- Track worker struck by train near Laverton station, Victoria on 2 October 2015
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Southern Command. Officer Training Command Newport OTCN is the largest officer accessions point in the Navy with a mission to prepare Sailors and Marines through enduring professional and personal development to lead as officers in the fleet. The train consisted of two locomotives and 29 wagons loaded with steel. On the afternoon of 30 October, the train was passing through Newport, an inner western suburb of Melbourne. At about [ 1 ] , on a tight left-hand curve between two turnouts, the leading bogie of the 21st wagon derailed.
Track worker struck by train near Laverton station, Victoria on 2 October 2015
The leading left-hand wheel of the lead bogie had fallen inside the common [ 2 ] rail of the dual-gauge track. On reaching the next turnout, the wheel struck the toe of the common rail point blade. The train travelled about m with the bogie derailed, causing damage to the mainline track and an adjacent siding Figure 1. After parting, the forward part of the train travelled a short distance before coming to a stand.
This section of track serviced standard- and broad-gauge freight traffic and standard-gauge Melbourne-Adelaide passenger services. The derailment occurred between these turnouts Figure 2. The rail distance on the DIRN through this location was measured from a reference point located about 0. At this point there was a change in the track kilometre location and a change in the direction of counting the km distance. From this reference point travelling south, the kilometre location increased from a starting point of In the opposite direction towards the derailment location, the kilometre distance also increased, starting from From this The actual distance between the 11 and 12 km posts was m.
As the accredited track manager, ARTC was responsible for track maintenance at the derailment location. Turnout was upgraded in November and turnout upgraded in December The track between the two turnouts was not upgraded. Intermittent concrete sleepers had at some point been installed at the location to supplement the timber sleepers. The track between turnouts and had a radius of about m at the point of derailment Figure 3.
There was a mix of concrete and timber sleepers Figure 4 and the standard-gauge rail was heavily worn. At timber sleepers, rail was supported on double shouldered sleeper plates and fastened by dog spikes and screw spikes. At concrete sleepers, a mix of resilient fastening types were used. There was a history of damaged fixings and dislodged rail spacers through the location. The point of derailment PoD was about 11 m before the toe of the points blade. The leading left-hand wheel of wagon RKOX D had dropped inside the common rail leaving a mark on the gauge face of the rail Figure 5.
The measured unloaded track gauge at the point of derailment was mm cover photo. Figure 7: Track measurements following derailment, noting that: 1 the point of derailment was between the two measures highlighted 2 the negative cross levels indicate that the outside rail was below the inside rail.
Beyond the point of derailment there were markings and fastener damage consistent with a derailed wheel travelling inside the common rail. The toe of the point blade at turnout had been impacted by the wheel Figure 8. Figure 8 : Impacted toe of the point b lade at turnout Inspections of the section were consistent with this regime, with track patrols often conducted on foot. The AK Car is fitted with measuring and processing equipment and, together with other support vehicles, is hauled by locomotive around the national rail network.
Technical staff ride in the train to manage the measuring and recording operations of the AK Car. This role includes ensuring that local track staff are provided with real-time system output on track geometry.agfox.com/blog/wp-includes/bruce/5699.php
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The supervisor for each track section, or their representative, normally travelled in the train to manage the response to any identified defects. On detection of a geometric anomaly by the AK Car, the system would generate an Exception Report detailing the exceedance for the supervisor to consider in real-time. For identified geometric defects requiring an immediate response, an in-field inspector would be contacted and directed to the defect for inspection and assessment. The inspector would be provided with an approximate kilometre location to guide them to the area of the defect.
An assessment of the track would be made by the track inspector and steps then taken to address confirmed defects. An ARTC network code of practice [ 4 ] specified permitted deviation from the design track geometry. Geometric limits were specified for the track under loaded conditions. The code specified that for a wide-gauge defect of above 38 mm, an E1 response was required for all track speeds.
An E1 Emergency response was defined as inspection prior to the next train, repair prior to the next train and if repair was not possible, passage under the control of a pilot. Assessment of the defect by a competent worker was required to determine if the train could be piloted. An E2 response was defined as inspection within two hours or prior to the next train whichever was greater and repair within 24 hours.
Again, there were conditions allowing for trains to pass if the defect could not be repaired within the designated timeframe. For wide-gauge defects below 35 mm, and with decreasing defect magnitude, there were a series of defect bands with responses of decreasing urgency. The track recording car also recorded rail head wear.
This data was generally not assessed in real time, but instead used by ARTC for longer term planning including the programming of re-railing works. A number of parameters were measured including head wear loss, and side gauge face wear. An ARTC network code of practice [ 5 ] specified rail wear limits, above which certain actions were required.
However, the GPS mode could not be used when:. Between Newport and Brooklyn, the AK Car was operated in Manual mode because of changes to the kilometre location and counting direction, including the change just south of Newport. Track features such as turnouts were marked on various geometry measurement reports including track geometry charts. This track information was drawn from an Event database that had been populated over time by AK Car operators identifying features as they were passed.
There was also a process to update the database when errors in location were identified. The train was operated by a crew of two. Both crew members held the qualifications required for operating over this section of the ARTC network and all medicals were current.
The operation of the train was consistent with the network requirements and train handling was not considered contributory to the derailment.
The wagon weights were consistent no empty wagons throughout the train with a maximum recorded wagon mass of The Train Inspection Certificate issued at Adelaide indicated that the loading and its securement was consistent with the Pacific National and network loading requirements and that the wagons were mechanically fit for the journey. Based on the loading records, it had a payload of 49 t of structural steel beams giving it a mass of 76 t, equating to an axle load of about 19 t. The wheelset dimensions that are critical to ensure compatibility with track gauge are rim width, flange thickness and wheelset back-to-back distance Figure 9.
Figure 9 : Definition of w heelset and wheel rim dimensions. The Australian Standard [ 6 ] for railway rolling stock specified wheel rim width requirements. For the ARTC network, the standard specified a permitted rim width of mm for axle loads of less than 25 t. There was a range of freight rolling stock operating in Australia, and wheels generally fell into two categories, a narrower rim width within mm, or the more common width of mm.
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Both were accepted for operation on the ARTC network. The leading wheelset of the derailed bogie was fitted with the narrower wheel type, with both wheels having a measured rim width of about mm Figure Standards [ 7 ] specify a wheelset back-to-back dimension of mm for standard gauge rolling stock. A back-to-back dimension of less than mm would result in wheelsets being more prone to drop-in derailment on track with wide-gauge.
In this instance, all wheelsets on the derailed wagon exceeded this minimum. General inspection of the derailed bogie and wheels did not identify any pre-existing defect or adverse condition that may have contributed to the derailment. About seven weeks earlier on 11 September , train 3XW4 derailed two wagons at the same location while travelling in the same direction. The ATSB did not investigate the derailment, and information on the circumstances of the event were collected after the 30 October derailment.
The train was operated by Pacific National and consisted of two locomotives hauling 19 wagons loaded with steel products.
Investigations conducted by Pacific National and consultants engaged by them concluded that the point of derailment Figure 11 was between points and Figure Photograph from the 11 September derailment, showing marks on the rail gauge face consistent with a left hand wheel dropping inside the common rail. The Pacific National report describes a wheel dropping inside the common rail on the inside of the curve before points and just before a welded joint.
There was also conjecture that the wheel on the outside of the curve may have climbed onto the standard-gauge rail. At the Point of Derailment, the measured static track gauge was mm 42 mm wide and the track had a negative [ 8 ] cant of about 30 mm. Track engineering inspections indicated that spacers normally installed between the fastening shoulders on concrete sleepers, had become dislodged allowing the standard-gauge rail to move outwards, increasing the gauge.
No rolling stock condition or loading condition was identified that may have contributed to the derailment. The ATSB identified from photographic evidence that the point of wheel drop-in on 11 September was about 0. In addition, inspection of the bogie that probably derailed first found that the wheels on that bogie were also of the mm type. However, AK Car measurement undertaken on 2 October confirmed that the wide-gauge defect remained after the post-derailment works.
There was no identified evidence of flange climb onto the rail head opposite this point. Post-derailment measurements indicated that for the narrow wheel type, the effective width of tread remaining on the common rail running surface at the point of derailment would have been about 20 mm in no load conditions. This assumes a reduction in effective width by the chamfer or rounding of the rim outer edge. Additional spreading of the rails under the load of the rolling stock was required for the wheel to derail.
The AK Car data points to spreading under load and combined with evidence of working fasteners at this location, the required spread could have been achieved. Other aspects of the track geometry such as the negative cant and the slope of the standard-gauge rail gauge face are potential second order influences on the derailment. During and , the track geometry recording vehicle AK Car consistently identified wide-gauge around the On each occasion, the exceedance was closed out on the basis that the flagged wide-gauge related to the transition zone within turnout However, the following evidence supports the contention that the wide-gauge defect recorded by the AK Car around the Post-incident measurement found that the track gauge at the derailment location was wide.
The static gauge was 20 mm wide about 10 m ahead of the point of derailment and about 40 mm wide m ahead. The wide-gauge peaked at about 45 mm just prior to the identified point of derailment. Beyond the point of derailment, gauge returned to within specified limits prior to turnout The magnitude and extent of the wide-gauge measured around the point of derailment following the incident was consistent with the AK Car record of wide-gauge at or about the The AK Car measured wide-gauge of 50 mm recorded four weeks prior to the derailment was consistent with the no-load measurement of 45 mm at the derailment site.
Under heavier rolling stock, greater widening would be expected. In both the AK Car record Figure 12 and site measurements Figure 7 , a wide-gauge of over 20 mm extended for around 15 m. There was conjecture that the wide-gauge defect identified by the AK Car may have been the result of wide-gauge that existed at a transition zone within turnout This transition zone was around three metres in length, and a spike can be identified with the AK Car record Figure 12 that is consistent with this short length of wide-gauge.
On the AK Car chart, this spike is about 50 m before the point of derailment. This distance was verified as being consistent with the in-field measurements. The AK Car did not record wide-gauge around This indicated that there was an offset of m between the AK Car recorded location and the actual km location. Figure Extract of AK Car chart from 2 October measurement showing: wide-gauge magnitude and extent consistent with that at the derailment site a wide-gauge spike consistent with transition zone at turnout no significant wide-gauge recorded between There was good correlation between the location of the wide-gauge and wear of the right hand rail head Figure Both the location and length of the wide-gauge was similar to that of the rail head wear that existed at and around the point of derailment.
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Figure AK Car data from showing correlation between location of wide-gauge and right hand rail wear. Once the track between and turnouts was renewed, the wide-gauge E fault and severe rail wear were no longer identified by the track geometry recording vehicle through the location. Comparison of charts shows that a wide-gauge peak is no longer present Figure Figure Extract of AK Car charts of track gauge on similar vertical and horizontal scales from: 2 October top before repair to track between turnouts and , 11 June below.
The network code specified a 38 mm wide-gauge limit under loaded conditions, above which an E1 Emergency response was required. This criterion was exceeded for both the static no load and loaded conditions. Given the measured trend in gauge on the approach to the point of derailment, and the low level of track disturbance, it is probable that the static gauge prior to the derailment was similar to that measured post-derailment. The measured track gauge of 45 mm wide exceeded the 38 mm criteria to initiate the E1 Emergency response specified within the network standard.
The six AK Car track recordings prior to the derailment were examined. In all recordings, wide-gauge was identified by the track geometry recording vehicle for this track section. The wide-gauge exceeded the E1 limit for at least a year prior to the derailment and was trending upward Figure The track gauge was 50 mm wide when last measured by the track geometry recording vehicle on 2 October , and so exceeded the 38 mm criterion.
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It is concluded that a wide-gauge defect existed at the location of the derailment between turnouts and The magnitude of the defect was slowly increasing and had been at a level requiring an emergency response for more than 12 months. There were a number of opportunities to identify the presence of the wide gauge between turnouts and prior to the 30 October derailment. Each of the following is discussed in further detail:. The AK Car track geometry measurements taken during and identified wide-gauge in the vicinity of turnout This wide gauge actually existed between turnouts and about 58 m to the north of the recorded location.
When operating in Manual mode, an AK Car operator, who would be located in the vehicle above the geometry measuring equipment, synchronised the location of the AK Car at each kilometre post. Until the operator synchronised at the next post or a subsequent post, the AK Car systems assumed a distance of m between each post. As this wide-gauge defect was just before the 11 km post, and assuming the AK Car was synchronised at the 12 km post, the defect was recorded as being around m past the 12 km post, or assuming a distance of m between the 12 km and 11 km, at a location of 11 km minus 40 m, at Of the six AK Car recordings examined, in all but one instance the recording was not manually synchronised at the 11 km post.