Murray Basin standardisation

 
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
I think in the short term the most likely options are either of the following;
OPTION 1. Converting the line North of Dunolly and re-opening the Maryborough - Ararat line
This would mean all SG services would travel Mildura - Dunolly - Maryborough - Ararat - Geelong - Melbourne. It would include conversion of the Murrayville branch, but the Robinvale (Manangatang) and Kulwin (Sea Lake) lines would remain as BG meaning BG services would travel via Korong Vale - Dunolly - Maryborough - Ballarat - Geelong - Melbourne.

OPTION 2. Creating a new link from the end of the SG Hopetoun Line to the nearest point of the current Mildura line (near Lascelles), this would require about 26km of new track, and woud leave Donald isolated from its current service, probably forcing that loading onto road.

Option 1 is the cheapest, and quickest solution, it also has zero impact on current passenger services, something that the government would be unlikely to want to disturb in an area where that sort of action could swing a seat at the next election. It also still leaves the door open for future work to continue standardising the network.

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  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
I think in the short term the most likely options are either of the following;
OPTION 1. Converting the line North of Dunolly and re-opening the Maryborough - Ararat line
This would mean all SG services would travel Mildura - Dunolly - Maryborough - Ararat - Geelong - Melbourne. It would include conversion of the Murrayville branch, but the Robinvale (Manangatang) and Kulwin (Sea Lake) lines would remain as BG meaning BG services would continue to travel via Korong Vale - Dunolly - Maryborough - Ballarat - Geelong - Melbourne.

OPTION 2. Creating a new link from the end of the SG Hopetoun Line to the nearest point of the current Mildura line (near Lascelles), this would require about 26km of new track, and woud leave Donald isolated from its current service, probably forcing that loading onto road.

Option 1 is the cheapest, and quickest solution, it also has zero impact on current passenger services, something that the government would be unlikely to want to disturb in an area where that sort of action could swing a seat at the next election. It also still leaves the door open for future work to continue standardising the network.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
I think in the short term the most likely options are either of the following;
OPTION 1. Converting the line North of Dunolly and re-opening the Maryborough - Ararat line
This would mean all SG services would travel Mildura - Dunolly - Maryborough - Ararat - Geelong - Melbourne. It would include conversion of the Murrayville branch, but the Robinvale (Manangatang) and Kulwin (Sea Lake) lines would remain as BG meaning BG services would continue to travel via Korong Vale - Dunolly - Maryborough - Ballarat - Geelong - Melbourne.
.
Gman_86

This would not be enough.  What about cement and other commodities which use Mildura?  What about the lack SG space in Geelong and Melbourne when you have uplifts in loading and traffic?

Extra SG yard space at Ararat to allow adding and removing of loading from/to Mildura for other states?

it is the murray basin project. That invites form think that just Mildura.

There is a lot more to consider than people think.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
IIRC the Geelong to Ballarat is a double track formation so a separate SG track could be added. Then convert the Maryborough to SG linking to Geelong with trains to Geelong and Melbourne via Corio as needed. The only BG remaining would be the passenger service to Ballarat and Ararat. Apart from providing better linkage, I am not convinced that converting Ararat to Ballarat to SG would be of benefit though it would allow the Overdue to return to its old route via Ballarat. BG/SG DG is limited to 80 km/h so you would avoid using it.
62440

The only double track between Geelong and Ballarat is between Warrenheip and Ballarat where the line via Bacchus Marsh joins. There's double tracked SG from North Geelong to Moorabool but the BG from North Geelong to Warrenheip is all single track, maybe with a loop here or there
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
The only double track between Geelong and Ballarat is between Warrenheip and Ballarat where the line via Bacchus Marsh joins. There's double tracked SG from North Geelong to Moorabool but the BG from North Geelong to Warrenheip is all single track, maybe with a loop here or there
Greensleeves

Was double tracked until 1965 and presumably most of the double tracked bridges are still in-situ.

Mike.
  62440 Chief Commissioner

The only double track between Geelong and Ballarat is between Warrenheip and Ballarat where the line via Bacchus Marsh joins. There's double tracked SG from North Geelong to Moorabool but the BG from North Geelong to Warrenheip is all single track, maybe with a loop here or there
Greensleeves
I did say double track FORMATION so a second parallel track would be laid in SG similar to Adelaide Belair. It was also a main line design suitable for speed running.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
I think in the short term the most likely options are either of the following;
OPTION 1. Converting the line North of Dunolly and re-opening the Maryborough - Ararat line
This would mean all SG services would travel Mildura - Dunolly - Maryborough - Ararat - Geelong - Melbourne. It would include conversion of the Murrayville branch, but the Robinvale (Manangatang) and Kulwin (Sea Lake) lines would remain as BG meaning BG services would continue to travel via Korong Vale - Dunolly - Maryborough - Ballarat - Geelong - Melbourne.

OPTION 2. Creating a new link from the end of the SG Hopetoun Line to the nearest point of the current Mildura line (near Lascelles), this would require about 26km of new track, and woud leave Donald isolated from its current service, probably forcing that loading onto road.

Option 1 is the cheapest, and quickest solution, it also has zero impact on current passenger services, something that the government would be unlikely to want to disturb in an area where that sort of action could swing a seat at the next election. It also still leaves the door open for future work to continue standardising the network.
Gman_86
Your 'Option 1' (a slight variation on Option 4 in the GHD report) is reasonably likely if Iluka indicates that they wish to continue using the mineral sands loader at Hopetoun into the foreseeable future. However, if they then want to move onto a loader at Manangatang for their planned mines in NSW near Euston, West Balranald and Nepean, gauge conversion on that line will be required.

It's a 'neat' option because it doesn't involve new track being built, but will be a hefty rebuild in addition to the regauging. According to GHD's estimates, your option would cost $79.7 million. They estimate higher in the report because they also factor in gauge conversion of the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines and upgrades to the Hopetoun line. Murrayville gauge conversion isn't considered at all in the report - grain traffic volumes are way too low.

'Option 2' (option 1 in the GHD report) has awful grain traffic capture. The Litchfield-Minyip option is essentially a variant of this proposal (i.e Mildura-Geelong via Cressy and Murtoa) but allows for far more grain traffic capture. GrainCorp still wants to keep using the loading sites south of Lascelles - they've indicated that publicly in their 'Project Regeneration' proposal. It would cost $115.5 million according to GHD vs $153.2 million for the Litchfield-Minyip option.

[Gheringhap-Ballarat] was double tracked until 1965 and presumably most of the double tracked bridges are still in-situ.
The Vinelander
And the singled line has been shifted to the centre under most of those bridges.

This would not be enough. What about cement and other commodities which use Mildura? What about the lack SG space in Geelong and Melbourne when you have uplifts in loading and traffic?
x31
What about the cement traffic? It is currently tacked onto the Mildura 'Fruity' container service, so it will go wherever that service goes. Not so sure about the 'lack of SG space' in North Geelong, Tottenham and Dynon - if it is a genuine problem then it could be remedied by forcing the current yard tenants to finish sending their 'excess rollingstock' to Sims Metal and then gauge-converting those roads.
  x42 Junior Train Controller

Location: NSW
Being the Murray Basin Project one would think that all lines in the Murray Basin would have to be gauge converted.

My thoughts......

Yelta to Dunolly gauge converted.

Ouyen to Murrayville - Dunno hopefully not shut as it has some big grain sites at underbool etc

No new links off the Mildura line account of the following.

Impact and enviromental study crap. land still needs purchasing regardless of reservation.

Poor track speed on the Hopetoun Line. Thus being 50kmh Murtoa to Warracknabeal and 40kmh Warracknabeal to Hopetoun. Can someone confirm ?

ARTC main western line is congested.

Maybe.......

Dunolly to Ararat SG reactivated for Portland access and Murtoa/Marmalake. This would be for mineral sands and grain traffic.

Maryborough to Gheringhap gauge converted via Ballarat for access to Appelton dock and Geelong.

Manangatang and Sea Lake lines Gauge converted to Dunolly via Inglewood. Inglewood to Eaglehawk shell remain closed account of poor track condition and congestion on the Bendigo RFR line.

Cement trafic - will go to Road.

Plus what happens to rail crews based at Maryborough/Ouyen etc such as track gangs and drivers.

And as a curve ball maybe V/Line will hand track over to ARTC.

Honestly I think NO ONE KNOWS

However in the Sunraysia Daily ( I cant find the link) the libs/nationals posted a photo of them selves - Peter Crispe ? with a map showing all lines Gauge converted as per options  3 and 4. interestingly Murryaville was also "Gauge converted" on the map.
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
BG/SG DG is limited to 80 km/h so you would avoid using it.
62440
BG/SG DG is only speed limited for BG traffic, SG is unaffected. This could be avoided by installing gauntlet track, but I can't see that happening.

Dave
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Some corrections. The Geelong to Ballarat track was opened in 1862 as double track throughout. Single track working was instituted over the Moorabool Viaduct as early as 19O0,s  to avoid two trains on Moorabool Viaduct at the same time. First application of large electric staff working in Victoria. Moorabool Viaduct strengthened around 1918. Owing to a shortage of rails North Geelong C to Warrenheip was converted to single track in the 1920,s . The junction at Warrenheip was removed in the early 1990,s. In recent years a second sg track has been installed between Thompsons Rd ,Nth Geelong and Ballan Road at Moorabool. As part of those works ARTC has further strengthened the Moorabool Viaduct for restoration of a second track, and prepared the base to instal a secon track between Moorabool and Gheringhap.

The average daily train movents through section are 10 sg and 3 bg . Total only 13  per day.

The main rail freight traffics potentially are seasonal grain. Mildura containers an Mineral Sands from Manangatang. Four options have been identified and costed. Government has allocated maximum 220 million $ to project. Final business case for whichever option is chosen expe ted within months.

Seems fairly obvious that Maryborough / Ararat sg will re open for a second time as hundreds of  000 tonnes mineral sands from Manangatang to Hamilton / Portland. cannot/should not be transported by road . We just have to wait and see .
  Z VAN Locomotive Driver

Regards the Cement Traffic from Waurn Ponds going to Mildura after the lines conversion to standard gauge I think you can forget it.
The upgrade recently past Waurn Ponds form Geelong was with non gauge convertible concrete sleepers.
I hope I am wrong!
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

If the cement was converted to containers it could potentially stay on rail. In Queensland, PN currently trucks Cement Australia containers from the Townsville Port cement silos to PN's Partington yard (a 16km trip) where the containers are transferred for the fairly short 340km rail haul to Cairns.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
I would like to see the Geringhap-Ballarat line standardized by rebuilding the former parallel line on the double track formation that once existed, and then extension to Ararat by conversion.

I long ago travelled on this 'Overland' route between Adelaide and Melbourne via Geelong on Sundays, and would dearly like V-Line to run to Adelaide every day. The present 'Pleurisy Plains' route with its boring scenery and the bypassing of the much more scenic and heavily populated original line, is one of the main obstacles to restoring this train, which would service all main towns en route. Adding the million and a quarter people of Adelaide as well as the larger towns of Western Victoria to the potential clientele would, I think, make the trains viable even if not necessarily profitable.

The purpose of railways historically has been to provide a service to the tax paying public with profitability a secondary consideration. Economic 'Rationalism' has been an abject failure of a theory, resulting in the loss of numerous services which Australians of former much poorer times took for granted.

To have these three major population centres and several other large towns connected to each other, in the absence of air competition except for Adelaide-Melbourne, would be a decided improvement on the present situation.

Freight would have two routes from Ararat to Geelong and Melbourne, and thus more flexibility.  Melbourne to Ballarat trains via Bacchus Marsh could remain broad gauge until it is deemed worthwhile to make all lines to the West of Melbourne standard gauge.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

In an ideal world for the best outcome for all parties the entire North West would be converted to sg including North Geelong , Maryborough, Yelta, re open Ararat to Maryborough, standardize Ballarat to Ararat, plus a new track to link the Hopetoun and Mildura lines to offer faster more direct route to Melbourne. Min sands can be on sg from Manangatang to Horsham / Portland. . ARTC would have double track from Gheringhap to Ararat, with Down trains  ia Cressy and Up trains via Meredith.

BUT it aint going to happen as $ 220m aint enough to do all that, and ARTC have heaps of capacity and crossing loops via Cressy with only average 10 sg trains a day. ARTC have no want to increase their costs in maintaining a second route.  So what we will get as usual is a second best half baked outcome to fit within a budget.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
I would like to see the Geringhap-Ballarat line standardized by rebuilding the former parallel line on the double track formation that once existed, and then extension to Ararat by conversion.
SAR526


So you end up with a pair of single lines that are taking roughly half of the traffic. The broad gauge track gets seasonal grain from the Korong Vale lines (assuming they aren't gauge converted along with the Mildura line), BG Metro rollingstock transfers from Ballarat and the very occasional BG heritage service. The standard gauge track gets the regular Mildura intermodal service and seasonal grain from the Mildura line. Same traffic, double the track and increased maintenance costs.
Either keep Gheringhap-Ballarat as broad gauge or convert it completely to single-track standard gauge.

ARTC doesn't need another route from Gheringhap to Ararat at the moment. When they have capacity problems, they'll extend the passing loops or install ATMS. Gauge conversion stops the current extension of Melbourne-Ballarat Vline services to Ararat, so you're either running a shuttle Ballarat-Ararat or have to extend the service somewhere. Given that Vline has enough problems with its existing lines and services, I remain unconvinced that there will be an impetus for either scenario.
  beanzs27 Assistant Commissioner

Is there room at Ararat to join Maryborough and Maroona lines directly without needing to reverse at Ararat?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Depending on the age of Google Maps imagery, yes. Would need a couple of diamond crossings possibly, but certainly achievable.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Any re opening of the existing sg line between Maryborough and Ararat would almost certainly provide for a direct sg connection from the Maryborough leg to the Maroona leg. This direct connection across the broad gauge was designed and allowed for in the re opening of the broad gauge between Ararat and Ballarat.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
ARTC doesn't need another route from Gheringhap to Ararat at the moment. When they have capacity problems, they'll extend the passing loops or install ATMS. Gauge conversion stops the current extension of Melbourne-Ballarat Vline services to Ararat, so you're either running a shuttle Ballarat-Ararat or have to extend the service somewhere. Given that Vline has enough problems with its existing lines and services, I remain unconvinced that there will be an impetus for either scenario.
LancedDendrite
The present Melbourne-Ballarat route has become a de facto suburban commuter run. Many Ballarat people either work in Melbourne or have other reasons to travel frequently. Ararat is a quarter of the way to Adelaide, and a bit far for commuting on a regular basis.

If the longer Geelong, Ballarat, Ararat route were to be fully standardized, the connection of those three large urban centres with each other and the capital, together with the ability of the 'Overland' also to serve them, would justify the longer journey time, providing convenience that doesn't at present exist.

I live in Adelaide, and lived for nearly thirty years in Melbourne. I have made many journeys between them since the days of single big SAR 500 and 600 class steam engines pulling dining and sleeper car equipped trains on our side of the border and two A class double heading in Victoria. I still need to stop off in Ballarat on the way to or from Melbourne, and usually have to do it by bus. When the GSR train runs on days that coincide with my travel needs, the journey via a transfer at Ararat from V-Line to 'Overland' is a much preferable alternative. With Ararat to Melbourne being normally free of interstate freight crossing delays, the journey time could be lessened.

If this were to be a daily possibility via standardization between Geelong North Shore and Ararat, I am convinced that the patronage would grow markedly – probably not to make a profit, but to provide the kind of service which we considered to be normal even in the days of the Great Depression, which few of you would remember, when I was one of the few kids at my school who had shoes and socks to wear in Winter and had more than a slice of bread and dripping for lunch.

Airline connections between the towns en route are non-existent apart from small operators, and not everyone has the option or desire to drive a car or sit in the confines of a bus in constant danger from idiot drivers coming the other way for the up to ten hours that would otherwise be necessary.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

One of the issues with the Maryborough - Ararat alignment is that it would need a significant upgrade to handle higher speeds and axle loadings - potentially adding greater costs to the project.  But I agree that it would mean less entanglement with passenger services and flexibility to direct some freight to Portland.

Looking forward to seeing the business case and technical report when it comes out.
  62440 Chief Commissioner

I see the ultimate layout as BG Melb to Ballarat and SG to Manangatang, Sea Lake, Yelta and Murrayville. It is a pity that the SA line looks like closing or we could run Adelaide Mildura! Services to Maryborough and Ararat would be SG to Geelong with a cross platform connection at Ballarat or direct via North Shore to Melbourne. The Overdue would then run via Ballarat like it used to (and I too have used it to go from Adelaide to Ballarat). To do this, there would need to be terminal capacity for grain and containers and hopefully other commodities. Start by looking at the end result, then how to progressively phase it in, in line with the funds available.
When that all works you look at Piangil, Tocumwal and Deni and phase out nearly all BG freight.
Of course all these plans will be reviewed by the new owners of ARTC.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
.......... It is a pity that the SA line looks like closing or we could run Adelaide Mildura!
62440....
Rail could never compete with road on the Adelaide Mildura corridor.
395 kms (4hrs 20 Mins) via the A20 Sturt Hwy
477 kms (5hrs 06 Mins) via B12 Mallee Hwy (Pinnaroo) (which basically follows the rail route)

Of course all these plans will be reviewed by the new owners of ARTC.
"62440"

Wow! ARTC's name appears on a government report into possible entities for privatisation under medium term possibilities and some people already have them sold!
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Rail could never compete with road on the Adelaide Mildura corridor.
395 kms (4hrs 20 Mins) via the A20 Sturt Hwy
477 kms (5hrs 06 Mins) via B12 Mallee Hwy (Pinnaroo) (which basically follows the rail route)
Pressman

Why would this be a problem for rail?
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Why would this be a problem for rail?
bevans

Average speed limit via road is 110kph (100kph for trucks)
the rail route has speed limits at or below 60 kph through the mallee region.

Train journey would take a lot longer than by road.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Train journey would take a lot longer than by road.
Pressman
Moot point to why the overland probably does badly as well......

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