Federal body says no to funds for Maldon Dombarton

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 01 Mar 2017 10:26
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
“It’s extremely frustrating that we have both a state and federal government who seem oblivious to the transport issues in our region and the importance of the Maldon-Dombarton as a key piece of infrastructure not only to resolving congestion issues but to opening our region for more job creating opportunities,” Ms Bird said.
Somebody


I dont dispute they believe they need the line but what is the justification?

Federal body says no to funds for Maldon Dombarton

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  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

“It’s extremely frustrating that we have both a state and federal government who seem oblivious to the transport issues in our region and the importance of the Maldon-Dombarton as a key piece of infrastructure not only to resolving congestion issues but to opening our region for more job creating opportunities,” Ms Bird said.


I dont dispute they believe they need the line but what is the justification?

Federal body says no to funds for Maldon Dombarton
bevans
Sensible. This could only ever be justified by lots of western coal heading for Inner Harbour. Most of it now heads for Newcastle.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
How much would it cost to complete the M-D link?

There is a long tunnel, IIRC about 4km long. What is the gradient in this tunnel? If diesels are to be used, a small gradient should be planned, say 1 in 400 to suit drainage. Thus diesels will not have to be powering heavily through the tunnel causing fumes. The junction to this tunnel can be move up or down the 1 in 30 of the U-MV line to make the tunnel gradient 1 in 400.

It is noted that Stephens (of Panama Canal fame) who designed and built the first Cascade tunnel made the gradient too steep, and there where fume problem from day one. Eddy (of NSWR fame) also made the first Stanwell Park too steep at the 1 in 40 ruling gradient, and it was also a "Rathole Tunnel".

For possible rathole tunnel at Rhyndston in TAS, see https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p492175.htm#492175

In WA, the Swan View tunnel at the ruling grade was a rathole tunnel, leading to some fatality(s).
  62440 Chief Commissioner

I remember a site visit by private train, we stopped at the tunnel mouth before running through the odd passing loop. Overhead masts appeared soon after to the tunnel mouth. There was a presentation on the line construction and work had started. Much of the non-tunnel was well advanced. The grade through the tunnel was the ruling grade, pretty steep but the intention was to use electric locos. Calculations on diesels showed you couldn't triple head as the third loco would have no air. Steam locos would only be allowed downhill.
The visit was in 1983 and there was a presentation at the PWI Convention NSW
The need for the line has diminished in the intervening years, any funds were better spent on straightening out the main line.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
It might be useful to read the IA assessment to get more detail.

http://infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/projects/files/Maldon-to-Dombarton-summary.pdf

Key items here are that:

1. The BCR is less than 1, so not generating net economic benefits
2. Coal traffic might be overstated given that mines in the area are probably going to close within 20 years instead of produce for the next 50
3. Changes to the Sydney metro network (e.g. metro to Hurstville) are not announced/committed (and are probably the opposite to be honest) and so further reduce the justification for the line.

Plus, NSW was asking the Federal government for all of the funding, and modelling shows that financial revenues (i.e. access charges) won't be enough to recover total costs.  Again, the project has lots of economic benefits that are not monetised through its use.  These include freight user benefits (approx $377m) which could be argued are somewhat of a subsidy to rail users.

My advice to the relevant people in the area - go back to the drawing board and see what else could be more economically positive for rail in the region.  How about taking that request almost $1bn and turn it into another request, this time asking for improvements to the current Illawarra line to improve passenger times?  $1bn might get you substantially greater benefits if invested in different ways.