The V-Line Wheel Disaster

35% of V’Locity fleet withdrawn from service

 

Velo wheels 06 - thin flange

The thin flange of a Velocity Wheel.

Now the update, the so called state officials are aware of this impending disaster, one of my spies informed me that V/Line and Bombardier are at loggerheads as to who is at fault.
May have something to do with V/Line’s pathological hatred of, and refusal to use ‘grease pots’, or other flange lubricators for fear of the costs of staff to maintain and adjust them,

vrs the risk of over-lubrication, rail head contamination and high speed overshoots arising therefrom!

Velo wheels 08 - rail damage & wheel filings - b

Steel filings from where the flange scrapes against the rail head.

 

Why is this a Metro issue?
Because these death-traps share tracks, and parallel running lines with Metro trains.
Imagine if a full Velocity derailed in front of a full peak hour City Service!

 

The Victorian Transport Minister

The Transport Minister has been told when they held a “crisis” meeting last Sunday.
She has said fix the issue, NOW. (Before it leaks to the media and makes her look incompetent!)
Apparently she is not happy.

Meanwhile there a some/many short consist services running as more are withdrawn from service.

V-Line Management
And a lot of senior managers running around in a mad panic not knowing what to do because these government imported Pommie Managers sacked all of the experienced Victorians managers who did the maintenance job up until 12-18 months ago and replaced them with, yes you guessed it more bloody pommies.

 

Withdrawal of the Fleet

By now, everyone would have read in the paper that around 21 VL’s have been withdrawn from traffic, not bad considering we only have 59 sets. That’s over one third of the fleet.
Apparently, “………….we don’t have ANY spare wheels”
Below Photographs:
Brand new wheel ready to be installed (Top Left). Wheel flange worn down on bogie ready to be removed (Top Right, Bottom)
Velo wheels 01 - new condition Velo wheels 02 - thin flange
Velo wheels 04 - thin flange Velo wheels 03 - thin flange

As of 5.00pm Friday, 27 units out of service – V-Line tally it at  21 for wheels, and 6 for ‘other’ reasons.  Also at least 2 more likely to be withdrawn for wheels “over the weekend”. The wheels are being electronically measured daily, and some are ‘that close’ to being condemned! Some units are ‘hidden’ at country depots, some are in the storage yard at North Melbourne.

So, V/Line reportedly has 140 wheels on order from Comsteel – the same outfit that they tried to blame for the problem in the first place – and they might be here by Tuesday!

But 140 wheels will replace the wheels on just 17 CARS, and there are 27, 3 car units or 81 cars out of service, requiring 648 wheels, or thereabouts – in other words, a shortfall of around 500 wheels!

AND EVEN IF they can replace all 24 wheels on one 3 car unit per day, that’s the best part of a month before all is back to V/Line’s appalling version of ‘normal’, and the smart money says that with supply and replacement issues, shop space, 6 to 8 weeks is the best they could hope to achieve, and it might take considerably longer than that – and that’s before they determine and rectify the cause!

It’s an exercise in logistics that V/Line can’t hope to achieve within their stated time frame.

Velo wheels 10c - thin flange - car number not stated

Unit 1147
Unit number 1147 had an incident on Friday where it failed to activate track circuits – level crossing warning devices and signals and was held at Oakleigh for some time after 12.00pm so another unit could be attached. These cars have had recurrent issues with failing to activate track circuits for some time – 1147 is a repeat offender.  In fact, 1147 was involved in a track-circuit failure event on the previous day!

Why do Metro Suddenly Care About Safety?

Speculation is rife that Metro are kicking V-Line while they are down in an effort to obtain Commercial Advantage, possibly to come in as a ‘knight in shining armour’ to rescue V-Line from the incompetence of public operations (Managed by the same moronic 457 managers that Metro have).

At around 2300 hrs on Friday Night, the two-car Stony Point Sprinter arrived in an unscheduled, unexpected and unnecessary movement.

Metro made some media mileage out of the cancellation of Stony Point Services supposedly as a result of a V-Line decision to consolidate what’s left of their fleet for use elsewhere.

The word is, that Metro are actively discrediting/obstructing V/Line in order to present themselves as the ‘operator of choice’ for V/Line services when Metro’s franchise renewal is under discussion. “Give it to us as a ‘job lot’ and we’ll sort it out for you!” .

Metro see an opportunity to expand their profit making capacity at the expense of the Victorian Taxpayer.

(Stony Point Services resumed on Saturday, the next morning).

 

Progress Street Level Crossing

Progress Street was the site of a V-Line ‘Level Crossing Fault’.
Metro blamed it all on V-Line.

If it’s all V-Lines fault and was caused by faulty Velocity Sets, then why have Metro imposed a 15 km/h speed restriction on ALL services across those crossings?

Progress Street - Up 16-01-16 a

Why do Metro have flagmen protecting the crossings, ready to manually operate boom gates?

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5 comments

  1. Laurie the Locoman

    Main rd St Albans and Furlong rd in Ginifer were also being restricted to 25kph because a Vline train allegedly failed to activate the booms yesterday.

    Like

  2. Graham Crichton

    Last Saturday, there were H sets sitting in Bacchus March sidings with no locos.
    Why were these sets not being used when there were V’locity cancellations?
    Until a year ago, there were four operational A class V’line pass locos available.
    A66 is currently available…are the other three ? ….or have they been stripped of parts for N class?
    Why are these locos and available P class locos not being used at the moment when N class are being used to transfer V’locities etc?
    Towards the end of last year, there were repeated cancellations of the 1759 hrs.down Bacchus Marsh which was an A class roster. These trains became buses day after day.
    I believe that this occurred due to the fact that V’line would not pay for two man crewing on the A class …would not the cost of many buses to replace these trains be far greater?
    Please clarify for me and other readers.
    Thanks
    GC

    Like

  3. JohnH

    Writer’s reference to “Pommies” detracts from otherwise informative piece. Hiding behind shield of anonymity? Knock it off, mate.

    Like

  4. Bye Bye Theo

    Well, it only took 10 days and Theo’s history………….
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/vline-chief-theo-taifalos-resigns-as-rail-chaos-drags-on-for-regional-travellers-20160128-gmfu08.html
    POOOOORRRRR THEO!
    …………….and I suspect he won’t be the last – and he deserves to be accompanied by HUNDREDS!.
    The real question now is whether or not the poison will spread far enough for the Minister to make a real difference within the bureaucracy – because that’s where the trouble really lies!

    Like

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