The Rock-Oaklands (bored creek) upgrade

 
  Westby3026 Locomotive Driver

It appears that the line between the junction at the rock and the emerald grain dump is being upgraded to allow mainline locos to back there consist up without changing to 48s, similar to what has just happened to Henty west on the rand line, rumour is also around town that this heavy rail will be laid all the way to oaklands, with the section between boree creek and oaklands to be reopened for iminant mining operations between urana and oaklands, if this is true, rail revival in this part of the riverina could be reality

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  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
It appears that the line between the junction at the rock and the emerald grain dump is being upgraded to allow mainline locos to back there consist up without changing to 48s, similar to what has just happened to Henty West on the Rand line, rumour is also around town that this heavy rail will be laid all the way to Oaklands, with the section between Boree Creek and Oaklands to be reopened for imminent mining operations between Urana and Oaklands, if this is true, rail revival in this part of the Riverina could be reality
Westby3026

Mining for Coal?

Is old rail 40kg/m or 47km/m?

Presumably new rail is 50kg/m, 53kg/m or 60kg/m?
  Fred Scuttle Junior Train Controller

Location: Point Clare, NSW
. . . . . . . .  rumour is also around town that this heavy rail will be laid all the way to oaklands . . . . .
Westby3026

Rumours are the lifeblood of the railfan world. It would seem that upgrading of the Oaklands (Boree Creek) branch to allow for mainline loco access to grain loading facilities is the more likely scenario.

Would anyone know if any coal exploration has been carried out in the Urana-Oaklands area?
  woodford Chief Commissioner

The rail around Coorabin appears to be 60 lb but I did not particularly check the exact weight or spec of rail.

The rumors of a Coal mine around Oaklands has been around for decades, no new news has come from Coalworks or Whitehaven coal about any mine in the area. The last news latish 2012 being if Whitehaven succeeded in its bid to take over Coalworks the mine would very likely not go ahead.

woodford
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Coalworks was delisted on the 22 august 2012, so I assume Whitehavens takeover was successfull, Whitehaven Coal was known not to be interested in a mine at Oaklands, so that looks like the end at this stage.

woodford
  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, VIC
Coalworks was delisted on the 22 august 2012, so I assume Whitehavens takeover was successfull, Whitehaven Coal was known not to be interested in a mine at Oaklands, so that looks like the end at this stage.

woodford
woodford
Yes, the sale was completed in August 2012.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
It appears that the line between the junction at the rock and the emerald grain dump is being upgraded to allow mainline locos to back there consist up without changing to 48s, similar to what has just happened to Henty west on the rand line, rumour is also around town that this heavy rail will be laid all the way to oaklands, with the section between boree creek and oaklands to be reopened for iminant mining operations between urana and oaklands, if this is true, rail revival in this part of the riverina could be reality
Westby3026

thks for your contribution. the line to the emerald grain facility makes sense. oaklands?  it would be less of a distance to upgrade oaklands to urana for traffic to melbourne ports or geelong.  the coal or bulk mining product would spend less time on rail and quicker to the port going south.  was this considered?
  monday Chief Commissioner

At the minimum, its to allow mainliners to get to The Rock ABB grain terminal, which is off the mainline by a couple of km's and that presently requires branchliners to get to it.  I am uncertain if the whole line to Boree Creek is being upgraded to allow mainliners down that way, but it wouldn't surprise me.  I don't believe there are any moves a foot to reopen Oaklands/Boree Creek

The day of the branchliner is nigh.  It basically will leave Hillston and Lake Car in the Riverina, and Walgett, Merrywinebone, Weemelah in the North.

Who can also forget the Tottenham branch!

There is definitely a philosophy to get rid of the 'branchliner' only lines in the fullness of time - considering the youngest of any branchliner 47, 48, 49 or T class is now 40+ years, with most now approaching 50 years, there is little appetite for operators being force to keep a niche fleet of units so it is appropriate for the regional lines being upgraded to take units like 81's etc.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

There is definitely a philosophy to get rid of the 'branchliner' only lines in the fullness of time - considering the youngest of any branchliner 47, 48, 49 or T class is now 40+ years, with most now approaching 50 years, there is little appetite for operators being force to keep a niche fleet of units so it is appropriate for the regional lines being upgraded to take units like 81's etc.
monday

this is a role the smaller railroads play in the usa. these railroads play a very important role as feeder railroads lifting mainline traffic volumes.  sadly australia is yet to work this out.  imagine what could be done on the heywood to mount gambier branch working with a road operator in partnership?
  monday Chief Commissioner

There is no conspiracy or magic bullet with running shortlines in Australia - the comparison with the US is erroneous, because quite simply there is no extensive second hand market for rollingstock, as well as insurance and extensive accreditation requirements (read as overheads).

Most of the short line runners in the US are able to buy cheap locos and rollingstock that have some residual life left in them, which they operate until they die, then buy just more of the same - sort of like the bus company that does school runs who keeps buying cheap B58's or SL200's until they die, then gets another one, churn and burn.

This ability keep their costs down.

For example, you could buy a good SD-40 for $100k (which would get you nothing in Australia), and it may go 5 months or 5 years.  Once its stuffed, its probably a $1m+ rebuild, but you can equally buy another one for $100k to replace it.  If you've got the supply, you'd never bother to rebuild them, besides of which your low cost model doesn't factor in spending $1m on each loco every five years anyway.  With such a ready supply you can probably also cut corners on long term preventative maintenance too, as you never expect to keep running them long term.

Any railway in Australia has to factor in higher upfront purchase costs (if you can buy locos) maintenance costs, as it cant be assumed you can get second hand equipment.  

To sum it up, no comparison and there is no such thing as 'cheap and cheerful' branch line working in Australia.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Interesting statements regarding his line.
Who or is the recieval site at Urana still in operation.
I recall snooping around there 3-4 years ago, a large grain shed, cant remember if there where any silos, but the GrainCorp signs where still there and did look like things where still in use. I would imagine there would be plenty of grain traffic if the site was back on the system.
It isn't on GrainCorps list of operational sites.
BigShunter.
  Westby3026 Locomotive Driver

Thanks for your responses, being only a young bloke with not a huge intellect when it comes to railways I appreciate it, I was actually carting my own grain there and saw the John holland mob Laying the track beside the existing line, and a worker saying they intend to go the whole way through, they must be prepared for something to happen with them putting in a new bridge to the west of too tool. It's sad to hear most farmers complaining about the waste of money spent on the line, if Tim Fischer, an ex deputy pm didn't own a farm at boree creek I think it would have been closed years ago
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
There is no conspiracy or magic bullet with running shortlines in Australia - the comparison with the US is erroneous, because quite simply there is no extensive second hand market for rollingstock, as well as insurance and extensive accreditation requirements (read as overheads).

Most of the short line runners in the US are able to buy cheap locos and rollingstock that have some residual life left in them, which they operate until they die, then buy just more of the same - sort of like the bus company that does school runs who keeps buying cheap B58's or SL200's until they die, then gets another one, churn and burn.

This ability keep their costs down.

For example, you could buy a good SD-40 for $100k (which would get you nothing in Australia), and it may go 5 months or 5 years.  Once its stuffed, its probably a $1m+ rebuild, but you can equally buy another one for $100k to replace it.
monday
Well if you buy a $100k SD40 it will break down. But then again, even class 1 RR's like Norfolk Southern are buying second hand SD40-2's to replace the odd fleets of GP38/38AC/38-2 etc.

So fleet consistency seems to be thing over there as well.

Part of the reason why they have so many units over there second hand is a pretty regular fleet replacement (BNSF being very very aggressive in this respect).
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
The other fundamental differance between Australia and the US is that the US is a vertically integrated system, where the rail operators OWN the tracks.
Here they dont.
Using the Mt Gambier line for example, no private rail operator is going to bankroll the reopening of this line simply because the SA Govt still owns the tracks.
If Govts want to see little used or closed railway lines reopened, they have to either reopen them themselves, or sell or give them away to someone who willl.
All of the silly games re leasing the lines to private operators wont ever work.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The other fundamental differance between Australia and the US is that the US is a vertically integrated system, where the rail operators OWN the tracks.
Here they dont.
Using the Mt Gambier line for example, no private rail operator is going to bankroll the reopening of this line simply because the SA Govt still owns the tracks.
If Govts want to see little used or closed railway lines reopened, they have to either reopen them themselves, or sell or give them away to someone who willl.
All of the silly games re leasing the lines to private operators wont ever work.
MD

The South Australian Government put $9m on the table to assist in the re-opening.  The customers were there but as I understand it no bigger operator wanted the business (they were too busy chasing coal).  I do know however El Zorro were keen but I believe they needed to sort out their other contracts first.

This opportunity was plum for a short line operator and "meet" say PN or GWA at the interchange like many USA short line railroads do (we have been discussing the USA).  I think it could have worked and probably still can.

Ray Evans had the idea but not the business structure.  I know there was quite a bit of interest to Portland but you needed to get the Port of Portland on board and perhaps they have not been interested?

Probably should get back on topic.  

If what has been discussed today is correct then from where is the mining output coming?
  brownhillboy Train Controller

Thanks for your responses, being only a young bloke with not a huge intellect when it comes to railways I appreciate it, I was actually carting my own grain there and saw the John holland mob Laying the track beside the existing line, and a worker saying they intend to go the whole way through, they must be prepared for something to happen with them putting in a new bridge to the west of too tool. It's sad to hear most farmers complaining about the waste of money spent on the line, if Tim Fischer, an ex deputy pm didn't own a farm at boree creek I think it would have been closed years ago
Westby3026
Transport NSW put out a press release in September 2012 mentioning upgrading of the line to Boree Creek and rebuilding a bridge at Tootool. Check out their website for information on all grain line upgrades.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Transport NSW put out a press release in September 2012 mentioning upgrading of the line to Boree Creek and rebuilding a bridge at Tootool. Check out their website for information on all grain line upgrades.
brownhillboy
Is this the article mentioned ?

http://freight.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/rail/grain-lines/152.html


BigShunter.
  brownhillboy Train Controller

Is this the article mentioned ?

http://freight.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/rail/grain-lines/152.html


BigShunter.
BigShunter
That wasn't the article I read, but you have come up with the project completed announcement. Interesting to note that re-railing wasn't mentioned in either article, so we are none the wiser as to the reason behind the current works.
  georges Train Controller

What happened to the Victorian "Road Transferable Locomotive", the Western Star road prime mover which was modified to haul a limited number of wagons on rail whilst still being road registered? Wikipedia has a very short article. I can't find any webpage within the first google search page that might show why it was unsatisfactory apart from someone mentioning excessive road weight. Maybe the concept needs revisiting....??
3l diesel
Page http://www.jnsforum.com/community/topic/8066-road-transferable-locomotive/ may be helpful
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
It’s great to hear the news that this branchline is getting a further upgrade.  Whilst I know people are lamenting the loss of the older “branchliner” locos, the like of which I’ve enjoyed watching over the years, the upgrade is as much if not more about increasing wagon axleloads and train weights to improve productivity of tonnes carried for each train.
I was fortunate enough to work very closely on a project to improve the cost and effectiveness of rail haulage of grain in WA in the 1980’s and 1990’s and there is a lot more to this than just putting “mainline units” onto upgraded branchlines.  We researched and then trialed a combination of track upgrades, wagon upgrades, changes to loading and unloading of trains and improving the “cycle” times of wagons and locos.
When we started it was not uncommon for a grain wagon or block of wagons to get one round trip per week.  Our target was to get 90% of the grain network into a state whereby a block train of bogie hopper wagons would do a complete empty-load cycle in 24 hours and to do that we upgraded track, revamped grain load out facilities and track and introduced changes at 3 ports to get the 24 hour cycle time.
With Boree Creek that upgrade is likely to allow up to 23 tonne axled load if the rerailing is using 47Kg/m or heavier rail and the empty speed of trains is like to go to 70 or 8okm/hr and probably for loaded trains from 40km/hr to likely 60km/hr.  The increase in wagon and train weight and the better turnround of the train consists as well will result in a huge productivity improvement.
The grain haulage companies in investing increasingly in their own grain fleets are looking for these types of productivity measures.  It’s great to see.  The more they invest in rail the more wedded they are to stay with rail.
In Victoria now we have seen two branchlines reinstated the funding for which was co funded by both Government and the grain handler.  This is strong evidence that the grain handlers see the benefit of using rail.
  L1150 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Pakenham Vic.
What happened to the Victorian "Road Transferable Locomotive", the Western Star road prime mover which was modified to haul a limited number of wagons on rail whilst still being road registered? Wikipedia has a very short article. I can't find any webpage within the first google search page that might show why it was unsatisfactory apart from someone mentioning excessive road weight. Maybe the concept needs revisiting....??
3l diesel
[img]http://i1207.photobucket.com/albums/bb462/Chappy63/RTL0322.jpg[/img]

This?Very Happy
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Thanks for your responses, being only a young bloke with not a huge intellect when it comes to railways I appreciate it, I was actually carting my own grain there and saw the John holland mob Laying the track beside the existing line, and a worker saying they intend to go the whole way through, they must be prepared for something to happen with them putting in a new bridge to the west of too tool. It's sad to hear most farmers complaining about the waste of money spent on the line, if Tim Fischer, an ex deputy pm didn't own a farm at boree creek I think it would have been closed years ago
Westby3026

Gidday Westby3026, wondering if you have any updates on the upgrading or what ever is taking place along the line, perhaps another quick chat with the blokes from John Holland, would be the go.

BigShunter.
  Rodo Chief Commissioner

Location: Southern Riverina
The Boree Creek line has almost entirely 60lb rail. There has been talk of relaying it with heavier rail and most of the timber trestles have been replaced by large concrete box culverts. It looks as if more of the work is now taking place.


Any coal possibilities have been well laid to rest in the last 2 years. Oaklands coal has had speculation about its development since the 1920s.
  Westby3026 Locomotive Driver

Just been to the rock and theres action everywhere in the railway yard, a full grain train sitting in the far western siding behind the silos 4 x 48 class locos were also there as well as 3 x 81 or NR Class (not completely sure what they were from a distance) coupled together on there own, and then another 81 class sitting on its own, the 48s then left towards wagga at full noise and there were still drivers in the yard, they might be planning to put the big locos on the grain wagons to send out on its first run im not sure but the lines been rerailed and all new steel sleepers laid down, can anyone find any info on the upgrade on the www, because im stuffed if i can
  jcsaws63 Locomotive Driver

Location: 200Mts from the 535k post
Thanks for your responses, being only a young bloke with not a huge intellect when it comes to railways I appreciate it, I was actually carting my own grain there and saw the John holland mob Laying the track beside the existing line, and a worker saying they intend to go the whole way through, they must be prepared for something to happen with them putting in a new bridge to the west of too tool. It's sad to hear most farmers complaining about the waste of money spent on the line, if Tim Fischer, an ex deputy pm didn't own a farm at boree creek I think it would have been closed years ago
Westby3026

I talked to someone who said that John holland were only contracted out to somewhere near French park. I was out that way last Friday, and saw that the upgrade had gone past Tootol but not as far as Milbourlong. why it stops there, Who knows? it should at least go to Lockhart.

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