Dimboola station. This great photo was taken by my son Craig

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Heat wave destruction

I have been home three weeks now after time away, missing the three weeks of heat wave temperatures of over 40DegC. Decided to have a running session, or a shunt session, as usually I only use the bottom section, and shunt grain wagons at my silo complex. this is because the drop in area across the garage door is heavy (needs to be redesigned).
It was when I was operating a shunt, I noticed something not quite right with the upper station area. The area of laid ballast had cracked severely, the area of hard stand in front of the goods shed:which had been laid on foam board; the top layer of paper had lifted away from the foam. (This is the result of heat. The garage is probably not the best spot to built a model rail lay-out).
So I hit the track with large amounts of water, and started to carefully lift (which was not too hard).
by the end of the day, the effected ballast was gone, and most of the track relayed, and rewired. Plus the mess had been cleaned away.

The photos show the after effects, with the ballast cleaned away. The bricks a weighting down some re-glued cork, and the water spray bottle is where the hard stand used to be. Some repair work needs to carried out on the bridge ( just as well not all the steel beams had been put in!).

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Periodical New Zealand post

Having returned from three weeks in the Canterbury region of the South Island, (and having missed some of the hottest weather in SA recorded history), managed to catch some rail action on the Midland Line. Not just coal trains this time, as I was out to photograph Kiwi Rail's superb new coaching stock, now running on all three passenger trains. I concentrated on the Tranz Alpine service, as it passed close to where I was staying.

A standard Tranz Alpine consist rapidly passing through Darfield with new coaching stck, heading for Springfield, where the train makes a stop for about ten minutes.
The Tranz Alpine departing Springfield. The DXC class used on this train re the only ones allowed, as all have had fire extinguishing equipment installed, in case they should catch fire passing through the Otira tunnel. (This resulted from the Pike River mine explosion inquiry).

The AK and AKC carriages, were the last items of rolling stock to be built by Hillside Engineering workshops, in Dunedin.

The other train a must to view, are the WP trains on the timetable, that all service the huge Fonterra Milk factory just out of Darfield. There is one milk powder container train on each morning, except Sunday, and a containerized coal train. These are scheduled for each day, except Sunday, but only run as required.
Containerized coal arrived from, Christchurch. These boxes are loaded on the West Coast, railed across the Alps to Middleton depot, then back to Darfield, as the siding into Fonterra is only one way.

Monday afternoon, and the extra loading is shipped out from the factory. The locos came down from Springfield and attached to the consist that was waiting on the Fonterra siding. All of this is visible from the highway and access road to the plant,  as there is a massive lawn area on the factory side of the track. All these containers are bound for China.
If visiting the area, beware, that there are road milk tankers everywhere, especially during the mornings.