Why are New South Welshmen more anti-rail trail than other states?

 
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
Of course Tumut to Batlow and the line from Bombala to Cooma are going to magically fill with freight suddenly..... And of course the suburban line didn't have that many wooden trestles in it, unlike many of the closed lines around the rest of the state.

If you want to see how well rail trails are going down in Victoria, you're welcome to come down and take a look. Kilcunda wouldn't even be half the town it was without the rail trail going through it.

Talking of low speed lines, that was a main contributor to the demise of the Leongatha line in Vic; as Trucks could do the job much quicker.
I wasn't referring to Tumut to Batlow, nor Cooma (although there is a preservation group at Cooma), I'm referring to lines that might see one train a week if traffic crops up. One train a week would keep a line open, even if it was only doing 20km/h. I was referring to loads from country locations. Canberra has a scrap train every week after years of no freight on their branch, it's not as though new traffic isn't on offer. There are other trains that have recently started running that could start much closer to the source of traffic except the lines there have been closed.

I'm not interested in rail trails in Victoria. You can have them, please enjoy them.

Leongatha may have had a slow line, but in NSW all freight trains spend half their time doing 20km/h, as they are usually loaded to full load for the ruling grade. We seem to have a lot of hills! There is a 70km stretch of track that I use where the average speed is 30km/h, due to the continuous rising grades. Speed is not really an issue.

The old branch to Wallerawang colliery had a speed limit of 10km/h for at least a decade before the mine finally closed, and as much as semis are faster than 10km/h, they can't carry the tonnages that two or three trains a day can.

What my real point is is that removed track costs a fortune to replace, whereas repairing existing line can be done on a budget. I also said you could put trails next to rails. I'm not anti trail, I'm just anti waste.

M
In conjunction with that 1 scrap train a week there is 6 nsw trainlink services a day and a heritage steam train operator in Canberra. That is why it is viable to keep the line open. One actual train a week is not viable.
simstrain
One train a week is incredibly viable! You'd shut a line that has a train every week? What would you do with seasonal lines? Shut them and rip them up every winter, then relay the track every summer? How many ore trains do you reckon visit Cobar every week? Sheesh!

The other services kept the Canberra branch open, but they don't pay for it to stay open - freight train access fees do. Freight trains don't vote though. In fact, one train a week's access fees would quite comfortably pay for track repairs, whereas six passenger trains a day wouldn't even pay their own fuel and crew costs.



M

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  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland


What my real point is is that removed track costs a fortune to replace, whereas repairing existing line can be done on a budget. I also said you could put trails next to rails. I'm not anti trail, I'm just anti waste.

M
Grantham
If the old track Is stuffed, doing a patch up job trying to repair clapped out Is a waste (likely lead to the line closing again due to poor condition and high maintenance costs)

Stripping It back to the base (as what a rail trail Is) and refurbishing the drainage and formation, culvert and bridge renewal, taking the opportunity to better align the track (If warranted) would be a more sustainable option.

Building a new walking cycling trail beside the railway would be a minor task, though most likely won't be to the same high stranded at the railway formation that the trail followed before.  

Costing a fortune Is something that can't be avoided (probably one of the main reasons the railway became disused/closed/abandon)
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Of course Tumut to Batlow and the line from Bombala to Cooma are going to magically fill with freight suddenly..... And of course the suburban line didn't have that many wooden trestles in it, unlike many of the closed lines around the rest of the state.

If you want to see how well rail trails are going down in Victoria, you're welcome to come down and take a look. Kilcunda wouldn't even be half the town it was without the rail trail going through it.

Talking of low speed lines, that was a main contributor to the demise of the Leongatha line in Vic; as Trucks could do the job much quicker.
I wasn't referring to Tumut to Batlow, nor Cooma (although there is a preservation group at Cooma), I'm referring to lines that might see one train a week if traffic crops up. One train a week would keep a line open, even if it was only doing 20km/h. I was referring to loads from country locations. Canberra has a scrap train every week after years of no freight on their branch, it's not as though new traffic isn't on offer. There are other trains that have recently started running that could start much closer to the source of traffic except the lines there have been closed.

I'm not interested in rail trails in Victoria. You can have them, please enjoy them.

Leongatha may have had a slow line, but in NSW all freight trains spend half their time doing 20km/h, as they are usually loaded to full load for the ruling grade. We seem to have a lot of hills! There is a 70km stretch of track that I use where the average speed is 30km/h, due to the continuous rising grades. Speed is not really an issue.

The old branch to Wallerawang colliery had a speed limit of 10km/h for at least a decade before the mine finally closed, and as much as semis are faster than 10km/h, they can't carry the tonnages that two or three trains a day can.

What my real point is is that removed track costs a fortune to replace, whereas repairing existing line can be done on a budget. I also said you could put trails next to rails. I'm not anti trail, I'm just anti waste.

M
In conjunction with that 1 scrap train a week there is 6 nsw trainlink services a day and a heritage steam train operator in Canberra. That is why it is viable to keep the line open. One actual train a week is not viable.
One train a week is incredibly viable! You'd shut a line that has a train every week? What would you do with seasonal lines? Shut them and rip them up every winter, then relay the track every summer? How many ore trains do you reckon visit Cobar every week? Sheesh!

The other services kept the Canberra branch open, but they don't pay for it to stay open - freight train access fees do. Freight trains don't vote though. In fact, one train a week's access fees would quite comfortably pay for track repairs, whereas six passenger trains a day wouldn't even pay their own fuel and crew costs.



M
Grantham
One train a week is not viable. Seasonal is even less so. One train a day is workable. Otherwise truck or use a conveyor belt to ship the goods to the nearest viable train line.

You made my point quite well when you said that freight trains don't vote. Because there is a passenger service to Canberra it doesn't matter that there is only 1 freight train a week. The combination of the freight train, passenger train and the heritage museum combine to make it impossible for a government to close the rail line down. There are no such advantages to the tiny lines that people such as yourself want to keep open.

Convert these lines to rail trails and leave the tracks embedded to give it a true sense of being a rail trail.
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
Since when was one freight train a week not viable when a handful of passenger trains are? I'm speechless - you know what railways are for?

I can understand closing so many lines in Victoria because it's such a tiny state and there is another railway only twenty miles away, but that's not the case on the seasonal lines up here. And they are not rotten or clapped out.

M
  UpperQuad Locomotive Fireman

Location: 184.8 miles to Sydney
What’s more viable: one train per week, or a dozen bicycles per day?

New South Welshman are not “anti-rail trail”, there simply isn’t widespread interest in them.
  The_trolley Deputy Commissioner

Location: .
Or to be more correct with that statement, there simply isn't widespread interest within the railway enthusiast community for them.

A group of people with a heavily vested and blinkered interest in a subject shouldn't even be pretending that they represent the wider communities interests. And, that's the problem with this debate at times. People advocating for a position not because it's the right one, but instead, because it's in their interests and then bending the truth (or not even that, being so heavily blinkered they refuse to see anything else) to support their arguments.

As I mentioned before, two-thousand railway enthusiasts on a Facebook page does not represent the wider community or its interests.
  The_trolley Deputy Commissioner

Location: .
And, I might add, that applies to both sides of the argument too. The nastiness and at times downright viciousness of the anti-trail side, especially in NSW, really leaves a sour taste though. And, this has been noted by people not associated with the debate as well.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
One freight train a week us far from viable especially if it's a short train. These days to keep a branch open depending on length but 2 to 3 trains a week would be mini and the train tonnages would need to be good.

Pax services are a different matter as they are CSO.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Unlike Vic, NSW dorsnt have many unused ROW within 300km of Sydney. Some of the proposals are 400 to 800km away. So not good for day trip.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
It's also occurred to me that the now closed Baalbone colliery branch was 10km/h speed limit for many years before the colliery closed. The speed limit was only 10km/h when we lifted 700,000 tons out from the mine to a single port in one calendar month - lets see you do that with your fast trucks! Razz

The track is still there to the closed mine. If it was lifted and made a rail trail then I'd be sad. To replace it (going off less than half the cost of light rail in Sydney) would cost $65,000,000. The track has been used eight or so times since the line was closed, to stow unused rakes or retrieve them for re-use.

I'm terribly sorry that I can't post photos of some of those events for you, Imageshack seems to have eaten my photos.

M
Grantham
If your talking about the Balloon Loop from the Mudgee Branch to Baalbone Colliery, I am extremely amazed that at the end a speed limit of 10kph was imposed over it as that was built from the ground up as brand new so my guess is the speed limit was imposed because the Company who owns the line from the Branch Junction cut maintenance back to near Zero as they had done on the line from the Weighbridge Loop to Wang Colliery to save money.
The Company agreeing to pay all costs in the event of a derailment as they deemed it cheaper than doing any scheduled maintenance.

No one has mentioned the Oberon Branch barely a 150kms West of Sydney and the efforts made to open it for Walking, Bicycle and Fettlers Track Riding and so far as I am aware, its all still wishful thinking.

A report in the Katoomba Gazette and Lithgow Mercury announced the lease of the Glenbrook Tunnel for growing of Mushrooms has been cancelled and the site is to be cleaned up with everything removed.
I have heard there used to be a path from near Lapstone along the old roadbed of the original switchback and a set of steps chiseled into the cutting wall where a 'station' used to be.
It would be interesting to see if the 2 could be 'connected' in any way.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Gordon, I mention Oberon eariler but the post may not have gone through.

I went there in 2008 and follow their progress online and they seem to have alot of community support and done alot or work but underestimated the sleeper condition by alot and in 10 years have yet to get 11km of track up and running. My guess they are at best 2 to 3 years away.

I highly doubt the full 35km line will ever be reinstated. I bet they won't support it but perhaps this gap would be a suitable rail trail.

So if Oberon is a bench test on how easy it is to restore a simple 11km line back to running order then there should be no further objection to further rail trials.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Since when was one freight train a week not viable when a handful of passenger trains are? I'm speechless - you know what railways are for?

I can understand closing so many lines in Victoria because it's such a tiny state and there is another railway only twenty miles away, but that's not the case on the seasonal lines up here. And they are not rotten or clapped out.

M
Grantham

Since when has one train a week been viable is the question you should be asking. But for arguments sake. What lines in particular do you think could survive with one train a week?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Or to be more correct with that statement, there simply isn't widespread interest within the railway enthusiast community for them.

A group of people with a heavily vested and blinkered interest in a subject shouldn't even be pretending that they represent the wider communities interests. And, that's the problem with this debate at times. People advocating for a position not because it's the right one, but instead, because it's in their interests and then bending the truth (or not even that, being so heavily blinkered they refuse to see anything else) to support their arguments.

As I mentioned before, two-thousand railway enthusiasts on a Facebook page does not represent the wider community or its interests.
The_trolley
Hey I'm a rail enthusiast and I have no problem with these lines being converted to rail trail use. The only people pining for them to be kept open are the delusional who think that somehow a train will once again run on those tracks once a week.

Instead of wasting time and money on these back water rail lines that were built for steam trains. Why not spend money on fixing the alignment of the main lines that actually make money.
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
I'm talking about wheat country, you know, where your food comes from if you live in a city. City people always forget where their food comes from.

For example, I'm talking about loading facilities near Temora where a wheat train visits a loading facility every week and takes the proceeds to a flour mill in or near Sydney, so the people in Sydney can have bread and hamburger buns and food, usually between 1600 and 3500 tons. I don't understand why that is such a foreign concept. Food comes from *not* the city. Meat, wheat, vegetables, all sorts of stuff gets transported to the cities by thousands of tons at a time. Dunno what happens in other states, but I don't want what you have.

simstrain (if that's your real name) what do you eat?

"Why not spend money on fixing the alignment of the main lines that actually make money." - you think making passenger trains faster will "actually make money"??? Do have any idea how much access fees for freighters are? Do you have any concept of the loss that passenger trains make? Really?????

I don't think I have anything further to add to this discussion, beyond this - if you want a rail trail through Barmedman, and you want sixty or more semi trailers carrying your food to the city instead of one train, then the price of your bread is about to skyrocket. I sometimes wonder why we send food to cities, instead of making them import it all from Italy and Brazil. Razz

M
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
One freight train a week us far from viable especially if it's a short train. These days to keep a branch open depending on length but 2 to 3 trains a week would be mini and the train tonnages would need to be good.

Pax services are a different matter as they are CSO.
RTT_Rules
What if it's a 3,500 ton train? Is that too short? This isn't the 1980s, you know, I'm only talking about real trains now and today.

M
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
As a Victorian who enjoys cycling the various rail trails in my state, I find the negative mindset with any potential rail trails in NSW on long disused rail lines to be frustrating.  

can anyone explain why this is the case?
beanzs27
Interesting way this thread has gone showing that not only farmers complaining about rail trails, but rail fans who think trains may actually returned to the suggested lines to be a rail trail.

Really? in truth just about all 'suspended' and closed lines will never see rail traffic again.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Grantham,
A 3500t train once a week over say a 50km long is unlikely to generate suffice revenue to sustain the track.

It's not about number of trains but rather gtkm per week. Branch lines used by only customer also come with additional costs that get loaded on the freight. Perhaps because it's just one train a week the line needs an inspection before each movement?

For example QRN used to run a 3 x weekly meat train on the Biloela brand which was about I think 12km long. The train ran 700km to Brisbane. But QRN found it cheaper to road haul the freight 100km to Rocky and make use of the existing yard and services and haul similar distance to Brisbane on only main line track.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Jim,
Your comment is u think entirely correct. Despite NSW leaving the tracks in place no lines have been returned to service more than other states.

In case of Qld generally most branch lines were left in situ for years until they were no longer usable before being ripped up. Qld was also very tolerant running freight trains with less mass than a B double and other money lossing feight for decades after the other states walked.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Woop there point of order.

Most I think took your 3600t per week train to be the only train on a single track.

Correct me if I'm wrong but Temora is neither the end of that branch nor the only loading point. So the reference to one train of week is completely out of context.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I'm talking about wheat country, you know, where your food comes from if you live in a city. City people always forget where their food comes from.

For example, I'm talking about loading facilities near Temora where a wheat train visits a loading facility every week and takes the proceeds to a flour mill in or near Sydney, so the people in Sydney can have bread and hamburger buns and food, usually between 1600 and 3500 tons. I don't understand why that is such a foreign concept. Food comes from *not* the city. Meat, wheat, vegetables, all sorts of stuff gets transported to the cities by thousands of tons at a time. Dunno what happens in other states, but I don't want what you have.

simstrain (if that's your real name) what do you eat?

"Why not spend money on fixing the alignment of the main lines that actually make money." - you think making passenger trains faster will "actually make money"??? Do have any idea how much access fees for freighters are? Do you have any concept of the loss that passenger trains make? Really?????

I don't think I have anything further to add to this discussion, beyond this - if you want a rail trail through Barmedman, and you want sixty or more semi trailers carrying your food to the city instead of one train, then the price of your bread is about to skyrocket. I sometimes wonder why we send food to cities, instead of making them import it all from Italy and Brazil. Razz

M
Grantham

If you have seen my posts in the past then you would know that I am for fixing the alignment for freight more then passenger trains. If large amounts of grain can be moved via train then I am all for it but this thread has been about old run down useless railways and not railways that could provide a service and be profitable to our farmers.

In any case if you have seen the price of bread in Sydney recently you will see that it is already expensive. Especially the gluten and dairy free bread that my Mother and Father need.

Maybe Farmers need to take action in getting cheaper bread into Sydney and start processing the grain in regional areas to provide jobs before shipping into Sydney via train from say Cootumundra or your favourite town of Barmedman.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The 70's and 80's should been a time for modernisation and realignment creating trunk routes with average speeds for loaded freights at least 60km/km or 2ndry routes and 80km/hr on primary and interstate routes.

Branch lines that fall outside these two categories allowed to remain if tonnages were sufficient to keep the line open.

But no we wasted money keeping ancient routes open following goat tracks.

EDIT
Anyway, in the 21st century we have trains from Sydney to Mel, the west and to Brisbane needing to do loop the loops to manage grade changes built by men with picks and shovels. Yet we have two interesting groups. One wants to send the Aussie govt on a path to build its most expensive project ever chasing the HSR leaving freight, interurban and regional trains to rot on 19th century alignments and nothing for the rest of the country off the HSR corridor and another wants to retain tracks abandoned for over 30 to 40 years in most cases to places like Batlow because freight will magically appear and/or heritage rail will take over the line.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. For NSW and interstate traffic the most viable projects would be the first ~30-40 to 200km on all four rail corridors out of Sydney. This helps everyone and the bulk of the rail traffic on the east coast apart from Suburban commuter (separate issue).
2nd step would finish the duplication and realignment between Goulburn and Albury.
3rd step further upgrades the NSW NCL. Massive realignment and passing lanes for the most popular slots.  
4th is Inland

Now our Temora grain trains can get to the city in a reasonable period of time.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
I think its totally incorrect to make the comment that some lines are 'Goat Tracks' or only "Built for Steam' as most were, even the now major Mail Lines and as such dont deserve any moneys spent on them because when they were built, everything about them had to meet a minimum standard that would have been based partly on the volume of traffic to be carried by them.
There is nothing wrong with Timber sleepers in Dirt Ballast or the alignment taking the less favorable route as it got the Trains running and thats what was wanted !!!
Since for most its between 80 and a 100 years since they were opened and everything to do with Rail has changed dramatically but not for them so when you look at them with 21st Century Eyes, look past the rust, dust and spider webs and see what needs to be done to restore them to a viable use.
You cannot ignore something for over 50 years and then blame it for needing expenditure to bring it up to date !!!
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I think its totally incorrect to make the comment that some lines are 'Goat Tracks' or only "Built for Steam' as most were, even the now major Mail Lines and as such dont deserve any moneys spent on them because when they were built, everything about them had to meet a minimum standard that would have been based partly on the volume of traffic to be carried by them.
There is nothing wrong with Timber sleepers in Dirt Ballast or the alignment taking the less favorable route as it got the Trains running and thats what was wanted !!!
Since for most its between 80 and a 100 years since they were opened and everything to do with Rail has changed dramatically but not for them so when you look at them with 21st Century Eyes, look past the rust, dust and spider webs and see what needs to be done to restore them to a viable use.
You cannot ignore something for over 50 years and then blame it for needing expenditure to bring it up to date !!!
gordon_s1942
This thread is starting to get off topic, but for any of those lines to ever become viable again it is going to require a brand new main south, main north, north coast and western lines.

In the mean time a rail trail provides a solution to preserve the corridors for future use if ever needed. It's not like developers are interested in land in tumut to build multi level apartments.

I'm not anti rail or anti rail trail. But I know when a rail line is useless and a lot of these rail trail proposals are on rail preservations that are unlikely to ever see a train again ever. As shown by this weekends Steamfest there is plenty of areas historic trains can run in NSW.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I think its totally incorrect to make the comment that some lines are 'Goat Tracks' or only "Built for Steam' as most were, even the now major Mail Lines and as such dont deserve any moneys spent on them because when they were built, everything about them had to meet a minimum standard that would have been based partly on the volume of traffic to be carried by them.
There is nothing wrong with Timber sleepers in Dirt Ballast or the alignment taking the less favorable route as it got the Trains running and thats what was wanted !!!
Since for most its between 80 and a 100 years since they were opened and everything to do with Rail has changed dramatically but not for them so when you look at them with 21st Century Eyes, look past the rust, dust and spider webs and see what needs to be done to restore them to a viable use.
You cannot ignore something for over 50 years and then blame it for needing expenditure to bring it up to date !!!
gordon_s1942
Gordon, you are going to need to be more specific which lines you are referring too. Lines closed for all sorts of reasons. For example you have;
- The border lines built to stop freight drifting across state borders, most have followed the expected path of closure
- The lines that should never have been built in the first place as the traffic was never there or eventuated
- The lines that lost their base load of traffic due to closure of local industry(s) or changing in practices which includes some parts of the grain industry which stopped exported and road haul to more local customers.
- Lines built as pioneer lines to very low standards to develop and area and eventually failing large volumes of traffic are not worth retaining
- Lines that simply don't have enough tonnages in the modern era to justify
- Lines that need major capital expenditure to replace a large bridge for example that will never move enough freight to justify the expense
- Loss of cross country traffic
- Lines simply too close together, ie southern grain fields
- Yes the govt political closures, but this is only a handfull of lines at best in NSW.
etc etc
So which ones are you referring too?

Sleepers in the dirt is fine for a  line built in 1916 with a 9t axle load, but its now 2016 with axle loads pushing 20t and how many km of track in the dirt to you believe is viable before this is simply too slow?

.... so when you look at them with 21st Century Eyes, look past the rust, dust and spider webs and see what needs to be done to restore them to a viable use.
You cannot ignore something for over 50 years and then blame it for needing expenditure to bring it up to date !!!

First, the OHS inspectors also look at them with 21st eyes with 21st century legislation.
The line was ignored for 50 years because there was no more viable traffic in most instances.

I agree any line can be restored to operating order at various levels of cost depending on what is expected from the infrastructure, but again which line are you referring too?
- Hay, Roto Branches for example, what do you for see happening there traffic wise?
- Batlow, only built because trucks couldn't handle the hills at the time
- Some of the grain lines which generated grain to such low levels that the entire years production could be move in a few modern train movements.

Remember, most of these lines will need
- +80% sleeper replacement (more likely 100%)
- large sections of new rail
- drainage and ballast remediation for most of the route
- in some areas stripped back to sub ballast and rebuild. In some cases like Oberon and Batlow, this is near impossible
- Diversions in some cases
- Removal of excessive curvature and grades
- Potentially by-pass towns they previous ran through
- Potentially removal of some level crossings and upgrading remaining to modern standards
Doesn't matter how long they have been closed, they must comply to modern standards to reopen.

The Tumut line has potential and I lean to the side it should have been reopened for Visy and potentially other traffic, but the cost to do so is horrific and what if the mill closed only a few years later. QR started to upgrade the Monto loop from north side for coal traffic that didn't get past a handful of trains, after which there was no traffic at all, money wasted. Meanwhile the antiquated road to Gundagai is now being modernised to typical rural highway standards, with an sealed edge, smoother surface and removal of the tight bends.  

Finally, no one is criticising our fore fathers for the standards that they built the lines 100 years ago, I don't know where this is coming from.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
No one has mentioned the Oberon Branch barely a 150kms West of Sydney and the efforts made to open it for Walking, Bicycle and Fettlers Track Riding and so far as I am aware, its all still wishful thinking.
gordon_s1942
The Rail Trail at Oberon was built and opened 7 years ago.

It only goes for 6 km, not the entire route, from Oberon down to Hazelgrove and it operates along side the tracks that are still in place.

The Council there is very supportive to have both a rail and bike path and actually have a Committee in place to oversee the use of the 24km rail corridor with State support.

OTHR continues to have the line back to light operations: http://othr.com.au/

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