The demise of the Leongatha line and future of the corridor

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Bree76 Chief Train Controller

Location: Nibiru
Hi all,

Someone made a posting to this forum earlier this year commenting on an email they had received from the DOI, stating that work was about to be carried out on the Leongatha line. So I decided to ask them about the projects' status myself. Here is the reply I received just minutes ago:

"Dear Andrea,

Thank you for your email enquiry that was received on 15/12/2006 regarding the return of train services to Leongatha.

The Bracks Government allocated $3 million in the 2005/06 State Budget to undertake detailed planning and design work over a period of two years to the middle of 2007. Information on the type and timing of services to be provided, and the associated scope of investment, will only be available when this work is completed in 2007.

Yours sincerely,
"

I have replied asking why there was no mention of the project in the 2006 transport statement. I'm assuming it's because the study had not yet been completed.

Anyhow, it seems there will be no further comment for another several months, so I guess we just need to hold our breaths and wait what comes of it next year.

brionnach_1976
 
MelbourneCity Chief Commissioner

In case you don't know... the Bracks Government is critically acclaimed for "looking in to things". It's their trademark, and they'd love for it to become an Olympic sport.
Smile
 
SPSD40T2 Chief Commissioner

Location: Platform 9-3/4 and still waiting !!
i wouldnt hold breath if I were you !!
 
railmotor55 Locomotive Fireman

In this years DOI report it mentioned that they are currently assessing road and pedestrian crossings. I believe this project will be procrastinated until out of government (though not formally breaking the promise)

I found a page that has video footage and pics of the Wonthaggi line being ripped up. It’s an example of what is to come on some sections of the Leongatha line.

http://www.bluehaze.com.au/mmedia/rtrain/rtrain2c.html
 
Netherealm Train Controller

Location: Chelsea, Victoria
In case you don't know... the Bracks Government is critically acclaimed for "looking in to things". It's their trademark, and they'd love for it to become an Olympic sport.
Smile
- MelbourneCity


I remember listening to 693 whenever they had Bracks on, and whenever someone had a question, the response was always "I'll look into it".

I'd love to see the Leongatha line up and running again, but the chances of it happening after the remainder of that $3 Million gets spent isn't great.
 
kuldalai Chief Commissioner

By the time the study is finished the line will have been closed like nearly 15 years, and in a very run down state. Given the total budget to re-open 4 country lines was swallowed up by the Bairnsdale and Ararat re-openings alone, the cost of re-opening Leongatha will be too high and a waste of scarce capital funds. Such funds would be much better spent on the third track between Caulfield and Dandenong.   Given the curvituos nature of the rail route beyond Lang Lang  coaches are faster anyway . If anything is done with rail then Lang Lang could be set up as a railhead with 6 x Sprinter shuttle trips to/from SSS on Weekdays with coaches radiating out to South Gippsland beyond Lang Lang.  This could probably only be done when third track is complete Caulfield - Dandenong as it is understood all paths are currently taken in peak hours.
 
hansonator Chief Commissioner

Location: Strathmore, Victoria
The Cranbourne end appears to be in a good way (visually). A few rotted sleepers, a blackberrie infestation, and the whistle board with bullet holes through it. I have some photos of the line past Narre-Warren -Cranbourne Road. Will post them soon
 
mjja Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Mount Waverley, Melbourne
As I understand it, there are two factors which make it unlikely to happen.

1: The difference between a road coach journey and a train journey is minimal over the distance from Leongatha to Melbourne.

The main reasons a train is better than a coach (apart from the fact that trains are gunzellable) are speed, comfort (including the possibility of first class seating and a buffet car) and fuel efficiency. These all become more attractive as distance increases.

To spend money fixing track for what amounts to a tiny improvement in service would be a bad idea.

2: The local government don't want the train back.

I'm not sure of all the details, but there are certain plans for the development of the current station area which will net the council a lot of money. They can't do it while the land is owned by the state government (as railway land). So to get heaps of money they need the state to say "We're never going to reinstate the railway so we'll sell off the land".
 
railmotor55 Locomotive Fireman

the cost of re-opening Leongatha will be too high and a waste of scarce capital funds. Such funds would be much better spent on the third track between Caulfield and Dandenong.
- kuldalai


Yes, it may better spent on third rail. But they made a so called cast iron promise to re-open the line. They should honor that commitment, no matter how uneconomical it may be. There needs be a freight depot at Leongatha or Koala siding (if that sand industry is still there) to make it viable. It was part of the original plan.

When Susan Davies was petitioning for the line, she got something like 3000 signatures of people who would use the service if were returned. So there are people who would use it.
 
Netherealm Train Controller

Location: Chelsea, Victoria
There needs be a freight depot at Leongatha or Koala siding (if that sand industry is still there) to make it viable.
- railmotor55


Seconded.


The Cranbourne end appears to be in a good way (visually). A few rotted sleepers, a blackberrie infestation, and the whistle board with bullet holes through it. I have some photos of the line past Narre-Warren -Cranbourne Road.
- hansonator


My partner is a stone's throw away from that section of track. It does need a bit of work though. Somewhere in the forums, one of the users took some photos and published them on fotopic under the collection of "Beyond Cranbourne". I think they took shots down as far as Clyde.
 
BJ Titsengolf That's Numberwang!

Location: Right here, right now, right here, right now...
I'm not sure of all the details, but there are certain plans for the development of the current station area which will net the council a lot of money. They can't do it while the land is owned by the state government (as railway land). So to get heaps of money they need the state to say "We're never going to reinstate the railway so we'll sell off the land".
- mjja


The "certain plans" involved redevelopment of the goods side of the Leongatha yard. They included removing a couple of roads and the goods shed. They did not impact on the station, nor the ability to run trains into Leongatha, nor the ability to run around trains in Leongatha. Mind you, it's been a couple of years since i heard those details. Not much has happened and things may have changed.
 
Bree76 Chief Train Controller

Location: Nibiru
Hi all,

There's an amazing amount of pessimism concerning this line, and perhaps considering past government efforts to build new and/or restore lines, that's not entirely surprising. Still, even though the Bracks government has been slow to honour their (rail) promises, they have been better for rail than any government that I can remember in my lifetime (I am 30). When the cost of the fast rail project blew out from $80 million public investment to over $1 billion, they still finished it. They have reopened the lines to Bairnsdale and Ararat, made the first inroads into getting Mildura back on track, introduced many more services, built new stations, bought back the freight network, and all this for just the rural network. Admittedly they are not always truthful. One need look no further than the backflip on tolls for Scoresby, but at least at the end of 2008 Bracks will say that Scoresby was built! Perhaps the method concerns them less than the actual result.

It is important also to note that they have not yet ripped up the Leongatha line rails, have built a new overpass and underpass for the Nilma bypass (even though this is SGR controlled track), given funding to SGR to improve sections of the track under their control, and are still in the process of doing the feasibility study. Combined with the growing population of the region, and the likelihood that Labour will remain in office until at least 2014, I feel there is enough there to believe that the government will reopen this line. However that said, I feel we may still need to wait a few more years.

One thing is for sure: there's more chance of Leongatha reopening than Doncaster being built *lol*

brionnach_1976
 
hansonator Chief Commissioner

Location: Strathmore, Victoria
There needs be a freight depot at Leongatha or Koala siding (if that sand industry is still there) to make it viable.
- railmotor55


Seconded.


The Cranbourne end appears to be in a good way (visually). A few rotted sleepers, a blackberrie infestation, and the whistle board with bullet holes through it. I have some photos of the line past Narre-Warren -Cranbourne Road.
- hansonator


My partner is a stone's throw away from that section of track. It does need a bit of work though. Somewhere in the forums, one of the users took some photos and published them on fotopic under the collection of "Beyond Cranbourne". I think they took shots down as far as Clyde.
- Netherealm


I have also walked to Clyde, and what a boring walk it was.
 
BJ Titsengolf That's Numberwang!

Location: Right here, right now, right here, right now...
It is important also to note that they have not yet ripped up the Leongatha line rails, have built a new overpass and underpass for the Nilma bypass (even though this is SGR controlled track), given funding to SGR to improve sections of the track under their control, and are still in the process of doing the feasibility study.
- brionnach_1976


The section from Nyora to Leongatha is still controlled by VicTrack. It is not allocated to SGR under an order in council like the majority of tourist railways.

I'd rate the rail reopening at about 50/50. Maybe 60/40 in favour of reopening.

Aside from sand traffic out of Koala, the big one would be milk products traffic from Murray Goulburn in Leongatha. When the reopening was first announced, there was a link marked out from the existing line into the Murray Goulburn factory. That was eight years ago though.
 
standard_gauge Dr Beeching

Location: Outside the toilet, waiting for Della Bosca to come out !!
It is important also to note that they have not yet ripped up the Leongatha line rails, have built a new overpass and underpass for the Nilma bypass (even though this is SGR controlled track), given funding to SGR to improve sections of the track under their control, and are still in the process of doing the feasibility study.
- brionnach_1976


The section from Nyora to Leongatha is still controlled by VicTrack. It is not allocated to SGR under an order in council like the majority of tourist railways.

I'd rate the rail reopening at about 50/50. Maybe 60/40 in favour of reopening.

Aside from sand traffic out of Koala, the big one would be milk products traffic from Murray Goulburn in Leongatha. When the reopening was first announced, there was a link marked out from the existing line into the Murray Goulburn factory. That was eight years ago though.
- Loki



IIRC there is a fertilser company near Korrumburra as well that expressed interest?

Also IIRC there was(still is) a big food processing plant near Clyde looks like might be a potential customer
 
merlin Chief Commissioner

Location: North East Adelaide
Somewhere in the forums, one of the users took some photos and published them on fotopic under the collection of "Beyond Cranbourne". I think they took shots down as far as Clyde.
- Netherealm


That would be me.

http://photosbymerlin.fotopic.net/c921878.html
 
Bree76 Chief Train Controller

Location: Nibiru
The section from Nyora to Leongatha is still controlled by VicTrack. It is not allocated to SGR under an order in council like the majority of tourist railways.
- Loki


My bad, thought I read that somewhere.

That being the case, it's even more interesting that the new bridges have been built, a few bridges upgraded (I remembered that a few were upgraded to kick start the "reopening rail lines" project) and funds allocated to do some minor track upgrades on the section SGR operates on. Seems to me the government could have simply told them to raise the funds themselves if they had no real interest in keeping the track.

Just for the record, are there any other tourist services running on VicTrack controlled track?

brionnach_1976
 
standard_gauge Dr Beeching

Location: Outside the toilet, waiting for Della Bosca to come out !!
The section from Nyora to Leongatha is still controlled by VicTrack. It is not allocated to SGR under an order in council like the majority of tourist railways.
- Loki


My bad, thought I read that somewhere.

That being the case, it's even more interesting that the new bridges have been built, a few bridges upgraded (I remembered that a few were upgraded to kick start the "reopening rail lines" project) and funds allocated to do some minor track upgrades on the section SGR operates on. Seems to me the government could have simply told them to raise the funds themselves if they had no real interest in keeping the track.

Just for the record, are there any other tourist services running on VicTrack controlled track?

brionnach_1976
- brionnach_1976


I believe almost all are running on Victrack , special agreement made to let tourist trains operate over the track.
 
Bree76 Chief Train Controller

Location: Nibiru
Also IIRC there was(still is) a big food processing plant near Clyde looks like might be a potential customer
- james_c


Would that be Ingham? If so, I can't say how happy I would be to see a lot of those trucks off Ballarto Road!

brionnach_1976
 
Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere

a few bridges upgraded
- A user

Totally rebuilt more like.

Here's one I took earlier, this is one of the trestles in the Black Spur area and although it's beyond Leongatha on the section not proposed for reopening you can be assured that just about all the infrastructure is in this sort of state.
[gallery=http://gallery.railpage.com.au/modules.php?set_albumName=Gwiwer&id=060002_G&name=gallery&include=view_photo.php]

Inspection of Loch station on the same trip revelaed trees growing between the rails, platform-high shrubs and grass and the only building vandalised.  So much for SGR operation.  They seem to have abandoned everything but a Leongatha - Korumburra shuttle even though Vic Roads has built them a nice new bridge at Bena.
 
6a Station Staff

castlemaine maldon run over a section victrack
 
John of Melbourne The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Melbourne suburbs
It is important also to note that they ... have built a new overpass and underpass for the Nilma bypass (even though this is SGR controlled track), ...
- brionnach_1976

Nilma bypass on the South Gippsland line?
 
Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Bena not Nilma
 
Chris Brownbill Chief Commissioner

When the cost of the fast rail project blew out from $80 million public investment to over $1 billion, they still finished it.
- brionnach_1976


For the record, the cost of the fast rail project was never $80 million.  Please don't get sucked into the misinformation that has been spun about this.
 
Bree76 Chief Train Controller

Location: Nibiru
It is important also to note that they ... have built a new overpass and underpass for the Nilma bypass (even though this is SGR controlled track), ...
- brionnach_1976

Nilma bypass on the South Gippsland line?
- John of Melbourne


Oh yeah, sorry, Bena. Nilma is near Warragul on the Princes Hwy.

I'm tired and not thinking.

brionnach_1976
 

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