The wait continues for report on Lydiard St rail gate smash

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 28 Jul 2020 10:12
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
This article first appeared on Daniel Bowen's blog.  Now there are two identical pieces of news on Railpage with different first publishers.
route14

That article came from the Ballarat Courier

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  historian Deputy Commissioner

Remember that the ATSB doesn't actually operate in Victoria for anything other than aviation matters.

Rail safety investigations there are handled on the ATSB's behalf by the office of the Chief Investigator Transport Safety, part of the state government Department of Transport. This means it is part of the same department which runs V/Line and manages the Metro Trains Melbourne contract, therefore the relationship is closer to incest than independence.

So yes, the buck does stop with the Minister, and ultimately the Premier if the three ministers for the transport portfolio can't decide which of them is responsible.

The ATSB is not fully without blame in this, as they could take a stand for independence by suspending the agreement allowing the VDoT investigations to be published with an ATSB cover page.
justapassenger

I've read a lot of accident investigation reports. I don't always agree with some of the emphasis in the rail ones - the Broadmeadows runaway being memorable. However, I've seen nothing that indicates that either the ATSB or the Chief Investigator Transport Safety were pulling their punches in their investigations.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
I disagree with the article from the courier by Daniel Bowen. There is some historical significance in the arrangement of the gates.

Why has it been so difficult to fabricate some replacement wooden gates and have them installed ?
  route14 Chief Commissioner

If they are fabricated, they are not old.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I disagree with the article from the courier by Daniel Bowen. There is some historical significance in the arrangement of the gates.

Why has it been so difficult to fabricate some replacement wooden gates and have them installed ?
freightgate
  1. Requires the will to do do anything.
  2. Requires a big heap of large section and long length oregon timber.
  3. Requires some very competent tradesman.
  4. Requires a suitable workshop. Spotswood that used to make these things is long gone.
  Upven Junior Train Controller

I disagree with the article from the courier by Daniel Bowen. There is some historical significance in the arrangement of the gates.

Why has it been so difficult to fabricate some replacement wooden gates and have them installed ?
  1. Requires the will to do do anything.
  2. Requires a big heap of large section and long length oregon timber.
  3. Requires some very competent tradesman.
  4. Requires a suitable workshop. Spotswood that used to make these things is long gone.
YM-Mundrabilla
It's really just #1. If there's a will there's a way, and here there's no will.

Has the member for Ballarat made any comments on this? She's 250 metres down the very same road...
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Buying some timber and having a joinery create the replacement gates should not be hard at all. Hell we used to make aircraft here.

Willingness is the problem and V/line does nothing on time.
  Lachlan's Train Channel Locomotive Fireman

Location: probably taking a photo of 7901V
Driver performance should always be considered. Then again, if you hit a platform at 25km/h, go out the other end at 30 with brakes fully applied, you suspect human factors not the main problem.

The Liddiard St problem, the ATSB preliminary report shows emergency brakes applied at 97km/h, Train went through a sharp crossover, negotiated a long tight curve, lots of rolling resistance, and still took a km to stop. Going uphill. Hard to blame driver fir that.
hbedriver
Especially in the Lydiard street instance, the driver applied brakes much earlier than normal and the train still failed to slow down.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

I disagree with the article from the courier by Daniel Bowen. There is some historical significance in the arrangement of the gates.

Why has it been so difficult to fabricate some replacement wooden gates and have them installed ?
freightgate

First, V/Line aren't going to spend anything on replacing the gates if there is a chance that the ATSB report says that they are dangerous and shouldn't be replaced.

Second, they aren't going to spend anything on replacing the gates if there is a chance that they'll be allowed to install boom barriers or close the crossing entirely.

Third, have you any idea how complex restoration of these gates to operating condition actually is?

Start with the woodwork. Only the verticals have parallel sides; the two rails are tapered on three sides, and every piece of bracing is tapered on all four sides. All the pieces are mortised together - and the instructions are not on the plans. The craftsman were expected to know the sizes of the mortices necessary and how to put it together. There'd be very few carpenters who would have the skill to make these gates today.

Then, of course, there is the ironwork on the gates. The difficult bits would be the hinges. Each is a large forging with three right angle bends and two 45 degree bends. You need four for each gate. Again, difficult to find the smiths who could do this work today.

The gates are useless without the gateposts. There are no detailed plans for the posts, so you've got two choices. You could measure one up (e.g. at Ballarat East) and then have a pattern made. Or you could borrow one from Ballarat East and use it as a pattern - which would result in the gatepost being slightly small.

There's a pretty horrific turning moment on the gate posts, so the foundations are large and heavy. The existing foundations may be ok. If they are not, there's more complication. The gate posts are mounted on huge cast iron Y pieces which are tied down to similar Y pieces at the bottom of the well by three very long bolts through the brickwork. If any of this is broken, you would need to 1) replace it (again, no patterns, but at least there are plans), and 2) dismantle the existing well.

Finally, there is the operating mechanism under the ground. No idea of its state, but likely to be damaged. The key pieces are very large cast iron sectors (up to four different sizes required), and a very large cast iron pulley. You'd be lucky to find any extant examples of any of these, so if they are damaged you'd need to make a pattern from the plans and cast a new one.

Look, it's not rocket science, but it would be expensive. And possibly very expensive if the bits underground were damaged.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Once again, thank you, historian.Very detailed and interesting.

As an aside, historian referred to "the craftsmen". I wonder if there are any workers who could be called genuine craftsmen these days.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I disagree with the article from the courier by Daniel Bowen. There is some historical significance in the arrangement of the gates.

Why has it been so difficult to fabricate some replacement wooden gates and have them installed ?

First, V/Line aren't going to spend anything on replacing the gates if there is a chance that the ATSB report says that they are dangerous and shouldn't be replaced.

Second, they aren't going to spend anything on replacing the gates if there is a chance that they'll be allowed to install boom barriers or close the crossing entirely.

Third, have you any idea how complex restoration of these gates to operating condition actually is?

Start with the woodwork. Only the verticals have parallel sides; the two rails are tapered on three sides, and every piece of bracing is tapered on all four sides. All the pieces are mortised together - and the instructions are not on the plans. The craftsman were expected to know the sizes of the mortices necessary and how to put it together. There'd be very few carpenters who would have the skill to make these gates today.

Then, of course, there is the ironwork on the gates. The difficult bits would be the hinges. Each is a large forging with three right angle bends and two 45 degree bends. You need four for each gate. Again, difficult to find the smiths who could do this work today.

The gates are useless without the gateposts. There are no detailed plans for the posts, so you've got two choices. You could measure one up (e.g. at Ballarat East) and then have a pattern made. Or you could borrow one from Ballarat East and use it as a pattern - which would result in the gatepost being slightly small.

There's a pretty horrific turning moment on the gate posts, so the foundations are large and heavy. The existing foundations may be ok. If they are not, there's more complication. The gate posts are mounted on huge cast iron Y pieces which are tied down to similar Y pieces at the bottom of the well by three very long bolts through the brickwork. If any of this is broken, you would need to 1) replace it (again, no patterns, but at least there are plans), and 2) dismantle the existing well.

Finally, there is the operating mechanism under the ground. No idea of its state, but likely to be damaged. The key pieces are very large cast iron sectors (up to four different sizes required), and a very large cast iron pulley. You'd be lucky to find any extant examples of any of these, so if they are damaged you'd need to make a pattern from the plans and cast a new one.

Look, it's not rocket science, but it would be expensive. And possibly very expensive if the bits underground were damaged.
historian
Thanks Historian.
Brilliantly well explained for those with little experience and a clear reminder of the detail involved for those of greater experience.
  Carnot Minister for Railways
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The Minister continues to read Railpage https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/getting-lydiard-street-back-open-again
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The Minister continues to read Railpage https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/getting-lydiard-street-back-open-again
bevans
Very careful not to mention replacing the destroyed crossing gates (or have I missed something?).
  Upven Junior Train Controller

The Minister continues to read Railpage https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/getting-lydiard-street-back-open-again
Very careful not to mention replacing the destroyed crossing gates (or have I missed something?).
YM-Mundrabilla
"The Victorian Budget 2021/2022 will invest $10.5 million to reopen the Lydiard Street level crossing safely, with a half-boom barrier crossing and upgraded signaling system."

Sounds like it's getting replaced with the default set of crossing gates Sad As consolation:

"The upgrade will pay tribute to the rich history of Ballarat, with V/Line, the Department of Transport and a specialist heritage advisor working closely with Heritage Victoria on final design for the crossing."
  route14 Chief Commissioner

As mentioned by Daniel Bowen, in case such incident reoccurs, the flying debris from the striken gate could easily injure nearby pedestrians, so replacing it with normal booms isn't completely about cost cutting or unwillingness to preserve history.
  Djebel Junior Train Controller

Could there also be an issue of the grandfather clause that allowed the old gates to continue operating no longer being applicable because the new gates would be considered new gates?
  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic
Referring to Galron’s remarks;

I don’t understand the remark about Xtrapolis trains. These have scrubber blocks, can be savage with wheel slips and slides, but stop reliably. Maybe you’re thinking of the Siemens issues several years back.

hbedriver
thanks @hbedriver. knew it was one of the newer model's (at the time) but couldnt remember which.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

"Could there also be an issue of the grandfather clause that allowed the old gates to continue operating no longer being applicable because the new gates would be considered new gates?"

I would say so.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Probably for the best.

Could you imagine the legal ramifications if the old gates were re-built (at a massive cost) and the same incident were to occur again, only for a pedestrian to be severely injured by flying debris? They were bloody lucky it happened when there really wasn't anybody around.

As much as I did like those old gates, I think this result was inevitable.
  tom9876543 Train Controller

What should happen is Lydiard St crossing is rebuilt and permanently closed to vehicles.
The original gates should be rebuilt but never open to cars.

Vehicles can go via Armstrong St Nth / Doveton St Nth / Peel St Nth.
Closing Lydiard St would increase vehicle journey time by 3 minutes ..... cry me a river.
Bus routes might have to be adjusted..... cry me a river.
The heritage railway infrastructure should be preserved.

Of course this will never happen, the heritage railway gates have been lost forever.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Probably for the best.

Could you imagine the legal ramifications if the old gates were re-built (at a massive cost) and the same incident were to occur again, only for a pedestrian to be severely injured by flying debris? They were bloody lucky it happened when there really wasn't anybody around.
Gman_86
Not to mention that boom gates can be closed far more quickly to protect motorists next time a Vlo gets light on its feet.

Half width boom gates also allow an escape route if a vehicle gets stuck on the crossing. No competent driver should ever get stuck on a level crossing (I simply cannot understand drivers who creep over a crossing at barely more than walking pace) but I will always be in favour of reducing the harm caused when it does happen.

As much as I did like those old gates, I think this result was inevitable.
Gman_86
Hopefully cosmetically faithful replicas (but with no need for working mechanisms or the cast iron construction for the pivot posts) can be integrated into the environs.
  Lachlan's Train Channel Locomotive Fireman

Location: probably taking a photo of 7901V
Could there also be an issue of the grandfather clause that allowed the old gates to continue operating no longer being applicable because the new gates would be considered new gates?
Djebel
I believe the gates that were destroyed were built in 2007, replacing an old set, so probably not.
  Happiestdays1967 Beginner

Boom! Video!
Gate Smash
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Meantime, the enquirers toil on, watching the snails whiz past.

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