Sunday, March 15, 2009

RailCorp fibs

RailCorp are doing their best to wriggle out of cleaning graffiti from a bridge in Leichhardt.  Recent correspondence from RailCorp stated that a "closedown" would be required in order to paint the bridge safely.  A "closedown" is where you stop all traffic on the line for a period - 4 hours, 8 hours, a weekend - in order to carry out an intensive set of maintenance tasks without having to worry about trains going through the site every so often.

I visited the bridge in question this week and photographed the tracks on one side of it.  Look at the weeds growing through the sleepers, and the rust on the top of the rails.  If a section of track has a lot of trains going back and forth over it, the railhead will be shiny, because the constant action of train wheels running over it removes any rust.  Rust is a sign of a rarely used or disused rail line.  So are weeds - if trains were going past here regularly, the weeds would have been knocked over by the trains.

You don't need a closedown to do work on a line that is for all intents already closed to rail traffic.  Why would RailCorp tell me that a closedown would be required to paint the bridge?  Either the Ministerial Correspondence Unit is not talking to the managers in the field responsible for this section of line, and they are just making it up as they go along to shut me up, or someone is spinning them a line.

I'm tempted to FOI the timetable for this section of line for the last few months, including the SWT (Special Working Timetable), which lists any special trains (ie, trains not in the regular timetable) that have gone past here.  The goods yard at the end of the line is showing no activity and plenty of tall weeds, so it would appear likely that the line is unused.  If the timetable shows that no trains are using this track, or they are only using it once every week or so, then someone at RailCorp has been fibbing.

No comments: