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!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.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.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.
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'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.
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.