Grain Harvest 2016/2017

 
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I have been meaning to ask on one of the Forums for some time regards grain train lengths?
In the main the rakes are no longer than 40 wagons.
Why?
Are forty wagon trains the limit for Geelong and Appleton Dock?
Many years ago the VR ran a 55 wagon wheat train to Portland as a trial.
Just wondering!
"Z VAN"


I think you will find the train lengths are dictated by the length of the run around loop at the end of the lines in question. A 40 car grain train with three loco's would have a length of around 660 metres, on the Oaklands line, the loop at AWB Oaklsnds is 828 metres long over the point blades, that would give a free standing train length of less than 700metres

Loading loop lenght is not an issue as the loco's do not have to change ends.

woodford

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  Y115 Chief Train Controller

Location: Portland
I have been meaning to ask on one of the Forums for some time regards grain train lengths?
In the main the rakes are no longer than 40 wagons.
Why?
Are forty wagon trains the limit for Geelong and Appleton Dock?
Many years ago the VR ran a 55 wagon wheat train to Portland as a trial.
Just wondering!
The last couple of trains into Portland were 40+. The train is broken into shorter rakes of about 15 wagons in the sidings near the port, so it's a bit hard to get an exact number when you're driving by. Next time I'm in the area and there's a train there I'll stop and get an accurate count.

Rick
RustyRick
46 wagons is about average for us, don't remember counting any more than that in the last few years.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

C531 and XR557 currently unloading at the Geelong terminal, nd train No 9158 with G541 waiting its turn in the Nth Geelong hodling sidings as at 8.30am..............BL 30 and 31 loading its grainnie at Nhill
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
GWA worked a grain from Adelaide to Dimboola return last week.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
GWA worked a grain from Adelaide to Dimboola return last week.
bevans

Interesting.

Who was the customer?  Im assuming AWB Grainflow (aka Cargill)?
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Does vittera have facilities in Victoria ?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Yes.  Dooen, Walpeup and Werrimull.  According to the below map anyway.

http://www.viterra.com.au/uploads/Storage%20Commodities%20Map%20Mar%202016%20HRNB.pdf
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

BL26 on 9741 Grainnie to Hopetoun passing Beulah at 5.10am..............
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Another interesting development on the Grain front with Graincorp/Cargill selling off Allied Mills (they run the Kensington mill):
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/agribusiness/graincorp-cargill-sell-allied-mills-australia-to-pacific-equity-partners/news-story/83d0914cdcbd887136541919477511d8
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Article in today's Weekly times: http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/victorias-freight-rail-system-crippled-by-speed-restrictions/news-story/4df186a3304e9de6478d1c5368309e18

"VICTORIA’s rail freight network is in crisis, with speed restrictions in 65 locations, in addition to bans on trains operating in heat, hampering freight between the state’s northwest and Melbourne.

Trains are frequently required to slow to speeds as low as 10km/h, in some cases making rail freight ­almost three times as slow as road transport.

Freight operators and farmers desperate to see the state’s largest recorded grain harvest get to port are calling for increased investment in rail maintenance to bring the network up to speed.

Across the Murray Basin Rail network, heat restrictions stop some trains and slow others once temperatures hit 33C, and there are 16 non-heat-related temporary speed restrictions that reduce trains to speeds between 50km/h and 10km/h.

Freight trains must also slow down at 49 level crossings without boom gates, according to V/Line.
However, one major freight operator estimated there were as many as 70 crossings between Mildura and Maryborough alone.

V/Line told The Weekly Times a 25km/h restriction had been applied to freight trains travelling between Korong Vale and Manangatang, a section of more than 200km, but later claimed the temporary speed restriction applied to just 18km of the Murray Basin Freight network.

It said all temporary speed restrictions would be removed when the Murray Basin Rail Project, due by the end of next year, was completed."
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Question

If this was the exact same situation in say NSW, would the regulations be the same?  Ie, is this perhaps regulation out of political sensetivity (i.e. Vic Govt doesnt want to be seen to have contributed to an LX accident etc), or is it based on real engingering issues?
  Y115 Chief Train Controller

Location: Portland
BL26 on 9741 Grainnie to Hopetoun passing Beulah at 5.10am..............
trainbrain
BL26 is/was on the mineral sands train.
  darcycammo Chief Train Controller

Location: cockatoo vic
V/Line told The Weekly Times a 25km/h restriction had been applied to freight trains travelling between Korong Vale and Manangatang, a section of more than 200km, but later claimed the temporary speed restriction applied to just 18km of the Murray Basin Freight network.

Followed a grain at around 6:30am on the 21st that woke me up it was a slow trip between Korong Vale and Boort took over an hour but it was good to follow a train up there in the morning rather then 2am but in saying that in the 2 years i have owned land near korong vale main i have very lucky to get one train on the 21st around 2:30am i heard one going back from the Robinvale line towards Melbourne
Carnot
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
GWA worked a grain from Adelaide to Dimboola return last week.

Interesting.

Who was the customer?  Im assuming AWB Grainflow (aka Cargill)?
james.au
G&WA have run grain trains from the Dimboola Grainflow site to Adelaide for the last few years

G&WA also run grain trains for Grainflow from Mallala and Crystal Brook to Outer Harbor
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I guess that might be considered evidence that Adelaide is a competitor port for Victorian grain.  Pity the Ouyen line isn't standardised for the remaining 25 odd km to see what competition it could give for Mildura region freight
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
I guess that might be considered evidence that Adelaide is a competitor port for Victorian grain.  Pity the Ouyen line isn't standardised for the remaining 25 odd km to see what competition it could give for Mildura region freight
james.au
These days James, the efficient way is for the grain bulk ships to make only one call for a full load, it is more cost effective to transport the grain than have the ship call at multiple ports. (Even if that grain comes from multiple handlers)

Unfortunately rail freight from the Sunraysia to Adelaide via Ouyen & Pinnaroo will never be cost effective against the more direct 5 hour truck trip down the Sturt Highway (especially considering the Trucking Industries desire to have that route declared a Road Train Route)
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

While driving along the Calder Hwy from Gisborne to Ravenswood yesterday evening, I thought I would count the number of grain trucks travelling South along that stretch of road.

Total number of trucks - 21
Distance - 85 km
Time period - 50 minutes.
Total Tonnage - Approx. 40T x 21 = 840 Tonnes (Most trucks were double trailer)

This was during a peak time during the day for haulage.  Since January 24, Bendigo has seen one 40 wagon Piangil grainy, and one 40 wagon Deniliquin/Elmore grainy (total of approx 4-5000 tonnes of grain).

No wonder our highways are getting destroyed.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
While driving along the Calder Hwy from Gisborne to Ravenswood yesterday evening, I thought I would count the number of grain trucks travelling South along that stretch of road.

Total number of trucks - 21
Distance - 85 km
Time period - 50 minutes.
Total Tonnage - Approx. 40T x 21 = 840 Tonnes (Most trucks were double trailer)

This was during a peak time during the day for haulage.  Since January 24, Bendigo has seen one 40 wagon Piangil grainy, and one 40 wagon Deniliquin/Elmore grainy (total of approx 4-5000 tonnes of grain).

No wonder our highways are getting destroyed.
Carnot
Some of the trucks will be returning north with super for the farms, making their trip more profitable.
Whereas the trains run half their journeys as empties, not really cost effective.   A market to tap into again?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
While driving along the Calder Hwy from Gisborne to Ravenswood yesterday evening, I thought I would count the number of grain trucks travelling South along that stretch of road.

Total number of trucks - 21
Distance - 85 km
Time period - 50 minutes.
Total Tonnage - Approx. 40T x 21 = 840 Tonnes (Most trucks were double trailer)

This was during a peak time during the day for haulage.  Since January 24, Bendigo has seen one 40 wagon Piangil grainy, and one 40 wagon Deniliquin/Elmore grainy (total of approx 4-5000 tonnes of grain).

No wonder our highways are getting destroyed.
Carnot


And what gauge is this line on?.....

(No need to tell me - im making a point).
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
While driving along the Calder Hwy from Gisborne to Ravenswood yesterday evening, I thought I would count the number of grain trucks travelling South along that stretch of road.

Total number of trucks - 21
Distance - 85 km
Time period - 50 minutes.
Total Tonnage - Approx. 40T x 21 = 840 Tonnes (Most trucks were double trailer)

This was during a peak time during the day for haulage.  Since January 24, Bendigo has seen one 40 wagon Piangil grainy, and one 40 wagon Deniliquin/Elmore grainy (total of approx 4-5000 tonnes of grain).

No wonder our highways are getting destroyed.
Some of the trucks will be returning north with super for the farms, making their trip more profitable.
Whereas the trains run half their journeys as empties, not really cost effective.   A market to tap into again?
Donald

I think that the trains are profitable on their own without the backloading.  Looking at it another way, the grain is the backload for the truck that is going to pick up fertiliser.

Fertiliser is ordinarily applied at id say a maximum of 250kg/ha (for the whole season and depending on crops - it can be much less).  Depending on the grain, the production volumes are far greater, e.g. canola is 1000kg/ha, wheat would average about 2500kg/ha.  so there is an export/import imbalance there to start with, id guess very very very roughly in an order of 8 times (i.e. there is 8 times more grain exported than fertiliser imported).  

Biggest thing would be unloading a train in a cost effective way.  Dumping say 4000t of fertiliser somewhere out of a train (which would say cover 16,000ha) and then distributing it out to farmers would be tricky.  Holding that amount of fertiliser is one thing, storing it is another as it is corrosive as all get out as it is acidic and attracts moisture, and getting growers to come and get it is another.  

Big thing in the above is where you would unload?  There are very few points inland in cropping areas where you could unload a train fast enough.  The sub terminals at Temora/Junee/Parkes etc might be something that could be used as I understood that they could unload branch line locos.

Im not saying it can't be done, but it hasn't yet.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
While driving along the Calder Hwy from Gisborne to Ravenswood yesterday evening, I thought I would count the number of grain trucks travelling South along that stretch of road.

Total number of trucks - 21
Distance - 85 km
Time period - 50 minutes.
Total Tonnage - Approx. 40T x 21 = 840 Tonnes (Most trucks were double trailer)

This was during a peak time during the day for haulage.  Since January 24, Bendigo has seen one 40 wagon Piangil grainy, and one 40 wagon Deniliquin/Elmore grainy (total of approx 4-5000 tonnes of grain).

No wonder our highways are getting destroyed.
Some of the trucks will be returning north with super for the farms, making their trip more profitable.
Whereas the trains run half their journeys as empties, not really cost effective.   A market to tap into again?

I think that the trains are profitable on their own without the backloading.  Looking at it another way, the grain is the backload for the truck that is going to pick up fertiliser.

Fertiliser is ordinarily applied at id say a maximum of 250kg/ha (for the whole season and depending on crops - it can be much less).  Depending on the grain, the production volumes are far greater, e.g. canola is 1000kg/ha, wheat would average about 2500kg/ha.  so there is an export/import imbalance there to start with, id guess very very very roughly in an order of 8 times (i.e. there is 8 times more grain exported than fertiliser imported).  

Biggest thing would be unloading a train in a cost effective way.  Dumping say 4000t of fertiliser somewhere out of a train (which would say cover 16,000ha) and then distributing it out to farmers would be tricky.  Holding that amount of fertiliser is one thing, storing it is another as it is corrosive as all get out as it is acidic and attracts moisture, and getting growers to come and get it is another.  

Big thing in the above is where you would unload?  There are very few points inland in cropping areas where you could unload a train fast enough.  The sub terminals at Temora/Junee/Parkes etc might be something that could be used as I understood that they could unload branch line locos.

Im not saying it can't be done, but it hasn't yet.
james.au
Back loading of fertiliser by rail disappeared some 25 - 30 years ago, for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the fertiliser industry moved towards "High Analysis" blends about 30 years ago. The fertiliser companies would do soil testing at a farmers property and a special blend would be made and delivered containing various trace elements required for that specific location, in fact specific down to specific paddocks!
This put an end to "one blend suits all" bulk shipments to rural areas.
High Analysis blends are likely to be less than a full truck load, so just not suited to rail.
Second reason is that wagons need to be cleaned to avoid contamination between loads (especially fertiliser to grain)
Likewise, grain sub terminals are unsuitable to handle fertilisers, and grain companies would never entertain that.
Fertiliser is extremely hydroscopic (attracts moisture) and basically becomes mud when wet
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
While driving along the Calder Hwy from Gisborne to Ravenswood yesterday evening, I thought I would count the number of grain trucks travelling South along that stretch of road.

Total number of trucks - 21
Distance - 85 km
Time period - 50 minutes.
Total Tonnage - Approx. 40T x 21 = 840 Tonnes (Most trucks were double trailer)

This was during a peak time during the day for haulage.  Since January 24, Bendigo has seen one 40 wagon Piangil grainy, and one 40 wagon Deniliquin/Elmore grainy (total of approx 4-5000 tonnes of grain).

No wonder our highways are getting destroyed.
Some of the trucks will be returning north with super for the farms, making their trip more profitable.
Whereas the trains run half their journeys as empties, not really cost effective.   A market to tap into again?

I think that the trains are profitable on their own without the backloading.  Looking at it another way, the grain is the backload for the truck that is going to pick up fertiliser.

Fertiliser is ordinarily applied at id say a maximum of 250kg/ha (for the whole season and depending on crops - it can be much less).  Depending on the grain, the production volumes are far greater, e.g. canola is 1000kg/ha, wheat would average about 2500kg/ha.  so there is an export/import imbalance there to start with, id guess very very very roughly in an order of 8 times (i.e. there is 8 times more grain exported than fertiliser imported).  

Biggest thing would be unloading a train in a cost effective way.  Dumping say 4000t of fertiliser somewhere out of a train (which would say cover 16,000ha) and then distributing it out to farmers would be tricky.  Holding that amount of fertiliser is one thing, storing it is another as it is corrosive as all get out as it is acidic and attracts moisture, and getting growers to come and get it is another.  

Big thing in the above is where you would unload?  There are very few points inland in cropping areas where you could unload a train fast enough.  The sub terminals at Temora/Junee/Parkes etc might be something that could be used as I understood that they could unload branch line locos.

Im not saying it can't be done, but it hasn't yet.
Back loading of fertiliser by rail disappeared some 25 - 30 years ago, for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the fertiliser industry moved towards "High Analysis" blends about 30 years ago. The fertiliser companies would do soil testing at a farmers property and a special blend would be made and delivered containing various trace elements required for that specific location, in fact specific down to specific paddocks!
This put an end to "one blend suits all" bulk shipments to rural areas.
High Analysis blends are likely to be less than a full truck load, so just not suited to rail.
Second reason is that wagons need to be cleaned to avoid contamination between loads (especially fertiliser to grain)
Likewise, grain sub terminals are unsuitable to handle fertilisers, and grain companies would never entertain that.
Fertiliser is extremely hydroscopic (attracts moisture) and basically becomes mud when wet
Pressman

Agreed broadly, except that in the region I know, it is less about customised for every location, but is more about a diversification into different fertiliser products.  Back when my grandfather was farming in the 50s, it was just triple superphosphate.  That was it.  Now there is Urea, MAP, DAP, GranAm, and a range of others that have de homogenised the freight task.  These are the same fertiliser used across different farms for different scenarios (e.g. Canola needs lots more Urea and GranAm (a source of sulphur, there are others though btw).  Wheat can get by on traditional superphosphate if it is being cropped directly after a legume or pasture phase where the nitrogen wheat needs will be in the ground already.

For the impact on rail freight, its the same though.
  Y115 Chief Train Controller

Location: Portland
BL26 on 9741 Grainnie to Hopetoun passing Beulah at 5.10am..............
trainbrain
BL26 is on the mineral sands train.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Riordan are loading ships in Geelong directly from B-double trucks (150 per day) that have traveled as far afield as Donald and Boort.  Pity about the pounding the roads are copping:
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/agribusiness/cropping/riordan-grain-services-loads-up-carrier-in-geelong/news-story/6ba57b708d8f4a9168a4076554458a92
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
It would be interesting to do a comparison of the 'standard' way of loading grain and the way that Riordan is using.  Which is actually most cost effective?

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