Shortsighted, incompetent or just plain negligent?
Surely this must be government policy for some twisted reason?
The classic case of we could have our cake and eat it too if we were even half smart!
And we still wonder how the break of gauge came about 140 years ago.
Nothing has changed since. Where is the Opposition?
Not invented here. Those NSW bastards ......................
We will never know.
The trouble is that Government is allowing VLP as an Operator (of pax trains) to dictate track standards and what speeds various types of trains can operate at what speeds on different classes of track.
This should NOT be a VLP role as Operator, the track standards etc should be set by Victrack as the asset owner, or DoT, or Victorian Directorate of Rail Safety, but NOT the rail operators..
So we come to the freight only lines and Victoria therefore does not use gauge convertible steel or concrete sleepers albeit NSW have used steel sleepers on freight only lines years, and gauge convertible concrete in South Australia for over 30 years.
So using wood still on freight only lines just locks in a high maintenance cost model, and not using gauge convertible concrete or steel steel sleepers for all country sleepers replacements (Except on the Warrnambool & Bairnsdale lines) just makes future standardization harder and more expensive.
NSW regional freight lines are nearly all steel sleepers with a very low on going track maintenance cost with both higher axle loads and higher operating speeds than Victoria. Why VLP doesnt go North and see how its done beggars belief.
Austrak at Laverton has allegedly done a detailed design for a low profile gauge convertible concrete sleeper that could be mixed in progressively with timber sleepers, but the word is that VLP are not interested and continue to just acquire low profile broasd gauge concrete.
Shortly with the Shepparton Line upgrade to Class - 2M track (to allow for 130kmh Vlocity operation) we are potentially looking at new 50kg rail CWR on concrete sleepers, and as it is inevitable that medium term the Tocumwal line be standardized along with the Toolamba - Echuca - Deniliquin line we should be putting in gauge convertible concrete sleepers of the latest type with the lastest fastenings as used for some years in South Australia, both on mainlines and suburban Adeliade network.