Regauging Victoria's railways (!)

 
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Ok a couple of points on comments made
(in relation to gauge conversion) You close it and reopen it a few weeks later in which time the rolling stock has been sorted, just like they did on the SA line 25 years ago.

If your referring to the Melbourne - Adelaide line, the closure was way longer than a "few weeks".
Whilst the section from Murray Bridge to Bordertown was actually gauge converted in only 8 days, it was because AN had spent months installing gauge convertible concrete sleepers in the 12 months prior. However this short conversion period did not include gauge converting of crossing loop turnouts. The gauge conversion between Adelaide and Murray Bridge and between Melbourne and Bordertown took a lot longer.
And when the line did finally re-open it was with the barest minimum number of operational crossing loop, which restricted the number of trains that could travel on any particular day.
I believe the Overland did not operate for over 4 months (which helped it lose a lot of patronage which it never recovered)
Also a lot of freight was lost to road and it took years to get it most of what was lost back to rail.

Gauge conversion of existing metropolitan passenger lines is basically not worth the effort.



30kV D.C might also have substations spaced as much as 25km apart or maybe more.

Interesting you pull this one out of thin air! The highest voltage DC system in use is 3kV DC which requires substations at a maximum of 7.5kms apart.
The Russians built only a single line and a single train set to operate at 6kV DC in the 1970's as an experiment and it was never expanded. (so does that give a hint on any advantage?)
So where does this mythical 30kV dc come from?

25kV AC is the Internationally accepted standard for High Voltage Overhead these days
Pressman
I would hate to see the size of the insulators and catenary required for 30 KVDC. 3kvdc is really nasty stuff let alone 10 x times

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  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me

I would hate to see the size of the insulators and catenary required for 30 KVDC. 3kvdc is really nasty stuff let alone 10 x times
nswtrains
Instant cremation!
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
No need for winter heating either!
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE


If your referring to the Melbourne - Adelaide line, the closure was way longer than a "few weeks".
Whilst the section from Murray Bridge to Bordertown was actually gauge converted in only 8 days, it was because AN had spent months installing gauge convertible concrete sleepers in the 12 months prior. However this short conversion period did not include gauge converting of crossing loop turnouts. The gauge conversion between Adelaide and Murray Bridge and between Melbourne and Bordertown took a lot longer.
And when the line did finally re-open it was with the barest minimum number of operational crossing loop, which restricted the number of trains that could travel on any particular day.
I believe the Overland did not operate for over 4 months (which helped it lose a lot of patronage which it never recovered)
Also a lot of freight was lost to road and it took years to get it most of what was lost back to rail.


Pressman
Thanks, yes this was mostly what I was getting at.

The Overland I think would have happened anyway as this was on the verge of cheap airfares.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I would hate to see the size of the insulators and catenary required for 30 KVDC. 3kvdc is really nasty stuff let alone 10 x times
nswtrains


+/- 350 kV DC
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE

DG track is expensive and costly and limits speed. If we look at Vic regional and assumed it was to be converted to SG, you would shut down train services during the conversion over laying extensive amounts of DG, potentially. If the DG was needed anyway then this is different. Overall the whole lot could be done quite quickly considering the bulk of the network is in low frequency grain train areas that could afford to have no trains for a few months. But there is no need to shut the whole thing down as it won;t be all converted anyway.
Your comments are valid for dual Victorian and standard gauge track, but what about dual cape and standard gauge track, given that the latter pair differ by more than the width of standard railway rails?

A hypothetical - if Sydney and Melbourne did have the same electrical standards, loading gauge, platform heights, track gauge, signalling systems, and was identical for train running in all respects, do we think that perhaps the trains on such a hypothetical network have any degree of interchange?  Or would both populations of trains stay within the bounds of Sydney and Melbourne and not swap between the two?
How would trains be transferred between the two? When railways first came to this country, both the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria agreed on the Irish gauge of 5'3''. Yet New South Wales changed its mind after Victoria started construction.

Ultimately dual gauging the broad gauge network before standardising will just add more costs. Dual gauging will require an extra 2894km of rail to be acquired for the third rail, and then 2894km of rail will become redundant when the third rail is eventually removed...this just adds to the cost of replacing all of the broad gauge concrete sleepers and associated infrastructure, plus creating a second period of major trackwork (which will have be crewed and paid for) - one to add the third rail and new track infrastructure, and then a second one to remove the third rail. Standardising at the initial relay of sleepers would be far cheaper than dual gauging and then standardising - and cost is ultimately going to be the deciding factor in standardising at all. Adding more cost just makes it more unlikely to happen on a given corridor.
Once again, refer to the comparison with the water main replacement above. A large network must be dual gauged before standardisation, otherwise there would be too much disruption during changeover. Let's assume that the sleepers are gauge convertible; Then dual gauging before standardisation would indeed be less disruptive than closing the line for regauging.
Standardising at the initial relay of the sleepers would mean replacing or regauging all rolling stock within the time-frame of the track replacement, and I doubt this would be done with a very large fleet of train sets.
Just remember than dual Victoria and standard gauge track requires two narrow footed rails. When converting between gauges differing by more than the width of the standard rail, an extra rail is laid at the beginning of the transition, and another removed at the end of it. Is it any more complicated when the gauges differ by less that the width of a standard rail?


As others have said, the suburban network will not be converted, the cost would be astronomical, the benefit would be minimal and the people would not tolerate the disruption. Due to these reasons there will likely never be the political will to consider it. End of story
You pretty much got it. The people would not tolerate the disruption of this conversion, just as they would not accept having no running water for an extended period of time while their city replaces all the water mains.
Myrtone
Your OP is about Vic BG conversion to SG, not about narrow gauge.

SA and Vic have operated the same broad gauge and connected by at one time 3 BG lines across the border until the mid 90's. How much exchange of rolling stock took place apart from interstate traffic? Probably none to very little.

The disruption to DG is also not insignificant and extremely costly, especially in areas with lots of points and especially for BG/SG DG as its more complex and impacts on train speeds and even axle loads. NG and BG or SG is less of an issue, but still expensive. Basically you don't do 1km more DG than needed.  

The SA govt was at one time going to convert Adelaide to SG because some wako convinced them it was a smart thing to do. Thankfully it didn't happen for all the right reasons. If it won't happen there the chances of Melbourne are less than zero.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Just by way of information........................

A REAL serious problem with High voltage DC, is once an arc starts its almost impossible to stop it without breaking the power, so you have to take EXTREME care when building HV DC distribution systems, something that with railway overheads would be almost impossible to do.

Another point one can do anything quickly if one throws enough resources at it. In 1928 the Antofogasta, Chile and Bolivia railway, all 750 miles of it was regauged in 6 days (2 ft 6in to metre gauge, Note 1), They had however dual gauged all yards including 11 miles of sidings to take all the existing rolling stock to be regauged. For the actual regauging itself the engineering staff (it was a british company) worked how much one gang could regauge in 7 days and then hired enough staff to do the whole line in 7 days. They had to set up and provision all the camps through out the whole length of the line, not an insignificant task in itself as it NEVER rains in the area. The regauging was actually completed by the 6th day.

One mind simple boggles at the shear amount of resources and money this must have cost. In Australia there would simply not be enough qualified staff or equipment to accomplish the sort of same thing here

Note 1: This was not (and still is not) a toy railway, the line regularly ran 1000 ton trains, not bad for a 2 ft 6in railway.

woodford
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Ok a couple of points on comments made
(in relation to gauge conversion) You close it and reopen it a few weeks later in which time the rolling stock has been sorted, just like they did on the SA line 25 years ago.

If your referring to the Melbourne - Adelaide line, the closure was way longer than a "few weeks".
Whilst the section from Murray Bridge to Bordertown was actually gauge converted in only 8 days, it was because AN had spent months installing gauge convertible concrete sleepers in the 12 months prior. However this short conversion period did not include gauge converting of crossing loop turnouts. The gauge conversion between Adelaide and Murray Bridge and between Melbourne and Bordertown took a lot longer.
And when the line did finally re-open it was with the barest minimum number of operational crossing loop, which restricted the number of trains that could travel on any particular day.
I believe the Overland did not operate for over 4 months (which helped it lose a lot of patronage which it never recovered)
Also a lot of freight was lost to road and it took years to get it most of what was lost back to rail.

Gauge conversion of existing metropolitan passenger lines is basically not worth the effort.
Pressman

Another thing with the Melbourne Adelaide Gauge conversion is that the reason it was done so cheaply is they DID NOT repack the ballast after the conversion. As the ballast is only packed immediatley either side of each rail, this resulted in asimetrical loading one rail and an enormous amount of sleeper problems afterwards.

As has been repeatedly stated regauging of the metro area is simply not worth the effort.

woodford
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
Ok a couple of points on comments made
(in relation to gauge conversion) You close it and reopen it a few weeks later in which time the rolling stock has been sorted, just like they did on the SA line 25 years ago.

If your referring to the Melbourne - Adelaide line, the closure was way longer than a "few weeks".
Whilst the section from Murray Bridge to Bordertown was actually gauge converted in only 8 days, it was because AN had spent months installing gauge convertible concrete sleepers in the 12 months prior. However this short conversion period did not include gauge converting of crossing loop turnouts. The gauge conversion between Adelaide and Murray Bridge and between Melbourne and Bordertown took a lot longer.
And when the line did finally re-open it was with the barest minimum number of operational crossing loop, which restricted the number of trains that could travel on any particular day.
I believe the Overland did not operate for over 4 months (which helped it lose a lot of patronage which it never recovered)
Also a lot of freight was lost to road and it took years to get it most of what was lost back to rail.

Gauge conversion of existing metropolitan passenger lines is basically not worth the effort.



30kV D.C might also have substations spaced as much as 25km apart or maybe more.

Interesting you pull this one out of thin air! The highest voltage DC system in use is 3kV DC which requires substations at a maximum of 7.5kms apart.
The Russians built only a single line and a single train set to operate at 6kV DC in the 1970's as an experiment and it was never expanded. (so does that give a hint on any advantage?)
So where does this mythical 30kV dc come from?

25kV AC is the Internationally accepted standard for High Voltage Overhead these days
Pressman
There is a difference between dual gauge sleepers and gauge convertible sleepers the most obvious problem is that most of the concrete sleepers that have been used on the broad gauge are low profile sleepers and gauge convertible sleepers are deeper.
If there was a program to replace the existing concrete sleepers with gauge convertible sleepers then gauge conversion becomes a far simpler process except for pointwork where the fastest conversion is to have pre assembled units of the appropriate gauge and pull the broard gauge unit out and swap in the standard gauge replacement, with enough labour and equipment the actual change over could be accomplished quite quickly, the rollingstock conversion would be a different case and would dictate the length of line that could be converted with minimum disruption to the operation of services.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
The idea of the "big bang" approach to undertake gauge conversion works is in fact how the Murray Basin Project is to be largely undertaken.   There is no doubt in my mind that IF the Murray Basin Project achieves the success we all genuinely hope it will achieve and more freight returns to rail because of increased axleload, improved empty/load cycle times for improving productivity of equipment, accessibility to newer generation locos and wagons (container flats and grain hoppers) and the opportunities for mulitiple operators the this will serve as a catalyst for standardizing the Goulburn Valley/Deniliquin/Toolamba Lines.

In fact it was this group of lines that at one stage had a higher priority for conversion compared to the Murray Basin group and the only fly in the ointment is getting v/Line to be much more strategic in its thinking in supporting a fleet of SG V'Locities to then operate, Shep, Ararat, Maryborough as standard gauge operations as there would be a critical mass of passenger vehicles compared to the current orphaned SG N sets serving Albury.    Standardizing Ballarat to Ararat (dual gauge between Ballarat and Wendouree) re-opens opportunities to service Horsham as well if so desired.

If V/Line could get its head around SG the Shep and Ararat it gets much higher quality track for the Shep services, that lifts speeds to 130km/hr and brings Shep onto a roughly 2hr 5 minute schedule.   Whilst Ararat is already at 130km/hr, converting it to SG with a steadily increasing proportion of concrete sleepers overtime improves its hot weather performance.

The Goulburn Valley SG project has been scoped and costed 3 times, couple that with SG to Ararat means the Maryborough/Ararat and Goulburn Valley almost becomes a mini RFR type transformation in journey times, improved service etc for relatively low cost outlay.  It is quite significantly a win for both freight and passenger business which means the economic benefits are just not confined to either freight or exclusively passenger.

Turning to comments about longer term conversion of the Warrnambool, many people in freight and logistics tell me that the freight potential on this corridor is enormous.

Some of the southern hemispheres largest milk product processing occurs in this region and it continues to grow.   There is a lot of plantation timber output that may have potential like the Kelso (Bathurst) service, and what holds this corridor back is lack of a second long crossing loop around Camperdown  and I feel a lack of will by PN to work closely with the Warrnambool Terminal Operator and other partners.    It is a short haul but there's ample demonstration of successful freight operations of similar distance already operating around the country.   It needs a player like SSR or QUBE to better get that happening and SG in enabling a freer movement of locos and wagons helps.   In addition SG based on the Murray Basin Project would improve the overall performance of the track and with ongoing level crossing upgrades enable future 130km/hr passenger operations making this corridor again very competitive for passenger rail.  Another potential WIN WIN
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
The idea of the "big bang" approach to undertake gauge conversion works is in fact how the Murray Basin Project is to be largely undertaken.   There is no doubt in my mind that IF the Murray Basin Project achieves the success we all genuinely hope it will achieve and more freight returns to rail because of increased axleload, improved empty/load cycle times for improving productivity of equipment, accessibility to newer generation locos and wagons (container flats and grain hoppers) and the opportunities for mulitiple operators the this will serve as a catalyst for standardizing the Goulburn Valley/Deniliquin/Toolamba Lines.

In fact it was this group of lines that at one stage had a higher priority for conversion compared to the Murray Basin group and the only fly in the ointment is getting v/Line to be much more strategic in its thinking in supporting a fleet of SG V'Locities to then operate, Shep, Ararat, Maryborough as standard gauge operations as there would be a critical mass of passenger vehicles compared to the current orphaned SG N sets serving Albury.    Standardizing Ballarat to Ararat (dual gauge between Ballarat and Wendouree) re-opens opportunities to service Horsham as well if so desired.

If V/Line could get its head around SG the Shep and Ararat it gets much higher quality track for the Shep services, that lifts speeds to 130km/hr and brings Shep onto a roughly 2hr 5 minute schedule.   Whilst Ararat is already at 130km/hr, converting it to SG with a steadily increasing proportion of concrete sleepers overtime improves its hot weather performance.

The Goulburn Valley SG project has been scoped and costed 3 times, couple that with SG to Ararat means the Maryborough/Ararat and Goulburn Valley almost becomes a mini RFR type transformation in journey times, improved service etc for relatively low cost outlay.  It is quite significantly a win for both freight and passenger business which means the economic benefits are just not confined to either freight or exclusively passenger.

Turning to comments about longer term conversion of the Warrnambool, many people in freight and logistics tell me that the freight potential on this corridor is enormous.

Some of the southern hemispheres largest milk product processing occurs in this region and it continues to grow.   There is a lot of plantation timber output that may have potential like the Kelso (Bathurst) service, and what holds this corridor back is lack of a second long crossing loop around Camperdown  and I feel a lack of will by PN to work closely with the Warrnambool Terminal Operator and other partners.    It is a short haul but there's ample demonstration of successful freight operations of similar distance already operating around the country.   It needs a player like SSR or QUBE to better get that happening and SG in enabling a freer movement of locos and wagons helps.   In addition SG based on the Murray Basin Project would improve the overall performance of the track and with ongoing level crossing upgrades enable future 130km/hr passenger operations making this corridor again very competitive for passenger rail.  Another potential WIN WIN
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
The SA govt was at one time going to convert Adelaide to SG because some wako convinced them it was a smart thing to do. Thankfully it didn't happen for all the right reasons. If it won't happen there the chances of Melbourne are less than zero.
"RTT_Rules"

The idea to gauge conversion the metro lines came from the concept of running both Trams and Trains on part of the Outer Harbor passenger line (sharing the same track). Adelaide's tram network is SG hence the idea to gauge convert.
This would have also required a special class of "Dual Voltage" trams for that route (SA's new Heavy Rail EMU's are 25kV ac whilst the tram network is 600V dc)

Thankfully a couple of engineers who knew what was involved talked some sense to the Premier!
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
Turning to comments about longer term conversion of the Warrnambool, many people in freight and logistics tell me that the freight potential on this corridor is enormous.

Some of the southern hemispheres largest milk product processing occurs in this region and it continues to grow.   There is a lot of plantation timber output that may have potential like the Kelso (Bathurst) service, and what holds this corridor back is lack of a second long crossing loop around Camperdown and I feel a lack of will by PN to work closely with the Warrnambool Terminal Operator and other partners.    It is a short haul but there's ample demonstration of successful freight operations of similar distance already operating around the country.   It needs a player like SSR or QUBE to better get that happening and SG in enabling a freer movement of locos and wagons helps.   In addition SG based on the Murray Basin Project would improve the overall performance of the track and with ongoing level crossing upgrades enable future 130km/hr passenger operations making this corridor again very competitive for passenger rail.  Another potential WIN WIN
Trainplanner
It sounds like what is actually required on the Warrnambool line isn't necessarily gauge conversion but the capacity upgrades you talked about and perhaps some more modern BG motive power to the leasing pool. A 2000m+ passing loop/lane is easily achievable around Camperdown and should be expedited, along with full duplication between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds.

As for the rollingstock side of things: I daresay if the Victorian Government helped facilitate CFCLA or another leasing company to add a couple of modern, fuel-efficient 3000HP+ BG locos to its fleet there'd be a few less problems with getting SSR or QUBE to look at running new export-oriented freight services on the line (or free up BG locos used on existing services). This is a 'quick win' if done properly and is exactly the sort of thing that could be implemented by a 'Rail Freight Facilitation Unit' as championed by Tim Fischer's 2007 report into rail freight in Victoria. BG bogies for converting container flat wagons are in abundance too.

The obstacles to gauge conversion of the Warrnambool line are the interface with the Melbourne-Geelong line (requiring dual-gauging from Waurn Ponds to North Geelong) and the capacity of the Western SG line to fit in the Warrnambool passenger services, perhaps requiring additional passing loops/lanes to be constructed between Geelong and Melbourne. Then again, when you combine the addition of Mildura line intermodal services to the Western SG line along with the Warrnambool traffic then you very may well have enough momentum to get those upgrades funded.
Of course I suppose you could always do an 'all change' at Geelong for Warrnambool passengers (i.e running shuttles) if the capacity issues are too much for ARTC to handle, too.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Just by way of information........................

A REAL serious problem with High voltage DC, is once an arc starts its almost impossible to stop it without breaking the power, so you have to take EXTREME care when building HV DC distribution systems, something that with railway overheads would be almost impossible to do.

Another point one can do anything quickly if one throws enough resources at it. In 1928 the Antofogasta, Chile and Bolivia railway, all 750 miles of it was regauged in 6 days (2 ft 6in to metre gauge, Note 1), They had however dual gauged all yards including 11 miles of sidings to take all the existing rolling stock to be regauged. For the actual regauging itself the engineering staff (it was a british company) worked how much one gang could regauge in 7 days and then hired enough staff to do the whole line in 7 days. They had to set up and provision all the camps through out the whole length of the line, not an insignificant task in itself as it NEVER rains in the area. The regauging was actually completed by the 6th day.

One mind simple boggles at the shear amount of resources and money this must have cost. In Australia there would simply not be enough qualified staff or equipment to accomplish the sort of same thing here

Note 1: This was not (and still is not) a toy railway, the line regularly ran 1000 ton trains, not bad for a 2 ft 6in railway.

woodford
woodford
Last line you mean metre gauge!

If its the one I'm thinking of it now has ex QR locos. Trains operate at barely 40-45km/hr, no rain (ever) means no ballast needed so the sleepers just sit in dirt as it never gets wet. Yes its an impressive low cost operation that gets the job done.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I think improvements to the Port of Melbourne rail connection will be a significant catalyst for rail.  By allowing straight to/from dock services, Warrnambool et al will be able to have reasonably fast services, and fewer container movements - i.e. lower costs.

@LancedDendrite - what SG classes are you considering to be analogous to a modern 3000+ loco?
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Your OP is about Vic BG conversion to SG, not about narrow gauge.
RTT_Rules
It was asking about how complicated it would be compared to what it is worth. I gave the comparison with replacing water mains and then noted that converting between gauges differing by more than the width of standard rails is pretty trivial compared to replacing every water main at once.

SA and Vic have operated the same broad gauge and connected by at one time 3 BG lines across the border until the mid 90's. How much exchange of rolling stock took place apart from interstate traffic? Probably none to very little.
RTT_Rules
At that time, Adelaide still had diesel railcars while we had electric trains here in Melbourne.

The disruption to DG is also not insignificant and extremely costly, especially in areas with lots of points and especially for BG/SG DG as its more complex and impacts on train speeds and even axle loads. NG and BG or SG is less of an issue, but still expensive. Basically you don't do 1km more DG than needed.
RTT_Rules
But how significant is it compared to replacing every water main across a wide urban area at once? Cape gauge and standard gauge is less of an issue because the gauges differ more, making it easy to convert bit-by-bit.

The SA govt was at one time going to convert Adelaide to SG because some wako convinced them it was a smart thing to do. Thankfully it didn't happen for all the right reasons. If it won't happen there the chances of Melbourne are less than zero.
RTT_Rules
As for converting the Adelaide network, it is large enough that it would need to be done line by line, each line being shut down during the conversion period, and a substantial portion of the fleet regauged within the time-frame of conversion of each line, and dual gauge track where trains on broad and standard gauge routes share tracks, meaning narrow footed rails, dual gauge related speed restrictions, etc.

Imagine if that someone convinced the S.A government, or one of their local governments, that replacing all the water mains in Victor Harbour is a good thing to do, with no running water there for a long time while they do it.
  Flygon Train Controller

Location: Australia
While, personally, I don't see a rolling gauge conversion of the entire state network as being impossible. In fact, perhaps even practical. There is far too many other disruptive factors (namely - it's not politically worthwhile, and would be a real pain in the rear end for commuters going to Inner Melbourne while lines are being converted).

The fact that we have a pretty bad history of taking forever to actually start and complete projects doesn't help.

Either way, that being said, I don't quite think Myrtone has a very good grasp of reality.

In addition, Victoria's biggest problems, that I understand, regarding freight, are that there's simply no freight operators that either care, or have any real resources.

While regauging would allow desperately needed competition to come into this state, with much more modern and numerous Standard Gauge rollingstock (the lack of Broad Gauge rollingstock being a serious dampener for running freight locally), the simple fact that the Government hasn't done anything, I dare say, "serious" to try and encourage running rail freight as intensely as Queensland or New South Wales is a significant contributor to our problems. Regardless of what Rail Gauge is being used.

This, in itself, does not really discuss the Passenger Network. But, I have an appointment to run to, and I really don't want to get into that.
As others have stated, the topic has been beaten to death. The horse is not just dead, it's rotted away, its flesh gone, and the bones turned to dust. We're not just beating the dead horse, we're beating the ground hard enough and for long enough to create a crater rivaling those from the Moon.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The grain traffic east coast wide economics is hampered by variability in seasonal loads and 3 gauges of track to deal with.  

The Inland rail project should enable all the SW Qld grain to shift to SG. Only CQ grain would remain on NG and that uses mostly the coal network anyway. This project should also enable 180mm grain trains to run from SW Qld and NW NSW to Brisbane as most of the silo's will be alongside or very near to the new main.

If Vic was was to shift its NW grain network to SG, then you have the abilty for grain trains to run from Brisbane to Adelaide and servicing all the silo's in between. Dry times in one area doesn't always mean dry in the other. Larger competition and flexibility for operators, encouragement to upgrade silos to large bulk movements with heavier and potentially longer trains.

To me this is the key and only priority for any gauge conversion remaining between Adelaide and Brisbane.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Regauging suburban lines makes no sense.

Fully standardising the regional network should only occur once the entries to Melbourne are segregated, eg.:

*Melbourne Airport through to Clarkefield (taking care of Bendigo) and Craigieburn (via Jacana)
*Dedicated tracks for Ballarat trains from the RRL to Exford or Rowsley Bank
*Two express tracks to Dandenong and Mentone (the latter as a consequence of the former)

You can then standardise all current Vline routes and extended suburban runs express to Dandenong and Mentone.

Any more than that is completely pointless - freight trains will never run to Hurstbridge.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
I'm not suggesting anything here but I have been wondering how complicated would regauging Victoria's railways, including Melbourne suburban, be relative to what it's worth.
Imagine being told that all water mains in your town are going to be replaced at once and you will have no running water while they do it. Converting between track gauges differing by more than the width of the rail, for example from cape gauge to standard, is pretty trivial compared to replacing every water main at once. One can buy standard gauge rolling stock, and provide dual gauge track where it shares tracks with existing cape gauge rolling stock, with three rails where one is shared between cape gauge and standard gauge rolling stock.
While three-rail dual Irish and standard gauge track is also possible, it requires narrow footed rails and dangers of brake blocks dropping in a narrow gap between the rails limit broad gauge vehicles to 80km/h.
Another type of dual gauge track is where tracks of two different gauges are interlaced, but this means longer sleepers and greater horizontal clearance relative to the maximum train width.

Certainly converting a railway network between gauges without any interim dual gauge track, and thus no track sharing between old and new vehicles, would involve an awful lot of disruption.
"Myrtone"


We had ample opportunities to convert the Melbourne suburban area to standard gauge back when the track was on wooden sleepers and the carriages were wooden too. Even the Harris trains could have been standard gauge, and I'm sure at least one Y class was on standard gauge, and they reused the same bogies as the red rattlers. Now that most of the suburban lines have concrete sleepers it is going to be a very costly upgrade, if it is ever done.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
But as a large network, even back then, this would have involved either interim dual gauge track, with speed restrictions and narrow footed rails, or shutting down a substantial portion of the network while the conversion is done.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

In 1995  Gheringhap to  Maroona was basically gauged converted from broad to standard gauge over a 1 month shutdown .

Ultimately the plan is to replace the existing short manual loop at Camperdown station with a duplicate remote controlled  loop of Warncoort design 1250m around Boorcan .
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
But as a large network, even back then, this would have involved either interim dual gauge track, with speed restrictions and narrow footed rails, or shutting down a substantial portion of the network while the conversion is done.
Myrtone
Large scale regauging projects were undertaken In the United States when they settled on a common gauge, pretty much It was done flat out with a lot of hands on deck.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
But were they converting between gauges differing by more than the width of the rails?
  M636C Minister for Railways

But were they converting between gauges differing by more than the width of the rails?
Myrtone
Sometimes more, sometimes less...

There were gauges of 6 feet, 5 feet and even 4 feet 9 inches....

The actual difference didn't matter because they didn't worry about retaining the old gauge.

The conversion in England of the Great Western in 1892 was a good example.

There were years of preparation, but the main line in Devon and Cornwall was converted in a weekend.
Having longitudinal sleepers linked by iron tie rods helped a lot and I think a lot of sidings were closed until new points could be installed.

Also, Josef Stalin rode into Berlin on a 5 feet gauge train hauled by an Alco diesel for his 1945 meeting with Churchill and Truman at Potsdam. Of course, nobody was going to complain about the disruption...  and much of it reverted to standard gauge immediately afterwards.

M636C

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