Roundhouse still in spin over crash

MEMBERS of the Goulburn Locomotive Roundhouse Preservation Society (GLRPS) are frustrated that progress on repairs to the facility’s turntable has stalled.

John Proctor, Colin Grose, Terence Carpenter and Dale Wake say the turntable still needs urgent repairs after an Aurizon grain train derailed in the complex on June 30 last year.

More than 105 metres of railway track was ripped up when three grain wagons smashed through the turntable gates, knocking over the turntable’s operating cab. One of the wagons then overturned into the turntable pit and sent the locking pin flying, severing the wagon’s brake lines and causing the train to come to a standstill.

There was also significant damage done to timber supporting the turntable.

The GLRPS leases the site from Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), and due to the roundhouse’s heritage status, is also the responsibility of the NSW Heritage Council. The owner of the grain train, Aurizon, is also responsible for funding repair work.

“ARTC had price estimates done for repairs as far back as November,” GLRPS member John Proctor said.

“They also understood there were contamination issues due to the grain spilling into the turntable, which we actually believe is a delaying tactic. Nothing at all has been done for the last nine months by ARTC, who are our landlords. Aurizon’s insurers are also responsible for the cost of the repairs (estimated at over $500,000).”

Mr Proctor says this has stopped any movement of rail infrastructure within the complex and tarnishes their reputation in regard to having any rail movements carried out.

The turntable is the only one between Moss Vale and Cootamundra for trains to be turned, and the men have been approached by several organisations wanting to use it.

“We would like to have steam trains utilising the roundhouse for servicing, and when any of these types of trains pass through Goulburn, at the moment we’re missing out,” Mr Grose said.

“We sent a letter to ARTC on January 29 this year to seek advice as to when the turntable would be open again, and as yet we have heard nothing. It therefore impedes the viability and action within the complex.

We’re at our wit’s end as to where we should go next to get something done about this.”

Despite the damage to the turntable, tourist operations are running well, with regular busloads coming to tour the site.

“We’re the only operation of this type that is open six days a week,” Mr Grose said.

“Goulburn has always been a major railway hub and contributes substantially towards the city’s tourism dollar. We’re still very much open for business and running regular tours.”

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau was also notified shortly after the incident, and classified it as ‘Class B’, meaning it was left up to both Aurizon and the Office of Transport Safety Investigations (OTSI) to conduct internal investigations.

FRUSTRATED: Goulburn Loco Roundhouse Preservation Society (GLRPS) volunteers John Proctor and Terence Carpenter inspect the damage to the turntable, which has still not been repaired after a derailment there nine months ago.

THE organisation responsible for the lease of the Goulburn Locomotive Roundhouse site, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) says repairs to the site are ‘complicated’.

The turntable at the roundhouse was extensively damaged when three wagons of an Aurizon grain train derailed on it on June 30 last year.

“The repair process is a complicated one. It involves both repairs to the track and to the turntable in what is an aged building and a heritage site and there are a number of parties involved, in addition to the Preservation Society,” an ARTC spokesperson said.

“At this stage, given the scope of the works required, it cannot be delivered as a standard maintenance project, and will need to be delivered as a construction project which requires a wider planning and an environmental assessment process to ensure it meets necessary standards. Unfortunately, these matters do take time to go through, but we hope to progress the matter in coming weeks.”

An Aurizon spokesperson told the Post that ARTC owned the turntable and the newspaper should contact that organisation regarding the status of repairs.

The Goulburn Post posed further questions to Aurizon on this point, but the company said it would not be commenting further.

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