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Qube 2017 run-away ATSB report

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Old 8th December 2018, 07:52
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aussiesteve aussiesteve is offline
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Qube 2017 run-away ATSB report

Having snavelled a recently published ATSB rail incident report concerning a run-away in 2017, I have discovered something.
At first, I was sceptical, such not being the situation back when I was battling around the metals.
But, as I have been absent from "the game" for 11 years, no doubt some things have changed.
Privatized cost cutting.
From other comments posted in an aussie forum, this facet is confirmed.
With electronic brake controls now common in modern day cabs, apparently, if the independent (loco brake) is applied over the top of dynamic brake, the dynamic is disengaged.
This apparently to prevent skidded wheels due to excessive braking force.
I remember back when the first class of weasel appeared only providing a single brake block per wheel.
This an attempt to prevent skidded wheels.
The things would not hold the skin of a rice custard on any mediocre grade.
You were forced to stand on the train (automatic) brake.
How ever, you could still apply the independent over dynamic IF necessary.
An impending run-away situation being the only time where you would desire this facet.
I am now curious as to how common this dynamic disengage with the independent is with modern weasels.
I have only plunged down the precipice between Moss Vale and Unanderra the one time.
Back in 2004 when Lithgow crews were learning the road via Moss Vale.
Proposed trackwork on the Illawarra would close it to traffic for occasions preventing coalies navigating to Inner Harbour.
Scary indeed.
18 kms (11 miles) worth of falling 1 in 30 grade between Summit Tank and Unanderra.
15 kms of falling 1 in 60 prior that from Robertson to Summit Tank.
Only three locations existed in NSW where it was mandatory for wagon grade valves (retainers) to be placed into the HP setting.
HP setting (handle vertical upwards) being a 105 second exhaust port for brake cylinder air release.
This was one such location.
To provide for more time to recharge wagon auxiliary reservoirs after brake release before needing to slam them on again.
But, in cost cutting times, we no longer bother with such trivialities, and wagons now only possess a single exhaust choke.
Yes, some wagons possess dual pipe (main reservoir as well as brake pipe) relayed brake system with supplementary reservoirs.
This does assist with air recovery time, a definite help for 4200 tonne (today 4500 tonne) coalies plunging down that precipice.
CFCLA lease hire grain wagons code CGSY, involved in the run-away, are dual pipe B4 air system.
And, ECP brake system is reasonably common today for heavy unit trains.
But, single pipe wagons still exist in abundance.
The line is very scenic, and features tunnels, snow sheds, rock fall barriers and earth slip detection.
Dombarton crossing location is a novelty in that an individual facing dead-end siding exists for each direction.
The longer such being for the down-hill direction and could be utilized as a run-away road.
All descending trains MUST make a mandatory stop to ensure that the brakes are functioning and capable of controlling the train.
If more than 100 kph automatic brake reduction is required at any stage, the train must be stopped and sufficient handbrakes applied to assist.
Functioning Dynamic brake is ESSENTIAL.
Maximum train speed on the falling 1 in 30 section is 30 kph.
However, for trains consisting of single pipe air system, the MAX speed is 25 kph.
Should one or more locomotives working a single pipe train have dynamic brake fail, the train must be stopped and divided to continue.
As to the Qube QBX locomotives, they continue to operate on the network under TOC waiver conditions.
Train Operating Conditions waiver permits something to operate without being included in the standard TOC manual.
I never worked a coalie that route subsequently as I transferred to Tassie in 2004.
I have no experience with the specific grain hoppers involved in this run-away.
But, I had experience with another fleet of wagons from a similar manufacturer.
The ones built for Manildra Mills.
When plunging down our Blue Mountains precipice you had to be wary of them or face the consequences.

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