Cattle and General Freight contracts renewed with Aurizon

  Toddy Train Controller

Good to see the trains will stay for at least a few more years. Cattle will hopefully stay on rail for a fair few more years with the announcement that the government is purchasing new crates. Does anyone know what the other services besides cattle and the Winton gypsum train are?

I'm in Longreach at the moment and the only wagons in the yard are the gypsum wagons. Just wondering if general freight still runs to Longreach and Winton as I've seen a lot of Aurizon trucks with containers on them? I haven't seen any cattle trains either so I'm also guessing the season has finished up at the moment.

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  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

The  2015 cattle season finished up in November and probably won't start again until March 2016, but railings this year will continue to be impacted by the loss of breeding stock during the 2013-2015 drought.

Aurizon has gathered together around 150 PCZY and PCUY container wagons in yards at Ayr and Cairns in the last six months for the conversion to cattle traffic, these wagons may also allow 100km/h running for the cattle trains too (up from 80km/h).

The Winton freight usually runs once a week but I believe it can be scheduled for twice a week. A lot of containers are railed into Rockhampton and then trucked west, hopefully the renewal of this contract and QR's upgrades to the Central Line west of Emerald will change that for Aurizon and allow heavier container wagons to continue west.
  Toddy Train Controller

Cheers for the information Sulla. Very informative and it's great to hear that Aurizon are still committed to the cattle haulage with  the conversion of other wagons.

It would be good to see the Winton train increase with the use of heavier weight container wagons. On my travels along the line apart from the lime container wagons at Longreach and Winton I only saw a solitary side door container at Barcaldine, but many aurizon containers on road trains. A recent railway digest article on the Winton line mentioned the lime producer wasn't happy with the service so it would be a shame for cattle to be the only traffic out of Winton.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
What intermodal and line side goods terminals are available west of Rodkhampton and why must these containers travel via road and not rail currently please.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Looks like the Queensland Government is making moves to get the most out of these new contracts...tenders for a study into expanding cattle loading facilities and adding intermodal facilities at Richmond on the Mt Isa line have been released. Intermodal traffic at Richmond would centre around new irrigated cotton projects getting underway along the Flinders River.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

"What intermodal and line side goods terminals are available west of Rodkhampton and why must these containers travel via road and not rail currently please."

As far as I know the Central Line, particularly west of Emerald has very little capacity to handle intermodal at present...I don't think there are any functioning container terminals on the line other than the gypsum facilities at Winton. This line has never carried much container traffic, the only significant containerised commodity the Central Line has carried, other than gypsum, was cotton east of Emerald. In fact the line was one of the last holdouts for conventional wagon load traffic in the 2000s as QR adopted the container or nothing policy. This lack of container handling facilities is probably the main reason so many containers are presently trucked west of Rockhampton, however the issue of Aurizon (or another operator) being able to rail 80-tonne wagons to Rockhampton and then having reduce wagon gross to 64-tonnes to travel west of Emerald is no doubt a problem too. And this freight containers that are railed west have to be emptied or filled while still on the wagons.

However considering government interest in funding intermodal facilities at Richmond, it's possible something similar may be contemplated for Emerald and Longreach in the future.
  NSWGR8022 Chief Train Controller

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
Are @Aurizon coming back down to earth now they realise the coal business is in a downturn looking for new business in the central areas of the state. The move will be welcomed by farmers and other customers.

What cattle loading areas already exist on the line which are currently not being used?

Happy New Year to all.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Winton and Clermont are the only cattle loading sites in Central Queensland, I'm not sure what other cattle yards are left in place on the Central Line. Cloncurry, Julia Creek and Richmond load cattle on the Mt Isa line, the large cattle yards at Charters Towers are mooted for a return to rail loadings every so often.
  Expost Deputy Commissioner

Certainly nothing east of Emerald. The angle at Comet to the cattle yards was cut out a few years ago. But the angle is still there, so could easily be cut back in. The Incitec container terminal at Boonal has been cut out longer than I have been in the job (8 years) and would be more difficult to cut back in, as an access walkway for the loadout has been built along the old alignment. The Blackwater goods shed is now the local SES HQ. The spur to the cotton gin at Yamala is still in existence and connected to the passing loop. No facilities at Nagoa, apart from a couple of roads, and the grain loader around the corner on the Springsure branch. The grain spur at Dingo no longer exists, and the one at Duaringa has been cut out as well.
  Toddy Train Controller

When were cattle last railed from Longreach? The saleyards appear to still have a rail connection and ability to load cattle.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Coal may have come off the boil but its not dead however it will have released resources with Aurizon to chase other work. However and Auizon will touch nothing (most of freight listed above) that involves a govt subsidy unless the govt is forth coming with funding and this is unlikely. A number of those old sidings are also poorly designed and unsuitable for today's rail. Springsure and I think its Dingo grain unloading is a non-stop shunting exercise.

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