Freight through Bathurst

 
  Travelling Hooker Locomotive Fireman

Location: Follows the weather up and down the coast
When I was a kid I use to live in Bathurst and there was a lot of freight traffic through the town.

I'm vaguely aware now that the line between Lithgow and Bathurst has been reduced from double to single track and that a lot of the western freight traffic is now being routed through Cootamundra and Parkes.

Is there any significant freight traffic moving through Bathurst these days ?

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  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
The line is single track from Bathurst to Kelso and Tarana to Wallerawang.

Plenty of freight passes through Bathurst, mostly intermodal, steel and ore concentrate. Pacific National, Qube Logistics and SSR all transport freight between western NSW and Sydney and/or Port Kembla.
  waynes Junior Train Controller

Location: Victoria
The line is single track from Bathurst to Kelso and Tarana to Wallerawang.
Raichase



Has this always been the case or were these sections singled at some point in the past?
  moonetau Junior Train Controller

Has this always been the case or were these sections singled at some point in the past?
waynes

Tarana to Wang was reduced to single line in the early 1990's IIRC (or thereabouts)

Just announced: "PF Olsen Australia, the nation’s leading independent provider of forest management services, has engaged Asciano Limited subsidiaries Pacific National and C3 to handle and haul the containerised timber from Bathurst to Port Botany in NSW."
http://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/2449979/jobs-will-flow-as-timber-brings-life-to-rail-terminal/
  waynes Junior Train Controller

Location: Victoria
Tarana to Wang was reduced to single line in the early 1990's IIRC (or thereabouts)

moonetau


Can you comment on the reasoning behind this change and has it had an impact on service availability or reliability?
  moonetau Junior Train Controller

Can you comment on the reasoning behind this change and has it had an impact on service availability or reliability?
waynes

Just to save on maintenance.
There is not that much traffic.
Also a near miss about 5 years ago which could have a really bad accident: XPT and Indian Pacific near Tarana.
http://www.atsb.gov.au/media/1288595/ro2009002.pdf
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Just to save on maintenance.
There is not that much traffic.
Also a near miss about 5 years ago which could have a really bad accident: XPT and Indian Pacific near Tarana.
moonetau

I'm not sure what the near miss has to do with this topic?
  moonetau Junior Train Controller

I'm not sure what the near miss has to do with this topic?
Raichase

The Indian Pacific was on the single track.
The incident could not have occurred if double track had been maintained.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
In the early 90s the worn and out dated signalling arrangements were replaced by remote control and colour light signalling .
All signal boxes were closed between Lithgow and Orange from memory the last being Bathurst and then Orange .
National Rail Management decided to send most Adelaide and Perth traffic via Cootamundra and Parkes though a few AS/SA services did run initially .
With traffic levels falling SRA decided to "simplify" and "economise" on the western infrastructure by singling the above mentioned sections including Gresham to Newbridge .
I believe they usually improved whichever was the better line (up or down) and removed the opposite side once the single main was operational . West of Rydal it changes from one to the other slewed through the middle of the once double line formation .

In hindsight singling the lines was a bad move particularly between Wang and Tarana , it's a lengthy not particularly fast section with no crossing facilities and no follow on movements allowed .
The flip side was that SRA halved the length of line to maintain and closed three manned signal boxes . Many people said they could have just walked away from the then redundant rails and sleepers because it's easier to repair and reinstate existing infrastructure if needed in future .
The story I got was they reclaimed the unused rails to reuse elsewhere and I'd say the chance of NSW Trains/JH/ARTC ever recreating the double line sections is very remote - based on cost alone .

This is a problem you get from building a pretty railway and forsaking the reason it's there for in the first place - the efficient running of trains . The Governments care factors appears to be based on the voting publics perception of railways and the vast majority don't know or care how stone aged the alignments are and how poor the capacity limits is .
To be truthfull the main highway was shipfull between Lithgow and Bathurst in the early 1970s and try and imagine it today with single bi directional lanes in places .

Anyhow that aside it is 630 Km from Sydney Yard to Goobang  via Coota and about 450 via Lithgow . On one hand you have less Sydney trains via SSFL (for freighters) and 1:40 grades - but it's 180 km longer and elec pass trains out to Lithgow .
Going west is faster time wise but the average speed is lower and - anything powered for the steeper 1:33 grades is overpowered beyond but often the tracks lower speed doesn't make it a huge advantage .
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The Indian Pacific was on the single track.
The incident could not have occurred if double track had been maintained.
moonetau


Do you have any references to this accident.  I would like to read more about it.

Regards
Brian
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
The Indian Pacific was on the single track.
The incident could not have occurred if double track had been maintained.
moonetau

You're right, but it could also be said that the incident would not have occurred if the proper procedures were followed. Facing movements happen on a daily basis nation wide on single track lines, in which trains cross each other at loops. Blaming the infrastructure for this one incident shows a very poor grasp of how single line sections manage to work nation wide.
  Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding
Do you have any references to this accident.  I would like to read more about it.

Regards
Brian
"bevans"


The link to the ATSB report was posted above.
  Bevan Wall Deputy Commissioner

When I was a kid I use to live in Bathurst and there was a lot of freight traffic through the town.

I'm vaguely aware now that the line between Lithgow and Bathurst has been reduced from double to single track and that a lot of the western freight traffic is now being routed through Cootamundra and Parkes.

Is there any significant freight traffic moving through Bathurst these days ?
Travelling Hooker

This is typical of what SSR is running out to Kelso at the moment. Recorded last Thursday in almost cyclonic winds.
BW



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTN1u6bTB9g
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Would Bathurst see any coal trains or is the town too far west for coal ?
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Would Bathurst see any coal trains
freightgate

No.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
Found this from back in the day.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hcMbNJuka0
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Coal and the west only really ties in via the cross country line out of Wang , the morons at Mudgee prevented it being useful beyond Kandos .
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
What coal would they want to run through Mudgee anyway and is the perway up to it?
  Rodo Chief Commissioner

Location: Southern Riverina
I believe  that the line via Mudgee is laid with 90lb rail. Coal is easily transported to Newcastle without a serious climb over the range.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
A bit of stuffing around at Gulgong to get coal off the west onto the Ulan line, they should build a south fork rather than send it all the way to Port Kembla, who cares about a few coalies at Mudgee, its way way to get the line back.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
A while back there was talk of running a small number of coal trains from Ulan to Wang via Mudgee but the blouses  stamped the foot about noise through "their" town . Swhat you get when you close a rail line and new world trendies move in .
They probably could have had a pass train to Sydney like Bathurst gets but no - the needs of the wineos outweighs everyone else ...
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
The line to Mudgee from Wallerawang is in good condition , but the line from Mudgee to Gulgong is not.
Maximum speed is 35 kmh, and only locos of 19T (80s , X , Gms etc) axle load or less are allowed.
Hauling coal would be problematic in so far as getting locos for the trains , and the coal wagons would be limited
in how full they could be.
Having no triangle at Gulgong also limits the train lengths.
  johnboy Chief Commissioner

Location: Up the road from Gulgong
Coal via Mudgee goes back to 2002 when Mt Piper and Wallawang was looking at alternative suppliers of coal. At the time, Delta Energy was starting to scratch for suitable coal as it was expected power consumption would go beyond the supply that Springvale and Angus Place could meet the proposed two extra generators to be built at Mt Piper. So Delta designed a coal unloader on Piper's Flat that would capture trains coming from then then operating Airly, Baal Bone and Charbon. However these reserves were heading for overseas and in 2008 the State revealed plans for Cobbara Mine (...which is located in 'Cobbarah' but that's another story) as a "state owned mine for power generation'.

This supported the argument to proceed with Piper's Flat Unloader and was approved by Land & Environment to be built. Gulgong would not need a triangle as the mine is 'down line'.

Our lovely Mid Western Council, or more so the Mayor is very much against the idea of "coal trains rumbling through our quaint town of Mudgee" and council objected to any coal trains, despite presented the alternative of 50+ coal trucks per day!

Also, we have changed how we use electricity and the planned two extra generators at Mt Piper has been suspended so the need for coal Cobbara Mine was also suspended.

As for the track condition, the track from Gulgong to at least Kandos is now unusable. The Council/RMS have placed tar over level crossings and as the track has not actually been touched by anyone it has just weathered away.

Whilst Cobbara Mine was recently approved to go ahead, if it does go ahead it will supply Earring, there is no longer any active plans for Delta's coal unloader.

Back to the subject, it is good news for timber out of Bathurst. As many know, CSR did look at this 10+ years ago out of Oberon but it was not financial then even though they export a lot of timber products.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
That collision between the empty East bound Indian Pacific and a down Goods train happened near Locksley.
This surprised me as the track between Lithgow and Bathurst had been upgraded with welded rail, new sleepers (not steel or concrete) and ballast before the opening of the Standard Gauge to Perth so the clearance between the running lines should have been correct but obviously at that location it wasnt.
I think one of the Attendants got some cuts and bruises as a result of the impact.

As for running timber trains out of Oberon, unless they completely rebuild the line along a different alignment, running the proposed 1800 tonne loads down the grade between Hazelgrove and Carlwood isnt possible.
The posted load for the line between Tarana and Oberon with a 49 Class engine is 250 tonnes both ways.
A single 45 class is 450 tonnes each way.
This tonnage limit is partly due to the 80lb rail, dirt ballast, the 10 chain curves near Tarana and the severe grade near Oberon.
A couple of kilometres from Oberon was a Marker where the train stopped and the handbrakes on all vehicles was applied to help hold the trains speed down on the descent.
Had this been a Main line, this section was claimed to be the steepest in NSW and the 16 mile journey took 90 minutes each way.
  johnboy Chief Commissioner

Location: Up the road from Gulgong
As for running timber trains out of Oberon, unless they completely rebuild the line along a different alignment, running the proposed 1800 tonne loads down the grade between Hazelgrove and Carlwood isnt possible.
The posted load for the line between Tarana and Oberon with a 49 Class engine is 250 tonnes both ways.
A single 45 class is 450 tonnes each way.
This tonnage limit is partly due to the 80lb rail, dirt ballast, the 10 chain curves near Tarana and the severe grade near Oberon.
A couple of kilometres from Oberon was a Marker where the train stopped and the handbrakes on all vehicles was applied to help hold the trains speed down on the descent.
Had this been a Main line, this section was claimed to be the steepest in NSW and the 16 mile journey took 90 minutes each way.
gordon_s1942

It was all worked out by Boral (I thought it was CSR), a full plan is on the internet written in the 1990s. They would have been small trains to Tarana which is where they would have formed the full train and take the load to Port Of Melbourne which at the time was Boral's export port. The cost of preparing the line was high but what killed it was it was much cheaper and faster to use road transport, which is really the story of why so much stuff does go by road.

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