Eltham South Electric Tramway

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PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
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Tamworth, Staffs.
<ignorance mode on>
Does the overhead 'self clean'?
Guessing you still need to track-clean occasionally for the return..
 
trammayo

trammayo

Interested in vintage commercial vehicle, trams, t
24 Oct 2009
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<ignorance mode on>
Does the overhead 'self clean'?
Guessing you still need to track-clean occasionally for the return..
In the real world, in some ways it does.

PS. Soz for hijacking the thread!
 
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Melbournesparks

Melbournesparks

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City of Eltham
<ignorance mode on>
Does the overhead 'self clean'?
Guessing you still need to track-clean occasionally for the return..
Pretty much, I never actively clean it.The overhead is all copper, which seems to still conduct even when it becomes weathered. The pantographs and fixed trolley heads always work fine, but the little English Electric locomotive with it's brass trolley wheel has trouble if nothing has run for a while. You do see visible arcing from the trolley poles at night sometimes.

The track self cleans to an extent as well, though I usually still have to remove sticks and leaves manually.

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I also have this car, which has a pair of rotating brushes that scrub the rail surface to remove dust. The aluminium rail forms a powdery non conductive oxide after a while, which this car removes. It's become less necessary now that I have some more larger and heavier pieces of rollingstock, the wheels and pickup shoes are enough to remove the oxide on their own. Because both rails are used for return current, there's effectively twice as many pickups compared to conventional track power so dirt has less of an impact. Which is just as well, since who can be bothered cleaning...


In the real world, in some ways it does.
- it depends a lot on the type of current collector and the profile of the wire. In the old days, frost was a problem (causing arcing) - the perceived solution was to run a vehicle (tram or trolleybus) during the night to try and prevent build-up of ice.

When trolleyheads progressed to slider (carbon inserts), the first vehicle/s of the day (when frosty) were fitted with a cast iron substitute which was transversely slotted. These were removed asap otherwise the wear on the wire would be too great.

London Transport used to lubricate the overhead using a specially converted vehicle (I.C engine powered).

Lightly used wiring was always a problem and poor conductor.

PS. Soz for hijacking the thread!
I haven't discovered if frost is a problem here, we've had only one major frost since the tramway has been running and I didn't try and run any electric rollingstock then. I don't think it was ever a real world problem in Melbourne, most of the network is street trackage in urban areas that tend to retain heat better. Originally Melbourne used brass trolley wheels, then switched over to carbon sliders and then finally pantogrpahs. I've never actually seen a real tram become insulated on lightly used wiring, even if it hasn't been used for years. There's a bit of arcing, but I imagine it would be very unusual for the wire to become so oxidized the tram lost power completely.

Frost can affect some parts of the heavy rail network though, I used to frequently catch the first train of the day to work. One morning with a really bad frost there was some fairly dramatic arcing from the pantographs climbing the 1:40 grade between Eltham and Montmorency.



Note the flying sparks too! This is a 1500v DC electric multiple unit train.
 
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PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
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Tamworth, Staffs.
Thank you for the succinct reply.
:clap::clap:
 
Melbournesparks

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I am lazy trash and haven't updated this thread in a while! Here's some recent-ish pictures. Apologies to everyone who might have seen some of these already...

7th of december 2017:

Trams running today!

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V214 is the favorite car for this time of year, heading off past the headshunt siding with the first service of the day. The rotary scrubber car is stabled in the background.

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The waterfall is always a popular spot for a photostop. The recent rain has been very welcome, though it is still tipped to be a dry summer.


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Falls loop is nearly disappearing from view under the vegetation at the moment. The two day a week operation is only just enough to keep the tracks clear.


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The 1:24 scale goannas are out and about, hopefully eating some of the plagues of mozzies.


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The 1:24 scale fluffy T rexes are also around, doing their bit to keep the weeds down.


26th of december 2017:

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The little EE crosses bridge 1, which is somewhat the worse for wear at the moment. Some bridge timber replacement is planned for the new year some time.

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Bridge 3, which is slight less overgrown now after a bit of vegetation clearing.


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Passing the resume speed sign on the viaduct, after the long temporary speed restriction. Heat buckles in the aluminium rail here are a common problem in summer, but at tramway speeds they don't impact operation too much.

Janurary 12 2018:

It's still 26 degrees at 1am, so trams are running! You have to lay down some serious chemical warfare against the mozzies though.

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Melbournesparks

Melbournesparks

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Something something lazy didn't update thread...

It's late in the southern autumn now, but the weather has still been warm and dry. It has still only rained once this year, and it was 30 degrees yesterday. Pretty late in the season for that, but the delicate artificial environment is holding up pretty well.

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The conductor swings 33's trolley pole at the depot as various passengers mill around. 33 is just about due for some new advertising signs, the old ones are showing some 'real' weathering by now!

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At the other end of the trip at Falls loop.

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The day's operating rollingstock back at the depot in the afternoon sun. The little English Electric loco has been surprisingly useful as the depot shunter, it's so small and compact it's good for the short sidings.


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The Swiss electric motor car is not part of the 'museum' fleet, but rather is privately owned by an eccentric (and rich!) individual who by way of some shady arrangement keeps it at the depot. It runs various charters and railfan trips like today; the railfans have disembarked to take photos in the blazing morning sun.

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The Swiss M car crosses the roadway just before bridge 1, the only public level crossing on the line.

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Back at Depot loop.
 
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Melbournesparks

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Thread, updates, lazy etc. I realize we haven't even had any pictures of the 'new' line here yet, so let's go for a bit of a tour. These images are in linear order from one end of the line to the other, but not all looking in the same direction:

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The long awaited depot track upgrade is finally here! Instead of a single main line and dead end siding, we now have two tracks and a double crossover which greatly improves flexibility at this end of the line. The EE loco and green tram are at the new passenger platform, the line continues on the bottom left to the swinging gate and the old main line. The track on the bottom right goes to the depot.

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The spring flowers are in full bloom as 51M accelerates away from the depot loop, heading for the new terminus of Grasslands.


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33 at the waterfall.


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33 at Falls Loop, the junction of the new main line.


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34M has just clanked over the points onto the new main line to Grasslands, the old line is to the right. The 1:20 downhill grade begins immediately!



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The new line crosses under the old one and comes to the first of several major bridges.



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The main engineering feature is the long and tightly curved tunnel 2. Here we're looking from the upper portal as 51M climbs towards the depot.


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Bridge 5 is a very scenic spot for photos. The steam tram motor heads a construction train not long after opening, the wires have not yet gone up.


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Just after bridge 5 the line descends the cliff face on a little ledge. There isn't much clearance here, you have to fold the mirrors up!


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In order descend the escarpment on an adheasion grade for electric traction, the line has to form a large S bend, with two tight 180 degree turns. Even so the grade is a brutal 1:20 for most of the distance. This long exposure shows the lower bend, with the middle level on the left and the lower level on the right.


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Bridge 8 is crossed just after the lower bend, like most on the line it is another wooden trestle bridge.

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Shortly after Currawong Loop is reached, the main intermediate crossing point between Falls Loop and Grasslands. The loop itself is still on a pretty steep grade.


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After Currowong Loop the line leaves the lush valleys behind, and the terrain becomes notably drier.



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The pair of motor cars pass the future request stop of Succulent Valley, near the bottom of the grade on a rather wet day.

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The EE in the same location on a much drier day. In summer this can be a very hot and arid place.


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After Succulent Valley the line straightens out, and gently rises and falls with the terrain. 51M is heading for the depot near Gang Gang siding. This location could be used as a crossing loop at a pinch, but is normally booked out.


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The EE crosses one of the flood plain bridges on the long straight into Grasslands.


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The pair of M cars in much the same place. Here the line emerges into open countryside.


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The birney tram slows down for the points at Grasslands, the current end of the line.


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The conductor has swung the pole ready for the return trip as 33 stands at the site of the future passenger platform at Grasslands. There is also a goods siding here.
 
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PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
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Tamworth, Staffs.
Excellent to see your line again! :clap::clap:

To think, I worry about a slight undulation, here and there.. Looks like you had some major works to make your line?
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Always enjoy a trip round this line, the fallen apart nature of some buildings and weathered effect of some Rolling Stock give the effect perfectly of a Bush Tramway that struggles for cash but somehow keeps on running. Smashing.
 
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Madman

Madman

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25 Oct 2009
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Pennsylvania, USA
I love to see pictures of your line. The atmosphere you have created boarders on the fanciful, but not too much so. Just the right mix.
 
Melbournesparks

Melbournesparks

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City of Eltham
Always enjoy a trip round this line, the fallen apart nature of some buildings and weathered effect of some Rolling Stock give the effect perfectly of a Bush Tramway that struggles for cash but somehow keeps on running. Smashing.
The line between what we model and the real world isn't very clear sometimes. The line's prototype is a heritage operation which gets by on donations and voulenteer time, but the real world reality is.. pretty much the same.

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This is especially true at the moment, where a couple of storms have finally spelled the end for the passenger shelter at Falls. It will get replaced once the weather starts to consistently improve a bit.
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
The line between what we model and the real world isn't very clear sometimes. The line's prototype is a heritage operation which gets by on donations and voulenteer time, but the real world reality is.. pretty much the same.

View attachment 256823

This is especially true at the moment, where a couple of storms have finally spelled the end for the passenger shelter at Falls. It will get replaced once the weather starts to consistently improve a bit.
Roof looks perfectly reusable.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,833
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Quick Video from running at the ESET last weekend.
What a superb line thanks for posting, so glad it has not been effected by the fires that we hear so much about here. Though with all of that greenery I guess it will be quite a task to keep the right of way clear for trains to run?
 
Tropic Blunder1

Tropic Blunder1

Jake
What a superb line thanks for posting, so glad it has not been effected by the fires that we hear so much about here. Though with all of that greenery I guess it will be quite a task to keep the right of way clear for trains to run?
The fires are a few hours drive from us so no problems there apart from the smoke etc. luckily. we've been hit pretty hard though as a state. The track does need a bit of upkeep i believe but trains run pretty frequently and it seems hes sorted out the wildlife problem so that all helps
 
Melbournesparks

Melbournesparks

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City of Eltham
Believe it or not there has been some actual progress since last update.


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The line now extends another 20m or so to a new and much better equipped terminus at West Grasslands. Engineering wise there were still some challenges, with two fairly substantial bridges and a tunnel (really more of a glorified culvert) needing to be constructed.

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The yard here is a relic from heavy rail days, with the former passenger platform still in place and a number of sidings. Vastly more than needed for the typical museum operations, but comes in useful for stabling visiting rollingstock.


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Bridge 13 is one of the longest bridges on the line, and gives some nice new photography angles. The new tunnel 4 is in the background. Luckily the local geography has allowed all the new path crossings to be rail under, the most convenient kind!

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51M is seen here at the former terminus of Grasslands Loop, now rationalized to a simple crossing location with the removal of the goods siding. The dull smoke stained light was very much a feature at the start of the year, but as of this month there are no longer any currently burning fires. First time since July 2019.


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A big advantage of the new infrastructure is that it makes it way easier to handle decently long trains, if you want to! Like the visiting NEVR DH and train seen here snaking across bridge 14, which is currently a simple plank of wood. A proper bridge is still under construction.


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Back at the other end of the line there's been a bunch of minor works here and there, including some improvements to the depot building. Fortunately just in time for 34M to shelter from a sudden summer thunderstorm.


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On a much drier day the crew of the birney tram discuss the next move.


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34M passes the waterfall, the only permanent water anywhere along the line. The ferns here are doing well!
 
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Melbournesparks

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The late autumn sun nicely backlights the vegetation as the steam tram arrives at the platform road at the depot. Tramway operations are becoming a bit less frequent now, with the days rapidly getting shorter.


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51M passes the remains of a fuel reduction burn. The fire danger period has passed now.


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The EE loco is the motive power for this tram substitute service. I originally meant to repaint the LGB passenger car, but to be honest I kind of like it as is.


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At the lower tunnel 2 portal, which actually isn't all that frequently photographed.


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Our rollingstock today blends in nicely with the lush green vegetation. The native burr plant in this area is doing very well!


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Even though this picture was only taken a couple of weeks ago, this area looks nothing like this now! This was just before the start of major environmental works. The light green weed that looks a little like clover here is creeping Oxalis, a highly invasive South African weed that colonizes degraded environments. The only way to effectively eradicate it is to remove the contaminated top soil, so that's what happened here. This area has now been replanted with native plants, I'll have to take some "after" photos.


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Tunnel 3.


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Nice and green near Grasslands Loop. The vegetation here is mostly the native dichondra which has recovered very well from the dry summer.


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The native grasses and mosses between Grasslands Loop and bridge 13 are doing well too! This level of vegetation has no impact on operations, but has a very important role in preventing soil erosion of the track bed. It also looks nice! Hanging on the front handrail is the automatic coupling adaptor, used to couple the loco's tramway bar coupling to the automatic coupling heavy rail passenger car.


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Near Succulent Valley again on the return trip. Every bit of vegetation here was annhialated as part of the environmental works, sometimes a scorched earth policy is the only way to really recover such a degraded environment!


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Even though this is mainly an electrically worked line, there is some limited live steam operation. The little Ruby 0-4-0 is currently the only serviceable live steamer. It's very small cylinders make it much too underpowered for practical service on this steeply graded line, so it actually does most of its running visiting other lines. It can still be fun to run along the flatter part of the line though, between West Grasslands and Gang Gang siding.


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The driver has changed ends for the return trip already, the railcars wait for departure at the overgrown West Grasslands passenger platform. This area is a bit of an environmental disaster at the moment, but resources are being directed elsewhere right now so it will look like this for a while longer.
 
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