Heavyweights back new east coast railway proposal

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 17 Mar 2015 16:41
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
'cuse me.


[edit] All tlk re passenger trains on the NTR can branch off here:

NTR and passenger trains
http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11380031-0-asc-s0.htm
[/edit]


Thankyou.

( corrected the link)

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  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
I notice that in the US the big operators run bulk fertiliser cars to grain-growing regions as well as the usual bulk grain trains. Is there any scope for that kind of operation in Australia, either as part of a mixed goods or as a unit train if Inland Rail gets up in any form? I understand that Bunge is doing a similar operation with trucks from their terminal at Bunbury in WA - grain to the terminal and fertiliser out of it, back to the growers/bulk handlers.
"LancedDendrite"


Once upon a time Fertiliser was primarily railed into rural areas.
However around 30 years ago a few companies began offering "High Analysis" fertilizer products.
What this meant was they did soil analysis at the farm, then offered specialised fertilizer mixes specific to the individual farm, in fact specific to individual paddocks.
This meant farms had specific loads and the old style "one product suits all" fertilier (which suited rail) died away rapidly. So because each farmer had a different mix, it was no longer viable to rail bulk fertiliser.
This is were using trucks became viable, Send grain to the main city silo complex via truck, then truck returns to farm with a load of site specific fertiliser.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
Thanks for the insight! So there's probably no hope for bulk fertiliser on the Inland Rail, even if they tried bulk-to-terminal and blending it closer to the site?

Are there any other commodities other than grain, cotton, coal and MEL-BNE boxes that could go via Inland Rail/NTR? I guess that fuel is gone and probably won't come back without a subsidy or big regulatory changes.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
'cuse me.





Thankyou.
dthead

Your link doesn't work...
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Your link doesn't work...
Graham4405

Corrected now, Railpage was playing up when I were doing it this afternoon.  Should be goog to go.

Regards,
DavidHead
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Thanks for the insight! So there's probably no hope for bulk fertiliser on the Inland Rail, even if they tried bulk-to-terminal and blending it closer to the site?

Are there any other commodities other than grain, cotton, coal and MEL-BNE boxes that could go via Inland Rail/NTR? I guess that fuel is gone and probably won't come back without a subsidy or big regulatory changes.
LancedDendrite

Purely my guess and open to correction
- Grain to Brisbane will be popular as the line will pick effectively get 100% of all the NG SW Qld grain lines and I think container traffic ( I think most is cotton), some of both gets pushed onto road due to capacity constraints.
- Coal from Surat Basin
- Grain/cotton from Moree, Nth Star districts to Brisbane

Maybe, just maybe ammonia from Brisbane to cotton fields on Qld SW and NSW NW

Brisbane to Adel and Perth box traffic will probably be reorganised to run direct from Brisbane via Parkes.

On the current traffic volumes about 2-3 container trains a day may run B-M via Parkes.

There is also a large amount of truck traffic that runs from CQ and Nth Qld via inland route and Newell hwy to Mel and vice versa. Whether this will tempt some to switch remains to be seen. But when I was shipping out of Gladstone there was some trucks that ran 24hr depo to depo to Mel.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Re the fertiliser there is a pretty large imbalance between what is needed and what is produced as grain.  It depends wildly on where you are, but Im not far off being wrong to say that wheat will yield around 3.0 tonnes/hectare.  The fertiliser used to grow this is in the area of 100kg/ha, sometimes more but 150kg/ha would be around the upper limit.  The amount of input needed to grow 3000kg is therefore 5% of the weight, and when you consider that fertiliser is far denser than grain, the volume is going to be less.  So not all that much fertiliser to move compared to the grain it helps grow.  

One possibility I see is perhaps a single engine and a small rake of wagons moving specialty grain around might want to backload from the ports (probably operated by a smaller operator too id guess). But if they could, is there the loading facility at port to do it?

What might be interesting to see though is if some sub-terminal operation might occur, where the fertiliser is unloaded in Melbourne or Brisbane and then trained to a place like Wagga/Parkes/Narrabri/Moree etc for more localised distribution.  Again though, are there the facilities to bulk unload grain up country?  Perhaps GrainCorp could use some of the sub terminals to do it but they are older facilities and not sure how they would handle fertiliser.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

One possibility I see is perhaps a single engine and a small rake of wagons moving specialty grain around might want to backload from the ports (probably operated by a smaller operator too id guess). But if they could, is there the loading facility at port to do it?
jamesbushell.au
A flatcar or two added onto the consist of grain hoppers would probably do the trick for this sort of backhaul operation. Use smaller containers that could be unloaded by a standard forklift to ease the burden of all the extra handling. Simples.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
A flatcar or two added onto the consist of grain hoppers would probably do the trick for this sort of backhaul operation. Use smaller containers that could be unloaded by a standard forklift to ease the burden of all the extra handling. Simples.
justapassenger
Wouldn't work In this day and age, to much stiffing around for any cost to be saved !

Regular baulk shipments of a curtain type of fertiliser directly from a rail loader at the port to a fertiliser depot/s In the growing areas, may be cost effective, but there would need to be large volumes to justify train loads.

If the fertiliser companies ran their own trains (rolling stock) from their port depot to their Inland depot, that could open up many opportunities ? (as the service would be door to door)
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Wouldn't work In this day and age, to much stiffing around for any cost to be saved !
Nightfire

I agree. None of the rail operators here apart from SCT have any staff left who are capable of putting in a little effort to win some business, these days it's all about dividends for shareholders.

Regular baulk shipments of a curtain type of fertiliser directly from a rail loader at the port to a fertiliser depot/s In the growing areas, may be cost effective, but there would need to be large volumes to justify train loads.

If the fertiliser companies ran their own trains (rolling stock) from their port depot to their Inland depot, that could open up many opportunities ? (as the service would be door to door)
Nightfire

Won't work. Shifting the fertiliser plants closer to some farms will shift them further away from others and make near enough to no difference to the total tonne-kilometres of road haulage, and somebody would have to pay for the fertiliser plant to be relocated.
  locojoe67 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Gen X purgatory/urban Joh-land
Railpage was playing up ... Should be goog to go....

I see irony everywhere.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
The fertiliser supply chain is far more bulk than the above posts indicate.  A lot of it is actually manufactured overseas as the byproducts of other industrial processes and then imported bulk.  Then it is trucked up country by road and wherever possible, direct to the farmer if they can (but at least to a local depot). The truckers 'back load' grain to the port where they can.  The days of bagged fertiliser being the main product are well and truly over (and I can say thankfully from personal experience!).
  Draffa Chief Commissioner

Getting back to the issue of wether to bypass Toowoomba or not, I can only suggest that Toowoomba will (probably) be there long after coal traffic has dwindled.  Commuter PAX heading to/from Brisbane are not likely to want to go via Warwick, as they are time-sensitive.

Unfortunately for rail, we're not the US, which can afford a dozen or more 'class 1' range crossings because of the population spread.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I don't know that that is an issue.  The SG will not be far from Toowoomba, and the NG line will stay where it is.  If PAX services are envisaged, it would be on the NG, and if ever it is standardised, im sure that the small amount from where it branches from the SG Inland Rail Freight line up into Toowoomba wouldn't be a problem.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Getting back to the issue of wether to bypass Toowoomba or not, I can only suggest that Toowoomba will (probably) be there long after coal traffic has dwindled.  Commuter PAX heading to/from Brisbane are not likely to want to go via Warwick, as they are time-sensitive.

Unfortunately for rail, we're not the US, which can afford a dozen or more 'class 1' range crossings because of the population spread.
Draffa

I can't see the Toowoomba Range changing any time soon - QR's current $55-million upgrade of the narrow gauge crossing suggests the Queensland Government doesn't think so either. But having said that, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that 16.09-million people now live between Melbourne and Brisbane - and this is growing by more than 1-million every five years - so the age old argument of the great wide open empty land that is Australia won't hold up for much longer on the East Coast.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Between 1963 and 68, bulk Super was railed mostly in 'S' trucks, some had a tallow wood floor which was 'tight' and smooth and those that didnt, they laid a brown paper with a tar between 2 sheets to prevent spillage.
As the 'Super' was unloaded using a tractor with a 'Grab' attachment, they laid 1 X 1 inch batons on top of the paper to stop it being torn up by the grab.
To remove every last bit of 'Super' they would sweep the floor clean, pull up the batons we called 'Supersticks' which were then bundled up and returned for reuse.
These 'sticks' were highly coveted as Garden stakes but they had to be returned for reuse.
The brown paper was simply torn up and burnt or otherwise disposed off.

Almost overnight it seemed they stopped railing super and the story I heard was that it was because a 'Bounty' that had been paid to the Farmers to 'Dust' their crops had been stopped and that was the end of that.

Rail back then still had the monoply on Freight movements throughout the State which is why it had to go to the nearest railhead first before going by road to its destination.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Getting back to the issue of wether to bypass Toowoomba or not, I can only suggest that Toowoomba will (probably) be there long after coal traffic has dwindled.  Commuter PAX heading to/from Brisbane are not likely to want to go via Warwick, as they are time-sensitive.

Unfortunately for rail, we're not the US, which can afford a dozen or more 'class 1' range crossings because of the population spread.

I can't see the Toowoomba Range changing any time soon - QR's current $55-million upgrade of the narrow gauge crossing suggests the Queensland Government doesn't think so either. But having said that, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that 16.09-million people now live between Melbourne and Brisbane - and this is growing by more than 1-million every five years - so the age old argument of the great wide open empty land that is Australia won't hold up for much longer on the East Coast.
Sulla1
My thoughts
Inland isn't due for nearly a decade so they have to do something and $55m is not alot of money compared what is spent on rail infrastructure. Its a necessary upgrade to deal with the fact that the locos and wagons are nearing end of life and the hand me down practice from CQ that kept the SW going for all these decades has stopped / can longer supply stock that fits in the tunnels.

Inland will come by mid 2020's, the line will go via Toowoomba area, but not through Toowoomba, those days of operating trains through regional cities are dying fast, especially when approaching 1800m and running dozen or so times a day. Any branch to head west to the current of future coal mines will again go around Toowoomba suburban foot print. Likewise any container yards built for rail at Toowoomba will be out next to the main line where 1800m trains can be loaded in one piece.

Should commuter rail ever come to reality, I'd not confident they will build a NG line, I tend to think the NG traffic will be long gone by then and there is a large cost to add a 3rd rail up the range, but stranger things have happened. The current line will not be used for same reasons it is not used now.

Regardless of SG or NG, the new commuter station will unlikely be where it is now as the line will be to the south and the current twisted approach is from the nth. Perhaps it could use the current southern alignment through suburbia to Warwick from Towoomba CBD, but it won't get to the current Toowooba station, too many LX which will be closed when the last NG train from the SW line operates after the SG opens.

My guess the new station will be on the edge of suburbia on the main, or on a branch penetrating no further in than Harristown (station) yard as marked in google. Other issue is the govt will want to promote the railway as being "fast from station to station" and a slow approach into the CBD will be add 10min to the trip time.

If the SG runs via the nth of the town, things may change but the station is still only reached by numerous of LX's. The coal trains could be removed from the 5km loop via the city centre now if they just built a 750m long-by pass.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Interestingly there's a major sleeper and trackbed strengthening project just starting on the Western Line too. New sleepers are going all the way to Quilpie - supposedly for the new cattle contracts, which will be receiving new rollingstock and heavier locos. 106-tonne hoppers are expected to be moving to the Western Line "soon" as well (there's not much else available anyway)...so Queensland's "forgotten" mainline is finally moving towards the 21st century.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
My thoughts
Inland isn't due for nearly a decade so they have to do something and $55m is not alot of money compared what is spent on rail infrastructure. Its a necessary upgrade to deal with the fact that the locos and wagons are nearing end of life and the hand me down practice from CQ that kept the SW going for all these decades has stopped / can longer supply stock that fits in the tunnels.
RTT_Rules
Here is a possibly more left of centre idea, what about a conversion to SG?  If the rolling stock is the issue, then can the SG fleet out there do the job?.  They could easily pop over the border or up from Vic.  Given inland rail will be SG, the conversion of the Western line to SG (incl possibly to Warwick, though I've got no idea of the freight demand there) might yield a lot of benefit...
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Converting narrow gauge to standard gauge is expensive. A one hundred percent replacement of sleepers, widening roadbeds and bridges and dealing with curvature too sharp and tunnels too narrow for conventional standard gauge rollingstock. And all this on a line that will have to carry thirty trains a day while the conversion is in progress. Basically a standard gauge conversion will take a lot of cash and will need a financial commitment from all vested interests. The current "low cost" narrow gauge upgrade is only happening because it was cheap for the State Government...a more elaborate and costly upgrade to standard gauge could never have been funded in the current political and economic climate.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
My thoughts
Inland isn't due for nearly a decade so they have to do something and $55m is not alot of money compared what is spent on rail infrastructure. Its a necessary upgrade to deal with the fact that the locos and wagons are nearing end of life and the hand me down practice from CQ that kept the SW going for all these decades has stopped / can longer supply stock that fits in the tunnels.
Here is a possibly more left of centre idea, what about a conversion to SG?  If the rolling stock is the issue, then can the SG fleet out there do the job?.  They could easily pop over the border or up from Vic.  Given inland rail will be SG, the conversion of the Western line to SG (incl possibly to Warwick, though I've got no idea of the freight demand there) might yield a lot of benefit...
jamesbushell.au

As what Sulla said, and just pointing out that the current NG route is a goat track, actually goats would take a faster route. You need a by=pass from Grandchestor to Toowoomba for all the tunnels and curvy track. it takes 4hr for the only passenger train to go 180km to Toowoomba. it gets to the last suburban station about 60-80km out in roughly 1hr.


The route for the SW line via Warwick considering there is no customer base in that corner anymore is also a time waster, but otherwise much of the proposed Inland from Toowooba and upgarded NG to SG on western main will be on or next to existing alignment me thinks.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Interestingly there's a major sleeper and trackbed strengthening project just starting on the Western Line too. New sleepers are going all the way to Quilpie - supposedly for the new cattle contracts, which will be receiving new rollingstock and heavier locos. 106-tonne hoppers are expected to be moving to the Western Line "soon" as well (there's not much else available anyway)...so Queensland's "forgotten" mainline is finally moving towards the 21st century.
Sulla1

I suspect its really too little too late and just a sustaining project for another 10 years of life using more modern mostly already owned stock now that existing SW/W undersized fleet is basically worn out.
  Draffa Chief Commissioner

too many LX
RTT_Rules
Without checking GMaps again, I though there was only about three or four between the southern edges of suburbia and the current station.

The current station is in an ideal location for commuters, especially if town planning emphasises TOD in the future.  Building a new station out of town sounds like another Gympie situation waiting to happen.

If I had my way (and a couple of million buning a hole in my pocket, I'd buy a couple of DMUs, negotiate some paths and subsidy (if necessary.  Probably would be), and run services to cater for peak and midday traffic.  The Westie was an anachronism and the level of service it provided shouldn't be given too much weight compared to what a modern service would be expected and able to.

With the population growing, and there still being cheap land available, there's also the very hypothetical possibility of using the existing tracks for a future local NG tram service and use the station precinct as a hub for PAX going to/from BNE (I doubt there's be traffic to demand a service of some sort between Warwick and Dalby, however).
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
My earlier suggestion has spurred some research, but there is very little info I have come across, so ill appeal to the boards.  IF, the South West network (ie Warwick-Thallon or some combination) was standardised, would there be additional freight that could come out of the New England region and up into Queensland?  Im thinking its not going to be major, maybe some containerised freight, perhaps a coal train or two (if the line can handle it) that finiky customers route to BNE instead of NTL for whatever reason, even some cattle?  I seriously doubt the economics will at all stack up but interested to get views on what the freight task actually is from the New England to Toowoomba/Brisbane?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
NTL ?

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