Re Opening & Upgrading Maryborough - Avoca - Ararat

 
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Distance  87.4kms  Maryborough - Avoca - Ararat
Maryborough - Avoca  originally opened 1876 and cost $ 74,000  ruling grade  1 in 43
Avoca - Ararat opened  1890 at a cost of  $ 260,550  Ruling grade  1 in 50

Along the whole line the major bridges are at Bet Bet Creek at Bung Bong, then just beyond Avoca at the Avoca River, over the Wimmera River at Elmshurst, and Mount Cole Creek at Ben Nevis .  

The last through rail motor service  Maryborough - Ararat operated in the early 1950's .

The line was closed between Ararat and  Avoca on  08/07/1959, but re-opened for Portland grain traffic in late 1966 at a cost of $  130,000 .including an intermediate crossing loop at Elmshurst .  

Maryborough - Ararat was standardized in 1995, but was little used and the track has been booked out for some years. The connection at Maryborough towards Avoca was actually removed recently albeit the line is to be re-opened !!!!  

The line is now to be re opened primarily for mineral sands traffic from Manangatang to Hamilton  with 21 tonne axle loads.  The project involves  clearing vegetation, clearing drainage, continuously welding the track allowing 21tonne axle loads with an 80kmh line speed , insertion of a minimum 27,100 concrete sleepers, ballast top up,  re-commissioning flashing light protection at 6 level crossings .  Restoration of the junction at Maryborough is to cost  $ 1.5m and a new direct connection is to be provided at Ararat from the Avoca line to the  Maroona line (across the bg line from Ballarat ) at a cost of $ 7.5m  involving a new track alignment and new track construction . Total project cost is $ 64m  !!!!

Materials are to be procured March 16 to April 17  and actual construction/conversion will be  March to June 2017 .

(Sources-    K.W.Turton ARHS  The  Avoca - Ararat  Railway  &  Murray Basin Upgrade  Business Case.)

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  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Should some of the $ amounts be £ Instead.

Decimal currently came In 1966
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I didnt realise there would be a new track section to cross the BG and allow through running - I've actually not looked at a map of the Ararat area till now in any detail!  Where is this going to go, it looks pretty tight there around Gordon St?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The alternative would be to enter Ararat Yard and then have to reverse the locos to the UP end of the train and then proceed to Hamilton.  With this installment trains can proceed off the Vline controlled section onto the short line to Maroona and thence to Hamilton.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Oh I'm all for the new through running alignment, I'm just curious to see where it will go.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

It's worth noting that this section will carry all Mildura line traffic for a year or so after it is converted to SG.  It'll be a fairly busy line so you would think they will put boom gates over the Highway level crossings.

And perhaps all NW Vic SG traffic for a very long time if Maryborough-Gheringhap doesn't get dual-gauged (or converted to just SG).
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I have some real concerns about the approach to solving the Mineral Sands issues by Jacinta Allen. I assume there would not be many users on there who have driven the road from Robinvale to Manangatang which I can assure you is on par with a goat track.

The thought of not only 100's on grain trucks which use the road now to move grain from the silos which on the rail network to Manangatang to be unloaded again is a series safety issue.

Adding to this 100's of trucks with mineral sands running daily on this route from Euston is even more frightening.  I am planning on writing to the Minister about this in the next few weeks.

The SG conversion should be right to Robinvale catering for Grain and Mineral Sands.  Just extraordinary how these people actually think.  It is frightening.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Should some of the $ amounts be £ Instead.

Decimal currently came In 1966
Nightfire
All amounts are expressed as current  $  for ease of comparison, to arrive at pre decimal currency amounts in pounds divide by 2 .
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

I didnt realise there would be a new track section to cross the BG and allow through running - I've actually not looked at a map of the Ararat area till now in any detail!  Where is this going to go, it looks pretty tight there around Gordon St?
james.au
Up till now  trains from Avoca do right hand turn and parallel the  mainline into  Ararat Yard, they then have to go out to the first sg loop on the Down side of Ararat to reverse before proceeding back through Ararat on the sg mainline towards  Maroona and Portland.

When the dormant bg Ballarat - Ararat  bg line was connected across the sg mainline at the Up end of Ararat in the early 2000's to the back dock platform at Ararat a concept plan was prepared for a direct sg connection between the Avoca and  Maroona lines.

The new direct line as the track comes in from Avoca and heads straight across no mans land across the bg line from Melbourne and connects into the sg mainline by standard turnout just on the Down side of the mainline Western Highway lx at Up end of Ararat .
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

I have some real concerns about the approach to solving the Mineral Sands issues by Jacinta Allen. I assume there would not be many users on there who have driven the road from Robinvale to Manangatang which I can assure you is on par with a goat track.

The thought of not only 100's on grain trucks which use the road now to move grain from the silos which on the rail network to Manangatang to be unloaded again is a series safety issue.

Adding to this 100's of trucks with mineral sands running daily on this route from Euston is even more frightening.  I am planning on writing to the Minister about this in the next few weeks.

The SG conversion should be right to Robinvale catering for Grain and Mineral Sands.  Just extraordinary how these people actually think.  It is frightening.
bevans
Nothing to do with Government, it is Iluka who have nominated that they specifically want Manangatang as the one combined loading point for mineral sands from many sites in the area over the next 30 + years .
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I have some real concerns about the approach to solving the Mineral Sands issues by Jacinta Allen. I assume there would not be many users on there who have driven the road from Robinvale to Manangatang which I can assure you is on par with a goat track.

The thought of not only 100's on grain trucks which use the road now to move grain from the silos which on the rail network to Manangatang to be unloaded again is a series safety issue.

Adding to this 100's of trucks with mineral sands running daily on this route from Euston is even more frightening.  I am planning on writing to the Minister about this in the next few weeks.

The SG conversion should be right to Robinvale catering for Grain and Mineral Sands.  Just extraordinary how these people actually think.  It is frightening.
bevans
Id be interested to see the reply you get back @bevans.
Perhaps you could include a cost estimate of restoration and upgrade of the line - if we assume its going to cost similar to the upgrade of Maryborough-Ararat ($734/km), the approx. 57km will cost about $42m to do up, assuming if the cost of M-A is appropriate to use.
Unfortunately im not sure how to value the tonnages and the increased benefits they would generate, but if its significant enough, it will outweigh the costs.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Id be interested to see the reply you get back @bevans.
Perhaps you could include a cost estimate of restoration and upgrade of the line - if we assume its going to cost similar to the upgrade of Maryborough-Ararat ($734/km), the approx. 57km will cost about $42m to do up, assuming if the cost of M-A is appropriate to use.
Unfortunately im not sure how to value the tonnages and the increased benefits they would generate, but if its significant enough, it will outweigh the costs.
james.au

I will most certainly do that James and may flick you an email with the draft. Thanks for your interest.

I think the road would require a lot more than $42m of upgrades to make it remotely safe.  it is basically a single lane poor bitumen with wide gravel sides.  I will try and post some video.

On another note, I wrote the regional minister regarding her announcements of rail funding for the terminal south of Wodonga being earmarked for rail access.  I have since received a reply.  Most interesting.

The terminal SCT are planning to connect will not have a rail connect for 2 more years. I will get around to publishing this also.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Id be interested to see the reply you get back @bevans.
Perhaps you could include a cost estimate of restoration and upgrade of the line - if we assume its going to cost similar to the upgrade of Maryborough-Ararat ($734/km), the approx. 57km will cost about $42m to do up, assuming if the cost of M-A is appropriate to use.
Unfortunately im not sure how to value the tonnages and the increased benefits they would generate, but if its significant enough, it will outweigh the costs.

I will most certainly do that James and may flick you an email with the draft. Thanks for your interest.

I think the road would require a lot more than $42m of upgrades to make it remotely safe.  it is basically a single lane poor bitumen with wide gravel sides.  I will try and post some video.

On another note, I wrote the regional minister regarding her announcements of rail funding for the terminal south of Wodonga being earmarked for rail access.  I have since received a reply.  Most interesting.

The terminal SCT are planning to connect will not have a rail connect for 2 more years. I will get around to publishing this also.
bevans
One should read the  pdf of the full Business Case which is avaialble on line, as it cost us taxpayers an unbelievable $ 1m to prepare  !!!!   It is very detailed and considers all sorts of options and traffic potentials .

In respect the mineral sands traffic it will come from various sites and Ilkuka have specified they want a SINGLE on rail loading site which they have nominated as MANANGATANG . Projected mines life over 3 decades to come out of Manangatang .

The projected costs per  km  for  upgrade to 21t axle loads,  re sleepering with concrete, CWR track, ballast etc are shown as
Yelta to Maryborough  $  214,000 per km,  Maryborough - Ararat  $  734,000 per km,  Dunolly to  Korongvale and  Mananagatang  $ 256,000 per km,  Maryborough - Ballarat - Gheringhap  (including dual gauging throughout)  $  776,000 per km.  Total overall project  $  388,000 per km  .

The additional cost to dual gauge  Maryborough to  Gheringhap is shown as  $ 30m ( $ 212,700 per km for dg) compared to upgrade to 21t axle loads and convert to sg .
Given broad gauge is NOT required on any of that section if V/Line would drag themselves into the current century, that
$ 30m would be much better spent in dual gauging Ballarat - Wendouree and converting Ballarat - Ararat to sg at an estimated cost of $ 25 m. Alternatively better still with separate sg and bg tracks between Ballarat and Wendouree(only 5kms)  with dg only through platform at Wendouree for  $  30m . It is a no brainer not to complete standardization in full West of Ballarat NOW .
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Who has a link to the entire business case please?

With 3 decades of mineral sands why not a siding?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
@JimYarin

Here you go

http://ptv.vic.gov.au/projects/rail-projects/murray-basin-rail-project/

If you scroll down the page, youll find the links to the business case where you can download it and the other glossy documents released.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Who has a link to the entire business case please?

With 3 decades of mineral sands why not a siding?
JimYarin
https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/ptvic/Murray-Basin-Rail-Project-Business-Case.pdf
  nrb748 Station Staff

Given broad gauge is NOT required on any of that section if V/Line would drag themselves into the current century, that
$30m would be much better spent in dual gauging Ballarat - Wendouree and converting Ballarat - Ararat to sg at an estimated cost of $ 25 m. Alternatively better still with separate sg and bg tracks between Ballarat and Wendouree(only 5kms)  with dg only through platform at Wendouree for  $  30m . It is a no brainer not to complete standardization in full West of Ballarat NOW .

Ballarat to Wendouree was dual track and most of the second line (now unused) is still in place including all crossings. So separate BG and SG lines Ballarat to Wendouree is not difficult.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
@kuldalai - I've been through the business case quite a bit - can you give me a page reference where they nominate only Manangatang, to the exclusion of all others?  From what I can see, Robinvale has not been specifically excluded (it has 2 mentions in the business case), which makes me ask the question if Robinvale was actually on offer as an option, or Manangatang became their preferred option in the absence of Robinvale.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

@kuldalai - I've been through the business case quite a bit - can you give me a page reference where they nominate only Manangatang, to the exclusion of all others?  From what I can see, Robinvale has not been specifically excluded (it has 2 mentions in the business case), which makes me ask the question if Robinvale was actually on offer as an option, or Manangatang became their preferred option in the absence of Robinvale.
james.au
Dont think so .

1.  The mineral sands over the next  30 + years are going to come out of 3 - 4 sites near Manangatang, and Iluka will obviously make a significant capex investment at that location in loading facilities / temporary storage  road to rail  . As such to get value out of the capex investment they want one loading point over 3 deacdes, rather than moving it all the time to the current mine site .  In all cases the proposed mine sites are north of  Manangatang .

2. The current railhead is actually Manangatang not Robinvale and the line beyond Manangatang would be in a very sorry state.

3. The Business Case also mentions a potential future mine site near Donald which will have sg access via the Mildura mainline via Maryborough and Ararat to Hamilton when required .
  x42 Junior Train Controller

Location: NSW
I am under the impression drainage and bridge inspections have now been completed ? Is anyone aware of any other progress ?
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Should some of the $ amounts be £ Instead.

Decimal currently came In 1966
Nightfire
Converted the amounts to $  as standard practice these days
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Is there anything photo worthy as yet on the lines being converted/upgraded?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Nothing yet on Maryborough-Ararat section. I've noticed a fair bit of level crossing and sleeper work near Dunolly.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Fair enough - per the business case, construction isn't due until this time next year, so I'm jumping the gun a bit I guess.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
I drove along the adjacent highway today. There seems to be lots of vegetation to be cleared, not to mention the 25 or so Grain hoppers (all green Freight Australia liveries) about 10km out of Ararat. In fact it's one rake of about 25 (I didn't count) plus a single hopper about 100m on the Ararat end, separated by a Level Crossing.

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