New committee to consider options for financing faster rail

 

News article: New committee to consider options for financing faster rail

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities has commenced a new inquiry into options for financing faster rail to connect major cities across Australia.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The committee is now examining the funding envelopes for fast rail services across a number of corridors including:

Sydney to Wollongong
Melbourne to Geelong (we know about this pair)
Melbourne to Albury/Wodonga
Brisbane to the Gold Coast

I thought funding had already been assigned for Melbourne to Geelong?

Melbourne to Albury is a new one.

New committee to consider options for financing faster rail

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  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Sir Humphrey Appleby:

"And to that end, I recommend that we set up an interdepartmental committee with fairly broad terms of reference so that at the end of the day we'll be in the position to think through the various implications and arrive at a decision based on long-term considerations rather than rush prematurely into precipitate and possibly ill-conceived action which might well have unforeseen repercussions."
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I'm sure you are right but John Alexander is no slough. He will push the work through.

Did the LIBS have a date on the Melbourne to Geelong project and yes I am aware Daniel Andrews has canned the idea whilst the council is pro high speed to Melbourne. Smile
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The committee is now examining the funding envelopes for fast rail services across a number of corridors including:

Sydney to Wollongong
Melbourne to Geelong (we know about this pair)
Melbourne to Albury/Wodonga
Brisbane to the Gold Coast

I thought funding had already been assigned for Melbourne to Geelong?

Melbourne to Albury is a new one.

New committee to consider options for financing faster rail
bevans
Brisbane - GC is half done, just fix the Brisbane to Beenleigh so the GC trains can make a decent run of it. Prior to the extension VL, the GC trains took twice as long to go City - Beenleigh as they did Beenleigh - Robina, yet distance is the same. The GC trains have now been saddled with even more stops on City - Beenleigh section, slowing them further.

Mel to Albury, easy. Hand over the right amount of cash to ARTC to do the job properly and rebuild the NE line to 160 - 200km/h standard. No need for new alignment or trackage over most of the corridor.

Syd - Wollongong, well the actually got it right the first time over 130 years ago and had a reasonably straight run from Waterfall to the Coalcliff.  Later on they put in the horse shoe route we have today. The straight tunnels are even still there.

So
1) rebuild new tunnels/open old ones Waterfall to say Scarborough (13-14km, one mid way station at Helensburg), 140km/h running to Heathcote through the tunnels and most of the job is done and is by far the big ticket item.
2) Next Quad the track from Waterfall to Mortdale with two express lines rated 80-140km/h.
3) From Mortdale tunnel (4km) to Kingsgrove on East Hills line rated to 140km/h running and run the quad express all the way to the city from there.

Mel to Geelong - rebuild to 200km/h running with O/H and fix the bottle necks into the city.


Committee's work is now done, hand over the money.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Committee:- A group of the unfit, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

blah blah blah blah blah.

Seriously RTT. The old tunnels are not going to be re used to Wollongong. A new alignment might be built but the old stuff is staying closed.

You can hand as much cash as you want to the ARTC but they would still find a way to botch the job up
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

You can hand as much cash as you want to the ARTC but they would still find a way to botch the job up
simstrain
The Murray Basin Standardisation debacle makes ARTC look good
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Seriously RTT. The old tunnels are not going to be re used to Wollongong. A new alignment might be built but the old stuff is staying closed.
simstrain
The old tunnels are not suitable for the use of modern trains as the cross section is too small, however, I believe the alignment is mostly quite good. It would be a simple matter in engineering terms to enlarge and widen. Cawleys tunnel could be easily converted into a cutting. The major challenge would be managing the environmental aspects (and rightly so).
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Seriously RTT. The old tunnels are not going to be re used to Wollongong. A new alignment might be built but the old stuff is staying closed.
The old tunnels are not suitable for the use of modern trains as the cross section is too small, however, I believe the alignment is mostly quite good. It would be a simple matter in engineering terms to enlarge and widen. Cawleys tunnel could be easily converted into a cutting. The major challenge would be managing the environmental aspects (and rightly so).
Lockspike
Please explain what is the difference between the closed tunnels and the older Clifton Tunnel still in service?
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Seriously RTT. The old tunnels are not going to be re used to Wollongong. A new alignment might be built but the old stuff is staying closed.
The old tunnels are not suitable for the use of modern trains as the cross section is too small, however, I believe the alignment is mostly quite good. It would be a simple matter in engineering terms to enlarge and widen. Cawleys tunnel could be easily converted into a cutting. The major challenge would be managing the environmental aspects (and rightly so).
Please explain what is the difference between the closed tunnels and the older Clifton Tunnel still in service?
RTT_Rules
The original single line alignment from Waterfall to Coalcliff was shorter (but not without some sharp curves). There were a number of tunnels: Waterfall, Cawleys, Helensbugh, Metropolitan (so named for the nearby colliery), Lillyvale Nos.1&2, and the infamous Otford Tunnel, (Google it). Increasing traffic brought the need for double track, and as in so many other places in NSW in conjunction with double tracking, they introduced a lessser graded but longer more circuitous alignment which enabled the steam power of the day to haul more economical loads. The all still in use double track tunnels are: Helensburgh, Metropolitan, Lilyvale, Bald Hill, and Stanwell Creek Nos.1&2. Today, as you drive along Lawrence Hargrave Drive between Stanwell Park and Coalcliff, you are driving on the old formation.

The original and still in use Clifton Tunnel is immediately South of Coalcliff. The Clifton Tunnel is not without its trials. It was a tight fit for the 57 class, the length of the 60 class made bad conditions even worse for enginemen, and the hill that the tunnel pierces is slowly but surely falling into the sea. All the existing tunnels had their floors lowered during electrification works and the Clifton Tunnel had extensive rectification to straighten and level it again.
I remember my father telling me that Uncle Sam wanted to blow the hill into the sea during WW2 and build a new road and railway through the resultant modified landscape, (I've never checked the bona fides of the story).
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Please explain what is the difference between the closed tunnels and the older Clifton Tunnel still in service?
The original single line alignment from Waterfall to Coalcliff was shorter (but not without some sharp curves). There were a number of tunnels: Waterfall, Cawleys, Helensbugh, Metropolitan (so named for the nearby colliery), Lillyvale Nos.1&2, and the infamous Otford Tunnel, (Google it). Increasing traffic brought the need for double track, and as in so many other places in NSW in conjunction with double tracking, they introduced a lessser graded but longer more circuitous alignment which enabled the steam power of the day to haul more economical loads. The all still in use double track tunnels are: Helensburgh, Metropolitan, Lilyvale, Bald Hill, and Stanwell Creek Nos.1&2. Today, as you drive along Lawrence Hargrave Drive between Stanwell Park and Coalcliff, you are driving on the old formation.

The original and still in use Clifton Tunnel is immediately South of Coalcliff. The Clifton Tunnel is not without its trials. It was a tight fit for the 57 class, the length of the 60 class made bad conditions even worse for enginemen, and the hill that the tunnel pierces is slowly but surely falling into the sea. All the existing tunnels had their floors lowered during electrification works and the Clifton Tunnel had extensive rectification to straighten and level it again.
I remember my father telling me that Uncle Sam wanted to blow the hill into the sea during WW2 and build a new road and railway through the resultant modified landscape, (I've never checked the bona fides of the story).
Lockspike
Thanks for this, obviously for sparks its a different story.

Yes I've read up on these tunnels many times, mostly counteracting Sim's random claims.

I know the old tunnels won't be reused because they won't have full length access side platforms for emergencies and I think this is the main issue overall. Dropping the floor to increase clearances is not a drama, its been done many times across Australia, easier if the tunnel is not in operation. Realistically the boring costs for a single track tunnel are not that expensive. For this project you could build a pair of twin tunnels for a few billion as no stations apart from maybe Helensburg. So just drop a TBM at the end and let it run for 12mths to the other end, no costly stations and other infrastructure to deal with.

How to do the South Coast without Gold Plating it into a over priced HSR.
The tunnelled route is about the same length as NWRL tunnel so with only one station and simply connecting the two ends no Sky rail section, rail depo and ECRL conversion, it will be alot less than the NWRL's $6B cost, likely $2-2.5B. Build the tunnels Electric traction only (save cost) and leave the oil burners on the current corridor.

Most of the stations on the current route that would be by-passed are all within a short drive, in some cases walk of each other due to the rails alignment  and for the numbers are not worth maintaining in operation with the new corridor especially if Helensburg is kept and potentially centralised in the town.

All stoppers do Scarsborough to Waterfall in 30min, the new tunnelled option would do it at say average 120km/h in 7-8min, lets say 10min with a station stop to call it even. 20min saving.

North of Sutherland, the corridor is wide and reasonably aligned and begging for Quadding and higher speed running. Jannali station is the only hard part. Como statio looks fairly easy.

Then we have the bridge, you can go cheap and use existing (I wouldn't argue for that for a cost reduction option)

North of the river, there is what appears a potential corridor east of the existing tracks bypassing Oatley station but running through the Mortdale carriage wash. So diver down just prior and start a 4.5km long tunnel to Kingston station. $1 - 1.5B.

As I stated before, Mortdale to Kingston diversion and on express Quads to Wolli Creek, saves alot of time and prevents the need for more costly Quading south of Hurtsville. The current time table Sutherland to Wolli Crk is 20min for 15km (45km/h), potentially the above would drop down closer to 10min depending on track speed.

So all up
- Saved say 30min of 90min timetable,
- Cost around $5-6B.
- Enabled significant increase in frequency
- Reduced congestion for freights.
- Allows more Cronulla/Waterfall services
- Reduce operating cost for NSW trains as each set does the round trip to Wollongong in 1h less, so for efficient use of rolling stock and staff effectively increasing the size of the fleet
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

You can hand as much cash as you want to the ARTC but they would still find a way to botch the job up
The Murray Basin Standardisation debacle makes ARTC look good
Lockspike
No it doesn't. All that it means is that we have a whole bunch of incompetent people in this country when it comes to rail.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Thanks for this, obviously for sparks its a different story.

Yes I've read up on these tunnels many times, mostly counteracting Sim's random claims.

I know the old tunnels won't be reused because they won't have full length access side platforms for emergencies and I think this is the main issue overall. Dropping the floor to increase clearances is not a drama, its been done many times across Australia, easier if the tunnel is not in operation. Realistically the boring costs for a single track tunnel are not that expensive. For this project you could build a pair of twin tunnels for a few billion as no stations apart from maybe Helensburg. So just drop a TBM at the end and let it run for 12mths to the other end, no costly stations and other infrastructure to deal with.

How to do the South Coast without Gold Plating it into a over priced HSR.
The tunnelled route is about the same length as NWRL tunnel so with only one station and simply connecting the two ends no Sky rail section, rail depo and ECRL conversion, it will be alot less than the NWRL's $6B cost, likely $2-2.5B. Build the tunnels Electric traction only (save cost) and leave the oil burners on the current corridor.

Most of the stations on the current route that would be by-passed are all within a short drive, in some cases walk of each other due to the rails alignment  and for the numbers are not worth maintaining in operation with the new corridor especially if Helensburg is kept and potentially centralised in the town.

All stoppers do Scarsborough to Waterfall in 30min, the new tunnelled option would do it at say average 120km/h in 7-8min, lets say 10min with a station stop to call it even. 20min saving.

North of Sutherland, the corridor is wide and reasonably aligned and begging for Quadding and higher speed running. Jannali station is the only hard part. Como statio looks fairly easy.

Then we have the bridge, you can go cheap and use existing (I wouldn't argue for that for a cost reduction option)

North of the river, there is what appears a potential corridor east of the existing tracks bypassing Oatley station but running through the Mortdale carriage wash. So diver down just prior and start a 4.5km long tunnel to Kingston station. $1 - 1.5B.

As I stated before, Mortdale to Kingston diversion and on express Quads to Wolli Creek, saves alot of time and prevents the need for more costly Quading south of Hurtsville. The current time table Sutherland to Wolli Crk is 20min for 15km (45km/h), potentially the above would drop down closer to 10min depending on track speed.

So all up
- Saved say 30min of 90min timetable,
- Cost around $5-6B.
- Enabled significant increase in frequency
- Reduced congestion for freights.
- Allows more Cronulla/Waterfall services
- Reduce operating cost for NSW trains as each set does the round trip to Wollongong in 1h less, so for efficient use of rolling stock and staff effectively increasing the size of the fleet
RTT_Rules

1. If you know the old tunnels won't be re used then why do you keep arguing for them.
2. It is Sydney and we gold plate stuff.
3. The old tunnels are only big enough for single track and going forward requires a tunnel for 2 tracks.
4. The old tunnels have been decommissioned and Clifton has not is why it still operates.
5. Clifton tunnel is going to need to be replaced soon since it is a huge limiting factor to rail traffic being single track.
6. Any new alignment will need to take in to account freight traffic.
7. If you don't want to gold plate then why are you suggesting an electric only solution?
8. Aside from quadrupling there is no reason to make any modification to the T4 alignment.
9. North west metro tunnels were smaller metro sized tunnels vs the larger more expensive tunnels for the Sydney trains network.
10. Land along the alignment is nowhere near as stable as in the north west.
11. Tunnelling will be much more expensive then the metro's and so a comparison should not be made to the cost of the nw metro.
12. Express trains are 7 minutes faster then the all stops service between waterfall and Thirroul.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Because your argument against is always made up wish list and I didnt think of the side platform before.

The old tunnels are not decommissioned, they are abandoned, to reactivate you simply send in a crew to fix what ever. Provided there has been no subsidence all is good.

The height is a non issue you cannot let go of. Dig the bloody floor down and get over it.

Yes it's one tunnel, we discussed before how this could work, only you had an issue with it, but yes two is better, if budget allows  dig a 2nd one.

Clifton will remain in use for years to come unless they build something else.

The cost per metre shouldn't differ alot from the NWRL apart from diameter and stations.

Quadding tight bends should be a crime, punishable by death. Its also not cheap, just tunnel to the EH line.

Spark only is alot cheaper than designing for 4 heavy diesels pumping away. Oil burners can use existing track or buy hybrid locos. Doesnt mean both tracks need to be kept active.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

RTT, it is your argument that is made up of wish lists. The old tunnels are decommisioned for rail since 1915. The were repurposed and have been used as dams, army explosive testing facilities, worm farms and other natural phenomenon such as the glow worms. It isn't just a matter of sending in a work crew to the tunnels to make them viable. Too much time has passed and the glow worms are not something you can just move without killing them all. Crown lands and Landcare are actively protecting them and so unless Gladys would like to become an environmental vandal the re opening of these tunnels for rail is never going to happen.

It would be nice if the old alignment could just be re activated but it just isn't going to happen.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
RTT, it is your argument that is made up of wish lists. The old tunnels are decommisioned for rail since 1915. The were repurposed and have been used as dams, army explosive testing facilities, worm farms and other natural phenomenon such as the glow worms. It isn't just a matter of sending in a work crew to the tunnels to make them viable. Too much time has passed and the glow worms are not something you can just move without killing them all. Crown lands and Landcare are actively protecting them and so unless Gladys would like to become an environmental vandal the re opening of these tunnels for rail is never going to happen.

It would be nice if the old alignment could just be re activated but it just isn't going to happen.
simstrain
Hardly,

It a tunnel, please explain what you decommission? The only thing that has changed is likely rails removed, portholes gated up, exhaust ventilation holes closed over and no ongoing maintenance of the tunnel lining. All recoverable quickly in a short space of time if needed.

Using the tunnels for storage "for anything" does not make the tunnel, less of a tunnel especially if the materials have been removed.

F'n glow worms, well for a start I didn't say all the tunnels could be used, the glow worms can be moved if so deemed. Yes, before spending $2B on a new tunnel, I think the NSW govt could make another unwanted tunnel available for the Glow Worms. No I don't want to see them killed, but tunnel is hardly the natural Env.

So its not ok to interfere with these old tunnels on Env reasons, but its ok to build a whole new Greenfield tunnel and approaches based on Env grounds? We all know the Govt just has to provide an off-set for anything that will be effected and this  includes glow worms.


Any thing else?
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

North of the river, there is what appears a potential corridor east of the existing tracks bypassing Oatley station but running through the Mortdale carriage wash. So diver down just prior and start a 4.5km long tunnel to Kingston station. $1 - 1.5B.
RTT_Rules

Is your real name Elon Musk?  Kingston station is 15000km away: https://goo.gl/maps/iUw8X3x2UrDg4iE99

But I'm sure people won't mind standing on a driverless metro for that distance as that's the latest technology.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Any thing else?
RTT_Rules

Actually, there is one serious thing.

The role of the committee is to devise ways of financing the projects (ie justify a fed land tax).
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
North of the river, there is what appears a potential corridor east of the existing tracks bypassing Oatley station but running through the Mortdale carriage wash. So diver down just prior and start a 4.5km long tunnel to Kingston station. $1 - 1.5B.

Is your real name Elon Musk?  Kingston station is 15000km away: https://goo.gl/maps/iUw8X3x2UrDg4iE99

But I'm sure people won't mind standing on a driverless metro for that distance as that's the latest technology.
djf01
yeah yeah "Kingsgrove"
  ANR Assistant Commissioner

A GoFundMe campaign would raise more money.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The glow worms can't be moved without killing them RTT. How many times to you need to be told that. You get so many place names wrong in Sydney I am starting to wonder how much you really know Sydney.

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