Benalla - Oaklands BG branch

 
  Novocastrian Junior Train Controller

G'day ,

As awsgc suggested , the fate of the current BG line from Benalla to Oaklands is worthy of its own thread.

The options for servicing the existing grain facilities are varied , but not without considerable cost .

My local knowledge of the area is zero , thus I am seeking discussion on the subject.

I am told that the the line really only services silos within NSW and thus there would not be much incentive for the Vic. Govt. to use its own money to retain a rail connection.

This line has interested me due to the deep incursion of BG into NSW and the former break-of-gauge facilities at Oaklands.

Did NSW truncate its branch to Oaklands because Victoria were doing a better deal with grain haulage regarding distance and costs ?

As previously said , there are a few options that come to mind :

1. Containerised grain on a captive BG train and tranship at Benalla.

2. As above , but unload and re-load into SG hoppers.

3. Re-instate NSW SG to Oaklands and beyond ?

4. Tranship at Oaklands , from a BG captive train to SG trains.

5. Sadly , road haul to other silos with unaffected rail access.

6. Road/rail tractor vehicles  and other solutions ?

Thank you for your ideas and comments.

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  fast01 BUTTSCRATCHER!

Location: Somewhere your not.

Idea I hear PN have a Road Transferrable Locomotive that doesn't get used....
  packa Junior Train Controller

Well, not just wheat.  Theres a proposed ethanol plant, and the region has a massive coal reserve with possible petroleum deposits as well.
  Sammy D Chief Commissioner

Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Deserves Gauge conversion in my opinion. Would be short sighted to mothball it or trap a broad gauge train there.
What would happen to maintenance of the captive loco/locos and wagons?
Is there suitable refueling facilities at Benalla for a broad gauge train?
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Idea I hear PN have a Road Transferrable Locomotive that doesn't get used....
"fast01"


The gradients on the Oaklands line appear to be fairly flat, and thus suitable for the RTL.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Rail loading points (silos) on the oaklands line are,
Goorambat, Devinish, StJames, Tungamah, Yarrawonga  I believe all these are closed, Warragon,Rennie,Sangar and Oaklands. The Bulk grain handlers in Vic have also closed Dookie leaving the only rail loading point in NE vic being Murchison.
The sites in NSW are fairly large as a massive amount of grain is grown in the area. As far as I am concerned state rivalry at this point is short sited to the point of STUPIDITY as most likely any road traffic carting grain from the Oaklands area will be to Vic (to the silos in Geelong).

Grain growers I have talk to in Vic have said the actions of the bulk grain handlers management is beyond belief. The Vic state Gov made an announcement on friday that they would not force a particular mode of transport on the three bulk handling companys in Vic.
The growers I talked did not like double handling because it meant two lots of transport costs, which means "B doubles" carting 40 tons of grain heading to Geelong.

Errr......... has any one mentioned to these people that diesel is now $1.84 a litre and likely to rise much further.
  tery84_trainee Assistant Commissioner

the rtl has slowly been taken apart no hi-rail gear anymore on it
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
G'day ,

As awsgc suggested , the fate of the current BG line from Benalla to Oaklands is worthy of its own thread.

The options for servicing the existing grain facilities are varied , but not without considerable cost .

My local knowledge of the area is zero , thus I am seeking discussion on the subject.

I am told that the the line really only services silos within NSW and thus there would not be much incentive for the Vic. Govt. to use its own money to retain a rail connection.

This line has interested me due to the deep incursion of BG into NSW and the former break-of-gauge facilities at Oaklands.

Did NSW truncate its branch to Oaklands because Victoria were doing a better deal with grain haulage regarding distance and costs ?

As previously said , there are a few options that come to mind :

1. Containerised grain on a captive BG train and tranship at Benalla.

2. As above , but unload and re-load into SG hoppers.

3. Re-instate NSW SG to Oaklands and beyond ?

4. Tranship at Oaklands , from a BG captive train to SG trains.

5. Sadly , road haul to other silos with unaffected rail access.

6. Road/rail tractor vehicles  and other solutions ?

Thank you for your ideas and comments.
"Novocastrian"


Some thoughts:

1) Convert some or all of the Oaklands branch and close or mothball the rest.

2) Use Grain containers and transship at Benalla or somewhere convenient. GWB and/or AWB export significant tonneages in ISO containers.

3) Variable Gauge Axles for a fleet of grain wagon bogies. These have been around for 20 years, but have yet to be shown to work in the Southern Hemishere were inverted gravity causes oil to leak out of the axleboxes.

4) Bogie exchange. Been there, done that at about 5 places in AU.

5) Piggyback train loads of SG wheat waggons onto train loads of BG flat wagons for trip to Oaklands or other silo. Only needs 1m high ramp to raise SG wagons to height of BG flats. Assumes no low bridges or tunnels on branch, or sharp curves. although there probably aren't many given that it is lightly used branch. Some adjustment to silo outlet pipe likely at silos.

Piggyback already used between Maree and Port Augusta in 1950s.

6) Piggyback BG wagons onto SG wagons for trip to Melbourne. Prefer option 5).

7) Transship grain from BG wagons to SG wagons at say Benalla.
  NottaGunzel Banned

Location: Banned
Forget any ideas of running an isolated BG Train on the Benalla to Oaklands line. If anyone seriously thinks this is a viable , practical , cost-effective and operationally sound option  ---  well  ---  ya need ya bloody head read !     Rolling EyesRolling EyesRolling Eyes


Also forget any ideas of re-instating the SG line from Oaklands to the NSW network  --  it simply will not happen especially in an environment where PN are seriously threatening to get out of Grain in NSW.


The only  --  repeat ONLY OPTION is to guage convert Benalla to Oaklands to SG. Of course someone has to pay and there will obviously be reluctance by Victoria to bear a large part of this cost. No doubt there are ongoing negotiations as to who will bear the cost - probably some mix of Victoria / NSW / Federal ( ARTC ? ) / Grain Handlers  but in what ratio is the question.


Remember there is a lot of grain comes out of that area of NSW in good years  -  a hell of a lot of grain  Shocked  Conversion to SG would mean there will be no shortage of potential operators  SmileSmile

It's not as if there is no benefit to Victoria in having the line converted to SG  -  Grain Exports through either Geelong or Melbourne will benefit the relevant Port Authorities etc.

It will happen  -  mark my words  8)  8)

Ya never know - Mikelander and Wilfy may even want to re-open Benalla to Yarrawonga to Passenger Traffic with an old NSW SG "Tin Hare"  Rolling Eyes
  tranzitjim Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned
It would be a great alturnate route to the one via Albury, should there be some form of blockage along that section of track.
  angus42 Chief Train Controller

Location: Around Kyneton-Melbourne
Idea I hear PN have a Road Transferrable Locomotive that doesn't get used....
"fast01"


The gradients on the Oaklands line appear to be fairly flat, and thus suitable for the RTL.
"awsgc24"


Except that there are some grades: 1 in 50 down, north of Tungamah; and two stretches of 1 in 50 on the up between Telford and Tungamah.  Otherwise the ruling grade for loaded trains (up) is 1 in 100.  In healthier times (i.e. when the line allowed 20 mph for T class) these were momentum grades, i.e. train working relied on having enough speed at the foot of the grade for the loco to be able to get the train over the summit of the grade.  Low-speed operation gives no opportunity for momentum to carry the train over these rises.
  LowndesJ515 #TeamRog

Location: Goulburn
Rail loading points (silos) on the oaklands line are,
Goorambat, Devinish, StJames, Tungamah, Yarrawonga  I believe all these are closed, Warragon,Rennie,Sangar and Oaklands. The Bulk grain handlers in Vic have also closed Dookie leaving the only rail loading point in NE vic being Murchison.
The sites in NSW are fairly large as a massive amount of grain is grown in the area. As far as I am concerned state rivalry at this point is short sited to the point of STUPIDITY as most likely any road traffic carting grain from the Oaklands area will be to Vic (to the silos in Geelong).

Grain growers I have talk to in Vic have said the actions of the bulk grain handlers management is beyond belief. The Vic state Gov made an announcement on friday that they would not force a particular mode of transport on the three bulk handling companys in Vic.
The growers I talked did not like double handling because it meant two lots of transport costs, which means "B doubles" carting 40 tons of grain heading to Geelong.

Errr......... has any one mentioned to these people that diesel is now $1.84 a litre and likely to rise much further.
"woodford"


Places still open that are able to load grain on the Oaklands Branch are St James, Yarrawonga, Warragoon, Sangar, Wongamong and Oaklands AWB and Grainco.

All other places are closed, booked out or rail missing in the siding.
  phatso Station Master

at christmas time i was in the area of yarrawonga and noticed that crossings in the area had dual gauge fitted to most if not all up-graded level crossings, some one may have mentioned it but i didn't see it so there is some useless info for you all

cheers  Very Happy
  Roberts0001 Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth, Western Australia
Oh my - I never thought I would be saying this. For those who know my posts - I am a very big BG fan. But I think the time has come to covert to the other side.

It is about time that all Governments work to gether and sort out this rail mess once and for all. Those who know me know my political views.They arent nice when it comes to discussing the ALP but at the end of they day they have no excuse but to work together now as they are all on the same side.

I cant believe I am about to say this -

ABOUT BLOODY TIME WE CONVERTED ALL STATE SYSTEMS TO STANDARD GAUGE.


It would be stupid to leave Oaklands or any line as a stand alone point to point system -

I am also of the opinion now that we should go as far as to convert the entire State System in Victoria to SG this includes the Metropolitan System.

Again, these views of mine are not taken lightly, I have been a lover of the BG system for a long time, but we must not let common sense be rules by our hearts Razz

..... MY 2 CENTS....
  gy Junior Train Controller

From a Rail prospective the only option is to Standardize.
Anything else is just wasting money.
In South Australia when the 3'6" line to Broken Hill from Port Pirie was standardized they left two isolated branch lines,one to Wilmington and one to Orroroo. To have Locomotives and Rolling Stock sitting around for captive use is simply throwing money away in these times and could not be justified.
Bogie exchange or piggy back is once again investing in equipment that has no real financial benefit and would be simply running trains  for photographers and other rail enthusiest.
We have known about the gauge problem in Australia for 150 years, all of the short cuts have been tried. The time has come to just start converting these lines and then it is done once and for all time.
  Novocastrian Junior Train Controller

I believe gy has summed up the general view on this topic.

Does anyone know how the traffic volumes on the Oaklands branch compare with those lines that were standardised elsewhere in Victoria ?

Given its seasonal nature , could the branch be re-gauged economically ( on the cheap) re-using the majority of existing sleepers.

I note on  Rolfe Bozier's site that Sloane has steel sleepers . Is it safe to assume that it would be much more labour-intensive to alter the gauge on such sleepers ?

Naturally , the costs would be slashed if only one rail was moved in 6.5" , rather than both rails 3.25". Sorry to the purists who like their sleepers centred  Very Happy
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
3) Variable Gauge Axles for a fleet of grain wagon bogies. These have been around for 20 years, but have yet to be shown to work in the Southern Hemishere were inverted gravity causes oil to leak out of the axleboxes.
"awsgc24"
Thus we have drop bears.  They drop due to inverted gravity making them fall out of trees.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
From a Rail prospective the only option is to Standardize.
Anything else is just wasting money.

We have known about the gauge problem in Australia for 150 years, all of the short cuts have been tried.
"gy"


All shortcuts have been tried except VGA, which is not to say that some of the other shortcuts are not still valid.

3) Variable Gauge Axles for a fleet of grain wagon bogies. These have been around for 20 years.  It is not clear if VGA is for wagons only or for locomotives as well.
  Novocastrian Junior Train Controller

G'day aswgc,

Hmm, Variable Gauge Axles , let's think about this .

We have a healthy scepticism that something has "exotic" as VGA would easily gain the acceptance of Australian railway officialdom.

VGA could be perfect for the Oaklands branch if standardisation is definitely ruled out. The traffic is seasonal , requiring one type of wagon .

If VGA locos are too costly , I still maintain that doing a bogie swap on a couple of locos ( or transport the whole loco on a low-loader) for a few weeks work on the branch is not a huge impost compared with no branch line at all .

Of course , standardisation is the much preferred option , but it is interesting to discuss a Plan B if the bean-counters do not hand over the cash for re-gauging.




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  Valvegear The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Norda Fittazroy
My heartiest congratulations to whoever came up with an idea of Inverted Gravity.
  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
The politics behind using variable gauge on one route (like any improvement in Australia) is that if they do it on one route that works, they will be asked why it can't be used generally.

To save them the grief, they refuse to do it anywhere.

The question about locomotives is not needed. You would be expected to swap locos on a dual gauge section of track at the junction.

I don't think centred sleepers is going to matter much at 50 clicks on a freight only branch. If the train comes off, it won't be because the sleepers weren't centred. Look at Queenscliff who still have long sleepers in their track.
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
When the Maroona / Western line was gauge converted, just the one rail was moved in.
  hansonator Chief Commissioner

Location: Strathmore, Victoria
When i went to Goorambat, in early may (I was heading to Yarrawonga). The sleepers look really dodgy, i reckon it'd need relaying in new wooden or new concrete sleepers
  Fireman Dave Chief Commissioner

Location: Shh, I'm hiding
Have any of you seen this? I went looking after hearing there was something on the Wagga news about it.

http://www.bby.com.au/images%5Cconf%5Cm_coalworks.pdf

If this goes ahead I'd say you can say good bye to the line south of the border. It may be worth guage converting the section from the border to Oaklands as the NSW line from The Rock to Oaklands will need substantial rebuilding and upgrading anyway.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
If coal was developed in the Oaklands area, it makes no sense at all to rail it to Pt Kembla when railing to Melb is closer and the route has less severe grades.
Minimising transport costs for coal is critical if you want to compete with the existing coal routes in Australia.

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