Pinnaroo and Tookayerta Line Train movements

 
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
As has been expected Vittera has said they will move to road transport from 1 August for these two lines.

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  AN830 Locomotive Driver

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
As has been expected Vittera has said they will move to road transport from 1 August for these two lines.
bingley hall

Any ideas on how many more trains are likely to venture out onto those lines before they are shut?
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Any ideas on how many more trains are likely to venture out onto those lines before they are shut?
AN830
Only GWA and Vittera would know the answer.

Probably no more than 6-8 on each line. They had been running on average a couple of times a week, but from memory there hasn't been one for a fortnight now.

Of course there's always the danger of one party or the other spitting the dummy and no more trains running from now on.
  Z VAN Junior Train Controller

I am a little perplexed at these well seems to be line closure's as I thought the idea of Companies like GWA were they were experienced in Short line operation. I was under the impression GWA operate through the full spectrum of heavy haul down to the country branch line and a situation like this meant they could scale down to accomadate the light traffic on offer.
It maybe Vitteria are the real villans in this case?  
If this was Australian National the noise of the service decline would be a lot louder.
The Councils whose roads will be effected should talk to GWA to find out how Short Lines can be funded to bring the track up to a higher standard if that is the real issue with them.
The extra money that would be spent on road maintance becomes the loan interest repayment with GWA paying the loan principle back. In this senario at the end of the day the track is there being used and no extra road trucks are on the road compared to today. Given time all parties have a win including Vittera.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville

Of course there's always the danger of one party or the other spitting the dummy and no more trains running from now on.
bingley hall
Thankfully not the case and there have been 3 trains to Pinnarroo in the last week.

One loading out there as I type and possibly another tomorrow (Wednesday).
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks Bingley.  Appreciate your updates.  I'm returning from overseas at end of June and hope to be able to see some of the operation before it closes.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I am a little perplexed at these well seems to be line closure's as I thought the idea of Companies like GWA were they were experienced in Short line operation. I was under the impression GWA operate through the full spectrum of heavy haul down to the country branch line and a situation like this meant they could scale down to accomadate the light traffic on offer.
It maybe Vitteria are the real villans in this case?  
If this was Australian National the noise of the service decline would be a lot louder.
The Councils whose roads will be effected should talk to GWA to find out how Short Lines can be funded to bring the track up to a higher standard if that is the real issue with them.
The extra money that would be spent on road maintance becomes the loan interest repayment with GWA paying the loan principle back. In this senario at the end of the day the track is there being used and no extra road trucks are on the road compared to today. Given time all parties have a win including Vittera.
Z VAN

Q, if GWA cannot make a go of it and they supposedly have short haul experience, then is its a GWA problem or simply an economic problem and that the line isn't viable?

AN was an easy target being govt owned, also at the time in general the rural community were more vocal of the line closures. Part of the reason today the line is closing maybe because the farmers are the ones making the choice?

What sort of tonnages are we talking over this line? Has the average annual available traffic being going up or down?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks RTT I'd like to know as well.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Where is any evidence the track quality is an issue ?
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Where is any evidence the track quality is an issue ?
freightgate
Track is fit for purpose.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Thanks RTT I'd like to know as well.
Trainplanner
Tonnages and averages do not appear to be publically available these days.

Were easily accessible in the past.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Tonnages and averages do not appear to be publically available these days.

Were easily accessible in the past.
bingley hall
I seem to remember that SACBH would list individual site tonnages during the year, Has Vittera curtailed this practice?
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
If not a track issue the. What is it ? I still Think it is something GWA have either done or not done.

Are the silos adjacent to the lines to remain open ?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Tonnages and averages do not appear to be publically available these days.

Were easily accessible in the past.
bingley hall
Thanks,
makes it hard to complain about a line closing if we don't know how many tonnes are being transported?

Looks like about 250km of track to be closed between the two branches. I would have thought you'd need at least a train a day 5-6 days a week heading into one of the two branches to keep the lines open.

GWA only make money for grain transported on rails, so that's roughly 120-140km of n/t/km than can no longer charge for.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I was told that Viterra made the decision to use trucks, so it really has nothing to do with GWA or even the track condition. Seems a stupid decision if it is true though! I don't how truthful this statement was though!
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
I seem to remember that SACBH would list individual site tonnages during the year, Has Vittera curtailed this practice?
Pressman
Went Googling for them a couple of months ago - couldn't find anything.

SA is just a blip on Vittera (now Glencores') global operations.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I was told that Viterra made the decision to use trucks, so it really has nothing to do with GWA or even the track condition. Seems a stupid decision if it is true though! I don't how truthful this statement was though!
David Peters
1. It is fair to assume that Glencore/Viterra have made the decision - who else would be making those decisions on their behalf?

2. Of course it has everything to do with GWA, if the service was as Glencore/Viterra required and being provided at a competitive price, then there would have been no reason for them to make the decision to take their business elsewhere.

3. Until we are told otherwise by someone who actually knows, it is probably fair to assume that the track is in a suitable condition for the shipment of bulk grain (which does not need to be high - grain is not time sensitive freight!) and that this shouldn't be a direct factor in the Glencore/Viterra's business decision. It may be an indirect factor, if the cost of maintaining it is making GWA uncompetitive.

4. Unless you know (and I mean actually know, not 'I was told') that sticking with GWA haulage would have been a better business decision for Glencore/Viterra than switching to road haulage, you cannot condemn it as a 'stupid decision' just because you don't like it.

If not a track issue the. What is it ? I still Think it is something GWA have either done or not done.
freightgate
That's a fair assumption.

Betting the future of their business on the mining boom might be part of the problem, if losing that bet has led to GWA raising their prices beyond the level at which they'd be competitive.

But there's also the possibility that it's actually a policy of managed decline - this state government would be thrilled if GWA vacated their lease early because they could then sell the land to prop up the budget for a couple of years.

Are the silos adjacent to the lines to remain open ?
freightgate
It would surely depend on how the road haulage will work. They are all next to roads as well as the rail lines (this is of course how the grain gets there in the first place) so if the new plans are to work essentially as train substitutes the answer would be yes.

But there's always the possibility that a more direct supply chain might be in operation for some of the work, to reduce the amount of additional handling imposed by using the silos.
  JoppaJunction Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
I was told that Viterra made the decision to use trucks, so it really has nothing to do with GWA or even the track condition. Seems a stupid decision if it is true though! I don't how truthful this statement was though!
David Peters

There must have been a tipping point where Viterra needed to make a decision.  The question is what was that tipping point?  

Contract Renewal?
GWA imposing higher fees?

There is a lot of work in changing suppliers so it must have been compelling.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Ultimately these are now low volume branch lines whose only business is a single commodity supplied by a single customer. If the customer decides to do something different, there's not much the rail operator can do. GWA's grain business in South Australia has the shortest average railing distance in Australia...which means grain haulage profit margins are already pretty thin, even on the ARTC network. Add in the cost of a single customer branchline and that means the customer's product has to pay the full cost of keeping that line open or the rail operator/owner runs trains at a loss. Yeah, sure GWA should be going out there and trying to find other business on these branchlines, but just what other business is there? Fruit from Loxton maybe? What else that could actually fill enough wagons to pay for the upkeep of 250km of track each year?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

2. Of course it has everything to do with GWA, if the service was as Glencore/Viterra required and being provided at a competitive price, then there would have been no reason for them to make the decision to take their business elsewhere.

3. Until we are told otherwise by someone who actually knows, it is probably fair to assume that the track is in a suitable condition for the shipment of bulk grain (which does not need to be high - grain is not time sensitive freight!) and that this shouldn't be a direct factor in the Glencore/Viterra's business decision. It may be an indirect factor, if the cost of maintaining it is making GWA uncompetitive.
justapassenger
And while GWA's price may have not been competitive, this does not mean it wasn't a reasonable commercial price for them, ie any lower and its not worth the effort.

By going to the main line, Viterra have opened the door to rail competition , so perhaps it was a business decision as they now have open competition on the road and rail and they have less silo's to maintain/operate (assuming the those on the branches are closed).

I also assume that GWA got no financial assistance  from the govt for running those two branch lines, meanwhile NSW, Vic, Qld and WA are throwing at least some money at the lessor used grain lines. So ultimately it may have nothing to do with GWA at all.

regards
Shane
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Ultimately these are now low volume branch lines whose only business is a single commodity supplied by a single customer. If the customer decides to do something different, there's not much the rail operator can do. GWA's grain business in South Australia has the shortest average railing distance in Australia...which means grain haulage profit margins are already pretty thin, even on the ARTC network. Add in the cost of a single customer branchline and that means the customer's product has to pay the full cost of keeping that line open or the rail operator/owner runs trains at a loss. Yeah, sure GWA should be going out there and trying to find other business on these branchlines, but just what other business is there? Fruit from Loxton maybe? What else that could actually fill enough wagons to pay for the upkeep of 250km of track each year?
"Sulla1"


This is something I will never understand.  Why having the shortest railing distances for large bulk traffic a hinderance?  This happens every day in various jurisdictions here and around the world.  GW (A) are a recognised short haul operator where they should be experts. This should be their bread and butter.

We consistently keep hearing here rail does not cost in for short distances which is rubbish.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
This is something I will never understand.  Why having the shortest railing distances for large bulk traffic a hinderance?  This happens every day in various jurisdictions here and around the world.  GW (A) are a recognised short haul operator where they should be experts. This should be their bread and butter.

We consistently keep hearing here rail does not cost in for short distances which is rubbish.
x31
Shorter distances means that trucks are more competitive with rail. Shorter distances = shorter transit times, shorter transit times means that you can do more runs in a given day/week/month, which means that the low carrying capacity of trucks relative to rail is compensated for.

If the freight volumes are high enough or the distances between freight origin and destination long enough, rail wins. The Pinnaroo & Loxton lines are short and have low (and variable) volumes of freight, making them marginal at best.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Rail is ultimately a volume business, you can make money hauling a lot of tonnes a short distance or make money hauling moderate tonnes a long distance. Every rail line and every rail operation has a cost, and that cost is only paid for by the freight volume available...obviously there is minimum volume every operation must achieve to be profitable. A classic short haul case in point is the Queensland Nickel refinery. The distance between the port and refinery is 30km. 4-million tonnes of ore is imported and delivered by rail, but the 32,000-tonnes of metal is taken back to the port by road. Same destination, same distance, different transport solution based on volume...GWA faces the same realities.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Is GWA a public company?  If so sell your shares.  These guys will never make rail work in South Australia.  

if you cannot make money on a state wide grain contract encompassing long and short haul with mixed volumes you need to give the game away.  I cannot for one see GWA expanding their business in any way to the benefit of potential customers nor their suffering parent company.

It sounds harsh but mining is done it is over. It is finished and Australia needs to start thinking beyond the mining boom which was actually a mining construction boom.  There are many markets for rail. One is energy which has not been developed.

If GWA cannot develop new markets for bulk and intermodal then they will continue to fade into the sunset as they currently are.

P.S  China are developing markets for iron ore in other countries (even Brazil) where the cost of landing the Iron Ore in China from South America is cheaper than purchasing from Australia even with the difference in shipping costs.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
You don't know whether GW is a public company or not?

Do some research for god's sake.

GWA is a wholly owned subsidiary of US based Genesee & Wyoming Inc which has a market cap of US$4.47bn.

It's share price today is over 4 times what it was on it entered the Australian market in 1997.

Annual revenue is in the order of US$1.5bn which will increase substantially (by up to US$1bn) with the recent acquisition of UK based Freightliner.

Much though it grieves me, I doubt the marginal revenue lost from an estimated 250,000 tonnes on the Mallee lines is going to cause much of a ripple.

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