NE SG line, post gauge conversion

 
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Mining coal makes Govts lots of money, especially the NSW State Govt from mining royalties and company tax from mining companies for the feds.
Cant get the royalties if the coal cant get to the port.
The coal lines are also heaviliy utilised, on average 1 coal train in each direction every 20 minutes.
If the Melb Sydney line had 1 intermodal every 20 minutes in each direction, it would get more money spent on it
as ARTC would get far more revenue from access fees.
Too many people keep expecting that the Govt will just keep on stumping up money forever, for rail line improvements.
Not realistic, given the current budget problems that both the feds and the NSW State govt have.

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  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Why is it unreasonable to expect our tax dollars to fund rail line improvements between Melbourne and Sydney for the productivity of business and to Te benefit of long distance rail passengers ?

This is exactly what is required.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
You just said Governments make a lot of money on coal , why would you suggest they have to dig deep in their pockets when the flood of black coppers is seemingly endless ?

A large part of the interstate intermodal traffics problem is lack of terminal facilities . The massive volume of coal that is stockpiled and reclaimed requires quite large coal terminal facilities some of which would have been paid for with tax payers dollars .
If Melbourne Sydney and Brisbane each had facilities the size of Pt Waratah and Kooragang Island in the same proximity you could run (terminal wise) many more intermodal services than do now . Imagine trying to arrive into Melbourne alone ONE 1800m super freighter an hour round the clock .
I imagine dumping those 10+000 tonne Hunter coalies if they were broken up every time into 4-500 metre rakes .
And yes the up and down coal roads , don't see anything like this AFAIK for anything less than black money bag trains .

Looks to me like the taxiers are robbing the rich and letting the poor stagger on in a crook state .
It isn't just NSW BTW a lot of black diamonds emigrate from QLD too .
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
The NSW Govt has just sold the Port of Newcastle for $1.75 billion.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-30/nsw-government-sells-port-of-newcastle-for-175-billion/5421800
Try selling a rail terminal anywhere for that kind of money.
Bottom line is Govts will do whatever makes them money.
Coal trains do, intermodals dont , its just the way things work.

How about this.
Would it have been better to not build the SSFL, which cost $1.3 billion, and use the money instead
to fix all the mud holes on the Sydney - Melb line?
Maybe Rail Companies should lobby the Feds to get a seat on ARTCs board, so they have some say in where Rail funding is spent.

For what its worth, the VIC Govt is planning to sell the Port of Melbourne too.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/port-of-melbourne-to-be-sold-regardless-of-who-wins-next-state-election/story-fni0fit3-1226845291289?nk=90b3d9d866626f19ddbcf53840eabe67
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
No you'd do both because if they can afford to make money out of rail they can afford to spend money on rail .
They pull a lot more money out of the tax pool to spend on highways than highways make for them .

Thing is if they'd starved the budding coal railways of infrastructure spending they wouldn't be making anything like they are now and Aurizon/PN wouldn't be able to pay for it either . You starve it , it stumbles and it doesn't matter a truck if its in a box or a hopper .

I tell ya what smarty we'll give up SSFL if coal gives up the coal roads between Islington junction and Maitland . Let pass priority decimate coal traffic in that area .
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Contrary to what has been posted above, the vast majority/proportion of the current coal terminals on the east coast of Australia have been paid for by the mines.  Many of them were built by and are owned by consortia of the relevant mining companies.  Where state provided assets are in use (such as a channel in a port) very healthy commercial rates are charged - hence the NSW govt can sell those assets for a tidy sum.

Per gross tonne kilometre, coal pays far more in access fees than a typical intermodal service - about double (or more), depending on the type of train and the location.  That's despite the intensity of use of the coal lines (gross tonnes per day) being far greater than the interstate lines.

Practically, the majority of the ARTC coal lines are not funded by the government - they are funded by the users.  The users are able and willing to pay; hence the users mostly get the infrastructure they require.  

If you were to do something so daft as to force the coal traffic off the coal lines between Islington and Maitland, the industry, collectively/eventually would probably replace that infrastructure in some form - after all the current access charges are regulated to a level that makes some provision for that, so they collectively/eventually can afford that replacement.  

The situation with the north-south interstate lines is markedly different.  The situation with longer distance passenger rail (excluding GSR) is almost beyond hope.

I very much don't like some aspects about the level and how costs and charges are (or are not) linked for various groups of users, but road users, collectively, pay a lot of road user charges in the form of fuel excise (which is the fundamental reason a fuel excise exists, though some dimwits might pretend otherwise) and other charges such as registration.  Consequently you would expect to see lots of money spend on roads.  Again, you are far more likely to get something if you are willing to pay for it.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
...
The regauging of the NE line was just that a reguaging, ARTC was given the funds to move one rail in 6.5 inches (ie regauge the, line), fit new sleepers, redo the signalling and rebuild some bridges, THEY WERE NOT GIVEN FUNDS TO DO ANYTHING ELSE. They did not even have funds to straighten the track in removed yards, for this money was obtained from the mainetence budget. I have spoken to both ARTC senior mangement and the contractors senior managment and ARTC were agvised well and would have liked to do a proper job but they simply DID NOT HAVE THE FUNDS. Why us this so hard for people to understand. Until the electorate wishes to pay for a decent transport system neither the government or its agents, such as ARTC, can do anything, given the current state of the media.
...
woodford
woodford


EXACTLY !
I have no doubt ARTC work in the same world as mine.

I can’t recall any project that was accepted as proposed. Unfortunately, we don’t know what options ARTC presented to the Vic/Fed Guvmnts. I suspect they would only consider funding a regauge/resleeper, never a rebuild. Even then ARTC had to put up a substantial portion of the money.

The ATSB investigation indicates that ARTC’s refurbishment of the Syd-Melb tracks whilst not perfect, could not be considered negligent. In our world we don’t get the resources we need, we take risks, we get it wrong, we try and sort them out, we fail to meet expectations and we get blamed by our clients (but I can't tell them "I told you so" Razz )

Could'a, should'a, would'a - if only our world was so straight forward Rolling Eyes.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
If ARTC was an independent organisation its called yes you can blame the Governments for underfunding . Trouble is because ARTC is Government they're not about to blame those in charge of their employment contracts . I wonder if Governments get away with experimenting on road infrastructure . Would they ever lay new concrete and asphalt over "soft spots" and come back a few terms later to repair ?

Coal yes it's very different to interstate rail traffic , I'll include all interstate rail traffic here . Coal has a virtual monopoly on transport from the Hunter Valley , it's not to say road couldn't do it but on a per tonne basis coal doesn't pay very well in those small volumes .
It was set up to work efficiently including rail and terminal infrastructure . When you have most if not all the tonnes in a commodity available yes you can move lots of it and make lots of money .
Interstate rail has a very small percentage of the available intercapital land freight and the lack of infrastructure is what's starving it out . Lack of terminals and the lack of rail routes that have a hope of being competitive with the alternative mode . If you can't make good money you can't spend money on better infrastructure so what do you suggest the interstate operators do ? They want to be viable they want to be competitive but forces beyond their ability to control block progress for their own purposes .
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Someone asked before about the access charges for the coal trains.
For maitland to muswellbrook, which is the common part for just about all the coal trains , its $3.82 per 1000 GTK.
In contrast, Intermodals between Sydney and Melbourne are cheapest at $2.82 per 1000 GTK.
You sure dont want to run trains between Pt Augusta and Whyalla , as it costs $5.13 per 1000 GTK.
All the other lines are somewhere in the middle.
How these prices are determined is anyones guess.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
If ARTC was an independent organisation its called yes you can blame the Governments for underfunding . Trouble is because ARTC is Government they're not about to blame those in charge of their employment contracts . ...
BDA


ARTC is a commercial organisation where the Australian Government is the primary (and currently the sole shareholder). Just like Qantas it must make its own way in the world.
ARTC is not a government department or run by a government department or funded as a government department. Unless the government buys more shares or provides a project specific grant, ARTC must find the money itself. Bank borrowings paid for most of the SSFL Rolling Eyes
Questions -
1. Has any government sacked anyone from ARTC ????
2. If not, any idea why? (I do Wink )

... I wonder if Governments get away with experimenting on road infrastructure . Would they ever lay new concrete and asphalt over "soft spots" and come back a few terms later to repair ? ...
BDA


Firstly ARTC weren't experimenting. It faced a situation where the sleepers and ballast were fu#ked (along with bridges, comms, signalling etc). The guvmnt provided grants for bulk purchases of concrete sleepers which started in Howard's time (no Green conspiracy Razz , regional employment in 3 NP electorates probably helped). The guvmnt left it to ARTC to 'make it happen' and they went for the most affordable way to do so.
As for roads, experimental surfaces are used. Pavement failure is not unheard of in my experience. Sections of the Hume in NSW are repaired almost continually (where slabs of concrete pavement are cut away and redone).
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
ARTC would be closer to an organization like NBNco , or Telstra when it was Govt owned.
In both cases, both organizations had to raise all their own capital, and in the case of Telstra, pay dividends
to the Govt, their shareholder.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
ARTC is a puppet of the Federal Government and you should read your own posts . How can you buy more shares when you are the sole share holder .
That ARTC has zip hope of funding itself is bloody obvious to everyone except you Coota . When running on outdated antiquated infrastructure how can you put a body in charge and say there it is sink or swim ? The system can't host enough trains and operators to get a positive return to improve the infrastructure so what rubbish consensus logic are YOU using ?

I wonder which Australian Federal State and Territory Roads departments were set up on the same basis ? Yeah I can really see these departments saying self fund or when the roads collapse stiff stools , don't drive there anymore .

I think I've said this before , you want to look at the stock market and see which of OUR Governments a registered as financial entities . Might open your eyes .

As per coal rail funding , I'm sure many many millions of tax payers bux (tax payers everywhere) went into this but what States or Territories that aren't NSW or QLD get anything back from it ? It isn't doing anything significant for the NE SG and they aren't short of the sort of funding that fixes expressways properly .
The GovernMENTS  knew full well that concrete sleepers and in places 60 KG rail wasn't the proper fix and just a way of buying time .

At the end of the day it doesn't matter if its concrete sleepers and rails or concrete slabs and asphalt , if its got a rat smeg base underneath it is doomed to fail dismally . The Feds , and their pimp entity ARTC , have to be thinking they'll get away with stupid nonsensical failure prone processes because the twist all over the place railways are out of sight and mind .

One more just to rub the acid in , you like to infer that is the operators fault that the infrastructure is on out dated pathetic useless steam/stone age alignments and track beds and this is somehow their fault and problem to fund .
These things were RS before they came into being as a legacy of gross GOVERNMENT underfunding so who do YOU think were the ones failing rail transport on the interstate links ?
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
ARTC would be closer to an organization like NBNco , or Telstra when it was Govt owned.
In both cases, both organizations had to raise all their own capital, and in the case of Telstra, pay dividends
to the Govt, their shareholder.
MD


ARTC also pays dividends however a few years into the NSW Lease the LNP guvmnt gave it a 5 year waiver, which Labor extended when it was in power.
ARTC also pay tax. Not long ago the ATO went after ARTC to pay tax on a guvmnt grant it received - go figure Rolling Eyes

I suspect ARTC didn't want or need to take on the NE project when it was 'requested' to:
1. ARTC previously indicated passing lanes would suffice for at least a decade. There was no operational imperative to take it on.
2. ARTC had to find $300+m as its 'contribution'. After funding additional passing lanes Seymour - Wodonga that would leave $200m+, money that could have been used north of the border to address decades of NSW's deferred maintenance.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
ARTC is a puppet of the Federal Government and you should read your own posts . How can you buy more shares when you are the sole share holder . ....
BDA

F#ing yes:!: ARTC must do the shareholders bidding like any company or typically the board resigns.
OK BDA I'm more polite than you Razz. Scan the last few ARTC reports, and look at the number of shares issued in exchange for capital from the shareholder.
WTF BDA I'll make it easier for you!
2010 - 1,332,275,100
2011 - 1,890,475,100
2012 - 2,299,775,100
2013 - 2,511,475,100

...That ARTC has zip hope of funding itself is bloody obvious to everyone except you Coota . When running on outdated antiquated infrastructure how can you put a body in charge and say there it is sink or swim ? The system can't host enough trains and operators to get a positive return to improve the infrastructure so what rubbish consensus logic are YOU using ?...
BDA

BDA Rolling Eyes
I have always been of the view that ARTC can't itself fund the work required to address decades of neglect, let alone consider deviations. E.g. the SSFL should have been guvmnt funded but ARTC needed to borrow to build it.
The cynic in me thinks ARTC was set up to fail.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

F#ing yes:!: ARTC must do the shareholders bidding like any company or typically the board resigns.
OK BDA I'm more polite than you Razz. Scan the last few ARTC reports, and look at the number of shares issued in exchange for capital from the shareholder.
WTF BDA I'll make it easier for you!
2010 - 1,332,275,100
2011 - 1,890,475,100
2012 - 2,299,775,100
2013 - 2,511,475,100


BDA Rolling Eyes
I have always been of the view that ARTC can't itself fund the work required to address decades of neglect, let alone consider deviations. E.g. the SSFL should have been guvmnt funded but ARTC needed to borrow to build it.
The cynic in me thinks ARTC was set up to fail.
cootanee

BDA is strong on conspiracy theories and very weak on how companies work. ARTC is a company and can have as many shares as its M&As allow, but might only have issued a small number of shares as issued share capital. Since it is entirely government owned all shares are issued to the government. To fund itself, it borrows from government and issues more shares in return. I am not aware if ARTC can borrow from the private sector market. Probably not.

It is not a government department and is not entitled to the normal budget allocation of funds as per other government departments.

ARTC then leases out its network for a certain fee which it pays to the government as dividends (does it retain any lease fee receipts).

It is a flawed scheme and is a consequence of the flawed federal scheme which operates in Australia. If all railroads were owned by the Federal government then we would be far better off. They could at least sell both above track and below track assets to a couple of private operators (some pretence of competition) I am not aware where open access models work successfully in a country the size of Australia.

ARTC, by its very nature cannot fail since the government can continue to purchase more shares and keep it operating. It is a very clever move, since it keeps a troublesome sector off the governments plate, and with myopic stupid states that will not agree to anything not in their own interest, it is probably the only practical way of at least improving an open acces network run down by years of state neglect.

The politicians in Federal Parliament are no great shakes, however, the state politicians, generally, make the Federal ones look like geniuses. That ex-army boof head running Queensland is the worst of the worst.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
How much of the Rail network is open access?
The tracks obviously are, but what about the rail terminals , or the stations ?
Im pretty sure that GSRs Keswick station is not open access, although actually getting info about this is hard.
How about South Dynon or Acacia Ridge.
Does the federal Govt own any Rail terminals?
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
... To fund itself, it borrows from government and issues more shares in return. I am not aware if ARTC can borrow from the private sector market. Probably not.
It is not a government department and is not entitled to the normal budget allocation of funds as per other government departments.
....
nswtrains


Actually it does borrow on the financial markets in the form of loans, bonds and derivatives (pretty sure guvmnt departments don't do that themselves). It's all up there in the annual reports for anyone to read Wink

...
It is a flawed scheme and is a consequence of the flawed federal scheme which operates in Australia. ...
nswtrains


The concept that you have a for-profit company turn around rail infrastructure in Australia is crazy. The cost of borrowings alone is money that could otherwise be put back into the network Mad
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

How much of the Rail network is open access?
The tracks obviously are, but what about the rail terminals , or the stations ?
Im pretty sure that GSRs Keswick station is not open access, although actually getting info about this is hard.
How about South Dynon or Acacia Ridge.
Does the federal Govt own any Rail terminals?
"MD"


Acacia Ridge is owned by Queensland Rail - the state owned rail infrastructure provider - and has been managed by Qube (and predecessor P&O) since 2006.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
As per coal rail funding , I'm sure many many millions of tax payers bux (tax payers everywhere) went into this but what States or Territories that aren't NSW or QLD get anything back from it ?
BDA

To a good first approximation - that's incorrect:

- the direct "grant" style contribution from taxpayers (even NSW taxpayers in the modern era) is inconsequential - ultimately the users are made to pay;

- ARTC is not owned by the NSW or QLD governments, but it makes a nice profit from the coal operations.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
If you go back in history to the creation of ARTC, and why it was created which is here
http://www.artc.com.au/Content.aspx?p=32

ARTC was never created to be a track fixing Company, but was created to be a one stop shop to facilitate
easier access for rail operators to the National Network.
In other words, simply a national track manager.
Everyone now for some reason assumes that its the default Track Fixer.
  M636C Minister for Railways

I wonder if Governments get away with experimenting on road infrastructure . Would they ever lay new concrete and asphalt over "soft spots" and come back a few terms later to repair ?
BDA


The NSW Road authority (then I think called the DMR) laid an experimental strip of slip form concrete pavement on old formation just north of Marulan as an experiment. This may not have been a soft spot but it was the first reinforced concrete laid on an old foundation, I think about 1990.

Currently, replacement concrete sections are being applied over a "soft spot" between Yarra and Bredalbane in the northbound lane. The southbound is the old alignment sealed with hotmix asphalt.

There are so many of these replacement patches, all in the slow lane used by most trucks, that it has been necessary to grind the surface level to provide an acceptable ride.

This road is laid over the same swamp as the main Southern line over the same section, which has been subject to mud holes.

The laws of physics affect both modes equally but the cost of road repairs must be approaching the ARTC's annual budget just for the road in that stretch of about ten kilometres.

And this was the new construction dating to about 1990.


M636C
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Based on what you people think interstate freight on rail is doomed because the powers that be are not interested in its survival . Rail users have no business expecting to be viable and its their fault if they're not .
It remains to be seen if east coast railways go the way of the Casino Branch , X runs will die an equally quick death if no freight services survive .
Really liked the bit about ARTC not being the track fixer , just a common box office ticket seller . It goes to prove you can "maintain" the appearance of a railway line but don't let trains get in the way of the lie .

ARTC is a blatant failure because it failed to provide adequate infrastructure for operators to run safe efficient and financially viable businesses on . This includes Country Link and VLine who cannot provide a decent service because the rail infrastructure is RS .
At the end of the day it doesn't matter why the infrastructure is rat smeg because the operators are powerless to do much about it .
You think years of government neglect is the answer why - fine . Do you think the operators are in a position to finance the financial vacuum left by successive state and federal governments ? Are the current governments making any real effort to fix their past inadequacies - nup .

Obviously we should move towards all non mineral land transport including people being on road because it's easier to convince the voting public that roads are there for them and the road toll is just the way things are .
B Triples should be fast tracked and thought given to road trains on eastern Australian expressways .
I can drive a Road Ranger and steer a truck , I want road trains because that's where fast efficient land transport is on subsidised roads .
The market doesn't seem to mind being ripped hard on transport costs so the more the better .
  M636C Minister for Railways

ARTC is a blatant failure because it failed to provide adequate infrastructure for operators to run safe efficient and financially viable businesses on . This includes Country Link and VLine who cannot provide a decent service because the rail infrastructure is RS .
At the end of the day it doesn't matter why the infrastructure is rat smeg because the operators are powerless to do much about it .
You think years of government neglect is the answer why - fine . Do you think the operators are in a position to finance the financial vacuum left by successive state and federal governments ? Are the current governments making any real effort to fix their past inadequacies - nup .
BDA


Anyone with a car can use any public road and can benefit from improvements like those on the Pacific Highway, Bruce Highway and Hume Highway. Thus there is an easily visible benefit seen by most voters.

Explain to me again why my tax dollars should be spent on really dramatic and costly improvements to rail lines to be mainly used by private rail operators who are already filling the highways with road trucks operated by their associated companies. My pension increased by 1.3% ("CPI") this month and TWO THIRDS went directly in tax.

In the United States the operators own the track and pay for their own improvements. Why can't they at least contribute here? The same companies are taking advantage of road improvements that provide something directly for me so at least I can see my tax being spent. What do I see from track improvements aimed at improving the profitability of a small group of wealthy men running near monopolies in the transport business?

M636C
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
They are and they can but there aren't enough of them running the sort of GTK that would make a real world difference .
East coast rail interstates don't have anything like the capacity the road routes do and pass priority takes a not insignificant part of the available capacity .
If interstate roads had single lane bi directional roads with passing lanes there would be parity etc etc .
If busses had absolute priority and nothing else was allowed to pass or run ahead etc etc .

Maybe the question you should ask M is why should so much of everyone's taxes go towards improving the plights of road freight operators .
Part of the answer is that we need land transport to survive because there aren't government services road or rail to provide it .
Ultimately I believe it's in the interests of our economy and consumer pricing to have efficient cost effective land transport but the superior mode can't do it on stone age infrastructure .

Now people seem to think rail freight can be competitive but lets examine the current situation .
Road has supposedly about 90% of the east coast intercapital land freight so to be competitive a rail operator has to be able to provide a better service to get the freight forwarders business . Now if we make the assumption that rail operators have efficient rail terminals and process the wagon rakes quickly and efficiently the rest is up to what happens outside the terminals .
A road operators truck drives out onto the streets and runs for as long as it takes to reach the cargos destination . There is no curfew or car bus priority and road vehicles have every right to access any road route open to the public - with some weigh restrictions on secondary roads . ALL normal road vehicles have equal rights to take up their place pretty much whenever they feel like it .

So interstate trucks have access to modern fairly direct roads and efficiencies are pretty much a given . There is more than enough capacity on most interstate roads and lighter trucks usually sail past slower ones .
Efficient operators are rewarded by high revenue earning freight because the available infrastructure allows them to reliably run tight schedules to keep their customers happy .

For a rail operator to improve their earning capacity they have to attempt to run an efficient cost effective timely reliable service .
To compete with the other mode they have to improve reliability timeliness and offer a competitive price .
Because the operators don't own the infrastructure they can't run whenever they feel like it as per the US etc . Here you pay for a path but nothing is guaranteed because the access provider on a whim can use that path for other services such as late pass trains . In other words all care taken but we don't have a gun to our heads forcing us to give what we get paid for .
Rail cannot break into the high revenue earning freight in the east because the infrastructure even if it was devoid of all other trains is far longer and slower than the road routes so forget being timely .
Rail services cannot be reliable even if they present on time because someone else is controlling access to the rail route and freight trains get low priority .
Pricing is subjective because if you can't be equal to road on journey times and reliability isn't something you have much say in what chance have you got to charge a premium price for the service you are attempting to offer ?
The reality is that east coast rail ends up with the overflow or crumbs basically that road isn't particularly interested in because there is better money to be made with higher priority freight .
So stuck with low value revenue rail can only cut pricing so far and beyond a point the services are not economic to run .

I want you people to tell me how a rail freight operator can attract higher revenue earning freight and run better faster more reliable rail freight services so they can earn enough money to pay for better infrastructure . The short answer is that it's physically impossible to do significantly better without higher priority and more direct routes than we have today .
On the road everybody is equal - pays rego insurance and gets equal opportunity to rum wherever 24/7/365 . Rail pays same thing and isn't equal and can't run whenever and wherever the operators like .
The routes are indirect and dotted with tight radius slow bends - and the sub base is sub standard and full of mud holes and speed restrictions .
At the end of the day a rail operator can have the best locomotives rolling stock etc etc but often it doesn't make any significant difference . A road operator wanting high performance buys new powerful prime movers and sails up the hills on consistent 100 km/h plus freeways and achieves quick journeys . A rail operator can overpower its trains to climb the grades quickly but it achieves SFA when the curve speeds are 50-70 km/h and back to back curves are the norm for significant sections of the entire corridor .

History . Many moons ago rail freight operations were in state government hands and in certain circumstances some superfreighters were given a very high priority which is a large part of why they ran a lot faster and more reliably than they do now .
Privatisation has seen "high priority" freight services given less priority than they've ever had and the situation is getting worse not better . The infrastructure effectively isn't as good as it was in years gone by so the services crawl along with no hope of operating more reliably , more timely so what hope do they have of earning good money .
If you don't earn good money you can't pay good money to make the infrastructure reliable let alone improved or straighter .

Inevitably the freight forwarders favour road transport because rail infrastructure providers don't deliver , and the rail operators can't improve the situation because priority and effective corridors to run on don't exist .
The $64 question is do people have any idea what the transport component of their consumer goods are . Had more of their taxes gone into rail infrastructure than some of the useless ideological failures some pollies have we might have more competitive rail services that push all mode providers to set more competitive pricing . To have competition in the market place competing modes have to be competitive against each otherwise the best mode has little reason not to charge increasingly higher prices . The only thing saving us from that ATM is competition between road freight operators .
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
The latest speed restrictions from Wodonga to Melbourne on the NE, both lines apparently...as of 14/8/2014...

Wodonga to Chiltern - 100 KPH

Chiltern to Springhurst - 115 KPH

Springhurst to Wangaratta - 100 KPH

Wangaratta to Benalla - 115 KPH

Benalla to Violet Town - 100 KPH

Violet Town to Euroa - 80 KPH

Euroa to Avenel - 115 KPH

Avenel to Broadmeadows - 100 KPH

Before we all start thinking this is not TOO bad, please remember the track is meant to be operating at 130 KPH AND within the sections mentioned there are further spot speed restrictions for areas of bad mud-holes which reduces operating speeds even further..

Mike.

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