Inland railway Melbourne - Brisbane

 
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Good luck with that one . Who would stump up the cash to build a railway that can't compete with the current road system .
Darwin isn't really comparable given its isolation . The road and services infrastructure is 5000% better between Melbourne and Brisbane along the Newell Hwy making it far easier for road . Tyranny of distance with SFA in between makes Darwin a problem for road .

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  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Good luck with that one . Who would stump up the cash to build a railway that can't compete with the current road system .
Darwin isn't really comparable given its isolation . The road and services infrastructure is 5000% better between Melbourne and Brisbane along the Newell Hwy making it far easier for road . Tyranny of distance with SFA in between makes Darwin a problem for road .
BDA

That's why the commercial market needs to be given the best possible reason to build or not to build...that or we can keep watching the various governments spending hundreds of millions in tax dollars on new reports and studies each election cycle for the next twenty years. Isolated or not, the Darwin line is covering costs...and there's less track to build and more traffic potential in the Melbourne and Brisbane corridor - including the coal - than there was between Alice Springs and Darwin. If rail operators decide they're not interested in an exclusive franchise then so be it...but it should at least be put on the table to settle the Inland Railway debate once and for all.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Wheres the coal on the Inland line ?
Where are the mines?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Wheres the coal on the Inland line ?
Where are the mines?
"MD"


The Inland Railway runs through the a western end of the Gunnedah Basin (Narrabri) and the eastern end of the Surat Basin (Yelarbon, Millmerran, Pittsworth) with major mines just off line at Boggabri, Millmerran and Acland. The advent of this line may open up opportunities for alternative flows of black thermal coal into or out of Queensland to NSW, QLD or even Victorian power generators and offer Brisbane as an alternative port to Newcastle if capacity issues ever occur again.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Or even Victorian power generators.
Sulla1

What !!!!

Victorian coal fired thermal power stations burn lignite brown coal, they will not run on bituminous black coal, without a total rebuild of the main firing coal pulverising system.

A lot of coal power stations are custom designed to use the type of coal that Is readily available.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

What !!!!

Victorian coal fired thermal power stations burn lignite brown coal, they will not run on bituminous black coal, without a total rebuild of the main firing coal pulverising system.

A lot of coal power stations are custom designed to use the type of coal that Is readily available.
"Nightfire"


You shouldn't assume that Victoria's power generating needs (or any state's) will stay the same in the future. Many of the lignite power stations in the US have started burning a mix lignite and black coal to reduce emissions. That may not happen in the Latrobe...but what may happen instead is that gas prices are about to triple thanks to East Coast exporters, and power generators will soon be forced to start considering new coal fired power stations to make up for increasing electricity demand as gas consumers search for alternatives. In Victoria that may result in pressure to at least investigate higher btu steaming coal from interstate if it can be delivered with more environmental efficiency than burning twice the amount of lignite for the same number of megawatts.

Building an Inland Railway commercially can't be done just on the basis of now...but also on what's next. If construction started tomorrow, the national economy may have already started down a different path when the line opens in three years time.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
You shouldn't assume that Victoria's power generating needs (or any state's) will stay the same in the future. Many of the lignite power stations in the US have started burning a mix lignite and black coal to reduce emissions. That may not happen in the Latrobe...but what may happen instead is that gas prices are about to triple thanks to East Coast exporters, and power generators will soon be forced to start considering new coal fired power stations to make up for increasing electricity demand as gas consumers search for alternatives. In Victoria that may result in pressure to at least investigate higher but steaming coal from interstate if it can be delivered with more environmental efficiency than burning twice the amount of lignite for the same number of megawatts.

Building an Inland Railway commercially can't be done just on the basis of now...but also on what's next. If construction started tomorrow, the national economy may have already started down a different path when the line opens in three years time.
Sulla1

Burning bituminous black coal does have some pollution emissions that lignite brown coal has limited such, as sulphur emissions that can cause acid rain.

I remember truck loads of QLD coal came down to Gippsland to replace Morwell made briquettes (when fire put the factory was out of action) and one coal truck crashed and tipped over about 20 km's short of It's destination.
The clean up was rather poor, so I took the opportunity to grab a few tractor frontend loader buckets of the spilt coal and have a go at burning It In a wood heater with firewood, the emissions were purerite, so much sulphur.
As to Morwell briquettes, they have such a beautiful smell, shame their days of availability are more or less gone now, retail outlets sell compressed sawdust briquettes now.        

If a brand new state of the art bituminous black coal fired power station was to be built In Victoria with coal brought In from NSW or QLD, the station would most likely be positioned near key side at say Port of Hasting and coal would be delivered by ocean going baulk freighter using existing coal export terminals, there not going to rail coal 2000 odd km's !
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Shipping from Newcastle or Brisbane would be a very likely alternative...but with the coal already having a 200-300km rail haul to the nearest port the tonnages and the triple handling of train to ship to conveyor/train - an all rail routing would still come close to stacking up. 1000km bulk rail hauls are quite common in Queensland, even when parallel shipping is available. The telling factor is more likely to be how accessible a new power station might be to a standard gauge connection...and if coal trains have to run through Melbourne's suburbs. Anywhoo, all hypothetical at the moment anyway...
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
If railway lines were built on the basis of what  use they might be at some future date then you could easily justify building
railway lines from anywhere to anywhere else.
Prior to Everard Crompton and his ATEC consortium suggesting that such a line might be built, and indeed even offering to build it , albeit with no money
no one had ever heard of the Inland Line .
It now seems to be one of these projects which is based on , "if we build this line then all sorts of wonderful things will happen, and suddenly millions of tonnes of
freight will magically appear out of nowhere to use the line."
Logic seems to have gone completely out the window.
If people want to build railway lines, then why not build them where an immediate benefit will be gained, and where there is a crying out need for a line to be built.
The obvious candidate is a SG line from Melbourne to the Port of Hastings, which would immediately save all the double handling of the steel trains .
But , theres no enthusiasm at all.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
The issue is that it's really only governments that can finance projects of this magnitude and they need to think that new infrastructure with have a positive effect on our economy .
The thing with rail is that economies of scale can work for it and against it , big scale needs big handling facilities and road has advantages in a just in time way .
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
If railway lines were built on the basis of what use they might be at some future date then you could easily justify building
railway lines from anywhere to anywhere else.
Prior to Everard Crompton and his ATEC consortium suggesting that such a line might be built, and indeed even offering to build it , albeit with no money
no one had ever heard of the Inland Line .
It now seems to be one of these projects which is based on , "if we build this line then all sorts of wonderful things will happen, and suddenly millions of tonnes of
freight will magically appear out of nowhere to use the line."
Logic seems to have gone completely out the window.
If people want to build railway lines, then why not build them where an immediate benefit will be gained, and where there is a crying out need for a line to be built.
The obvious candidate is a SG line from Melbourne to the Port of Hastings, which would immediately save all the double handling of the steel trains .
But , theres no enthusiasm at all.
MD

The Darwin railway line killed off any serious private investment in such a project as the Inland. Reasonable successful in attracting mineral volumes and boxes, but not the hype of this mass of freight bound for SE Asia from the SE corner. Overall even with significant govt hand outs, the line was not financially viable and disposed of by the original investors. Goct involvement would have had to exceed probably 50% of the capital to make it work.

Going to Inland, issue is you have a cash strapped govt. The ARTC has produced a report stating the line is not needed/viable until mid 2020's. Only so much can be done in piece meal approach to slowly get there. Ie progressively rebuild/upgrade the route from Coota to Nth Star over say 5-10 years + at same time resolve the issues in Vic NE SG. Then someone needs to bite the bullet and drop a number of billion on the table to do Nth Star to Toowoomba and Brisbane in one go over 2-3 years. Even the ARTEC with their Mel to Darwin pigs will fly approach never had a proposal to build the line down the range due to the high cost.

There is also no doubt there will not be immediate high volumes of traffic as other areas of the losgitics chain need to adjust and change and install infrastructure again fighting the chicken and the egg syndrome. But just the grain from Moree and SW Qld alone will probably hit a million tonnes or a train a day. The grain trains should be heavier and longer than either state uses now and hence should be cheaper and with more range capacity and overall less rail route km's there should be more on rail than now. However you need alot more than 1 train a day to make it work.

It will also open up the Qld SW grain region to rail competition with operators who can move their equipment further following the season The SW Qld NG network South of Toowoomba will be closed as a result as there will be no traffic. The Qld govt could therefore justify contributing X many hundred million to help fund a new line that will save it millions a year in maintenance for both road and rail. NSW will loose grain freight to Qld, but the off-set is more capacity in Newcastle for black rocks and the grain haulage in Qld will be operators based south of the border.

Unlike the NT line, you won't be able to allow a single owner operator, it will need to be 3rd party accessible otherwise it won't get traffic. To me it just looks messy to get private investment involved, but potentially not impossible.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Isolated or not, the Darwin line is covering costs...and there's less track to build and more traffic potential in the Melbourne and Brisbane corridor - including the coal - than there was between Alice Springs and Darwin.
Sulla1

I think we've been here before (if so sorry for the repetition) - but the current operation of the Darwin line isn't particularly relevant when considering viability.

The line was built with substantial (~40%) direct funding from the various governments, plus ~5% debt and equity funding.  About a third of the lease was existing line, handed over to the lessee for nix.  Finally - the original investors went bust - the current operator bought the entire business for less than half of what the original private investors put in.

Obviously, with hindsight, the original private investors won't be thinking that line was a great idea.  In the context of the inland rail line (which will potentially take volumes and hence revenue away from the existing government owned network) I also don't think government would regard it as an attractive ultimate outcome.

I think it very unlikely that you would be looking at large scale long distance railing (anything over say 500 km) of thermal coal for domestic power generation on the eastern seaboard of Australia in the next couple of decades.  For domestic consumption price per MJ delivered to the burner is important and a long rail haul doesn't help that.  We don't have the same sort of situation as exists in the US with its long domestic coal hauls.  You can also have (perhaps "have to have") a pretty low threshold for coal quality - which means that a heap of otherwise smaller, marginal deposits that wouldn't be looked at for export but that are in an appropriate location (access to demand, grid, water) can be exploited by having a power station plonked down next to them.  Tarong is a Queensland example you might be familiar with - there are many others.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
You shouldn't assume that Victoria's power generating needs (or any state's) will stay the same in the future. Many of the lignite power stations in the US have started burning a mix lignite and black coal to reduce emissions.
Sulla1

You've got it the wrong way round mate. Coal-fired power stations in the US, predominantly in the Midwest and East Coast have been switching over from high-sulphur bituminous coal mined in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and other such 'traditional' coal mining areas to lower sulphur sub-bituminous coal mined out in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. The emissions in question are sulphur dioxide emissions, which are being reduced under an EPA emissions trading scheme in order to reduce acid rain - not CO2.

The Latrobe Valley power stations have no need whatsoever to switch to bituminous coal from NSW or QLD. They are very specifically designed to burn lignite - the boilers are nearly 3x the size of contemporary bituminous coal boilers and they have specialised pre-combustion drying systems to reduce the moisture content of the coal before it is burnt. Think of it like switching your car from running ULP to diesel - it might well work, but you'll wreck the engine and burn it really poorly.

If they wish to reduce emissions, they'll mothball the plants and build gas-fired plants next door - Bass Strait gas and Gippsland coal basin CSG is much closer by and much cleaner-burning.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

You've got it the wrong way round mate. Coal-fired power stations in the US, predominantly in the Midwest and East Coast have been switching over from high-sulphur bituminous coal mined in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and other such 'traditional' coal mining areas to lower sulphur sub-bituminous coal mined out in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. The emissions in question are sulphur dioxide emissions, which are being reduced under an EPA emissions trading scheme in order to reduce acid rain - not CO2.

The Latrobe Valley power stations have no need whatsoever to switch to bituminous coal from NSW or QLD. They are very specifically designed to burn lignite - the boilers are nearly 3x the size of contemporary bituminous coal boilers and they have specialised pre-combustion drying systems to reduce the moisture content of the coal before it is burnt. Think of it like switching your car from running ULP to diesel - it might well work, but you'll wreck the engine and burn it really poorly.

If they wish to reduce emissions, they'll mothball the plants and build gas-fired plants next door - Bass Strait gas and Gippsland coal basin CSG is much closer by and much cleaner-burning.
"LancedDendrite"


No, I don't have it around the wrong way...the high sulphur coal replaced by Powder River was mostly from Indiana and Illinois. The lignite burning power stations that have started blending in Powder River are mostly in Texas and this was to fall in line with new emission standards introduced in 2001. And once the cruch of new east coast gas prices hits this or next year there'll be very few people talking about new gas fired power stations for a while...gas is about to become a dirty word along Australia's east coast.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
No, I don't have it around the wrong way...the high sulphur coal replaced by Powder River was mostly from Indiana and Illinois. The lignite burning power stations that have started blending in Powder River are mostly in Texas and this was to fall in line with new emission standards introduced in 2001. And once the crunch of new east coast gas prices hits this or next year there'll be very few people talking about new gas fired power stations for a while...gas is about to become a dirty word along Australia's east coast.
Sulla1

Yes, some Texan plants may well burn PRB coal instead of lignite. No, a couple of Midwestern plants are directly blending coal from Pennsylvania with PRB coal - St Clair in Michigan is one such plant.

At least 74 units (individual boilers) have been converted to run PRB coal instead of east coast (read: PA and WV bituminous) coals by as early as 1992: http://www.epri.com/abstracts/Pages/ProductAbstract.aspx?ProductId=IE-7119

The east coast gas situation is not going to be as bad as you think. It's a cost problem at worst, not a supply crunch. The current Federal Government is rather gas friendly. There is no supply problem so long as the NSW state government allows its CSG projects to move forward. The Bass Strait gas fields have at least 10-15 years of supply left in it and fracking the Cooper Basin will prolong the SA fields. CSG and fracking are dirty words in some places but those same places seem to forget that the economic alternative to those technologies is in fact burning coal at present, not renewables.


I doubt that Inland Rail will spur any new coal traffic outside of QLD in any case. The business case is based around agricultural and Melbourne-Brisbane intermodal traffic.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Yes, some Texan plants may well burn PRB coal instead of lignite. No, a couple of Midwestern plants are directly blending coal from Pennsylvania with PRB coal - St Clair in Michigan is one such plant.

At least 74 units (individual boilers) have been converted to run PRB coal instead of east coast (read: PA and WV bituminous) coals by as early as 1992: http://www.epri.com/abstracts/Pages/ProductAbstract.aspx?ProductId=IE-7119

The east coast gas situation is not going to be as bad as you think. It's a cost problem at worst, not a supply crunch. The current Federal Government is rather gas friendly. There is no supply problem so long as the NSW state government allows its CSG projects to move forward. The Bass Strait gas fields have at least 10-15 years of supply left in it and fracking the Cooper Basin will prolong the SA fields. CSG and fracking are dirty words in some places but those same places seem to forget that the economic alternative to those technologies is in fact burning coal at present, not renewables.


I doubt that Inland Rail will spur any new coal traffic outside of QLD in any case. The business case is based around agricultural and Melbourne-Brisbane intermodal traffic.
"LancedDendrite"


Texan lignite plants now burning a 70:30 blend of Lignite and Powder River include Big Brown (2 units), Monticello (3 units), Martin Lake (3 units) and Limestone (2 units).  High btu Applachian coal remains the primary coal source for the US north east and south east states, but it's biggest problem is declining resources and increasing mining costs and Powder River has begun making its way into the south east and high sulphur Indiana coal has had a resurgence due to the high cost of Appalachian coal.

You will have to watch this space on gas...Incitec Pivot has struggled to sign up gas suppliers for its fertiliser plants over the last year and one almost new gas fired powerplant has been mothballed with all of Queensland's CSG now committed to export. The pain is likely to spread.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Does anyone really believe 'the market' will rise to this 'opportunity' anytime soon?
leveraging the available guvmnt funding? Turning $300m into $5b Confused

"Inland Rail will provide numerous opportunities for those interested in participating in either the financing or delivery of the inland railway. An early task of the project group will be to identify ways of leveraging the available Australian Government funding to support other financing avenues.
Opportunities for financing and procurement will be communicated through an open approach to market."

http://www.inlandrail.artc.com.au
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Latest press release from ARTC, it would seem that the environmental impact statement is due out in the first half of 2015. Besides that, the usual back slapping and high praise the government of the day heaps on itself

http://www.artc.com.au/Article/Detail.aspx?p=6&np=4&id=442
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Wonder how much funding the State Govts are going to put in?
Since its such a fantastic project.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Wonder how much funding the State Govts are going to put in?
Since its such a fantastic project.
MD

Hope you all watched UTOPIA on the ABC. It was spot on with the amount of real planning that went into some major projects of the past such as Ord River. Bit like the Inland Railway and the VFT. All nonviable.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
Hope you all watched UTOPIA on the ABC. It was spot on with the amount of real planning that went into some major projects of the past such as Ord River. Bit like the Inland Railway and the VFT. All nonviable.
nswtrains

Actually, Inland Rail was mentioned in the Very Fast Train episode... in a positive light Surprised
It'll need a government subsidy because it's certainly not going to get the only other concession that usually allows privately-funded railways to turn a profit... right-of-first-refusal on neighbouring properties at a value determined as if the railway was not built.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Route options.

http://www.artc.com.au/library/IRAS_WP2%20Review%20of%20Route%20Options.pdf
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Route options.

http://www.artc.com.au/library/IRAS_WP2%20Review%20of%20Route%20Options.pdf
cootanee


Study Stage 2
http://www.artc.com.au/library/IRAS_Appendix_D.pdf
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
According to Track & Signal magazine (Jan 2015) the lighter the axleload the faster the permitted speed.

However the table on page 48 appears to contain a typo:

21T ... 115km/h
25T ... 80km/h (sic)
30T ... 80km/h (sic)

What are the correct speeds?

All new track and structures will be 30T axleloads.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

According to Track & Signal magazine (Jan 2015) the lighter the axleload the faster the permitted speed.

However the table on page 48 appears to contain a typo:

21T ... 115km/h
25T ... 80km/h (sic)
30T ... 80km/h (sic)

What are the correct speeds?

All new track and structures will be 30T axleloads.
awsgc24
Nationals are having a talkfest in Wodonga  05/02/15 .  They are to receive an update from John Anderson on progress to date on Inland Railway .  That should take about 5 minutes !!!!   No serious money from Feds yet for this Nation building project, just endless spin .

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