Murray Basin standardisation

 
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
As announced in the State budget today, the Andrew government has decided to follow through with money for the Murray Basin rail standardisation project.

There were several different models proposed for this including re-routing those Murray/Mallee lines from Maryborough to Ararat and two other possible connections from the Mildura line to points along the Warracknabeal/Hopetoun line. There's no information yet about which route will be chosen, I'm guessing that will be done later this year when the business case is released?

Interesting to see the standard gauge network in Victoria expanding again anyway.

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  Z VAN Locomotive Driver

Good news as I believe in Standardising the, I will call the Country lines so as not to scare people into thinking of converting the Suburban network and blowing the price to unachievable amounts for no gain.
In other posts people have asked what are the advantages. Many.
For the small minority who do not agree with converting the Mildura line I have never read a compelling reason why not.
For the present I shall contain myself until they start digging/relaying etc.
PTE.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
There were several different models proposed for this including re-routing those Murray/Mallee lines from Maryborough to Ararat and two other possible connections from the Mildura line to points along the Warracknabeal/Hopetoun line. There's no information yet about which route will be chosen, I'm guessing that will be done later this year when the business case is released?

Interesting to see the standard gauge network in Victoria expanding again anyway -
don_dunstan

Let's hope they appoint a group to study the options and perhaps undertake a project which has more than one route and sets the network up for more freight and better class track and signalling.

What will become critical is the lack of SG siding and yard space in Melbourne. Time to convert half of Tottenham yard.
  michaelgreenhill Administrator That's Numberwang!

Location: Melbourne
What will become critical is the lack of SG siding and yard space in Melbourne. Time to convert half of Tottenham yard.
x31
Why not all? Apart from storage of condemned stock, it used for anything?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Let's hope they appoint a group to study the options and perhaps undertake a project which has more than one route and sets the network up for more freight and better class track and signalling.
x31
The State Government has done just that - consulting firm GHD delivered a Stage 1 report last year that covered possible options for gauge conversion and rough cost estimates. Stage 2 is a business case analysis of all of the Stage 1 options and will be released within the month, if the Government is to be believed.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Still not sure on the need for standardisation myself. Broad gauge track goes all the way into Appleton Dock, Swanston Dock and the Geelong Grain loop, all used regularly (Swanston Dock sees QUBE run trip trains of a weekend to Victoria Dock with the Deniliquin rake). It's not as if the Merbein freight (or the Tocumwal or Warrnambool for that matter) has to have its' loading transshipped part way down because there is no BG access, it goes all the way in.

The only possible advantage I could see standardisation allowing would be that another operator could run on the line eg. Aurizon or GWA, however QUBE currently runs BG services themselves (using their own wagons and locos, and others hired from CFCLA and GWA) so if someone wanted in, there's nothing stopping them getting BG equipment and doing so, and SSR's got stuff at Bendigo as well. If you were really desperate, SRHC's got a few locos not doing much these days after El Z went bust...
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Swanston Dock sees QUBE run trip trains of a weekend to Victoria Dock with the Deniliquin rake). It's not as if the Merbein freight (or the Tocumwal or Warrnambool for that matter) has to have its' loading transshipped part way down because there is no BG access, it goes all the way in.
Greensleeves

This is true.  Does Qube use West Swanston dock?  Is that what you are referring to?
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
This is true.  Does Qube use West Swanston dock?  Is that what you are referring to?
x31

It probably is, I can't remember the exact name of it off the top of my head. POTA used to run the MA2/AM2 services out of there, and later the 9719V/7920V Horsham freight.

Here's a shot of one of the trip trains, they run top and tailed with a loco on either end of the train to make it easier to get dack down to the Westgate sidings, in this case it was G512-wagons-G532

https://www.flickr.com/photos/greensleeves94/16553418217/
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Still not sure on the need for standardisation myself.
Greensleeves
Access by a variety of operators and rolling-stock is a plus but in this case I think it's got more to do with redirecting rail traffic towards the Port of Portland. For some reason Labor wants more rail freight directed towards Portland - perhaps to delay any need for a new port around Melbourne?

It will be bad news for those people on this board foaming away for years about a new Mildura passenger service - it would be completely un-viable for any passenger service to go Maryborough-Ararat-Geelong.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
It will be bad news for those people on this board foaming away for years about a new Mildura passenger service - it would be completely un-viable for any passenger service to go Maryborough-Ararat-Geelong.
don_dunstan

We should wait for the plan. COuld it be they do decide to SG the Maryborough line and all points north?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Access by a variety of operators and rolling-stock is a plus but in this case I think it's got more to do with redirecting rail traffic towards the Port of Portland. For some reason Labor wants more rail freight directed towards Portland - perhaps to delay any need for a new port around Melbourne?
don_dunstan
Portland is bulk-only and underutilised. Geelong is the major bulk export port and does not appear to have capacity issues at present. Port capacity is mainly an issue for intermodal freight, which only comes in via the Port of Melbourne.

Mildura line standardisation may have more to do with the possibility of leasing the line to ARTC in order to take it 'off the books' of the state government - it's at least a more valid reason than pushing more grain towards Portland.

Mineral sands traffic will factor heavily in the business case, as will Graincorp's silo rationalisation plans.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Access by a variety of operators and rolling-stock is a plus but in this case I think it's got more to do with redirecting rail traffic towards the Port of Portland. For some reason Labor wants more rail freight directed towards Portland - perhaps to delay any need for a new port around Melbourne?

It will be bad news for those people on this board foaming away for years about a new Mildura passenger service - it would be completely un-viable for any passenger service to go Maryborough-Ararat-Geelong.
don_dunstan

If they're trying to send freight to Portland I can't see it helping their prospects of selling the Port of Melbourne. Portland would more than likely need a big upgrade before they could even think of sending it down there. AFAIK, there's no intermodal facilities there
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey

Mineral sands traffic will factor heavily in the business case, as will Graincorp's silo rationalisation plans.
LancedDendrite

There are benefits to other grain handlers if Graincorp do rationalise.  Just because Graincorp do not want a site does not mean other operator cannot start up and begin running trains.  Let's hope they are not narrow minded and cannot see the longer term picture foe rail.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
If they're trying to send freight to Portland I can't see it helping their prospects of selling the Port of Melbourne. Portland would more than likely need a big upgrade before they could even think of sending it down there. AFAIK, there's no intermodal facilities there
Greensleeves
LancedDendrite points this out too; there's a lot of obstacles to increasing actual tonnages down there although apparently it's one of the best deep-water ports in Australia. It could have greatly benefited from the (much easier) gauge conversion of the Dartmoor line through to (perhaps) an intermodal point east of Mt Gambier or perhaps to Snuggery. That was a terrible missed opportunity for getting bulk haulage off the road network and expanding the Port of Portland - a stupid lack of cooperation between the states at that time.

We should wait for the plan. COuld it be they do decide to SG the Maryborough line and all points north?
X31
It wasn't one of the options being discussed by Labor when they were elected.
  waynes Junior Train Controller

Location: Victoria
LancedDendrite points this out too; there's a lot of obstacles to increasing actual tonnages down there although apparently it's one of the best deep-water ports in Australia. It could have greatly benefited from the (much easier) gauge conversion of the Dartmoor line through to (perhaps) an intermodal point east of Mt Gambier or perhaps to Snuggery. That was a terrible missed opportunity for getting bulk haulage off the road network and expanding the Port of Portland - a stupid lack of cooperation between the states at that time.

It wasn't one of the options being discussed by Labor when they were elected.
don_dunstan

Only highlights just what a backwater transport in this country is.
  waynes Junior Train Controller

Location: Victoria
It probably is, I can't remember the exact name of it off the top of my head. POTA used to run the MA2/AM2 services out of there, and later the 9719V/7920V Horsham freight.

Here's a shot of one of the trip trains, they run top and tailed with a loco on either end of the train to make it easier to get dack down to the Westgate sidings, in this case it was G512-wagons-G532
Greensleeves

West Swanston  I think is the dock farthest the city?
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
West Swanston  I think is the dock farthest the city?
waynes
Sounds about right, it's the DP World one
  blowfish Junior Train Controller

There is also the benefit of laying the foundations for connecting to the Perth-Sydney line,  near Broken Hill.

It'll be interesting to see if they change the alignment of the line eg bypass the town and whether any sales of the what would be the former alignment, could offset some of the cost.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
For some reason Labor wants more rail freight directed towards Portland - perhaps to delay any need for a new port around Melbourne?

don_dunstan

For some reason.... oh really...

http://www.araratadvertiser.com.au/story/2269252/project-to-revolutionise-freight-movement-across-the-state/
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

There is also the benefit of laying the foundations for connecting to the Perth-Sydney line,  near Broken Hill.

It'll be interesting to see if they change the alignment of the line eg bypass the town and whether any sales of the what would be the former alignment, could offset some of the cost.
blowfish
Bypass which town?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Bypass which town?
duttonbay
Mildura. The Mildura Rail Bypass was studied around 2006 - deviating westward between Irymple and Red Cliffs and then pulling a dog-leg around to the north meeting up with the line west of Merbein. Would be built alongside a proposed Sturt Highway deviation. It would take rail out of the Mildura town centre, resulting in the removal of 28 level crossings in one hit.

Mildura passenger services were envisioned to terminate at a branch to Mildura Airport. Freight would have to be moved from Merbein to a proposed new large intermodal terminal at Thurla. The report is still floating around on Google somewhere.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Mildura. The Mildura Rail Bypass was studied around 2006 - deviating westward between Irymple and Red Cliffs and then pulling a dog-leg around to the north meeting up with the line west of Merbein. Would be built alongside a proposed Sturt Highway deviation. It would take rail out of the Mildura town centre, resulting in the removal of 28 level crossings in one hit.

Mildura passenger services were envisioned to terminate at a branch to Mildura Airport. Freight would have to be moved from Merbein to a proposed new large intermodal terminal at Thurla. The report is still floating around on Google somewhere.
LancedDendrite

It was an idea which would have benefited no one except the Mildura City Council. As it stands today, there are very few rail movements in Mildura compared to 10 years ago.  The business has been severely cut back under PN.

As for the removal of Mildura Yard which the council bitched and moaned about. 10 years later the place looks like a wasteland rather than the yard it once was with Fast Track being busy and oil and cement and other wagons (vans) moving around the yard.

Mildura was killed off by PN and also Victrack.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
It was an idea which would have benefited no one except the Mildura City Council. As it stands today, there are very few rail movements in Mildura compared to 10 years ago.  The business has been severely cut back under PN.

As for the removal of Mildura Yard which the council bitched and moaned about. 10 years later the place looks like a wasteland rather than the yard it once was with Fast Track being busy and oil and cement and other wagons (vans) moving around the yard.

Mildura was killed off by PN and also Victrack.
bevans
The existing state of play benefits no-one either. 28 level crossings for Victrack, Vicroads and Mildura Rural City Council to get headaches over. Mildura yard is right next to the waterfront, which made sense 100 years ago but today is just counter-productive for industry. There's no passenger rail service now or in the foreseeable future for Mildura Railway Station, so there's no issue there. Just because the line was built the way it was doesn't mean that it remains the best alignment.

Vicroads wants to get a Mildura bypass for the Sturt Highway in any case. Why not build a railway line next to it for a bit extra?
  62440 Chief Commissioner

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.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

The most likely option of those put forward, building a new line between Litchfield and Minyip, with the line to Yelta and probably the line south to Donald being converted to SG is almost certainly going to result in the line between Dunolly and Donald being closed. There is apparently no traffic. However plans change - let's wait and see rather than guessing. Traffic from Mildura to Geelong will travel via Murtoa and Cressy.

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