Grain Harvest 2020-21

 
  Jack Le Lievre Assistant Commissioner

Location: Moolap Station, Vic
Since today marks the First Anniversary of the Grain Harvest 2019-20 Thread (https://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11400176.htm), I thought that I would start this seasons Thread.

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  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Righto Jack I'll have a go and good article here.

The upgraded Rainbow-Dimboola rail line is again carrying grain trains.

Farmers and exporters in Victoria's west are already benefitting from the return of the Rainbow-Dimboola rail line, with new data showing the line is being heavily used.

Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne said 33 return freight services had shifted around 66,000 tonnes of grain, since the line was reopened in April after extensive sleeper replacement works.


Ms Horne said the Victorian government's investment in the line was cutting freight costs for farmers and taking trucks off roads around the state.

Each train journey on the Rainbow-Dimboola line was the equivalent to removing 50 B-double truck trips off Victorian roads.


The Rainbow-Dimboola line was expected to carry about 150,000 tonnes of grain this season, which will save around 7,000 return truck trips.

Link, from The Wimmera MailTimes & Stock & Land;  

https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/6879958/heavy-use-for-rainbow-dimboola-rail/

33 trains have cruised up the line, well that's a surprise to me, hasn't been any reports of such, sounds good though and the workout is going to certainly continue by the sounds of it.

BigShunter.
  Lachlan's Train Channel Station Master

Location: Mildura, Victoria
Righto Jack I'll have a go and good article here.

The upgraded Rainbow-Dimboola rail line is again carrying grain trains.

Farmers and exporters in Victoria's west are already benefitting from the return of the Rainbow-Dimboola rail line, with new data showing the line is being heavily used.

Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne said 33 return freight services had shifted around 66,000 tonnes of grain, since the line was reopened in April after extensive sleeper replacement works.


Ms Horne said the Victorian government's investment in the line was cutting freight costs for farmers and taking trucks off roads around the state.

Each train journey on the Rainbow-Dimboola line was the equivalent to removing 50 B-double truck trips off Victorian roads.


The Rainbow-Dimboola line was expected to carry about 150,000 tonnes of grain this season, which will save around 7,000 return truck trips.

Link, from The Wimmera MailTimes & Stock & Land;  

https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/6879958/heavy-use-for-rainbow-dimboola-rail/

33 trains have cruised up the line, well that's a surprise to me, hasn't been any reports of such, sounds good though and the workout is going to certainly continue by the sounds of it.

BigShunter.
BigShunter
I've heard numerous reports of nearly daily grainys to rainbow sub on facebook. certainly great news.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Positive news like this is helpful.  I'm not surprised about the work needed on the Dunolly to Korong Vale section - it's barely Class 4 atm in many places.  It'll be carrying big volumes this upcoming harvest, and I hope they get most of the work done this year.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
For those interested, check out the donaldweatherstation Instagram site.
It has photos of crop growth in the past 4 weeks.     Fingers crossed!
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne said 33 return freight services had shifted around 66,000 tonnes of grain, since the line was reopened in April after extensive sleeper replacement works.

Ms Horne said the Victorian government's investment in the line was cutting freight costs for farmers and taking trucks off roads around the state.
BigShunter
Such hollow claims. This may be true but it is inaction on the part of government that caused the road mode shift in the first place....

If i push you into the water and then save you from drowning, should I get a medal for saving you?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for setting up the new thread the older one has been locked.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Interesting comments by John H

He said the freight only tracks, to be covered by the spending were d Korong Vale - Inglewood, Dunolly - Inglewood, Dimboola - Rainbow, and Murtoa Hopetoun, as well as Sunbury to Bendigo.

"The above distances are respectively 32 km, 40 km, 66 km and 112 km totalling 250 km, some 150 km short of the 400km figure mentioned," Mr Hearsch said. The Bendigo line was included, as a shared passenger and freight corridor.

"This seems to be another ad hoc funding allocation for "catch up" maintenance works on the freight-only network, whereas the annual budgeting process should provide sufficient funding for these lines to be adequately maintained on an ongoing basis."
Somebody

The comment on adhoc funding is something which needs to be addressed. Freight has steadily become slower on the network when compared to 10 years ago it seems.

Why isn't it possible for the government to properly fund network maintenance instead opting for speed restrictions, closure followed by capital works and reopening.  Sounds like a management mess to me.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
The mess is the way it is supposed to be.
No point setting aside $XX,000 for every line every year.  No brownie points (votes) in that.   Better to spend $X million with a big fanfare every 10 years making the gullible believe they are doing so much for everyone.
  Richard stroker Junior Train Controller

Bevans, who is John H? And what funding are you referring to?
It’s a semi informative post , I’m not disagreeing with you that more should be spent on maintenance. From a readers point of view, can you join a few dots like the Bendigo freight line, where is that?
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Its NOT rocket science first we need to settle on the best model to maintain the freight only lines, and clearly the existing Victorian model is not working.

NSW has it outsourced to Hollands and it seems to work very well in terms of value for money and quality of track standards.
BUT before that one needs to get the freight only lines up to an agreed low maintenance model by investment in insertion primarily of a lot of long life gauge convertible steel sleepers in track bought up to a fit for purpose standard.

Then one has a lower maintenenace freight only network that costs $ xxx per km to maintain and you maintain it to the agreed standard by using the most cost effective option a la NSW model, and allocate funds budget wise and hold the contractor responsible to maintain the track to the agreed standard for the contracted price . If VLP is the sucessful tenderer then sobe it.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
From my understanding the border restrictions also effect the harvesting contractors with their machinery, I was of the belief the contractors followed the harvest starting in Queensland and moved south .
Someone with a bit more knowledge of this might be helpful (BS).   Dick's question from the old thread.

Correct Dick, there is a real cavalcade of people that follow the harvest from The Darling Downs, QLD right through NSW into Victoria and into the South East SA.

The whole crew, header contractors, grain trucks as well as the people that become staff both indoors and ground staff at probably any of the grain sites around.

The bloke we lived next door too in Horsham, had 6 or so Big John Deere headers and would follow the harvest as I've described and a bloke who was a business partner for the joint I was working for, the same, had a fleet of headers and I think he would start in Northen NSW and work into Victoria and then home to Morree. Strangely enough he used to only employ backpackers from Denmark or somewhere like that because they were here to earn the $$$, he reckoned most of the Australian blokes were too much trouble, getting pissed, fighting in pubs and trying to shaggin' every bird they saw...........doesn't sound right to me...Razz eh Valvegear.

The site at Dimmy would have a staff of between 30 - 40 X 2 shifts in most years and perhaps about a dozen would be following the harvest, so across Victoria during harvest taking into account all the grain sites, it would be a considerable number of people that are involved.

So what will happen this year for those people, we will have to see what comes out in the wash.

BigShunter.
  NSWGR8022 Deputy Commissioner

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
Its NOT rocket science first we need to settle on the best model to maintain the freight only lines, and clearly the existing Victorian model is not working.

NSW has it outsourced to Hollands and it seems to work very well in terms of value for money and quality of track standards.
BUT before that one needs to get the freight only lines up to an agreed low maintenance model by investment in insertion primarily of a lot of long life gauge convertible steel sleepers in track bought up to a fit for purpose standard.

Then one has a lower maintenenace freight only network that costs $ xxx per km to maintain and you maintain it to the agreed standard by using the most cost effective option a la NSW model, and allocate funds budget wise and hold the contractor responsible to maintain the track to the agreed standard for the contracted price . If VLP is the sucessful tenderer then sobe it.
kuldalai

Who in Victoria is responsible for freight line maintenance and who does the work?

Vline?
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Shunter, can't do that job for ya, Nhills almost done and dusted, and the near on last train outta Sydney's all most gone. (PN)  12 to 15000 ton left, 9000 ton of barley which will more than likely be staying(variety no one wants) a couple of thousand of canola and a couple of thousand of wheat that will probably dribble out via road. Out of a total of 204000 that was a lot quicker than anyone thought, 78 trainloads since the start of last harvest, plus road. SSR have been here a couple of times since the siding rebuild but mosly PN, and SSR dont shunt out passed my place and if theres a westerly breeze I dont here them. Sorry about that.

In a couple of weeks a few of the local lads from Nhill/Lillimur are heading to Queensland, an acute staff shortage apparently. In other words they sacked all their local workers in the tough times and now are paying for it.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Vline maintains freight only lines currently but the total budget allocated to maintain all regional linez is not enough. So pax lines get first pelriority and freight only linez gets whats left. Should b two budgets one for pass/freight lines and a second for the freight o ly lines based on realistic Dollar budgets, based o. fit for purpose track maintained to best industry work practices. NSW regional tracks model works much better than Victoria.
  NSWGR8022 Deputy Commissioner

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
Vline maintains freight only lines currently but the total budget allocated to maintain all regional linez is not enough. So pax lines get first pelriority and freight only linez gets whats left. Should b two budgets one for pass/freight lines and a second for the freight o ly lines based on realistic Dollar budgets, based o. fit for purpose track maintained to best industry work practices. NSW regional tracks model works much better than Victoria.
kuldalai

Thx for your response.

The model in Victoria does not seem to work which leads to under investment in the rail network and also in the operators who lack confidence in the network to want to invest.

Did grain ever come off the line from Portland to Mount Gambier?
  cbinyon Chief Train Controller

Location: London, England
PN loaded at Berriwillock yesterday and unloaded at North Geelong today. Due to depart again for he same destination tonight. Are PN slowly picking up the BG action due to the potential big harvest on the horizon? As far as I'm aware they have only used one rake sparingly (fortnightly of late).Search ResultsWeb results


  Bonzel Junior Train Controller

PN and other operators only run trains when the grain companies have orders to fill.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

PN loaded at Berriwillock yesterday and unloaded at North Geelong today. Due to depart again for he same destination tonight. Are PN slowly picking up the BG action due to the potential big harvest on the horizon? As far as I'm aware they have only used one rake sparingly (fortnightly of late).Search ResultsWeb results
cbinyon
PN have just one BG grain rake running atm.  They have 3 or 4 sitting at Nth Geelong but might get reactivated later this year (hopefully).  Given that a few XR locos are getting serviced in Bendigo lately, there is hope.

Qube's BG grain rake hasn't run for 6 months.  They're pretty tied up running Dandenong Cement, Ultima freight, Maryvale paper, and Apex quarry trains on BG with a limited fleet atm.  I can see the Qube Deni rice making a return in May 2021 given a decent rice crop is likely to be planted this Spring.
  NSWGR8022 Deputy Commissioner

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech


Qube's BG grain rake hasn't run for 6 months.  They're pretty tied up running Dandenong Cement, Ultima freight, Maryvale paper, and Apex quarry trains on BG with a limited fleet atm.  I can see the Qube Deni rice making a return in May 2021 given a decent rice crop is likely to be planted this Spring.
Carnot

If rice does return due to a good crop in southern NSW would this also impact the Tocumwal services needed tp shift more export with the good crop?

Does the rice move via Seymour or Bendigo?
  Carnot Minister for Railways



Qube's BG grain rake hasn't run for 6 months.  They're pretty tied up running Dandenong Cement, Ultima freight, Maryvale paper, and Apex quarry trains on BG with a limited fleet atm.  I can see the Qube Deni rice making a return in May 2021 given a decent rice crop is likely to be planted this Spring.

If rice does return due to a good crop in southern NSW would this also impact the Tocumwal services needed tp shift more export with the good crop?

Does the rice move via Seymour or Bendigo?
NSWGR8022
Echuca-Toolamba has been booked out of service for nearly 12 months.   I think it might get reactivated this Summer.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Another article here from the Dimboola Courier about the reopening of the line to Jeparit, couple of related articles also and a few pictures.

Upgraded railway takes trucks off the road.

Since rehabilitation and reopening earlier this year, the Dimboola to Rainbow railway line has seen thirty-three return grain trains which adds up to over 1,600 B-double trips off the roads.

The condition of this railway line resulted in it being ‘booked out of service’ in June last year and concerns were expressed earlier this year that it may not reopen.

An intensive sleeper replacement program in March and April this year saw the line reopened and has since then 66,000 tonnes of grain has been transported from the Rainbow and Jeparit Graincorp storages by rail, with all three current players in the rail grain haulage market involved.

Since Qube Logistics ran the first grain train for the year on 23 April, both Pacific National and Southern Shorthaul Railroad have also operated on the line with most of this grain going to drought-affected livestock in New South Wales.     ..ya got that, an intense sleeper replacement program, that's different to a normal sleeper replacement.

https://www.dimboolacourier.com.au/news.php?newsid=5089

BigShunter.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Some Pac Nat and SSR grain train action in Central Victoria yesterday:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGnwLzXV3tE&feature=youtu.be
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Some very pleasing rainfall for the cropping regions across the Wimmera and Mallee, for the last month.

Wet weather turnaround for Wimmera farmers.

Farmer confidence in the 2020 cropping season is growing following steady rain across the Wimmera and Mallee, showing promising signs of a wetter than average spring.

A solid start to cropping in the region saw good crop establishment for many farmers during April and May.

But the Wimmera faced dry conditions in winter months, where Horsham recorded its lowest July rainfall total in more than 20 years at less than 15 millimeters.

A reprieve from the dry spell came during August where recorded rain across parts of the Wimmera including at  Horsham, Nhill and Edenhope measured more than 40mm.

Bureau of Meteorology, BoM, outlook is promising more wet weather as chances of a La Niña pattern, associated with wetter weather, developing during spring was increasing.  

For Nhill grain grower Brett Wheaton the rain could not be timelier.

“We had 10.5mm last week and probably had an inch in the past fortnight, which has been great because I finished spraying the last of my paddocks about a fortnight ago,” Mr Wheaton said.

Rupanyup Farmer Andrew Weidemann welcomed wetter weather, saying it was a ‘big turnaround’ for his grains and pulses.

The bureau’s weather data shows Rupanyup has recorded more than 60mm of rain during August.

https://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/articles/wet-weather-turnaround-for-wimmera-farmers/?section=1104

BigShunter.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Oaklands now up and running this week. https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/train-services-resume

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