Passenger Trains North of Armidale push for railway to reopen

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 08 Feb 2018 11:51
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
There is obviously a lot of remediation to be done on the track north of Armidale to bring it back into service.  Whether the cost makes it viable or not remains to be seen. Much will depend on whether it can generate more freight transferring from road to rail, because without it, it's unlikely to stack up just relying on a limited passenger service.

From an operational perspective, it would be a simple matter of extending the Armidale Explorer to say Glen Innes as a first stage, which would equate with the Moree Explorer branch from Werris Creek.  Glen Innes was after all a major terminus on the Northern Line in days gone by.  It also has the advantage of being at the intersection of two major highways, which would reduce the need for road coaches to travel all the way to Armidale.  Any extension further north should only go as far as Tenterfield.  I don't see any benefit in continuing on to Wallangarra.

Passenger Trains North of Armidale push for railway to reopen

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  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Pie In the shy type stuff !

Look up why services were discontinued In the first place.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Pie In the shy type stuff !

Look up why services were discontinued In the first place.
Nightfire
What would you know about it from the Deep South?  It's a different era now and there is agitation to reopen some closed rail lines in country areas as well as increasing services on existing lines.  It is after all a public service and country areas deserve as much consideration as the major metropolitan regions.  They are doing it in Victoria, so why not NSW?  It at least warrants further investigation in the light of contemporary demand and if it proves to be unviable, then so be it.  If there is no prospect of services on the Northern Line beyond Armidale being reinstated, then they might as well release it for alternative uses.  But I can't see them doing this anytime soon.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
I don't see any benefit in continuing on to Wallangarra.
Transtopic
The benefit would be people could leave NSW and come to Queensland! Laughing
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Whilst I would live to see a SG corridor from Tamworth to Toowoomba, I feel that a passenger only line just isn't going to pay enough to warrant the reopening. With little in the way of freight to help, it's a hard ask. Especially for safe National party seats.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Pie In the shy type stuff !

Look up why services were discontinued In the first place.
Nightfire

Times change and people's views change.  Nothing wrong with taking a look at it again.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I don't see any benefit in continuing on to Wallangarra.
The benefit would be people could leave NSW and come to Queensland! Laughing
Graham4405

Why would anyone want to do that for.
  apw5910 Chief Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
I don't see any benefit in continuing on to Wallangarra.
The benefit would be people could leave NSW and come to Queensland! Laughing

Why would anyone want to do that for.
simstrain
To be read with Joh's voice: "I know, all you southerners come up here for our great weather, beaches, lifestyle. Don't you worry about that!"

Pretty sure I remember an interview where he said something like that.
  Mrs_O Station Master

Location: At a Station near You!
I don't see any benefit in continuing on to Wallangarra.
The benefit would be people could leave NSW and come to Queensland! Laughing
Graham4405
Why would go from one Chaos System to one that is even worse!
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
Do a numbers survey on the Toronto line too, at least this one will have bums on seats.
  Mrs_O Station Master

Location: At a Station near You!
Do a numbers survey on the Toronto line too, at least this one will have bums on seats.
Junction box

I have to agree... The Toronto one would be a fabulous one to reopen.
  locojoe67 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Gen X purgatory/urban Joh-land
Whilst we're thinking wishfully, extend the narrow gauge to Tenterfield to where it was supposed to go originally. Meet up there with the restored standard gauge from Armidale.

Just add some nation building slogans, a ppp campaign and we're good to go. Maybe. Or not. Probably not.

Sigh...
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Pie In the shy type stuff !

Look up why services were discontinued In the first place.

Times change and people's views change.  Nothing wrong with taking a look at it again.
bevans
Yes things change all the time, just like how population has declined In the region !

Who Is going to look at a passenger service restoration ?
  a6et Minister for Railways

Pie In the shy type stuff !

Look up why services were discontinued In the first place.
Nightfire
Having been involved in the area on work parties that were SRA/union/community groups, the line and services to Armidale and points north were killed off for political reasons, the then member for New England and the other one from Tamworth were both finished when the line was originally cut at Tamworth for the XPT services. The Tamworth member accepted a position as state parliamentary secretary with a lift in benefits and a higher retirement package for agreeing to the cuts after the election at the time.

The member for New England was the first ever to be voted out after one stint in parliament, both of them had promised to fight tooth and nail to keep the line and all services open, neither had teeth and none of the services stayed.

As for freight, there was a big push by many farming and rural groups to get business back on rail, interestingly at that time the Guyra meat works was still on rail, likewise Tenterfield. Meat from Inverel was road carried to Wallangarra transferred to QR and transhipped at Acacia Ridge and travelled by rail down the NCL. Later it was all sent by road when each of the works changed With Tenterfield closing, and Guyra was on life support. All markets produce also was pushed off rail, then petrol and other petroleum products, this was a cut back that had fuel from Newcastle area went to Tamworth and road hauled back to Quirindi, for distribution to Werris Creek by road as well.  The last freight on the NT was superphosphate, it used to go to Tenterfield with the meatworks traffic, along with loads to Glenn Innes and Guyra also Dumereq.  

All shoved off rail, in the meetings up there several businesses wanted rail to take their freight, even 2 of the local councils said they would use rail for all their orderings, but were rejected. The rest is history.

Passenger services in the early 80's were changed to have all seats booked seats only including the mails, when the mail went to road, that lost traffic on the trains bot directions, later removal of small freight/lcl traffic was dispensed with as well.  Booked seating also changed with every station/town being allocated a set number of seats, both first and economy, problem then was that the number of carriages were reduced on the trains as they amalgamated at Wck from the NT and Moree, more carriages meant over the load for a single engine.  

Any station that had sold out of tickets, that usually was Armidale and Tamworth, who along with Glenn Innis and Uralla were given more seating allocations than usually needed but any empty/non sold seat could not be booked from another station, as the whole ticketing system was locked through a single ticket booking service in Sydney.

Almost every train that ran to and past Werris Creek in both direction, on the night trains were generally no more than half full but each station booking office kept records of the amount of passengers turned away. Government and railways refuted the numbers for obvious reasons but the records were there.

The up mail from Armidale on Fridays, and the down mail on Sunday nights used to be fully booked and had standing room for many years before the booked seats only was introduced, the two trains were used by the students at Armidale/New England University as they had the chance to go home on the weekends.

There is more that I could say, and have said in the past, but it will sadly not get anywhere now.  Like many other locations around the state, passengers on rail are inconveniences to the system and governments as a whole, same with freight services that are not bulk commodities.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Sadly not going to happen. The state of the infrastructure is virtually at the point that you are building a new line from scratch.

I doubt there is demand for passengers so it would have to stack up for freight for any viability and sorry I cant see that.

I wish them well, but remember it is competing with other national infrastructure projects and the business case would be marginal.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Look at the passenger loading on the current explorer ex Armidale, there is not sufficient demand for the service to be extended, drive from Armidale to Tenterfield, most of the smaller towns are almost ghost towns, even Glen Innes has several empty shops, all the signs of urban decay.

It would be fair to say that the service was truncated at Armidale due to a lack of use, there does not seem to be any significant change to warrant a reintroduction.

Talking about reopening the line for freight, but what freight? what industries exist between Armidale and the Border? precious little.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Look at the passenger loading on the current explorer ex Armidale, there is not sufficient demand for the service to be extended, drive from Armidale to Tenterfield, most of the smaller towns are almost ghost towns, even Glen Innes has several empty shops, all the signs of urban decay.

It would be fair to say that the service was truncated at Armidale due to a lack of use, there does not seem to be any significant change to warrant a reintroduction.

Talking about reopening the line for freight, but what freight? what industries exist between Armidale and the Border? precious little.
theanimal
The question would be if there was the freight available, but from each of the main towns along the line, who in this day and age of block long haul trains be interested in taking it on?

Much of what used to be on rail would still be available, thing is that there is no longer the rail facilities in Sydney that can take much of what was on the line, and that's not even considering fuel which was all on rail, and the other items I previously mentioned.

The New England region was and still is a huge food bowl and most of the fruit and vegetables grown there went to Sydney for the markets, some was taken off for the Newcastle markets as well, thing is today that the Sydney markets have all the point work to the various unloading areas  removed, with trucks parking over the trackwork these days.

With a lot of hope of freight coming out of two new facilities at West Tamworth, anything from the NE region could be part of trains out of Tamworth, but wont hold my breath on it. Armidale and Glenn Innes have both pushed the idea for a freight hub at either or both locations.

Ben Lomond bank will be an obstacle owing to the grade for up trains.
  ivahri Train Controller

I think there is a solution to this...

If the councils in the area between Guyra and Tenterfield gave an undertaking to fund the capital cost to reopen the line, and then agreed to reimburse the NSW government for any operating losses above those of the existing subsidies on passenger services to Armidale...

I think that is reasonable. I look forward to those councils making the announcement.


Richard
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Pie In the shy type stuff !

Look up why services were discontinued In the first place.
Having been involved in the area on work parties that were SRA/union/community groups, the line and services to Armidale and points north were killed off for political reasons, the then member for New England and the other one from Tamworth were both finished when the line was originally cut at Tamworth for the XPT services. The Tamworth member accepted a position as state parliamentary secretary with a lift in benefits and a higher retirement package for agreeing to the cuts after the election at the time.

The member for New England was the first ever to be voted out after one stint in parliament, both of them had promised to fight tooth and nail to keep the line and all services open, neither had teeth and none of the services stayed.

As for freight, there was a big push by many farming and rural groups to get business back on rail, interestingly at that time the Guyra meat works was still on rail, likewise Tenterfield. Meat from Inverel was road carried to Wallangarra transferred to QR and transhipped at Acacia Ridge and travelled by rail down the NCL. Later it was all sent by road when each of the works changed With Tenterfield closing, and Guyra was on life support. All markets produce also was pushed off rail, then petrol and other petroleum products, this was a cut back that had fuel from Newcastle area went to Tamworth and road hauled back to Quirindi, for distribution to Werris Creek by road as well.  The last freight on the NT was superphosphate, it used to go to Tenterfield with the meatworks traffic, along with loads to Glenn Innes and Guyra also Dumereq.  

All shoved off rail, in the meetings up there several businesses wanted rail to take their freight, even 2 of the local councils said they would use rail for all their orderings, but were rejected. The rest is history.

Passenger services in the early 80's were changed to have all seats booked seats only including the mails, when the mail went to road, that lost traffic on the trains bot directions, later removal of small freight/lcl traffic was dispensed with as well.  Booked seating also changed with every station/town being allocated a set number of seats, both first and economy, problem then was that the number of carriages were reduced on the trains as they amalgamated at Wck from the NT and Moree, more carriages meant over the load for a single engine.  

Any station that had sold out of tickets, that usually was Armidale and Tamworth, who along with Glenn Innis and Uralla were given more seating allocations than usually needed but any empty/non sold seat could not be booked from another station, as the whole ticketing system was locked through a single ticket booking service in Sydney.

Almost every train that ran to and past Werris Creek in both direction, on the night trains were generally no more than half full but each station booking office kept records of the amount of passengers turned away. Government and railways refuted the numbers for obvious reasons but the records were there.

The up mail from Armidale on Fridays, and the down mail on Sunday nights used to be fully booked and had standing room for many years before the booked seats only was introduced, the two trains were used by the students at Armidale/New England University as they had the chance to go home on the weekends.

There is more that I could say, and have said in the past, but it will sadly not get anywhere now.  Like many other locations around the state, passengers on rail are inconveniences to the system and governments as a whole, same with freight services that are not bulk commodities.
a6et
Despite all this, today if you rebuilt the line to the border and ran a daily container train to pickup what's on offer. It would be mostly empty.

Yes in the past there were all sorts of voices trying to fight with the govt to retain their freight trains, what was the freight on offer? What were the local councils going to ship? Like most branch lines it was beer and other light consumer goods for which the truck has proven its a better choice. Qld was far more tolerant to keeping these old legacy services operating into the 21st century and the bulk of the freight left by choice. In some cases trains carrying less than a B-double load.

Times have changed, people have changed, technology has changed. Regardless or not if you think the NSW govt had an agenda or not, the trend was the same everywhere, both in Australia and outside. Modern Rail is for moving bulk commodities or block loads of containers, not beer kegs for a few pubs. Some of these old branch lines  carried less freight in a month than a Super freighter does in one movement. Country people rather drive most of the time as passenger trains are too infrequent, don't go where they are going or they need a car at the other end or need to transport other items. I wonder how many in Armidale have actually used the train in last 10 years?

I'd love to see the line reopened, but it must be justified. Armidale is lucky to have the XPL, not many places in Australia tolerate maintaining a 100km long rail line for a 3 car daily passenger train, its a pity Lismore couldn't enjoy the same. Even when the XPT ran to Tenterfield it was very lightly used which is why it was cut back twice to Armidale.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Look at it this way...Glen Innes is 367km from Brisbane and 569km from Sydney. How many people in the New England region are actually travelling to Sydney when Brisbane is only a four hour drive away? Borders no longer stop people travelling to the nearest big city. The Tweed and Northern Rivers is a similar situation.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
I doubt whoever operates the Armidale line makes much out of the Explorer.
The sad reality is the State Government is obsessed with soaking Sydney with millions of people and transporting them in underground tunnels back to their high rise apartments.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Well here in Victoria we have a 90km single track going from Ballarat to Ararat with 4 passenger services a day. I believe that has no freight trains on it
  The_trolley Deputy Commissioner

Location: Banned
I lived in Armidale for a number of years. And, while I’d love to see the line open it is uneconomical for the following reasons.

- The line requires a complete rebuild.
- It is steeply graded with a number of sharp curves making it uneconomical from a freight perspective.
- The freight task isn’t there. The railway doesn’t move livestock or other minor agricultural products any more. What freight is there could be easily handled from Armidale if warranted.
- From a passenger perspective, most people go to Brisbane as it’s closer. They drive. If they go to Sydney they generally fly.

Rip it up and turn it into a rail trail which might actually benefit the area. Enough with the disfunctional railway preservation groups and landholders trying to keep a hold of land they’re occupying but don’t own.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Whatever happened to the daily freight Gypsum? beyond Armidale?

When did it cease?
  a6et Minister for Railways

Having been involved in the area on work parties that were SRA/union/community groups, the line and services to Armidale and points north were killed off for political reasons, the then member for New England and the other one from Tamworth were both finished when the line was originally cut at Tamworth for the XPT services. The Tamworth member accepted a position as state parliamentary secretary with a lift in benefits and a higher retirement package for agreeing to the cuts after the election at the time.

The member for New England was the first ever to be voted out after one stint in parliament, both of them had promised to fight tooth and nail to keep the line and all services open, neither had teeth and none of the services stayed.

As for freight, there was a big push by many farming and rural groups to get business back on rail, interestingly at that time the Guyra meat works was still on rail, likewise Tenterfield. Meat from Inverel was road carried to Wallangarra transferred to QR and transhipped at Acacia Ridge and travelled by rail down the NCL. Later it was all sent by road when each of the works changed With Tenterfield closing, and Guyra was on life support. All markets produce also was pushed off rail, then petrol and other petroleum products, this was a cut back that had fuel from Newcastle area went to Tamworth and road hauled back to Quirindi, for distribution to Werris Creek by road as well.  The last freight on the NT was superphosphate, it used to go to Tenterfield with the meatworks traffic, along with loads to Glenn Innes and Guyra also Dumereq.  

All shoved off rail, in the meetings up there several businesses wanted rail to take their freight, even 2 of the local councils said they would use rail for all their orderings, but were rejected. The rest is history.

Passenger services in the early 80's were changed to have all seats booked seats only including the mails, when the mail went to road, that lost traffic on the trains bot directions, later removal of small freight/lcl traffic was dispensed with as well.  Booked seating also changed with every station/town being allocated a set number of seats, both first and economy, problem then was that the number of carriages were reduced on the trains as they amalgamated at Wck from the NT and Moree, more carriages meant over the load for a single engine.  

Any station that had sold out of tickets, that usually was Armidale and Tamworth, who along with Glenn Innis and Uralla were given more seating allocations than usually needed but any empty/non sold seat could not be booked from another station, as the whole ticketing system was locked through a single ticket booking service in Sydney.

Almost every train that ran to and past Werris Creek in both direction, on the night trains were generally no more than half full but each station booking office kept records of the amount of passengers turned away. Government and railways refuted the numbers for obvious reasons but the records were there.

The up mail from Armidale on Fridays, and the down mail on Sunday nights used to be fully booked and had standing room for many years before the booked seats only was introduced, the two trains were used by the students at Armidale/New England University as they had the chance to go home on the weekends.

There is more that I could say, and have said in the past, but it will sadly not get anywhere now.  Like many other locations around the state, passengers on rail are inconveniences to the system and governments as a whole, same with freight services that are not bulk commodities.
Despite all this, today if you rebuilt the line to the border and ran a daily container train to pickup what's on offer. It would be mostly empty.

Yes in the past there were all sorts of voices trying to fight with the govt to retain their freight trains, what was the freight on offer? What were the local councils going to ship? Like most branch lines it was beer and other light consumer goods for which the truck has proven its a better choice. Qld was far more tolerant to keeping these old legacy services operating into the 21st century and the bulk of the freight left by choice. In some cases trains carrying less than a B-double load.

Times have changed, people have changed, technology has changed. Regardless or not if you think the NSW govt had an agenda or not, the trend was the same everywhere, both in Australia and outside. Modern Rail is for moving bulk commodities or block loads of containers, not beer kegs for a few pubs. Some of these old branch lines  carried less freight in a month than a Super freighter does in one movement. Country people rather drive most of the time as passenger trains are too infrequent, don't go where they are going or they need a car at the other end or need to transport other items. I wonder how many in Armidale have actually used the train in last 10 years?

I'd love to see the line reopened, but it must be justified. Armidale is lucky to have the XPL, not many places in Australia tolerate maintaining a 100km long rail line for a 3 car daily passenger train, its a pity Lismore couldn't enjoy the same. Even when the XPT ran to Tenterfield it was very lightly used which is why it was cut back twice to Armidale.
RTT_Rules
RTT, have a look at what I have said in another reply above.

What you and many others have to understand is that there was a designed and planned project that was instigated by the Askin government following many industrial problems across the state in many areas. The late 60's had unprecedented upturn in traffic which brought out knives from media and rural groups as they could not get their business onto rail, and it was from long term users as well, and not just petty little groups either.

The steps were taken by him to rid the headship of the NSWGR and appoint someone to rationalise the system, words used was modernise it, something that has gone on for yonks since.  His wonderful appointment of Beechings hatchet mand Shirley was the result, same with his agenda that was set, withdraw steel carriages and get money to the government through scrap value, withdraw 4 wheel rolling stock, which was overdue but like the 60's restrictions on no new locomotive orders for withdrawn steam, it created huge problems.

For many it is hard to fathom and reasonings behind it, but believe me there was much to what went on, that people find hard to believe, but truth is more often than not stranger than fiction.  Few railwaymen of the time worked against the system few hated the actual job but it got to the point where a lot of dedicated people in many grades just had enough and as soon as they could retire with the super or the old 10 a penny scheme they did so.

Reality is that the traffic that was turned away turned the system into one that had made operating surpluses from freight revenue was changed into one that became a loss maker across all fields and divisions, when Askin was hit with the breach of the Railway in the late 60's, IIRC it was the 67/68 annual report, when the railways made and overall profit after tax, he was like a raging bull. the profit was not high but any profit made was supposed to go back into the system for the payment of expenses and maintenance, among other things.

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