How complicated is changing gauge in Queensland and Western Australia?

 
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Both Queensland and Western Australia use a track gauge narrower than standard, which in turn, by the way, is a little narrower than the typical wheel track of modern road vehicles and even that of wagons of the 19th century. I wonder why Western Australia has that gauge given how flat that state is.
Anyway, cape gauge and standard gauge differ enough that dual-gauge track is possible with standard rails and without standard gauge users of the track facing a speed restriction. While there seem to be no plans to regauge even most railways in those states, would it be much less costly and less disruptive than converting from Irish gauge - in Adelaide metropolitan area and the state of Victoria?

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  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Both Queensland and Western Australia use a track gauge narrower than standard, which in turn, by the way, is a little narrower than the typical wheel track of modern road vehicles and even that of wagons of the 19th century. I wonder why Western Australia has that gauge given how flat that state is.
Anyway, cape gauge and standard gauge differ enough that dual-gauge track is possible with standard rails and without standard gauge users of the track facing a speed restriction. While there seem to be no plans to regauge even most railways in those states, would it be much less costly and less disruptive than converting from Irish gauge - in Adelaide metropolitan area and the state of Victoria?
Myrtone

Ummmmm...converting narrow gauge to standard gauge means replacing every sleeper, widening all formations, replacing most, if not all bridges and in the case of Queensland doing it under traffic with some lines carrying anywhere from 40 to 60 freight/coal trains per day. It is not simple, it is very expensive and with little chance of recouping costs through operational savings. You are looking at a minimum of $3-million per kilometre for conversion - in Queensland alone that would be a bill of about $30-billion.
  br30453 Chief Train Controller

Both Queensland and Western Australia use a track gauge narrower than standard, which in turn, by the way, is a little narrower than the typical wheel track of modern road vehicles and even that of wagons of the 19th century. I wonder why Western Australia has that gauge given how flat that state is.
Anyway, cape gauge and standard gauge differ enough that dual-gauge track is possible with standard rails and without standard gauge users of the track facing a speed restriction. While there seem to be no plans to regauge even most railways in those states, would it be much less costly and less disruptive than converting from Irish gauge - in Adelaide metropolitan area and the state of Victoria?

Ummmmm...converting narrow gauge to standard gauge means replacing every sleeper, widening all formations, replacing most, if not all bridges and in the case of Queensland doing it under traffic with some lines carrying anywhere from 40 to 60 freight/coal trains per day. It is not simple, it is very expensive and with little chance of recouping costs through operational savings. You are looking at a minimum of $3-million per kilometre for conversion - in Queensland alone that would be a bill of about $30-billion.
Sulla1
Further to Silla1's reply:

When you say regauging the WA and Qld tracks to standard gauge are you referring to:
1: Just changing the gauge and retaining the existing allowable axle loads and rollingstock outline. Noting that these are different       in WA and QLD.
or 2: Regauging and increasing the allowable axle loads and the allowable rollingsrtock ouline as allowed on the Defined                        Interstate Rail Network?
       This the majority of the standard network east of Port Pirie.
or 3: To the ultimate Rollingstock outline adopted for the Defined Interstate Rail Network.

I once did a desktop study on converting the line from Tweed Heads to South Brisbane and the enormity of the task was beyond any imagination.
1: track centers on crossing loops, sidings and double track would have to be increased needing widening of the formation.
2: Platforms faces would have to moved back and raised to accommodate Standard Gauge rollingstock. In places where there is side platforms the widening of track centers would mean the platform faces would have to be moved back even further.
In some places not really feasible without major reconstruction.
3: Replacement of underlins bridges.
5: Raising of overehead bridges and enlarging of tunnels.
4: All this while maintaining traffic, it would be virtually impossible.
Thus the decision to provide a separate stand gauge track was the only feasible solution.

As far as converting from Irish gauge the works outlined above would not require any of the above works, just regauging as these tracks are built to the same axle loads and clearances as the standard gauge system.

Just to state my credentials, before I retired from QR, my area of oversight was axle loads and clearances, so I am familiar with these issues.


Just a pipe dream of someone with some very strange substance in their pipe.
  djukinX1016 Deputy Commissioner

The lines from Narngulu (Geraldton) to Mullewa then onto Tilley Junction just north of Morawa and the line to Karara were totally upgraded and installed with dual gauge concrete sleepers so the potential is there.

This link takes you to a report released earlier this year on potential upgrade options for agricultural based lines: https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/Freight-Ports/revitalising-agricultural-region-freight-strategy.asp

Regards
Phil
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Imagine if Queensland were to convert there network to SG how this would be better for the economy and rail freight but won’t happen.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Imagine if Queensland were to convert there network to SG how this would be better for the economy and rail freight but won’t happen.
freightgate

Well you can imagine, but no one is going to cough up the enormous money to do it. We're talking NBN Mark II as far as costs go, not the $400-million spent on the incomplete Mildura project.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
And look how that worked out!
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Both Queensland and Western Australia use a track gauge narrower than standard, which in turn, by the way, is a little narrower than the typical wheel track of modern road vehicles and even that of wagons of the 19th century. I wonder why Western Australia has that gauge given how flat that state is.
Anyway, cape gauge and standard gauge differ enough that dual-gauge track is possible with standard rails and without standard gauge users of the track facing a speed restriction. While there seem to be no plans to regauge even most railways in those states, would it be much less costly and less disruptive than converting from Irish gauge - in Adelaide metropolitan area and the state of Victoria?

Ummmmm...converting narrow gauge to standard gauge means replacing every sleeper, widening all formations, replacing most, if not all bridges and in the case of Queensland doing it under traffic with some lines carrying anywhere from 40 to 60 freight/coal trains per day. It is not simple, it is very expensive and with little chance of recouping costs through operational savings. You are looking at a minimum of $3-million per kilometre for conversion - in Queensland alone that would be a bill of about $30-billion.
Further to Silla1's reply:

When you say regauging the WA and Qld tracks to standard gauge are you referring to:
1: Just changing the gauge and retaining the existing allowable axle loads and rollingstock outline. Noting that these are different       in WA and QLD.
or 2: Regauging and increasing the allowable axle loads and the allowable rollingsrtock ouline as allowed on the Defined                        Interstate Rail Network?
       This the majority of the standard network east of Port Pirie.
or 3: To the ultimate Rollingstock outline adopted for the Defined Interstate Rail Network.

I once did a desktop study on converting the line from Tweed Heads to South Brisbane and the enormity of the task was beyond any imagination.
1: track centers on crossing loops, sidings and double track would have to be increased needing widening of the formation.
2: Platforms faces would have to moved back and raised to accommodate Standard Gauge rollingstock. In places where there is side platforms the widening of track centers would mean the platform faces would have to be moved back even further.
In some places not really feasible without major reconstruction.
3: Replacement of underlins bridges.
5: Raising of overehead bridges and enlarging of tunnels.
4: All this while maintaining traffic, it would be virtually impossible.
Thus the decision to provide a separate stand gauge track was the only feasible solution.

As far as converting from Irish gauge the works outlined above would not require any of the above works, just regauging as these tracks are built to the same axle loads and clearances as the standard gauge system.

Just to state my credentials, before I retired from QR, my area of oversight was axle loads and clearances, so I am familiar with these issues.


Just a pipe dream of someone with some very strange substance in their pipe.
br30453
One other factor is where a line is electrified, it would also require alterations to the overhead wires and structures.
  Alphatron Station Master

Location: Wellington
India has an ongoing  program to convert all of its remaining metre gauge lines to Broad Gauge (1676mm or 5ft ). Here is an you tube video showing process of converting one section of metre gauge line - looks to be a total reconstruction of railway over a 2 year period.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVh2Tp6pj6I
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The lines from Narngulu (Geraldton) to Mullewa then onto Tilley Junction just north of Morawa and the line to Karara were totally upgraded and installed with dual gauge concrete sleepers so the potential is there.

This link takes you to a report released earlier this year on potential upgrade options for agricultural based lines: https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/Freight-Ports/revitalising-agricultural-region-freight-strategy.asp

Regards
Phil
djukinX1016

Interesting reading and some interesting developments.

From what I can tell this is suggesting a few investments:
- additional DG siding length at Avon
- dual gauge (id just go SG of course*) 19TAL (currently 16TAL) from:
     -- Mlllendon to Watheroo
     -- Watheroo to Geraldton (SG all the way to Geraldton if both done)
     -- Brookton to Perth
     -- Milling to Tooday
- siding length increases around the network

* Are the CBH locos and wagons reasonably easily gauge converted

@djukinX1016 what is the latest with this strategy do you know?  Ive been unaware of it until now.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
And look how that worked out!
Donald
That wasn't an inherent problem with gauge conversion but a problem with project governance.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Weren't a Few of the Newer Lines in WA and and Queensland built with infrastructure provisions for convention to SG? Someone more enlightened can inform me on that matter.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Weren't a Few of the Newer Lines in WA and and Queensland built with infrastructure provisions for convention to SG? Someone more enlightened can inform me on that matter.
Dangersdan707

In Qld, likely only the Mt Isa Line, maybe and I think its just clearances!

But the cost of changing out 1000km of sleepers on a heavily used line, which means you need to convert it to DG first will be prohibitive with very little return.
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

The lines from Narngulu (Geraldton) to Mullewa then onto Tilley Junction just north of Morawa and the line to Karara were totally upgraded and installed with dual gauge concrete sleepers so the potential is there.

This link takes you to a report released earlier this year on potential upgrade options for agricultural based lines: https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/Freight-Ports/revitalising-agricultural-region-freight-strategy.asp

Regards
Phil

Interesting reading and some interesting developments.

From what I can tell this is suggesting a few investments:
- additional DG siding length at Avon
- dual gauge (id just go SG of course*) 19TAL (currently 16TAL) from:
     -- Mlllendon to Watheroo
     -- Watheroo to Geraldton (SG all the way to Geraldton if both done)
     -- Brookton to Perth
     -- Milling to Tooday
- siding length increases around the network

* Are the CBH locos and wagons reasonably easily gauge converted

@djukinX1016 what is the latest with this strategy do you know?  Ive been unaware of it until now.
james.au


The saddest part is that the plan shows they will dual gauge the Miling line and increase to 24 tonne axle load (good), dual gauge Avon to Brookton and increase to 24 tonne axle load (good), yet they will dual gauge the whole way from Millendon Junction to Geraldton, but only increase the axle loading to 19 tonnes? The new standard should be DG/SG and 24 tonne axle loading from the start, especially when the line is being rebuilt for the whole length.

Also, I believe that the MP33CN are gauge convertible, but the MP27CN are not, but am happy to be proven wrong.

Cheers,

Matt
  Z VAN Junior Train Controller

Converting from whatever gauge to Standard Gauge is all about Political will, then money.
All of the barriers to converting can be overcome if the People in power feel there is a need or some political advantage. After that comes the Business case.
Engineering wise there are no barriers at all.
Let us Imagine the Political Class were in favour then all that has to be done as of Today all lines have gauge convertible sleepers fitted during cyclic replacement and eventually over a given period the sleeper issue is resolved.
Passing loops can have the centre line widened as the Gangs pass through and the difficult Platforms can be left to if/when the Station is rebuilt. If Electrified territory is encounted raise the support pylons, it is achievable.
These projects do not have to be done all in one hit but spread over say ten or more years.
Let Us remember the Moura short line in the original concept was to be Standard Gauge all those years ago in 1964.
Now let your mind really go. Let Us suppose all of the Central Queensland Coal lines had been built to Standard Gauge profile and all of the concrete sleepers were gauge convertible. Conversion would have been simplified if deemed required at a smaller Capitol cost.
Western Australia is slightly different as the 3'6" loading gauge profile is large and conversion to SG is easier than QLD.in that respect.
Victoria is so simple.
Forget about who was the Villain in 1852 and move on.
All sleeper replacement in the lines that will be or possible converted should have concrete gauge convertible sleepers fitted during normal cyclic events. Full stop.
It is not like trying to build a scenic line to the top of Mt Everest. It is Super Simple if you think it through as an achievable project.
NASA did not put a Man on the Moon by talking about the Why NOTS but the How Can WE.
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

Another note that the plan notes that rail is not considered competitive in the area between Brookton and Wagin, yet there is a huge hay facility just out of Narrogin, and the road to Wickepin is to be improved to 42m long road train combinations due to the freight task out of there.

Whilst the rail improvement program is wonderful, it has some gaps still:
  • DG should go through to Albany from Brookton, allowing future planning to SG the Hyden and Narembeen lines
  • Lime sand should possibly be distributed out of Perth, removing the requirement to plan upgraded roads from Lancelin to the Southern Wheatbelt or the Great Southern just for those heavy combinations

On the other hand, I would think that the iron ore out of the Calingiri/Yerecoin region must have some legs, as it would otherwise be better to just upgrade the Miling line to 19 tonne axle load NG track. I am also wondering if the DG to Brookton is also to facilitate the magnetite out of the east side of York in the Kauring region.

Cheers,

Matt.
  Z VAN Junior Train Controller

The Mt Isa line is a typical Australian stuff up.
In 1961 in the proposal of Rebuild No.1 to Standard Gauge, the vote got within three votes in the Commonwealth Cabinet.
We all now know the Folly of that Vote.
Rebuild No.2 has come and  gone.
Rebuild No.3 has come and gone.
And the story goes on. Recently the line was closed due to extensive Flooding.
O'kay time to rebuild was short, no prizes for guessing. Non gauge convertible sleepers fitted.
If anyone can fit a name to these decisions please let us know so we can Lobby our Politians to at least try and change the outcome that none of Us that are Rail Focused desire.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Also, I believe that the MP33CN are gauge convertible, but the MP27CN are not, but am happy to be proven wrong.
The CBH locomotives are all the same.
As I understand it, CBH 001 ran trials on SG in the USA and the early published photos show it on SG.
The CBH class have an adjustable height of coupler to allow for operation on both gauges.
All other NG locomotives have to sit 75mm higher for the couplers to line up. Certainly Aurizon 2819 did before it became the PA.

I'm told that all the MP27Cs have the same radiators as the MP33Cs and the larger engine can be dropped in at any time.

How many people here have actually been to Miling?
The line is reasonably maintained but there isn't any ballast, the sleepers just sit in the dirt.
It isn't sand like around Perth.
I'm sure you could convert it to SG but I wouldn't want to pay to increase the axle load....

The CBHN wagons are smaller than the CBHS wagons so they couldn't be loaded to the same axleload anyway.

The 16 CMs were fitted with "Warning 25 kV Overhead" stickers as delivered.
That would only apply on dual gauge in WA or Qld.

Peter
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The saddest part is that the plan shows they will dual gauge the Miling line and increase to 24 tonne axle load (good), dual gauge Avon to Brookton and increase to 24 tonne axle load (good), yet they will dual gauge the whole way from Millendon Junction to Geraldton, but only increase the axle loading to 19 tonnes? The new standard should be DG/SG and 24 tonne axle loading from the start, especially when the line is being rebuilt for the whole length.

Also, I believe that the MP33CN are gauge convertible, but the MP27CN are not, but am happy to be proven wrong.
Bulbous

I think the plans ae just ideas at the moment and in reality it would be even more logical to have SG only and do a cheap conversion of the other lines to Geraldton to SG, and have no DG at all north of Millendon.  Same for Milling (which with comments below yours might be a mining line in the end, though this is not indicated int he infrastructure plan).
  M636C Minister for Railways

A vast amount of motive power would need to be replaced. All of the 3700 3800 7100 and BMA electric locos probably cannot be converted to 4'8" due to the centre bogie design of the BBB arrangement.
If ballasted to the same weight as some 4'8" locos then the Siemens E40-AG-V1's would have the greatest hauling capacity Australia. An E40-AG-V1 is 5360 HP and an SD70Ace is 4500 HP.

The whole of the Siemens locomotives are based on the Comeng 3100 and 3200 series, the 3700 being rebuilds of 3200s.
In turn, these were based on the NSWSRA locomotive 8650 which was built as prototype for the whole series.

It was, and still is standard gauge. 8650 is also narrower in the body (2.9m) than the 3800 (3.0m);

So it would probably require new bogies but it is likely that the E40-EG-V1 units could be converted to SG, depending on the actual location of the secondary coils. The existing traction motors could probably be used.

As to the GT42Cu-AC, they have the same bogies as the Westrail S class and two SG versions of that design were built for use at Weipa. The SG Q, FQ and V classes us an SG version of the bogie.

Peter
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

India has an ongoing  program to convert all of its remaining metre gauge lines to Broad Gauge (1676mm or 5ft ). Here is an you tube video showing process of converting one section of metre gauge line - looks to be a total reconstruction of railway over a 2 year period.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVh2Tp6pj6I
Alphatron
Indian broad gauge 5ft 6 inches. not 5ft.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

A vast amount of motive power would need to be replaced. All of the 3700 3800 7100 and BMA electric locos probably cannot be converted to 4'8" due to the centre bogie design of the BBB arrangement.
If ballasted to the same weight as some 4'8" locos then the Siemens E40-AG-V1's would have the greatest hauling capacity Australia. An E40-AG-V1 is 5360 HP and an SD70Ace is 4500 HP.

The whole of the Siemens locomotives are based on the Comeng 3100 and 3200 series, the 3700 being rebuilds of 3200s.
In turn, these were based on the NSWSRA locomotive 8650 which was built as prototype for the whole series.

It was, and still is standard gauge. 8650 is also narrower in the body (2.9m) than the 3800 (3.0m);

So it would probably require new bogies but it is likely that the E40-EG-V1 units could be converted to SG, depending on the actual location of the secondary coils. The existing traction motors could probably be used.

As to the GT42Cu-AC, they have the same bogies as the Westrail S class and two SG versions of that design were built for use at Weipa. The SG Q, FQ and V classes us an SG version of the bogie.

Peter
M636C
Electrifying the coal railroads whilst retaining narrow gauge was on of Jo's greatest follies. An even greater folly was electrifying all the way to Rockhampton whilst retaing narrow gauge. I really think that the silly old corrupt bugger thought the narrow gauge would prevent any invasions from the south. He was as mad as the Czar that chose 5ft gauge in Russia for much the same reason.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
A vast amount of motive power would need to be replaced. All of the 3700 3800 7100 and BMA electric locos probably cannot be converted to 4'8" due to the centre bogie design of the BBB arrangement.
If ballasted to the same weight as some 4'8" locos then the Siemens E40-AG-V1's would have the greatest hauling capacity Australia. An E40-AG-V1 is 5360 HP and an SD70Ace is 4500 HP.

The whole of the Siemens locomotives are based on the Comeng 3100 and 3200 series, the 3700 being rebuilds of 3200s.
In turn, these were based on the NSWSRA locomotive 8650 which was built as prototype for the whole series.

It was, and still is standard gauge. 8650 is also narrower in the body (2.9m) than the 3800 (3.0m);

So it would probably require new bogies but it is likely that the E40-EG-V1 units could be converted to SG, depending on the actual location of the secondary coils. The existing traction motors could probably be used.

As to the GT42Cu-AC, they have the same bogies as the Westrail S class and two SG versions of that design were built for use at Weipa. The SG Q, FQ and V classes us an SG version of the bogie.

Peter
Electrifying the coal railroads whilst retaining narrow gauge was on of Jo's greatest follies. An even greater folly was electrifying all the way to Rockhampton whilst retaing narrow gauge. I really think that the silly old corrupt bugger thought the narrow gauge would prevent any invasions from the south. He was as mad as the Czar that chose 5ft gauge in Russia for much the same reason.
nswtrains
The CQ coal and Nth main upgrades were progressive. Only the Moura line was built on a completely new alignment. At the time it was mostly stand alone so yes it could have gone SG. The container, grain and cattle traffic that continued for a number of years diverted onto the new corridor all died off much sooner had they done this as cattle and container traffic would not have gone to SG, but in the 70's and 80's this would not have been foreseen.  

Blackwater and Goonyella network is however a series of expansions from their original beginnings as coal production expanded.

The Qld NCL, the wires were strung up over 700km of a 1700km long railway the dove tailed into the Brisbane network, as well as the various and mostly now dead branch lines, CQ coal network that shares part of the route and T'ville and Cairns networks. Rebuilding this as SG would be have been high cost, limited value and would have taken years before traffic volumes would have been significant.

Meanwhile Qld spent more money realigning and installing ATC on the NCL and rebuilding it to a standard that made and still to some degree makes the SG from Brisbane to Melbourne look like a branch line. Not sure when the last timber sleeper was removed from the Qld NCL, but it was many many many years before the interstate.

Not a fan of oh, but i think the other comments about Joh and what he may have thought or not are irrelevant.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
There Has only been a handful of 3'6 lines converted to a bigger gauge in the country. Guess what (with the exceptions of Parts of the NAR and West of Kalgoorlie) gauge most of them were Razz

There is no need too guess when I mention this topic now is there?
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

There Has only been a handful of 3'6 lines converted to a bigger gauge in the country. Guess what (with the exceptions of Parts of the NAR and West of Kalgoorlie) gauge most of them were Razz

There is no need too guess when I mention this topic now is there?
Dangersdan707
They were 3'6" gauge

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