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Question Skitube History

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by shabu_shabu, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu One of Us

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    I currently doing a bit of research on the skitube. Two different methods were used to construct the tunnels. A tunnel boring machine (TBM) was used for the Bullocks Flat to Perisher section (at the time called the Bilston Tunnel) and drill and blast was used for the Perisher to Blue Cow section.

    I have been told (or read it somewhere but can't find it now) that when the Bilston Tunnel was finshed they drilled a bit further on with the TBM and just left it there concreting it in.

    Does this ring a bell for anybody? If so, is there a reference? Thanks
     
  2. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    The Bilston tunnel ended at a very big hole which is now Perisher Station. The TBM was removed.
     
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  3. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu One of Us

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    Thanks for the info.
     
  4. coolair

    coolair One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    TBM was drilled in and left on the Chunnel project.
     
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  5. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    Buses ran through the tunnel from Perisher to Blue Cow the first year of operation.

    We’d catch the tube from Bullocks to Perisher, hop off and walk across to the buses to complete the journey.
     
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  6. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    There a dip in the line about 2900m uphill from bullocks where the TBM went to low due to soft rock. Had to be reversed and realigned. Tunnel is not round for about 100m here where it was drill and blast.
     
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  7. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you ever plan to write this up I'd really love to read the history of the project. (If only because it is on my to do list and if someone else writes a Skitube history, I won't have to.)

    BTW. there was a similar project planned for Mt Hotham, but plans for it quietly faded away after the Perisher Skitube turned out to not be as profitable as they hoped for. Here's the description of it in my history of Mt Feathertop.

    [​IMG]
    ... Even more surprising than plans for an aqueduct and tramway across the east face of Feathertop or a chairlift parallel to Bungalow Spur was an early 1980s plan for a rack railway from Harrietville to Hotham. Maintaining the Great Alpine Road in winter and keeping it clear of snow has always been a huge and expensive task and even today the road is closed by deep snow several times in most winters.

    The nearest railhead to Harrietville was at Bright, but while that line was closed in 1983, it was never intended to link the new line with it. Instead the railway was planned to operate as a stand alone route transporting passengers, freight and cars from Harrietville to Hotham Heights during the snow season when the road would be closed between the Mt St Bernard club ski field and Hotham ski resort.

    What makes the plan relevant to Mt Feathertop was its planned route. The railway line would have followed the East Branch of the Ovens River above ground and then along the valley of Washington Creek to a tunnel underneath The Razorback with a station roughly half way between High Knob and the Great Alpine Road. Confusingly while the station would be on the Razorback, it was to be called 'Loch', presumably because it would have a view of Mt Loch on the other side of the Diamantina River valley. Then the route was then to swing southwards to an underground terminus in the Hotham Heights area of the resort.

    The railway was to have grades as steep as 1 in 7, compared to main line railways in Victoria which have a maximum gradient of 1 in 50 or most branch lines, including the Bright line, with 1 in 40. Thus the need for a rack railway where a powered cog on the train would engage a serrated rack between the tracks, eliminating the slipping that would otherwise occur on smooth steel tracks.

    If the rack railway had been built and if it included the proposed underground station on the Razorback, it would have greatly improved access to Mt Feathertop. The plan seems to have quietly disappeared after a similar project, the Ski Tube railway from Bullocks Flat to Perisher Valley and Mt Blue Cow in NSW was built and was not as financially successful as its backers had hoped for.
     
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  8. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    My dream has always been a line from Bullocks Flat, through Thredbo, then Falls Creek to Hotham and Buller.

    Purely a skiing centric dream but how good would that be. Sitting in Thredbo over breakfast, let's ski Falls today or Hotham. Boom! short rail trip through the mountains have a ski and then back to Thredbo. Easy.
     
  9. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Would it make sense to update / expand the wiki page for the Ski Tube?
     
  10. Xwing

    Xwing One of Us

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    It was like taking skis on a school bus. Remember it well.
     
  11. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu One of Us

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    Not sure if I'm the person who could write the full history of the Skitube. There doesn't appear to be a lot of reference material about at least on the internet. The National Library (I live in Canberra) has copies of the Environmental Impact Assessments/Statements, material that focuses mainly on the rail aspect of the Skitube (the trainspotters were all over the project) but not such much on the excavation/construction. Lots of newspaper articles. Check out the factual howler at the end of this one.
     
  12. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    That road from Perisher to Mt Selwyn sounds interesting.
     
  13. scullee

    scullee Resident Hobbit Moderator

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    $5 for park entry, how i wish we still had that
     
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  14. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    "Ya can't get there from here."
     
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  15. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well not in a straight line.
     
  16. buckwheat

    buckwheat One of Us

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    My vague memory as to why they ran buses for the first season was something to do with a screw up at the blue cow end. Something like the platforms weren't initially made the right height and had to be redone?

    Of course i could have my head up my fundament, but that's the recollection.....
     
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  17. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    My recollection is that they just ran out of time.
     
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  18. Brimmo

    Brimmo Hard Yards

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    I remember almost being asphyxiated by the diesel exhaust on the bus journey between Perisher and Blue Cow.
     
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  19. buckwheat

    buckwheat One of Us

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    We'll go with yours then, i suspect far more reliable than mine!
     
  20. coolair

    coolair One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    From memory there was a fire during construction that caused a delay, I was staying in Jindy the first season the Blue cow opened, we would drive to Perisher to get the first bus up of the day for plenty of fresh tracks, even free food, tickets on elastic that flicked you in the face and fluted around, good times.
     
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  21. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I really want to give that post a like, if only for nostalgia's sake...
    ... but I just can't given coolair's rather provocative profile pic. :puke: Sorry.
     
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  22. GlendaN

    GlendaN Hard Yards

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    My memory is there were delays in the project and they ran out of time to complete the track before winter.
     
  23. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think they hit unexpectedly fractured rock, which slowed them down.
     
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  24. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    At 2900m as i posted earlier. TBM went low. Had to be drill/blast to get it back on course.
     
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  25. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    It was pretty fractured indeed. Slow going drill n blast with a lot of rock bolting, steel sets and shotcrete.
     
  26. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    hmmmm....
     
  27. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    2900m uphill from bullocks flat, not 2900m AHD.

    You can see the dip in the track if you ride the front window. Got the grand tour from the chief driver trainer guy a few weeks back.
     
  28. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    mmmmmm ..... but did not affect the BC tunnel which was a concurrent separate operation.

    One thing that did affect the whole works was the complete flooding of the PB terminal bulk excavation. A massive clean up for what turned into a very big pond just as the terminal base slab was underway.
     
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  29. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    The BC tunnel was drill and blast by design. This was found to be more effective than the TBM. Thats why blue cow was finished ahead of the bullocks flat section. From what old mate told me, with hindsight, they'd have drill and blast the whole lot.

    You can still see water pissing in under perisher creek and the big pumps in there that dewater.
     
  30. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    TBM was good rock until breakthrough uphill and adjacent The Man. PB terminal was swamp and rock, BC portal adjacent church was very bad ground and was very wet going uphill.

    Break through moment at PB taken by me and circle, cross and sign painted by me.

     
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  31. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I hope you didn't have any breakthrough whilst watching the breakthrough.
     
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  32. Dos

    Dos One of Us

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    And to think RMB charges $58 at Vic resort gates...