On TRACK!The Stringybark Express
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Rail Safety Audit Brings Opening Closer
A full Safety Systems Audit and on-site inspection of the Railway has seen much of the GreenTRail endeavours well placed in the initiative leading to the Wahgunyah lines re-opening.
Public Transport Safety Directorate, Accreditation Audit Systems Manager, Kevin Butler met with GreenTRail Management on Thursday March 23rd in a thorough review of the proposed operating systems.
"We have a number of areas which need some further attention, but in doing a re-draft we end up with a tighter safety management regime."
Areas covered include Regulatory Compliance - based in such areas as Blood Alcohol compliance by Rail operatives, Emergency Management procedures - Incident Control and Investigation and Worker Competence. Further work is being placed in firming up Inspection and Testing procedures, Calibration techniques and Contractor Control. The work is expected to be completed by mid-April.
*** FACT: Approximately 1 in 5 Wahgunyah line sleepers are STEEL! ***
BUGS IN THE SYSTEM
Silent Marauders undermine Works
Clearing up work at Wahgunyah has revealed previously undetected activity which is literally destroying the railways infrastructure.
Termites have begun to eat their way through the older sleeper placements to the extent that some lengths of line in the yard are all but un-stayed. A complete eating out of the yard toilet woodwork had been noticed, however, the destruction of the sleepers had not been so obvious.
GreenTRail has approached the Australian Pest Exterminators Association for assistance and in the meantime an effort will be made to completely clear grass and weeds from the track area.
UTILITIES LEAVE PROBLEMS
WAHGUNYAH. Apparently in the immediate period after services between Rutherglen and the terminus were discontinued a number of operations by utility corporations in the placing of underground services were carried out in the Wahgunyah Section. It is not immediately clear whether all or any of this work was supervised by then PTC personnel.
The main line in the vicinity of the 179 kilometre post was replaced over a length of some 50 metres at places 30 mm under gauge.
In the yard, No 1 road is both over and under gauge above underground placements by as much as 50 mm. No 2 road shows a similar but less severe displacement.
Utility Corporations involved appear to include electricity, telephone and sewerage providers. The groups apparently involved have been asked to supply service and installation histories.
Several sidings had rails bent or cracked in demolition activity by contractors removing redundant lessee infrastructure prior to the cessation of lease agreements last year.
Although management has attempted to place remedial arrangements with the contractors involved, the problems still remain - as do partially demolished structures.
It is hoped that these problems will be rectified by next Newsletter.
GreenTRail Associates is grateful to the HUME BUILDING SOCIETY for their kind
support in assisting with costs of our January Householder & Businesses Letter
As reported last issue, a number of grant applications had been placed with various provider agencies.
GREENCORPS. Advice indicated that the application would receive sympathetic consideration and we were invited to modify the submission. In the end the application was not successful, however, an invitation was extended to place a further request.
REGIONAL TOURISM. The Commonwealth program was under severe pressure in this Olympics Year, with the Victorian allocation much reduced. Success in our application would have allowed placement of the beginnings of the accompanying Walking Trail component of the initiative together with a Youth Employment program.
SHIRE SUPPORT. Representations for varying levels of support in placement initiatives were not successful, it being generally indicated that there were no current funds allocatable towards infrastructure upgrading and upkeep.
NEW APPLICATIONS. A DNRE/CMA application has been submitted for Weeds Control and Re-Vegetation programs. A development grant application has been placed with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Development in which it is hoped to achieve funding for Management Initiatives in providing Employment and Training programs in Community, Rail and Tourism activity for Young Unemployed and Adult older age dis-employed persons. An application for Heritage Listing of the Rutherglen gates is in progress. Heritage Victoria have written to Freight Victoria for comment in the assessment process.
121st Anniversary Celebrations - Great Success
Saturday 29th January proved to be a fine, warm and sunny day. Not surprising - being in "high Summer" - but fortunately the blistering days of heat wave dimension came both before and after the event.
The Rutherglen Yard showed a much cleaned-up image as the result of intensive effort with lawn mowers and brush cutters.
The usual Council activity in areas maintained by Indigo and some assistance in passing by both the Outdoors group and VicRoads personnel added to the success of the preparations.
A splash of paint to the fašade of the Yard Office, grain siding buffers and the Railway Gates added to the improved image.
Much to the delight of all concerned, VicRoads undertook the complete replacement of the road surface at the Highway Level Crossing in time for the Celebration program.
Up-graded mandatory signage including road surface markings were included in this work at both the Main Rd and Chiltern Road crossings.
Speeches, Cake and Cups of Tea
Promptly at 2pm, the CEO introduced the program to some 150 locals and visitors gathered near the Crossing.
Children and adults were able to take part in a competition which gave the winners seats accompanying VIPS in Ken Buscalls Paradise Stage Coach.
Deputy Mayor, Jenny Dale cut the 121st Birthday Cake honouring the Railways opening in 1879.
Local Member, Ken Jasper MP addressed the gathering before accompanying the CEO to the Railway Gates. Cutting the ribbon, Ken declared the Stringybark Express venture well and truly launched.
Both then jumped aboard trolley 8W-20 on permanent loan from the South Gippsland Tourist Railway which was propelled across the crossing - the first rail vehicle in some seven years.
Guests and friends attended afternoon tea in the adjacent Elderly Citizens Club Rooms.
The afternoons activities resulted in a number of new Memberships.
Local ABC radio gave the function both News and Program coverage, with the Corowa Free Press and daily paper The Border Mail featuring an editorial and photos.
A selection of the pictures are available for viewing on our Homestead site - The Border Mail picture has been placed on a souvenir poster.
First Day postal covers, some postmarked with all original station stamps are still available from our General Store. See Web Page
Office procedures have received a marked boost with new Office Assistant Melanie Gee coming on board.
A TAFE Office Administration and University Business Management student, Melanie from Corowa has been placed under the Voluntary Work Initiative (VWI) program open to job seekers and unemployed or Benefits recipients.
Melanies input will feature as an important work experience component in her on-going CV.
JOBS FOR THE BOYS - AND GIRLS
Part of the GreenTRail initiative is to make employment and job experience opportunities available to trainees in all "disadvantaged" age groups.
Young unemployed, older under-employed and forced retirees (50+ and cant get a job) are sought for various areas of the GreenTRail (Stringybark Express) initiative.
There are in our community many people who have a wide range of work experience which shared with others, especially younger members of the area would assist in the gaining of skills which could lead to eventual employment.
From another perspective, older workers finding that they are no longer in useful employment can maintain a work objective which would be seen as be both personally satisfying and productive.
Becoming a GreenTRail Associates MEMBER
will greatly ASSIST in the program of creating our
RAILWAY COMMUNITY & TOURIST INITIATIVE.
Call TODAY for DETAILS and your FREE MEMBERSHIP GIFT
GreenTRail Associates Group Inc A00 390 19C
PO Box 27
WAHGUNYAH VIC 3687
02 6033 3937
The Stringybark Express
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