Who has access to these lines

 
  sulzer Junior Train Controller

Location: QLD
hi all
throughout Queensland there are a number of disused railway corridors and tracks that are either closed or all pulled up, but instead of pulling these lines up do heritage operators or private operators have access to them and if the line was about to be pulled up would there be a fee to pay and if reconstructing will a fee need to be payed to original land holder

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  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

At a commercial level, these lines wouldn't be getting pulled up if commercial demand and viability remained. Freight lines get pulled up when they can't make money.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
It also depends on what is meant by "access" to closed lines.
Lines are closed usually because as Sulla1 has indicated, they arnt commercially viable to operate.
For a heritage operator to gain access to a closed line , the heritage operator would have to foot the entire bill
for re opening the line, including any maintenance costs involved.
This almost always prevents and trains from being run,because of the expense involved.
  Johnmc Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland
There are a whole bunch of heritage operators who are "Accredited railways" in Queensland

http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Rail-safety/Accredited-railways.aspx

But being accredited doesn't automaticaly grant you access to a line. Operators need to arrange access with the line owner, and it's not a short process. As MD said, if a line has been closed, then the full cost of getting a line back up to standard can be enormous.

Just about every heritage operator with their own line (Beaudesert Rail, ARHS, MVHR, Mount Morgan, Ravenshoe, Atherton, and probably others) will testify as to just how *expensive* it is to maintain a railway.


edit: typo.
  locojoe67 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Gen X purgatory/urban Joh-land
It takes more than a weedkiller train to render a disused line available.

Disused corridors have usually lost their passenger accreditation, had their speed limits lowered and may have their axle tonnage limits dropped

By the time the line becomes devoid of traffic, track condition will often be a real barrier to restarting operations. Things like one in four sleeper replacement might be ok for low speed, seasonal freight traffic, but may not meet the standards for heritage passenger operation.

I'll be interested to see how the Monto line group goes.
  locojoe67 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Gen X purgatory/urban Joh-land
I meant the Gayndah group.

Track maintenance is killing viability. Operating full scale railways has become next to impossible without government subsidy. I think the logical response for any groups looking to operate on private track is to minimise axle load. For example, they could go like pemberton tramway, or do section cars with custom trailers. Or else go extra narrow gauge, two foot or two foot six.

I wasnt aware of cmrs track issues, but am unsurprised by them. Thats a shame. If they manage to resume, I can see them contracting services to their intermediate station at Bunyan and abandoning the section to Chakola. Much like the valley rattlers issues with receiving a grant for trackwork that takes them about halfway of their former 40km line, heritage groups will need to refocus on shorter runs and less track if they are to maintain viability with limited resources.

Its not ideal, of course, but I just dont see any other better alternatives.
  Johnmc Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland
you probably should clarify your post- Beaudesert Rail collapsed in a screaming financial heap years ago and were wound up; ARHS are active out at Rosewood; MVHR are confined to their yard run; Mount Morgan are not accredited to move anything; Ravenshoe are still struggling to get their accreditation back; Atherton collapsed and was replaced by a small group running a trike at Herberton station. Pioneer at Ipswich are alive and well. and Gayndah have only just started, they do have some line, but will throw a Christmas party first.
OldSteamer

Not really much to clarify: I'll stand by the bulk of my post, which was - in essence - "Track maintenance is expensive."  That was all I focused on, and the status of individual groups wasn't relevant to my point. I singled out the groups where I knew that track maintenance had become an issue.

Beaudesert Rail:  QR performed trackwork and I remember hearing about the cost, and thinking it was incredibly expensive (i forget the source).  Maybe they were gouging, maybe not.  That wasn't the point, rather that trackwork was expensive.

Rosewood:  Alive and well on the Kunkala-Cabanda section, but they haven't run from Perry's Nob to Rosewood for quite some time (bridge condition, i believe).  I don't know the reason, but it would be reasonable to assume that there wasn't enough money in the kitty to pay for repairs.

Mount Morgan:  This one I may concede, my info was from a report i saw posted (it may have been QRIG, not sure).  When Mount Morgan was running, they had track all the way to the remains of the Dee River bridge.  According to the report, most of that is now unavailable, even if they had accreditation.

Atherton-Ravenshoe:  Back when RAILCO formed, the grand plan was to replace the road bridge at Wondecla to enable runs along the entire line.  At the time, I believe the cost would have been about $500,000, no doubt it would be much MUCH more nowadays. Obviously, RAILCO and it's successors don't have that sort of cash about.

I didn't mention Gayndah, because the group is still forming.  (And I genuinely wish them all the luck in the world - from the impression that I've got, they are making sure that all their groundwork is being done right the first time.)

And I didn't mention QPSR, for the simple fact that they were doing 3rd party operations back before it was cool.  The Swanbank loop is maintained by QR or Aurizon (not sure who got the branch after the breakup).  

I'm always open to correction on the details regarding the above - for the sake of correctness, which is important - but it still doesn't change my point - "Track Maintenance is expensive".

The impression I got from Sulzer's original post was that he hadn't put thought into just how much it costs to keep a railway operational.  I'm not being critical in the least - people don't visit tourist/preservation railways to look at points or sleepers.  And of course, groups are going to focus on what gets posteriors on seats - rollingstock.  But track doesn't maintain itself.  It costs money to run trains, it costs money when you *don't* run trains.

Clarification enough as to what I was driving at?
  craigd Deputy Commissioner

Location: A Thinktank near you
It's not just the cost of repairing/maintaining the infrastructure either. There are ongoing costs and compliance requirements with insurance, accreditation, etc. that have to be met. Even a heritage rail organisation has to operate semi-commercially to become an accredited rail operator in it's own right, regardless of whether it's set up as a for-profit or not-for-profit structure.

Craig.

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