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

 
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
As mentioned before Oberon has been working on that line for nearly 10yr for 11km of track. Probably still 2yr away from running and no bridges.

Their main hurdle is that level crossing near the station. That has taken significant time and coat and I think council made them do it last to make sure it was worth the effort.

The likely hood of the line bring reopened to Tarana is remote although I wish them the best of luck and funded some of the sleepers. Oberon branch was also in good order when closed and hence the sleeper recovery isn't too bad although less than they hoped for.

In the meantime other groups have closed or suspended operations. There is probably about 2000km or abandoned track in NSW. How many more Oberon s do we really think will be out there?

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  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
What I was trying to say perhaps very badly was that after letting a system run into the ground for 50 years with as little maintenance as possible, it cannot be expected to meet todays requirements without some heavy expenditure and that shouldnt be used as an excuse for not restoring it.
As an example of how the 'Books' were fiddled was when the District Superintendent and the Civil Engineer turned up one day and began to assess the costs of running the now removed sidings at Wallerawang and I was told that it cost $24,000 a year (1980's era?) to do maintenance on the Yard.
I was completely amazed at this statement and said so as I had been in the Signalbox for some years and the only work I had seen done in the last 12 months was the replacement of about 8 sleepers and ballast near a culvert that had been washed away during a very heavy rain storm a few months earlier.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
What I was trying to say perhaps very badly was that after letting a system run into the ground for 50 years with as little maintenance as possible, it cannot be expected to meet todays requirements without some heavy expenditure and that shouldnt be used as an excuse for not restoring it.
As an example of how the 'Books' were fiddled was when the District Superintendent and the Civil Engineer turned up one day and began to assess the costs of running the now removed sidings at Wallerawang and I was told that it cost $24,000 a year (1980's era?) to do maintenance on the Yard.
I was completely amazed at this statement and said so as I had been in the Signalbox for some years and the only work I had seen done in the last 12 months was the replacement of about 8 sleepers and ballast near a culvert that had been washed away during a very heavy rain storm a few months earlier.
gordon_s1942
We are talking about the "abandoned" lines, how much money to you spend on thousands of km of track that has no traffic. The lines have basically been retained in case the situation changed, but typically within 5 years of a line being out of service it will need alot of work and within 10-15 years major work. 25-35 years is a generation where lines built with poor alignment and other "cheap" construction methods are really not viable for the modern railway if there is any length involved.

As for "cooking" the books, maybe or maybe not. But the traffic abandoned to road is not a NSW thing, its not even an Australian thing. Qld held on for decades longer than the other states, but eventually reality caught up and the lines closed. The same applies right around the world. India doesn't run "mixed" trains, or "milk" run trains even with its ultra cheap labour and abortion ultra slow roads. Its all rake load or use a truck. Europe is following the same path with Germany littered with closed small industry sidings.

The Super may have also been refering to longterm costs and includes the cost of staff and inspections etc etc, not just the actual sleeper cost.

One way to look at it is if you remove the Hunter Coal network, does the NSW freight network today run at a profit. The answer is no. Back in the 80's this would have been even less likely with all the other issues then (I was a commuter from Gosford then). Yes the railways were starved of funds through the 70's and 80's. There were also union issues and issues with resistance to moderisation. Remember in the past the unions have opposed things such as DOO in XPT, container traffic, removal of guards vans etc etc. And yes the govt and management also had its issues.

Ironically if the states have followed Whitlam's ANR initiative and handed over their non suburban railways. Most of the cuts that occurred by stealth in most states over the following decades would have been done faster in the 70's to mid 80's and likely seen more investment in rail as under uterlised branches were closed and the progression to rake loads, abandoning less than wagon load and milk run trains and closure of poorly patronised pax trains would have been faster. ie Wallerawang would have closed years before.
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
RTT_Rules
"does the NSW freight network today run at a profit. The answer is no."
The answer is yes. Access fees far outweigh what is ever spent on the network. They possibly are more expensive on some networks than others (Railcorpse, JHR and ARTC all charge different access fees). Dunno what you think they privatised Freightcorp and National Rail for??? So they could rake in their profits as fees instead of having to do the work!

M
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Freight rail does make profit RTT. It could make a hell of a lot more profit if it had a larger percentage of the freight task vs trucks. This gets back to why I have said that a hsr is a huge financial mistake. Fix the alignment for all rail and forget about a dedicated hsr. In any case this would allow the XPT and it's replacement to run a 5 hour trip between Sydney and Melbourne providing a quasi hsr.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Guys I was talking below rail not above rail outside the Hunter Valley.

Yes it would make money if it had more traffic.
  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW 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.
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/
Jim K
Ok, to distill this thread and eliminate the concurrent freight discussion.  

*   It appears OTHR is seen as a successful rail heritage project.  Are there objections from local land holders etc?  

*   The whole rail trail discussion is evenly divided

*   And there is also a multi purpose trail to Hazelgrove! Already!  Providing passive community benefit day in day out.

I'd love to see a train from Tarana to Oberon, but honestly....... It'll be my grandchildren, maybe, if they are lucky.  And that's the success story!?!?!?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Ok, to distill this thread and eliminate the concurrent freight discussion.  

*   It appears OTHR is seen as a successful rail heritage project.  Are there objections from local land holders etc?  

*   The whole rail trail discussion is evenly divided

*   And there is also a multi purpose trail to Hazelgrove! Already!  Providing passive community benefit day in day out.

I'd love to see a train from Tarana to Oberon, but honestly....... It'll be my grandchildren, maybe, if they are lucky.  And that's the success story!?!?!?
OTHR will only be deemed successful when they get up and running and remain so for a decade or so.

Read their website and some of the original Vision and other statements. They expected to get to Hazelgrove within a few years. They expected to eventually need paid staff. They expected to have rail "traffic". They expected to attract 10's thousands of tourists every year generating a mass of jobs.

I wish I still had my new letter from DVR from 1994, it said pretty same thing. The President was talking about safe working procedures for when they have multiple operations on the one day.

OTHR is probably one of the better organised and supported heritage railway operations in the country today, however they are not yet a railway Operation as such and the costs that this incurs. I wish them well and have and will continue to donate money. But we all know they are a rare ray of sunlight in a sea of failed heritage operators, and/or ones in serious financial and regulatory trouble, i.e. Zig Zag and MVHR and I cannot see how we you could justify the govt making allowances for any other organisation to potentially take over an abandoned railway line.  

One of the main problems for these dedicated branch line operators is that once the average tourist has gone for a "train ride" over that section of track, what is there to draw them back in the near future unless they kids etc who enjoy it. I can tell you that my kids had 10 x the enjoyment riding around the Elmore miniature railway than they did the Bendigo tram about 10 days ago. At Elmore Miniture we did 3 x loops of the track in two different trains in the cold and light rail and they wanted to go again. At Bendigo, the first 1-2km was fun but their interest declined and my youngest was more interested in the colouring in pages they had on that tram.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Well said

Each rail trail proposal needs to be taken on a case by case basis. We cannot even here debate the pro's and con's as a generalisation of for and against Rail Trails. Rail Trail's in some locations will be hugely successful based on OS and interstate experience, others not so. In some cases side by side bike track and Heritage line will work, in other cases not.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Turning a disused railway line into a rail trail is the least expensive way of preserving the alignment and still getting some use out of it. A disused railway line left in-situ does nothing for almost everyone, which brings me to...

Adjacent land-owners often dislike the idea of rail trails because it prevents them from squatting on railway land. Cockies will come up with plenty of other excuses (people using the trail to intrude on their property is a good one) but ultimately it comes down to them wanting free land for grazing. Promoting pie-in-the-sky ideas like restoring the actual railway line allows them to keep it that way.

As for rail trails vs restoring a railway line for tourist or freight use: rail trails are much less likely to fail than a tourist railway because they have very low operational expenses, so they're fairly insensitive to the actual tourist numbers in a region. That also means that they can last for quite a long time on a one-time Federal or State Government grant.

Tourist railways are very dependent on the inherent tourism potential of a region. Many disused railway lines are out in areas that have very low tourism potential: old grain branchlines or pioneer lines that are very far away from population centres, tourist traps etc.

Restoring a railway line for freight use is pretty unlikely in Australia without a really big customer popping into existence on the line. We don't really have the Class III/shortlines ecosystem that America has to make some of those lines work. I can see a bit of demand for such setups, but attempts like the Cowra Lines tender in NSW show that the Government really doesn't have its heart in it.
  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW Australia
I don't know of any situation (though i haven't really looked) where there are competing claims for a rail line. i.e. Rail Trail advocates vs train advocates.  

Down near my patch at Batlow, there are a couple of trail initiatives, which may or may not see the light of day.  They appear to be still at a  pre-concept stage, so its far too early to tell.

Either way, its a no contest as there is no interest from anyone to put trains there.  There was a tourist train there decades ago, but it didn't last, sadly.  

My father fondly recalls his child hood adventures, being allowed to catch the train from Tumut to Batlow and back Smile  And I recall my first trip over the Gundagai bridge. Holy cow!  Better than Luna Park!! Razz
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

There is a rail line in Sydney from Chullora to Campbelltown that is disused. Maybe that can be turned into a rail trail.
  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW Australia
There is a rail line in Sydney from Chullora to Campbelltown that is disused. Maybe that can be turned into a rail trail.
simstrain
Huh????
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

There is a rail line in Sydney from Chullora to Campbelltown that is disused. Maybe that can be turned into a rail trail.
Huh????
Mad Panda
This was my dig at the $1 billion ssfl that barely gets any traffic.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The one billion is probably less what it does for freight but more what it does for commuter rail.
  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW Australia
The one billion is probably less what it does for freight but more what it does for commuter rail.
RTT_Rules
Separate networks for freight and pax !  Worth every penny! And true to NSW form only 80 years behind. At least it is in. I'll start to worry about cost once we have a dedicated freight network link to Hexham.  In 100 years it'll seem cheap.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The one billion is probably less what it does for freight but more what it does for commuter rail.
RTT_Rules

Not really and in any case there is already a bike path along parts of the ssfl in any case. In fact there is a bike bath from Glenfield to Parramatta. There are many bike paths in the Liverpool and Fairfield area.

http://bikeliverpool.org.au/maps/
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Why carve up the western suburbs of Newcastle with a freight line only to replicate the disaster in the east, much better option is the inland rail route for interstate freight.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The one billion is probably less what it does for freight but more what it does for commuter rail.

Not really and in any case there is already a bike path along parts of the ssfl in any case. In fact there is a bike bath from Glenfield to Parramatta. There are many bike paths in the Liverpool and Fairfield area.

http://bikeliverpool.org.au/maps/
simstrain
Interesting although I wasn't refering to bike paths
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The one billion is probably less what it does for freight but more what it does for commuter rail.
Separate networks for freight and pax !  Worth every penny! And true to NSW form only 80 years behind. At least it is in. I'll start to worry about cost once we have a dedicated freight network link to Hexham.  In 100 years it'll seem cheap.
Mad Panda

I'm not doubting that it will be worth the money, but more the fact that it isn't being used to it's potential at the moment and at times it feels like an abandoned railway line.

A dedicated freight line to hexham is something that the ARTC and Feds should be looking at rather then the NSW Government. But where would a dedicated freight line go and if you do build one, will it have steep grades like the main north has or do you have to build a hsr-esque alignment along the M1 corridor to avoid a similar issue that currently occurs at Cowan Bank.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Why carve up the western suburbs of Newcastle with a freight line only to replicate the disaster in the east, much better option is the inland rail route for interstate freight.
tezza
Because the inland rail corridor doesn't go to Sydney is why. The inland rail corridor doesn't negate the need for a new freight line from Hexham to Chullora. It is only for bypass traffic.

Newcastle doesn't have western Suburbs in any case. It has a whole bunch of hills and mountains with spare land to use. Plenty of spare land along the M1 motorway alignment.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

In any case we are starting to get off topic. We don't hate bike trails it is just that to get to some of these bike trails is not exactly an easy trip. They also tend to be quite steep vs trails in Victoria which are flat as pancakes and due to Victoria's small size, easy to get to.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I don't know of any situation (though i haven't really looked) where there are competing claims for a rail line. i.e. Rail Trail advocates vs train advocates.  

Down near my patch at Batlow, there are a couple of trail initiatives, which may or may not see the light of day.  They appear to be still at a  pre-concept stage, so its far too early to tell.

Either way, its a no contest as there is no interest from anyone to put trains there.  There was a tourist train there decades ago, but it didn't last, sadly.  

My father fondly recalls his child hood adventures, being allowed to catch the train from Tumut to Batlow and back Smile  And I recall my first trip over the Gundagai bridge. Holy cow!  Better than Luna Park!! Razz
Mad Panda
Casino to Murwillumbah.
  Grantham Minister for Railways

Location: I'm with stupid!
In any case we are starting to get off topic. We don't hate bike trails it is just that to get to some of these bike trails is not exactly an easy trip. They also tend to be quite steep vs trails in Victoria which are flat as pancakes and due to Victoria's small size, easy to get to.
simstrain
You bet we're off topic, and dead right that rail trails in Vic are not only very different to here, but also have another working railway close by.

Take a working railway away here to turn into a rail trail and the nearest one would be the same distance away as from Melbourne to Albury...at the closest.

M
  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW Australia
In any case we are starting to get off topic. We don't hate bike trails it is just that to get to some of these bike trails is not exactly an easy trip. They also tend to be quite steep vs trails in Victoria which are flat as pancakes and due to Victoria's small size, easy to get to.
You bet we're off topic, and dead right that rail trails in Vic are not only very different to here, but also have another working railway close by.

Take a working railway away here to turn into a rail trail and the nearest one would be the same distance away as from Melbourne to Albury...at the closest.

M
Grantham
Yay! Back on topic! The freight discussion is interesting, more my thing actually, but is OT.  

Good to hear that we don't hate rail trails! I quite enjoy them and find its a great way to discover the tracks of old. I often snatch a couple of hours on the w/e and pootle around Newcastle, using the various rail trails and links to explore the old coal history that we have here.  I'd love to be able to ride out to Hexham, jump on a revived 10 class, travel up a refurbished SMR line to Kurri and generally enjoy my day. Alas, it is but a pipedream.  The next best option is to be able to ride the full length of the SMR, checking out the tunnels, embankments and bridges.

I don't understand the comment about turning a working rail line into a rail trail.  The very premise of rail trails, is that they are on non working lines?

I think there is a massive information gap with regards to RTs.  They cater more for walkers and passive recreational activities rather than the lycra types.  Its also ironic, that all I know about rail trails, I've learnt on a Railpage Australia™!  Clearly there must be some synchronicity!  

Rail trails are merely another form of a community link. We have many. Road networks, rail networks, communications networks, power networks, maritime networks and so on.  We are connected in many ways. It is the natural way of communities and people, and their demand for connectivity and accessibility. A purely human function!  Networks function with varying degrees of effectiveness and naturally change over time as the demands of a community change.  Network links grow and die off continuously, in an almost organic manner, reflecting the changing behaviour of the network users.  Of course we all have examples of poorly planned network links - Sydney's Cross City Tunnel and Airport rail link too name a couple. There are some cracking examples in the water and power space too!  

For a rail trail to be effective, it simply has to meet the requirements of the surrounding road/rail/pedestrian networks.  The shining examples in Victoria are identical to the very few examples in NSW.  To suggest that NSW is somehow different is simply to misunderstand what network links are about.  NSW is different alright, but that is more to do with politics and a complete lack of innovation than anything to do with heritage rail and these new fangled bikeways!

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