Grain Branch Lines NSW

 
  crusty Train Controller

A clipping from The Cowra Guardian

Opposition leader presented with rail line closure letter  June 9 2004

NSW Leader of The Nationals, Andrew Stoner, has been presented with more than 1,600 letters protesting the Carr Labor Government plans to shut down grain rail lines by the Federal Member for Parkes, John Cobb.

The Greenethorpe - Koorawatha line is amongst the lines under threat of closure in the Federal Electorate of Parkes, including Burcher - West Wyalong, Warren - Nevertire, Lake Cargelligo - Ungarie, Rankin Springs - Barmedman and Hilston - Griffith.

Mr Stoner said the letters, which are addressed to Transport Services Minister Michael Costa, reflected the depth of community concern in the electorate about the future of their grain rail lines.

I will see that these letters are delivered to Mr Costa and I will be asking him to give an ironclad guarantee that no grain rail lines will be closed in NSW.

Country communities not only from those in the Federal Electorate of Parkes, are living in fear that their grain rail lines will be closed.

Without a viable rail network, including the continued operation of branch and restricted lines grain growers in NSW will suffer higher transportation costs.

Furthermore, the closure of rail lines will result in increased bulk transportation of grain by road, leading to greater road maintenance costs and increased road safety concerns.

It is forecast that road and rail freight nationally will double by 2020. It is vital that grain rail lines are maintained and/or upgraded to meet this growing freight task.

The background info is starting to drift in ..... this is the last time we had a raft of branchline closures ..... ooops forgot about Casino- murwillumbah

Cheers Tim

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  crusty Train Controller

Brakes to be put on rail line grain transport

http://www.railpage.com.au/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=7188&mode=&order=0&thold=0

Grain transportation is to be halted on the Camurra to Weemelah rail line near Moree from September 1.

Services on the Cowra to Demondrille line in central western New South Wales will also be suspended, due mainly to safety concerns.

Alternative transport modes will need to be found during the suspension, which may be indefinite.

But Rail Infrastructure Corporation's acting CEO, Terry Brady, says the Department of Transport and Infrastructure has recently entered into a contract with GrainCorp for a five year agreement to ensure rail hauling services across the state.

"That decision has been made based on the condition of the line and safety issues," he said.

"The long-term future of this line and others will be assessed following the release of the Federal grain task force review which is expected rather soon and the State Government will be taking that into account into any long-term decisions o the network."

ABC News
  crusty Train Controller

Wonder which Rail operator will be awarded the Branch line grain contract for this line..... we may indeed have a competitive above Rail environment ...
locos hired from LVR & Whatever other old 44 class locos are available
  crusty Train Controller

Quote from 42208

Hey, I got an idea.....Why don't the Lachlan Valley Railway form a company to move grain between Cowra and Harden (and Greenthorpe as well). THey could call it Lachlan Valley Rail Freight......No Wait they already did that before didn't they? Smile
Seriously it would be a win / win situation. LVR maintain access with the Mainline, local farmers still get their local service...Everyones happy!!!!!

probably be able to go up & cart some grain from the Camurra- Weemelah branch as well.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
The problem with the northern branch extremities is crews, particularly if you are based in Sydney, as IRA are. One crew to Werris Creek, perhaps Narrabri, another crew to the load point, another crew to load it, Crew 2 to work it back to Narrabri and crew 1 takes it back to Sydney. And what does Crew 1 do while Crews 2&3 load the train?

ISTR Weemalah being in better condition than the line to Merrywinebone, but the memory is a bit fuzzy now. IIRC The Bone was 20 with a bit of 10kph running, while Weemalah was 30 with a bit of 20...
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
NSW Grain Review Report has been released today
http://www.nationbuildingprogram.gov.au/publications/reports/pdf/NSW_Grain_Freight_Review_Final_report.pdf

The future looks rather shakey for Cowra-Demondrille, The Rock-Boree Creek, Camurrah-Weemalah (may have been saved by the recent grain levy that was mentioned) and Koorawatha-Greenethorpe.

All other branch lines look safe (famous last words).
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

That was a good read, cheers for the link DrWaddles.

I am looking forward to the WA equivalent report on the grain lines over here, hopefully something similar is able to be done. Although, the feds have apprently told the state government they have their part of the $400 million ready to go when the WA government "makes the right decision", so hopefully that is a good sign.
  Albert Chief Commissioner

Oh well, Cowra is screwed.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Oh well, Cowra is screwed.
"Albert"
I have just read the pages, as far as the big green block for the Cowra area, while there may be a hardl task to retain the lines, I would not think its impossible.

The one constant that has come across is the affect of the prolonged drought, & the unknowns of climate change.  Given the more southern areas are shown to be more sucseptible to the affects of climate change, it makes the Cowra area a tight locality for the future.

However if a grain or weather pattern was taken over the past 50 years, it can be seen that droughts have impacted the state fairly consistantly, & the regions that recover the first starts at the golden triangle, which bounds the Moree, Weemalah - North Star area, then comes down to the NWslopes Plains to the Central west Slopes & plains, that tended to border the regions just west of Parkes & down to the Temora area, & southern slopes.

Usually the north comes out with the central areas first & the following year the rest of the state.  Watching the regions, Cowra & the two branches tended to come out of drought quite early & therefore has that aspect on its side. The biggest aspect, or should I say asset they have is the amount of general support from a wide base, also the push for the Blayney line to be considered.

To top it off, it is the first time that any such report, has given credence to the prospects of joint committes to work towards the lines retentions.  This is something that has been abjectly refused to be considered in the past in other regions.

Whilst the LVR is not a huge player in the deal, they do play a part, & it will really depend on how much the other players see the LVR operation as being to their advantage. IN other words, do the people of Cowra & regions want the LVR?  & that question can be deemed in both the heritage side of things as well as being the main rail transport provider backed by the locals.
  Burkey Station Master

Could someone tell me them max. speed for a class 5 line? Is it 50 k/hr. Also the extra $$ and what is required to get to class 3, more sleepers and rail???
In 2009/10 are we really going to "Upgrade" lines to a minimum 20 k/hr???
Surely with a little more $$$ up front we can do better than this?
  8603 Locomotive Driver

Location: Canberra
Hi Burkey,

Class 5 lines allow an axle load to 19t and maximum speed of 20km/h.
  flying_donkey Chief Commissioner

Location: Well, at the moment, right here!
Could someone tell me them max. speed for a class 5 line? Is it 50 k/hr.
"Burkey"


On the Walgett branch from Wee Waa out (class 5 starts at Wee Waa) the speed is:
Wee Waa - Burren Junction = 50Kph empty & 30Kph loaded
Burren Junction - Walgett = 30Kph empty and loaded

Burren to Merrywinebone is 20Kph empty & loaded

Camurra (Moree) to Weemalah is (at present) 20Kph and
Camurra to North Star is 80Kph. This line is all steel sleeper but still has a lot of light rail, hence why it is still a class 5 track.

All of these lines are heavily populated with temporary speeds, much of which are 10Kph.
  cascade39 Junior Train Controller

The RIC  (Rail Infrastructure Corporation) website page on "Operational vs Non Operational Lines" has been updated showing
Camurra to Weemelah         86km
Demondrille to Koorawatha  74 km
Cowra to Koorawatha          27km
Koorawatha to Greenthorpe 21km

moving from the Operational to the Non Operational Lines.
http://www.ric.nsw.gov.au/Default.aspx?query=/facts/

Camurra to Weemelah has reopened ....  any news of the The Rock to Boree Creek line  ??

It seems RIC is continuing to operate as a standalone Government Corporation.... for how long ??

In the November 11, 2008 Budget papers APPENDIX A: MINI-BUDGET MEASURES  (BY PORTFOLIO) A - 10   (page 50)http://www.treasury.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/12706/08-09_Mini-Budget.pdf

Rail Infrastructure Corporation
Suspend up to 5 minor Country Regional Network services, subject management services to competitive processes and merge the agency with RailCorp with the savings to be used to meet the cost of maintaining the Network.

Interestingly the RIC Organisational Structure section has also been updated - a new position has appeared " Project Manager Contestability "
with a reference to the  Contestability Project at the base of the page.... contesting with whom ??
http://www.ric.nsw.gov.au/Default.aspx?query=/about/#organisation
  cascade39 Junior Train Controller

A partial answer to my above question .... or just more questions ??


Rail Infrastructure Corporation
AUDIT OPINION
The audit of the Corporation’s financial report for the year ended 30 June 2009 resulted in an unqualified Independent Auditor’s Report.

KEY ISSUES
For general transport industry information, refer to the ‘Transport Services Overview’ section earlier in this report.

Country Regional Network (CRN)
The Corporation has sought Expressions of Interest for the management and maintenance of the CRN. At present the CRN is managed and maintained by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) under a 60 year management agreement. This agreement commenced in 2004.

The Corporation has advised that if it chose to terminate the 60 year management agreement it would not be liable for any penalties. However, it would be liable for disengagement costs. The actual disengagement costs will not be known until ARTC develops a disengagement plan.

The decision to enter into a new arrangement was made by the Government in the 2008-09 Mini Budget to achieve greater efficiencies and increased innovation. The Corporation expects to award a contract in mid 2010.

The Corporation paid $185 million to ARTC in 2008-09 to manage and maintain the CRN ($165 million in 2007-08 .

Auditor-General’s Report to Parliament 2009 Volume Ten   Page 103

http://www.audit.nsw.gov.au/publications/reports/financial/2009/vol10/contents.htm
  cascade39 Junior Train Controller

NSW T & I website...." The NSW Government has released its preliminary response to the Commonwealth's review of the NSW Grain Network. "

http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/rail/grain-network-review-prelim-response.html
  crusty Train Controller

cascade39 Nov 2009 It seems RIC is continuing to operate as a standalone Government Corporation.... for how long ??

In the November 11, 2008 Budget papers APPENDIX A: MINI-BUDGET MEASURES (BY PORTFOLIO) A - 10 (page 50)http://www.treasury.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/12706/08-09_Mini-Budget.pdf

Rail Infrastructure Corporation
Suspend up to 5 minor Country Regional Network services, subject management services to competitive processes and merge the agency with RailCorp with the savings to be used to meet the cost of maintaining the Network.


Anyone see anything in the NSW 2010-11 budget papers about RIC being merged into RailCorp ??

The Directors Report page 28  in the RIC 2009 Annual report has all three directors

" Re-appointed on 28 July 2009 for a further term of 6 months. "
  cascade39 Junior Train Controller

Transport minister in talks with grain growers
Posted Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:27pm AEST....(my bold)

The New South Wales Transport Minister has told local grain growers he will provide them with a clear picture for the future of grain export rail lines.

Growers along the Coonamble, Walgett and Weemelah lines met with John Robertson in Sydney yesterday to be briefed on the future maintenance and funding opportunities for the lines.

Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries says growers want the lines to be upgraded to allow bigger and faster trains to cart freight more efficiently.
He says they are frustrated by the lack of answers from the State Government.

"I think the grain growers could see just how thin things are on the ground in New South Wales," he said.
"What it did highlight was how little planning has been done in the last 15 years in particular.

"Our aim really is to make rail more efficient and by being more efficient it's going to be a lot cheaper for the grain producer to export that crop."

Mr Humphries says a new provider is expected to take over the maintenance contract from the Australian Rail Track Corporation in April next year.

He says growers want to be informed over what lines will be maintained.
"We'll also be putting a number of recommendations to the Government and to any new maintenance provider on targeted rail lines that need to be maintained to a better standard or even improved," he said.
"Those three lines, particularly the Coonamble line, is a good example where half the upgrade - the work already been done.

"A lot of the steel is lying beside the line and probably for not a lot more money those lines could be upgraded."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/25/2937235.htm?site=news

Picked up from RailSA ... Thanks Alyx
  cascade39 Junior Train Controller

ABC Radio
Minister prepared to reopen more NSW grain lines
Friday, 08/10/2010

NSW Transport Minister John Robertson wants to hear from grain growers who want to re-open disused rail lines, if they are confident the lines are viable.

Mr Robertson has visited Dubbo to give an update on the upgrade of the Dubbo to Coonamble rail line.
He says that the government has invested $18.5 million on upgrading rail lines at Gilgandra, Coonamble and Eumungerie.

Mr Robertson says he wants growers to commit to using any lines that are reopened and refurbished.

"I'd be pleased to hear from them at any point, but we've got to make sure that the people are signed up and have made a financial commitment to actually utilise the resources," he says.

"Because it's a big investment, and there's a lot of pressure on money, wherever it goes.
"If we are going to invest in these sort of things, we have to know that people are genuinely committed to using it."

http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201010/s3033053.htm
  42101 Banned

Location: Banned
ABC Radio
Minister prepared to reopen more NSW grain lines
Friday, 08/10/2010

NSW Transport Minister John Robertson wants to hear from grain growers who want to re-open disused rail lines, if they are confident the lines are viable.

Mr Robertson has visited Dubbo to give an update on the upgrade of the Dubbo to Coonamble rail line.
He says that the government has invested $18.5 million on upgrading rail lines at Gilgandra, Coonamble and Eumungerie.

Mr Robertson says he wants growers to commit to using any lines that are reopened and refurbished.

"I'd be pleased to hear from them at any point, but we've got to make sure that the people are signed up and have made a financial commitment to actually utilise the resources," he says.

"Because it's a big investment, and there's a lot of pressure on money, wherever it goes.
"If we are going to invest in these sort of things, we have to know that people are genuinely committed to using it."

http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201010/s3033053.htm
"cascade39"


And yet they closed lines like here at Hay and then had to build 10km south of town a freaking huge Rice storage centre...all b dub and road train served.
  4426 Chief Commissioner

Location: BUSY GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES

And yet they closed lines like here at Hay and then had to build 10km south of town a freaking huge Rice storage centre...all b dub and road train served.
"42101"


And that suprises you? The Government are idiots.

I agree though if they left the line open and used land closer to the railway line they would be better and I am sure the local council down that way would appreciate the local roads not being battered by B Doubles and Road Trains.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville

And yet they closed lines like here at Hay and then had to build 10km south of town a freaking huge Rice storage centre...all b dub and road train served.
"42101"


And that suprises you? The Government are idiots.

I agree though if they left the line open and used land closer to the railway line they would be better and I am sure the local council down that way would appreciate the local roads not being battered by B Doubles and Road Trains.
"4426"

You will find just as many idiots on the local councils and in the transport departments of the ricegrowers and other large agri-businesses.
  4426 Chief Commissioner

Location: BUSY GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES

And yet they closed lines like here at Hay and then had to build 10km south of town a freaking huge Rice storage centre...all b dub and road train served.
"42101"


And that suprises you? The Government are idiots.

I agree though if they left the line open and used land closer to the railway line they would be better and I am sure the local council down that way would appreciate the local roads not being battered by B Doubles and Road Trains.
"4426"

You will find just as many idiots on the local councils and in the transport departments of the ricegrowers and other large agri-businesses.
"bingley hall"


thats why I said Government meaning the lot of them from Local to Federal Bing.....There all useless.  Confused
  crusty Train Controller

Article from Farm Weekly
'Don’t let CBH go says, NSW grower
BOBBIE HINKLEY
29 Oct, 2010 11:19 AM

A GROUP of NSW farmers have told Wheatbelt growers to hold on tightly to CBH operations in WA.
"We're very envious of what you've got over here," NSW Farmers Association Grains Committee chair Mark Hoskinson said.
"WA growers have a very strong presence in all aspects of CBH operations and if there's something I could advise your growers of, it's don't let that go."

On a recent "fact finding mission" to WA Mr Hoskinson toured CBH facilities with fellow NSW farmer Darrell Jordison and NSW Farmers policy advisor Ben Mason, to look at effective technologies being used in the WA grain industry. They visited the Kwinana port, CBH's Williams and Brookton receival points and the operations at the CBH engineering and fabrication site in Bibra Lake.

"You've only got to look at NSW and what farmers are being charged to get their grain from the paddock to the port," Mr Hoskinson said. "It costs NSW growers up to $100 a tonne and the dangerously low commodity prices means we just can't afford to stay in business if we continue down that line."
Mr Hoskinson described the NSW grain network as a "logistical nightmare" and said deregulation coupled with aged infrastructure and outdated technology on the back of a 10 year drought had caused all kinds of problems for farmers.

This year alone NSW will have a grain export capacity of six million tonnes compared to WA's yearly forecast of 15-16mt, or about 1.3mt a month.
"In NSW we're dealing with structures that were built when I was a boy and my grandfather started working in 1926 and 1930," Mr Hoskinson said.  "They were designed for horses and wagons originally and two of our headers can keep up with the local silo, at a capacity of 116-120t an hour.

"Following a decent harvest this year we're forecasting a huge carryover of unsold un-priced grain and especially after 10 years of drought we can't afford to have grain sitting around unpriced or unsold.
"We'll see grain storage fill up in the east this harvest. "We've got a lot of grower storage going up at the moment and a lot of silo bags sitting around in paddocks.

"NSW growers can't afford to have grain sitting around in the paddocks and in the silos if there's a huge spike in the market. "We need to have it out there ready for sale so somebody like CBH or AWB can take advantage of spikes in the price or the currency. "If it's sitting in the paddock it's pretty hard to do that.

"We've seen in NSW recently a lot of growers get burnt by trying to hedge their own wheat and we were looking at a billion dollars worth of losses from people trying to do it themselves." Mr Hoskinson said the strength in marketing was to do it collectively and he believed that unless NSW growers were involved in the supply chain like those in WA, NSW grain wouldn't be marketed efficiently.

"The foresight I've seen in your growers and what they've been developing over the years in looking to the future and building a facility like you've got in Kwinana just leaves our port facilities wanting," he said.
"If we had the facilities that you've got over here we'd get a lot of the grain out but we would still be restricted by our rail networks."

Mr Hoskinson said there wasn't the drive and passion in NSW to provide a good service for grain growers.
"Trains are operating like they were in the 1960s," he said. "The out-loading is no faster than the in-loading basically, the trains are running a milk line and dropping off carriages which are taking a long time to fill and it's just logistically inefficient and uneconomic to keep doing it like that."

He would like to duplicate CBH and its high capacity sites, high in-loading speed, automated weigh bridges and sampling techniques, in NSW. "The CBH system is far superior to what we've got because it is driven by farmers," Mr Hoskinson said.

"They've been committed, even in the dry years, to putting money into developing and upgrading, whereas we're involved with a shareholder-owned company (GrainCorp) which is focused on putting money into shareholder pockets."
GrainCorp was a statutory body that was bought by a group of forward thinking farmers who wanted to add value to the NSW farming system.  It was set up as shareholder structure, rather than a co-operative like CBH, which allowed corporate investors to say how their returns would be maximised, rather than the returns of the growers.

"The structure was wrong at the start and I'd hate to see anything built again along those same lines," Mr Hoskinson said. "When we were going to Canberra lobbying for the single desk, (then Federal Agriculture Minister) Tony Burke made it very clear to us that he thought the market needed to be deregulated.

"He said we would have more choice, we would have buyers coming out of our ears with 28 buyers registered right across the country." Yet our first big year comes along and we've got two buyers operating because they've got control of the rail. "So unless you're storing it on-farm or delivering it straight to port, you're been caught short.

"Growers will see the pain and the suffering and I think we'll see a push to do something about it.
"If we go into a good year next year and have back-to-back harvests with a carryover of five million tonnes of grain, farmers will start to realise just what we've lost."
CBH general operations manager Colin Tutt said WA growers should be proud of the WA grains industry and the development of CBH. "Our visitors were very impressed with our total capabilities and our focus on generating the highest profit possible back to the grower," he said.

CBH deputy chair Wally Newman agreed and said the then CBH chairman Mick Gayfer and his board, made a good decision when they adopted such a flexible durable CBH structure in 1971.
"It has put growers in the enviable position of being the leading Australian grains business owning every inch of a supply chain from the farm gate right through to the mills in Asia," he said. "It has given WA growers the ability to extract value from the whole length of that supply chain for their sole benefit.

"It's ironic that here in WA we believe our structure still has potential for further innovation to benefit our growers. "You can't help but feel despair and disappointment in the systems on the east coast after seeing what we have here in the west.

"Fortunately for CBH we are somewhat insulated from the current poor season by the extra work our engineering business is picking up from the east coast and the vision of the board in Alan Watson and Robert Sewell's time to implement a drought-proofing policy." '

http://fw.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness-and-general/general/dont-let-cbh-go-says-nsw-grower/1980907.aspx?storypage=0

... Shocked ....
  4477 Junior Train Controller

Location: Woy Woy
How many 48s has grain corp got now??
  cascade39 Junior Train Controller

prompted by the new thread on CRIA....
from the ARTC 2010 Annual Report....
http://www.artc.com.au/Content.aspx?p=28
CRN/Services Division......p. 28

Rail Infrastructure Corporation
The CRN team provides asset management, infrastructure maintenance, project and construction management, property and network control services to the Rail Infrastructure Corporation (RIC) of New South Wales for the Country Regional Network (CRN) under an alliance contractual arrangement.

The program and services budget for the year totalled $188 million for the safe and efficient delivery of a diverse and geographically wide spread works program and provision of asset management and train
control services.

It is pleasing to report that the program has been delivered with significant productivity savings to RIC which has resulted in a management fee of $14 million being attained for the Corporation. This record return is a credit to the individuals, teams, project delivery staff, property service, network control staff as well as the ancillary support staff who have put in significant efforts to achieve these excellent results.

These savings and efficiencies have resulted in RIC approving another $7 million for projects to be brought forward and we will deliver them this year.

Is this $14 million actually the fee to 'disengage' RIC (now CRIA ...Country Rail Infrastructure Authority) & ARTC  Question ......to recap

....cascade39 Posted: 09 Dec 2009 19:30 ....from the NSW Auditor General....

" The Corporation has advised that if it chose to terminate the 60 year management agreement it would not be liable for any penalties. However, it would be liable for disengagement costs. The actual disengagement costs will not be known until ARTC develops a disengagement plan. "

edit...inserted ARTC Annual Report page link.... Smile

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