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Date: 07/21/22 06:25
Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Hi all,

A couple of weeks ago I was tasked with working a track inspection / track recording train from Tarcoola to Darwin and back to Adelaide over an 8 day/night period. Our locomotive and crew van hitched a ride on freight service 3AD1 from Adelaide to Tarcoola. There we were dropped off to await the train to arrive from Western Australia. We then took it to Darwin and only recorded during the day which resulted in four overnight stays in the crew van. After another night in Darwin we worked the train as a relay to Port Augusta with another crew and recorded passing loops from Tarcoola to Port Augusta. After another night in a motel we worked through to Adelaide.

Our locomotive for the trip was 1988 built G535. This JT26C-2SS was built by Clyde Engineering for V/Line. It has since been owned by Freight Australia (Rail America owned), Pacific National, SCT, Freightliner and now Genesee & Wyoming Australia / One Rail Australia. It still wears the Freightliner livery. These are pretty much an updated SD40-2 with a 16-645E3C, AR11 main alternator and SD50 style Super Series wheel slip control.

 A few photos from the trip.

1 & 2. 3AD1 with GWA002, ALF19 with our loco G535 being hauled behind their crew van waiting at Ferguson on 7/6/22.

3. Loaded ore train 9612S from Wirrida to Whyalla with GWA008/GWA009 and DPU's GWA010/GWB101 crosses 3AD1 at Ferguson on 7/6/22.
 








Date: 07/21/22 06:31
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Next lot.

1. G535 and the crew van wait on the triangle (wye) at Tarcoola for the train to arrive.

2. A different view taken from the old station waiting area.

3. NR118 arrives at Tarcoola with AK82 from WA. The first carriage is the Pacific National crew van followed be the recording cars. They are known as the AK cars due to their class of AK2382 to AK2384.








Date: 07/21/22 06:44
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Next lot.

1. Sunset looking north from Cadney Park.

2. The train tied up at Cadney Park for the night, 7/6/22.

3. Getting ready to depart Cadney Park the next morning, 7/7/22.

 








Date: 07/21/22 06:46
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Next lot.

1. Stabled at Roe Creek for the night which is just south of Alice Springs, 7/7/22.

2 & 3. Getting the train ready for departure, 7/8/22.








Date: 07/21/22 06:49
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Next lot.

1. Topping up our crew van with water during a stop at Alice Springs.

2. Resident shunt loco, FJ105, a Clyde-EMD built G6B shunts Alice Springs yard, 7/8/22.

3. We have arrived and stabled for the night at Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, 7/8/22.








Date: 07/21/22 06:51
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Next lot.

1. Builders plate on carriage AK2382.

2 & 3. Sunset at Tennant Creek.








Date: 07/21/22 06:55
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Next lot.

1. Sunrise as Tennant Creek as we prepare for departure, 7/9/22.

2. Stabled for the night in the old loco shed at Katherine, 7/9/22. The loco shed was built in 2001 for the construction of the Alice Springs to Darwin rail line.

3. The Ghan in the station at Katherine, 7/9/22.








Date: 07/21/22 06:58
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Next lot.

1. Getting the train ready on sunrise at Katherine, 7/10/22.

2. We have arrived into Berrimah Freight Terminal in Darwin. Our train is now getting serviced ready for the return journey.

3. The return movement, AK82 waits in the crossing loop at Illoquara, 230km north of Alice Springs on 7/11/22.








Date: 07/21/22 07:02
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Next lot.

1. Waiting at Pimba, South Australia due to a technical issue on the recording carriage, 7/12/22.

2. Empty ore train, 6911S with GWA010, GWB101 and out of sight DPU's GWA008, GWA009 passes through Wirrappa on 7/12/22.

3, Rail First CM30-8 GE's, EL53 and EL56 stabled in Spencer Jct yard, Port Augusta, 7/13/22.








Date: 07/21/22 07:07
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Next lot.

1. Getting the train ready for departure at Spencer Jct. A rail welding plant is to the left, 7/13/22.

2. We have the green to go from Spencer Jct after pushing back out of the yard. Pacific National's NR105 awaits further duty, 7/13/22.

3. The Ghan to Darwin, 4AD8 with NR75 and NR109 passes through Long Plains on 7/13/22.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/22 15:45 by AussieGWAdriver.








Date: 07/21/22 07:10
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Last couple.

1. Having arrived into Islington Workshops in Adelaide, we have uncoupled and a shunt tractor moves the consist to allow us to get our crew van on the other end of the engine, 7/13/22.

2. With the train now stabled out of the way, we have coupled up to the crew van and are ready to depart Islington Workshops bound for Dry Creek and finally get to go home.

I hope you enjoy the series.
Justin






Date: 07/21/22 07:16
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: DaveL

WOW, simply spectacular in every sence of the word!!
Thanks a million for sharing those pics.

Dave



Date: 07/21/22 08:45
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: jtwlunch

Great photo series.  When you are out on the road in freight train service could you answer a couple of question?
1.  How long are you out on the road for one call?  How many hours on duty before you rest?
2.  When you are on the crew car how does food/entertainment/connectivity/rest work?  What about noise and diesel exhaust?
3.  Do you eat on the engine while on duty?
4.  If you have a major mechanical issue on the trip is it all hands on deck to help out?
5.  How much time do you get off at the end of a trip?

Thanks  Jim Wilson



Date: 07/21/22 11:54
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: jcaestecker

Absolutely gorgeous images!  I am always excited to see your photo essays.  Thanks for sharing them with us.

-John



Date: 07/21/22 20:22
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: AussieGWAdriver

Thanks everyone.

As for how we work down here we don't have a call as such. We have a set master roster, some jobs like the grain they have a time period and are allowEd to bring you ahead a couple of hours or push the start time back by four hours. They generally notify you a day or two before the shift with the start time. These shifts are generally 10-11 hours long.
Local shunt jobs and the relay jobs on ore trains or to Darwin have a fixed start time. Local jobs are 8-10 hours long. Ore train and grain train relay jobs you will be away from 24-48 hours. A Darwin relay is 5-6 days.
With relay working it is 8 hours driving up front then 8 hours in the crew van. We do this cycle for up to 54 hours.

On the crew van we bring our own food with enough for the trip. On the Darwin jobs we get minimum 12 hours off in Darwin allowing us to go to the shops and top up on food supplies. The crew vans are fitted with a TV and blu-ray/DVD player. Most drivers have their own portable hard drives they can plug in and watch their own downloaded movie etc. We do have phone coverage in civilised areas but once out in the desert there is very little cell coverage, sometimes for up to 6-7 hours there is none on one section of track. The locomotives are fitted with two satellite phones for communication to train control. 
On the crew van we get paid our normal hourly rate to rest. The crew vans are well sealed so diesel fumes aren't really an issue, neither is noise.

Yes we are allowed to eat on the locomotive. They are fitted with a microwave oven, fridge and a kettle for boiling water. They have household 240v appliances for this which means there is also 240v AC power points to plug a phone charger etc into. Most are also equipped with AM/FM radio and CD player.

Mechanical faults are generally handled by the crew working at the time. If it is close to crew change the other crew might help out. We carry all different types of spare hoses, coupler knuckles for the wagons plus a couple of bags of sand for the locomotives and even a wagon bypass hose for the brake pipe.

At home we get minimum 12 hours off between normal jobs or 8 hours off in the motel if we work a train to a location in 10 hour shift. If we work relay to Darwin we get minimum 12 hours off before working the relay home. After booking off a relay job in our home depot our time off varies with the length of the relay. Up to 32 hour relay we get 16 hours off, then it goes to 24 hours off all the way up 62 hours off for a 5 day Darwin job. Sometimes with your rostered days off and how the roster goes you can get a 4-5 day break before going back to work.

I hope this information helps.

Justin


 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/22 12:27 by AussieGWAdriver.



Date: 07/22/22 09:34
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: tomstp

Gosh, I would need a computer to keep up with that..



Date: 07/22/22 09:52
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: Ritzville

Thanks for a very interesting series!!

Larry



Date: 07/22/22 14:31
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: norm1153

I'm still going through these spectular photos, but stopped to say Thanks!  For posting these gems.  Your posts and detailed information are wonderful.
Thank you,
Norm
 



Date: 07/22/22 15:05
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: railcity

You have Kmart Store in pictures??



Date: 07/22/22 17:19
Re: Working A Track Inspection Train
Author: pedrop

Fantastic series. Australia and Brazil have wonderfull ore trains. I like all pictures, but specially the empty ore in the desert.

Pedro Rezende
Vespasiano, MG
https://youtube.com/c/minasgeraisrailways1



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