Track flaws mean a
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has completed its safety review of the interstate rail line between Melbourne and Sydney.
slow train coming
The review identified underlying issues and evaluated the response of the operator, finding the track structure between Melbourne and Sydney had historically been particularly vulnerable to degradation in vertical alignment, resulting in mud-holes and poor ride quality.
While this was deemed to be the result of a number of factors, major contributors were identified as ballast fouling (contamination of the aggregate material laid between the formation and the rails and sleepers) and the weakness of the track formation (the earthwork foundation on which the track was laid).
The review found in some locations, the track upgrade had increased the pre-existing vulnerability as a result of the process of installing new concrete sleepers.
“The track deterioration following the re-sleepering works has required both short-term management and the development of a longer-term major rectification program to maintain the operational effectiveness of the track,” the report said.
“Until that rectification takes place, the safety of train operations has been maintained largely through the application of speed restrictions.
“These speed restrictions, together with increased maintenance activities, have resulted in extended train running times along the corridor.”
It said while the ATSB was satisfied the necessary steps had been taken to address any issues that might otherwise compromise the safety of rail operations it felt the actions taken to ensure safe operations had come at the expense of operational efficiencies through increased train running times.
The report can be accessed in full at this PS News link.
Edition 376, 27 August 2013