ABC: Sydney-Melbourne rail line in 'atrocious' state
From the ABC web site:

Quote:Drivers on Australia's busiest train line are voicing their alarm about an unprecedented number of dangerous mud holes along the track that have the potential to cause derailments.

The track's conditions were so bad that last month buses replaced passenger trains between Wodonga and Melbourne because of multiple speed limits.

One driver, speaking anonymously to ABC's 7.30 Report, has described the main Sydney-to-Melbourne line as "'an accident waiting to happen".

"The odds are there for a train to derail. I'd describe it as absolutely atrocious. I've never seen conditions like it in my 30-odd years on the job," he said.

Another driver says he and his colleagues are concerned for their passengers' safety.

"You're just driving your train normally and all of a sudden you hit this bad hole in the road or some track defect and it shakes the whole train around," he said.

Rail, Bus and Tram Union spokesman Bob Hayward says the mud is the result of a bungled re-sleepering program carried out by the government-owned Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

It replaced wooden rail sleepers with concrete ones, but Mr Hayward describes it as "a massive misuse of taxpayers' money".

"It was supposed to decrease transit times to make rail more efficient. And it's done the opposite, the total opposite," he said.

The union is calling for an independent inquiry and an audit of the infrastructure program.

"The Federal Government needs to act. We are happy to have public money spent on infrastructure - that's what the union's been campaigning on for a long time - but it needs to be spent properly," he said.

Wagga Wagga resident Karen Brill says since the concrete sleepers went in, the whole track bends.

"All the carriages just bounce and you can hear the carriages - well, not carriages, the containers more so," she said.

"They just bounce all the way through. And it's so noisy. It's just - and it's very scary actually. You sort of think they're going to come off."

ARTC chief David Marchant agrees that the track is rough and needs to be rectified.

But he denies the union's claims that the mudholes were caused by the sleeper replacement program, saying they are a long-standing issue exacerbated by recent rains.

"They aren't the worst it's ever been, but they are worse this year than for a number of years and we are addressing that and we are addressing it quickly," he said.

"We are addressing it in a way which solves a long-term problem."
As mentioned above, this was on the 730 Report last night. Checkout ABC Iview to watch it again. Its the very first story on the program.
Out of my mind. Back in 5 minutes.
I thought the report was reasonably good.
The statements from David Marchant had an air of unreality about them. Like denying the bleeding obvious.
I am told by a driver friend that there are 27 speed restrictions between Junee and Macarthur, all due to mudholes.
I particularly liked the part in the report where the union rep placed the cup of coffee on the V set windowsill as the train was travelling at speed. By any comparison, the Cityrail network infrastructure is far and away the best in the country.
It took a team of professionals to build the Titanic and a lone amateur to build the Ark
QR/Citytrain mainline infrastructure beats Cityrail by miles
Bit of a Victorian Sighting this:
Running a Craigieburn service this morning, I noticed a G&W Orange loco (no idea on the type, it was an orange one), towing some AK marked cars. A quick call to the gunzel hotline known as Mickapedia and I found out this is the ARTC track recorder.

The AK cars had the carriage ends replaced with a full length viewing area, and the last of the three cars was fitted with a pantograph. Given there is only about 100m of SG track with overhead wire (tramways excluded) in Victoria, I doubt that will see much use.

According to the Mickapedia, this sighting is worth 100 points, and a margarine sandwich in gunzel circles.
"How long will the next train be? Six cars would be my guess."
Quote:The AK cars had the carriage ends replaced with a full length viewing area
There is also a camera,held on by magnets, placed on the nose of what ever loco's are towing the AK cars so the crew in the cars can see what is coming as well.Confusedmiley
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