The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

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Peter Butler
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Peter Butler » Tue Oct 19, 2021 11:58 am

Not so much a report, more a 'T the T' story-book format, with superb illustrations! This is destined for publication in book form, just in time for Christmas.
The best things in life are free.... so why am I doing this?

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Lonsdaler
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Lonsdaler » Tue Oct 19, 2021 12:56 pm

Love it! You've really taken the narrative format and run with it. Helped no end by the fabulous features on your line. I'd be interested to know (real world) how your vehicles are powered - surely overhead would be too difficult to maintain at such a scale? Eagerly awaiting the next instalment anyway. 8)
Phil

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My Line - viewtopic.php?f=41&t=11077

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Old Man Aaron
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Old Man Aaron » Wed Oct 20, 2021 8:32 am

You must work in rail heritage, the way you've nailed that struggling-yet-dripping-with-character, volunteer-run line is spot-on, and I can't get enough of it. It's truly inspiring. :salute:
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Melbournesparks
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Melbournesparks » Sat Oct 23, 2021 3:56 pm

Part 4: The rollingstock.

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There was only one stop we had to make on the way back to the depot, to have a look at tunnel 2.

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Like tunnel 1 the construction is unlined rock, save for some additional steel reinforcement which further reduces the already minimal clearance.

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Erin tells me this tunnel is the most challenging part of the line for a driver. It is on a continuous 1:20 gradient and curves sharply through more than 90 degrees at the downhill end.

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"Not a good place to stall for steam traction. You have to be careful and think ahead."

My next step had far more crunch in it than just the ballast. I was horrified to see what looked like a giant insect exoskeleton lying between the rails, one of many!

"Yep.. that's the problem with these unlined tunnels." Erin was holding the points bar with both hands, even though the nearest points were at falls loop.
"There's things that live in the walls"

I think I've seen enough here.

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Back at Mt Pleasant after changing ends for the run into the depot.

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Officially known as the Mount Pleasant South maintenance facility, the depot is some distance from Mt Pleasant itself. The line passes several market gardens with their security fencing, I'm told that some limited amount of fruit and vegetable traffic comes out of here in season.

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Stopping to operate the depot gates.

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This is a relatively modern facility, fairly clean and well lit compared to some I have seen. I guess being mainly an electric operation helps with that. Our train once stabled takes up the entirety of one of the four sidings. The tramway volunteers have complained that even after this significant increase in space it still feels cramped, same story everywhere I guess.

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As well as stabling for the operational fleet this is also where restoration is done. The MMTB W5 has been newly acquired from the Victorian government and is currently undergoing restoration.

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This machine has has a deeply chaotic aura.

"Not like we have the resources to cut vegetation by hand on this line" Steve is telling me.

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I have noticed there are a few North East Victoria railway wagons here.

"Even though we do a lot of work ourselves here we still depended a lot on the NEVR workshops for complex manufacturing, especially in the early days" says Steve.
"We usually handle the transfer of rollingstock ourselves, but the NEVR crews are also qualified to run right through to Mt Pleasant."

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The tramway also has its own fleet of various wagons and non passenger vehicles, mostly used for works purposes. This tank wagon and van are used to remove the build up of squashed vegetation from the rail surface.


Having now had a chance to see the operations, the infrastructure and the rollingstock this pretty much concludes my inspection of the Eltham South Electric Tramway. A full report will take some time, but for now here is a summary of the most important points:

1: At first appearance the method of operation seemed to be alarmingly causal, there nevertheless did appear to be some semblance of procedures for safeworking, train handling and the like. While this may have been (barely) fit for purpose for an infrequently operated heritage tramway some better formalization of procedures is urgently needed if operation is to intensify.

2: The condition of the track, bridges, tunnels and overhead line equipment is variable to say the least. I will not judge the lack of signals, interlocking, lineside fences, trackside signage of speed restrictions etc given this is a heritage tramway, but even the bare minimum of infrastructure is frequently in poor condition. It is only a matter of time before the ad hoc reactive method of maintenance catches up with this operation and a serious incident results.

3: The rollingstock is generally in good condition, as one would expect for a heritage operation. I note though that even within the tramway fleet there are a number of different standards for brakes and couplings with affect which rollingstock can be operated together. The situation is better for the heavy rail stock, with the majority having automatic couplings and braking systems interoperable with the NEVR stock. "Creative" combinations of rollingstock from different systems should be discouraged.

Despite noting the above shortcomings I have to admit a certain amount of surprise that the tramway staff have been able to maintain an electrified line this long with so little investment in time and resources.


At this stage I'm thinking about my onwards journey to my next destination, the North East Victoria railway. Tomorrow I am told there will be a special rollingstock transfer train which will run all the way through which I should be able to get a ride on. As to how this journey beyond the wires will be accomplished, at this late hour there is one piece of rollingstock in the depot still being worked on.

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Thanks everyone for reading and commenting if you made it this far! Really appreciate it and I'm glad people enjoyed reading. This was fun to write, it forces you to have a look at how you do things from a bit of a different perspective to usual. Mr Spectre will be on his way to the next destination shortly!

ge_rik wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 10:16 am
What a fascinating narrative. I love the arrangement for the overhead wires at the level crossing - presumably based on a real prototype??

Rik


Thanks Rik! It isn't based on a real prototype as far as I know, it is a very local solution to a direct conflict between 1:1 scale people and 1:24 scale trams.
Lonsdaler wrote:
Tue Oct 19, 2021 12:56 pm
Love it! You've really taken the narrative format and run with it. Helped no end by the fabulous features on your line. I'd be interested to know (real world) how your vehicles are powered - surely overhead would be too difficult to maintain at such a scale? Eagerly awaiting the next instalment anyway. 8)
It actually doesn't cause any special problems, and there's definitely wildlife here. The traction system is 32V constant voltage overhead wire with deltang radio control on each car. The overhead supply and a voltage regulator replace the battery compared to a standard RC installation. Most of the problems described by the tramway staff are real, more or less.

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philipy
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by philipy » Sat Oct 23, 2021 5:04 pm

Thanks so much for a brilliant report and for showing us your line, warts and all! :D

I love those fantastic night shots in the depot, and the vegetation cutter is brilliant. I wouldn't mind seeing a write up on that alone?

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Lonsdaler
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Lonsdaler » Sun Oct 24, 2021 4:03 pm

Melbournesparks wrote:
Sat Oct 23, 2021 3:56 pm
Lonsdaler wrote:
Tue Oct 19, 2021 12:56 pm
Love it! You've really taken the narrative format and run with it. Helped no end by the fabulous features on your line. I'd be interested to know (real world) how your vehicles are powered - surely overhead would be too difficult to maintain at such a scale? Eagerly awaiting the next instalment anyway. 8)
It actually doesn't cause any special problems, and there's definitely wildlife here. The traction system is 32V constant voltage overhead wire with deltang radio control on each car. The overhead supply and a voltage regulator replace the battery compared to a standard RC installation. Most of the problems described by the tramway staff are real, more or less.
That's very impressive. You have obviously perfected a reliable catenary system. 32v seems a bit of a strange voltage to run at. Presumably there is a reason.

And thank you, part 4 was as interesting and well written as the rest of the report :salute:
Phil

Sporadic Garden Railer who's inconsistencies know no bounds

My Line - viewtopic.php?f=41&t=11077

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ge_rik
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by ge_rik » Sun Oct 24, 2021 5:43 pm

Thanks for Pt 4. A fitting and really imaginative end to the story. I think this will have to be turned into a box set ....... 😏

Rik
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Melbournesparks
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Melbournesparks » Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:11 am

Lonsdaler wrote:
Sun Oct 24, 2021 4:03 pm
Melbournesparks wrote:
Sat Oct 23, 2021 3:56 pm
Lonsdaler wrote:
Tue Oct 19, 2021 12:56 pm
Love it! You've really taken the narrative format and run with it. Helped no end by the fabulous features on your line. I'd be interested to know (real world) how your vehicles are powered - surely overhead would be too difficult to maintain at such a scale? Eagerly awaiting the next instalment anyway. 8)
It actually doesn't cause any special problems, and there's definitely wildlife here. The traction system is 32V constant voltage overhead wire with deltang radio control on each car. The overhead supply and a voltage regulator replace the battery compared to a standard RC installation. Most of the problems described by the tramway staff are real, more or less.
That's very impressive. You have obviously perfected a reliable catenary system. 32v seems a bit of a strange voltage to run at. Presumably there is a reason.

And thank you, part 4 was as interesting and well written as the rest of the report :salute:
The voltage regulators on the trams allow them to run on any voltage between about 12 and 40v, DC or AC. It's better to use the highest voltage possible for the same reason as full size, less current means less voltage drop over the long distances involved. I had a 32V DC power supply already and it has worked well enough that I haven't urgently needed to change it, though I'm planning to change to alternating current in future to hopefully get rid of the electrolysis problem. There's a lot of places where the overhead wire isn't as electrically isolated from the ground as it should be. The system was developed through trial and error more than anything else, but has certainly been reliable with the low level of maintenance it gets. I don't actively clean anything aside from running the water tank wagon every now and then.

Thanks again everyone for reading!

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Lonsdaler
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Lonsdaler » Mon Oct 25, 2021 7:34 pm

Thanks for the explanation. I wonder if others are now thinking "Hmmm. Overhead power supply - I could just try it..." :lol:
Phil

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My Line - viewtopic.php?f=41&t=11077

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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by philipy » Tue Oct 26, 2021 6:25 am

Lonsdaler wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 7:34 pm
I wonder if others are now thinking "Hmmm. Overhead power supply - I could just try it..." :lol:
I thought that quite a while ago when I first saw mention of this line. :)

So many great ideas, so little time....!

invicta280
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by invicta280 » Tue Oct 26, 2021 9:34 am

This line is full of character. You've obviously done your homework with the catenary. Do you have to keep the rails clean to complete the circuit? If so wondering how you keep rails clean in tunnels -and keep the wildlife out..

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Tropic Blunder
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Tropic Blunder » Thu Nov 25, 2021 11:43 am

Come next morning I found myself boarding the steam railcar along with numerous members of the ESET society. Steam being allowed to run on the mainline isn't an everyday occurrence and attendance reflected that with the membership!
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With a screech of the brake blocks the railcar pulled up in the platform. Erin grinned at me "sorry don't get many chances to practise stopping from mainline speeds"
the other society members disembarked and the railcar was backed into two road ready for a period freight train to grind into the platform
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I farewelled my gracious ESET hosts and was introduced to the local area manager. He explained that the NEVR had timetabled a special run of their heritage railmotor to allow me to inspect the right of way.
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This station seems oddly familiar. I was told that the NEVR has always simply ordered derivatives of other railways successful designs and Myrtlefords is no different, a copy of Waterhouses station from the Leek and Manifold It has both male and female waiting rooms.
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Rattling down the mountain our driver called out the next yard as Marysville. Once boasting a goods shed, short platform and Mallee shed along with a log loading siding it now sees the odd log train or tank wagon for the forestry industry.
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After taking off again and up and down the winding grades our railmotor rolls past the mine. Deep in the mountains theres very little space here for a spacious yard I only got a passing glance at the vintage shunting diesel parked here but I'm assured its mainly used for way and works trains.
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end part 1

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Tropic Blunder
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Tropic Blunder » Thu Nov 25, 2021 11:58 am

Part 2
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A quick staff change with the waiting log train and we depart from Badger Creek. Originally electrified and running two car EMU's very similar to the Victorian railways Tait trains its now little more then a passing place
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Finally back at Port Melbourne after my extended stay I took this opportunity to inspect some of the infrastructure
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These two antique track working trollies seem to be fairly well preserved alongside this long disused signal box.
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While inspecting the wharf and associated warehouse sheds I caught a glimpse of heritage boxcab E1 dragging what appeared to be a large steam locomotive being dragged towards the main works. On querying why the workshops were taking on more projects I was shot a furious look by the CME and ushered away!
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Part 3 to follow
Attachments
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Tropic Blunder
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by Tropic Blunder » Thu Nov 25, 2021 12:13 pm

I must say I am less then impressed with this bridge. hard to believe any traffic is permitted at all over it given it has no beams or structure!
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Likewise I recommend this home signal is removed asap to prevent injury or loss of track access due to the post collapsing
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waiting for the shunt loco to push these tank wagons out of the platform,
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Back on the railmotor heading off to fetch my trunk ready for my next journey. I have enjoyed my time in Victoria, despite bringing the windy wet weather with me I am quite excited to head to sunny Queensland next to meet a Mr Plod of the Potters Orchid railway should make a nice warm break before returning back to the impending cold in Europe
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Postscript: it seems I have managed to cause a scaling error in my trunk. I've been shrunk down to the size of a 1:19 scale man!
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Re: The Great Garden Railway Inspection Reports

Post by philipy » Thu Nov 25, 2021 12:36 pm

Thanks Jake, nicely told story.

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