I don't know of anyone (except you) who thinks PN's stewardship of the Victorian frieght network was a good thing for rail freight in this state.
I was living here in Victoria when PN did most of their good works as owners of the intrastate railway network. The first thing PN did when they took over Victoria was send most of the broad gauge fleet to Simsmetal - it was a very positive, affirming move for the future of broad-gauge freight when they did that, also reflected in the amount of former rail customers who went to trucks. The amount of intrastate rail traffic plummeted from about 15% to about 2% - the complete opposite of what was promised when V/line freight was privatised. By the time PN handed the system back to the Brumby government there were almost no customers and no rolling-stock left to run on it.
Just wait until there's some major work required - the speed restrictions will increase to the point of it becoming un-viable. Meanwhile, Aurizon itself has some substantial cash-flow problems with coal projects elsewhere that might threaten the long-term viability of the company.
The private sector simply doesn't invest in perway - it's just how it is in Australia. It's always been this way. There's no reason to think that any ARTC privatisation will be any different.
Did you even read my post? I said FIRST OWNERS. FYI that's not PN.
TranNZ, Tasrail P/L and Freight Vic/Australia did well under their intial private owner. Whether this was sustainable is another question for which none of us know the answer. I suspect in the case of Tasrail it probably wasn't. TranzNZ should have been a much better success story and V/line should have been able to do ok, although Victoria has large amounts of route km with low tonnages and short range distances that are always a challenge for rail, more so when those tonnages are the backbone of the freight haulage tasks.
No, I did not agree then (check my posts from back then) or now that Tasrail tracks and V/line tracks should have been sold. Its a monoply that has minimal commerical viability.
NZ govt is however always been more supportive of freight on rail and hence should have aided its sucess more so than Tas and Vic where the govts were building modern roads alongside rail and then quite happy to sit back and let the freight move to road.
Vic railways is in need of some desperate rationalisation, too many km for not enough tonnes, even if more was converted to rail.
Tas lost the far NW line under AN and many others, but under private ownership they spent a bucket load on the NE line and it was all for zip and now closed and most likely to be ripped up, probably a rail trail. What is left is now the backbone and probably the only section that was ever going to be viable long term.
Re CQ coal
Coal is shipped in Qld much longer km than NSW and in general very large quantities that is what rail is all about. Hundred's of route km in the millions of tonnes, there is no competition from road. If it this is not enough to make a railway viable, nothing is and the mine should be closed rather than be a burdon on the taxpayer to pay for their railway. I think Auirzon has proved itself to want to invest where its needed. Likewise if the Hunter lines cannot survive on their own from the revenues from moving coal, the mines should be closed.
The private sector doesn't invest in perway when govt policy makes this investment a high risk option. Look at NT line, Wepia and Pilbra, all privately funded and be running now for many years, NT less so. However you make it sound like that under govt ownership all is sweet for rail when this is proven to be rubbish.
The private sector does invest when there are longterm contracts, large mix secure commerically viable tonnages and/or little practical alt competition, such as road or shipping. USA, would be a good case in point, however its shear size and volume is the main driver.
Under ALP govt in Qld
- At least 50% of the states branch lines ripped up in last 10 years, more to follow with services long since suspended. By the end of the current ALP govt. Trains will no longer exit the central west to Emerald apart from coal and maybe Winton, the WEstern main will be closed beyond the last coal mine and only branches left apart from coal will be Kuranda, Cement Australia, sugar and SW to Thaloon.
Under ALP govt in NSW
- Interstate left to rot, Menagle Bridge, Wagga Wagga Bridge, manual signally retained in main south and border crossing into Qld, outdated and poorly placed crossing loops. There was even some sort of investigation I believe in the 90's to consider closing the line to Qld.
Under LNP govt in Vic
- New concrete sleepers paid for by Fed's, left to collect dust on side of interstate in Vic