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Old December 15th, 2008, 02:34 PM   #1
Yardmaster
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Melbourne Public Transport: NE Rail

The NE Group of lines comprises the Hurstbridge Line (which extends 37 km from the CBD) and the Epping Line (21 km) from the CBD. The Epping line originally extended via South Morang and Mernda to Whittlesea, c. 40 km from the city. The last 5 km of the Epping line and the last 15 km of the Hurstbridge line are single-track (with occasional crossing loops).

At the last State Election, Ted Bailleu promised an extension of the Epping service back to South Morang. He lost the election, and the current government has always insisted that this would eventuate, but not until the bridge across the Merri Creek, just 7 km from the city, was duplicated.

Since there is a certain air of cynicism about transport projects here, I checked out this project, to see how it was going today. What was clear, as soon as I alighted at Rushall, on the Epping Line, was that this junction created problems: the train in the rear was stationary.



It was waiting for a train like this: in peak hour, about a dozen trains trundle across this single-track bridge across Merri Creek (on the Hurstbridge line) in one direction or another:



^ Merri Creek had been in flood over the weekend, due to the best rain in two years. Below the centre span, you can see the "viewing platform" from which I took this subsequent shot, after wading through the debris deposited by the flood: the rusty red girders are beneath the train; the much deeper yellow girders are part of the new bridge behind it.



As you can see, the bridge is almost complete. 176 metres long, 6 spans. From the same side but the opposite bank: the brick piers belong to the original 1888 bridge ( just before their big financial crash); the concrete and steel belong to the current project.



Interesting artistry on the girders ... here's a fore-shortened view, looking across the two bridges: new on the left, old on the right:



Although the bridge structure is complete, and they were twiddling with the railings, there's a bit more to be done yet. Sleepers and guttering stock-piled at the south end: note the amount of concrete guttering for just a few hundred metres of track:



Re-positioning stanchions on the approach to Westgarth Station:



and similar activities at Clifton Hill: presumably the new track will run through the right-most opening under Heidelburg Road here:



Although the bridge construction appears to have gone according to schedule, constructing and consolidating the embankment on either side of the bridge abuttments, laying the track, and restoring the environment ("architectural" and "soft" landscaping ) will mean that the track is not in service until 2010. Duplicating the line from Keon Park to Epping won't involve building bridges like this ... but there you go, it is happening.

Last edited by Yardmaster; December 17th, 2008 at 05:11 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old December 15th, 2008, 02:49 PM   #2
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Cheers for the update. Always good to see news and photos on projects that might otherwise be forgotten.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 03:11 PM   #3
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Regarding the first photo, how is the new junction going to magically solve that?

The southbund train at Rushall is either being blocked by a northbound train heading from Clifton Hill to Westgarth, or from a southbound train from the latter.

Neither of those conflicts disappear because of the new junction.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 03:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BleakCity View Post
Regarding the first photo, how is the new junction going to magically solve that?

The southbund train at Rushall is either being blocked by a northbound train heading from Clifton Hill to Westgarth, or from a southbound train from the latter.

Neither of those conflicts disappear because of the new junction.
Good thinking, Moriarty ... but trains run to schedules. And the Hurstbridge services run express from Clifton Hill to Jolimont, whereas the Epping "stops all stations" services are meant to run behind them. Hence, when the Up train from Hurstbridge/Greensborough is held up by the down train crossing the single track-section, it holds up the Up train that's meant to follow it from Epping as well: this wouldn't have been so obvious if, after I changed my camera batteries on the platform, I looked up and realized that that train was still there.

In part you're right ... the train will still have to follow the train from Hurstbridge/Greensborough and will have to cross any down train to Heidelburg. ... but in part you're wrong. It won't have to wait until the down train from Melbourne gets to Westgarth before the Up train from there can proceed. Of course, it will still have to cross any outbound train to Heidelburg ...

I'm sure you could do a grade separation under the Queen's Parade Overpass for a song, my friend ... in a weekend. Maybe you should run for Parliament, or get a job at the MOT.

Last edited by Yardmaster; December 17th, 2008 at 05:14 PM. Reason: spelling/typos
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Old December 16th, 2008, 03:50 AM   #5
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State time and day of photo.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 08:32 PM   #6
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Thanks for the extensive update and pics Yardmaster. I used to live in North Fitzroy and CH was my closet station so I know the area well. I always wondered why the single track was not duplicated decades ago as it was such an obvious delay point in the network that was neglected (as has been the rail network in general).

I don't quite understand why it will still take until 2010 for the duplicate section to be fully operational, esp. given how advanced the bridge construction seems, but given how slow things move on the public transport front I guess one should not be surprised.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 08:55 PM   #7
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I can't see the photos.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 03:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yappofloyd View Post
I don't quite understand why it will still take until 2010 for the duplicate section to be fully operational, esp. given how advanced the bridge construction seems, but given how slow things move on the public transport front I guess one should not be surprised.
It will be commissioned over the Australia Day long weekend, meaning 24-26 January 2009. Replacement bus services will operate between Parliament & Bell/Heidelberg.

They said it would be in 2010 so that if it ran very late they'd be covered, and so they can boast about it being finished early.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 10:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BleakCity View Post
State time and day of photo.
You're a real friendly guy, aren't you? It was Monday 15th December 2009, 3:51 to 5:01 in the afternoon. That is, two days ago; the day I posted it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by L2 View Post
It will be commissioned over the Australia Day long weekend, meaning 24-26 January 2009. Replacement bus services will operate between Parliament & Bell/Heidelberg.

They said it would be in 2010 so that if it ran very late they'd be covered, and so they can boast about it being finished early.
I'd be pretty surprised if this was running Australia Day next month: for a start they need to build some embankments. As you can see, there's a lot of drainage works to be placed, and while a sign at the site indicated that the bridgework itself was meant to be finished "Dec. 2009" I took this to be a typo. I concede another year sounds like a long time, but a month and a bit over Christmas sounds a bit short to me. I'm not exactly sure what "architectural" and "soft" landscaping amount to, and how much they impact on running trains across the bridge, but obviously, apart from the trackbed, they have to get the track, the signalling, the overheads and all of the rest of it in place , tested and fully operational.

When are these replacement buses going to run?

Last edited by Yardmaster; December 17th, 2008 at 11:12 AM.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 11:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster View Post
The NE Group of lines comprises the Hurstbridge Line (which extends 37 km from the CBD) and the Epping Line (21 km) from the CBD.
That's the Clifton Hill group. The NE line runs from North Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 11:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster
I'd be pretty surprised if this was running Australia Day next month: for a start they need to build some embankments.
Wanna make a bet Yardy? It's meant to be commissioned then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster
I'm not exactly sure what "architectural" and "soft" landscaping amount to, and how much they impact on running trains across the bridge
Putting in a few trees and shrubs won't delay trains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster
, but obviously, apart from the trackbed, they have to get the track, the signalling, the overheads and all of the rest of it in place , tested and fully operational.
Doesn't take long for such a short stretch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster
When are these replacement buses going to run?
Australia Day long weekend, and one day earlier in January.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster's Signature
If you keep on arguing about it, it won't get built.
What are you trying to get at there?
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Old December 17th, 2008, 02:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L2 View Post
Wanna make a bet Yardy? It's meant to be commissioned then.


Putting in a few trees and shrubs won't delay trains.


Doesn't take long for such a short stretch.


Australia Day long weekend, and one day earlier in January.


What are you trying to get at there?
Allright, to the extent that I'm able, I will watch ... I was going by their graphs, which indicated something quite different. Umm, you didn't say when the buses would start running to Bell & Heidelburg?

I'll answer that myself ... the Clifton Hill website foreshadows a shutdown of that line (says nothing about Bell ) from 2nd - 10th Janurary. But still forecasts a 2010 opening.

Last edited by Yardmaster; December 17th, 2008 at 04:54 PM.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 03:56 PM   #13
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Here you go Yardy:
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/sto...4-2862,00.html
http://forums.vicsig.net/viewtopic.php?p=27254#p27254

Do I get my money now?
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Old December 17th, 2008, 04:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L2 View Post
Thanks for the links ... so how much did I bet? Anyway, I'll wait till it's running.

btw.: your signature appears to be a pair of quotations (at the moment). Could you attribute them?
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Old December 17th, 2008, 04:18 PM   #15
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#1 was from a post on this site by user 'Castro', you can find it if you want.

#2 was from IPART's recent report on CityRail fares that came out the other day.

Where's your signature from? What's it getting at? C'mon, you gotta answer in return
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Old December 17th, 2008, 04:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L2 View Post
#1 was from a post on this site by user 'Castro', you can find it if you want.

#2 was from IPART's recent report on CityRail fares that came out the other day.

Where's your signature from? What's it getting at? C'mon, you gotta answer in return
I simply made it up, but it expresses a certain conviction of mine: if you want any progress, you have to compromise. And you don't look a gift-horse in the mouth. We'd have a rail link to the airport here in Melbourne by now if people hadn't been so self-centred.

What it means is: get on the main game. Don't complain if your train is nearly empty one day, full the next (or six months hence), and then complain if they vary the timetable. Believe it or not, the people in there aren't just a bunch of ******* idiots, nor are they in it just for the swill (although they expect a salary).

I'm not sure if you put a submission in to the Eddington Report: but I did. Curiously, what came out closely resembles what I suggested: I'm not suggesting I have any special influence (I don't), but it's pointless shooting plans down because they don't for instance, run an underground from Coburg to the City. Might happen one day, not today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPC View Post
That's the Clifton Hill group. The NE line runs from North Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga.
But that's not NE Melbourne ... give the people who've never heard of Clifton Hill a break!The first posting here explains what is being referred to ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gappa View Post
I can't see the photos.
Sorry, Gappa, but the difficulty is not at this end ...



btw: if this rail link is going to be opened so quickly, someone should get a few photos (or postings) in. Laying 750 m of track is not a huge effort: but making sure all the attendant infrastructure works safely is another matter. I'll be out of town a couple of times at least during the interim, but I'll try and do my bit.

Last edited by Yardmaster; December 17th, 2008 at 05:10 PM.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 08:04 PM   #17
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Yardmaster must have a digital clock with only the hours digits.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 08:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BleakCity View Post
Yardmaster must have a digital clock with only the hours digits.
Whatever ...
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Old March 31st, 2009, 06:40 PM   #19
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An update here, too:

Clifton Hill now has several new sets of points in operation at the north end of the station (compare with my last photo from this site):



The new bridge is certainly in operation: a few seconds after I took this photo another train crossed the bridge in the opposite direction. I didn't hear anything about this in the news ... and I do listen for these things.



A lot of work remains to be done: walking from Clifton Hill to Westgarth, I think I counted four routes which went across or under the the railway line which were closed due to construction works:
hence the pile of dirt and rock in the foreground.



Just for nostalgia's sake, at Westgarth: note the cabling that needs to be wrapped on the lower left.



Since I almost staked my life on this track not being open on Australia Day, I'd be interested to know when it did open, but the only two locals at Westgarth had Ipods in their ears, and I didn't have the heart to bother them.

Looking towards the bridge: a train approaching Westgarth from the City & Clifton Hill on the older (right) track: the new track on the left looks like it needs a bit of levelling out if you ask me.



Interestingly, the new bridge seems to be signalled for operation in either direction. Maybe this is because construction work is still continuing?

Last edited by Yardmaster; March 31st, 2009 at 09:46 PM.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 02:29 AM   #20
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http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/premie...dge-today.html

FIRST PASSENGER TRAINS ON NEW RAIL BRIDGE TODAY Tuesday, 27 January 2009


not quite Australia day but close.

Any chance they'll grade separate the crossing point i.e. is there room? - seems like a logical next step to improve capacity on that section of track.

I'm not seeing the photos above but I'm sure its probably my fault as I seem to have issues regularly with photos here (both posting and viewing).
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