Re-aligning the Main South

 
  mjja Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Mount Waverley, Melbourne
How much would it cost to re-align the main south route to follow the Hume Freeway from Yass to Albury? There would be no cost for buying the land because the freeway reservation is wide enough, and it should cut several hours off the Sydney-Melbourne trip, especially if it goes double-track all the way. The curves will be a lot gentler, the grades shouldn't be much of a problem, and the distance will be shorter.

It will skip Junee and Wagga, so the old route will have to stay too - also as an emergency route if the main one has to be closed for whatever reason.

If it was double-track all the way to Albury, that would be an additional influence on the Vic government to duplicate the SG line from Melbourne to Albury. At the moment there's hardly any point because of the single track Albury-Junee section.

Pipe dream?

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  DavidB Moderator

Location: Canberra
The proposed ARTC upgrades would take about 3 hours off the journey for a fraction of the cost of building an entirely new line. Another problem is that a lot of the Hume isn't exactly good railway alignment.

Curves could be eased in various places by using the old Whitton alignments. The gradients are a bit steeper, but today's big freights could essentially run them on momentum alone.

Cheers
David
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
How much would it cost to re-align the main south route to follow the Hume Freeway from Yass to Albury? There would be no cost for buying the land because the freeway reservation is wide enough, and it should cut several hours off the Sydney-Melbourne trip, especially if it goes double-track all the way. The curves will be a lot gentler, the grades shouldn't be much of a problem, and the distance will be shorter.

It will skip Junee and Wagga, so the old route will have to stay too - also as an emergency route if the main one has to be closed for whatever reason.

If it was double-track all the way to Albury, that would be an additional influence on the Vic government to duplicate the SG line from Melbourne to Albury. At the moment there's hardly any point because of the single track Albury-Junee section.

Pipe dream?
"mjja"


While a rail line along the Hume Highway is significantly shorter than the route via Harden, it goes through much rougher terrain, even with 1 in 40 grades. That's the reason the rail line went via Harden in the first place. A short cut also suffers from a big disadvantage in that it has to be built all in one go to be of any value. That's the reason why the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway was so difficult to get off the ground. Alice Springs to only say Pine Creek would be worthless. Surly much better to upgrade the existing roundabout line via Harden than try the Hume cutoff, which is far too ambitious at this stage. I am happy to listen to evidence that the grades along the Hume Highway are fine for rail.

At the moment there's hardly any point (in duplicating Melbourne to Albury) because of the single track Albury-Junee section.
"mjja"


I fundamentally disagree with this statement. Any increase in the amount of duplication, whether exension of crossing loops, extra loops, or proper duplication will tend to reduce delays at crossing loops. The main thing is to spead the extra second track out over the whole Junee-Melbourne section so that adjusted for train numbers, the length timewise of the remaining single line sections are reasonably even. The existing single line sections are severely imbalanced in length. A beautiful advantage of this work is that it can be done in dribs and drabs.


Regarding the existing 900m loops that are too short for 1500m trains, the amount of track required to bring them up to size is quite small. If say 20 short loops between Junee and Melbourne need to be extended from 900m to 1500m that takes "only" 600mx20=12km of track. The lack of such a small amount of track causes long 1500m freight trains to sit back one or two loops away from the ideal crossing loop, 30-40-50km away and 30-40-50 minutes away, wasting hours and hours and hours. The stupidity of this situation beggars belief. The beancounters are however completely happy, since they are focussed on big glamourous projects, and crossing loop extensions are as glamourous as ... ... colostomy bags.
  bluegoose Station Master

Location: New South Wales
As far as the Sydney-Melbourne line goes, I think it would be best the progressively iron out the worst bits. Some of these 'bad stretches' are, in my opinion, Menangle-Picton-Mittagong, Werrai, Cullerin Ranges and Bethungra. Once you get past Junee the line is pretty good (except for Wagga Bridge). It's a pity Picton-Mittagong loop line is only single track- it has a great alignment compared to the main line. Very Happy
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

If the alignment of the original Picton - Mittagong line is so good then it could be re-instated/upgraded and provided with two way signalling and used for priority trains in either direction.

If and  when  NSW  ever accepts the ARTC proposal to take over the mainline tracks in NSW then you will see sensible low cost / big benefit improvements to signalling and extension of crossing loops as suggested.  ARTC  have done these sort of works within Victoria on the sg lines to both Wolseley and Albury with significant increases in axle loads allowed, train speeds, and reduced travel times. In fact ARTC propose to spend a further  $ 34m in Melbourne - Albury section to upgrade track and loops if NSW accepts offer to lease their tarcks to ARTC. However it is not worth the early investment of this money south of the border whilst the tarck is so poor in NSW .
  mjja Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Mount Waverley, Melbourne
Thanks all.

So the best we can reasonably hope for is what is coming if the ARTC get the NSW lines? That's good, I don't like waiting for governments to do things.
  BDR Beginner

How many billion do you have to spend ? And where do you start . I'd start at Sefton Park Jct  (what happened to the 60 kmh Jct ? ) close the level crossing at Liverpool , replace the City Rail innitiative 50 km/h crossover at the north end of Glenfield Loop , extend the loop on the up side from Ingleburn to just south of Macathur ,  blow up Whittons jurrasic bridge and build another with 110 km/h alignments towards Menangle Bank ,  by-pass Mauldon to the east  to escape the baloon loop at Picton , follow the old branch (re-graded to 1 in 75 max ) re-align the down through Moose Valley to 90 km/h , at Werai go round the back of Exeter Bundy and Penrose , go strait up the hill past Medway Box , go strait ahead at $10 gates to towrang , for gods sake by-pass Stillborne to the east of Sesamy Street on reasonable gradients , and lastly sell Microsoft , IBM and Intel to pay for it . Just as an afterthought if you expect ARTC to carry out major feats of alignment ....... other people believe in  Santa too ! the kind of money they have to spend is like the proverbial squirt of you know what in the ocean . Governments don't want rail to work . How the hell do you over tax an efficient system ?
  mjja Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Mount Waverley, Melbourne
I wasn't seriously expecting it to happen tomorrow, this year, or even this decade. I was just thinking about what would be a good thing to do. Remembering that Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane is the worst corridoor in Australia, and (being the link between the three biggest cities) should be the best.
  ninthnotch Dr Beeching

Location: Not here. Try another castle.
The problem with any Melb-Sydney Brisbane alignment is that you have massive geological barriers ringing Sydney, and the most direct route by 'the crow flies' is also roughly where there is a mountain range.  As one resident of Galong said to me - "You have to cross the ranges somewhere..."  Maybe look at using the existing alignment (or the Whitton one where curvature is severe, such as the Jerrawa horseshoe) and improving the tracks... but why do i I get the sense that all i'm saying has been said before...?

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