Toowoomba Range + Lockyer Valley tunnels capacity article

 
  appleby Deputy Commissioner

Location: South of the Tweed - In Canberra.
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/rail-tunnels-to-be-expanded-to-make-way-for-more-freight-20130827-2snbu.html

The Queensland government will pour $17 million into upgrading railway tunnels to increase freight capacity between the Darling Downs and the Port of Brisbane.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said 11 tunnels through the Toowoomba Range and Lockyer Valley would be expanded to allow larger hi cube freight containers to pass through.

Darling Downs farmers and the agricultural industry are expected to reap the benefits of the upgrades.

"The amount of grain and cotton through the Port of Brisbane increased by 50 per cent last year," Mr Emerson said.

"These two projects will mean more farmers can get crops off the road and on to rail and start to address the transportation needs of farmers across south west Queensland well into the future."

Mr Emerson said floors would be lowered in the 11 tunnels – nine of which are heritage listed – from the beginning of 2014.

"This will be a challenging engineering task because the tunnels along the western and south western rail corridors must retain their historic qualities," he said.

Preliminary geotechnical work is already underway.

Mr Emerson said the use of hi cube containers had grown significantly in recent years, replacing the smaller, standard containers.

"If we are going to meet our future growth in freight we need to make sensible decisions now to improve the capacity on our train network," he said.

"We have already taken steps to build two additional passing loops on the range to allow more services for cotton and grain and this will now allow even more freight capacity."

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  Expost Deputy Commissioner

Even more of an engineering challenge to do it while the line is still open. It would take a huge amount of time to complete, if the pace of progress on the Rocklands to Stanwell duplication is any indication. And the pace of Dingo to Bluff appears to be even slower.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Even more of an engineering challenge to do it while the line is still open. It would take a huge amount of time to complete, if the pace of progress on the Rocklands to Stanwell duplication is any indication. And the pace of Dingo to Bluff appears to be even slower.
Expost

How long (and other details) are each of the 11 tunnels.

There is an ARHS(Q) book on Qld tunnels, but IIRC, it does not list lengths, curves and gradients of the Qld tunnels.

It is my understanding that the structure gauge of these 11 tunnels of 1865 vintage is more restrictive than the loading gauge elsewhere in Qld.
  raymond Deputy Commissioner

Location: Gladstone, Queensland
I would provely be cheaper to construct the line from wondan to Gladstone as well much quicker !


  RAYMOND
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

I would provely be cheaper to construct the line from wondan to Gladstone as well much quicker !


  RAYMOND
"raymond"


I don't know, $17-million seems a lot cheaper than building a new line no one has managed to build for the last fifteen years. Face it, the cheaper the solution, the more likely it will actually happen...and that appears to be the case here.
  phil_48 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wynnum North
Plus, according to today's Courier Mail, a 25 km link, mostly by tunnel from ACR to the Port, which will surface close to my front door here in Wynnum North.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
In some cases it may be possible to bore a new, bigger tunnel alongside the old one, and then convert the old one to a historic trail walking track?

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Tunnel,_Queensland
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
In a parallel matter, Warren Truss of the Nationals announced today Coalition pledges regarding the SG Mel-Bris, which would have to include a new tunnel from Brisbane under Toowoomba.

See: http://www.skynews.com.au/national/article.aspx?id=900777
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

It still boggles the mind to think that Toowoomba has only a couple of train services per week to Brisbane and back.  As a parallel, compare Toowoomba to Bendigo which has 18+ passenger train services each way per day to Melbourne.  They are similar sized city's a similar distance to each other's respective state capital city...
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
It still boggles the mind to think that Toowoomba has only a couple of train services per week to Brisbane and back.  As a parallel, compare Toowoomba to Bendigo which has 18+ passenger train services each way per day to Melbourne.  They are similar sized city's a similar distance to each other's respective state capital city...
Carnot

Because of the sharp curves, steep gradient, single track and roundabout route, the Toowoomba train service is very slow.

The Geelong line with flat, straight, direct and double track route, is by comparison very fast and quick.

No wonder Geelong has a better passenger service.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Because of the sharp curves, steep gradient, single track and roundabout route, the Toowoomba train service is very slow.

The Geelong line with flat, straight, direct and double track route, is by comparison very fast and quick.

No wonder Geelong has a better passenger service.
awsgc24
True.  But if Toowoomba does get a  decent train service through capacity and realignment improvements, then that's got to have a positive economic benefit to the region.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
True.  But if Toowoomba does get a  decent train service through capacity and realignment improvements, then that's got to have a positive economic benefit to the region.
Carnot

Fortunately, Warren Truss of the Nationals has promised progress on the Mel-Bris Inland Railway, which would incliude some kind of long Range tunnel.

This Range Tunnel would no doubt relocate the passenger from withing Toowoomba to somewhere west of it.
  BwG Station Staff

Location: California
Fortunately, Warren Truss of the Nationals has promised progress on the Mel-Bris Inland Railway, which would incliude some kind of long Range tunnel.

This Range Tunnel would no doubt relocate the passenger from withing Toowoomba to somewhere west of it.
awsgc24
The rail passenger service between Toowoomba and Brisbane may not benefit from completion of the new Inland SG Melb-Bris line. My understanding is that the SG from Toowoomba will use a new route that connects with the existing SG interstate line somewhat south of Brisbane. That is, it won’t exactly go direct to Roma Street, so may not be sufficiently direct to support a SG passenger service. But it certainly will be a great benefit to freight. Meanwhile, it’s nice to have work done on the tunnels of the NG line.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
The rail passenger service between Toowoomba and Brisbane may not benefit from completion of the new Inland SG Melb-Bris line. My understanding is that the SG from Toowoomba will use a new route that connects with the existing SG interstate line somewhat south of Brisbane. That is, it won’t exactly go direct to Roma Street, so may not be sufficiently direct to support a SG passenger service. But it certainly will be a great benefit to freight. Meanwhile, it’s nice to have work done on the tunnels of the NG line.
BwG

One might suppose that the new Range tunnel will be Dual Gauge, so that pax trains can have direct access to Roma Street via existing NG lines, assuming that the map allows this to be done. This Dual Gauge would also help say coal traffic from past Toowoomba, which would remain NG.
  locojoe67 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Gen X purgatory/urban Joh-land
The media releases I've read all seem to dance around the most costly part, the range descent. Previous costings have always been clear that this represents the most expensive part of the entire Melbourne to Brisbane corridor, at $2b plus, and ranging much, much higher depending on final route. Pages 13 to 18 show all the rather big numbers, represented as 000's, to lessen the impact and save on printing ink:
http://www.artc.com.au/library/IRAS%20WP3%20Stage%201%20Capital%20Works%20Costings%20090505.pdf

Here we see the southern diversion from Rosewood to Kagaru, and the newer proposal to tunnel from Browns Plains to Murrarie:
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/new-rail-freight-route-in-federal-coalition-plan/story-e6freoof-1226650247870

Slightly different take on that dual gauge line from Dutton Park (with the big flyover) already in place to the port and opened to much fanfare, but anyways.

Note this to-do-list:

Key tasks include:

  • identifying a preferred corridor from Moree to the Port of Brisbane;
  • delivering the preliminary engineering design and environmental assessment;
  • land acquisition and approvals from Illabo to Toowoomba;
  • establishing a corridor between Rosewood (west of Ipswich) and Acacia Ridge (south of Brisbane);
  • investigating a rail tunnel linking the Port of Brisbane to Acacia Ridge; and
  • a new 24/7 freight connection from Acacia Ridge Intermodal Terminal to the Port of Brisbane to free up capacity for the south-east Queensland passenger network.


The southern corridor has long been a plan in the (unlikely?) event that the new line down the range became reality.
http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Projects/Name/S/Southern-Freight-Rail-Corridor-Study.aspx

But the press releases are very lacking in details of exactly how freight will move from that sloping acreage at Charlton to the end of the wires at Rosewood.
"A completed inland rail line would eventually link the Port of Brisbane to Melbourne via the Darling Downs and would separate freight and passenger train lines near Ipswich. "

A rather indefinite timeline.

"The Newman Government has already committed $67 million to deliver two of the 10 stages, consisting of two passing loops and upgrades to 11 rail tunnels near Toowoomba,” Mr Emerson said."

Given the tunnels are heritage listed, single track, cannot be widened and are narrow gauge only, that looks suspiciously like a narrow gauge only line, then.

http://www.nationals.org.au/News/LatestNews/tabid/94/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/8528/Inland-rail--the-future-of-freight.aspx

Perhaps there is another part of the plan they're not telling us?
"Navigating the rail development through the Great Dividing Range is expected to be the most costly part of the project. "
http://www.qt.com.au/news/coalition-focus-finalising-inland-rail-plans/2000005/

Just don't mention the Toowoomba bypass. It will probably be unsuitable for rail, and built in a hurry once trucking advocates realise the profitabilities, erhh, possibilities of the road. ie "This project will improve safety, increase capacity and improve travel times by getting trucks out of the Toowoomba CDB," he said.
http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/toowoomba-range-bypass-project-placed-down-pecking/1931218/
http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/state-government-toowoomba-bypass-election/1994212/

I understood that Inland Rail was never completely focussed on end-to-end transit, but a lot about developing inter-trip movements along the pathway, by encouraging freight from the regions along the corridor.

Perhaps I should invest in a western Toowoomba truck stop... certainly seems more likely than the via recta railway from Warwick that I keep hearing about:
http://www.southerndownssteamrailway.com.au/historical_info/via_recta.php
http://www.warwickdailynews.com.au/news/rail-vision-alive-and-well/281793/

But then again, the Redcliffe, oops, Kippa Ring railway is being built, isn't it? That unicorn got out of the cage. It only took 120 years, or so.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
According to Skynews, the Nationals have promised preliminary works such as surveys and land acquisition.

See: http://www.skynews.com.au/politics/article.aspx?id=900779
  locojoe67 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Gen X purgatory/urban Joh-land
Promises are what the electorate want to hear. Promises are the pretty little lies that become 'non-core' after the election. Governments generally spend money on causes with the best lobby groups. Any public benefit is likely incidental.

I might go and have a cup a tea and a nice lie-down. And avoid mainstrea media until after september 7.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
According to Skynews, the Nationals have promised preliminary works such as surveys and land acquisition.

See: http://www.skynews.com.au/politics/article.aspx?id=900779
awsgc24
For those who aren't across this proposal there is a thread  http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11349336.htm

First post back in 2009! Yep Laughing
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
I might go and have a cup a tea and a nice lie-down. And avoid mainstream media until after september 7.
locojoe67
I am fortunate to be in the UK at present and have been since before the new election date was announced. We won't be back in Oz before the election, so we have been spared... Smile
  Expost Deputy Commissioner

I am fortunate to be in the UK at present and have been since before the new election date was announced. We won't be back in Oz before the election, so we have been spared... Smile
Graham4405

We voted about 2 weeks ago, as we will be landing in Perth on the Indian Pacific on election day. So we have not bothered to listen to any of the garbage since then, not that we listened to much of it before we voted. What is surprising is the poll (galaxy, news, ect)  results that are on the media in Qld, and in NSW.  Complete opposite "results" from these polls in each state, except both are supposed to be national polls.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
We voted about 2 weeks ago, as we will be landing in Perth on the Indian Pacific on election day. So we have not bothered to listen to any of the garbage since then, not that we listened to much of it before we voted. What is surprising is the poll (galaxy, news, ect)  results that are on the media in Qld, and in NSW.  Complete opposite "results" from these polls in each state, except both are supposed to be national polls.
Expost
Me thinks it will mostly follow the last state elections of NSW and Qld. There maybe a few localised ALP support, SA comes to mind probably because of Julia, but even Tassie is looking at swinging right.

I think we all know who will win, the question really is by how much and who will remain.
  Expost Deputy Commissioner

Well, I think it will be interesting to see who wins what. Will the major minor parties (Katter and Clive Palmer) do any good.
  Expost Deputy Commissioner

Well, I think it will be interesting to see who wins what. Will the major minor parties (Katter and Clive Palmer) do any good.

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