Show of support at Mildura passenger rail rally

 

News article: Show of support at Mildura passenger rail rally

PASSIONATE community members demanded action for a long-awaited commitment to the restoration of a passenger rail service in the region, arming themselves with signs and taking to Langtree Mall on Saturday.

  potatoinmymouth Assistant Commissioner

What is the line speed for a passenger service Kalgoorlie to Perth?
bevans

Max line speed 160km/h, averaging 112km/h over the 653km.

Compare this to average 95km/h on the morning up Bendigo express and you’ll find this is a massive ask.

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  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Somewhat perplexed we on here keep
Suggesting the people in Mildura are wrong to expect to be included in the state passenger rail network. They should have a rail service period.

I am tired of hearing about subsidies. Everything is subsidised why are people fixated on this.

The Mildura airport is subsidised. The security at Mildura airport is subsidised. Air traffic control for Mildura is a subsidy.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The nationals guy Andrew Broad now looking more out of touch with the head of Mildura airport now coming out and saying the return of the train would be positive for all.
bevans

It is amazing what people will say when they know something is never likely to happen.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
The nationals guy Andrew Broad now looking more out of touch with the head of Mildura airport now coming out and saying the return of the train would be positive for all.

It is amazing what people will say when they know something is never likely to happen.
simstrain

Hmm...how long is NEVER Question
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Somewhat perplexed we on here keep Suggesting the people in Mildura are wrong to expect to be included in the state passenger rail network. They should have a rail service period. I am tired of hearing about subsidies. Everything is subsidised why are people fixated on this.
freightgate
You are aware that the State Government has a limit on how much money they can spend over a given period of time aren't you?

That means they must prioritise where they spend that money. If you spend 2 Billion Dollars on getting the Mildura line up to a standard that would be acceptable for regular scheduled passenger trains, then that is 2 Billion Dollars that can not go to building the Metro tunnel, or upgrades to Hospitals, or to new schools in growing outer suburbs, or to providing more Police, or to any of the other things that the government has to pay for.

And don't be mistaken, $2 Billion might just get you the required track upgrades to get the line up to a passenger line standard, never mind the rollingstock or station upgrades that would also be needed. As I said before, there are over 160 level crossings that would need to be upgraded before any VLocity could travel on that line. That is just to start with.

You see, its not that sceptics like myself wouldn't like to see it happen, we just understand why it isn't happening.

Its really easy to sit there in the cheap seats and demand the government makes V/Line send a train to Mildura, the reality of actually achieving it is much more complex.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
The Mildura airport is subsidised. The security at Mildura airport is subsidised. Air traffic control for Mildura is a subsidy.
freightgate
Who provides the funds to subsidise Mildura Airport?

Being an Airport my guess would be the Federal government. Although, it could also be subsidised by the Mildura City Council. I doubt it would be subsidised by the Victorian State Government, although I am open for correction here.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

Its really easy to sit there in the cheap seats and demand the government makes V/Line send a train to Mildura, the reality of actually achieving it is much more complex.
Gman_86

Err...no it isn't...

The state government isn't going to fork out $50 Billion in one year to construct the Metro circle line. Because it's such a mammoth task and due to its complexity it is planned to take at least two, possibly three decades.

Mildura could also be done the same way...incrementally...over say 5 years. How do you think the Opposition is planning to undertake a full restoration...or do you think they are just lying Question

Assuming your $2 Billion, back of an envelope cost... let's break it down to $350 Million every year for 5 years...This would get the line up and operating in stages to say, St Arnaud, Donald, Birchip, Ouyen then finally to Mildura in the fifth year.

As every section is completed each year, so too could the restoration of the stations in a similar template to the restoration of the stations currently occurring along the Ballarat line.

Voila...completed with no pain to the state budget.

Mike.
  Valvegear The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Norda Fittazroy
[
How do you think the Opposition is planning to undertake a full restoration...or do you think they are just lying?
"The Vinelander"
The opposition isn't planning anything; it's just talking through its collective hat because an election is happening next November. BS comes free by the truckload when an election is imminent.
As Gman has pointed out, it is a massive undertaking and you can bet that it hasn't been properly costed or thought through by the Opposition.  They probably think 160 Level Crossings is a piece of music like 76 Trombones.

You see, its not that sceptics like myself wouldn't like to see it happen, we just understand why it isn't happening.
"Gman_86"
Exactly.
  potatoinmymouth Assistant Commissioner

I have to say quoting the Suburban Rail Loop figures just makes the argument look even flimsier.

Using the back of the envelope figures we see $50 billion/400,000 passengers/day = $125,000/passenger/day

and

$1 billion/400 passengers/day = $2.5 million/passenger/day.

Now I’m being very generous here, assuming a full train in both directions every day, and cutting capex to $1 billion, and we see the investment is still on a different order of magnitude.

By no means am I arguing this is an appropriate way to calculate the value of the service, but it does give some hint to the challenges faced by any rational cost-benefit analysis.

(EDIT: It's been pointed out to me that this is a fairly rubbery use of figures; it was my crude attempt to provide some sort of quantitative analysis of the scale of the benefits compared to the scale of the investment. Most likely I should have expressed my conclusions more succinctly: from this perspective, the state's expenditure to produce a single individual using the service over a given time scale is substantially greater for the Mildura line than the SRL. Quoting accounting figures to demonstrate a limited impact on the state budget is not much good if the expenditure can't be justified in the first place, returning to my overarching theme.)

To the subsidy point: I appreciate @freightgate pointing out that the airport is directly subsidised by the provision of air traffic control, firefighting and security services. I extend the point by noting that although Airservices Australia is financially self-sustainable, clearly the revenues of its major airport operations would offset the fixed costs of its small airport services, and so the argument holds.

Of course, the implication is once again that we skeptics are entrenched in our opposition to a subsidised service, in ignorance of  the fact that virtually all transport infrastructure is in some way underwritten by the taxpayer. I’ve stated before that this is not the case. There is already a heavily subsidised public transport option in Mildura, as you well know. There is no way that V/Line fares cover the actual costs of operating the bus to Swan Hill and train to Melbourne, but the service is provided because it fulfils an accepted social need.

So, we are back where we started. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that increases to the subsidy required for Sunraysia public transport offer some actual benefit. But I am still yet to hear of any argument that such a benefit exists on the balance of probabilities, and that it can only be provided by a passenger train.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Somewhat perplexed we on here keep
Suggesting the people in Mildura are wrong to expect to be included in the state passenger rail network. They should have a rail service period.

I am tired of hearing about subsidies. Everything is subsidised why are people fixated on this.

The Mildura airport is subsidised. The security at Mildura airport is subsidised. Air traffic control for Mildura is a subsidy.
freightgate
Agree, but how much subsidy are we talking 70%, 80%, 90%. It shouldn't be more than the highest subsidy service now and probably more than average.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I have to say quoting the Suburban Rail Loop figures just makes the argument look even flimsier.

Using the back of the envelope figures we see $50 billion/400,000 passengers/day = $125,000/passenger/day

and

$1 billion/400 passengers/day = $2.5 million/passenger/day.

Now I’m being very generous here, assuming a full train in both directions every day, and cutting capex to $1 billion, and we see the investment is still on a different order of magnitude.

By no means am I arguing this is an appropriate way to calculate the value of the service, but it does give some hint to the challenges faced by any rational cost-benefit analysis.

To the subsidy point: I appreciate @freightgate pointing out that the airport is directly subsidised by the provision of air traffic control, firefighting and security services. I extend the point by noting that although Airservices Australia is financially self-sustainable, clearly the revenues of its major airport operations would offset the fixed costs of its small airport services, and so the argument holds.

Of course, the implication is once again that we skeptics are entrenched in our opposition to a subsidised service, in ignorance of  the fact that virtually all transport infrastructure is in some way underwritten by the taxpayer. I’ve stated before that this is not the case. There is already a heavily subsidised public transport option in Mildura, as you well know. There is no way that V/Line fares cover the actual costs of operating the bus to Swan Hill and train to Melbourne, but the service is provided because it fulfils an accepted social need.

So, we are back where we started. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that increases to the subsidy required for Sunraysia public transport offer some actual benefit. But I am still yet to hear of any argument that such a benefit exists on the balance of probabilities, and that it can only be provided by a passenger train.
potatoinmymouth
For a $B, I'd connect the Mildura line to Swan Hill, therefore each service to both is more viable by combining.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
What is the line speed for a passenger service Kalgoorlie to Perth?

Max line speed 160km/h, averaging 112km/h over the 653km.

Compare this to average 95km/h on the morning up Bendigo express and you’ll find this is a massive ask.
potatoinmymouth
653 / 112 gives an elapsed time of about 5.8 hours, but that's with the benefit of good track.  Mildura is a little closer to its capital (542 according to Google), so if the same average of 112 could be achieved, it would take about 4.8 hours.  Just in terms of time, this would be somewhere comparable to flying, given airport security requirements these days, and that you would arrive into central Melbourne, not Tullamarine or Avalon or somewhere else.  But a trip of longer than about 5 hours would have no advantage (except perhaps for those who are afraid of flying, and there's a course you can do for that), and Mildura does not have the same standard of track as between Kalgoorlie and Perth.    

Some questions:
(1)  Could an average / maximum speed of 112 / 160 (or similar) ever be technically achievable on the Mildura line?
(2)  If the answer to (1) is "yes", how much would it cost to implement, and how long would it take? *
(3)  Even if the $$$ could be found and were available, would such money be better spent elsewhere?
(4)  Even if such an upgraded line and service were in place, how many people would actually use it?  What would be the fares?
(5)  Have the Mildura rail supporters really thought about any of this?

* Some things to consider:

New track and signalling
Removal of most or all level crossings (how many?)
New vehicles/rolling stock
Refurbished stations and facilities
No break of gauge or changing trains
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
I have to say quoting the Suburban Rail Loop figures just makes the argument look even flimsier.

Using the back of the envelope figures we see $50 billion/400,000 passengers/day = $125,000/passenger/day

and

$1 billion/400 passengers/day = $2.5 million/passenger/day.

Now I’m being very generous here, assuming a full train in both directions every day, and cutting capex to $1 billion, and we see the investment is still on a different order of magnitude.
potatoinmymouth
Let's give the projects a life span to make this more realistic. I'm going to say 50 years for arguments sake and stick to the $2Bn for Mildura works, even though back of the envelope, it is more realistic I think.

SRL 400,000 pax trips per day = 146 million per year = 7,300,000,000 over the life of the project. Divide $50Bn into that and it gives you $6.85 cost per pax trip (rounded)

Now lets take Mildura. 400 trips per day = 146,000 per year = 7,300,000 over the project life. Divide $2Bn into that and you get $274 (rounded)

Even if you up trips to 1000 per day you get $109.60 cost per trip, halve the cost to $1Bn and you are still at over $50.00 cost per pax trip.

This is just the cost of building the infrastructure. Doesn't include things like rolling stock and staffing costs which can be amortised over the project much more efficiently on shorter haul trips, the longer the trips the worse these get with staff and rolling stock having to layover etc etc. Doesn't even include building the track in the case of Mildura because it is already there, this is simply to upgrade it for a half decent pax train speed.

BG
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
What is the line speed for a passenger service Kalgoorlie to Perth?

Max line speed 160km/h, averaging 112km/h over the 653km.

Compare this to average 95km/h on the morning up Bendigo express and you’ll find this is a massive ask.
653 / 112 gives an elapsed time of about 5.8 hours, but that's with the benefit of good track.  Mildura is a little closer to its capital (542 according to Google), so if the same average of 112 could be achieved, it would take about 4.8 hours.  Just in terms of time, this would be somewhere comparable to flying, given airport security requirements these days, and that you would arrive into central Melbourne, not Tullamarine or Avalon or somewhere else.  But a trip of longer than about 5 hours would have no advantage (except perhaps for those who are afraid of flying, and there's a course you can do for that), and Mildura does not have the same standard of track as between Kalgoorlie and Perth.    

Some questions:
(1)  Could an average / maximum speed of 112 / 160 (or similar) ever be technically achievable on the Mildura line?
(2)  If the answer to (1) is "yes", how much would it cost to implement, and how long would it take? *
(3)  Even if the $$$ could be found and were available, would such money be better spent elsewhere?
(4)  Even if such an upgraded line and service were in place, how many people would actually use it?  What would be the fares?
(5)  Have the Mildura rail supporters really thought about any of this?

* Some things to consider:

New track and signalling
Removal of most or all level crossings (how many?)
New vehicles/rolling stock
Refurbished stations and facilities
No break of gauge or changing trains
Lad_Porter
The Mildura line is currently listed at just over 600km.

I used to live in Gladstone and work in Brisbane for a year, occasionally my wife would also come down on Business. A few times we would leave Roma St station at roughly same time 5pm. She on Airport train and flying home, me on the Rocky Tilt Train, 520km by rail from Brisbane, 6.15h on RTT. She would get home 2.5 - 3h ahead of me. For Tullamarine I'd add another 1h on top.

If you are building on basis it can compete with Air, we would stop now. But look at other locations in regional locations Australia that is served by rail and air, ie Gladstone, Bundaberg, Broken Hill, Wagga, Albury Kalgoorlie etc, so its really a mute point to even discuss it. The debate should be purely based on whether the rail service would used in sufficient numbers to off-set the cost to upgrade to a standard that achieves say sub 8h. For me, a 3 car daily return set, is the minimum numbers.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

So, we are back where we started. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that increases to the subsidy required for Sunraysia public transport offer some actual benefit. But I am still yet to hear of any argument that such a benefit exists on the balance of probabilities, and that it can only be provided by a passenger train.
potatoinmymouth

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/new-portfolio-seeks-to-ease-city-crowding-with-infrastructure-investment-and-decentralisation-20180827-p5003p.html

https://www.afr.com/news/politics/business-will-follow-government-on-regional-decentralisation-inquiry-says-20180628-h11z55


Moreover, as the Victorian government is strongly supporting decentralisation, the opportunities that exist to grow the towns beyond Maryborough and the opportunities for employment that would be created are obvious.

However people won't voluntarily move to a locality where the PT links are slow and uncomfortable

The end of the line at Mildura is simply a bonus of a LARGE population catchment.

Mike.
  Valvegear The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Norda Fittazroy
The end of the line at Mildura is simply a bonus of a LARGE population catchment.
"the Vinelander"
You may well be right. Let's say the line and rolling stock are there for line speeds of 130 km/h plus, how many of this large catchment will want to use the train on a regular basis?
Previous posters have pointed out the amount of work needed, and the cost. It will need a lot of passenger use to justify it.
  potatoinmymouth Assistant Commissioner

First of all, my apologies as I realise I screwed up the average speed for the Prospector - it's actually an average of 95km/h. (There are 410 minutes in 6.5 hours, not 350 as I stupidly put in the calculator first time round!) So that I think takes us into slightly more achievable territory, although it still requires LX and track upgrades to get 130km/h line speed past Maryborough, realistically speaking. Also, I asked in another thread why the promised (circa 2012: works allegedly underway at the time) 130 click limit to Maryborough never eventuated, and I'm still trying to find an answer on that. So I shall keep you all informed as it may prove relevant to the broader question of whether the improved average speed is achievable for a given investment level.

As for decentralisation, I think it's an interesting and challenging topic because it represents a paradigm shift from "Mildurans going to Melbourne and back" to the possibility of a more even passenger origin setup. Ultimately of course the dilemma is that of the chicken and egg. Looking at the use cases for Mildura-Melbourne travel under a more decentralised economy (nebulous phrasing by me here but it'll have to do) I am still not sure where any projected increase in public transport would arise.

I find it difficult to believe business travellers, for instance, would choose to use the train on the whole, preferring plane travel for its productivity savings despite the increased ticket cost. As for other travellers, would it not be the case that demand for travel to Melbourne might decrease as further jobs and services become available in Mildura?

For what it's worth, though, with my revised average speed figures, the annual patronage of the Prospector (88,000 to a town of 30,000) is looking somewhat more compelling in terms of a useful reference point for a Mildura service. Worth noting that this service provides levels of luxury that would require new rollingstock design and purchase to achieve in Victoria, increasing prices again. I'm not convinced yet that this is the best way to spend taxpayer money, but as I've acknowledged from the start, I can see how it may not be completely fruitless.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
unable to understand that PT never runs at a profit and nor should it...
The Vinelander
I want to pick up on this point.

In my view, PT doesnt necessarily need to recover all costs to provide it (ie it doesnt necessarily need to be financially viable).  But it certainly needs to be economically viable, ie the economic benefits of congestion reduction, added to the financial benefits for example need to be break even or better.  Otherwise, may as well take your money and burn it in Fitzroy Park as thats what youre doing with it.

The analysis probably says that this project doesnt stack up economically and so there is the answer.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I consider the greens could very well control the government without the need to form government post November.  Agree with the comments above Mildura does need a passenger service and will again have one in the future the only question being when?
The Greens will never control the government. They may well side with the ALP to give them the numbers in the lower house, but that is a long way short of control. In such a case, if the Greens want to stay relevant they must support the ALP. They have no other option except oblivion under a coalition government.

Mildura needs a passenger train service like a reindeer needs a hat rack, and it certainly won't have one as long as your bum points towards the ground. It cannot be justified - simple as that.
This isn't about playing trains; this is reality.
Hello All,

Contrary to popular perceptions, the Greens in the Victorian Upper House / Legislative Council have sided far more with the LNP Opposition than they ever have with the Government. The Greens do no favours for the ALP, but are quite happy to support the LNP Opposition against the Government even when the ALP is pro Public Transport and pro Bicycle , which one would expect to align with Green policies.

Regards, Radioman
Radioman
Id say the Greens are not siding with the LNP but are siding against the ALP (government).  The greens are in opposition too in many respects and whilst they might be opposing the same things the government is proposing, that does not mean they are supportive of the LNP.

It might help to look into what issues/legistlation specifically the Greens and LNP are voting the same way on to explore your point further.
  ivahri Train Controller

I've come to the conclusion that debating The Vinelander on this subject is as pointless as arguing with the Pope to become an atheist... I think you stand a better chance of converting the Pope to atheism than altering his view... I've seen more rational Jehovah's Witnesses...
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
unable to understand that PT never runs at a profit and nor should it...
I want to pick up on this point.

In my view, PT doesnt necessarily need to recover all costs to provide it (ie it doesnt necessarily need to be financially viable).  But it certainly needs to be economically viable, ie the economic benefits of congestion reduction, added to the financial benefits for example need to be break even or better.  Otherwise, may as well take your money and burn it in Fitzroy Park as thats what youre doing with it.

The analysis probably says that this project doesnt stack up economically and so there is the answer.
james.au
Yes and issue with regional services, NO ONE can make a claim that even 2-3 x day service to a rural country town will improve congestion anywhere or make roads safer.

A few claims that Mildura line has X many huge number of LX and 385km beyond Maryborough to upgrade to suitable standard. All through an area of very low population to provide a daily service that won't exceed 3 cars worth.

Plan B - Going via Swan Hill
~345km of existing line soon to operate V/locities, current timetable is daily M-F, 2 x S-S, 4.5h travel time, additional bus service from Bendigo, assume lack of bodies to justify a actual train.

~45km of track north of Swan Hill to Pinagil to upgrade

~100km of Greenfield track between Pinagil and Ouyen to build

~100km of track from Ouyen to Mildura to upgrade to V/locity standards

Total distance ~ 590km, only marginally longer than on Mildura Line whole way.

Total track upgrade ~150km, less than half the distance than Mildura Line

Extra Travel time beyond Swan Hill is 2-2.5h each way.

Provides more direct connection to two regional major populations, but also includes Ouyen.

Down side, 100km of Greenfield railway to build across near flat land with no significant obstacles. You wouldn't even need a passing loop.

Upside on train services, 1 x Daily to Mildura can be added to 2 x daily service to Swan Hill, just add another set to existing V/locity. No extra driver needed for most of service.

Why cannot it happen now, because of a missing 100km of cheap railway line to build. Same piece of track may be of use to freight, especially freight to Manangatang, may enable the Robinvale this line to be truncated further south than Manangatang.
  Dangersdan707 Deputy Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
unable to understand that PT never runs at a profit and nor should it...
I want to pick up on this point.

In my view, PT doesnt necessarily need to recover all costs to provide it (ie it doesnt necessarily need to be financially viable).  But it certainly needs to be economically viable, ie the economic benefits of congestion reduction, added to the financial benefits for example need to be break even or better.  Otherwise, may as well take your money and burn it in Fitzroy Park as thats what youre doing with it.

The analysis probably says that this project doesnt stack up economically and so there is the answer.
Yes and issue with regional services, NO ONE can make a claim that even 2-3 x day service to a rural country town will improve congestion anywhere or make roads safer.

A few claims that Mildura line has X many huge number of LX and 385km beyond Maryborough to upgrade to suitable standard. All through an area of very low population to provide a daily service that won't exceed 3 cars worth.

Plan B - Going via Swan Hill
~345km of existing line soon to operate V/locities, current timetable is daily M-F, 2 x S-S, 4.5h travel time, additional bus service from Bendigo, assume lack of bodies to justify a actual train.

~45km of track north of Swan Hill to Pinagil to upgrade

~100km of Greenfield track between Pinagil and Ouyen to build

~100km of track from Ouyen to Mildura to upgrade to V/locity standards

Total distance ~ 590km, only marginally longer than on Mildura Line whole way.

Total track upgrade ~150km, less than half the distance than Mildura Line

Extra Travel time beyond Swan Hill is 2-2.5h each way.

Provides more direct connection to two regional major populations, but also includes Ouyen.

Down side, 100km of Greenfield railway to build across near flat land with no significant obstacles. You wouldn't even need a passing loop.

Upside on train services, 1 x Daily to Mildura can be added to 2 x daily service to Swan Hill, just add another set to existing V/locity. No extra driver needed for most of service.

Why cannot it happen now, because of a missing 100km of cheap railway line to build. Same piece of track may be of use to freight, especially freight to Manangatang, may enable the Robinvale this line to be truncated further south than Manangatang.
RTT_Rules
One slight problem exists, Called Standard gauge
  potatoinmymouth Assistant Commissioner

One slight problem exists, Called Standard gauge
Dangersdan707

As usual Dan you are spot on in your conclusions even though the methodology is unconventional! Yes, the SG setup means there will be increased operating cost and difficulty regardless of what route is chosen (for instance, say it’s all change at Ballarat - a few minutes delay over 400km is not implausible and creates massive pathing problems for the connecting service). Not an argument against doing it per se though, and in fact the capital cost required for such an option could be offset by the capital cost associated with a complete west of Ballarat passenger network. (I would argue this is the country analogue to the Suburban Rail Loop, but that’s another story altogether!)

As for whether public transport should pay for itself, I think pure economic rationalism is dangerous and counterproductive in the long run: that is, if a pressing social need can be met by an economically borderline solution, then the investment is justified. Unfortunately that is flat out not the case here.
  BigShunter Deputy Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Yes and issue with regional services, NO ONE can make a claim that even 2-3 x day service to a rural country town will improve congestion anywhere or make roads safer.

A few claims that Mildura line has X many huge number of LX and 385km beyond Maryborough to upgrade to suitable standard. All through an area of very low population to provide a daily service that won't exceed 3 cars worth.

Plan B - Going via Swan Hill
~345km of existing line soon to operate V/locities, current timetable is daily M-F, 2 x S-S, 4.5h travel time, additional bus service from Bendigo, assume lack of bodies to justify a actual train.

~45km of track north of Swan Hill to Pinagil to upgrade

~100km of Greenfield track between Pinagil and Ouyen to build

~100km of track from Ouyen to Mildura to upgrade to V/locity standards

Total distance ~ 590km, only marginally longer than on Mildura Line whole way.

Total track upgrade ~150km, less than half the distance than Mildura Line

Extra Travel time beyond Swan Hill is 2-2.5h each way.

Provides more direct connection to two regional major populations, but also includes Ouyen.

Down side, 100km of Greenfield railway to build across near flat land with no significant obstacles. You wouldn't even need a passing loop.

Upside on train services, 1 x Daily to Mildura can be added to 2 x daily service to Swan Hill, just add another set to existing V/locity. No extra driver needed for most of service.

Why cannot it happen now, because of a missing 100km of cheap railway line to build. Same piece of track may be of use to freight, especially freight to Manangatang, may enable the Robinvale this line to be truncated further south than Manangatang.
RTT_Rules

Ok, RTT, lets really get the big stick out and belt all this into one.

Don't stop your greenfield line at Ouyen, straight through to Murray Bridge, there's the connection from the Sunraysia to S.A ! ( that lots have talked about, freight as well )

Piangil, why not turn right, 120 k greenfield to the old Hay line, upgrade that, as well !

There you have it, a short cut Sydney to Adelaide, no freight wondering through Melbourne.

Mildura, jump on a train to Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide.................

BigShunter.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
no freight wondering through Melbourne.
BigShunter
I didn't realise freight (or the trains that carry it) had the ability to wonder, but then I expect you meant wandering... Wink

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