echuca...

This last week has seen the Up end of Echuca resignalled. Boom barriers are being provided at the Murray Valley Hwy with proper signalled protection on the Toolamba line. The Up end main line points are being equipped with dual control point machines (only operated in hand mode). Points at the other ends of the crossovers are equipped with WSa levers, HLB. The signals detect the point machines & WSa levers in the correct position.

(Yes, this is a cheap solution. However, for those that like to moan about modern times and hark back to the glorious VR, remember that this is the first time *ever* that the junction points for the Toolamba line have been equipped with a facing point lock and protected by signals. The VR never bothered to install proper signalling at Echuca, even though it was a major location.)

Three bridges between Elmore and Rochester have been renewed with pre-stressed concrete beams replacing the old steel (or iron?) beams. Two are relatively short, but one is the long one over Black Culvert Rd just south of Rochester.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Solid update thanks.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

If the points were not signal protected previously, were they compulsory stops like those on the tram network?
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Weston Langford's sketch of Echuca in 1959 showed a Weighted Point Lever controlling the junction to Toolamba - back then the junction was located close to the end of the platform, although a crossover further down the yard also allowed access. I can't tell which was used most often, but the crossover would have required two points to be operated and a decent walk, and the facing turnout there was also a weighted lever. Those would require somebody holding on to the lever while the train crossed it. A Bob Wilson photo shows the school train departing Echuca with a bloke hanging on to the lever in 1970, and one of mine shows it happening at Elmore in 1979, so it certainly wasn't unknown at junction stations, even with passenger trains.

What happened from the 1980s onwards is unknown to me. I've been to Echuca often enough,
  historian Deputy Commissioner

If the points were not signal protected previously, were they compulsory stops like those on the tram network?
route14

A potted history of signalling at VR non-interlocked staff stations.

Prior to 1908 main line points were worked by weighted levers (spur levers) and secured by hand locking bars and padlocks. Interlocking between the arrival home signals and the points was solely by the GA requiring the SM personally to wander out and check the position of the points prior to signalling a train. An instruction which, I am sure, was not always followed to the letter.

Between 1909 and the end of WWI, the VR plunger locked most of these stations. At this time plunger locking was only provided on points that were facing for trains arriving into the station. Points that were facing for moves leaving the station generally continued to secured by hand locking bars and padlocks. This included junction points, as well as points into sidings. The main line points continued to be worked by spur levers and had to be held against the weight for moves off the main line.

From around 1912 siding points from the main line were Annett locked, with duplicate locks on the two arrival homes. Around
1914 Annett locked departure home signals were provided, with some retrofitting.

Junctions generally remained secured only by hand locking bars for a long time. Some got small ground frames to work the junction (e.g. Colac, Redcliffs, Morwell). A very small number were Annett locked (e.g. Bittern, Moriac). The most common eventual approach was to plunger lock the junction points with a bracket post (e.g. Morwell - Mirboo line junction, Strathmerton, Maroona, Barnes). Many junctions however were never secured (e.g. East Natimuk, Terang, Cathkin, Echuca).

Echuca basically missed all of this, and pretty much remained as it was in 1900. There was an outer entrance to the goods yard (down near what is now the Murray Valley Hwy) from 1926 to 1958 which was properly interlocked from a auxliary frame. The two points off the Toolamba line into the loco depot and livestock sidings were Annett locked. The Up end points to between No 1 & No 2 Roads were plunger locked in 1958. But all other main line points remained secured by hand locking bars.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Echuca basically missed all of this, and pretty much remained as it was in 1900. There was an outer entrance to the goods yard (down near what is now the Murray Valley Hwy) from 1926 to 1958 which was properly interlocked from a auxliary frame. The two points off the Toolamba line into the loco depot and livestock sidings were Annett locked. The Up end points to between No 1 & No 2 Roads were plunger locked in 1958. But all other main line points remained secured by hand locking bars.
historian

The locking bar only locked the points when set for the main line?  So trains heading along the branch required somebody to hang on to the weighted lever? That is certainly what I have seen in the 70s.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Echuca basically missed all of this, and pretty much remained as it was in 1900. There was an outer entrance to the goods yard (down near what is now the Murray Valley Hwy) from 1926 to 1958 which was properly interlocked from a auxliary frame. The two points off the Toolamba line into the loco depot and livestock sidings were Annett locked. The Up end points to between No 1 & No 2 Roads were plunger locked in 1958. But all other main line points remained secured by hand locking bars.

The locking bar only locked the points when set for the main line?  So trains heading along the branch required somebody to hang on to the weighted lever? That is certainly what I have seen in the 70s.
duttonbay

Yes, and yes.

The weighted lever was specifically used so that the points naturally lay for the main line. Around 1885 the VR put a Ford's lever (weighted but could be set to either lay) on a set of main line points at Traralgon. The inevitable happened and an arriving train was unexpectedly diverted into a siding. After that the VR decreed that all main line points had to be equipped with a point lever that was weighted for the main line.

Staff generally disliked weighted points. Holding them required the staff to be in close proximity to the moving train, and if they slipped a derailment with consequent disciplinary action was sure to follow. With the increasing weight of rails, the weights on the point lever got heavier, and the points even harder to hold.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

The weighted lever was specifically used so that the points naturally lay for the main line. Around 1885 the VR put a Ford's lever (weighted but could be set to either lay) on a set of main line points at Traralgon. The inevitable happened and an arriving train was unexpectedly diverted into a siding. After that the VR decreed that all main line points had to be equipped with a point lever that was weighted for the main line.

Staff generally disliked weighted points. Holding them required the staff to be in close proximity to the moving train, and if they slipped a derailment with consequent disciplinary action was sure to follow. With the increasing weight of rails, the weights on the point lever got heavier, and the points even harder to hold.
historian


Thanks for the history and confirmation. I am sure that the staff wouldn't like weighted levers.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

An announcement on a massive new opportunity for rail freight out of Echuca (containerised Metal Hydride to Japan):
https://reneweconomy.com.au/japan-giant-signs-deal-for-30-australian-solar-farms-with-battery-and-hydrogen-storage/

What's the chance of this going via rail in Victoria (including H2 powered trains) where nearly everything is on the back of a diesel truck ripping up our roads?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The weighted lever was specifically used so that the points naturally lay for the main line. Around 1885 the VR put a Ford's lever (weighted but could be set to either lay) on a set of main line points at Traralgon. The inevitable happened and an arriving train was unexpectedly diverted into a siding. After that the VR decreed that all main line points had to be equipped with a point lever that was weighted for the main line.

Staff generally disliked weighted points. Holding them required the staff to be in close proximity to the moving train, and if they slipped a derailment with consequent disciplinary action was sure to follow. With the increasing weight of rails, the weights on the point lever got heavier, and the points even harder to hold.


Thanks for the history and confirmation. I am sure that the staff wouldn't like weighted levers.
duttonbay
Dodgy things to hold while train passes over especially as some creepy crawly thing walks up your shorts at the same time.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
A friend of mine was over for dinner Thursday night and mentioned talks of an intermodal terminal for the Echuca area.
  Carnot Minister for Railways
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Interesting article today:
https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/7357273/sunrice-fears-over-rail-works/?cs=4786
Carnot
Thanks for posting Carnot, just thinking would SunRice be better off trucking the containers to Toc, it's only 80k ? But I guess SunRice know what the best alternative is.

You would think the Toolamba line would be the dedicated freight line for rice and all grain out of Deni so as to keep the Bendigo line free of this traffic.

An Australian company exporting it's goods and this is the sort of deal you get, same basket as the Ultima Hay Exporters a disgrace !!

BigShunter.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Interesting article today:
https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/7357273/sunrice-fears-over-rail-works/?cs=4786
Thanks for posting Carnot, just thinking would SunRice be better off trucking the containers to Toc, it's only 80k ? But I guess SunRice know what the best alternative is.

You would think the Toolamba line would be the dedicated freight line for rice and all grain out of Deni so as to keep the Bendigo line free of this traffic.

An Australian company exporting it's goods and this is the sort of deal you get, same basket as the Ultima Hay Exporters a disgrace !!

BigShunter.
BigShunter
Yeah, it's pretty bad timing for SunRice.  If only the (very necessary) line upgrade happened a few months ago instead of Sept-Oct...

As for the Toolamba line, it's rumored that Victrack and Campaspe Shire are at loggerheads of who is responsible for fixing damaged culverts along the line.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I find it incredulous this issue could not be avoided for a customer of the network.  The Toolamba Line should have already been repaired.  

Does anything actually work at V/Line?

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