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).
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.
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.