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A slow boat to China

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  #1  
Old 4th September 2019, 07:29
aussiesteve's Avatar
aussiesteve aussiesteve is offline
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A slow boat to China

G'day,
But, I didn't wanna ride a slow boat to China yesterday.
I just wanted to ride the Bullet down to smog hollow and return.
YES, dreaded trackwork on the Mountains to inflict upon that journey.
NO interurbans running betwixt Lithgow and Katoomba due to such trackwork.
Omnibus replacements for all them commuting cattle.
Only the Bullet and the Rocket pas jobs, plus coalies continuing to work through.
We are to endure many many months of this trackwork.
The stupid newbie wide body replacement emus for interurbans being on the horizon.
ALL of the platforms west of Springwood must either be shaved or the track slewed.
PLUS, the ten tunnels must be notched.
This stupid newbie wide body emu possessing 12 FEWER cattle seats than the existing emu sets.
But, it permits 400 odd STANDEE capacity.
It also permits Driver Only Operation, the tail gunner becoming redundant.
The ten tunnels does possess Bi-Di signalling.
But, to permit storage of track machines in the section, single line working is extended to Lithgow.
This requires PAPERWORK, Pilot Staff Working.
Paperwork takes time to formulate and scribble out.
And all of them Bi-Di signals glowing RED had to be "tripped past".
The Train Stop apparatus had been suppressed, but our Bullet had to "bell past" each one.
Requiring the Bullet to slink up to each and stop, then give the bell codes to the tail gunner for passing at stop.
It was also necessary for the Bullet to stop near any work site to await clearance.
So, all of the cattle who had crammed up the Bullet from Lithgow were now getting agitated by the increasing delay.
Maybe they shoulda gone by omnibus as proposed.
Once clear of Edgecombe, our progress did improve.
But, we got snagged at Mount Victoria, and continued to get snagged across to Katoomba.
A number of cattle foot crossings en route for some reason were NOT functioning.
This requiring the Bullet to slink up to such crossings and halt, HONK the hooter, and then continue.
Due to our tardiness, an interurban had set sail out of Katoomba to block us all the way down the hill to Penrith.
Most of the platforms had work barriers erected for that eventual shaving caper.
The Bullet was 45 minutes LATE upon lobbing into Penrith.
I alighted at Parramatta having missed the squirt connection, and only just managing to sprint for the next squirt south.
For me return voyage, I rode a squirt into the city to jump on the Bullet at Central.
Jump on at Parramatta and potentially not snag a seat.
I could also check up on stinking driverless metro wrangling in the dirt having pinched OUR platforms 13, 14, 15.
But, any hint as to just how the thing will enter and exit Sydney yard is still not obvious.
I also got to espy the newbie Aussie Railway Hysterical Society book shope on the concourse.
The ARHS had occupied a section of the concourse some moons ago.
But, as capitalism pervaded the situation, the shope rental had been increased.
So, the ARHS vacated to return to their suburban establishment.
The RRR (railway refreshment room) was also kyboshed.
Capitalism dictates that you cannot have dinkum crockery and cutlery, nor the necessary staff to wrangle such.
Take-away plastic and cardboard is more preferred.
BUT, with increased terrorist threats making everyone nervous, ya CAN'T have garbage receptacles for bombs to hide in.
Thankfully, some garbage receptacles have finally reappeared on the platforms to collect that take-away plastic and cardboard.
Sadly, the very recently returned ARHS shope now occupies what can only be described as a broom closet.
E GADs.
Any nutter desiring to peruse the vast collections of books, DVDs etc, will still need to venture to the suburban establishment.
The Bullet slinked in from servicing at ACDEP and I jumped aboard.
We blasted off at 1747 and I was surprised that it was not crammed packed as it was for the morning voyage.
The usual suspects alighted at Penrith CONTRARY to regulations, Penrith being a PICK UP only stop.
The Mount Vic urban (Katoomba thence omnibuses) blocked up up the hill as is per usual running.
A large contingent alighted at Katoomba.
From Mount Vic, the foot crossing caper continued to halt our progress.
Then, we just SAT at Edgecombe awaiting to enter the ten tunnels.
Cattle became agitated as the minutes ticked past.
We eventually moved off and had the repeat performance slinking along halting at every RED stick.
We were now 25 LATE into Lithgow.
A very brief stop to kick out the Lithgow cattle and collect two for Bathurst.
Our hogger had a go at regaining lost time.
But, the thing rides the speed boards anyhoo.
We only made up 2 minutes on the section to Bathurst, lobbing in at 21 55 (21 32 tabled arrival).
The omnibus for cattle extending to Orange and beyond thundering past me as I hoofed home.
The coach captain could also attempt to recover lost time, but only if he exceeded the road speed.
I will definitely not be looking forward to any future slow boat to China journeys.
It is a big enough day out WITHOUT delays due to stinking out of gauge trackworks.
I did though get to espy the newbie crossing loop at Sodwalls.
With barely FIVE trains running out here daily, one does wonder just WHY two newbie crossing loops have appeared.
The one at Georges Plains in the single line section betwixt Bathurst and Newbridge.
Plus, this real newbie at Sodwalls in the single line section betwixt Wallerawang and Tarana.
We copped the Yanks invading here during the mid 1980s stipulating that we should kybosh ALL regional pas jobs.
PLUS, flog the freight to their capitalist buddies.
The Mail Trains and Orange day train were indeed kyboshed in favour of omnibus replacements.
The 27 km double line section betwixt Wallerawang and Tarana was single tracked in 1991.
And, the double track from Gresham to Newbridge was singled.
The newbie 34 km single line section becoming Bathurst to Newbridge when Georges Plains was kyboshed in 1995.
These pair of STUPID single line sections then commenced to occasionally delay the fewer trains percolating.
When our interstate freighter jobs were pinched by National Rail, many of them were re-routed via the Main South.
The number of trains reduced by fewer but longer jobs, and the steep Mountains plus Central West grades avoided.
So, one does wonder WHY we have suddenly copped these two newbie crossing loops.
We don't got the train frequency to require such.
YES, three of the wednesday trains do potentially collide due to the then long single line sections.
The Bullet, Manildra flour and Silver Streak all percolating in the early morning wednesday period.
The Manildra Flour needing to await the Bullet and cross at Wallerawang.
Then prop in Bathurst to await the Silver Streak.
But, a heck of a lot of capitalist expense to create these newbie loops just to improve running times by about 30 minutes for ONE train on one day per week.
Only time will tell IF we might cop additional trains running here.
Steve.


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  #2  
Old 5th September 2019, 20:53
Beeyar Wunby's Avatar
Beeyar Wunby Beeyar Wunby is online now  
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Actually Steve, I find it quite refreshing to hear that a sensible country like Oz does crazy stuff like we do.

Our railway is very keen NOT to do Single Line Working, and we have the slightly witty expression "Bustitution" to describe the situation of shutting down the railway and making everyone go by road at weekends and Bank Holidays. It's a doubly whammy because not only do the busses crawl along, but they also wait for ages at some stations.

To be honest though, SLW is itself pretty tortuous. When you get to the start, you're usually waiting for another train to get through the section - or worse still the section may be clear and you ought to be able to go, but the Pilotman is in the wrong place.

We have a contentious situation coming here whereby they're going to be running twin units (8 cars) at last - but it's only going to be during the peaks. So there would have been a chance that people travelling off-peak might all get a seat - just for once, but no we're too mean. The silly part is that it would be easier operationally to keep the trains running around as 8 cars all day, and not waste time and staff splitting them, running one down the sidings, & then rejoining the damn things later. It doesn't seem to make sense, but maybe someone in an office somewhere has decreed that this will save a few pennies.

Hey ho, You have to laugh, as they say

BW
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  #3  
Old 6th September 2019, 05:43
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aussiesteve aussiesteve is offline
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G'day BW,
Single line working on the Mountains back in them Good Ole Days was FUN.
Especially during overhead maintenance.
Interurban emu sets continuing through the dead sections being dragged by weasels.
RIP and TEAR.
Other than when I gained seniority to go onto the senior firemans roster to work the Silver Streak and other loco hauled pas jobs, this was our only chance to play with a cattle train.
Crews and locos would be sent to each end of the single line section to hook onto an urban and drag it through, stopping at the various stations en route.
An 8 car Blue Goose (double decker V set) was heavy on the big hill ( 1 in 33 ).
And you had to belt them to run any where near to the original time table.
Naturally them emu sets having regen brake plus EP, where as when being dragged by a weasel only westinghouse train brake.
So, FUN attempting to stop the things on the platforms which many are shorter than the 8 car length.
Since we got capitalized, no more dragging urbans around.
Omnibuses substitute.
Our Mountains Blue Goose 8 car sets cram in them cattle and it is often obvious when passing one that there are many cattle standing.
Bonzer trains to hog, though SHSSSHH, I was not actually qualified for them officially.
FIVE power notches, unlike the suburban squirts which only got four power notches.
The V setters ( and also the older gone to history single decker Uboats ) had / have second stage weakfields for notch 5.
All of our suburban squirts are now 8 car double deckers, except for a couple of short lines where 4 car sets continue.
Our M setter squirt cannot be divided into two four car sets as are the others.
It was policy (night safe) to divide squirts into four car sets for the after peak evening period.
Scrunch the fewer cattle up into four cars so that nefarious types could not cause too much aggro.
And as midnight approached, two of them fours cars were locked off and lights out.
Scrunching the fewer again cattle up into just two cars to avoid any nefarious activities.
My only joy during me Bullet ride was squizzing the highway traffic.
Bumper to bumper, a virtual parking lot.
HA.
The Bullet was TARDY due to the track work, but at least it did move more than them motorist cattle.
A sea of multiple lanes of red tail lights banked up for kilometres.
The only good view of smog hollow is in the rear vision mirror.
And, NOT during the peak hours.
Steve.
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