Murray Basin standardisation

 
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
It does make me wonder if rebuilding the Manangatang - Robinvale line (as SG), a bridge over the Murray, and a new line next to the Sturt Hwy to Balranald would stack up.  Especially with the huge mineral sands mines about to start in that area.

The Sturt Hwy alignment is fairly flat, wide and open - and it's already Crown land.
Carnot
That would be a hell of a lot of capital investment for running rail to a mine with a 15 year project life and to get the economies working for such an investment you'd have to run the rail right to the minehead which presents a whole pack of difficulties. It's not just land and earthworks that make railway expensive - rail, sleepers and ballast aren't cheap either!

Having FOUR parallel lines (Yelta, Kulwin, Robinvale, Piangil) across a range of 100km,
Thow in the Balrandald line from Echuca(ish) and that is 5 where 3 would likely have done.  If Swan Hill and Mildura were connected on one line in the first place (which appears to be somewhat logical) there would have been a lot more traffic potential now.

but alas history...
james.au
The Mildura passenger rail study did look at a Swan Hill to Mildura railway line, using a link between Pira (on the Piangil line) & Chillingollah (Robinvale line) and then either Robinvale to Mildura via the Sturt Hwy or Manangatang to Ouyen and thenceforth to Mildura. Both options have similar size passenger catchments (i.e bugger-all) and route lengths, although the Manangatang-Ouyen option would've had less new track and earthworks. In both cases the prospect of having to grade separate at every road crossing strangled the idea.

Perhaps if one of those options was done back in the late 1940s or 1950s when the rail network was being regenerated after WWII - and the prospect of a gauge muddle was barely on the horizon - then it might've been viable as part of a consolidation of the grain branchline network in the Murray Basin.

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Another big grain movement by PN with NSW wagons



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OmH-yxZR0I

and

youtube.com/watch?v=aajSw8h6uUk
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
'... Trains with a Tonne Axle Load of 21 tonnes (TAL) could currently run on the Mildura-Maryborough-Ararat rail line, providing they met network operating requirements, which included the correct diameter of wheels. ...'.

What does the book actually say about wheel diameters?

Does anybody know or have a link to the precise wording, please?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

'... Trains with a Tonne Axle Load of 21 tonnes (TAL) could currently run on the Mildura-Maryborough-Ararat rail line, providing they met network operating requirements, which included the correct diameter of wheels. ...'.

What does the book actually say about wheel diameters?

Does anybody know or have a link to the precise wording, please?
YM-Mundrabilla
It's in the V/Line Network Access Plan: https://corporate.vline.com.au/Network-Access/Network-service-plan (scroll down to NA_NSP_01 Network Operating Requirements R05-2019 pg7 of 25).

For axle loads above 19T, only 920mm new wheel diameters are allowed on Ararat to Maryborough section.  840mm wheels must have axle loads 19T or less.  Otherwise they're banned on this section.

840mm wheels are OK on Maryborough - Yelta section at higher axle loads, but have speed restrictions (i.e. 65 km/h not 80 km/h at 21T) .
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Incidentally, Stock and Land have pulled the original story from their website after it is was their most viewed article today.  Has a Government Minister read the Riot Act to them?
  feralmet Station Master

Location: Carisbrook 3464, Vic
Questions over Murray Basin century-old steel rail :

"The head of Australia's largest private rail freight operator, Pacific National, has expressed concerns century-old steel is being used on the troubled Murray Basin Rail project.

PN chief executive Dean Dalla Valle says rail track, dating from 1912, was repurposed, before being laid on new concrete sleepers and ballast, between Maryborough and Ararat."

https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/6379669/questions-raised-over-murray-basin-rail-quality/?cs=4786&fbclid=IwAR0qJPFropF18ExBV_BshrK2Z0eJhA_pET8yrIv1uFtEgZPHQbjtv7eFPZM
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Incidentally, I believe most of the rail on this line was originally laid on the Trans Australia line before being ripped up and then re-laid on this line in 1966.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Questions over Murray Basin century-old steel rail :

"The head of Australia's largest private rail freight operator, Pacific National, has expressed concerns century-old steel is being used on the troubled Murray Basin Rail project.

PN chief executive Dean Dalla Valle says rail track, dating from 1912, was repurposed, before being laid on new concrete sleepers and ballast, between Maryborough and Ararat."

https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/6379669/questions-raised-over-murray-basin-rail-quality/?cs=4786&fbclid=IwAR0qJPFropF18ExBV_BshrK2Z0eJhA_pET8yrIv1uFtEgZPHQbjtv7eFPZM
feralmet
Try scrolling up a few posts, already covered this, a load of Bull, like most of the other stuff.

He has concerns, what, after 18 months of operation, might need to step out of the office a bit.

BigShunter.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Incidentally, a lot of info on the latest with the MBRP in today's Stock and Land:

https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/6379669/questions-raised-over-murray-basin-rail-quality/

This stood out to me:
"It's terrible - it's worse than embarrassing," Cr Milne said.
"All we have asked for was the line to be fixed, the government agreed, but we have a railway line that wouldn't even cut it in the 19th century.
"All we want is we want it fixed, we don't want to lay into the government, but they took it on, and they have messed it up.
"They said it would take 23,000 truck movements off the road, but it's added 40,000."
Ha Ha, just beat me to it Carnot.

Yes Carnot but lots of, could's and maybe's, from the PN chief executive Dean Dalla Valle as well as Chairman, Councillor Glenn Milne, the only thing I would say about the Ararart to Maryborough line, no rails as far as we know have broken and it's been running quite smoothly, but the speed isn't anything to write home about.

RE; speed, A V/Line spokesman said there were currently seven temporary speed restrictions (TSR's) in place, between Maryborough and Avoca and Avoca and Ararat.

They were mainly due to "line of sight restrictions" at a number of level crossings.

Is this accurate ?

And regards the age and condition of the old rail; "There are no temporary speed restrictions in place due to rail condition or its age," the spokesman said.

"The rail is ultrasonically tested every 24 months and was tested for the reinstatement services."

Interesting article, though and an update, james on the Manang line renovation.

BigShunter.
I think they did a good job trying to get the Maryborough-Ararat line in reasonable, albeit still not great, condition in recent months.  Hindsight says they should've used new rail.  Perhaps that might eventually happen if there's a need for traffic after Maryborough - Gheringhap is skinny-gauged.

The resleepering out to Manang is a necessary thing (but how much of this is DG Concrete?).

We await with eager expectation the new business plan I suppose....
Carnot
Manang and Sea lake are being unfortunately resleepered with timber ones on the cheap. I'm pretty sure this project is now as dead as a Dodo with 707 operations now Announcing They are running another Grainlander the same time as this years next year.
  cbinyon Chief Train Controller

Location: London, England
Is the Sea Lake line receiving any maintenance at all? It seems the Manangatang line was receiving it all however, it is in far worse condition it would seem.
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
Is the Sea Lake line receiving any maintenance at all? It seems the Manangatang line was receiving it all however, it is in far worse condition it would seem.
cbinyon
Logic if any is used by the Victorians would dictate that the resleepering on both the Sea Lake and Manangratang lines should be carried out using gauge convertable concrete sleepers and any replacement sleepers put into these lines prior to the actual conversion to SG.  This would give a head start to the conversion and move towards raising the permissable axle loads on these lines, after conversion as the remaining timber sleepers reach the end of their life the replacements should again be concrete which would lower the maintenance of the lines.  The only place for timber sleepers is under point work.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Is the Sea Lake line receiving any maintenance at all? It seems the Manangatang line was receiving it all however, it is in far worse condition it would seem.
Logic if any is used by the Victorians on both the Sea Lake and Manangratang lines should be carried out using gauge convertable concrete sleepers and any replacement sleepers put into these lines prior to the actual conversion to SG.  This would give a head start to the conversion and move towards raising the permissable axle loads on these lines, after conversion as the remaining timber sleepers reach the end of their life the replacements should again be concrete which would lower the maintenance of the lines.  The only place for timber sleepers is under point work.
Logic if any is used by the Queenslanders would dictate that the resleepering on any NG line in Queensland should be carried out using gauge convertable concrete sleepers and any replacement sleepers put into these lines prior to the actual conversion to SG. This would give a head start to the conversion and move towards raising the permissable axle loads on these lines, after conversion as the remaining timber sleepers reach the end of their life the replacements should again be concrete which would lower the maintenance of the lines. The only place for timber sleepers is under Rails. Razz

Not Happening, Deal with it. Broad gauge lives on! Doing it on the cheep is better than nothing
  Carnot Minister for Railways

The plot thickens. Looks like the State Govt are about to offload the MBRP to the Federal Govt:

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Steph knows full well the issues with the network.  The government must think the best way to fix the issue is not to rely in the department in Victoria.  

This would only be a political move designed to take the heat of failure in managing the project away from the Government and onto someone else.  They can clean up their failures before the next election.

Forgive me, but there are so many failures on the part of Jacinta Allan on delivery of this and other rail projects.  There are questions being asked about the cost of the level crossing removals, Cranbourne and other projects as well.

I also hear jactina allan was very very unhappy with the advertiser getting access to information about the failure of the MBRP project.

  steamfreak Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wodonga, VIC
"V/Line will continue to work to increase the track speeds to a minimum of 40kmh where it is safe to do so in the coming months.
Stockland Article

Gawd...  While the trucks speed by at 100km/h...
  Inland_Sailor Junior Train Controller

The plot thickens. Looks like the State Govt are about to offload the MBRP to the Federal Govt:

Carnot
Make sense that ARTC mange the SG lines in Vic [and across Aust]. In this way, Vline will only have to run their trains on SG and not manage the SG lines as well.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The plot thickens. Looks like the State Govt are about to offload the MBRP to the Federal Govt:

Carnot
What does she know that we don't?
  Z VAN Junior Train Controller

It beats me how a Railway project can go so far askew?
It was simple move one rail in 61/2 inches.
Before the people that know Railways intervene after that statement think about it. That was the brief!
The Mildura line is proving the worth of the project purely by the ability of Locomotives and wagons from interstate running through Victoria showing how the overall efficiency of rail is improved when you have a common gauge.
If there was not a conversion to do the same job two train sets would have been required?
Simple common or standard fittings, rail or other wise makes sense.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville

Having FOUR parallel lines (Yelta, Kulwin, Robinvale, Piangil) across a range of 100km,
Thow in the Balrandald line from Echuca(ish) and that is 5 where 3 would likely have done.  If Swan Hill and Mildura were connected on one line in the first place (which appears to be somewhat logical) there would have been a lot more traffic potential now.

but alas history...It does make me wonder if rebuilding the Manangatang - Robinvale line (as SG), a bridge over the Murray, and a new line next to the Sturt Hwy to Balranald would stack up.  Especially with the huge mineral sands mines about to start in that area.

The Sturt Hwy alignment is fairly flat, wide and open - and it's already Crown land.
Carnot

Which 'huge' mineral sands project about to start would this be?

Cristal Mining - all product by road to Broken Hill for processing and that's not going to change given very recent investment in processing and transport facilities at Broken Hill

Iluka - non operational. Has been on care and maintenance since the end of 2016

BHP - no indication at all of when, if ever, development will start. No significant update for two years

I'm sure Cllr Milne is rushing for his cheque book right now Sad
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
RRAV reporting the separation project has been quietly shelved....
  max_thum Station Master

Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Friday 4th September 2020 to Sunday 6th September 2020: The GRAINLANDER to Sea Lake, steam & vintage diesel hauled.
707 Operations
707 has another grainlander coming up next year. Sea Lake line likely going to be BG for the long term.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Friday 4th September 2020 to Sunday 6th September 2020: The GRAINLANDER to Sea Lake, steam & vintage diesel hauled.
707 has another grainlander coming up next year. Sea Lake line likely going to be BG for the long term.
max_thum
12 months is long-term? You sound like management material!
  Carnot Minister for Railways
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Another insightful article in Stock and Land:
https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/6406336/pacific-nationals-scathing-murray-basin-rail-report/
Carnot
Interesting quote here: "In its latest Status Report on the project, Pacific National estimated inadequate design and construction meant a maximum of only nine trains a week could operate on the Murray Basin network."

I fail to see how this could be true.

Currently:

7901V runs out Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, returns as 7902V Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (six trains, or three return)

7903V runs out Tuesday and Thursday nights, returns as 7904V Wednesday and Friday (four trains, or two return)

I've noted numerous days with multiple grain trains on the line as well as the aforementioned Merbein freights, and days have been reported where there are four different trains between Ararat and Mildura at the one time.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Some interesting info that I've come across (in a public forum) is that the wheel diameters on the wagons are limiting container traffic to 19TAL, less than what they were allowed before.  Only a limited number of Graincorp wagons are carrying the full 21TAL.

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