Inland Rail to Gladstone?

 
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

You may have seen that as Satire but I see more into this as I look through seeing eyes. Our telecommunication networks are built with a similar view to redundancy and optionality, something that was been long lost with railway management in Australia if they had it at all.
bevans
The difference being that telecommunications are highly profitable whereas railways in Australia are marginal at best

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
You may have seen that as Satire but I see more into this as I look through seeing eyes. Our telecommunication networks are built with a similar view to redundancy and optionality, something that was been long lost with railway management in Australia if they had it at all.
The difference being that telecommunications are highly profitable whereas railways in Australia are marginal at best
Lockspike

And the road network is orbital too!
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
You may have seen that as Satire but I see more into this as I look through seeing eyes. Our telecommunication networks are built with a similar view to redundancy and optionality, something that was been long lost with railway management in Australia if they had it at all.
bevans
I know the creator, it is indeed satire.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
You may have seen that as Satire but I see more into this as I look through seeing eyes. Our telecommunication networks are built with a similar view to redundancy and optionality, something that was been long lost with railway management in Australia if they had it at all.
I know the creator, it is indeed satire.
Dangersdan707

Don't disagree in some ways it is an interesting proposal.
  8502 Chief Train Controller

Presently Barnaby Joyce is holding the coalition to account on the net zero emissions 2050 plan without a doubt there will be a long list of regional projects the nats will want to see.

What are the chances we could see more SG rail projects for regional areas as a part of the deal.  Extensions of the inland rail network even further north and especially west to link into the NT line?
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Presently Barnaby Joyce is holding the coalition to account on the net zero emissions 2050 plan without a doubt there will be a long list of regional projects the nats will want to see.

What are the chances we could see more SG rail projects for regional areas as a part of the deal.  Extensions of the inland rail network even further north and especially west to link into the NT line?
8502
Nah, Barnaby wouldn't be interested in rail particularly on projects away from his electorate. It might upset National Party landowners where the line could run through.

He will be interested in a coal power station to keep Canavan et al, quiet.

Yep the logic is absent, it is all about politics.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
You could do worse than extend standard gauge into northern Queensland. Mount isa could maybe benefit from SG and maybe from both east and west.
  br30453 Chief Train Controller

You could do worse than extend standard gauge into northern Queensland. Mount isa could maybe benefit from SG and maybe from both east and west.
freightgate
A big maybe.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

You could do worse than extend standard gauge into northern Queensland. Mount isa could maybe benefit from SG and maybe from both east and west.
freightgate

Unless large scale phosphate or base metal mining begins between Tennant Creek and Mt Isa it is very unlikely there will be a railway between the two Northern Australia mainlines. Darwin is nearly twice the distance from Mt Isa than Townsville and an extra 365mm between the rails is never going to beat the cost of the extra length of the railhaul to Darwin.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
You could do worse than extend standard gauge into northern Queensland. Mount isa could maybe benefit from SG and maybe from both east and west.

Unless large scale phosphate or base metal mining begins between Tennant Creek and Mt Isa it is very unlikely there will be a railway between the two Northern Australia mainlines. Darwin is nearly twice the distance from Mt Isa than Townsville and an extra 365mm between the rails is never going to beat the cost of the extra length of the railhaul to Darwin.
Sulla1

Ah, but there is a thing that would be introduced, competition meaning competitive pricing from Darwin Port and also Townsville Port.

Why in Australia do we not have port owners also in the rail business making it a seamless experience for shippers?
  historian Deputy Commissioner

You could do worse than extend standard gauge into northern Queensland. Mount isa could maybe benefit from SG and maybe from both east and west.

Unless large scale phosphate or base metal mining begins between Tennant Creek and Mt Isa it is very unlikely there will be a railway between the two Northern Australia mainlines. Darwin is nearly twice the distance from Mt Isa than Townsville and an extra 365mm between the rails is never going to beat the cost of the extra length of the railhaul to Darwin.

Ah, but there is a thing that would be introduced, competition meaning competitive pricing from Darwin Port and also Townsville Port.

Why in Australia do we not have port owners also in the rail business making it a seamless experience for shippers?
bevans

RMFE. The mantra of competition trumps basic economics.

The cost of haul is proportional to haul length. First estimate is that cost of haul to Darwin would be about 140% of that to Townsville (~900 km vs ~1300 km). The maximum they could charge for this longer haul is the existing cost to Townsville. Do you think that the profit on the current haul to Townsville would be sufficient to cover the extra costs hauling to Darwin *and* make sufficient profit on the capital invested?

In fact, the economics would be even worse than that. A significant part of the cost of haul is the cost of the infrastructure, including the land. On the route to Townsville, the only capital cost counted is that of the above grade infrastructure; the cost of the land and the earthworks would have long been written off. But that would not be true of the route from Mt Isa to Darwin.

No one would invest money to build a railway from Mt Isa to Darwin on those economics.

If anyone was mad enough to make that investment, all that would happen is that there'd be a short rate war. The operators of the Darwin route would rapidly lose all their money, and the operator of the Townsville route would lose money until the Darwin operators went broke. If they were really unlucky, the Townsville operator would go broke as well.

You might argue that I haven't considered the cost of shipping from the port (Townsville or Darwin) to the customer. Darwin is closer - for example the distance from Darwin to Shanghai is about 3000 nm, vs 4100 from Townsville. True, but costs of sea haulage are so much lower than rail that they wouldn't count. This is why containers still travel by ship from Asia to Sydney/Melbourne rather than to Darwin and then by rail.
  GeorgePuss Station Staff

Location: nsw
what about some lateral thinking

Inland rail trains are much faster than container ships and containers are not needed at wharves in major ports.

Turn container ship round at Gladstone and send containers by train to suburban distribution centers in capital cities.

Might even provide real competition for ports which might then see need for rail links port to distributed distribution centers
Reverse moves for export cargoes.  Might even justify container terminal in New England?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
what about some lateral thinking

Inland rail trains are much faster than container ships and containers are not needed at wharves in major ports.

Turn container ship round at Gladstone and send containers by train to suburban distribution centers in capital cities.

Might even provide real competition for ports which might then see need for rail links port to distributed distribution centers
Reverse moves for export cargoes.  Might even justify container terminal in New England?
GeorgePuss

Thank you George.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
what about some lateral thinking

Inland rail trains are much faster than container ships and containers are not needed at wharves in major ports.

Turn container ship round at Gladstone and send containers by train to suburban distribution centers in capital cities.

Might even provide real competition for ports which might then see need for rail links port to distributed distribution centers
Reverse moves for export cargoes.  Might even justify container terminal in New England?

Thank you George.
bevans
The concept of 'landbridging' overseas containers has been around for many years and in various forms.

Almost from the inception of overseas containerisation there have been proposals whereby ships would terminate in, say, Perth from the UK/Europe and  Sydney or Melbourne from the US. Darwin was 'half considered' for shipping to/from Asia. The intention being that containers for other than these terminating ports would be railed to their destinations.

For whatever reasons the arrangement never really took off although some sectors were more successful than others at differing times. Melbourne - Adelaide was but one such example. Darwin was never a serious prospect.

Against the success of landbridging today we need to consider:
  • End costs (rail haul, extra lifts etc).
  • Cheap overseas shipping undertaking local transits (cheap labour etc)
  • Larger container vessels of around 20,000 TEU. Imagine dumping 10,000 TEU in Perth for Melbourne. That equates to 50 x 200 TEU x 1,500 m trains.
  • The lack of sufficiently capable and diversified rail terminals. For example, in practical terms Melbourne has one (Dynon) plus a multitude of government announcements about others which, if they ever become a reality, are likely to be white elephants for no end of reasons.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
what about some lateral thinking

Inland rail trains are much faster than container ships and containers are not needed at wharves in major ports.

Turn container ship round at Gladstone and send containers by train to suburban distribution centers in capital cities.

Might even provide real competition for ports which might then see need for rail links port to distributed distribution centers
Reverse moves for export cargoes.  Might even justify container terminal in New England?
GeorgePuss

Don't any of you people pay attention?

Foreign owned and crewed shipping is cheaper than rail for domestic journeys and is already a threat to rail on the East West corridor . It will also be a threat to the viability of Inland Rail as well.  That's the reality whether you like it or not.  

Plus what you have suggested above only works if we live in a socialist Nirvana and all aspects of the logistic chain are controlled by one entity.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Gladstone is yet to be developed as a signifcant container port. Last year it moved 8,218 boxes, more than 7,000 of which were export containers with locally produced explosive products. This chemical export traffic has helped Gladstone occasionally reach nearly 30,000 boxes per annum over the last decade.

During the same period Darwin has moved between 10,000 and 25,000 TEU per annum and Townsville has moved between 51,000 and 75,000 TEU per annum.

The Gladstone Ports Corporation is currently seeking investors to develop a 100-hectare plot of port land into a 1-million to 1.5-million TEU per annum container port, which would place it just a little below the capacity of the Port of Brisbane. Currently Brisbane handles 95% of all containers imported or exported through Queensland.

Townsville has nearly finished upgrading its main shipping channel to handle 300m long ships, which will cater for container vessels with a carrying capacity of around 7,100 TEU by 2023. The Townsville Port is anticipating large increases in containerised freight from new and existing mineral refineries expected this decade.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

The concept of 'landbridging' overseas containers has been around for many years and in various forms.

Almost from the inception of overseas containerisation there have been proposals whereby ships would terminate in, say, Perth from the UK/Europe and  Sydney or Melbourne from the US. Darwin was 'half considered' for shipping to/from Asia. The intention being that containers for other than these terminating ports would be railed to their destinations.

For whatever reasons the arrangement never really took off although some sectors were more successful than others at differing times. Melbourne - Adelaide was but one such example. Darwin was never a serious prospect.

Against the success of landbridging today we need to consider:
  • End costs (rail haul, extra lifts etc).
  • Cheap overseas shipping undertaking local transits (cheap labour etc)
  • Larger container vessels of around 20,000 TEU. Imagine dumping 10,000 TEU in Perth for Melbourne. That equates to 50 x 200 TEU x 1,500 m trains.
  • The lack of sufficiently capable and diversified rail terminals. For example, in practical terms Melbourne has one (Dynon) plus a multitude of government announcements about others which, if they ever become a reality, are likely to be white elephants for no end of reasons.
YM-Mundrabilla
As our Yard Master alludes to above, land bridging was touted as one of the benefits of the East - West standardisation (opened 1970 so there has been ample time to evaluate the results), and a major justification of Alice Springs - Darwin. Both failed to materialise to any real degree.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

what about some lateral thinking

Inland rail trains are much faster than container ships and containers are not needed at wharves in major ports.

Turn container ship round at Gladstone and send containers by train to suburban distribution centers in capital cities.

Might even provide real competition for ports which might then see need for rail links port to distributed distribution centers
Reverse moves for export cargoes.  Might even justify container terminal in New England?

Thank you George.
The concept of 'landbridging' overseas containers has been around for many years and in various forms.

For whatever reasons the arrangement never really took off although some sectors were more successful than others at differing times. Melbourne - Adelaide was but one such example. Darwin was never a serious prospect.
YM-Mundrabilla

Curiously, I have just finished reading Parsons' history of South Australian shipping. It specifically addressed the history of the Melbourne - Adelaide landbridge.

This only existed because the Europe and Asia container shipping conferences (cartels) refused point blank to serve Adelaide. It was faster (cheaper) for them to bypass Adelaide and ship containers between Melbourne and Adelaide by rail. Notionally, there was a flat shipping rate so the Melbourne - Adelaide rail section was 'free' to shippers. The South Australian government and businesses hated the landbridge - they eventually worked out that the flat rate shipping wasn't, and that there could be an extra week transit over their competitors in the eastern states. At one point the conferences, POM, VLine, ANR, & ANL got together to subsidise the transit between Melbourne and Adelaide by $90 a TEU. Both the government and shippers worked very hard over a decade to force the conferences to serve Adelaide, and they eventually succeeded.

So the Melbourne - Adelaide landbridge didn't exist because it made commercial sense - except for the shipping companies.

AFAIK the only landbridge that actually works is containers from Asia shipped through west coast US ports to midwest and eastern USA. This works because of the huge extra shipping distance to get to gulf and eastern ports; that the huge container ships used between Asia and the west coast wouldn't fit throught the Panama canal; that you still need to put the containers on rail to the final destination even if you went to the gulf or eastern ports; and the US cabotage rules that mean that foreign flagged ships can't carry cargo between US ports.
  8502 Chief Train Controller

The Gladstone Ports Corporation is currently seeking investors to develop a 100-hectare plot of port land into a 1-million to 1.5-million TEU per annum container port, which would place it just a little below the capacity of the Port of Brisbane. Currently Brisbane handles 95% of all containers imported or exported through Queensland.

Townsville has nearly finished upgrading its main shipping channel to handle 300m long ships, which will cater for container vessels with a carrying capacity of around 7,100 TEU by 2023. The Townsville Port is anticipating large increases in containerised freight from new and existing mineral refineries expected this decade.
Sulla1

Above are the reasons why the idea of Inland SG to Gladstone could make sense.

The nationals are running the country over 2050 and if they want to invest money into the regional areas then lets consider the opportunity to use renewable power and run electrified AC trains between Gladstone and Melbourne via the inland route.

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