Work begins on Toowoomba Intermodal Hub

 
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
It's also that low axle load that allows Aurizon to maintain an unchallenged monopoly of Surat Basin coal. Standard gauge will bring competition, something that might well cost Aurizon more money than running short trains. The new line will also have a 25-tonne axle load too, which will obstruct Hunter Valley style rollingstock achieving maximum efficiency.
Sulla1
The new line could use modern coal rolling stock from either CQ coal or Hunter, yes the axle loads may still be lower than their home territories but its a far cry from where it is today. It will be greater fleet flexibility and more efficient handling. Longer-term if the tonnages are there further upgrades could follow.  

Lets do the numbers

15.75t axle load is 63t per wagon, wagon weight around 15t, net weight around 48t

25t axle load is 100t per wagon, say 18t wagon weight, net weight = 82t of coal.

Even just double the train length you move = ~3.5 x the current coal moved per train movement, but likely you can push this to 4 x.

So the current coal train movements off the range would be cut by 75%.

The number of train sets would drop even more as the cycle time would be reduced by around 3-4hr.

Hence same drivers and trains haul more tonnes per year, no more specialised aged rolling stock for Southern Coal, haulage productivity is going through the roof.

Haulage costs dropped by how much? Lower costs back to the mines, means more viable mines and more mines.

Seriously, you think Auizon and the Qld govt is going even bother to keep the current line open for 1 day longer than needed?

Sponsored advertisement

  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
It's also that low axle load that allows Aurizon to maintain an unchallenged monopoly of Surat Basin coal. Standard gauge will bring competition, something that might well cost Aurizon more money than running short trains. The new line will also have a 25-tonne axle load too, which will obstruct Hunter Valley style rollingstock achieving maximum efficiency.
The new line could use modern coal rolling stock from either CQ coal or Hunter, yes the axle loads may still be lower than their home territories but its a far cry from where it is today. It will be greater fleet flexibility and more efficient handling. Longer-term if the tonnages are there further upgrades could follow.  

Lets do the numbers

15.75t axle load is 63t per wagon, wagon weight around 15t, net weight around 48t

25t axle load is 100t per wagon, say 18t wagon weight, net weight = 82t of coal.

Even just double the train length you move = ~3.5 x the current coal moved per train movement, but likely you can push this to 4 x.

So the current coal train movements off the range would be cut by 75%.

The number of train sets would drop even more as the cycle time would be reduced by around 3-4hr.

Hence same drivers and trains haul more tonnes per year, no more specialised aged rolling stock for Southern Coal, haulage productivity is going through the roof.

Haulage costs dropped by how much? Lower costs back to the mines, means more viable mines and more mines.

Seriously, you think Auizon and the Qld govt is going even bother to keep the current line open for 1 day longer than needed?
RTT_Rules

Im pretty sure with that story you could convince the mines to leave a bit of that productivity gain on the table to pay for the line.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Anyone have a quick list of the coal projects (active and proposed/possible) along the Toowoomba-Dalby-Miles-Roma corridor?  I want to see the tonnes that are being talked about.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

And I'm trying to approach the situation as QR and Aurizon will be effected by it...efficiency will greatly decrease costs, but those efficiency gains will introduce competition and the probability of reducing current revenue guaranteed by a monopolistic position. One or both are likely to be very resistant to competition on the coal corridor and may very well take the attitude the costs of the inefficiency of low axle load narrow gauge and even the old range line still trumps potential larger income loss to competition. I'm sure Aurizon has learnt some very harsh lessons in competition from the Mt Isa line this year.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
And I'm trying to approach the situation as QR and Aurizon will be effected by it...efficiency will greatly decrease costs, but those efficiency gains will introduce competition and the probability of reducing current revenue guaranteed by a monopolistic position. One or both are likely to be very resistant to competition on the coal corridor and may very well take the attitude the costs of the inefficiency of low axle load narrow gauge and even the old range line still trumps potential larger income loss to competition. I'm sure Aurizon has learnt some very harsh lessons in competition from the Mt Isa line this year.
Sulla1

Which is a valid point.  Though, QR as a government entity probably is in breach of some competition regs if it is thinking that way.  And overall, Qld govt should see the benefit of the investment over the loss of QRs monopoly.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Hi Sulla
I not sure what you are trying to argue/duscus.

The fact the Inland is a reality (looks like). The inland up the range is going to be DG like it not.

Who would even bother to use the old line given the choice?  Only track fees would do that and the won't be an issue.

The Qld govt won't miss this high cost infrastructure. Aurizion competes on all its corridors bar this one, it will be same old. The extra traffic on the inland opens up more options for Aurizon.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
It's also that low axle load that allows Aurizon to maintain an unchallenged monopoly of Surat Basin coal. Standard gauge will bring competition, something that might well cost Aurizon more money than running short trains. The new line will also have a 25-tonne axle load too, which will obstruct Hunter Valley style rollingstock achieving maximum efficiency.
Sulla1
Hi Sulla,
Not sure where you were going with all this, but I think basically we all agree the old line has no future against the efficiency an productivity gains of the new line which is DG. Aurizon more than likely won't give a crap as the Inland provide the opportunity to double the Mel to Bris general freight task + open numerous other opportunities such as grabbing some of the grain currently on the road + containers and all using its SG rollingstock. Meanwhile the coal use the CQ coal fleet once other suitable upgrades have been done and maybe SG. Either delivering numerous cost advantages over the current route.

FYI
Just 2 x CQ 100 wagon coal train sets could move the Southern coal freight task running a total of 3 return services a day.
This assume a turn around time on average including servicing, maintenance etc etc of 16hr return trip.

This would need about 8-9 x 4000/4100 class locos + about 220 coal wagons. How many locos and wagons are used now?

Thus leaving more than ample room to expand the coal by 50% as a minimum and allow at least a dozen or more other grain and container services per day.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

I agree with you RTT, but all of the official information released thus far shows both corridors being operated in parallel rather than one being closed. There has to be some sort of reason for this (maybe what I've speculated, maybe something else)...so until QR or the government say they will close the old line, it appears to be too early to assume its demise is imminent. Remember QR and the ARTC are independent of each other, they don't have to cooperate, just as Vline and ARTC do south of Seymour and east of Geelong.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I agree with you RTT, but all of the official information released thus far shows both corridors being operated in parallel rather than one being closed. There has to be some sort of reason for this (maybe what I've speculated, maybe something else)...so until QR or the government say they will close the old line, it appears to be too early to assume its demise is imminent. Remember QR and the ARTC are independent of each other, they don't have to cooperate, just as Vline and ARTC do south of Seymour and east of Geelong.
Sulla1
A few questions

Q1. Is the official communication stated the two will actually co-exist, from both sides or just lack of stating what will happen to the Inland with no reference to the NG line?

Q2. Do we really believe the two lines will operate in parallel and if they did for the NG line to remain viable?

The case for Seymour and Geelong are obviously different as we are talking commuter/interurban traffic which is more complex and we probably all know the ARTC would rather the status quo remains because if this even if the track was gauge converted. Geelong will never be gauge converted, Seymour could go either way, but further north the sensible outcome occured.

I find it plausible the NG connection from Rosewood to Calvert could remain, although likely curtailed to single track with time, but beyond this retaining the corridor defy's logic. Remember the govt probably knows full well there is bad press in closing the old corridor so why do it now when you don't need too? Let a future govt make the announcement only when the Inlands future operation is clear, ie after construction starts. Or likely even beyond this when the last freight train has long since disappeared.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I see that @Sulla1 is describing the official position, whilst @RTT_Rules and myself are talking about future possibility.  They're not necessarily in conflict and I think we all agree with each other's basic positions no?

Farmers, coal miners and local councils need to speak up and show that there is a need for this to happen.  I know that at least one local council is thinking this (on the SW line) but is waiting for the route announcement for the NSW border to Gowrie section before getting back into the process of talking about line upgrades etc.  I'm pretty sure Graincorp would be all for it (and are publicly on record suggesting the Thallon branch be standardised), given their Project Regeneration activities.  Wiht the analysis above, coal miners should be all for it.  The Wandoan coal project might make more sense economically too.  Though the Surat basin rail project was probably going to be used for that.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW

I find it plausible the NG connection from Rosewood to Calvert could remain, although likely curtailed to single track with time, but beyond this retaining the corridor defy's logic. Remember the govt probably knows full well there is bad press in closing the old corridor so why do it now when you don't need too? Let a future govt make the announcement only when the Inlands future operation is clear, ie after construction starts. Or likely even beyond this when the last freight train has long since disappeared.
RTT_Rules

Problem with waiting is that a lot of cash is going to be spent making DG lines (including the extra track and specialist sleepers) that could otherwise be more efficiently spent on additional track.  

Eg, DG from Gowrie south to just outside Goondiwindi - just connect Milmeran and Brookstead as SG, easy wins.  Next easiest is standardise, and potentially do minor upgrades to the Thallon line.  But the funding is at the moment not there for that, but could be redirected within Inland.  Qld govt possibly doesnt need to spend a cent.  Track Km Gowrie-Goondiwindi (on Inland) is about 250km.  Thats 250km of extra rail.  Track Km from Goondiwindi to Thallon is 150km.  I don't know prices and lets keep it basic for now, but I would be interested to hear from those who do how much the saved cost of rail would buy me in steel sleepers to Thallon.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Since last year the ARTC has been telling affected land holders at community meetings through the Lockyer Valley west of Calvert  (including Laidley where the local council is leading protests against the new line) that they will be building a freight-only standard gauge line beside the existing corridor, and that the existing double track narrow gauge line will be retained and will still be carrying a similar number of trains. The ARTC's position in the Lockyer Valley is that they will not be dual gauging the existing line, and they will not be dual gauging their own line beside the existing corridor. Whatever is happening, I believe, for the moment, we can rule out QR and ARTC working together on this project. That situation may change, but that is the situation as it stands.

QR is also continuing narrow gauge bridge replacement works through the valley and appears to be preparing to increase axle loads on the existing line to Toowoomba and beyond.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
@Sulla1, that is interesting and is in conflict with their own website:

https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/C2K

"The Calvert to Kagaru (C2K) section is one of 13 projects that complete Inland Rail. This section of Inland Rail involves the design and construction of approximately 53km of new dual gauge track."

"The project includes:
  • 55.9km of new dual mainline track...."

Each of the sections out to Gowrie and the NSW Border say dual track.

Have you got some sort of documentation that is in conflict with this?  If yes, send it through and ill give them a call!
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone

I find it plausible the NG connection from Rosewood to Calvert could remain, although likely curtailed to single track with time, but beyond this retaining the corridor defy's logic. Remember the govt probably knows full well there is bad press in closing the old corridor so why do it now when you don't need too? Let a future govt make the announcement only when the Inlands future operation is clear, ie after construction starts. Or likely even beyond this when the last freight train has long since disappeared.Problem with waiting is that a lot of cash is going to be spent making DG lines (including the extra track and specialist sleepers) that could otherwise be more efficiently spent on additional track.  

Eg, DG from Gowrie south to just outside Goondiwindi - just connect Milmeran and Brookstead as SG, easy wins.  Next easiest is standardise, and potentially do minor upgrades to the Thallon line.  But the funding is at the moment not there for that, but could be redirected within Inland.  Qld govt possibly doesnt need to spend a cent.  Track Km Gowrie-Goondiwindi (on Inland) is about 250km.  Thats 250km of extra rail.  Track Km from Goondiwindi to Thallon is 150km.  I don't know prices and lets keep it basic for now, but I would be interested to hear from those who do how much the saved cost of rail would buy me in steel sleepers to Thallon.
james.au
The Yelarbon to Gowrie ('Y2G') route is still up in the air at the moment, as you can see on this recently published map:
https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/inland/yelarbon-gowrie-prg/files/Y2G_Map_4_alignments.pdf

An upgrade & gauge conversion of the Thallon-Goondiwindi-Yelarbon line would be the only rail-served accessory project in the area that GrainCorp could bank on being possible at this stage. Making the Y2G segment SG only would be an easy & worthwhile cost-saving measure.

The section from Gowrie to Grandchester/Calvert is a bit different, however. I can easily see the Gowrie to Helidon (G2H in Inland Rail parlance) segment of Inland Rail replacing the Main Range Railway (Toowoomba to Murphy's Creek) and track eastwards to Helidon for NG traffic.
There's duplicated NG track east of Helidon, so there's less of an impetus to build Inland Rail as dual guage in that section. Ideally the deviations on the Helidon to Calvert (H2C) section would be built as duplicated dual gauge track as well, but that might require more money and cooperation between QR and ARTC than appears currently possible.

Calvert to Kagaru (aka the Southern Freight Rail Corridor) makes less sense as a dual gauge section unless QR wants NG freight traffic off their electric suburban tracks through Ipswich.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The Yelarbon to Gowrie ('Y2G') route is still up in the air at the moment, as you can see on this recently published map:
https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/inland/yelarbon-gowrie-prg/files/Y2G_Map_4_alignments.pdf

An upgrade & gauge conversion of the Thallon-Goondiwindi-Yelarbon line would be the only rail-served accessory project in the area that GrainCorp could bank on being possible at this stage. Making the Y2G segment SG only would be an easy & worthwhile cost-saving measure.

The section from Gowrie to Grandchester/Calvert is a bit different, however. I can easily see the Gowrie to Helidon (G2H in Inland Rail parlance) segment of Inland Rail replacing the Main Range Railway (Toowoomba to Murphy's Creek) and track eastwards to Helidon for NG traffic.
There's duplicated NG track east of Helidon, so there's less of an impetus to build Inland Rail as dual guage in that section. Ideally the deviations on the Helidon to Calvert (H2C) section would be built as duplicated dual gauge track as well, but that might require more money and cooperation between QR and ARTC than appears currently possible.

Calvert to Kagaru (aka the Southern Freight Rail Corridor) makes less sense as a dual gauge section unless QR wants NG freight traffic off their electric suburban tracks through Ipswich.
LancedDendrite
Yes, agreed to/aware of all of what you say.  And the fact that they've brought the Inland up via Boggabilla (on the existing SG corridor) instead of going straight across from North Star to Yelarbon gets it just outside of Goondiwindi (7km or so, adding 50km to the line to be upgraded).  To me this makes standardisation (and potential upgrade) of Thallon that much more a goer.  Plus add on Milmerran and Brookstead sidings for Graincorp.

Doing all the above removes the need for NG south of Gowrie.

But agreed, any removal of DG between Gowrie and Kaguru requires a reconsideration of the western line entirely.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Yes, agreed to/aware of all of what you say.  And the fact that they've brought the Inland up via Boggabilla (on the existing SG corridor) instead of going straight across from North Star to Yelarbon gets it just outside of Goondiwindi (7km or so, adding 50km to the line to be upgraded).  To me this makes standardisation (and potential upgrade) of Thallon that much more a goer.  Plus add on Milmerran and Brookstead sidings for Graincorp.

Doing all the above removes the need for NG south of Gowrie.
james.au
If the Feds pick the Warwick or Karara-Leyburn options then Millmerran and Brookfield silos won't be able to be connected to Inland Rail at all. I think that the Warwick option is highly unlikely but the Karara-Leyburn option might be time-competitive with the two route options that go via Millmerran. According to ARTC the cost differences between the 4 proposed route options are substantial, but I'm yet to find any recent costings to back that up.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Since last year the ARTC has been telling affected land holders at community meetings through the Lockyer Valley west of Calvert  (including Laidley where the local council is leading protests against the new line) that they will be building a freight-only standard gauge line beside the existing corridor, and that the existing double track narrow gauge line will be retained and will still be carrying a similar number of trains. The ARTC's position in the Lockyer Valley is that they will not be dual gauging the existing line, and they will not be dual gauging their own line beside the existing corridor. Whatever is happening, I believe, for the moment, we can rule out QR and ARTC working together on this project. That situation may change, but that is the situation as it stands.

QR is also continuing narrow gauge bridge replacement works through the valley and appears to be preparing to increase axle loads on the existing line to Toowoomba and beyond.
Sulla1
I'm not sure how you got that information from those meetings but I would suggest someone in the supply chain is making things up or ARTC needs new PR people.

Their website clearly states DG from the Interstate line to Gowrie. The drawings I checked were done in Nov 2016.

From what I read somewhere and I'm still trying to find, the bulk of the route taken by the Inland is either one of two corridors.
1) existing railway
2) the Qld govts previous survey for a new route over the range from about 15 years ago when Toowoomba was supposed to get a commuter service and even then it was mentioned of potential DG'ing. There were even some community negotiations back then to adjust the corridor to resolve some community concerns. How much they are using of this I don't know.

Now, of course ARTC in a community meeting or the media are not going to announce that closure of the existing line as they don't own it, nor has the owner agreed to do so or informed their intention.

The Qld govt is spending money on the existing corridor to meet community obligations/electrol promise and commitments to get more freight on rails. Without a committed and budgeted timetable for the Inland what else can they do and even now its still about 8 years away.

Why the hell the local council is leading protests over the Inland is evidence alone there are obvious communication/forward planning issues by the Qld govt. The Inland by-passes many of the communities and thus remove LX, low bridges and noise from local communities. The land released by closure of the NG could mostly be made available for community use and with the Inland overall there will a far smaller foot print by rail in the valley. I suspect a few councilors may enjoy watching the trains go past or have a financial interest in the current alignment in some way.

.....

With regard to some other posts

Calvet to Kanguru will be DG'ed because some of the trains may want direct access to AR/Bromoleton yards, but the key reason is QR wants freights off the Ipswich line as this would enable 15min timetable out of peak and remove what is basically a curfew through that part of the suburban network. There are also community concerns with the coal trains and dust.
....

Whether the Rosewood to Calvet line remains open I guess we will see. Longterm I wouldn't hold my breath unless there is a need for freight trains to access the western line, such as Swanbank?
....

I think Blind Freddy can see that there is no way in hell the Inland will be built in parallel to the existing duplicated line when the two parallel. We nearly went down that path in Vic before finally some common sense was achieved. Note that DG SG and BG is undesirable and usually avoided.   DG NG and SG has no such concerns and not an issue.

So why on earth pay for the land resumptions and all that earth works when you have a perfectly good embankment to use and in many cases, bridges, some likely to have been recently strengthen?

Obviously a level of detail between QR and ARTC and those conversations may or may not have taken place yet and will be easily resolved in ARTC's favor.
......

The Tallon line will need not only its rails spread, but new sleepers even if left as NG as otherwise they are not taking advantage of the heavier track north of Yelabon. Whether the rails can be retained I'll leave to others, but 150km of new sleepers and a few rebuilt points would surely be cheaper than running DG 250km for a few trains a week.

Overall I very much doubt NG trains will be able to run south of Gowrie by 2025 and I'd bet that reason Gowrie to Yelabon section is not final is to minimise the amount of overall trackage required to enable the Inland to better service the loading points and the through traffic.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Re the route choice from Yelarbon to Gowrie, no decision has been made yet.

But the original planned option is still the cheapest.  Refer this link

http://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/chester/releases/2017/march/dc075_2017.aspx

The MCA results were close for all four alignment options, however the costings have revealed some clear differences.
The analysis found the Inglewood through Millmerran (base case) option was the least expensive, followed by the Wellcamp/Charlton option, Karara/Leyburn, and then the Warwick option.

Ive got a feeling the original plan (which does run via Milmerran and Brookstead) will stand.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Yes, agreed to/aware of all of what you say.  And the fact that they've brought the Inland up via Boggabilla (on the existing SG corridor) instead of going straight across from North Star to Yelarbon gets it just outside of Goondiwindi (7km or so, adding 50km to the line to be upgraded).  To me this makes standardisation (and potential upgrade) of Thallon that much more a goer.  Plus add on Milmerran and Brookstead sidings for Graincorp.

Doing all the above removes the need for NG south of Gowrie.
If the Feds pick the Warwick or Karara-Leyburn options then Millmerran and Brookfield silos won't be able to be connected to Inland Rail at all. I think that the Warwick option is highly unlikely but the Karara-Leyburn option might be time-competitive with the two route options that go via Millmerran. According to ARTC the cost differences between the 4 proposed route options are substantial, but I'm yet to find any recent costings to back that up.
LancedDendrite
On the map https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/inland/yelarbon-gowrie-prg/files/Y2G_Map_4_alignments.pdf

My money is on the Blue route unless its more costly, appears more direct and makes use the Millmerrium line for a lot further towards Southbrook.

I think going via the main west towards Oakey they were trying to get more of the coal corridor, but as the range is DG, its not worth the pain for the rest of the services and up to 50km of upgraded western line as a branch isn't a budget breaker.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Yes, agreed to/aware of all of what you say.  And the fact that they've brought the Inland up via Boggabilla (on the existing SG corridor) instead of going straight across from North Star to Yelarbon gets it just outside of Goondiwindi (7km or so, adding 50km to the line to be upgraded).  To me this makes standardisation (and potential upgrade) of Thallon that much more a goer.  Plus add on Milmerran and Brookstead sidings for Graincorp.

Doing all the above removes the need for NG south of Gowrie.
If the Feds pick the Warwick or Karara-Leyburn options then Millmerran and Brookfield silos won't be able to be connected to Inland Rail at all. I think that the Warwick option is highly unlikely but the Karara-Leyburn option might be time-competitive with the two route options that go via Millmerran. According to ARTC the cost differences between the 4 proposed route options are substantial, but I'm yet to find any recent costings to back that up.
On the map https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/inland/yelarbon-gowrie-prg/files/Y2G_Map_4_alignments.pdf

My money is on the Blue route unless its more costly, appears more direct and makes use the Millmerrium line for a lot further towards Southbrook.

I think going via the main west towards Oakey they were trying to get more of the coal corridor, but as the range is DG, its not worth the pain for the rest of the services and up to 50km of upgraded western line as a branch isn't a budget breaker.
RTT_Rules
I assume you mean the purple route?

Also, the red route (the one going via the main west towards Oakey) looks to be trying to avoid hills etc, and skirts the edge of farmland and hill country.  Id say that is the reason it exists as an option.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I assume you mean the purple route?

Also, the red route (the one going via the main west towards Oakey) looks to be trying to avoid hills etc, and skirts the edge of farmland and hill country.  Id say that is the reason it exists as an option.
james.au
Yeah that too, (I'm colour blind).

The Oakey route is the current base case which I found surprising.

The two options further east via or near Warwick won't happen, apart from missing some grain, although not a huge amount there are more people and things to avoid and you have to get around Toowoomba via a more congested route and hence it will be more expensive. I suspect they are in more as a political point that a practical one. Just trying to apease the local mayors so they can say, we looked at it and it doesn't work for us, but here's a few million in a consultation prize to build a rail trail and enable SDSR to relocate.
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

The Tallon line will need not only its rails spread, but new sleepers even if left as NG as otherwise they are not taking advantage of the heavier track north of Yelabon. Whether the rails can be retained I'll leave to others, but 150km of new sleepers and a few rebuilt points would surely be cheaper than running DG 250km for a few trains a week.
RTT_Rules


Just a note that you are comparing the use of one rail (250km in length), and sleepers that cost 20% more (DG at $120 each vs SG only at $100 each in WA pricing schedules) on a new formation (no extra cost over SG only) and points (at $375,000 per DG unit vs $275,000 per SG only unit) to the other option of rebuilding the formation of 150km of rail line to a width for SG, 150km of new sleepers, new SG structures (every bridge, culvert, level crossing, etc) and new rails for 150km (300 lineal kilometres of rail total)?

I know which would be better for the long term (steady wholesale conversion to SG), but it certainly is not cheaper (BG to SG is different, in that the formation width is already there, not so for a lot of the NG networks in QLD or WA).
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The Tallon line will need not only its rails spread, but new sleepers even if left as NG as otherwise they are not taking advantage of the heavier track north of Yelabon. Whether the rails can be retained I'll leave to others, but 150km of new sleepers and a few rebuilt points would surely be cheaper than running DG 250km for a few trains a week.


Just a note that you are comparing the use of one rail (250km in length), and sleepers that cost 20% more (DG at $120 each vs SG only at $100 each in WA pricing schedules) on a new formation (no extra cost over SG only) and points (at $375,000 per DG unit vs $275,000 per SG only unit) to the other option of rebuilding the formation of 150km of rail line to a width for SG, 150km of new sleepers, new SG structures (every bridge, culvert, level crossing, etc) and new rails for 150km (300 lineal kilometres of rail total)?

I know which would be better for the long term (steady wholesale conversion to SG), but it certainly is not cheaper (BG to SG is different, in that the formation width is already there, not so for a lot of the NG networks in QLD or WA).
Bulbous

No agreed there, but my point is that some of the extra cost for DG track could be redirected to Thallon line standardisation.  Ie, some of the funding is already there if it was to be looked at. You may not need to do all of what you say either, i.e. the rails might be ok in some sections, some bridges/culverts etc might be ok at say 19 TAL.  AN evaluation would need to be done of all of this and what needs to be done to serve the demand.  It might be that the line runs at 40 or 60kph to handle the higher TAL.  I know on the Barmedman-Temora line, trains run slower than they used to because (I think) there using heavier locos and maybe pulling heavier trains.  Which doesnt impact the economics that much.  If something similar could be done on Thallon, then it might make sense.  It just needs to be looked at properly.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Just a note that you are comparing the use of one rail (250km in length), and sleepers that cost 20% more (DG at $120 each vs SG only at $100 each in WA pricing schedules) on a new formation (no extra cost over SG only) and points (at $375,000 per DG unit vs $275,000 per SG only unit) to the other option of rebuilding the formation of 150km of rail line to a width for SG, 150km of new sleepers, new SG structures (every bridge, culvert, level crossing, etc) and new rails for 150km (300 lineal kilometres of rail total)? I know which would be better for the long term (steady wholesale conversion to SG), but it certainly is not cheaper (BG to SG is different, in that the formation width is already there, not so for a lot of the NG networks in QLD or WA).
Bulbous

No agreed there, but my point is that some of the extra cost for DG track could be redirected to Thallon line standardisation. Ie, some of the funding is already there if it was to be looked at. You may not need to do all of what you say either, i.e. the rails might be ok in some sections, some bridges/culverts etc might be ok at say 19 TAL. AN evaluation would need to be done of all of this and what needs to be done to serve the demand. It might be that the line runs at 40 or 60kph to handle the higher TAL. I know on the Barmedman-Temora line, trains run slower than they used to because (I think) there using heavier locos and maybe pulling heavier trains. Which doesnt impact the economics that much. If something similar could be done on Thallon, then it might make sense. It just needs to be looked at properly.
James
Ok,
So to DG from Gowrie to Yerablon
- $7m extra in sleepers
- About 21 sets of points, so an extra $100k = $2.1m (assume 10 passing loops and grain loading silos and exit at Yerablon)
- Plus rail cost??? 250,000m x $XXX
- Plus ongoing more complex track maintenance
- Plus upgrade the 50km line to Goodniwindi, most likely require new sleepers and possible part/full rail replacement, bridge and culvert strengthing
- Plus minor upgrade for 150km to Thallon, likely new sleepers only, grain trains run heavier at slower speeds

Or SG from Gowrie
- 250km or far simpler track design, construction and maintenance
- Plus upgrade the 50km line to Goodniwindi, require new sleepers and possible part/full rail replacement, bridge and culvert strengthening plus some will need to be widened and improved track-bed width. All points replaced
- Plus upgrade major upgrade of 150km to Thallon, require new sleepers and possible, bridge and culvert strengthening plus some will need to be widened and improved track-bed width, all points replaced

Now another factor - Operations
- Current NG grain I believe only runs on SW line, not western line. If left as NG, do you use an isolated grain train to service, likely underutilized and at times too busy. Only one rail operator, unless the track is upgraded, they will be still running Tonka sized trains 500km to Thallon and shorter distances to Millerrmum and Brookstead.

Converting to SG releases the full opportunity of the Inland for grain operators to have a flexible SG fleet that can service anything from Brisbane to Adelaide (Pending SG of Murry basin). No more having to park up one gauge fleet while another is flat out.  

Containers from Goodniwindi (I heard there was potential), you can see the customers or another rail operator eventually building a loading loop on the mainline to enable use of SG train sets and likely use passing services to provide a regular service.  

So for me, SG only south of Gowrie is the logical pathway forward.

Maybe of interest
This article indictaes that NSW grain trains have 10% greater productivity over Qld due to size.

Indicates 77 paths a week are used by coal to POB, Qld govt has guaranteed to 87 paths per week through to 2032, the inland will support coal trains 2-4 x the current net train weight, thus opening up more export coal options. 2 x Blackwater coalies could cut the 11 paths a day down to 3.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Great analysis RTT.  Ill only add that more of the same benefits could be added if the Western line was also considered.

The other factor to add to the expanded SG operations is the (small) impact it will have on the existing SG network.  For every tonne km added to the SG fleet task, the fixed costs go down that little bit more per tonne km as they are spread across more work.

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: awsgc24, br30453, james.au, RTT_Rules

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.