Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Main North K Sets

Taken some time ago on 17 March 2003, two car K Set, K3
arrives at Morrisset after its all stations run from Newcastle.
On mornings when I bounce!!!! out of bed and manage to get the 6:23am train from Thornleigh I sometimes see a northbound two car K set canter through Thornleigh at 06:15. This led me to an investigation of the 2 car K sets on the Main North and how they operate resulting in the diagram below. The technical name of this is the flip-flop.
My initial thought was that the train I was seeing was a set returning north after servicing at Maintrain or Flemo - how wrong could I be.
It is actually a service that comes down (Up) from Gosford at 03:45 in the morning and then forms a service from Central to Newcastle that stops at all stations from Berowra onwards and takes six minutes short of three hours for the trip.
I established that in total there are four sets and they stable at either Gosford or Hornsby overnight. Each set visits the Hornsby Maintenance Centre every two to three days depending on which roster it is on.
An interesting part of the rostering of these sets is the Wednesday and Friday’s only empty runs from Newcastle to Morisset and return to Newcastle. Apparently these are to keep Newcastle drivers qualified on the K sets. Most of the Newcastle drivers run the Endeavours to Maitland and beyond and with only a few rosters available for the shuttles to Morisset they can go quite some time without a drive of the K sets – the down and back empty run is used to avoid the drivers running out their qualification.
Another interesting part of the roster is that most of the Morisset trains have to run in to the Up Refuge at Morisset to clear the Up Main for a following interurban - they spend 5 minutes in the refuge and come back to the Up platform before departing for the trip back to Newcastle.
A third point is that the movement from the Up Main to the Up Refuge and the Up Main to the Down Main (when the train departs back to Newcastle) are signalled by lower quadrant shunt signals - the only location left in NSW where this occurs many times a day.

The Northern K Set Flip-Flop

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