Mildura Standard Gauge conversion

 
  Carnot Minister for Railways

To be fair, Andrew Broad as the VFF and NFF president was publicly outspoken for years in his desire to see the Stardardization of the Vic freight network.  The real fun will involve pushing uphill against some in the Coalition, the Feds, and public bureaucracy who have no desire to do so and will stall at every opportunity with every excuse in the book.

Incidentally, did Bracks or Brumby standardize the Mildura line for the 9 years they were in office even after making an official budget announcement in 2001? Did KRudd cough up the dough for standardizing the track(s) in 2007-2010?  Here it is in writing:
http://www.budget.vic.gov.au/domino/web_notes/budgets/budget01.nsf/77a4bf9f4e5005c64a2567600023b4a3/eebe1e842690f0ff4a256a4d0018c363!OpenDocument

I suspect R766 will be up and running all over the countryside before the Mildura line is SG.  There, I said it.Rolling Eyes

In the meantime, will the initial maintenance work on the Mildura line involve the use of gauge convertible concrete sleepers?

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  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
In the meantime, will the initial maintenance work on the Mildura line involve the use of gauge convertible concrete sleepers?
Carnot

That would involve too much common sense!  

Better replace wood for wood on the off chance (more than likely) that this standardisation never takes place.

By the way, are wood sleepers cheaper than concrete over the lifetime of each?
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
It's a good thing that the money is a definite for the loading upgrades though, even if std gauge doesn't go ahead. And I agree, timber would be a more likely option than concrete.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

That would involve too much common sense!

Better replace wood for wood on the off chance (more than likely) that this standardisation never takes place.

By the way, are wood sleepers cheaper than concrete over the lifetime of each?
Donald


You can gauge convert both timber and steel sleeper's no problem, One simply drills new holes for the spikes in the correct places.   Although on the Oaklands line all the bridges got new timber sleepers, I assume this is because  both rails are moved in to keep the track in the centre of the bridge, which very likely brings the new holes to close to the old ones. On the Oaklands line the western rail was moved in along most of the track.
Note, on the steel sleepers on the Oaklands line they only had to drill one new hole, they were using the old BG inside hole for the SG outside hole. The dimensions of the two old rail clip holes being almost exactly 6.5 inches apart. They were using a rotary broach with coolant to drill the new hole.

As to the life costs I do not know, would depend on lot of things. The timber sleepers on the old BG Albury line had a life cycle of 30 years. It would be likely that concrete sleepers would start getting concrete cancer by the time one had replaced the timber ones twice. The current problem with concrete sleepers is the initial cost is a good deal higher than for timber so one gets more "bang for ones buck" with timber sleepers.
One MUST remember that the railways do not get  much in the way of funds and politicians NEVER look to a future thats beyond the next election.

Just in case as with most others I am extremely sceptical about this gauge conversion project from the wording of the announcement and would not die of shock when the "business case" found it to expensive for the return expected.

woodford
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The key words in the Media Release are  "..............  spend up to  $  220m converting the Mildura line to sg  ".  Only  $ 41m  has actually been allocated to upgrade  Murtoa - Hopetoun  (sg) and  Maryborough - Mildura  (bg) to 21 tonne axle loads .  In reality this probably means a heavy tie renewal cycle, a top up of ballast and some re-surfacing .

A demonstrated business case would have to show the financial benefits of gauge conversion were worth the extra costs involved. If the traffics offering ex Mildura primarily need to get to Melbourne and Geelong then they can do that now on bg and gauge conversion would seem hard to justify . If volumes need to get Interstate then standard gauge is the logical option, as access is then available to NSW  &  SA as well as Melbourne, Geelong and Portland .

We shall see .

Given the Hopetoun line is already sg and can access  Geelong, Portland and Melbourne via Ararat that would make sense to upgrade that route and provide a cross country link at some point across to the existing Mildura line as sg and then gauge convert that point North through to Mildura.  

South of that point including the other two branch lines  radiating from Dunolly can stay as bg lines and still access Geelong, and Melbourne via Ballarat and/or North Geelong as now .

The immediate track upgrade on the Hopetoun line can safely use sg concrete sleepers.  Between  Maryborough and Mildura it would be smart to use  dg concrete sleepers .  IIRC all track renewals through all lx between North Geelong and Mildura have been done as dg for some years now .  (Maryborough - Dunolly is dg, but the sg is basically not used these days. And  Maryborough - Ararat is  sg but currently not used.)

Wooden sleepers have become very difficult to source good quality these days .  The new generation slimline concrete sleepers have proven to be very cost effective especially since they can be mixed in with wood over several tie cycles till the whole track eventually becomes concrete .

V/Line is just starting to see the reduced maintenance cost benefits of concrete sleepers as the remaining wooden sleeper sections of Class-2 track are being replaced by concrete in the Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo & Traralgon corridors .  (The concrete sleepers have a much longer life, and with light DMU axle loads the tracks require less maintenance than with wood.)
  woodford Chief Commissioner



Wooden sleepers have become very difficult to source good quality these days . The new generation slimline concrete sleepers have proven to be very cost effective especially since they can be mixed in with wood over several tie cycles till the whole track eventually becomes concrete .
kuldala


Successive governments have managed the hardwood forests in Victoria VERY poorly having no regard for how much timber could be removed on a continous basis. In the strathbogie ranges for instance they bulldozed MANY square miles of good 25 to 30 year cycle forest for pines leaving a cut out 70 year cycle forest for hardwood timber. As a consequence of this poor attitude for hardwood forests through out Victoria such large hardwood timber sizes particularly piles and point timbers are nearly impossible to get. Why they are allowing large scale wood chipping of hardwood forests is beyond any reasonning, absolutely no thought for future generations at all.

Hence the high prices one pays for decent hardwood these days.

In case some do not notice I have quite a few friends either  in or were in the saw milling industry.

woodford
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
What traffic would be lost to road if the lie was converted to SG ?

Will donald survive as that business's is doing well.

For the amount of containers going interstate from mildura and I don't believe there would be many they could be exchanged at North Dynon.

I do not see the business case for SG to mildura.
  beanzs27 Assistant Commissioner

If The link between Hopetoun and Lascelles/Woomerlang was built you could have a passenger train go from Ballarat to Murtoa, then split with one half going to Dimboola/Nhill and the other one to Mildura.
It's 280 kms from Mildura to Murtoa (google maps) while is about 400km from Maryborough to Mildura.

Essentially Birchip would become a terminus, I live near Birchip, so would love it to go via there but it could be an option.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
What traffic would be lost to road if the lie was converted to SG ?
freightgate

The cement traffic would become unworkable ex Waurn Ponds, unless there were changers like cement containers that could be transhipped, a cement transfer pipeline from the Waurn Ponds cement plant to a SG loading siding at Gheringhap or cement delivered to Swan Hill Instead via BG.

Though much of the cement delivered to Mildura Is forwarded onto Broken Hill for mining works, the mines could use SA or NSW cement If the product was to the right specifications and at the right price.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
The cement traffic would become unworkable ex Waurn Ponds, unless there were changers like cement containers that could be transhipped, a cement transfer pipeline from the Waurn Ponds cement plant to a SG loading siding at Gheringhap or cement delivered to Swan Hill Instead via BG.
Nightfire


not sure this would be a problem.  cement working already betwen waurn ponds and somerton.

sg work from somerton to mft and attach for mildura on sg.  a lot of cement hots miludra on rail with expansion planned.

possible?
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
lines missing on this map or the future of the rail network under napthine?

  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Nice to see how out of wack their map Is, missing lines, unusual dog legs In some lines, etc.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

I wonder if the business case will include the Marong intermodal (i.e SG conversion of Inglewood/Eaglehawk line as well)?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
I wonder if the business case will include the Marong intermodal (i.e SG conversion of Inglewood/Eaglehawk line as well)?
Carnot

Would there be a Bendigo (Marong) - Adelaide/Perth/Darwin market ? (mainline exchange at Ararat or Dooen Intermodal Terminal)

It would be very hard to see a Marong - Port of Melbourne via Bridgewater and Gheringhap working (given Ballarat container loading got the flick off the Merbein goods a few years ago)
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Would there be a Bendigo (Marong) - Adelaide/Perth/Darwin market ? (mainline exchange at Ararat or Dooen Intermodal Terminal)

It would be very hard to see a Marong - Port of Melbourne via Bridgewater and Gheringhap working (given Ballarat container loading got the flick off the Merbein goods a few years ago)
Nightfire


Yes. Why did that occur? There was a regular stream of contains from/to Ballarat which was attached until PN took the service over.

SG to Mildura might allow a second operator into the marketplace perhaps working out of Redcliffs? Mildura still has plenty of container traffic to go onto rail but getting it on is the issue.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

According to the ABC rural report at lunch time today the state government has sold the Rural Finance commision to the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank for around 1.5 billion dollars. The report said 220 million of this money was ear marked for the SG conversion of the 3 lines in north western Victoria.
The report said the sale had to go to APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) for approval, this approval was expected mid july.

woodford
  RustyRick Chief Commissioner

Location: South West Vic
According to the ABC rural report at lunch time today the state government has sold the Rural Finance commision to the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank for around 1.5 billion dollars. The report said 220 million of this money was ear marked for the SG conversion of the 3 lines in north western Victoria.
woodford

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan says money from the sale will be spent on developing a business case for the Murray Basin Rail project to standardise the rail from Mildura to Geelong.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-05/rural-finance-corporation-to-be-sold-to-bendigo-bank/5429928

Expensive business case...

Rick
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan says money from the sale will be spent on developing a business case for the Murray Basin Rail project to standardise the rail from Mildura to Geelong.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-05/rural-finance-corporation-to-be-sold-to-bendigo-bank/5429928

Expensive business case...

Rick
RustyRick

The plot thickens....  Looks like yet another case of Melbourne bureaucrats sucking up the funds.
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

The cement traffic would become unworkable ex Waurn Ponds, unless there were changers like cement containers that could be transhipped, a cement transfer pipeline from the Waurn Ponds cement plant to a SG loading siding at Gheringhap or cement delivered to Swan Hill Instead via BG.

Though much of the cement delivered to Mildura Is forwarded onto Broken Hill for mining works, the mines could use SA or NSW cement If the product was to the right specifications and at the right price.
Nightfire

In saying this, you insinuate that the cement gets pumped into the terminal at Mildura then pumper out into trucks for the journey to Broken Hill.

That would have to be a case for specialised containerisation if ever there was.
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

If The link between Hopetoun and Lascelles/Woomerlang was built you could have a passenger train go from Ballarat to Murtoa, then split with one half going to Dimboola/Nhill and the other one to Mildura.
It's 280 kms from Mildura to Murtoa (google maps) while is about 400km from Maryborough to Mildura.
beanzs27

It will be a long way down the track for passenger services but when it is, it would work better as Murtoa becoming the station for Horsham on the through Mildura train.
  ozfreight Chief Train Controller

Location: hawthorn 3122
I think the so called "Business case " for re-gauging the Mildura line will depend on the ARTC taking over the line from the hands of our state government along with the Ouyen-Pinnaroo, hopefully the new line going Yelta to North Geelong and in the future Ballarat to Ararat to offer an alternative to the actual route
  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic
Yes. Why did that occur? There was a regular stream of contains from/to Ballarat which was attached until PN took the service over.

SG to Mildura might allow a second operator into the marketplace perhaps working out of Redcliffs? Mildura still has plenty of container traffic to go onto rail but getting it on is the issue.
bevans

and with links into the existing SG potentially at woomerlang, and marybough you effectively end up with double track without having double track. not sure what the theoretical capacity of the existing western sg is, but it at times doesnt seem that busy
  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic
The cement traffic would become unworkable ex Waurn Ponds, unless there were changers like cement containers that could be transhipped, a cement transfer pipeline from the Waurn Ponds cement plant to a SG loading siding at Gheringhap or cement delivered to Swan Hill Instead via BG.

Though much of the cement delivered to Mildura Is forwarded onto Broken Hill for mining works, the mines could use SA or NSW cement If the product was to the right specifications and at the right price.
Nightfire

While there would be a cost, a transhiping facility at North Geelong could work, or even north shore. You would only need a place you could line BG and SG wagons next to each other, with a pumping facility in between

other, less likaly options, is DG to Waurn Ponds.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
While there would be a cost, a transhiping facility at North Geelong could work, or even north shore. You would only need a place you could line BG and SG wagons next to each other, with a pumping facility in between

other, less likaly options, is DG to Waurn Ponds.
Galron

The ongoing operating costs of transhipping could be the big problem.

DG to Waurn Ponds would stir up to many problems with clearances, speed restriction and track maintenance costs (DG points)

I wonder If the cement could be piped via high pressure pipeline between the cement plant and a new cement loading facility at Gheringhap (this would give Waurn Ponds cement direct access to the standard gauge network)
  x42 Junior Train Controller

Location: NSW
On the news last night and in the press today it was also stated that the Manangatang and Sea Lake lines would be gauge converted. So the question will be where from Maryborough ? Maryborough on the existing SG line to the port of Portland or will Maryborough be Gauge converted to Gheringhap via Ballarat ? As for a pass if the line ever does make it up broken hill way has any one thought of the current Overland style service ?

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