Get standard gauge to Westernport

 
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Warning! Fanciful thread! If you can't ever think about other ways of doing things, turn back now!

The Andrews government has decided their preferred option is to build a new port at Bay West(?). I think the difficulty of getting std gauge to Westernport may well have had some bearing on that decision.

I propose a new alignment through the Eastern suburbs, thus:

Leave the Melb - Syd mainline and pass Nth of the Wollert quarries; then,
through Sth Morang;
pass SW of Yarrambeet;
Cross Hurstbridge line between Diamond Ck and Wattle Glen;
pass SW of Kangaroo Ground;
Tunnel from Tacoma St, Park Orchards to Canterbury Rd;
Follow M3 to Rowville;
Follow Dandenong Ck;
Follow Cranbourne line to Western Port Hwy (M780);
Follow M780 to Hastings.

90km of new right of way through suburbia would be horribly expensive (esp with tunnelling and some significant bridges), and the NIMBYs would scream (some would be justified) yet I think it would be preferable to trying to use the existing corridors, which would entail:
Trying to find space for extra track;
Dual gauge where space can't be found;
Extra complication at junctions;
Mixing long heavy freighters with commuter traffic (even with freight curfews);
Apoplectic NIMBYs complaining about extra (supposedly noisy) freight trains.

What are your well reasoned thoughts on the topic?

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  Carnot Minister for Railways

Have the SG freight line included as part of Dan's super expensive NE link tunnel and then run it down the middle of Eastern Freeway-Eastlink to Dandenong, perhaps sacrificing a lane in the Melba tunnel as well...
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
I propose a new alignment through the Eastern suburbs, thus:

Leave the Melb - Syd mainline and pass Nth of the Wollert quarries;
then, through Sth Morang;
pass SW of Yarrambeet;
Cross Hurstbridge line between Diamond Ck and Wattle Glen;
pass SW of Kangaroo Ground;
Tunnel from Tacoma St, Park Orchards to Canterbury Rd;
Follow M3 to Rowville;
Follow Dandenong Ck;
Follow Cranbourne line to Western Port Hwy (M780);
Follow M780 to Hastings.
Lockspike

Firstly, I beleive you mean Yarrambat, but aside from that, if one was to plot a route to connect Western Port with the North East,
than yes, that is a fairly good alignment.

90km of new right of way through suburbia would be horribly expensive (esp with tunnelling and some significant bridges),
Lockspike

Yes, it would be horribly expensive. You were quite right to say off the top that it was fanciful. The North-East link tollway is expected to cost in the order over $15 Billion from memory. Your proposal would certainly dwarf that, and by some way. I'm not saying it isn't a good idea, just that the cost would knock it on the head before it would ever happen.

NIMBYs would scream
Lockspike

What's new? You can't build a garden shed in Melbourne without the NIMBYs having a protest about it.

Have the SG freight line included as part of Dan's super expensive NE link tunnel and then run it down the middle of Eastern Freeway-Eastlink to Dandenong, perhaps sacrificing a lane in the Melba tunnel as well...
Carnot
The grades of the Eastlink tunnels are far too steep for any train.

-----

This shows to me that the Andrews Government have made a wise decision to aim for Bay West as the location for their new Port. It has easy proximity to both gauges (Broad Gauge may be wounded, but it isn't dead yet), as well as good access to the Freeway network without being near the city.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
its highly unlikely that the NSW gauge will get past flinders street in the near future.


[mod edited post]
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
This 'contribution' belongs in the Armchair Operators thread.

Mike.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
This 'contribution' belongs in the Armchair Operators thread.

Mike.
The Vinelander

'contribution' would be a generous description, Mike !

BigShunter.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The  need for SG to a port to the South East would be a real need. However how to is  a huge question mark. No matter what way - it will be expensive. Enough to pay it's way, or better for aBG solution and extra BG-SG transfer yards.

Does anyone know of any real studies into this ?

Regards,
David Head
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
We all know that Gippsland trains are regularly stuck behind slow suburban services, so there is a need for a third track (at least) beyond Caulfield to allow Gippsland services to express through almost 50 km of suburbia.

Skyrail is being built to the side of the present rail line so when it opens and the old line is closed, there will be room for a couple more lines to be built next to Skyrail. If even one extra line was built to serve Gippsland, it wouldn't slow trains down too much if it was dual gauge. If more money was available, there could be a new broad gauge line for Gippsland and a dedicated standard gauge line for the port at Westernport.

Of course that idea has two big flaws: how to get standard gauge to Oakleigh and the massive political stink that locals would make about more Skyrail tracks beyond Caulfield. This problem may be overcome by a future government with such a huge majority that they don't care about alienating a few thousand people in the marginal seat of Oakleigh, but getting standard gauge to Oakleigh would be a much more difficult problem, albeit a smaller one than building a new line from Craigeburn over the hills and down Dandenong Creek valley to Dandenong.
  steven_h Train Controller

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Every other country I know of just uses well-timed passing loops at stations. i.e. local stopper stops in outside road and express shoots through the middle...
No need to put a third line ALL the way along the route.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Every other country I know of just uses well-timed passing loops at stations. i.e. local stopper stops in outside road and express shoots through the middle...
No need to put a third line ALL the way along the route.
steven_h
Aka like Shinkansen system.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
1 question:

What is the point?

With the Port of Melbourne still being highly used and land for a future Port being set aside WEST of Melbourne towards Geelong (nowhere near Hastings and Western Port), what is the point of this question and this proposal? I don't really get it.

It seems to me to be a question of: If they hadn't made this decision, what would it have taken to decide on something else?

All in all its just an utterly pointless exercise.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
The point is that the port area near the mouth of the Yarra is approaching its maximum capacity. There's another problem that big container ships have such deep drafts that some can't even enter Port Phillip. So another port in the Melbourne area will be required in 20 or so years.

The area of Westernport near Hastings has naturally deep water, so it requires no dredging except right next to the wharves.

By contrast, the area of Port Phillip near Werribee is very, very shallow water. So it would require a 2 km long jetty from the shore to the wharves, plus regular deep dredging to allow ships to get to the jetty.

So Westernport would be the natural and obvious choice for new wharves serving Melbourne, IF there was a simple way to get standard gauge rail track there. However the two possible rail corridors via Frankston (already served by broad gauge) or via Dandenong have no spare land next to them and the adjoining areas are too densely populated for a new standard gauge line to be built. Anyway, both routes are very busy with suburban traffic, therefore frequent broad gauge trains on the existing routes shuttling to a transfer depot on the other side of the city would be difficult to timetable.

So for the past decade planning bureaucrats, politicians (of both flavours) and pundits in the media have been trying to work out if it's better to spend billons building a shallow water port in dredged water near Werribee or spend billions building a standard gauge rail line to the deep water port of Hastings.

(This is a very condensed and simplified summary of a very complex situation.)
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

The point is that the port area near the mouth of the Yarra is approaching its maximum capacity. There's another problem that big container ships have such deep drafts that some can't even enter Port Phillip. So another port in the Melbourne area will be required in 20 or so years.

The area of Westernport near Hastings is naturally deep water, so it requires no dredging except right next to the wharves.

By contrast, the area of Port Phillip near Werribee is very, very shallow water. So it would require a 2 km long jetty from the shore to the wharves, plus regular deep dredging to allow ships to get to the jetty.

So Westernport would be the natural and obvious choice for new wharves serving Melbourne, IF there was a simple way to get standard gauge rail track there. However the two possible rail corridors via Frankston (already served by broad gauge) or via Dandenong have no spare land next to them and the adjoining areas are up too densely populated for a new standard gauge line to be built. Anyway, both routes are very busy with suburban traffic, so even frequent broad gauge trains to a transfer depot on the other side of the city would be difficult to timetable.

So for the past decade planning bureaucrats, politicians (of both flavours) and pundits in the media have been trying to work out if it's better to spend billons building a shallow water port in dredged water near Werribee or spend billions building a SG rail line to the deep water port of Hastings.

(This is a very condensed and simplified summary of a very complex situation.)
Bogong
Thanks Bogong, an excellent succinct summing up of the situation. I'm not advocating for the railway to be built (nor am I opposed), but do admit to being intrigued when told it was possible to build a Nth/Sth railway through Melbourne's Eastern suburbia. The topic of conversation at the time was the transhipment of steel at Albury and Dynon.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
I believe there is capacity to run shuttle trains on broad gauge between a port at Hastings and a major terminal in the Melbourne area perhaps to the north of Melbourne for transfer.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Here is the report website if anyone is interested (lots of reports in RH column):  https://yoursay.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/ports/evidence-base

Bay West makes heaps of sense given the proposed OMR link to Donnybrook.

Also here is the specific report on rail options to Hastings:
https://yoursay.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/application/files/6614/8851/2958/Raylink_Consulting_Regional_Rail_East__Hastings_Rail_Link_-_Concept_of_Operations_Report.pdf
  tind84 Beginner

Would it be easier to build adjustable wheel centres (sliding bearings) on rail axles to allow them to run on either SG or BG?
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Would it be easier to build adjustable wheel centres (sliding bearings) on rail axles to allow them to run on either SG or BG?
tind84
SAR used to do that a bit I believe back when Melbourne to Adelaide was BG, unfortunately not really as you need the infastructior to push the wheels in and knowing our government, their would be no double stacking cause of the electrification so most likely dual gauge or an expanded container or bogie swap area. what you are suggesting is a Good idea how ever you are probably going to need to replace a lot of bogies, on freight stock and locos if that is to happen, I would bet that  PN, GWA and whatnot would not what to pay for it.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Would it be easier to build adjustable wheel centres (sliding bearings) on rail axles to allow them to run on either SG or BG?
SAR used to do that a bit I believe back when Melbourne to Adelaide was BG, unfortunately not really as you need the infastructior to push the wheels in and knowing our government, their would be no double stacking cause of the electrification so most likely dual gauge or an expanded container or bogie swap area. what you are suggesting is a Good idea how ever you are probably going to need to replace a lot of bogies, on freight stock and locos if that is to happen, I would bet that  PN, GWA and whatnot would not what to pay for it.
Dangersdan707
I am not sure that gauge changeable axles are used in freight service anywhere other than for passenger services. Just too expensive and cumbersome for freight.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Would it be easier to build adjustable wheel centres (sliding bearings) on rail axles to allow them to run on either SG or BG?
tind84
No, because the wheels are fixed (shrunk) onto the axles.
There are BG axles with long wheel seats which allow the fitting of wheels at SG in BG bogie frames but this is basically a one off set up to allow the use of otherwise surplus BG bogie frames on SG.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Would it be easier to build adjustable wheel centres (sliding bearings) on rail axles to allow them to run on either SG or BG?
tind84
You wouldn't be able to make adjustable axles robust enough to cope with the heavy trashing that freight wagons give to them !

The maintenance costs would be just too great, and If the operator skips on maintenance derailments would be a real possibility !
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Variable gauge axles are already used on selected cross-border freight flows in Europe.

Just because no Aussie managed to figure it out doesn't make it impossible, it just means that someone smarter needs to have a go!
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Variable gauge axles are already used on selected cross-border freight flows in Europe.

Just because no Aussie managed to figure it out doesn't make it impossible, it just means that someone smarter needs to have a go!
justapassenger
It's not Impossible, just Impractical for heavy freight wagons (due to all those additional moving parts) and costs.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Impractical, nonviable, unrealistic, unnecessary or, to put it bluntly, pie in the sky............... Smile
  L1150 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Pakenham Vic.
We know that dual gauge using third rail is problematic due to the small gap between the BG and SG rails posing a derail threat for BG should a foreign object get stuck between the two rails. I'm curious to know how much wider the reservation would need to be for gauntlet track where two extra rails are used with sufficient spacing to be safe for both gauges of rolling stock. I guess the problem would be when passing platforms since we have both outside platforms and island platforms. Very Happy
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Would it be easier to build adjustable wheel centres (sliding bearings) on rail axles to allow them to run on either SG or BG?
SAR used to do that a bit I believe back when Melbourne to Adelaide was BG, unfortunately not really as you need the infastructior to push the wheels in and knowing our government, their would be no double stacking cause of the electrification so most likely dual gauge or an expanded container or bogie swap area. what you are suggesting is a Good idea how ever you are probably going to need to replace a lot of bogies, on freight stock and locos if that is to happen, I would bet that  PN, GWA and whatnot would not what to pay for it.
Dangersdan707
I think your confusing "Bogie Exchange" with this adjustable concept.
This involved under carriage lifts where the complete bogie was lowered from under the carriage and one of the other gauge lifted up to replace it. The train remained coupled during this process and was shunted by remote control slugs.

Australian National (AN) (not SAR) built three Bogie Exchange centres which were located at Dry Creek, Peterborough & Port Pirie which were the major Gauge interfaces between BG and SG in South Oz

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