Murray Basin standardisation

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan has reportedly told ABC's western, Mildura and central Victorian rural radio report that the two lines will not be standardised, "in the life of this government."

On two occasions in the last week, government spokeswomen have told Stock & Land the revised MBRP business case advised against standardisation.

Cargill Corporate Affairs director Peter McBride said the current maintenance on the lines was welcome, but the company was disappointed they would not be standardised.

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  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan has reportedly told ABC's western, Mildura and central Victorian rural radio report that the two lines will not be standardised, "in the life of this government."

On two occasions in the last week, government spokeswomen have told Stock & Land the revised MBRP business case advised against standardisation.

Cargill Corporate Affairs director Peter McBride said the current maintenance on the lines was welcome, but the company was disappointed they would not be standardised.
bevans
Well, it's nice for the minister to actually come out and state the government's position, instead of the usual prevarication.
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan has reportedly told ABC's western, Mildura and central Victorian rural radio report that the two lines will not be standardised, "in the life of this government."

On two occasions in the last week, government spokeswomen have told Stock & Land the revised MBRP business case advised against standardisation.

Cargill Corporate Affairs director Peter McBride said the current maintenance on the lines was welcome, but the company was disappointed they would not be standardised.
Well, it's nice for the minister to actually come out and state the government's position, instead of the usual prevarication.
Lockspike
yes it was nice to re-state what she said 4 months ago.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-20/244-million-dollars-needed-to-fix-troubled-murray-basin-rail/12785988
and again today
https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-02-18/murray-basin-rail-project-gauge-will-not-be-standardised/13166706
will anybody now listen? That can has been kicked well and truly down the road.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

I would be curious to know what conditions the Feds placed on the $200 million they're giving to the State Govt?  Is there a watertight condition that the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines be upgraded with provision for future conversion?

Because single gauge concrete sleepers don't look very convertible to me...

Anyway, I think most people are resigned to those lines remaining BG until they are abandoned. Sad but true. Just hurry up and connect to Eaglehawk for quicker paths.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan has reportedly told ABC's western, Mildura and central Victorian rural radio report that the two lines will not be standardised, "in the life of this government."

On two occasions in the last week, government spokeswomen have told Stock & Land the revised MBRP business case advised against standardisation.

Cargill Corporate Affairs director Peter McBride said the current maintenance on the lines was welcome, but the company was disappointed they would not be standardised.
Well, it's nice for the minister to actually come out and state the government's position, instead of the usual prevarication.
yes it was nice to re-state what she said 4 months ago.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-20/244-million-dollars-needed-to-fix-troubled-murray-basin-rail/12785988
and again today
https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-02-18/murray-basin-rail-project-gauge-will-not-be-standardised/13166706
will anybody now listen? That can has been kicked well and truly down the road.
justarider
So that's OK then is it? Nothing to see here, move on? It's OK 'cause Jacinta said the same thing twice! Where is the accountability to Victorian taxpayers, growers and operators for this extraordinary waste of time and precious $$$?

Where are the cost savings for farmers and freight companies going to come from with the continued use of different gauges in the Basin?
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan has reportedly told ABC's western, Mildura and central Victorian rural radio report that the two lines will not be standardised, "in the life of this government."

On two occasions in the last week, government spokeswomen have told Stock & Land the revised MBRP business case advised against standardisation.

Cargill Corporate Affairs director Peter McBride said the current maintenance on the lines was welcome, but the company was disappointed they would not be standardised.
Well, it's nice for the minister to actually come out and state the government's position, instead of the usual prevarication.
yes it was nice to re-state what she said 4 months ago.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-20/244-million-dollars-needed-to-fix-troubled-murray-basin-rail/12785988
and again today
https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-02-18/murray-basin-rail-project-gauge-will-not-be-standardised/13166706
will anybody now listen? That can has been kicked well and truly down the road.
So that's OK then is it? Nothing to see here, move on? It's OK 'cause Jacinta said the same thing twice! Where is the accountability to Victorian taxpayers, growers and operators for this extraordinary waste of time and precious $$$?

Where are the cost savings for farmers and freight companies going to come from with the continued use of different gauges in the Basin?
BrentonGolding
No Brenton, it is not OK that the whole project is a stuff up.
BUT
The decision has been made, and no amount of complaining about the (unexplained) benefits of SG on this thread will change that.
Sticking head in sand and ignoring what has been said by Ms Allan for 4 months now, is just an extraordinary waste of time.
Just read today's entrenched positions, and I too am guilty yer honor. SG vs BG is a national sport after all.

Cost saving due to 2 guages. Probably none, but equally where is the cost evidence for SG conversion. The business case has been universally debunked.

As for accountability, there is the ballot box.

cheers
John
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan has reportedly told ABC's western, Mildura and central Victorian rural radio report that the two lines will not be standardised, "in the life of this government."

On two occasions in the last week, government spokeswomen have told Stock & Land the revised MBRP business case advised against standardisation.

Cargill Corporate Affairs director Peter McBride said the current maintenance on the lines was welcome, but the company was disappointed they would not be standardised.
Well, it's nice for the minister to actually come out and state the government's position, instead of the usual prevarication.
yes it was nice to re-state what she said 4 months ago.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-20/244-million-dollars-needed-to-fix-troubled-murray-basin-rail/12785988
and again today
https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-02-18/murray-basin-rail-project-gauge-will-not-be-standardised/13166706
will anybody now listen? That can has been kicked well and truly down the road.
So that's OK then is it? Nothing to see here, move on? It's OK 'cause Jacinta said the same thing twice! Where is the accountability to Victorian taxpayers, growers and operators for this extraordinary waste of time and precious $$$?

Where are the cost savings for farmers and freight companies going to come from with the continued use of different gauges in the Basin?
No Brenton, it is not OK that the whole project is a stuff up.
BUT
The decision has been made, and no amount of complaining about the (unexplained) benefits of SG on this thread will change that.
Sticking head in sand and ignoring what has been said by Ms Allan for 4 months now, is just an extraordinary waste of time.
Just read today's entrenched positions, and I too am guilty yer honor. SG vs BG is a national sport after all.

Cost saving due to 2 guages. Probably none, but equally where is the cost evidence for SG conversion. The business case has been universally debunked.

As for accountability, there is the ballot box.

cheers
John
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
so, no more money for Qld or WA then ?

Really NSW, before you mouth off about the Irish Gauge, how about some real SG benefits to the Vic network.
The "improvements" on MBRP so far have been backwards.
'... The "improvements" on MBRP so far have been backwards. ...'
They did not need to be - to ensure that the improvements inherent in SG went backwards required a high level of idiocy and incompetence.
welcome aboard YM.
It wasn't "a high level of idiocy" it was monumental stuff up of epic proportion. Ben Hur was a doddle compared.

Yet....... what are the "improvements inherent" of SG ?
justarider
The ability to efficiently utilise the much larger pool and its nationwide availability of both locomotives and rolling stock is but one 'improvement inherent in SG'.

Can we utilise the Steamrail fleet to prop up the BG? Anybody got a thousand GYs hidden away?

How would the BG fleet of both locos and wagons cope had Mildura not been converted to SG and benefitted from the imported 81 class and the SSR coal wagon conversions from NSW for example?

How would grain from Victoria be moved to NSW had it not been loaded on SG?

Pretty much everything that I can think of would benefit from SG but to realise a proportion of those benefits the standardisation has to have been done properly which, as we know, it was not.

To follow the latest ridiculous Victorian attitude to SG one must wonder why Melbourne - Albury was standardised in 1962 and Melbourne to Adelaide in 1995?
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
so, no more money for Qld or WA then ?

Really NSW, before you mouth off about the Irish Gauge, how about some real SG benefits to the Vic network.
The "improvements" on MBRP so far have been backwards.
'... The "improvements" on MBRP so far have been backwards. ...'
They did not need to be - to ensure that the improvements inherent in SG went backwards required a high level of idiocy and incompetence.
welcome aboard YM.
It wasn't "a high level of idiocy" it was monumental stuff up of epic proportion. Ben Hur was a doddle compared.

Yet....... what are the "improvements inherent" of SG ?
The ability to efficiently utilise the much larger pool and its nationwide availability of both locomotives and rolling stock is but one 'improvement inherent in SG'.

Can we utilise the Steamrail fleet to prop up the BG? Anybody got a thousand GYs hidden away?

How would the BG fleet of both locos and wagons cope had Mildura not been converted to SG and benefitted from the imported 81 class and the SSR coal wagon conversions from NSW for example?

How would grain from Victoria be moved to NSW had it not been loaded on SG?

Pretty much everything that I can think of would benefit from SG but to realise a proportion of those benefits the standardisation has to have been done properly which, as we know, it was not.

To follow the latest ridiculous Victorian attitude to SG one must wonder why Melbourne - Albury was standardised in 1962 and Melbourne to Adelaide in 1995?
YM-Mundrabilla
Thanks for that YM. A knowledgeable account of your position.

A few counter points of my own.

The SG conversion of MEL/ADL and MEL/SYD finally delivered a national network, which has proved  very effective.

However, the Murray Basin is not really part of the National transport.
It is local traffic from food produce hubs (Wimmera, Mildura, Sealake, Manang, Swan Hiil etc) to the 3 Victoria ports.

Portland is stuck as SG due to its only access out via the National trunk. It could have remained BG via Ararat/Ballarat, but was converted and that's that. Spilled milk, too bad. Rainbow & Hopeton were also isolated and no other option than go with SG.

Grain did move to NSW last year as a one-off. But it didn't come from the new SG upgrade of Mildura. It came mostly from Dimboola and thereabouts - ie the existing National network established in 1995.

Which brings me to MBRP. With a couple of exception grain trains from Speed, the destination of Mildura/Sealake/Manang lines is Geelong or Melbourne. SG makes no difference for those journeys.

And finally to rolling stock. That is really the only case for SG.

For year round work horse wagons, typically flats these days,  Victoria does need a relatively small BG fleet.

For the peak grain season, bogey swaps on large hoppers is not a big deal.
It does bring a cost of have many hundred sets of BG bogies sitting idle during the off season, but better than a whole fleet of idle wagons.

As for locos, the whole Vic fleet is due for a replacement. BG or SG, it's all the same to the manufacturers.
Full replace won't happen of course, but a few new locos would give the old timers some rest & recover.
Steamraill may have been a jest, but are in beter nic.

cheers
John
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Can I ask what has become of the project to construct SG through Ballarat and DG to Gheringhap?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
so, no more money for Qld or WA then ?

Really NSW, before you mouth off about the Irish Gauge, how about some real SG benefits to the Vic network.
The "improvements" on MBRP so far have been backwards.
'... The "improvements" on MBRP so far have been backwards. ...'
They did not need to be - to ensure that the improvements inherent in SG went backwards required a high level of idiocy and incompetence.
welcome aboard YM.
It wasn't "a high level of idiocy" it was monumental stuff up of epic proportion. Ben Hur was a doddle compared.

Yet....... what are the "improvements inherent" of SG ?
The ability to efficiently utilise the much larger pool and its nationwide availability of both locomotives and rolling stock is but one 'improvement inherent in SG'.

Can we utilise the Steamrail fleet to prop up the BG? Anybody got a thousand GYs hidden away?

How would the BG fleet of both locos and wagons cope had Mildura not been converted to SG and benefitted from the imported 81 class and the SSR coal wagon conversions from NSW for example?

How would grain from Victoria be moved to NSW had it not been loaded on SG?

Pretty much everything that I can think of would benefit from SG but to realise a proportion of those benefits the standardisation has to have been done properly which, as we know, it was not.

To follow the latest ridiculous Victorian attitude to SG one must wonder why Melbourne - Albury was standardised in 1962 and Melbourne to Adelaide in 1995?
Thanks for that YM. A knowledgeable account of your position.

A few counter points of my own.

The SG conversion of MEL/ADL and MEL/SYD finally delivered a national network, which has proved  very effective.

However, the Murray Basin is not really part of the National transport.
It is local traffic from food produce hubs (Wimmera, Mildura, Sealake, Manang, Swan Hiil etc) to the 3 Victoria ports.

Portland is stuck as SG due to its only access out via the National trunk. It could have remained BG via Ararat/Ballarat, but was converted and that's that. Spilled milk, too bad. Rainbow & Hopeton were also isolated and no other option than go with SG.

Grain did move to NSW last year as a one-off. But it didn't come from the new SG upgrade of Mildura. It came mostly from Dimboola and thereabouts - ie the existing National network established in 1995.

Which brings me to MBRP. With a couple of exception grain trains from Speed, the destination of Mildura/Sealake/Manang lines is Geelong or Melbourne. SG makes no difference for those journeys.

And finally to rolling stock. That is really the only case for SG.

For year round work horse wagons, typically flats these days,  Victoria does need a relatively small BG fleet.

For the peak grain season, bogey swaps on large hoppers is not a big deal.
It does bring a cost of have many hundred sets of BG bogies sitting idle during the off season, but better than a whole fleet of idle wagons.

As for locos, the whole Vic fleet is due for a replacement. BG or SG, it's all the same to the manufacturers.
Full replace won't happen of course, but a few new locos would give the old timers some rest & recover.
Steamraill may have been a jest, but are in beter nic.

cheers
John
justarider
Thanks John for an intelligent debate.
To a great extent my argument comes down to the 'all or nothing' debate (a bit like battleship armour Smile) having wrestled with wagon availability and bogie exchange balancing etc over the years.
My view, more or less, comes down on the side of 'all' although I accept that, apart from the rolling stock flexibility argument  and future interoperability', there will be traffics where BG in isolation is just as good. (A bit like Puffing Billy!)
The more immediate/important issue is the fact that many grain (and other) lines are no longer fit for purpose and the State Government/Vline/PTV (whoever and whatever they are called today) are simply not up to the task of maintaining freight rail in Victoria.
YM
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The more immediate/important issue is the fact that many grain (and other) lines are no longer fit for purpose and the State Government/Vline/PTV (whoever and whatever they are called today) are simply not up to the task of maintaining freight rail in Victoria.
YM
YM-Mundrabilla

You might also successfully argue neither is the minister.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The more immediate/important issue is the fact that many grain (and other) lines are no longer fit for purpose and the State Government/Vline/PTV (whoever and whatever they are called today) are simply not up to the task of maintaining freight rail in Victoria.
YM

You might also successfully argue neither is the minister.
bevans
No argument there; the pudding is plain for all to see!
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I do recall reading somewhere (probably on here) the bogie exchange sidings in Tottenham were some of the most efficient around so why this cannot be used to ensure BG has the right mix of wagons on the network worthy of discussion.  

Bogie exchange seems to work in europe and other places.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Thanks for that YM. A knowledgeable account of your position.

A few counter points of my own.

The SG conversion of MEL/ADL and MEL/SYD finally delivered a national network, which has proved  very effective.

However, the Murray Basin is not really part of the National transport.
It is local traffic from food produce hubs (Wimmera, Mildura, Sealake, Manang, Swan Hiil etc) to the 3 Victoria ports.

Portland is stuck as SG due to its only access out via the National trunk. It could have remained BG via Ararat/Ballarat, but was converted and that's that. Spilled milk, too bad. Rainbow & Hopeton were also isolated and no other option than go with SG.

cheers
John
justarider
Wasn't Mineral Sands part of the business case for the MBSP? Pretty sure I read that the plan was to rail out of either Sea Lake or Manang and out through Portland which is obviously not going to be possible now
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW

1. The SG conversion of MEL/ADL and MEL/SYD finally delivered a national network, which has proved  very effective.

2. However, the Murray Basin is not really part of the National transport.

3. And finally to rolling stock. That is really the only case for SG.

4. As for locos, the whole Vic fleet is due for a replacement. BG or SG, it's all the same to the manufacturers.
justarider

To counter some of these counters.

1. the DIRN is in no way an interstate network but it is merely an inter capital network.  For a true interstate network the network must facilitate transport for key production (EDIT: and consumption) areas in respective states to each other.  

2. Not all of the Mildura task is export.  Theres a fair bit of domestic there too.  Had SG been in place from day dot (or to be fair BG, it doesnt matter what the gauge is so long is it was consistent), you can bet that rail would have helped define different transport patterns to the road ones now.

3. of course, what other case is there?  economies of scale in rollingstock is a key cost reduction strategy.

4. It doesnt need to be replaced with new.  Utilising existing better is the alternative that the MB project was supposed to enable. And there is enough under utilised capacity there for the Victorian task.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I do recall reading somewhere (probably on here) the bogie exchange sidings in Tottenham were some of the most efficient around so why this cannot be used to ensure BG has the right mix of wagons on the network worthy of discussion.  

Bogie exchange seems to work in europe and other places.
bevans
The Victorian Bogie Exchanges were at Dynon (now the PN Wagon Maintenance Facility) and Wodonga. Interstate there were Bogie Exchanges at Dry Creek, Port Pirie and Peterborough at various times.

Bogie exchanges were a necessary evil whilst the BG between Melbourne and Adelaide existed and prior to the containerisation of the Maryvale paper traffic.

I know nothing of bogie exchange in Europe but I can assure you that here in Australia it was no substitute for the uniform adoption of SG. Bogie exchanges were inefficient, slow, wasteful of rolling stock and bogies and expensive. Intolerable delays to wagons waiting bogie exchange of well over over a week were far from rare.

In summary, bogie exchanging due to the break of gauge was a PAIN to both the railways and their clients. They certainly did not work well despite the best efforts of all concerned here in Victoria.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Can I ask what has become of the project to construct SG through Ballarat and DG to Gheringhap?
bevans
Minister Allan has said that due to the passenger train traffic on the Ballarat line it will not be happening during the term of the Andrews government.

M.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Thanks for that YM. A knowledgeable account of your position.

A few counter points of my own.

The SG conversion of MEL/ADL and MEL/SYD finally delivered a national network, which has proved  very effective.

However, the Murray Basin is not really part of the National transport.
It is local traffic from food produce hubs (Wimmera, Mildura, Sealake, Manang, Swan Hiil etc) to the 3 Victoria ports.

Portland is stuck as SG due to its only access out via the National trunk. It could have remained BG via Ararat/Ballarat, but was converted and that's that. Spilled milk, too bad. Rainbow & Hopeton were also isolated and no other option than go with SG.

cheers
John
Wasn't Mineral Sands part of the business case for the MBSP? Pretty sure I read that the plan was to rail out of either Sea Lake or Manang and out through Portland which is obviously not going to be possible now
BrentonGolding

Which of course was dependant on whether the mine got off the ground. I'm still not sure if it even has.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
What comes first - the mine or the gauge?
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Wasn't Mineral Sands part of the business case for the MBSP? Pretty sure I read that the plan was to rail out of either Sea Lake or Manang and out through Portland which is obviously not going to be possible now

Which of course was dependant on whether the mine got off the ground. I'm still not sure if it even has.
Greensleeves
Beat me to it, Greensleeves, reckon the sands traffic had already stopped by the time they started work on the MBSP program and the processing joint at Hamilton also closed down around the same time. They seem to be hot and go cold very quickly within some mining ventures.

BigShunter.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
In reality, all lines covered by the Murray Basin upgrade were in urgent need of a total overhaul.
Is the cost much different between the required Broad Gauge upgrade and the change to Standard Gauge and upgrade?
Unfortunately, cost overruns ruined what on paper many years was a good idea, that would have saved operators money by not having to have separate train sets.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
In reality, all lines covered by the Murray Basin upgrade were in urgent need of a total overhaul.
Is the cost much different between the required Broad Gauge upgrade and the change to Standard Gauge and upgrade?
Unfortunately, cost overruns ruined what on paper many years was a good idea, that would have saved operators money by not having to have separate train sets.
Donald
Precisely Donald, a rebuild from the ground up, otherwise you are just repairing repairs all the time. The Rainbow line had a fair amount of work, 12 months ago, then had extensive works through spring late last year, in which 60 odd thousand sleepers were replaced and the line is cactus again, with speed restriction down to 25 k and is about to get another big work over........Rolling Eyes

think it was justarider late last year said for all the $$$ that is and will be poured into the MBSP, to have rebuilt the bloody thing would not cost much more.

So what ever gauge the Sea Lake & Manang lines end up, if their not stripped back the track bed and rebuilt from there up, your Pi$$ing into a very strong wind.

BigShunter.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Wasn't Mineral Sands part of the business case for the MBSP? Pretty sure I read that the plan was to rail out of either Sea Lake or Manang and out through Portland which is obviously not going to be possible now

Which of course was dependant on whether the mine got off the ground. I'm still not sure if it even has.
Beat me to it, Greensleeves, reckon the sands traffic had already stopped by the time they started work on the MBSP program and the processing joint at Hamilton also closed down around the same time. They seem to be hot and go cold very quickly within some mining ventures.

BigShunter.
BigShunter
Different project I think BS. The sands ran out at the deposit near Hopetoun which is why the traffic ceased and Hamilton facility was shuttered

The new deposits are to the North East of the old ones IIRC. As Greensleaves says the project may not have gone ahead

Could be a Chicken and Egg situation of course, the inability to rail the sands to Hamilton for processing might have put the kybosh on the mine - the councils en route would definitely not welcome back road haulage of the material and the resultant damage to the roads and the lived environment (the reasons the traffic went to rail in the first place)
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
Interesting that this thread has evolved into discuusing
1. track condition
2. Sand

It seems to me the existence of sand is the primary reason for the continuing battle to maintain the tracks. Murray Basin is one humongous beach.
Mother nature will always win, no matter how much $$ is thrown in the wind.

Until such time as a complete laying down of solid, eternal foundations, the railways on top will just sink & shift.
SG will never overcome what 100 years of "cost effective" ( aka "el cheapo") line maintenance has failed.

I digress... Is their any evidence that concrete is any better than wood.
Could argue the damage to foundations by more modern concrete is even worse overall than replacing some rottten wood. BTW these days wood preservatives are pretty good IF they are used.

end of irrelevant distracti9n
cheers
John

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