SSFL Happenings 2014

 
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Celebrating its first birthday, the SSFL has been treated to a pedicure and exfoliation.
A range of works from ballast cleaning through to graffiti removal over the past few days.

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  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
How big a difference is the SSFL making?

Presumably as superfreighters are no longer restricted by the constraints of the commuter network it should have improved operational flexibility and service reliability.

However in the latest MTP, there are few trains timetabled during the curfew period (which off course doesn't apply to the SSFL). In fact there appears little change from the pre-SSFL situation.
Is there any move to get (Southern) trains into and out of Sydney any earlier/later? After all this was touted as a significant benefit of having it. Confused
  GregW67 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney Australia
I had been hoping for the return of overnight Sydney-Melbourne intermodal freight services, whose optimal departure times from Sydney coincided with peak passenger services.  Many will remember the days when SM5 and SM7 both ran out of Sydney 5-6 nights a week in the 6-7 PM time slot, with the corresponding MS4 and MS6 coming into Sydney around 6-8 AM.  Now we only have SM5 Monday nights and BA6 Wed and Sat, and presumably the same number of overnight trains in the opposite direction.

Some have told me that rail is not considered competitive with road over the distance between Sydney and Melbourne, and I would presume this would also apply Sydney-Brisbane, although there are daily Melbourne-Adelaide services.  Were the old overnight services operating at a loss and only kept going by government subsidy?  Others have said that it can take years for freight to move from one form of transport to another, due to contacts being signed several years in advance.  I simply don't know how accurate either of these ideas is, as I do not work in the industry.

But yes there appear to be NO extra freight services now that the SSFL has been operational for a year, so you would wonder when/if any increased traffic will start to appear on rail between Sydney and Melbourne.  This is a big disappointment in my eyes so far.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

I had been hoping for the return of overnight Sydney-Melbourne intermodal freight services, whose optimal departure times from Sydney coincided with peak passenger services.  Many will remember the days when SM5 and SM7 both ran out of Sydney 5-6 nights a week in the 6-7 PM time slot, with the corresponding MS4 and MS6 coming into Sydney around 6-8 AM.  Now we only have SM5 Monday nights and BA6 Wed and Sat, and presumably the same number of overnight trains in the opposite direction.

Some have told me that rail is not considered competitive with road over the distance between Sydney and Melbourne, and I would presume this would also apply Sydney-Brisbane, although there are daily Melbourne-Adelaide services.  Were the old overnight services operating at a loss and only kept going by government subsidy?  Others have said that it can take years for freight to move from one form of transport to another, due to contacts being signed several years in advance.  I simply don't know how accurate either of these ideas is, as I do not work in the industry.

But yes there appear to be NO extra freight services now that the SSFL has been operational for a year, so you would wonder when/if any increased traffic will start to appear on rail between Sydney and Melbourne.  This is a big disappointment in my eyes so far.
"GregW67"


Aurizon has just begun running a new 940km intermodal service from Brisbane to Mackay thanks to a new Coles contract (which was won from PNQ & Toll - but that's another story) so 900-ish kilometre runs must be able to make money...and look at the big freights coming out of Griffith now. I'd say the curfews have helped send Sydney-Melbourne freight to road and it's going to take a lot of effort to wrestle it back to rail. If the trains don't run when the customer needs them to, then the customer isn't going to use them.
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
From another perspective, it seems the number of late steelies that I have relieved at Condo has plummeted since the SSFL opened. While this doesn't mean that services have increased, trains which run on time are far more likely to retain customers.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
SSFL has made a significant difference but it only gets you to Macarthur South and that's a long way from Dynon . The Campbelltown Freeway has 4/3/2 lanes each way where SSFL has one for both ways .
Even south of Macarthur in ARTC territory rail motors and XPTs get pathing priority .
When NRC started there was still many single lane sections of the Hume Hwy in NSW and while lengthy bypasses made big differences all the southern railway got was remote control signalling on the same POS garbage steam age rail alignment . True there are Bi Di passing ops at Yass Harden and Jindalee but they do jack for you on long sections like Picton to Moss Vale and Goulburn to Yass . Junee really needs a long passing facility but there is no will to do anything .
The lack of a straighter more direct route between Albury and Goulburn really kills transit times , the road freight on this corridor skirts around both these locations but in between the southern lines alignment is pathetic . Instead you have Governments hell bent on blowing tax bux on wind farms and Carbon dioxide taxes to hold back progress whilst spending billions on Hume highways . Go figure .
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
SSFL has made a significant difference but it only gets you to Macarthur South and that's a long way from Dynon . The Campbelltown Freeway has 4/3/2 lanes each way where SSFL has one for both ways .
Even south of Macarthur in ARTC territory rail motors and XPTs get pathing priority .
When NRC started there was still many single lane sections of the Hume Hwy in NSW and while lengthy bypasses made big differences all the southern railway got was remote control signalling on the same POS garbage steam age rail alignment . True there are Bi Di passing ops at Yass Harden and Jindalee but they do jack for you on long sections like Picton to Moss Vale and Goulburn to Yass . Junee really needs a long passing facility but there is no will to do anything .
The lack of a straighter more direct route between Albury and Goulburn really kills transit times , the road freight on this corridor skirts around both these locations but in between the southern lines alignment is pathetic . Instead you have Governments hell bent on blowing tax bux on wind farms and Carbon dioxide taxes to hold back progress whilst spending billions on Hume highways . Go figure .
BDA

lets not forget that trucks; carbon tax exempt. Meanwhile, the most efficient form of transporting goods is slugged by another charge to render rail less competitive.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Yes what has been said by all posters on this topic is true. Once freight traffic is lost from rail it can take a long time to get that back because of pre existing contracts with road operators and also because the whole supply change from origin to final destination has to be rejigged.  In addition PN and Aurizon I don't believe are as aggressive in seeking new business or in this case retrieving lost business in the way that QUBE and SCT and others in NSW have. The exception is PN Queensland who have really tried hard between Brisbane and Cairns.

It is also quite probable that two big players will not get the yield per tonne between Melbourne and Sydney as they do on the longer corridors and therefore are not hungry for the lower yielding business between Melbourne and Sydney.

Whilst it is true that ssfl has improved the performance of trains into Sydney it is also relevant that the rest of the corridor is still affected by the aftermath of the mud hole problem and the many severe speed restrictions that were and are still imposed.  That's getting better but there's another 2 years to go and it's questionable if that problem will ever fully go away.  This means both transit time and reliability are still issues which won't help claw back business.

The other aspect is that the target 10 hour 40 minute transit time quoted by ARTC for Sydney to Melbourne is still too long in two aspects. The first is that it is not competive with road for overall door to door transit time.  Customers would accept a longer transit time if it could be virtually guaranteed day in and day out which was part of what the upgrade promised.  Very importantly the longer transit time means Rail Operators don't get a 24 hour return trip utilization of locos and wagon sets between Sydney and Melbourne meaning they need more equipment which is greater cost and hence not as profitable.

If you research the ARTC web site for these projects there were a large number of curve easing identified between Melbourne and Sydney proposed but never funded. Very roughly it costs about 3 million dollars to generate a 1 minute time saving in transit time. For Sydney to Melbourne you need to pull the target transit time down by about 45 minutes to get it to around 10 hours. At 10 hours you can then get a round trip every 24 hours which saves on locos and train sets improving the yield to train operators to be more aggressive in wanting to build business between Melbourne and Sydney.

In summary there probably needs to be around 150 million funded for curve easing as a minimum. You probably need at least a further 100 million to keep working on improving track condition from mud holes and probably another 100 million to link up a few of the passing lanes between Albury and Junee and Seymour and Broadmeadows to get some 20 to 30 kilometre long sections of double track to avoid bottle necks especially between Junee and Albury where overnight Sydney to Melbourne freighters will cross each other.

Is it financially viable. I believe yes. Rails market share of freight between Melbourne and Sydney is abysmal at 6 per cent roughly.  Coming from such a low basis every percentage increase in market share you get represents a significant tonneage increase.  Is it likely to happen. No unless the rail industry can demonstrate that it can deliver on what it originally set out to do with the first round of funding ARTC got or ARTC and the operators take  a big chunk of the risk and partner with Government for co funding.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
You should call the situation what it is - hopeless . You can basically forget about curve easing because the real world differences are trivial . How well do you think the Hume Hwy would work today if all it got was hot mix and a bit of curve easing along all off its previous alignment . ?
The realists have been telling you lot forever that the answer is major and lengthy re alignments - just like the Hume Highway got .
It's idiotic to think that getting the current Main Southern Railway (MSR) up to speed is going to make overall a current century railway . You could have super perway on the current alignment , you could have US domestic axle loads but it's never going to reduce the transit times because it sways too far either side of the most direct route .
If you want it to work you need it to run along a very similar alignment to the Hume and cook up ways to deal with the grades in a few places that freight trains would struggle with .
With todays motive power and train sizes the curvature is more of a problem than the gradients , ages ago the yanks developed locotrol and distributed power to deal with the drawbar issues and ECP braking to solve the air issues .
Train wise it can be done and if you think the Hp/tonne ratios are excessive look at road freight vehicles .
You have to get closer to roads transit times whilst beating them on fuel .
Fixing mud holes and some curve easing is the best and most expensive way to guarantee low market share .
  GregW67 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney Australia
I have to agree, curve easing would hardly begin to address this line's alignment problems.  Whole sections are full of sharp curves and would need almost total replacement.  Examples include Maldon-Mittagong Junction, Werai-Bundanoon, Medway Jct-Marulan, Goulburn-Joppa Jct, Cullerin-Coolalie, Yass Jct-Illalong Creek, Galong-Rocky Ponds, Harden-Jindalee (much of it), and Cootamundra-Bethungra.

If an upgraded line still had to cater for slow bulk freight such as wheat trains, then grades of about 1 in 66 would still be needed at least in the Up direction in addition to curve elimination, unless it was accepted that these trains would need more motive power to get up steeper grades like 1 in 40 on a rebuilt line.  To get a line with 1 in 66 ruling grades and no sharp curves would appear to require numerous large-scale earthworks, with huge embankments and cuttings as well as some tunnels.

Another possibility would be to construct a new route for interstate trains and leave the slow wheat and other freight on the existing route, maybe reduced to single line with passing loops.  However even this may not be able to remove the need for a lot of heavy earthworks, since a new route would have to be found somewhere which was almost straight and yet still only having around 1 in 40 maximum grades.

The one big hurdle in all of this is funding.  If a government could be convinced to undertake such a massive rebuilding project, along the lines of putting into rail transport what has been put into road transport, then it would be possible.  I suspect however that this hurdle will be bigger than any cutting, embankment, or tunnel involved.  I just wish this wasn't the case!
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
No , I don't think an affordable modern interstate rail highway can work within your constraints . 1:40 grades aren't the big bad wolf they used to be because steam made way for low powered diesels , in their turn for medium powered DCs with traction controls , and again to higher powered units with AC traction controls .
The ACs should should be able to drag the same sorts of loads up 1:30 grades that 3000Hp Super Series units were doing on 1:40 grades 20 years ago and probably about as fast .
Steeper grade allowances actually make the alignment easier and cheaper to make because the earth works are less extreme .
Also if you could run at (for example) 1:33 grades doing 90-100 km/h flat out you could probably get a fair way up them before the weight pulled you back to the balance speed .
Loaded bulk etc trains are a different story and part of the reason why you have the 1:40s southbound and up to 1:66 northbound .
Anyway I reckon straighter alignments with steeper grades in possibly 4-5 places would give you better transit times than we have now . The steep sections wouldn't be long , way shorter than say Cowan Bank and on far straighter alignment so none of the sub 60 km/h approach speeds .
Look at the approaches to all the 30s type grades , Unanderra Valley heights and the climb to Woy Woy tunnel . Curve radiuses kills the approach speeds so the freighters are back to a crawl unable to take advantage of the trains momentum .
Lastly imagine the X sailing up 30s type grades with a 120 km/h plus run at them . What grade ?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
BDA I don't appreciate your tone.  Are you apart of the industry that NEVERDELIVERS on the money you get given to do something and then you want someone to somehow chuck another billion or three on the basis your industry has suddenly seen the light and can deliver on the promises you made when you get the funds!!!

Rail industry’s performance on project cost, projectdelivery and delivering the benefits promised on the east coast is just appalling.   (That’s a big factor in whypeople are reluctant to invest in rail).

The whole Sydney to Melbourne upgrade has been an absolutedisgrace, poorly executed and now costing much more than budgeted as the mudhole and other problems get sorted.
So what have we got after spending almost 2 billion.  A track full of mudholes being fixed withoutactually fixing formation and drainage when the track was being resleepered. The corridor not able to get a train from Melbourne to Sydney in 10 hours 40 minutes consistently and reliably and a declining market share that you may as well say for Melbourne to Sydney is effectively zero as Melbourne to Sydney traffic is just attached and detached off Brisbane services.


I come from a part of the same industry that delivers morethan it promises and I personally have succeeded in subsequently getting hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment because my team proved we could be trusted to deliver effectively and get real benefits from what we were initially given.

Everyone knows the Sydney to Melbourne Corridor needs a new  more direct alignment through the SouthernHighlands especially and the University of Wollongong identified an alignment roughly running along side the Hume and by-passing Harden.   Yes it would be great and it would start tobe more the “super railway” you and I would dearly like to have.

But another option when you haven’t got the money is to workwith what you’ve got or in this case what you should have got and deliver at least a reliable and consistent service.  
What I outlined in my post came from talking to drivers, seeing thecurrent track first hand (from the cab) and drawing on my own experience and others.


We at least need a railway that can get freight reliably andconsistently in ten hours.  That’s whatthe clients on the ground want.   You cando 10 hours with what was proposed in my post, stabilize your business, get more business and then say to Government and the industry look at what we’ve done and we can do a lot more if you want to invest in a much more direct route for freight.

People hate comparisons.
But look at what was a basket case with track standards and reliabilityin Tasmania.   Go down there now or talkto a few industry mates and see how dramatically improved the performance of their goat track has been with a modest investment and a rail management looking very hard to win back business.
They’ve done a hell of a lot more with the funds they were given thanwhat has turned out with the Sydney to Melbourne Upgrade.   But oh no, no one in the industry in NSW orVictoria could possibly lower themselves to do that because they know better.  So much better in fact that as soon as Btriples get accepted on the Hume you can all go home and look at train pictures of what used to be.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Just to give an idea of how good track sub grade can deliver very positive results, the 400km section between Mackay and Townsville now using mostly 60kg rail on concrete sleepers still features some 40 and 60km curves but also has long tangents and is controlled with CTC (RCS in Queensland) signalling on mostly single track. Some freights now average between 70-78km/h over this 400km section and can transit this section faster than highway traffic. Good track and good pathing can achieve results despite poor alignments.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Some of the comparisons are either silly or just plain wrong.

The cost of the entire NSW Lease was grossly underestimated, not that anyone knew the true cost because no one in NSW had a clue. Probably the same situation with the Victorian NE line deal also Rolling Eyes
The original cost of the SSFL was based on information provided by NSW - it actually needed 5 times more. When it came to funding ARTC had to go it alone whereas the adjacent Hume Freeway upgrades north of Campbelltown received massive federal and state funding.

In September 2004 the federal funding committed upfront was clearly insufficient to address all the remedial work needed from day one across the entire NSW DIRN. ARTC started on the back foot and has been ever since.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Train planner , I don't know which planet you come from because it clearly isn't this one . For whatever reasons you dislike my tone and I'd say that's because you think it's baseless negativity . Time to go back to school .

I've typed out the same sad true realities for probably 20 yrs here and people still like to use "The Force" to conger up reasons why superfreighters can't launch from Sydney and rock in Melbourne 10 hours later .
Facts of life:
The distance is around around 960 Km so to do your fictitious 10 hour dash means AVERAGING 96 km/h .
In reality land you drags your superfreighter out of Sydney freight terminal at 15 km/h and the first speed board you see is 70 km/h then 80 south of Villawood and on it goes . I'd like to know how many horsepower per tonne it takes to drag typical super up Menangle Bank at 96 clicks , I suppose if YOU were at the helm you could risk doing 96 from Mauldon and Picton where the legal speeds are more like 80 and lower . Once you leave Picton very little of the line from there to Tycan is anything like 96 , bout 3 ks through Yerrinboul and the rest around 75 . Going to average 96 superman when the legal track speed doesn't allow you to even if you had the engine power which you NEVER will ?
If you were a driver experienced on this corridor you would know better than to make such ridiculous statements .
But I digress , doing 96 through Moss Vale on the down and around the 80 and 65 on Exeter Bank . Controls calling the Police . But we'll keep looking , 75 legal on the down approaching Marulan and 80 reducing through Goulburn . I image it's a bit rough round the right hander into Joppa doing 96 and good luck getting up the first 40 to Cooks Cutting doing 96 . And I guess we're breaking the law again at Muck Muck Billy Ck south of Bredalbin Plains and all the way to Gunning .
But , don't take my word for it you get yourself qualified and go try doing 96 for long periods of time between Sydney and Bethungra .

Every superfreighter train travelling between Sydney and Melbourne is an MB/BM service ? You haven't got a clue have you . I wonder why every container service isn't called BM or MB . I wonder what SM/MS or AB/BA means - shh ! Its a secret code ...

If you're still keen come back and tell us the facts of life when you have some idea what you are attempting to spray us with .
Why am I still bothering . It works like this Einstein , it IS NOT POSSIBLE TO LEGALLY AVERAGE ANYTRHING LIKE 96 km/h so if you know how to achieve it some other way the floors yours .
You must think drivers putt around slowly to put a spanner in the works , if you got a cab ride you learnt SFA from it . The best we were ever able to achieve twice was Chullora to Dynon in 12 hours and on both occasions it was with really short really light very overpowered trains . I talking about an 81 class with a little over 400 tonnes 8 wagons , flat out thrashed all the way with a clear run and a 5 min crew change in Junee . No 80 max in the Sydney metrop in those days and you get round the slow sections very smartly with less than 250 metres of train .
How do you think you're going to go attempt this with more like 1000-1300T/engine and trains more like 800 to 1300 m long ?

Build us a corridor that allows us to run at high average speeds for long periods of time and it will happen . Just don't be so stupid as to assume that that firstly it IS possible on the current alignment , which it isn't , and secondly we don't do it because we can't be bothered trying .
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks for your real world view BDA.

Engine men are very patient people so be a bit more patient and help with some real answers to my dumb questions.  You're aware it was ARTC s words not mine that Melbourne to Sydney transit time for a freighter was going to be 10 hours 40 minutes. Right or wrong?  You've said that's well nigh on impossible and it's more like 12 hours. So as an average on a lets call reasonably typical trip what is the real transit time for a freighter?

Can you tell us the maximum speed the likes of NR's , LDP's, 93's etc are geared for. Is it 120km/hr? The 2CM bogies and the more recent Bradken and other constant contact side bearer bogies in use on wagons do they have a design speed of 120/130 km/hr?

Power to weight ratios of typical freighters. Is the horsepower that's available for traction around 3900 out of the 4200 on the classes referred to above as an average. What's the average gross tonnage of an intermodal freighter??  Do Australian rail operators put much science behind the hp per tonne ratio they use on these services. As you know that's given quite a lot of attention on some US railroads.  I note you refer to distributed power used in North America. Do your industry contacts there report that they get better acceleration and braking and general overall train handling performance using DPU on priority UPS intermodal type trains versus having all the power up front.

On a typical trip how many times are you stopped for crossings or have restricted running because of traffic ahead?  How much does that cost you in time.  Given the state of the track how much time do you think is lost overall due to temporary speed restrictions???  

In your reference to Junee and it requiring a decent loop, how much time including slowing, stopped and then accelerating does a crew change actually take?

You mentioned grades are not as much as a killer as the restricted curves that kill the approach speed of trains. Of the many that exist how many are real killers of performance?  I seem to recall on other posts reinstating some of the original alignment that was eliminated as part of the grade improvements was considered a real option for reinstatement because of the improved alignment you get. Do you agree with that and roughly how many are there.

One last question. Do you think intermodal trains formed of articulated three, four and even 5 platforms is a better train to run compared to the mixed consists of more conventional wagons we run now?

And of most interest if you had one section of line that you reckon would give the best bang for buck performance with a deviation what would that be short of rebuilding Bethungra to Picton and how  many Kim's would it be in length and how much time would it save you.


Look forward to your responses as I am sure other posters will and then I might be able to better respond.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks for your real world view BDA.

Engine men are very patient people so be a bit more patient and help with some real answers to my dumb questions.  You're aware it was ARTC s words not mine that Melbourne to Sydney transit time for a freighter was going to be 10 hours 40 minutes. Right or wrong?  You've said that's well nigh on impossible and it's more like 12 hours. So as an average on a lets call reasonably typical trip what is the real transit time for a freighter?

Can you tell us the maximum speed the likes of NR's , LDP's, 93's etc are geared for. Is it 120km/hr? The 2CM bogies and the more recent Bradken and other constant contact side bearer bogies in use on wagons do they have a design speed of 120/130 km/hr?

Power to weight ratios of typical freighters. Is the horsepower that's available for traction around 3900 out of the 4200 on the classes referred to above as an average. What's the average gross tonnage of an intermodal freighter??  Do Australian rail operators put much science behind the hp per tonne ratio they use on these services. As you know that's given quite a lot of attention on some US railroads.  I note you refer to distributed power used in North America. Do your industry contacts there report that they get better acceleration and braking and general overall train handling performance using DPU on priority UPS intermodal type trains versus having all the power up front.

On a typical trip how many times are you stopped for crossings or have restricted running because of traffic ahead?  How much does that cost you in time.  Given the state of the track how much time do you think is lost overall due to temporary speed restrictions???  

In your reference to Junee and it requiring a decent loop, how much time including slowing, stopped and then accelerating does a crew change actually take?

You mentioned grades are not as much as a killer as the restricted curves that kill the approach speed of trains. Of the many that exist how many are real killers of performance?  I seem to recall on other posts reinstating some of the original alignment that was eliminated as part of the grade improvements was considered a real option for reinstatement because of the improved alignment you get. Do you agree with that and roughly how many are there.

One last question. Do you think intermodal trains formed of articulated three, four and even 5 platforms is a better train to run compared to the mixed consists of more conventional wagons we run now?

And of most interest if you had one section of line that you reckon would give the best bang for buck performance with a deviation what would that be short of rebuilding Bethungra to Picton and how  many Kim's would it be in length and how much time would it save you.


Look forward to your responses as I am sure other posters will and then I might be able to better respond.
  DBclass Chief Commissioner

Location: Western Australia
IME, to average 96km/h on a 1000km journey, it means running at 120/130 for most of the trip to balance the slow running at each end and any stops in between. When I drove from Port Augusta to Norseman I averaged something like 80 or 85 kph, even though I did 110 or 120 where I could(hours on end on the Nullabour), even 130 because unofficially its legal out there. Stopping at all for any reason kills your average speed.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
We have been down this path time and again and on each occasion I have tried to explain that 10 hours Melbourne - Sydney & R is rubbish. It simply cannot be done in current or foreseeable conditions. Many of the ideas put forward in this regard from time to time remind me of the 'Railway Races to the North' (Scotland) of the late 19th century.

My previous rants can be summarised as follows:


  • Melbourne to Sydney is as near 1,000 km as doesn't matter.

  • 10 hours for 1,000 km equals 100km/h end to end (open throttle to dead stop).

  • Allow 1 hour for 'metrop running' and another hour for speed restrictions, crew change, and rooting about and we now have something over 900 km to run in 8 hours which equates to 113 km/h.

  • Current locos and wagons are limited to 115 km/h.



The only way that rail can compete on this route is a reliable, guaranteed second day delivery based on frequent shuttle type services priced according to demand (bit like airfares). All this could be done with existing technology and equipment - the only thing lacking is the 'entrepreneurial spirit' to try.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

For all the rebuild costs and ongoing fuel costs for diesels running at higher speeds, is a ten hour transit time needed by freight forwarders anyway? Next day delivery means a train leaving Sydney or Melbourne by 5.00pm in the afternoon and arriving in Sydney or Melbourne by 6.00am or 7.00am the next morning. Providing trains can achieve a thirteen or fourteen hour transit (68-74km/h average) day in day out and meet arrival times for morning deliveries, then anything faster could be just a waste of fuel and effort by rail operators. Just because trucks can do the trip faster doesn't mean anyone is at the final delivery point to accept a delivery when those faster trucks arrive. Reliability first, higher average speeds next, higher velocities last.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Well the trucks must be doing something right because they too and fro 24 7 365 . They don't all leave Sydney and Melbourne at 9 PM to to arrive at 6:30 the next morning .
If you ask the truckies who stop at Yass services centre for a quick coffee after midnight they say the trip takes them around 9 hrs 45 min .

As for David Marsian claiming 10 Hrs 40min for 1500m superfreighters and 11 40 for 1800m ones , it really shows how much they were relying on the force to even publish their clueless rot . They may have partially gotten away with convincing their federal masters of this crap at the time but the people doing the job night after night knew they were Fullovit . Had THEY taken a few cab rides they would have avoided a whole lot of grief as would some of the operators who swallowed the lie .
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Well the trucks must be doing something right because they too and fro 24 7 365 . They don't all leave Sydney and Melbourne at 9 PM to to arrive at 6:30 the next morning .
If you ask the truckies who stop at Yass services centre for a quick coffee after midnight they say the trip takes them around 9 hrs 45 min .

As for David Marsian claiming 10 Hrs 40min for 1500m superfreighters and 11 40 for 1800m ones , it really shows how much they were relying on the force to even publish their clueless rot . They may have partially gotten away with convincing their federal masters of this crap at the time but the people doing the job night after night knew they were Fullovit . Had THEY taken a few cab rides they would have avoided a whole lot of grief as would some of the operators who swallowed the lie .
BDA

Sums up so much of the industry these days:
'It's full of those who don't know that they don't know'
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Construct a railway that is purpose built to be an interstate corridor , nothing less will ever be fit for the purpose being discussed here no matter how much money is thrown at it .
Basically start looking at places where the Hume crosses or runs parallel to the MSR and then bypass the rail sections that don't . Forget about it being a pass railway in between the capitals because the majority user is freight services . Can easily provide bus etc access to the larger centres like CL does now .
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Construct a railway that is purpose built to be an interstate corridor , nothing less will ever be fit for the purpose being discussed here no matter how much money is thrown at it .
Basically start looking at places where the Hume crosses or runs parallel to the MSR and then bypass the rail sections that don't ..
BDA

Not going to happen. Wouldn't be surprised if the federal drip feed drys up further. Mad

Both the Hume and Pacific were fit for purpose even without the works done in the past 35 years. In many places the road was simply duplicated which is cheaper than deviations. Throughout this period the 'old' sections of Hume were maintained whilst the condition of the main south became a productive source of OTSI reports.

Anyway it's moot because no one is going to fund an equivalent rail program and if they did it as per the Hume/Pacific it would take another 35 years to deliver. Meanwhile money is needed to prevent the existing track from deteriorating further. Cousin Hume will require extensive pavement renewal over the next 15 years which will also need funding.
In this context and given the lack of government funding it was surprising that the SSFL happened.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Its unfortunate that everyone has become so obsessed with running time between Sydney and Melbourne that all else is lost.
Its possible RIGHT NOW to run freight trains between Sydney and Melbourne in under 10 hours .
Remember the Cargo Sprinter, purchased for this very purpose, but never used for this purpose.
Designed to run at XPT speeds on a XPT schedule.
If there was such a need, then someone would be running such services, but no one is .
The reason the Cargo Sprinter was a flop was hi speed running means hi freight rates that no one wants to pay.
AN also had a go with hi speed freight trains when they bought the ELs and they ran several trials across the TAR
of 140 KMH hi speed freight trains.
Again a total flop.
Too expensive to run.
The only way rail can compete with road , is to totally forget running times and concentrate on the most important factor
that affects the ratio of road vs rail, and thats freight rates, $ per ntk.
If rail charged 1/2 the rate that road charges, then the Hume highway wouldnt have a truck on it.

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