Pacific National boss Dean Dalla Valle calls for NSW freight upgrade

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 17 Jun 2019 09:45
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
James, this was in the Australian on the weekend and I believe this was what you were referring to in a post recently.  It seems clear PN are agitating for change on the route over the blue mountains to ensure rail remains competitive out of the western plains of NSW, but this is a very big ask

The Inland Rail project is now proposing to do something I had not initially ,realised and that is the economics of rail access to Brisbane and Melbourne ports.


Sydney Botany (which has rail directly onto the port) is not unique is it with Melbourne and also Brisbane having the same access?

If you consider the recent announcements about Melbourne creating on port rail access with yards for marshalling the containers in and out of the port then I see why this is important for the inland rail project and for the competitiveness of Melbourne.

Does Botany not have the same ability to hold wagons near the port for access into the port by shunting?

Summary,  two issues:

1. competitive access to the Port of Botany using rail over the blue mountains

2. How Brisbane and Melbourne are responding to this opportunity.

Currently I have not seen anything from Brisbane.

Pacific National boss Dean Dalla Valle calls for NSW freight upgrade

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  SinickleBird Chief Train Controller

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
A couple of observations:

Cooks River container terminal is only a couple of km from Botany. Enfield a little further. Both linked to port by dedicated freight lines (the end bit into Botany in process of duplication with federal funding).

On reliability, we had a recent Blue Mountains closure due to a rock at Glenbrook, which resulted in the Fletchers meat train having to be diverted via Newcastle (maybe once via Cootamundra too). If inland rail were available, then it would be easy to (permanently, rather than once-off) change to Brisbane or Melbourne.

A couple of stuff-ups could easily lead to a long-term loss of business.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Correct, this is the article I was referring to.

I think the issue is more the Main West rather than within Sydney rail investment (Botany is quite ahead of the PoM and PoB in this respect).

It is interesting that PN is being vocal with this - they havent been known to be as open in the press recently...
  SinickleBird Chief Train Controller

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Looking at John Holland’s working timetable, there isn’t that much PN traffic on the main west. Weekdays;

-YN2 (mon, wed)
8122 ex Bathurst (mon,thu)
8932 ex Parkes (tue, thu)
8138 ex Manildra (wed)
8938 ex Manildra (tue, thu)

The Fletchers train and Airly coal seem to be with SSR nowadays; and PN gave back the Lidsdale coal paths LS 89-90.

A lot of noise about a handful of trains?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Looking at John Holland’s working timetable, there isn’t that much PN traffic on the main west. Weekdays;

-YN2 (mon, wed)
8122 ex Bathurst (mon,thu)
8932 ex Parkes (tue, thu)
8138 ex Manildra (wed)
8938 ex Manildra (tue, thu)

The Fletchers train and Airly coal seem to be with SSR nowadays; and PN gave back the Lidsdale coal paths LS 89-90.

A lot of noise about a handful of trains?
SinickleBird
The question has to be though why are there no trains?  Because the line needs work.

DV probably should be arguing the road case too.  He is head of Freight on Rail Group (FORG) - perhaps he has been wrongly attributed in the article?

EDIT:  I know that SCT roads a fair bit over the mountains to Parkes, and the Main South gets a few PS trains from time to time as its an easier path. Improving the Main West would be about mode shift more than anything.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I think it also needs considering that the volumes may increase when Inland comes on stream?
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Lets broadly compare options:

Trains via Blue Mountains:
- Increased wear on all components due to steep grades
- Increased fuel usage
- Loss of a locomotive for basically 3 hours work on an "8" hour run.
2 locos operating 100% of the time for 16 hours is more efficient use of your resources when compared to 3 locos only operating at 2/3 efficiency for 5 hours. Remember, for the 5 hours that the locomotive is not being used efficiently, it could have been earning money elsewhere. It has instead gone for an expensive trip where wheel wear and engine hours have been racked up.
- Restricted to 1500m due to the steep grades
- Restricted by track access due to Sydney Trains curfews, on a network that is already moving to punish operators who are more than 5 minutes late on arrival at the border.
- No opportunity for double stacking
- Higher track access fews
- Restricted to paths that match both ST allocation and what ARTC can provide, restricting the ability to which you can meet up efficiently with port slots.

Trains via Inland Rail
- Reduced maintenance costs, reduced rate of wear and tear
- Lower fuel bill
- More efficient allocation of locomotives for time being used
- 1800m services
- No peak curfews, lower track access fees and path slots that are more easily adjustable to port slots
- Capable of double stacking.

PN can bleat all that want for the Blue Mountains to be upgraded, but when you presented the business case as above you might as well close the book now. Wouldn't be surprised if this is just token noise to appease some shareholder concerns.
The investment of public funds for any project that doesn't address the underlying problems of track access, gradients (read removing the mountain), or assist in addressing the profitability differences between routes would be just ludicrous.
  davesvline Chief Commissioner

Location: 1983-1998
Agreed.

The bloke has two options.
If he recons that its cheaper to send the stuff via Melbourne or Brisbane, then do so and shut the hell up!!
Explain why if/when some one asks or sooks why - its very simple.

However, I suspect he's actually bitching because he WANTS to send it to Sydney, and the inefficiencies Blah Blah Blah are upsetting him. If this is the case he's trying to leverage the State Govt into doing what he wants for a problem HE sees as being as a problem. Actually - is anyone else sooking??

In essence, grow a set, and send the stuff elsewhere. You've said its cheaper, so just do it. You seem to have justified the routes your freight takes as going via the most efficient and cost effective route. As such, if Blind Freddie can't work our how/why that's the case - well its his fricken problem ain't it??

This is really a no brainer, or the guy is out trying to take the NSW Govt for a free ride?

Regards
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Interesting reactions.

Considering that the Inland will reasonably efficiently link Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane, leaving Sydney - the largest freight market in the country -  with a substandard rail connection to all of the other major markets....

Surely there are changes (eg west of Lithgow) that can be made to make somewhat of a difference?
  firefox Station Master

Looking at John Holland’s working timetable, there isn’t that much PN traffic on the main west. Weekdays;

-YN2 (mon, wed)
8122 ex Bathurst (mon,thu)
8932 ex Parkes (tue, thu)
8138 ex Manildra (wed)
8938 ex Manildra (tue, thu)

The Fletchers train and Airly coal seem to be with SSR nowadays; and PN gave back the Lidsdale coal paths LS 89-90.

A lot of noise about a handful of trains?
SinickleBird

You have conveniently left out the priority superfreighters that travel over the Mountains - three SP7s per week and 6SP6 Friday night. Presumably more would use that route if paths were available.

Also on average three coals ex Clarence to Newcastle daily plus their return empties plus maybe one PN Airly coal.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
Don't forget Pacific National is going ahead with their St Mary's freight terminal. Apparently.... Quite a spendy project if they won't be running as many freighters to/from Sydney.
  SinickleBird Chief Train Controller

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Good point, Firefox.

I had (mistakenly) assumed that ‘down’ numbers would match ‘up’. And ignored the CA— traffic that is wholly on ST tracks.

My bad.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The question has to be though why are there no trains?  Because the line needs work.

DV probably should be arguing the road case too.  He is head of Freight on Rail Group (FORG) - perhaps he has been wrongly attributed in the article?

EDIT:  I know that SCT roads a fair bit over the mountains to Parkes, and the Main South gets a few PS trains from time to time as its an easier path. Improving the Main West would be about mode shift more than anything.
james.au

There are not that many trains from the main west because they take the ARTC route in to and out of Sydney. SCT have no rail presence in Sydney and that is why they road everything. They just run there trains through Sydney at the moment and that will change with the inland. So for all of this "aren't they brilliant because they use trains" noise about SCT out of Melbourne. They don't do a single bit in Sydney even though they could.

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