Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just shaking my head

What is wrong with this country? Why can't we build anything properly? I have been noticing of late where newly constructed roads start to fail within a year or so. It is the heavy trucks that do the damage so shouldn't the roads be designed and constructed to cope with heavy trucks? How hard can it be to construct a road that lasts longer than a year before it starts breaking up? I refer VicRoads to the book titled Roman Roads #101.

Then we hear VicRoads has raised the ire of local residents in rural Victoria by turning a four lane road into a two laned road supposedly to make the road safer. Although the roadworks are almost complete, the locals say the road is now less safe and have successfully lobbied VicRoads to stop work and reconsider.

You would think that trains running on steel tracks would fare better? No, they don't. As if the train service from Melbourne to Sydney is not pathetically slow enough. I despair. From The Age:

New $500m railway line 'unsafe'

July 22, 2010
LARGE sections of the newly upgraded Melbourne-Albury rail line have been declared unsafe, forcing trains to slow down and prompting claims that the $500 million project has been bungled.
The train drivers union says speed restrictions have had to be enforced along 58 kilometres of the line where hundreds of large, mud-filled potholes have formed under the newly installed sleepers and rails.
The union says the holes under the tracks have caused carriages to separate and train drivers to almost bounce out of their seats. And it says resulting speed restrictions are adding an hour to the supposedly high-speed Melbourne-Sydney XPT passenger service.

Speaking of The Age, maybe my very annoyed state that drove me to email The Age last week was the straw that broke the camels back. Story after story online had a video which would automatically play unless you stopped it. Very occasionally will I watch a newspaper video. It should be my choice whether I expend bandwith on a video, never mind that I do not want noise suddenly booming out of the speakers. Fingers crossed, but this morning none of the videos have auto played and I don't recall any doing so yesterday.


  1. Your state and mine have elections coming up (Federal and State) but unfortunately there is no-one on offer to us to vote for who we could confidently expect to change things.

  2. The roads could be empty of trucks had the state/federal govts invested in rail freight instead of selling it off to companies that haven't maintained the lines.
    The rail line is screwed cos they pay peanuts and get monkeys - the big moolah gets dumped into the laps of those running 'committees' to 'investigate' viability of rail links, etc.
    And yes, I fully agree that with the pool of talent we have available here in Oz we should damn well have the nous to knock together a flippin' rail/road that is still in one piece 12 months later.

  3. Anonymous8:19 pm

    If you are using Firefox you can get the Flashblock extension.
    Then nothing starts playing until you click on it.

  4. Victor, I would like to say give Keneally a chance, but behind the scenes the same old buffoons are controlling things. NSW Labor has always been difficult.

    Freight on rails like the olden day Jayne. I'd like to see that. The authorities argue that that it costs a lot more to construct properly. Not sure about that. No ongoing maintenance is required.

    I do use FF Anon. Thanks for the tip.

  5. oh I heard Faine talking about the rail thing this morning, it made me angry. Not only do they have to deal with the "mud holes", in summer they have speed restrictions coz of the heat! It's ridiculous. How come they can get it right in every other country? Makes me want to spew expletives all over the place.

    I used flashblock in firefox because of the Age website, it pissed me off far too much, I find it intrusive.

  6. Fen, 'they' just won't spend the money on trains. I'll give flashblock a shot.

  7. The north east standard gauge has had problems with mud holes for years. I have read about it on various rail forums several times over the last ten or so years, always brought up by train drivers. IIRC it has been a big problem since the line was constructed in the late 60's. It seems no one has ever been interested in listening or actually fixing the problem.

    On the Age videos, it does give you an option not to play the video, just it is mostly slow to pop up. There is a countdown that comes up over the top of the video, "Video will play in..." "5" "4" "3"... if you click this it will stop the video. As I said it is mostly too slow to pop up. You probably scroll past the video before it pops up like I do sometimes.

  8. Ben, the way I read it, it is new track?

    Yes, that is what I do for The Age videos, stop them, but it annoys me that I have to do it. The Age website works better and faster than the Herald Sun, but at least the Hun's videos don't self play.

  9. The article is a bit vague on which track is affected. My understanding is it is the existing standard gauge track. The article mentions the XPT, which continues to run along with interstate freight trains on the existing track.

    The new track is the former broad gauge line, which as the article says is still being converted to standard gauge As far as I know there is still much work to be done before trains can run on it.

    Either way there is no excuse for problems as a lot of money has been spent on upgrading the existing standard gauge track. Doubly so for the newly upgraded track, which you would expect to be in perfect condition when it is opened to trains.

  10. Ben, these bloody gauges do my head in. In Japan I saw what our high speed tracks need to be, nothing like we do here. It is a paved and raised purpose built corridor all the way.