How do you know that the line would have not been viable if gauge-converted? Do you have an 'alternative universe' machine in amongst your grab-bag of witty props?
I endorse Don's comments.
The Commonwealth's cynical grab of our (and Victoria's) broad gauge railway systems effectively destroyed a great deal of potential use of rail in favour of the heavily subsidised road competition which has taken its place to the great detriment and cost of our roads. The extra strength of foundations for heavy truck use is an example of this, to say nothing of the deterioration of the surface of the more lightly constructed roads which are traversed by wheat trucks from rail served silos.
Having travelled by overnight sleeping car to and from my work in the South East years ago, I am appalled at the waste involved. Now even the standard gauge direct connection from Pinnaroo to Port Adelaide is in danger from road competition. How does that help road congestion or safety?
The Mount Gambier railway was of a high standard after gauge conversion (yes I know about the standardisation agreement between the Commonwealth and the State governments) and could have remained viable if it hadn't been cut off from Adelaide.
New South Wales, the colony which caused the whole damned mess, has got off SCOTT free, while Victoria and S.A. who stuck to the original agreements have suffered ever since inter-capital standardisation on the cheap reared its ugly head.
As for SCOTT, his monopoly of transport in the South East (using sub-standard trucks and driver conditions, as was revealed recently) and of the influential 'Border Watch' newspaper was, and is, a major hindrance to any hope of the now sensible solution of complete standardisation of all Victorian lines to the West of Melbourne and those which were unnecessarily and very unfairly abandoned in S.A..
And Aaron. Please give me an example of when the privatisation of natural state monopolies has ever resulted in cheaper and more efficient services to the public WHICH HAS TO PAY FOR THEM WHETHER AS TAXES BASED ON THEIR INCOMES TO PAY FOR THEIR OWN COMMON PROPERTY, OR TO PRIVATE OWNERS WHO CHARGE WHAT THEY LIKE WHETHER THE END USER CAN AFFORD IT OR NOT, AND ARE AS OFTEN AS NOT BASED IN OTHER COUNTRIES, MESSING UP OUR BALANCE OF PAYMENTS IN THEIR FAVOUR.
I'd like to be able to heat my house as I once could instead of paying hundreds of dollars to heat one small and heavily insulated room.