Mildura Standard Gauge conversion

 
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Wow wobert really has it in for the Nats!

I wonder what they did to p1ss him off?
Bogong

Nothing, that's about the extent of it. Well that is a bit of an exaggeration,they never miss an opportunity to sell us regional bumkins out.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/schools-in-marginal-seats-reap-millions-in-budget-20140502-zr3if.html

Meanwhile in my electorate, Horsham College and Hamilton College are absolutely stuffed and have been in need of major new infrastructure for a couple of decades, that's one of several dozen reasons.I'd give a couple more but I'm off to the pub. cheers

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  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
One quote from the press release jumped out at me:

“The standardisation is also a crucial first step in the return of passenger rail to Mildura.”

This intrigues me, is this just to keep those noisy few happy? Or is there a genuine chance that after standardisation there could be a reinstated passenger service of some type?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
One quote from the press release jumped out at me:

“The standardisation is also a crucial first step in the return of passenger rail to Mildura.”

This intrigues me, is this just to keep those noisy few happy? Or is there a genuine chance that after standardisation there could be a reinstated passenger service of some type?
Gman_86

Just stirring up those noisy few with some spin (a mirage)
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Dooen Freight Hub, started under Labor Government(finally) now Libs& Nats claim it was all their idea
Piping Wimmera/ Mallee channel system, started by locals (lobbying and whatknot) Bracks/Brumby Gov got on board with huge commitment, Feds under PM Howard had to be dragged kicking and screaming to pitch in. When completed Nats claimed it was all their doing and dubbed local federal member Mr Pipeline.That went down well with a lot of people in the know.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Wow wobert really has it in for the Nats!

I wonder what they did to p1ss him off?
Bogong

woberwobert
Nothing, that's about the extent of it. Well that is a bit of an exaggeration,they never miss an opportunity to sell us regional bumkins out.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/schools-in-marginal-seats-reap-millions-in-budget-20140502-zr3if.html

Meanwhile in my electorate, Horsham College and Hamilton College are absolutely stuffed and have been in need of major new infrastructure for a couple of decades, that's one of several dozen reasons.I'd give a couple more but I'm off to the pub. cheers

Oh you should see the inner northern suburbs. All the safe seats there were totally neglected by Labour until the Green Party became a danger to them in the seat of Melbourne. After that, Labour paid attention to that single seat, but the neglect continued unchanged in seats like Northcote, Brunswick, Coburg, etc.

I grew up in the country and parliamentary seats there have always received far more attention under Labour, Liberal and National than any seats in the inner northern suburbs. Believe it or not, you should consider yourself lucky!
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Read the Media release carefully and it removes much of the conjecture and answers some questions .

Quoted in parts  :

"In the keynote address to The Nationals State Conference in Benalla, Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s State Budget would deliver funding for the Mildura to Geelong standardised rail link with construction expected to be completed by 2018."
“The project involves building and upgrading freight lines to 21 tonne axle loading, providing an immediate 15% productivity improvement that will increase train loads by 300 to 400 tonnes. “It will improve transport efficiency and enhance access to the ports of Portland, Geelong and Melbourne for Victorian exports."
"Mr Ryan said the first stage of the Murray Basin Rail Project would deliver urgent upgrades on the Mildura to Maryborough and Hopetoun to Murtoa rail lines, while the business case for the full Mildura to Geelong standardisation was finalised."
“The first stage of the Project will include an initial $41 million to upgrade the Hopetoun and Mildura rail lines to ensure quick benefits from more efficient freight movement,” Mr Ryan said.
“The final cost and alignment of the full Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation will be guided by the final business case to be delivered by the end of the year.

“The standardisation is also a crucial first step in the return of passenger rail to Mildura.”
Mr Ryan said the Project would assist in moving freight off road and onto rail and pave the way for the potential future creation of a new ‘transcontinental link’ near Broken Hill, connecting to the Sydney- Perth rail line.
“Ultimately, the project will enable a Transcontinental Rail Link between Mildura and Menindee, near Broken Hill, NSW, connecting to the Perth interstate rail line.”

So in the first instance they are going to upgrade  Maryborough - Mildura bg to 21 t axle loads, and  Murtoa - Hopetoun (sg) also to 21 t axle loads .  Funding like $ 41 m is allocated.

The final business case for the proposed standardization of a rail route between North Geelong and Mildura will be completed by late 2014 . Then and only then will we know the details of the sections to be standardized or dual gauged , or any new sg trackage as between Hopetoun and Lascelles.

Only then will we also know what happens with Dunolly - Inglewood , Eaglehawk - Inglewood and the Kulwin & Robinvale bg lines, and whether  Maryborough - Ararat  sg gets re-opened .  

PS:  I would'nt hold my breath about any passenger train returning to Mildura, that is just a red herring raised as the Marginal seat Express approaches the station NOVEMBER .
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Read it carefully and you'll soon realise that absolutely nothing regarding standard gauge conversion has actually been promised:

"The final cost and alignment of the full Mildura to Geelong rail standardisation will be guided by the final business case to be delivered by the end of the year."

What's the bet if they win the election the 'business case' recommended no money be spent? The only thing that's actually been committed at this stage is a much-needed upgrade to allow heavier axle loads but the actual conversion will be dependent on the 'business case'.

The announcement should have stated 'upgrade followed by scoping study', not 'deliver funding for standard gauge link'.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

You'd expect the Ouyen branch to be converted also, therefore, two routes to Adelaide.
blowfish

That almost will certainly not happen .

What there would be stronger case for with Gheringhap - Ballarat standardized, is for Ballarat - Ararat bg to go to sg . That then effectively gives duplicated sg track from Ararat to North Geelong, with Interstate Dn trains running via Cressy and Interstate Up trains via Meredith .

Moorabool - Nth Geelong is already duplicated sg and the earthworks were done two years ago to reinstate a second sg track between Moorabool and Gheringhap .

In the longer term if the new sg link between Mildura and Menindee ever got built then that would be the Interstate route via Mildura for trains to Perth and Darwin , and only Adelaide trains would use the route via Serviceton .
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Peter Ryan has tweeted about a major anouncement today, so this could be on the money. Will be interesting how they do it, and wether they go for a staged conversion so as to minimise downtime for Mildura, or shut it down for a couple of years and convert it that way.

IMO doing the pinnaroo branch first, then up to mildura from ouyen would be the smart move. Would enable the fruity and some grain traffic into the north west while they convert the rest, reactivate ararat-marybough, and then work the conversion from both ends, opening track as its ready for grain traffic through the area.

the interconnecting lines mentioned in that article could also be useful. would potentialy give capacity improvments on the line, creating multiple routes where trains can join or leave the route.

the test will be to what standard it happens. Only long term way will be concrete sleepers heavy rail 21-25t axle capacity
Galron

To be 21t axle loads .  Tailem bend - Pinaroo  sg  not used now, see  Sth Australian section .  Ouyen - Pinaroo bg not used now .
  Travelling Hooker Locomotive Driver

Location: Follows the weather up and down the coast
A Mildura to BKH rail link ? Interesting idea (kinda like an Isa to Tennant Creek link) but it ain't gonna happen in any of our lifetimes
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The intention is to progressively rationalize the freight only lines and progressively convert them to  standard gauge .

Thus the VLP  passenger network stays as bg to  Warrnambool, Ararat,  Maryborough ?,  Swan Hill, Echuca, Seymour and Bairnsdale.  With  Albury, Shepparton and possibly Maryborough going sg .

-  Ideally this is best achieved by converting  Gheringhap - Mildura   (gets sg access into Ballarat) and the lines to Robinvale and Kulwin to sg and also the link between Inglewood and Eaglehawk coupled with dg Eaglehawk into Bendigo gets sg to Bendigo.  Standardizes the North West .

- In the North East - convert Seymour to Tocumwal to sg completes  standardization of the North East .  

With VLP  standard gauge trains are no dearer to run than broad gauge, BUT it does require an incraese in fleet size as the sg sets can only be used on the sg routes.  The  N locos, N cars,  Sprinters and V/Locity sets are all capable of being converted to sg . All that is basically required is new sg wheel sets inserted within the existing bg bogie and adjusted brake rigging for the narrower gauge.

A detailed strategy and staging was prepared around 10 years ago but only $ 97m was allocated for conversion and Freight Australia were not interested as at that time they had a monopoly with the bg freight train set.  

Progressive standardization of the Victorian freight network would undoubtedly see more players in the market, as most Operators have sg train sets, but very few have bg train sets .
  Casper1975 Station Master

Location: Ouyen, Victoria
I found the same story In the Herald Sun very Interesting I must say:

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/m-upgrade-to-standardise-rail-in-murray-basin/story-fni0fit3-1226904222070
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

In the longer term if the new sg link between Mildura and Menindee ever got built then that would be the Interstate route via Mildura for trains to Perth and Darwin , and only Adelaide trains would use the route via Serviceton .
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Another advantage will be the use of double stacked container trains. Which cannot be done on the existing route due to the low hight restricted tunnels in the Adelaide Hills.

Should double stacked containers be used via a Mildura SG service, then the track will need to be stronger than the 21 ton axel load proposed here. Then there are the level crossing upgrades to consider, assuming a maximum line speed of 80 kph.
  blowfish Junior Train Controller

- In the North East - convert Seymour to Tocumwal to sg completes standardization of the North East .
kuldalai

As mentioned in the Infrastructure Projects thread, doing so renders the Toolamba link to Echuca dead. Unless it's converted also and beyond Echuca is dual or purely standard gauge.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
As mentioned in the Infrastructure Projects thread, doing so renders the Toolamba link to Echuca dead. Unless it's converted also and beyond Echuca is dual or purely standard gauge.
blowfish

The line between Toolamba and Deniliquin would be converted to standard gauge, broad gauge from Bendigo would end at Echuca station .

The Moulamein line faces a very uncertain future
  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic

The Moulamein line faces a very uncertain future
Nightfire

would the line get used if the responsible authority would maintain it? like the dookie like?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
would the line get used if the responsible authority would maintain it? like the dookie like?
Galron

They have been way behind the 8 ball haven't they
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
would the line get used if the responsible authority would maintain it? like the dookie like?
Galron

Yep probably a good point, there is a Huge shed there, I assume it's for rice recieval not grain, ( happy to be corrected ), but she's a big one, whether a shuttle service to Deni would make use of the facility if opened up as a deposit point for transfer and processing as mentioned.

BigShunter.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

As mentioned in the Infrastructure Projects thread, doing so renders the Toolamba link to Echuca dead. Unless it's converted also and beyond Echuca is dual or purely standard gauge.
blowfish

Sorry in the scheme of  10 years ago  Toolamba - Echuca - Deniliquin went to sg, and  Echuca - Bendigo stayed  as bg for the passenger services, as did Eaglehawk - Swan Hill.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Another advantage will be the use of double stacked container trains. Which cannot be done on the existing route due to the low hight restricted tunnels in the Adelaide Hills.

Should double stacked containers be used via a Mildura SG service, then the track will need to be stronger than the 21 ton axel load proposed here. Then there are the level crossing upgrades to consider, assuming a maximum line speed of 80 kph.
Duncs

Probably depends on their scope leaving the door open for the next step. ie 21t at max 100km/hr, allows for 23t at 80km/hr with some additional work, maybe rail replacement, bridge upgrading. But DD is still a number of years/decades away so no point throwing too much money at it if it won't be used.
  gy Junior Train Controller

Well I certainly hope the lines are standardised. We have had similar announcements before so let us hope all of us doubters are silenced by the Ghan running to Mildura for the opening hauled by R 766.
There are some posters who keep asking what new freight will standardisation produce? Possible none. What new freight did the South Eastern Freeway or the Boltie Bridge generate. None but it improved transport efficiency as will standardising the track gauge as like trucks one set of equipment can run not all over the State but a whole lot more of it without having to basically have two operational sets to move freight from one end of the State to the other.
As more and more of the state has a common gauge to the National System it cannot be detrimental and must contribute to overall transport efficiency.
Some people comment on whether the money could be better spent on Health and Education. These are old favourites to drag out to scuttle any project but with a perfect Health and Educational System what then? Drive around on a dirt road pondering where do I work with my new PHD as all other aspects of Government funding have been limited to provide two funding streams only.
Like it or not Governments have to spread the funding to try and keep all sections of the Economy functioning and not just fund my favourite projects, Rail.
I believe more money should be spent on rail both in Melbourne and the Country but as car drivers have more votes than Pacific National it is politically difficult to get a lot of Rail projects running.
How do you eat an Elephant? In small bites as the story goes and Rail is in this category. Small progressive steps will achieve the same end Politically and practically in time that is frustratingly a long time in most cases but let us hope this time real progress is achieved.  
PTE
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Will post more later but in the overall this is positive. Clearly the immediate focus is to save the Mildura and hopetoun lines from virtual immediate collapse. That's what the initial funds are for. An upgrade so called to 21 tonnes is hardly an upgrade because G class locos are basically at that already so the upgrade is really another maintenance cycle realistically except wagons will now also run to 21TAL.  Kuldalai is pretty much on the money with everything else. I do have a concern that well still end up with a 23 TAL railway at best rather than looking at gauge convertible concrete sleepers such as AN used on the South Australian upgrade and are now handling 25 TAL quite comfortably and intermodal freighters at 110km/hr.  

Talking to a colleague in grain haulage Victorian farmers are paying up to $25 per tonne MORE for rail haulage of grain compared to WA farmers for an equivalent haul and that's because of the track standard, poor load to tare weight ratio of wagons lower axle loads and the inability to get a 24 hour full cycle time.  The upgrade and conversion of the Mildura and other lines has to approach a similar standard if it's going seriously alter the performance of rail in regional Victoria. Rail pagers maybe aware of a number of similar threads on this topic. I think standardisation will happen there are big players now advocating for it the test will be to what standard and how much of the network will be done.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Ok, time to weigh in here...

Trying to remain politically neutral, the devil is obviously in the detail.

Bottom line is a modest allocation of funding for attending to urgent track repairs on the lines from Maryborough to Mildura & Rainbow  and anything over and above that is subject to a 'business case' should the Napthine government be returned in November.

Should that occur the whole project will most likely go the way of Doncaster, Rowville & Avalon.

This is a dry well...smoke & mirrors..

Talk about getting maximum political spin for a minuscule investment.

Mike (in Cairns on final Sunlander trip)
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Mike, I could not agree more.  This is all smoke and mirrors.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Yep - just remember it was John Howard who started the Liberal Party policy of core and non-core promises. No prizes for guessing which one this is.

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