Since September 2004 the state of NSW has been effectively cut up and divided into three access providers - Sydney Trains, ARTC and John Holland.
Prior to September 2004 all access was provided by the one combined organisation Rail Infrastructure Corporation - what ARTC would call a one stop shop.
Now consider that prior to 2004 this would have been all done in the one place. Progress? No I don't think so.
But remember, it was the unified vertically integrated railway that gave us the collapsing infrastructure that ARTC has spent 3 billion correcting.
Go to Argentina and look at the Buenos Aires Pacific Railway. I recommend Rufino, a really nice little town with a preserved inside cylinder 0-6-0 saddle tank at the station.
There are no passenger trains now, track condition doesn't permit that. But the track is laid with the original 1905 100 lb/yd rail on wooden sleepers lost in the mud filled ballast. After heavy rain, the main line East to BA disappeared under a lake so trains were diverted to the North on connecting lines.
But Rufino is on the second longest stretch of straight track in the world (even if some is under water), sitting between the Nullarbor and Nyngan to Bourke in length.
There are a couple of Alco DL500 (44/930) units still working for the privatised operator. The favoured loco is the DL 540, basically a 45 class with 44 class bogies contained in a US Domestic RS-11 shell. The local mechanics like the extra room to work on the engines, and Alco engines from DL500S units imported from Spain are tranferred to the DL-540s to keep them going.
You can go to Argentina, or wait until the situation comes here, I guess....
While ARTC's expenditure has been sucked up by pre-existing conditions left by years of under- investment, I have to agree with Mark Carter that they over promised and under delivered.
But the operators have not shown much interest in developing new traffic or even holding on to old traffic. PN and Aurizon are engaged in a battle to the death to see who can poach more coal traffic from the other, while leaving agricultural products to others and to road transport.
Aurizon's focus on the Pilbara might prove to be a mirage rather than a gold mine. Marble Bar closed down some time ago..... FMG will do well to expand and survive with current ore prices and Roy Hill might have some lean times just getting into production.
And it is looking sad up and down the East Coast too.
But it never was ARTC's job to drum up traffic. That's what the operators are for...