Greenvale Railway may reopen in 2023

 
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Today's Townsville Bulletin is reporting the Agripower Australia plans to build an Amorphous Silica fertiliser plant at Yabulu, north of Townsville, has now gained State Government support. The $663-million processing plant is set for construction in 2023, alongside the rebuilding of the 220km Greenvale-Yabulu line (Yabulu is at the junction with QR's North Coast Line), and a 45km long conveyor to connect the mine with the railway.

Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk yesterday announced the project had been granted prescribed project status, which will allow the Coordinator General to fast track approvals for the plant. The conveyor and railway will to take 24-months to build to the world's largest deposit of amorphous silica - with 2-billion tonnes of resource available. Agripower already has a processing facility in Charters Towers, with the Yabulu plant to boost export production of Agrisilica fertiliser. Previous reports have indicated the mine will have a production capacity of 5-million tonnes per annum.

Apart from one bridge removed over the Bruce Highway in 2018, and a collapsed tunnel on Herveys Range, the Greenvale line alignment remains intact, more or less needing only the track to be reinstated.

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Wow this goes to show it is possible to rebuild a railway for use even when it has been lifted except where it is a rail trail. Smile

What exactly happened to the tunnel?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

It is ludicrous to suggest that a rail trail here would prevent this sort of project.

The path would simply be rebuilt alongside the new railway so everyone wins.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

The tunnel roof collapsed due to monsoonal storm rain and flooding several years. I don't believe the damage is catastrophic, there just hasn't been a reason to fix it.
  phil_48 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Wynnum North
Hope there are no Black Throated Finches up there:)
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

Hope there are no Black Throated Finches up there:)
phil_48
I also thought of Adani. If Adani is under the fast-track approvals process, I'd hate to see the slow version.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Additional information in this media release, including mention of the multi-user Greenvale to Yabulu rail corridor - presumably to be rebuilt and managed by QR, although that situation isn't made clear.

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2019/5/23/new-nq-fertiliser-mine-could-have-200year-life
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
Wow this goes to show it is possible to rebuild a railway for use even when it has been lifted except where it is a rail trail. Smile
bevans
Whilst the rail corridor may not officially have become a rail trail, parts of it have been (are being?) used by tourist bus operators. My wife and I did a trip on it in 2007 IIRC.
  Radioman Chief Train Controller

Hope there are no Black Throated Finches up there:)
I also thought of Adani. If Adani is under the fast-track approvals process, I'd hate to see the slow version.
fzr560
Hello All,

the impression that I have gained from Adani ( impressions can be false ) is that their submissions appear to be done and submitted in a manner that the approval authorities find the submissions to be deliberately misleading , which some of their public statements appear to make "misleading" a defining characteristic.

If this perception is correct, it does explain why their applications take so long, and their ongoing failures to live up to their "undertakings" in NSW does not help their case . No wonder the broader Green supporters are getting wide publicity.

Whilst I am not totally opposed to mining, coal or any other mineral, miners need to understand that mining is not the be all and end all. At some point the mine closes, rehabilitation should be implemented, and the new landscape needs to be productive. It is NOT their land, it belongs to all of us collectively.

No miner has the right to totally devastate a region, for the simple reason is that future generations also need to use that landscape for non mining purposes.

Wildlife also needs to use the landscape, we do need birds, insects, reptiles, and other animals, and we need native vegetation for them as well.

The other day I had an Indian ( as in India, the subcontinent ) taxi driver lament how India is destroying its natural habitat, and that birds are now almost non existent in towns and cities. Can you really imagine Australia without its parrots and magpies for example ?

While most of us go on our merry way, we subconsciously notice our wildlife without giving it too much immediate notice, but you will quickly become aware of its absence, and once gone, it is unlikely to return.

Mining and employment are important, but so is our environment.

Regards, Radioman.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Rail lines already removed and turned into rail trails are unlikely to ever see trains again. This was the experience in Gippsland with mining just west of Bairnsdale.

When was the lifted in any case ?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Rails were removed in 1997 and 1998 for reuse on the Mt Isa line between Townsville and Hughenden. The corridor and bridges (all pre-stressed concrete) were left in place for potential reactivation, with several mines on the drawing board or in operation since the rails were removed.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Hope there are no Black Throated Finches up there:)
I also thought of Adani. If Adani is under the fast-track approvals process, I'd hate to see the slow version.
Hello All,

the impression that I have gained from Adani ( impressions can be false ) is that their submissions appear to be done and submitted in a manner that the approval authorities find the submissions to be deliberately misleading , which some of their public statements appear to make "misleading" a defining characteristic.

If this perception is correct, it does explain why their applications take so long, and their ongoing failures to live up to their "undertakings" in NSW does not help their case . No wonder the broader Green supporters are getting wide publicity.

Whilst I am not totally opposed to mining, coal or any other mineral, miners need to understand that mining is not the be all and end all. At some point the mine closes, rehabilitation should be implemented, and the new landscape needs to be productive. It is NOT their land, it belongs to all of us collectively.

No miner has the right to totally devastate a region, for the simple reason is that future generations also need to use that landscape for non mining purposes.

Wildlife also needs to use the landscape, we do need birds, insects, reptiles, and other animals, and we need native vegetation for them as well.

The other day I had an Indian ( as in India, the subcontinent ) taxi driver lament how India is destroying its natural habitat, and that birds are now almost non existent in towns and cities. Can you really imagine Australia without its parrots and magpies for example ?

While most of us go on our merry way, we subconsciously notice our wildlife without giving it too much immediate notice, but you will quickly become aware of its absence, and once gone, it is unlikely to return.

Mining and employment are important, but so is our environment.

Regards, Radioman.
Radioman
I've spent alot of time in alot parts of India, the cities do have birds. But overall the country is an abused mess (me being polite) and reason why plastic should be banned, so yes the miner needs to comply to Australian standards, not Indian, but this is also why they pay deposits to the govt. But overall I'd keep them on a tight lease although I know a few ex RTA Management now in senior roles in Adani so we shouldn't expect Indian leadership team and note there are other mines in Australia currently owned and operated by Indian companies.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Rail lines already removed and turned into rail trails are unlikely to ever see trains again. This was the experience in Gippsland with mining just west of Bairnsdale.
freightgate


[citation needed]

Strong contender for the most ridiculous thing written on Railpage in 2019 and it's only May.

"Just west of Bairnsdale".

Between Bairnsdale and Stratford actually, where there a) has never been a branch line and b) is a perfectly good, functioning mainline.

So the Bike Bandits have absolutely nothing to do with this proposed mine (should it ever eventuate) not being served by rail...
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Wow this goes to show it is possible to rebuild a railway for use even when it has been lifted except where it is a rail trail. Smile

What exactly happened to the tunnel?
bevans
The Greenvale Line is a bit different to most of the other branch lines in that its relatively modern railway line built in the early 70's for one large customer and built to a modern standard from the onset.

It operated for just on 20 years and then closed when its customer closed, its assets (rails) were reclaimed 10 years later while the sleepers were still viable for train movements and reused/recycled to upgrade another line. Had the rails remained, no trains would have run as no one would have paid for the resleeper program and limited traffic options. This is how branch lines should be treated. Operate, close, recycle, not left to rot.

Meanwhile we now have dozens of rotting branch lines around the country, mostly NSW due to legal reasons which are ~100 years old goat track alignment, 50 year old infrastructure and in many cases were marginal in operation at the best of times moving Road train sized trains a few times a week. The sleepers now long gone to worm food, the remaining small rails not wanted 40 years ago and certainly wanted even less today, yet people object to these assets being converted to something public will actually use, ie rail trail.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

The latest news today in the Townsville Bulletin - Agripower Australia is six months into a $12-million study to prepare engineering and design plans, and to finalise permits for development.

The company is working towards reopening the 216km long Greenvale Railway to serve its existing and expanded silica mines and a new processing facility at Yabulu, with up to 1-million tonnes of product to be moved per annum. The line will be open access to allow other miners to use it, and for the future development of the Upper Burdekin as a major horticultural production centre if the Burdekin River Hells Gate Dam is built.

Agripower estimates the total project - including processing plant, mine-to-Greenvale conveyor and relaying the Greenvale Railway - will cost $663-million. It expects to have the approval process completed by September 2021.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
An other company has been buying up assets in Queensland in what looks to be the same basin?

https://www.railpage.com.au/downloads?mode=download.view&id=1208
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

An other company has been buying up assets in Queensland in what looks to be the same basin?

https://www.railpage.com.au/downloads?mode=download.view&id=1208
bevans

There's a number of nickel and cobalt projects at various stages of on-paper development in the Greenvale region, and has been for a couple of decades with no result so far. The area also hosts one of the world's largest deposits of scandium oxide, the Agripower Silica deposit has more than 200-years of resources, and Curtain Brothers mined iron ore for a few years - the reason the four ex-Emu Bay 11 class DHs were purchased, but never used.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Good to see a project ticking along quietly and (probably) on its own merits.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Throwing something out there.

With the volumes expected at Greenvale and the town only being 131kms from the Forsyath Railway Line why not consider a mnuch shorter branch to the mine from the north rather than attempting to build the entire Greenvale line once again?



When was the Greenvale line actually lifted?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Its probably a longer trip to Townsville that way?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Its probably a longer trip to Townsville that way?
james.au

But much less track to lay?
  Fatty Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Throwing something out there.

With the volumes expected at Greenvale and the town only being 131kms from the Forsyath Railway Line why not consider a mnuch shorter branch to the mine from the north rather than attempting to build the entire Greenvale line once again?
bevans

The Etheridge branch is unsuitable for heavy mineral traffic and it's a much, much longer haul to Yabulu - abut 700 km vs 220 ish.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Throwing something out there.

With the volumes expected at Greenvale and the town only being 131kms from the Forsyath Railway Line why not consider a mnuch shorter branch to the mine from the north rather than attempting to build the entire Greenvale line once again?



When was the Greenvale line actually lifted?
bevans

There are several significant issues with using the Forsayth Line -

Firstly, a new corridor would have to be accquired, which in this day and age is very difficult. The Australian Defence Department has been negotiating with landholders in the same region for expanded training land for five years with limited success.

Secondly, the exisiting Forsayth Line has a current axle load of 6-tonnes for railmotor only operation. It has never had an axle load above 10.5-tonnes west of Dimbulah (the 118km from Cairns to Dimbulah is 15.75-tonnes). Assuming the connection is made at Einasleigh, the 239km between Einasliegh and Dimbulah would require 100% rail, bridge and sleeper replacement - you're looking at around $3-million per kilometre to acheive 20-tonne axle loads. The 118km from Dimbulah to Cairns would need similar treatment, plus dealing with the 130-year old heritage listed steel bridges on the Kuranda Range.

Thirdly, Townsville is North Queensland's primary industrial and non-coal export hub, almost anything needing a ship or refinery passes through Townsville, so the shortest route is always the better option, Greenvale via Einasliegh and Cairns is 824km by rail. Greenvale to Townsville on the original corridor is 240km.

Fourthly, the Greenvale Line was built to high tonnage standards in 1974. Almost the entire alignment, including ballast, is in place and preserved. All bridges were built for 23-tonne axle loads, and could probably handle 26.5-tonnes if needed (many prestressed concrete bridges from the era were engineered for 30-tonne axle loads). All but one bridge, a highway overpass, remain in place. Apart from some corridor clearing, repairing one tunnel and replacing one bridge, the line just needs rails and sleepers.

Relaying 240km of track will be significantly cheaper than rebuilding 357km of the Forsayth Line, plus building 130km of new alignment and track. The Forsayth option looks like it could cost around $1.5-billion to build a very long round-about route. Reusing the existing Greenvale option appears to be budgetted at around $300-million.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
@Sulla1 thanks for your very reliable assessment.  My thoughts around the northern line also take into account the new mines near Dimbulah which are heating up.  Have you heard any more on these mines and possible traffic?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

@Sulla1 thanks for your very reliable assessment.  My thoughts around the northern line also take into account the new mines near Dimbulah which are heating up.  Have you heard any more on these mines and possible traffic?
bevans

The mining region around Chillagoe and Mt Garnett boomed during the early to mid-2000s - all of these mines closed in the post-GFC era and mostly never reopened. During the period they were open, led mostly by the Kagara zinc mines, all product was road hauled via Greenvale to Townsville. In an earlier boom in the late 1980s and early nineties, concentrates were rail hauled in containers from Chillagoe to Townsville, and also to Mt Isa for smelting.

A reopened Greenvale line could potentially capture tonnage coming out of the Chillagoe region, but the cost effectiveness of road trains will likely ensure no "missing" rail links will ever be built north of Greenvale. For example, in Central Queensland, Baralaba Coal is hauling 3.5-million tonnes of coal between Baralaba and Moura by roadtrains rather than reopen 50km of closed branchlines, either via Moura or Rannes.

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