Leigh Creek Coal Train - The End Is Nigh

 
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

SAR523 and LancedDendrite.
Thank you for your seemingly learned opinions on nuclear power generation, I found your exchange both fascinating and edifying.

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  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Gentlemen and ladies

We in SA are pawns in a scientific experiment, I will not dignify the experiment by calling if an "engineering experiment".

We have substantial power generation by wind and solar and falling base load generation capacity. Base load generation capacity is necessary to maintain the stability of the system into which the wind and solar systems generate; In essence the base load plant acts a flywheel to stabilise frequency and hence voltage; insufficient inertia and the system becomes unstable and will shut down.

System operations can be modelled but at some point the parameters used in the model have to be tested. Circumstances will test the system, it is inevitable it will shut down. All very well for obtaining more data for the model but very risky for the State's economy, our comfort and possibly even people's lives. No power means no water, no sewage pumping, failing communication, compromised health services, rotting food and no cold beer.
Couple this to the power equipment damage caused by the loss of synchronism and it could take weeks to fully electrical restore capacity; how much longer the social and political impact.

Electricity generation is in a transition time with the bridges being possible but still under development. Bridges would typically be battery or similar energy storage systems and more refined types of wind turbine systems which are able to sustain power output without relying on the grid for synchronisation.

My plea, don't throw out the old technology until we have established the new.
Don't write-off Northern Power station yet. (A fleeting reference to the topic.)
Don't hitch your wagons to enthusiastic articles written up in scientific journals without proving then extensively first.

Ian
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
AEMO & ElectraNet has already authored a report on this: http://www.aemo.com.au/Electricity/Planning/~/media/Files/Electricity/Planning/Reports/Renewable_Energy_Integration_in_South_Australia_AEMO_Electranet_Report_Oct_2014.ashx
It's a good read if you're inclined towards the dark arts of power systems modelling.

Their modelling suggests that, so long as the Heywood Interconnector or one of Pelican Point, Torrens or Northern Power Stations remains online, the SA grid will remain stable. Now that Northern and half of Torrens are going to be shut down within the next 2 years, the situation is changed a little bit but the system should be able to cope.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

LancedDendrite.

Thank you for the reference to the report; I was aware of its contents through discussions with my colleagues in the power transmission industry.

Of concern in the report is the reliance on the Heywood Interconnector which although double circuit is on single towers; it has some viability even if the report considers this "non-credible".

Of interest to this topic is that the Northern Power Station is quoted by AEMO as one of the three station providing frequency control.

I note that in its latter pages the report refers often to more work being required. Clearly we have not gone this way before, hence my statement about an experiment.

An interesting discussion which does not secure viable jobs for rail workers and those servicing the rail industry, neither does it maintain photo opportunities.

Regards
Ian
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
Was there not a proposal some years ago for a mining enterprise in the north that would utilise the Leigh Creek line to haul to Port Pirie?

The proposal seems to have died a death but the region would appear to need such an enterprise to survive.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Was there not a proposal some years ago for a mining enterprise in the north that would utilise the Leigh Creek line to haul to Port Pirie?

The proposal seems to have died a death but the region would appear to need such an enterprise to survive.
kipioneer

You mean those dole bludgers that were looking for government handouts to set up a new smelter near Port Pirie to process it?
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Was there not a proposal some years ago for a mining enterprise in the north that would utilise the Leigh Creek line to haul to Port Pirie?

The proposal seems to have died a death but the region would appear to need such an enterprise to survive.
kipioneer
Neil

The project was to mine Magnesium ore in the Flinders Ranges and establish a smelter north of Pt Pirie near Weroona Island.

I was part of team putting a price together for a power station (gas fired) to support the project.

Magnesium was seen as having a great future because it is lighter than aluminium, see Mag Wheels.

The project died; I can't verify Bings comments about dole bludgers.

Ian
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Neil

The project was to mine Magnesium ore in the Flinders Ranges and establish a smelter north of Pt Pirie near Weroona Island.

I was part of team putting a price together for a power station (gas fired) to support the project.

Magnesium was seen as having a great future because it is lighter than aluminium, see Mag Wheels.

The project died; I can't verify Bings comments about dole bludgers.

Ian
steam4ian
I was with Australian Magnesium at the time and the killer for SAMAG was the Chinese as it was Aust Mag and a number of other electrolytic smelters around the world. After Aust Mag closed, I went to Aluminium. The Chinese are now having a stab at killing the aluminium industry.

Bulk Power prices are still affordable by world standards, wages and $A over last 10 years however were not. With some time, things may change.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Had the opportunity of following the Leigh Creek coal service on Thursday 9 July.   3 x 82 class including 8201 plus 177 coal wagons plus the aircompressor wagon.  Impressive as always
  Tallstreak Locomotive Driver

Location: Adelaide
Hi all,

With the approaching demise of the Coal Train I am planning a trip north to view the train as I have not seen it before.  

I have located some accommodation in Stirling North but before booking I would appreciate any further information over and above that already posted in this thread on what days the train runs.  I am looking at a two night stay in late August.

Thanks in advance.

Tallstreak.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Latest possible closure date for the power station has been brought forward to March 2017, with a closure as early as March 2016 possible. It would appear that Alinta execs are listening to good PR advice, bringing forward the deadline a couple of times is a good strategy for softening up the public ahead of the actual closure date being announced and ensuring a fair chunk of the heat for the closure goes to governments for not reacting in time.

Operations at Leigh Creek and coal haulage would obviously finish well before the power station closes, potentially even late this year if the actual closure date ends up being early in the 3/2016 to 3/2017 window rather than late.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Does anything on the Leigh Creek/Maree line have second hand value:
* rails
* sleepers
* turnouts
* bridge spans
* signs
* level crossing protection
* rolling stock
* etc?

What about scrap value?

Will much material just be abandoned, like some Diesel engines at Maree?
  M636C Minister for Railways

Does anything on the Leigh Creek/Maree line have second hand value:
* rails
* sleepers
* turnouts
* bridge spans
* signs
* level crossing protection
* rolling stock
* etc?

What about scrap value?

Will much material just be abandoned, like some Diesel engines at Maree?
"awsgc24"


The rolling stock and locomotives belong to Pacific National and are the same as those used in the Hunter Valley. I'd expect that on closure  they'd just run them all empty to Port Waratah and work from there. They might leave the compressor cars behind.

M636C
  Alco_Haulic Chief Commissioner

Location: Eating out...
Unlikely to be just abandoned in this day and age. If no further use can be found in a reasonable time frame, I'd say it go for scrap. Hopefully not as quickly as AN used to do.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Does anything on the Leigh Creek/Maree line have second hand value:
* rails
* sleepers
* turnouts
* bridge spans
* signs
* level crossing protection
* rolling stock
* etc?

What about scrap value?

Will much material just be abandoned, like some Diesel engines at Maree?
awsgc24
For starters, the line between the coal mine and Maree was lifted years ago.

Being that the line has carried the longest and heaviest coal trains in the country, it would have be in reasonable condition.
If memory serves me correctly there are only two level crossings on the line that are protected with flashing lights. One near Stirling north and the other approx. mid way to Leigh Creek which is solar powered.

As stated above the rolling stock is owned by PN and was brought over from NSW when PN won the contract.

As a side note, the "abandoned" NSU locos at Maree are still owned by a Queensland company that removed the old Ghan line.
They are "for sale", but I doubt their scrap value would even cover the cost to remove them from Maree
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Oh yes I remember that video clip of the NSU locomotive pulling a sleeper removing plough behind Its rail recovery train, to collect the rails (that were reused on sugar cane rail networks)
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Confirmed: Leigh Creek mine to close on November 17, power stations to close March 31 at the latest.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-07/alintas-leigh-creek-coal-mine-to-close-next-month/6833402
  tpw Station Master

Confirmed: Leigh Creek mine to close on November 17, power stations to close March 31 at the latest.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-07/alintas-leigh-creek-coal-mine-to-close-next-month/6833402
justapassenger
Thanks for the update. Union says there is enough stockpile to last months. Does that mean there will be more trains per day until end of March 2016? I recall someone saying it's about 1 train per day.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Confirmed: Leigh Creek mine to close on November 17, power stations to close March 31 at the latest.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-07/alintas-leigh-creek-coal-mine-to-close-next-month/6833402
Thanks for the update. Union says there is enough stockpile to last months. Does that mean there will be more trains per day until end of March 2016? I recall someone saying it's about 1 train per day.
tpw
No.

The large stockpile is at the power station end - this is needed so the power station can keep on operating even during major disruption at the mine or on the rail route between them.

You can expect that the trains to stop operating during November, once the small pile at the Leigh Creek end is fully transferred to the power station end.
  rwatts Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide SA
Confirmed: Leigh Creek mine to close on November 17, power stations to close March 31 at the latest.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-07/alintas-leigh-creek-coal-mine-to-close-next-month/6833402
Thanks for the update. Union says there is enough stockpile to last months. Does that mean there will be more trains per day until end of March 2016? I recall someone saying it's about 1 train per day.
No.

The large stockpile is at the power station end - this is needed so the power station can keep on operating even during major disruption at the mine or on the rail route between them.

You can expect that the trains to stop operating during November, once the small pile at the Leigh Creek end is fully transferred to the power station end.
justapassenger

In fact it was reported elsewhere that today's train is the first to run since Tuesday of last week.

Richard.
  tpw Station Master

Confirmed: Leigh Creek mine to close on November 17, power stations to close March 31 at the latest.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-07/alintas-leigh-creek-coal-mine-to-close-next-month/6833402
Thanks for the update. Union says there is enough stockpile to last months. Does that mean there will be more trains per day until end of March 2016? I recall someone saying it's about 1 train per day.
No.

The large stockpile is at the power station end - this is needed so the power station can keep on operating even during major disruption at the mine or on the rail route between them.

You can expect that the trains to stop operating during November, once the small pile at the Leigh Creek end is fully transferred to the power station end.

In fact it was reported elsewhere that today's train is the first to run since Tuesday of last week.

Richard.
rwatts
Didn't realise they can stockpile so much coal in the station. I thought it might make sense for them to dig as much coal out of the mine before it closes down. I guess not if they already have a lot stockpiled.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Didn't realise they can stockpile so much coal in the station. I thought it might make sense for them to dig as much coal out of the mine before it closes down. I guess not if they already have a lot stockpiled.
tpw
A coal power station typically has an emergency stockpile of significant volumes to protect against interruptions in supply and keep the lights on. While they don't face the weather risks of CQ and some NSW power stations, they do operate on a single source mine and railway. I've heard in Qld some of the emergency stockpiles are actually buried/covered near the power station and "greened" over.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

Unlikely to be just abandoned in this day and age. If no further use can be found in a reasonable time frame, I'd say it go for scrap. Hopefully not as quickly as AN used to do.
Alco_Haulic
Perhaps the rail trail lobbyists will want it...Laughing
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Didn't realise they can stockpile so much coal in the station. I thought it might make sense for them to dig as much coal out of the mine before it closes down. I guess not if they already have a lot stockpiled.
tpw
They won't 'dig as much as they can' out of the mine before shutting down operations by increasing operational intensity or anything (because that would cost money), they are setting the mine shutdown date according to the amount of coal needed to get the power station through to its scheduled closure date.

The only questions with regards to the mine now are...
1. whether the operations at the mine will have a staged drawdown or simply stop?
2. is the date of November 17 the end of mining operations or when cleanup operations finish and the gate is locked?
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: By a road taking pictures
I thought it might make sense for them to dig as much coal out of the mine before it closes down. I guess not if they already have a lot stockpiled.
tpw
Nobody would want it anyway. Half of it is dirt and the other half doesn't burn....

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