Who will use Mildura SG and how?

 
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Which in reality is probably Adelaide/Perth to Sydney...via Mildura as the shortest route.

Calder Hwy traffic is most likely solely Mildura to Melbourne traffic.

Mike.
The Vinelander
The shortest route between Adelaide and Sydney is via Ouyen and Tooleybuc. But it may not be the quickest.

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  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Apparently the single 2km long double stacked trains can't come to Victoria directly via the Adelaide Hills route and have to be broken down into 4 smaller single stacked trains to then progress on to Victoria. All that extra handling costs in lost efficiencies.
Inland_Sailor

Total bollocks.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
I think you will find there is already very strong interest in developing more freight potential on rail following completion of the Basin Project.   Each of the operators mentionned Viz PN, SSR, SCT have different business models and interestingly all are in regional intermodal traffic and all with exception of SCT are into bulk grain.    

SCT as mentionned elsewhere have established new terminals purpose built for their operations in Bromelton and Barnawatha.   Similarlay the Government of Victoria established the Dooen Freight Terminal, so once again as has been said before if the business is there and the operators like SCT and QUBE see a long term opportunity then they'd make the investment.

SSR is already showing that it's being very bullish on grain and has been pushing the envelope in terms of train length and wagon weight which is fantastic, so despite the very short sighted move to only go to 21 TAL rather than starting at 23 TAL and future proofing for 25 TAL, I'm still certain they will be fully exploiting the capability of the infrastructure to deliver efficiency and price savings to grain handlers.

There is no doubt more modern motive power, much improved tare to load ratios for wagons and key drivers for improving the competitivness of rail, but I also believe it has a lot to do with the operator and their business model.   I look to SCT as the example here.   Their Melbourne-Brisbane operation is just 9 months old and train sizes have been increasing steadily well before Aurizon decided to pull out.

NSW has demonstrated that there appears to be a role for rail in shorter to medium hauls for grain and intermodal so why wouldn't it work in Victoria if you have a network that will be in the best shape it will have been in since it was originally built and a network that will be accessible for multiple operators.    Rail's market share is pretty poor in Victoria, and that's being polite.   There would seem only one way to go and that's up even if it means players like PN opt out and traffic flows to QUBE.


Where the potential lies as a starter is containerised grain for a start.  The full deregulation of the grain industry in terms of handlers is that increasingly large volumes of grain are now moving in containers and that can be accommodated easily as the likes of Harefield in NSW have demonstrated where the business started from using a dirt hard stand and a container stacker.

What I still think will let things down is the lack of foresight as I've mentionned previously is in not moving to a 23 or 23.5 TAL capability from day 1 futured proofed for 25TAL in the longer term.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Apparently the single 2km long double stacked trains can't come to Victoria directly via the Adelaide Hills route and have to be broken down into 4 smaller single stacked trains to then progress on to Victoria. All that extra handling costs in lost efficiencies.

Total bollocks.
bingley hall

Laughing I noticed someone disagrees with my summation. If they would care to show me where the arrangement claimed above occurs in the Master Train Plan, then of course I would be only to happy to retract  - and toss in a $100 note just for a laugh Razz
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
I think Nightfire has hit the point. The operator needs to provide a reliable service on a schedule that suits the available traffic.eg a weekly service won't be used for fresh fruit as they need to use road on the other days to get the produce there anyway.

The trick is to get loads that can use the same wagons each way minimising the empty movements. Maybe provide more capacity than the bare minimum as once word gets out that there is a reliable option that's cheaper the loads will come as contracts expire
  emmastreet Train Controller

Location: Goulburn Valley
"...... a reliable service...". Reliable and railways don't really go together.
  skitz Chief Commissioner

I think you will find there is already very strong interest in developing more freight potential on rail following completion of the Basin Project.   Each of the operators mentionned Viz PN, SSR, SCT have different business models and interestingly all are in regional intermodal traffic and all with exception of SCT are into bulk grain.    

SCT as mentionned elsewhere have established new terminals purpose built for their operations in Bromelton and Barnawatha.   Similarlay the Government of Victoria established the Dooen Freight Terminal, so once again as has been said before if the business is there and the operators like SCT and QUBE see a long term opportunity then they'd make the investment.

SSR is already showing that it's being very bullish on grain and has been pushing the envelope in terms of train length and wagon weight which is fantastic, so despite the very short sighted move to only go to 21 TAL rather than starting at 23 TAL and future proofing for 25 TAL, I'm still certain they will be fully exploiting the capability of the infrastructure to deliver efficiency and price savings to grain handlers.

There is no doubt more modern motive power, much improved tare to load ratios for wagons and key drivers for improving the competitivness of rail, but I also believe it has a lot to do with the operator and their business model.   I look to SCT as the example here.   Their Melbourne-Brisbane operation is just 9 months old and train sizes have been increasing steadily well before Aurizon decided to pull out.

NSW has demonstrated that there appears to be a role for rail in shorter to medium hauls for grain and intermodal so why wouldn't it work in Victoria if you have a network that will be in the best shape it will have been in since it was originally built and a network that will be accessible for multiple operators.    Rail's market share is pretty poor in Victoria, and that's being polite.   There would seem only one way to go and that's up even if it means players like PN opt out and traffic flows to QUBE.


Where the potential lies as a starter is containerised grain for a start.  The full deregulation of the grain industry in terms of handlers is that increasingly large volumes of grain are now moving in containers and that can be accommodated easily as the likes of Harefield in NSW have demonstrated where the business started from using a dirt hard stand and a container stacker.

What I still think will let things down is the lack of foresight as I've mentionned previously is in not moving to a 23 or 23.5 TAL capability from day 1 futured proofed for 25TAL in the longer term.
Trainplanner
With large quantities of 80lb rail, the argument for 23t is a tough one. 25t even harder.

The Esperance line ran 18MGT with 23t axle loads 50km/hr loaded. (70km/hr empty).  I forget the sleeper spacing, 1650/km???  They were closer than normal.  The operation could not really be called a success due to high risk with broken rails (50 to 60 per year over the 380km).  The rail welding in times gone by was to a poor standard and the legacy was transferred into the modern operation.  The combination of poor surface geometry and tonnes drove a very high fatigue rate.

Victoria is not known for is welding excellence and the combination of legacy rail with legacy welding is a risk to be realised.  I would suggest the 21t limit is driven by this.  I have not seen in any of the scope any specific attention to the existing weld quality (no weld rectification, no grinding).   Fair bit of attention on distressing, but management of rail surface is not something done with any vigour in Victoria (outside the interstate network)

Can you run 23t on 80lb? Yes you can.   The reality is you take on the risk of driving the fatigue rate.  Broken rails, risk of putting a train in the dirt.   The probability may see this is acceptable.  Or, or take on the investment to control the surface quality and take away the forces driving the fatigue rate.  

To over simplify it, it comes down to the cost of the scope to mange the rail surface versus the insurance cost.   Take your pick.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
"...... a reliable service...". Reliable and railways don't really go together.
emmastreet
There was a time 'in days of old' when this was not the case ..................................
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I think Nightfire has hit the point. The operator needs to provide a reliable service on a schedule that suits the available traffic.eg a weekly service won't be used for fresh fruit as they need to use road on the other days to get the produce there anyway.

The trick is to get loads that can use the same wagons each way minimising the empty movements. Maybe provide more capacity than the bare minimum as once word gets out that there is a reliable option that's cheaper the loads will come as contracts expire
HardWorkingMan
'The operator needs to provide a reliable service on a schedule that suits the available traffic'

The foregoing is the key to the success of any transport operation. Some modes (generally road) are better than others (often rail) in providing a service that the customer needs or wants.

It is no good any operator offering an unreliable service designed by bean counters, bimbos (of either sex) or MBAs that no one wants and then wondering why it didn't work. Any transport provider must work intimately with the client to provide a service that the client wants rather than what the operator feels like providing.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
bimbos (of either sex)
YM-Mundrabilla
According to the GF a male Bimbo is a Himbo! Laughing

BG
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I think Nightfire has hit the point. The operator needs to provide a reliable service on a schedule that suits the available traffic.eg a weekly service won't be used for fresh fruit as they need to use road on the other days to get the produce there anyway.

The trick is to get loads that can use the same wagons each way minimising the empty movements. Maybe provide more capacity than the bare minimum as once word gets out that there is a reliable option that's cheaper the loads will come as contracts expire
'The operator needs to provide a reliable service on a schedule that suits the available traffic'

The foregoing is the key to the success of any transport operation. Some modes (generally road) are better than others (often rail) in providing a service that the customer needs or wants.

It is no good any operator offering an unreliable service designed by bean counters, bimbos (of either sex) or MBAs that no one wants and then wondering why it didn't work. Any transport provider must work intimately with the client to provide a service that the client wants rather than what the operator feels like providing.
YM-Mundrabilla

Road, with its lower cost of entry and of operation, allows more nimble, responsive operators to enter the market.  Rail on the other hand is full of large corporates who look for large repeatable volumes.  ITs only players like SCT and SSR that are showing entrepreneurial skill and going to chase markets that are otherwise left by the bigger ones.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
bimbos (of either sex)
According to the GF a male Bimbo is a Himbo! Laughing

BG
BrentonGolding
Thank you BG.
I must remember that for next time. I am sure that there will be one...............Smile
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Could it be cheaper to upgrade the line between Murrayville and the main line between Melbourne and Adelaide?  This to me seems the best approach and then finish the line west of Hay into MIldura with an interchange yard in Mildura creating jobs and a cross roads between east and west and into Melbourne?
Apparently the single 2km long double stacked trains can't come to Victoria directly via the Adelaide Hills route and have to be broken down into 4 smaller single stacked trains to then progress on to Victoria. All that extra handling costs in lost efficiencies.
Inland_Sailor

The following was posted by the minister.  Not sure if the last sentence has anything to do with what @Inland_Sailor is saying?  Good news regardless.

http://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/chester/releases/2017/september/dc288_2017.aspx


  • $15 million Australian Government funded rail freight project completed
  • Longer trains will shift more freight, boosting efficiency and productivity
Longer freight trains will soon be able to run between Adelaide and Melbourne thanks to a multi-million dollar Australian Government rail network upgrade set to increase capacity by up to 20 per cent.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project would allow the accommodation of 1,800-metre trains, improving productivity on the busy line and supporting associated jobs.
“The upgrade will create a 20 per cent increase in productivity for rail operators and remove the need to send additional train services back to Melbourne with empty wagons,” Mr Chester said.
“By investing $15 million in the project, we have created a situation where the maximum length of trains operating from Adelaide to Melbourne can be increased by up to 300 metres The longer, more efficient trains means less congestion for motorists and improved road safety, as well as cutting transport costs.
“The initial scope of the project was to deliver five extensions to crossing loops, which provide opportunities for trains heading in opposite directions to pass each other on single line sections of track, but thanks to clever project management, an extra passing loop at Dimboola in regional Western Victoria was also upgraded within the original project budget.”
Mr Chester said Victorian crossing loops at Pyrenees, Murtoa, Pimpinio, Diapur and Dimboola, and South Australia's Mile End loop, had all been extended to 1,800 metres.
“A 1,800-metre train carries the equivalent of more than 85 B-Doubles worth of freight that would typically travel by road through South Australia,” he said.
“Moving more freight by rail is crucial to meet the expected doubling of freight demand over the 20 years to 2030 while reducing urban congestion.”
The Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project was delivered by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).
Additional track upgrades currently underway in Adelaide as part of the jointly funded Australian and South Australian Government Torrens Junction Rail Project will provide a clear path for 1,800-metre trains all the way from Perth to Melbourne by late 2017.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Could it be cheaper to upgrade the line between Murrayville and the main line between Melbourne and Adelaide?  This to me seems the best approach and then finish the line west of Hay into MIldura with an interchange yard in Mildura creating jobs and a cross roads between east and west and into Melbourne?
Apparently the single 2km long double stacked trains can't come to Victoria directly via the Adelaide Hills route and have to be broken down into 4 smaller single stacked trains to then progress on to Victoria. All that extra handling costs in lost efficiencies.

The following was posted by the minister.  Not sure if the last sentence has anything to do with what @Inland_Sailor is saying?  Good news regardless.

http://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/chester/releases/2017/september/dc288_2017.aspx


  • $15 million Australian Government funded rail freight project completed
  • Longer trains will shift more freight, boosting efficiency and productivity
Longer freight trains will soon be able to run between Adelaide and Melbourne thanks to a multi-million dollar Australian Government rail network upgrade set to increase capacity by up to 20 per cent.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project would allow the accommodation of 1,800-metre trains, improving productivity on the busy line and supporting associated jobs.
“The upgrade will create a 20 per cent increase in productivity for rail operators and remove the need to send additional train services back to Melbourne with empty wagons,” Mr Chester said.
“By investing $15 million in the project, we have created a situation where the maximum length of trains operating from Adelaide to Melbourne can be increased by up to 300 metres The longer, more efficient trains means less congestion for motorists and improved road safety, as well as cutting transport costs.
“The initial scope of the project was to deliver five extensions to crossing loops, which provide opportunities for trains heading in opposite directions to pass each other on single line sections of track, but thanks to clever project management, an extra passing loop at Dimboola in regional Western Victoria was also upgraded within the original project budget.”
Mr Chester said Victorian crossing loops at Pyrenees, Murtoa, Pimpinio, Diapur and Dimboola, and South Australia's Mile End loop, had all been extended to 1,800 metres.
“A 1,800-metre train carries the equivalent of more than 85 B-Doubles worth of freight that would typically travel by road through South Australia,” he said.
“Moving more freight by rail is crucial to meet the expected doubling of freight demand over the 20 years to 2030 while reducing urban congestion.”
The Melbourne–Adelaide Loops project was delivered by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).
Additional track upgrades currently underway in Adelaide as part of the jointly funded Australian and South Australian Government Torrens Junction Rail Project will provide a clear path for 1,800-metre trains all the way from Perth to Melbourne by late 2017.
james.au
ARTC have had an ongoing program to increase the crossing loop length to allow 1800m trains between Adelaide and Melbourne for a few years now. Loops on the SA side have already been lengthened to allow this, plus a completely new loop at Ambleside.


The Torrens Junction project (like the Goodwood Junction project before it) is more about removing the cause of road traffic congestion. Both these junction were 'flat' junctions where ARTC trains had to slow and stop at the junctions as Adelaide Metro suburban trains had priority at the junctions.
In both cases 1800m trains would block a major arterial road as they stopped, the Junction "fly overs" is curing this congestion as well as removing the need for the freights to slow and stop altogether.

As for Inland_Sailor's comments ...........
2 km trains don't run over the Nullarbor
1 x 1800m  double stack train does not equal 4 x 1500m single stack trains
Quite often containers traveling from Perth to Melbourne are loaded as the bottom containers on a double stack whilst the Perth to Adelaide containers are load on top, and hence removed in Adelaide. Take a look trackside in Melbourne you see that many Perth bound container trains use well wagons with single height container loads, double stack loads are simply added "on top" in Adelaide (quite efficient really!)
Not all loading from Perth is bound for Melbourne
And Adelaide is still one of the cheapest ports to Import/Export from in Australia.
  Jack Le Lievre Assistant Commissioner

Location: Moolap Station, Vic
I guess that there's a reason nobody has mentioned the possibility of extending the line to Broken Hill after the conversion to SG.
Gauntlet
That is the hope of a large section of the industry.

Regards,

Jack
  allsmiles Station Master

I have not seen it noted yet, but I thought there are a lot of height clearance problems between Adelaide and Melbourne that need to be fixed.
  Operater Junior Train Controller

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Hi Group,

A while back, there was Mention that SCT, SSR, and Qube had say Quietly taken a look see but nothing much else etc, The only Positive Item I came away with was that
SSR was Looking to Move In on the Grain Hauling Side of Things if they could. If so it could give P N some competition, After all SSR moved a Large Batch of Coal Hoppers East to use for Grain etc. Doubt they will all B used in  N S W. If anything I believe the Other Operaters are Keeping Tight Lipped  and Quietly Talking to the Gvmnt, to Make some Deals for Future Considerations. I can't see P N  trying to keep the Competition out when they are scraping Rolling Stock. You scrap enough Rolling Stock, it gets to a point where there will B nothing left. Rolling Stock is only good for X Number of Years B 4 its Due for Replacement. Either by New Equipment or Refurbishment. I See a Lot of Opportunities in the Long Term. Just Hope the Gvmnt and Vic Track Get It  -  if They are Smart,
  Operater Junior Train Controller

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Hi Group,

A while back, there was Mention that SCT, SSR, and Qube had say Quietly taken a look see but nothing much else etc, The only Positive Item I came away with was that
SSR was Looking to Move In on the Grain Hauling Side of Things if they could. If so it could give P N some competition, After all SSR moved a Large Batch of Coal Hoppers East to use for Grain etc. Doubt they will all B used in  N S W. If anything I believe the Other Operaters are Keeping Tight Lipped  and Quietly Talking to the Gvmnt, to Make some Deals for Future Considerations. I can't see P N  trying to keep the Competition out when they are scraping Rolling Stock. You scrap enough Rolling Stock, it gets to a point where there will B nothing left. Rolling Stock is only good for X Number of Years B 4 its Due for Replacement. Either by New Equipment or Refurbishment. I See a Lot of Opportunities in the Long Term. Just Hope the Gvmnt and Vic Track Get It  -  if They are Smart,
  antiussentiment Locomotive Driver

Location: perth
It's funny to see people questioning spending on rail in a railway forum.  No, seriously I giggled at this post.

Come to WA where our last state government spent over $3 billion on 50 odd kilometres of road so truckies could have their traffic jamb to the north moved away from the eyes of the city folk.  The current government is planning some rail infrastructure, but it has to deal with the debt the conservatives left them first.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The current project removes capacity from the network between Ballarat and Mildura.  Sidings are being disconnected and Rail yards in the remote areas removed.  There will not be a place to load a train post the works.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
With the level of shortcuts now on the project again who will be able to use the new line?  Will it even be possible to run a down and up train in the same day and how will crewing out of Maryborough work with no yard left?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Even though I have concerns about the slimmed down Maryborough Yard for staging/holding trains and the lack of crossing loops from Maryborough south to Ballarat (Tourello) in the final stage, the situation north of Maryborough is not as dire as it may appear.   The grain loading points that remain after those agreed in consultation with the principal grain handlers , the intermodal siding at Donald is retained and the intermodal facilities at Mildura are also obviously retained.

I agree it is disappointing that some other functionality at say St Arnaud is not being regauged and there maybe a couple of others.    In other threads on this project I would have liked to have seen investment in longer crossing loops.  There are already several around the 900m mark which whilst nowhere near the ARTC standard do enable an increase in grain train size from 40 hoppers to 60 hoppers which would give a significant productivity benefit for rail and the grain industry.  

If this project results in a much more reliable and consistent journey time for intermodal trains like the Mildura operation there is the prospect there for more growth but again what will let that down is the length of terminal capacity in Merbein and the length of crossing loops.

As I said been discussed before.   The reason this is important is that there is a lot of interest now back to regional rail freight and the NSW experience out of Moree/ Leeton/Griffith and elsewhere is that these regional freighters can be substantial in train length and I see this as a potential concern for Mildura.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I have said it before but all they are doing is regauging the BG of yesterday rather than building the SG of today and tomorrow.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
If this project results in a much more reliable and consistent journey time for intermodal trains like the Mildura operation there is the prospect there for more growth but again what will let that down is the length of terminal capacity in Merbein and the length of crossing loops.
Trainplanner
This is a key point that many seem to have either overlooked or just not paid enough attention to.

Figures via Vicsig.net:

277km point, Emu loop: 850m long
310km point, Sutherland loop: 940m long
336km point, Donald loop: 850m long
369km point, Watchem loop: 850m long
389km point, Birchip loop: 850m long
578km point, Carwarp loop: 650m long

The above list is incomplete.

This tells me that most loops are at 850m in length, I assume these are good enough for regular grain trains of about 40 hoppers to cross one another, but not really suitable for the long freight trains of the future we had been lead to believe will become the norm on this line.

As far as I know, as a part of this project there isn't any money allocated to extending any of the existing loops, let alone for the construction of new loops at Tourello or elsewhere. As has already been discussed, there will be a long single track section between Maroona and Maryborough, and eventually a long single track section between Warrenheip and Maryborough.

This will not be enough to provide a reliable line. Loops on the Western SG from Adelaide to Melbourne now have a standard length of 1800m, and there are no sections between loops anywhere near as long as the ones the Mildura line will have South of Maryborough.

I know a lot of contributers on this site have focussed their dissapointment at lower than expected axle loads, I think a lack of decent crossing facilities will prove the bigger downside of this "upgrade".
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I have said it before but all they are doing is regauging the BG of yesterday rather than building the SG of today and tomorrow.
YM-Mundrabilla

Together with wholesale rationalisation.

If they remove the connection from the Ararat to Maryborough line from the west how will trains from the east on that line access Ararat Yard?  The project is a lost opportunity when it could have been a watershed.

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