Mildura Standard Gauge conversion

 
  Factory_Fill Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne VIC
I've heard rumblings of a big announcement  to be made tomorrow morning in Benalla.

Rumour has it that the line to Mildura (or part of it) will become standard gauge.

Have found this news article to enhance the rumblings.

http://www.sunraysiadaily.com.au/story/2256091/all-aboard-for-major-upgrades-of-mildura-rail-line/?cs=1511

Will surely make further news tomorrow if its true.

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  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Well if that article is right, it probably means two things:

The good thing is that if will finally shut up the irrational nutters who want a passenger service to Mildura.

The bad thing is that the line through St Arnaud will probably be abandoned.
  blowfish Junior Train Controller

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

Location: Werribee, Vic
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
  beanzs27 Assistant Commissioner

Well if that article is right, it probably means two things:

The good thing is that if will finally shut up the irrational nutters who want a passenger service to Mildura.

The bad thing is that the line through St Arnaud will probably be abandoned.
"Bogong"


Why would the route via St Arnaud be abandoned, they load containers at Donald and grain at places like Birchip. I assume you mean they will connect Hopetoun to Lascelles.

I still don't really see much advantage for conversion, compared to say Tocumwal line and Deniliquin. What extra freight opportunities will there be. From what I have I understand pre 1995 there was no real traffic between Ouyen and Taliem Bend. I know it would allow access to Portland and the Sand factory at Hamilton.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
This is interesting news. My thoughts:

1. What is the argument for SG?
2. The route to Melbourne will be longer on SG
3. Forget the return of any passenger services to Mildura

So I guess careful what you wish for.

Regards
Brian
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
If the Mildura / Yelta was to be converted to standard gauge, It would be the entire normal route from Gheringhap North-Westwards

There Is little point converting the line to SG If trains have to take a slower longer route.

Melbourne Is the port of choice for much of the high value exports, not Adelaide !

Port of Geelong takes the lions share of grain.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I imagine the line will be passed to ARTC as the Libs are not interested in funding freight lines?
  blowfish Junior Train Controller

If the Mildura / Yelta was to be converted to standard gauge, It would be the entire normal route from Gheringhap North-Westwards

There Is little point converting the line to SG If trains have to take a slower longer route.

Melbourne Is the port of choice for much of the high value exports, not Adelaide !

Port of Geelong takes the lions share of grain.
Nightfire

Also opens up access to Portland
  blowfish Junior Train Controller

Peter Ryan @peterryanMP  ·  27m
Big news! #VicCoalition to invest upto $220M to build transformational Mildura - Geelong #RegionalRailLink #springst
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
I'm interested in the detail - has the announcement been officially made?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Another pic from media announcement. A bit hard to decipher, but it perhaps indicates that Managatang and Sea Lake lines might be standardised too:
  blowfish Junior Train Controller

A close up, but the names are obscured
  Carnot Minister for Railways

^^Hmmmm, looks like no SG through Ballarat.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
I'm interested in the detail - has the announcement been officially made?
don_dunstan

I heard on the 11.00 am radio news that it was announced at the National Party conference in Benalla.

I wonder which bureaucrat or disgruntled back bencher leaked it yesterday and deprived the Nats of their moment of glory?

.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
There's a flurry of announcements coming - anyone would think it was an election year!

I'm not sure if they're serious on delivering half the things being announced... with the obvious exception of East-West Tunnel.

We were promised heaps of things in 2010 and how many of them were actually delivered... none?

They're all the same - they just want power for the sake of it (and their mates). Sorry but I'm feeling particularly cynical today...!
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
I heard on the 11.00 am radio news that it was announced at the National Party conference in Benalla.

I wonder which bureaucrat or disgruntled back bencher leaked it yesterday and deprived the Nats of their moment of glory?

.
Bogong

Thanks for that info - if you go to Peter Ryan's Twitter account (found here) you can see more photos of the map... on that map there's no indication of the link from the Wimmera line as discussed earlier, just a conversion of the existing lines in that group.

Also, it's evident from that map that the Murrayville line will be closed.
  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic
need more detail than a fuzzy map me thinks.
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Nationals spending money in safe National seats..........always a first time I suppose. Isn't the coalition behind in the polls, so if they get booted they'll say we would have done it, if they win they'll hope no one remembers, or it's just to expensive, and a list of half a dozen other excuses.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
^^Hmmmm, looks like no SG through Ballarat.
Carnot

I don't know how competitive they think the Melbourne - Merbein container service Is going to be running via Ararat and Cressy ?

Isn't the Idea to reduce the trains running time to below 10 hours !

The broad gauge line between Gheringhap and Warrenheip would face closure.

The viability of Ballarat - Maryborough line would plummet.

(Passengers from Ararat and Maryborough can change at Ballarat for onward BG journey to Melbourne, under a standard gauge system)
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Nationals spending money in safe National seats..........always a first time I suppose. Isn't the coalition behind in the polls, so if they get booted they'll say we would have done it, if they win they'll hope no one remembers, or it's just to expensive, and a list of half a dozen other excuses.
wobert

Wow wobert really has it in for the Nats!

I wonder what they did to p1ss him off?
  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
Sounds like lots of scope for promising lots of standardisation - colourful maps - than scaling back to not much more than Hopetoun to Mildura.


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.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I don't know how competitive they think the Melbourne - Merbein container service Is going to be running via Ararat and Cressy ?

Isn't the Idea to reduce the trains running time to below 10 hours !

The broad gauge line between Gheringhap and Warrenheip would face closure.

The viability of Ballarat - Maryborough line would plummet.

(Passengers from Ararat and Maryborough can change at Ballarat for onward BG journey to Melbourne, under a standard gauge system)
Nightfire


Firstly VLIne will VERY VERY unlikely to run an isolated SG service from Ballarrat to either Ararat or Maryborough as such an isolated service would cost to much to run. Both of these services would more correctly be seen as an extension of the Ballarrat services.
With this in mind given the current state of the railways it would be close to politcal suicide for the Government to cancel the Ararat and Maryborough trains.
One assumes then until more info is availible that the freights will be going round via Ararat and Maroona.

At this stage it appears most container freight is not time critcal but it DOES need to be delivered when it says it will be delivered. So rather than a specfic time period what is required is it to be availible when the timetable says it will be availible.

The next bit of info is UNCONFIRMED but a previously reliable source has told me the railways in Victoria believe the gauge conversion of these lines will save them a real significant quantity of money. The same source said they have been pushing VERY hard for this conversion for quite some time.

Note: a minor point, the Oaklands line gauge conversion was quoted as costing 18 milllion dollars, It took a team of around 20 men to do the entire 145 kilometres in around 6 months, this was along with 1 in 4 sleeper cycle and all point timbers replaced.

Woodford
  msilsby Deputy Commissioner

Location: Canberra
Will there be a complete rebuild of alignments or just a conversion?

If it is just a conversion, I can't help but wonder whether they might be better off just spending 5 or so years going through and replacing sleepers with new concrete dual gauge sleepers.

Once the network has all dual gauge sleepers, then go through and progressively add the third rail. Once all done, and SG fully operational, go through and progressively remove the BG rail.

It could be done across the entire network, allowing for gradual 25 year+ conversion to SG at minimal cost.

Or is this just crazy me thinking of an obvious outcome that makes too much sense?

p.s. why did the RRL ever get built only in BG? I mean, WTF?

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