Mildura Standard Gauge conversion

 
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I can’t see the link being built until Portland traffic is confirmed which is marginal as the main line via Ballarat will be the route.

The direct maroons link is off the table in my view.
It's not just for Portland. The direct link to Maroona is the only way for a train to get from Mildura to Melbourne without reversing. I would be mighty surprised if it isn't built within a few months.
duttonbay
I am wondering if the delay is due to needing to design and build the entire triangle - ie the western end that the ARTC want - as well as the eastern end?

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  mallee_afoul Beginner

Hi everyone - I've posted this query on a couple of subreddits and was forwarded onto this site as a possible place to find an answer.

I'm currently in my hometown of Ouyen, Vic for a few weeks where the railway line in the area is currently being upgraded in the Murray Basin Rail Project.

I believe the works around Ouyen have involved replacing severely worn wooden railway sleepers in 2016 and conversion of the railway gauge from broad to standard - while doing this they have replaced the old gap laid track with a continuous rail line.

My main concern is with the climate in this area and the quality of the continuous welded track. In Summer the temperature during the day consistently hits above 40°C and has peaked at 47°C about a week ago. As it is a desert climate the weather can also drop to -2°C during the winter nights. I know continuous rail can be subject to large stresses caused by rail expansion in extreme heat as a result requires strong fixings to keep the rail from deforming.

On Jan 28 it was 45°C and I was alerted via facebook to a section of the new upgraded track that had buckled in the heat near Speed, Vic [PIC].  After seeing this I decided to go have a look at the completed railway section near Kiamal, Vic and it has me questioning the quality/safety of the upgrade. While some of the sleepers near the level crossing have been upgraded to concrete sleepers, the majority of the upgrade has kept the wooden sleepers - many of which are severely weathered and damaged. Some pins are not even screwed in completely, some are completely missing (even on the new concrete sleepers) and others completely loose due to damaged wood.

Imgur album of upgraded/converted track























Additional Short Video Showing Loose/Missing Pins

To my untrained eye it looks pretty bad but just wondering if this can be looked at by someone more knowledgeable about railways that can tell me if it's a bad as it looks or if I'm worrying over nothing? I'm just concerned the buckling that happened a few days may soon become common along the upgraded track in the area as extreme temperatures become more frequent and potentially cause a derailment.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

^^ Oh Dear! Might need to get Jacinta in her orange jacket and hardhat to pay a visit...
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
mallee_afoul
Thanks for posting this here.  Hopefully someone from the project sees this.

Can you describe the location in more detail, eg 12 km from XXX?

Maybe the regulator (ONRSR) should see it too?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Regarding the post above and the great sharing of the images this seems most disturbing for a new rail upgrade

  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Holy molly how could this happen on a new network ?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

I can't see the line reopening for a long time in its current state.  It'll need another thorough going-over including re-sleepering, fastening, and so on before it's fit for purpose.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
Thanks for posting this here.  Hopefully someone from the project sees this.

Can you describe the location in more detail, eg 12 km from XXX?

Maybe the regulator (ONRSR) should see it too?
james.au
Looks like it isn't finished to me, those 'pins' seem to be the temporary ones inserted after the rail was shifted. Just because the Minister had a 'photo opportunity' at Avoca doesn't mean that its all done.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Thanks for posting this here.  Hopefully someone from the project sees this.

Can you describe the location in more detail, eg 12 km from XXX?

Maybe the regulator (ONRSR) should see it too?
Looks like it isn't finished to me, those 'pins' seem to be the temporary ones inserted after the rail was shifted. Just because the Minister had a 'photo opportunity' at Avoca doesn't mean that its all done.
mikesyd
I hope youre right.
  mallee_afoul Beginner

Looks like it isn't finished to me, those 'pins' seem to be the temporary ones inserted after the rail was shifted. Just because the Minister had a 'photo opportunity' at Avoca doesn't mean that its all done.
mikesyd
I can't see the line reopening for a long time in its current state. It'll need another thorough going-over including re-sleepering, fastening, and so on before it's fit for purpose.
Carnot

I agree it looks unfinished however and I understand the minister having a photo op in Avoca doesn't mean things are complete. The photo op was for the Maryborough - Ararat line which is a different line to this one. The Melbourne - Mildura line is apparently reopening this week with a train scheduled on Wednesday (tomorrow) and these photos were taken on Monday (yesterday). [Article Link]

All the photos were from one 10m stretch of track but you can go for a drive along the side of the line up here and see this track condition is pretty typical for up here with the new upgraded track. The track has always been is relatively bad shape with weathered sleepers and loose fixings however my main concern is now that the track has been continuously welded when it didn't use to be and the fixings appear to be just as loose when I understand a continuously welded rail needs stronger fixings to withstand extreme temperatures without deforming.

Thanks for posting this here. Hopefully someone from the project sees this. Can you describe the location in more detail, eg 12 km from XXX?
james.au
I'm unsure of the exact location of the warped rail as the image was posted on facebook without info but it's somewhere nearby Speed, Victoria. The rest of the railway photos were taken at the Parallel Rd Level Crossing at Kiamal, Vic which is about 8km north of Ouyen.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Mallee_afoul said, "I agree it looks unfinished however and I understand the minister having a photo op in Avoca doesn't mean things are complete. The photo op was for the Maryborough - Ararat line which is a different line to this one. The Melbourne - Mildura line is apparently reopening this week with a train scheduled on Wednesday (tomorrow)"

Unfortunately, any train going on the Maryborough to Merbein line has to get there via the Ararat to Maryborough line now.   So if Ararat to Maryborough isn't done, then no train is coming our way.
  mallee_afoul Beginner

Mallee_afoul said, "I agree it looks unfinished however and I understand the minister having a photo op in Avoca doesn't mean things are complete. The photo op was for the Maryborough - Ararat line which is a different line to this one. The Melbourne - Mildura line is apparently reopening this week with a train scheduled on Wednesday (tomorrow)"

Unfortunately, any train going on the Maryborough to Merbein line has to get there via the Ararat to Maryborough line now.   So if Ararat to Maryborough isn't done, then no train is coming our way.
Donald
Apologies. I had assumed that the Ballarat - Maryborough line would be used for freight from Melbourne/Geelong. I didn't realise that line was not standardised, I assumed it was as I knew they ran some passenger services on it (I now know it will be in the future as part of this project at a later date.)

That being said it is probably better if Maryborough - Ararat line isn't finished in that case because it would allow more time for them to fix some of the issues up here as well.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
A major milestone was reached today with the first train coming off the line from Avoca and heading out through Maryborough. 8044 led the train with 852 and 4836 on the back heading for Emu. Video to come.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/greensleeves94/28363390359/in/dateposted/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/greensleeves94/25271729327/in/dateposted/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/greensleeves94/25271724067/in/dateposted/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/greensleeves94/28363411879/in/dateposted/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/greensleeves94/40143609821/in/dateposted/
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
So, 8044 gets the honour of being the first SG Loco to go north of Dunolly.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
And those photos from Greensleeves seem to indicate that the only BG in Dunolly now is the Platform Road - and not for much longer either.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Yes, my understanding is that platform road at Dunolly will be converted after the March long weekend. Hopefully one day soon we'll see SG heritage tour trains use it.
  Rossco T Chief Train Controller

Location: Camberwell, Victoria
Yes, my understanding is that platform road at Dunolly will be converted after the March long weekend. Hopefully one day soon we'll see SG heritage tour trains use it.
Carnot

So does that mean that the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines will be closed for conversion from that weekend?

Ross
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
Yes, my understanding is that platform road at Dunolly will be converted after the March long weekend. Hopefully one day soon we'll see SG heritage tour trains use it.

So does that mean that the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines will be closed for conversion from that weekend?

Ross
Rossco T
I suspect that as soon as the Yelta line is up and running they will start on Manangatang/Sea Lake.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

There will probably be a few weeks overlap. Sea Lake and Manangatang is planned to be converted between March long weekend and Early August.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
A major milestone in the Murray Basin Rail Project was reached today with the first Standard Gauge train coming off the Ararat-Maryborough line at Maryborough and continuing on through Dunolly. The honours went to one of the QUBE operated ballast trains, with Comeng built CE615A model 8044 leading the way while Goodwin DL531 units 852 and 4836 were on the back, making these three the first ALCO units to reach Maryborough station, and continue on. Once again, this is a very slow video due to the pace the train was going, but this was history in the making.

Trains seen in order are:
QUBE Ballast- 8044, 852 and 4836

Don't forget, if you like this video, hit subscribe to be updated when I post!



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3U3K0us1yc&feature=youtu.be
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
Thanks Greensleeves, well done.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Great video Greensleeves. Thanks for posting it.
As you say 'History in the Making'.
I am not interested in the Alco v GM debate but I do find it ironic that not one piece of ex Victorian rolling stock has been seen to date. This, to me, demonstrates dramatically the huge benefits to be gained from standardisation.
I just hope that no one goes mad and cuts up any good Victorian BG rolling stock rather than convert it to SG.
By all means cut up any rubbish, but keep the good stuff and find work for it or store it for the future.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

8110 has been sighted as far North as Donald this afternoon. Perhaps it'll make it to Yelta this weekend?
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Great video Greensleeves. Thanks for posting it.
As you say 'History in the Making'.
I am not interested in the Alco v GM debate but I do find it ironic that not one piece of ex Victorian rolling stock has been seen to date. This, to me, demonstrates dramatically the huge benefits to be gained from standardisation.
I just hope that no one goes mad and cuts up any good Victorian BG rolling stock rather than convert it to SG.
By all means cut up any rubbish, but keep the good stuff and find work for it or store it for the future.
YM-Mundrabilla
Any locos used on the Qube BG grain rake will be shortly put over to the other BG trains methinks. I can't say I've seen that train set run anywhere other than north of Maryborough.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Qube BG grainy has been a regular visitor to Woorinen over the past year.

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