Monarto South To Appamurra

 
  ANDL36Y Train Controller

Yep, axle loads would be a biggy. Reuse the existing rail or new rail? I don't know what condition the sleepers and rail and turnouts are in. From an operational point of view you'd want to up the axle-loading to eliminate double handling of the hoppers.

I am assuming if we have to lift the track most sleepers if not rail would have to be replaced. Earthworks is an unknown as the track appears to be lightly laid on more or less the natural surface with bugger-all formation provided plus any new cut or fill around the (potentially new) bridges. Turnouts are expensive ($300-500K depending) but hwo many would we need? Two for a run-around? Do we even need to rehab the Apamurra 'yard'?

Speaking to the engineers here the bridges could arguably be rehabilitated but I’ll assume Reedy Crk is to be replaced (twinned alongside). Launching the bridges could be an issue and would explain why Reedy Creek was cast in-situ. Access to the Salt Crk bridge appears to be a bit easier. Plus any small waterways (culvert crossings) that need attention.

I might make this a pet project. It's not like I have anything else to do wth my time.  Wink

Cheers,
Joshua

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  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
From an operational point of view you'd want to up the axle-loading to eliminate double handling of the hoppers.
"ANDL36Y"

What double handling of hoppers?
  fabricator Chief Commissioner

Location: Gawler
Yep, axle loads would be a biggy. Reuse the existing rail or new rail? I don't know what condition the sleepers and rail and turnouts are in. From an operational point of view you'd want to up the axle-loading to eliminate double handling of the hoppers.
"ANDL36Y"


The existing rail is fine (assuming it supports the axle loading), but the timber sleepers would be mostly useless by now.

http://www.cfcla.com.au/wagons-grain.htm

The CGDY is 92 tons (23 tons axle load)
The CGAY is 100 tons (25 tons axle load)

So need 25 ton axle loading, which would also allow locos up to 150 tons. This would solve the rent-a-wreck locos that are oddly popular with certain grain operators.

Personally I think they should relay some of these grain branch lines as concrete sleepers, just to remove most of the ongoing maintenance problems that make these lines unviable in the medium term. Government pay for most of the costs, but put a detailed maintenance calendar as part of the contract, and whoever uses the track that year pays it.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
So need 25 ton axle loading, which would also allow locos up to 150 tons. This would solve the rent-a-wreck locos that are oddly popular with certain grain operators.
"fabricator"

You obviously prefer to sit on the gold plated standards side of the equation Razz
  ANDL36Y Train Controller

G’day,

I thought the line wasn't up to carrying ALF/CLP/GM's and that the GWA (4)22's would do the work to Apamurra terminal, running the hoppers to Monarto South to be collected and running light engine back to Dry Creek? Perhaps I worded it wrongly as it's really an extra engine movement that would be taking place. Please correct me if I'm wrong about the most recent operations.

If you are going to rehabilitate a structure (which will have minimum work requirements) and not repair the line, then you are possibly wasting your time, unless the track and formation is sustainable in its current form. Some of these lines are so old and uncared for, as soon as you remove one artefact the rest fall apart like a deck of cards. We have to assume worse case.

So far I've made my way up to Tepko doing a cursory, rule-of-thumb review of the bridge structures and I've already hit the AU$33M mark. Note that this assumes a complete rebuild of each structure; re-excavating and backfilling and reinforcing the abutments, reinforcing the piers and spans. This would see out the line for another 25 years or so of operations I guess.

Some of these structures may be in good nick and require minor work. I am yet to calculate costs for the rail formation. This figure is rough and will be revised as I dig further for info and get more costings.

Cheers,
Joshua
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
G’day,

I thought the line wasn't up to carrying ALF/CLP/GM's and that the GWA (4)22's would do the work to Apamurra terminal, running the hoppers to Monarto South to be collected and running light engine back to Dry Creek? Perhaps I worded it wrongly as it's really an extra engine movement that would be taking place. Please correct me if I'm wrong about the most recent operations.
"ANDL36Y"

There were no LE moves required. Mainline units would be attached/detached at Monarto if required. As a general rule Apamurra trains were only 22 x AHGX and from memory a pair of 22s could work the train throughout.

There are so many direct and indirect variables in any equation to determine the viability of this branch, it is unlikely they will be resolved in this thread.

If the line was in the US, they would probably have at least had a go in keeping it open, but it wouldn't have involved building new bridges or buying shiny new engines, which all adds to the $$$/tonne either the farmers or the taxpayers have to pay.
  benscaro Chief Commissioner

gold plated standards would not have been needed for this line. never had them, never needed them.  

SAR operated it with single 830s, OBs & OBFs.  AN did too but got it up to  22 x AHGX and double 830s, perhaps showing what was possible with the right focus and motivation. (too bad they didn't display such savoir faire elsewhere.)

it was only post standardisation that it attracted heavier engines, GMs, 600s and 422s.  not sure it ever saw a 930.

the line doesn't have - & has never had - any traffic that would require more than a light standard of track & ROW.  it was operated on a seasonal-only basis since 1973 if memory serves correctly.  evidently the small tonnages of general loading & stock were not sufficient for even the SAR to worry about & those were the only things that might have been time sensitive.  so, provided bulk super & grain wagons oould get along the line at 10mph i'm sure it was reasonably viable.  

i think it is a bit of nonsense which has unfortunately been accepted by the rail industry that heavy axle loads and great hulking ballast shoulders are needed on a branchline.  accept such loony parameters in a country of only 20m & there'd only be about twenty viable lines in the country.  -most likely what the road industry would like.

i agree with bing that if this were the US, the line would be a candidate for operation -by someone. it is on the right gauge, has a bulk traffic ideally suited to the low train speeds pertaining, a grain terminal equipped for current wagons & can take a variety of lighter locos.  

what is needed, i would guess, are slightly less witless privatisation arrangements which decree that operators either krapp or get off the pott.

ie, you don't get to sit on lines you have no intention of running revenue earning trains on. they go up for bidding to other operators.  

under such an arrangement, it would be less than remarkable for an existing operator to suddenly find reasons to run trains there, if only to keep potential competitors off his patch.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
The US rail system works well because its vertically integrated, ie the Rail Operator owns the infrastructure and the land its sitting on, and doesnt have to put up with idiot competition and track sharing rules that exist here.
  ANDL36Y Train Controller

Forget "gold plating", the cost to restore one or two of the main bridges would run into the tens of millions, even if you left the rest of the line as is. Obviously, the cost of repair is outweighing the potential profit of running the line to the Apamurra terminal.

Cheers,
Joshua
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Forget "gold plating", the cost to restore one or two of the main bridges would run into the tens of millions.......
"ANDL36Y"

We do not know that for a fact. Alco251_244 is usually pretty good with his information flow, but even he acknowledged that he had only 'heard' that this was the case.

The bridges might be a major sticking point, they might not be.

The Poms were told that the cost of repairing the Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle and Carlisle line was prohibitive and the line would have to be closed as a result. Luckily the figures were challenged and found to to have been falsified by BR at the time to justify closure and the line survives to this day.
  ANDL36Y Train Controller

Forget "gold plating", the cost to restore one or two of the main bridges would run into the tens of millions.......
"ANDL36Y"

We do not know that for a fact. Alco251_244 is usually pretty good with his information flow, but even he acknowledged that he had only 'heard' that this was the case.

The bridges might be a major sticking point, they might not be.
"bingley hall"


Correct.

I was merely offering advice as to perhaps why they have ceased operating (cost). As with most of these things, people can do numbers on the back of a serviette or they can do things properly (proper investigation) to determine the actual cost of repair (if needed at all).

I'm wondering if we'll see some of the redundant broad gauge lines suddenly re-open because of the forecast record grain harvest, bridges notwithstanding.

Cheers,
Joshua
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
I'm wondering if we'll see some of the redundant broad gauge lines suddenly re-open because of the forecast record grain harvest, bridges notwithstanding.
"ANDL36Y"

Not a chance for a myriad of reasons. Worth remembering that there have already been some pretty good harvests since most of the BG (and SG) grain lines closed.

The track is either not there, or the infrastructure cannot quickly be brought up to a fit for purpose standard. No locos or rolling stock are immediately available. Often the loading arrangements at the local silos have been modified for road and/or the rail loaders removed. There is also no BG to the new export terminal at Outer Harbor.

True these issues can all be overcome, but at a cost and not in the short term.

And you still have to be able to do it cheaper than road.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
And you still have to be able to do it cheaper than road.
"bingley hall"


I remember going to Moonta via Snowtown and Bute one Christmas a few years ago seeing grain being transfered between the then new Snowtown bunker and Wallaroo Silos.

There would have been a truck every 2 or 3 minutes.

Road seemed to me a very expensive operation for the want of the railway that already ran between the 2 silos being even "fit for purpose" or even a single guage.

What are the economics here?
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
I remember going to Moonta via Snowtown and Bute one Christmas a few years ago seeing grain being transfered between the then new Snowtown bunker and Wallaroo Silos.

There would have been a truck every 2 or 3 minutes.

Road seemed to me a very expensive operation for the want of the railway that already ran between the 2 silos being even "fit for purpose" or even a single guage.

What are the economics here?
"kipioneer"

Good point that highlights how complex the issue is. Unless we know the exact tonnages and reasoning behind the road move, it is not safe to assume anything.

Most grain ex Snowtown would be railed to Port Adelaide for export. However, there will be occasions when a ship is at Wallaroo requiring a certain type of grain or tonnages to top up necessitating a short period of intense road activity.

It is unlikely under these tonnages alone would justify the maintenance of the rail line.

I should add that I think closing the line to Wallaroo was mistake.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me


Most grain ex Snowtown would be railed to Port Adelaide for export. However, there will be occasions when a ship is at Wallaroo requiring a certain type of grain or tonnages to top up necessitating a short period of intense road activity.

It is unlikely under these tonnages alone would justify the maintenance of the rail line.

I should add that I think closing the line to Wallaroo was mistake.
"bingley hall"


As Wallaroo is not classified as a deep water port, it has lost it's importance as a grain export terminal. The larger bulk carrier ships can not be fully loaded there.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
As Wallaroo is not classified as a deep water port, it has lost it's importance as a grain export terminal. The larger bulk carrier ships can not be fully loaded there.
"Pressman"

Agreed. But from memory it still handles up to 600,000 tonnes a year.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
And as well as the Wallaroo silos there is extensive ground storage south of the town and adjacent to what remains of the railway.

The question isn't whether there is a lot of grain shipped from Wallaroo, it is how much, and how often, is it transfered to (or from) Snowtown or Bowmans or even Port Adelaide.

There must be a point at which rail becomes at least marginal if not profitable after taking the upgrading of the line into consideration.

The Bute and Paskeville silos are being opened this year for the first time in yonks.
  wresat Station Master

I'm not too far from the Monarto to Appamurra line, so went past yesterday a took a couple of pics from the Monarto end

Looking back to Monarto and the main line


Start of the branch line


Umm, interesting.  Note the point direction!  Not sure what was happening here.  Routine testing?
  2001 Moderator The Snow Lord

Location: The road jump at Charlotte Pass. Paxman Valenta on two planks.
I'm not too far from the Monarto to Appamurra line, so went past yesterday a took a couple of pics from the Monarto end

--------
Start of the branch line

--------


Umm, interesting.  Note the point direction!  Not sure what was happening here.  Routine testing?
"wresat"


Road set for the Ghost Train Mr. Green
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
It's protecting the Main Line..... in a similar fashion to a Derail.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales

The question isn't whether there is a lot of grain shipped from Wallaroo, it is how much, and how often, is it transfered to (or from) Snowtown or Bowmans or even Port Adelaide.

There must be a point at which rail becomes at least marginal if not profitable after taking the upgrading of the line into consideration.

The Bute and Paskeville silos are being opened this year for the first time in yonks.
"kipioneer"


Of course there is.  Governments have just ignored rail for some years because of low grain volumes.  Look at Victoria now, most of the Vic owned and maintained network is now booked out.

--Bill
  craigd Deputy Commissioner

Location: A Thinktank near you
The roumor mill is running rife thisn track is to be removed making sure another 80 plus truck movements  a day stay on the roads thru the hills ..
where are the balhannah siding opponents and local cant remember Jamie Briggs ???on the roads they use we hope.

What happened to the group that was going to work with the zoo with a railcar between pallamanna and monarto South?? the rest of the allignment is required for long time in future rail bypass
"Steamage"


Have you actually had a look at the track between Monarto South and Apamurra? It is appalling and a complete farce for spending a large (relatively) amount of money on a gauge-conversion which was pathetic to start with and a pure example of a rail operator wanting to make as much profit as possible in a short space of time while not actually spending any real money on fixed infrastructure.

Hardly any new timbers were used and the rail being re-located was simply spiked (in most cases without any plates) directly to the timbers via new holes drilled into them.

The track speed was 20 kph when the line was still open.

I don't have any definite info on when GWA ran the last train but it was only a few years ago (I think around 2006 or 2007), so all the grain from Apamurra and other former ABB sites on the Cambrai/Sedan line has been getting moved by track for at least the last four or five years.

Craig.
  phower Chief Commissioner

Location: Over on Kangaroo Island Sth Aust
The roumor mill is running rife thisn track is to be removed making sure another 80 plus truck movements  a day stay on the roads thru the hills ..
where are the balhannah siding opponents and local cant remember Jamie Briggs ???on the roads they use we hope.

What happened to the group that was going to work with the zoo with a railcar between pallamanna and monarto South?? the rest of the allignment is required for long time in future rail bypass
"Steamage"


Have you actually had a look at the track between Monarto South and Apamurra? It is appalling and a complete farce for spending a large (relatively) amount of money on a gauge-conversion which was pathetic to start with and a pure example of a rail operator wanting to make as much profit as possible in a short space of time while not actually spending any real money on fixed infrastructure.

Hardly any new timbers were used and the rail being re-located was simply spiked (in most cases without any plates) directly to the timbers via new holes drilled into them.

The track speed was 20 kph when the line was still open.

I don't have any definite info on when GWA ran the last train but it was only a few years ago (I think around 2006 or 2007), so all the grain from Apamurra and other former ABB sites on the Cambrai/Sedan line has been getting moved by track for at least the last four or five years.

Craig.
"craigd"


Yes you are correct there Craig . I looked at the track about a week or so ago , but thought it was OK to start but the further one walked the worse it became ....... and good to see you back online Craig... hows the new job ???
  craigd Deputy Commissioner

Location: A Thinktank near you
It has not been used in years. G&W are not a historical society but a company and a large one at that,
"David Peters"


I dispute that, GWA's loco collection looks like it belongs in a museum. There is some real old junk left lying around as well.

The line to Apamurra is another thing that should be rebuilt if it gets trucks off the road, but I doubt it would happen as it really is something the government should pay for, like they pay for roads.
"fabricator"


However it wouldn't matter if GWA bought all new locos like QRN has over the last five years for the Hunter Valley coal operation. If there is not continual investment in maintenance then a loco could be 50+ years old (like the 830's and GM), or not much more than 5 years old (like the FQ's or QRN's 5000 class that we use here in the Hunter), and the locomotives would not be reliable enough to generate the sort of profit returns that the shareholders want.

Remember too that GWA has NO Australian shareholders - GWA's code of ethics actually prohibits Australian employees from buying US shares in Genesee and Wyoming even though the US employees are openly encouraged to by stock in the company. So the overarching vision is driven by the USA (which co-incidentally, is very much like Viterra which is a Canadian company). There are no shares in GWA itself as GWA is not listed on the Australian stock exchange.

Old locos are perfectly adequate if properly maintained and upgraded as much as practically possible to meet modern standards. New locos might come along initially with a warranty and low servicing costs, but that doesn't last very long even with a fixed-term maintenance contract from the builder.

Actually rebuilding the line to Apamurra would be a very large cost. I have actually spoken to DTEI about the cost of rebuilding lines when I was inquiring about the track up to Riverton last year (when I was living there), and it starts at about $1 million per kilometre for basic renewal where only sleepers, ballast, etc. need work, and it goes up a lot higher where rail also needs replacing and even higher to build the track up to a better standard (such as things like concrete sleepers and/or heavier rail) rated for higher speeds, bigger axle loads, and possibly passenger trains.

That doesn't include large fixed-infrastructure items like bridges, etc.

Assuming only the most basic rebuilding was done (as the rail is actually quite good though it's small by present standards and would not support much higher axle loads), an operator then has to set about implementing a business case to recover that cost and also cover projected operating costs from revenue gained by running trains on the line. For a single-commodity line, especially one on which the traffic is seasonal, that's not an easy task to achieve.

Craig.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Remember too that GWA has NO Australian shareholders - GWA's code of ethics actually prohibits Australian employees from buying US shares in Genesee and Wyoming even though the US employees are openly encouraged to by stock in the company. So the overarching vision is driven by the USA (which co-incidentally, is very much like Viterra which is a Canadian company). There are no shares in GWA itself as GWA is not listed on the Australian stock exchange.
"craigd"


I bet Bert owns a few shares in GWI.

Be interesting to see the actual wording in this code of ethics?

It should also be noted that PN has NO Australian shareholders.

I have actually spoken to DTEI about the cost of rebuilding lines when I was inquiring about the track up to Riverton last year (when I was living there), and it starts at about $1 million per kilometre for basic renewal where only sleepers, ballast, etc. need work....
"craigd"

Believe that and you'll believe anything Laughing

Basic rehab would be 20-25% of those quoted costs.

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