Metro Trains Maintenance Fail – A Disaster In The Making

A leaked Metro Trains Melbourne Track Fault Report shows a disaster in the making.

A report of 7 out of 8 sleepers broken, first reported on 6th April 2015 had still not been repaired as late as the 17th of December 2015, a fault that has the potential to cause a serious derailment.

Chipped railhead, vegetation requiring slashing, trees striking trains; the Fault report is an evidence trail of millions of dollars ripped from the Victorian State Government coffers in ignored maintenance costs.

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OUT OF GAUGE

Victorian Broad Gauge is 1600mm.  Anything smaller than this will create wear on wheels, especially around curves.  Anything greater than this has the potential for derailment.

One section of track around a curve was reported on the 19th of April 2014 as being:

“Gauge fault update – 80% of the curve has wide gauge 1618/20/23mm. concrete sleepers require insulators. Curve has worn rail up to 11mm. 31/3/15 Fault Still outstanding”

JOINTED RAILS

There are two methods used to join railway tracks.  The first is the jointed method.  This is where a gap is left between rails and a ‘fishplate’ is bolted on either side to join the two rails together.  The other method is a ‘continuous welded rail’ where the two rails are welded together using thermite.

Jointed track can expand and contract in changing weather, however the problem with it is cracking around the bolt holes, which can lead to breaking of the rail head (the running surface). This was the cause of the Hither Green rail crash which caused British Railways to begin converting much of its track to Continuous Welded Rail.

The following photographs are from the Victorian Railway Network managed by Metro Trains Melbourne.

 

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ARTC (Australian Rail Track Corporation) states that the gap between rails should be no more than 41mm (with a rail temperature of 24 degrees on a 38 degree day with a rail length of 220m).  (The maximum gap being 102mm with a rail at 0 degrees)

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An Insulated Joint that looks to be VERY far apart.

Should a problem occur with a fishplate, such as the fishplate falling off, the tracks could become misaligned and result in a major derailment.

Investigations into a derailment in London at Potters Bar in May 2002 that claimed the lives of seven people and left scores injured was put firmly down to poor track maintenance.  Specifically a fishplate that had come undone.  In light of this, a report on the 5th of September 2015 of “Hairline crack thru 6 hole plate behind K crossing requires replacement .” could be considered extremely serious.  The question needs to be asked: Why, as of 17th of December 2015, had this not been fixed?

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MUDHOLES

There are many problems with mudholes across the Melbourne Rail Network.  Hawksburn Station, Platform 3 pit was recommended on the 29th of April 2015 for spot re-sleepering due to mud holes forming.  This was given as a Priority 1 fault, recommending that it should be fixed within 1 week due to the possibility of trains striking the platform as they pass.  Should a train strike the platform at a sufficient speed, there could be a chance of derailment.  As of 17th December 2015, still not fixed.

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Mudhole on the Hurtsbridge Line. (NOT Hawksburn Station)

PARLIAMENTARY ENQUIRY

The Courier published a story on the 22nd of January 2016: “Chiefs to face inquiry hearing”

“THE chief executives of Victoria’s key public transport bodies have been asked to facea parliamentary inquiry into infrastructure projects.
The leaders of V/Line, Public Transport Victoria and Metro are all expected to meet the request from a parliamentary committee to attend the hearing and respond to questions about the failings of the regional train system.
It is understood the hearing will occur on February 9.”

It looks like Theo has removed himself from further public embarrassment, will Andrew Lezala do the same?

Three Labor MPs, Three Liberal MPs and One Greens MP will make up the committee.  The Labor and Liberal Parties have showed over the past thirty years that neither of them care much about the Victorian Railways, perhaps the Greens will do something to keep these corporate vultures to account?

joshua morris media release

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4 comments

  1. Sumthin' Fish-Platey Goin' on Here......................

    Theo could, and SHOULD, still be required to give evidence at the Parliamentary Inquiry – he can be summonsed to appear just like any other witness with the same force of law as if it were a Royal Commission or other court.
    To ‘fail to appear’ would be;

    a) Rude.
    b) To be ‘In Contempt of Parliament’ and punishable by hefty fines and jail time;
    c) Pretty poor form, given that he’s been paid so much TAXPAYER’S money, and;
    d) All of the above!

    Theo COULD actually ‘tip the bucket’ on those who are TRULY RESPONSIBLE for the current circus at V/Line AND the wider
    dis-functionality of the Victorian rail industry in general, and public transport in particular!
    Theo could proved documents, emails etc., and if he doesn’t volunteer them he could, and should, be compelled to with the same force of law.
    If the Libs and the Greens can’t, or won’t ensure this happens, then the industry, and the state are finished!

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  2. Stewy

    I work in the railway industry if the government ain’t gonna provide Theo (Vline) with the funds to keep our railway tracks upto standard an fix these track faults before they cause a major derailment and put our commuters, customers & staff at Vline risk but still expect it to run like a dream without spending the money! will never happen im sure vline has provided the government wit a reasonable amount that they need to spend on all there tracks to get up to standard regulation yet they go n waste all these millions of money on the new RRL regional link just to get trains on time while the rest of the tracks and regional gangs are screaming out for funds and man power to keep there lines safe there is more than pointing the finger at 1 of 2 people in this case STOP POINTING THE FINGER AT EACH OTHER AN FIX OUR RAIL LINES UP TO KEEP MILLIONS OF PEOPLE SAFE THIS IS SO WRONG. Changing CEO management every couple years doesn brush it all under the carpet just put more pressure on a new face that will fail without FUNDS to fix the problem Love Rail industry but is fading away into a disaster with out the governments help

    Like

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