Inland Railway - Construction Phase

 
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Specifically what improvements have been included for the Melbourne area to ease freight in and out of the port?
x31
probably not much

Interestingly there are only two ports in Australia capable of loading direct to a double stack train and neither of them are anywhere near the Inland Railway route.

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  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks lockspike.  Reminds me as well of the requirement the Feds put on the WA Standard Gauge Railway when it was built specifying 94lb/yard rail.  The West Aussies had travelled to the USA and other places including NSW and were adamant that a minimum 107lb/yard rail was necessary to support the 23 tonne axleload proposed for the L class locos and iron ore and grain wagons.   Within months of commencing services the 94lb/yard was starting to fail.   Within 5 years the WA Government raised $108 million and rerailed the railway in 60kg/m rail and concrete sleepers.

We already have a problem on the existing SG on the north east with the line laid on 25 tonne axleload sleepers and the the rail in NSW south of Junee being 107lb/yd and pretty old but has done a good job carrying 25TAL steel trains but now showing its age.   The entire west main from Seymour to Wodonga virtually 200 km is 94lb/yard rail so already there are limitations imposed on the Inland Railway already!!!
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Boom!
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-25/nationals-brawling-over-inland-rail-ahead-of-high-court-ruling/9084190
Carnot

The prospect of electoral annihilation at the upcoming Qld election is getting the horses to run early......
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Specifically what improvements have been included for the Melbourne area to ease freight in and out of the port?
probably not much

Interestingly there are only two ports in Australia capable of loading direct to a double stack train and neither of them are anywhere near the Inland Railway route.
Pressman

Adelaide and Fremantle?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Port of Darwin East Arm.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Specifically what improvements have been included for the Melbourne area to ease freight in and out of the port?
probably not much

Interestingly there are only two ports in Australia capable of loading direct to a double stack train and neither of them are anywhere near the Inland Railway route.

Adelaide and Fremantle?
x31
Right and wrong, Yes Outer Harbor in Adelaide, but not freo (SG trains need to cross the Swan River rail bridge which has one line as DG but it has 25kV overhead for TransPerth railcars, so no Double Stack access to the container berths)
The second place is East Arm at Darwin
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Specifically what improvements have been included for the Melbourne area to ease freight in and out of the port?
x31
Nothing in the Inland Rail project is about improving rail-port interface.

For Melbourne that is a separate project that probably will form part of the Port Rail Shuttle initiative.  Media release here and Railpage discussion here.

For Brisbane, that is the port link project.

Remember each of these projects is for separate aims.  The port connections are for better rail-port interface.  The Inland is about reducing the cost of rail transport to and from the broader Brisbane and Melbourne areas, not about connecting the ports to each other.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
The Inland Rail route like a length of chain will be as good as its weakest link .
The future is higher axle loads than what is run today , 25 tonne axle load at 80 km/h on infrastructure that isn't really up to it is a recipe for disaster . Think about a substantial derailment on a single line part of this corridor and you'll shut the whole thing down for probably 3-5 days . How many times does this get to happen before the freight forwarders take their business elsewhere .
At the moment some steel and coal trains are up around 25 TAL but if they get serious with double stacking 20 - 25 TAL won't be far away . I know many people who think anything less than 30 TAL concrete sleepers and 60 (or better) kg/m rail is a waste of time . Yes it costs good money but so did the substantial depth of road base beneath the Hume and Pacific Highways .
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Boom!
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-25/nationals-brawling-over-inland-rail-ahead-of-high-court-ruling/9084190

The prospect of electoral annihilation at the upcoming Qld election is getting the horses to run early......
james.au
Yes, I wonder what One Nation's position is on Inland Rail (snigger)

BG
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Specifically what improvements have been included for the Melbourne area to ease freight in and out of the port?
Nothing in the Inland Rail project is about improving rail-port interface.

For Melbourne that is a separate project that probably will form part of the Port Rail Shuttle initiative.  Media release here and Railpage discussion here.

For Brisbane, that is the port link project.

Remember each of these projects is for separate aims.  The port connections are for better rail-port interface.  The Inland is about reducing the cost of rail transport to and from the broader Brisbane and Melbourne areas, not about connecting the ports to each other.
james.au
That does raise the question which has been on my mind a bit recently, are there bottlenecks in the section from Albion through to Tottenham yard where the Shepp etc BG lines merge with the Sunbury / Bendigo  line and more pertinent to this thread where the SG is single track for a couple of kms?

BG
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Well said BDA.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Yes, I wonder what One Nation's position is on Inland Rail (snigger) BG
Refer to this for future reference

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HSxXCwBgog
  Lockspike Assistant Commissioner

Yes it costs good money but so did the substantial depth of road base beneath the Hume and Pacific Highways .
BDA
And the two thick slabs of high strength concrete don't come cheap either.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I wonder how the road freight industry would have reacted if Australia's interstate road links had all been limited to 70-80 km/h with any worthwhile road axle load .

The Darwin railway is a very good example of what happens when the infrastructure is short changed financially .
The rail weight is too light and the sleeper spacing too wide , or so I'm told . And the result - they botched it totally .
I doubt anyone cares how much money was saved building it - but the legacy of pathetic train performance is realised every day and it may never improve . Can you all image the cost to fix it properly compared to just doing it properly in the first place ?

Think of an Inland Railway where you could run locos up to 30TAL , and full tank of fuel doesn't put you over ...
Wouldn't it be great to run wagons of the same axle load at 80 km/h .
And how good to do this willy nilly at temperatures over 40C .
It isn't a fantasy and it goes on in this country 24/7/365 .

You will have your own opinions on the proposed Adani Coal rail project in QLD .
If it goes ahead I sincerely hope they build that railway to US domestic loading gauge and perway standards .
Once the powers that be see it done on this side of the country there well be a glaring example of what happens when someone gets serious about it .
I don't expect to see the US loading gauge used in the national standard gauge system but locos like the 5000/5020s would make everything else look very sick on an appropriately build Inland Railway .  

The land freight business is out there , but it won't come looking for a starved weakling underperforming mode of transport .
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
The Darwin railway is a very good example of what happens when the infrastructure is short changed financially .
The rail weight is too light and the sleeper spacing too wide , or so I'm told . And the result - they botched it totally .
I doubt anyone cares how much money was saved building it - but the legacy of pathetic train performance is realised every day and it may never improve . Can you all image the cost to fix it properly compared to just doing it properly in the first place ?
BDA

Per page 23 of this report, rail in 2013/14 had a 90% market share of containerised freight on Adelaide-Darwin.  Now, id say that is perhaps one of the best intermodal market shares that rail has on any corridor in Australia.  On this basis, I disagree with your comments above, but would welcome any evidence you have to rebut the ESCOSA report.

Out of interest, the line is only carrying 0.886mt of intermodal in that year, and 2.74mt of bulk freight.  Not great volumes.....
  Clyde Goodwin2 Chief Train Controller

James having worked with one of the construction Foremen who helped build the Alice to Darwin line what BDA says is quite correct.
Basicly it was built on the cheap is what was told to me first hand.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
If it has 90% of the market (which is exceeding expectations which were 60-65%), then the asset that was produced is exceeding its performance expectations and the money spent on it was the right amount.  Hey, on that basis, they may have overspent as they were only targeting 60-65%.

Considering also that the project sent its original builder broke, Ill argue with anyone that the amount spent on it and the asset delivered is no more than was needed...  

Infra has to be built fit for purpose, not gold plated, not to a perfect standard, but to do the job it is asked to do.  And based in the information disclosed by ESCOSA its doing that job well.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
So you think the way to go about it is to build for very limited performance value . The glaring statement you make is that its fine to build this railway down to a cheap price rather than up to a modern standard .
Blind and Def Freddy already knows than we generally operate with sub standard axle loads in this country and continuing this lunacy is and always will be an exercise in going backwards .
Have a look at the most successful and profitable freight railways in Australia today and tell me they run on cheap dinky perway .
They spend good money on their infrastructure and are getting huge returns from the dollar spent . Nothing else compares , doesn't even get close .
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
So you think the way to go about it is to build for very limited performance value . The glaring statement you make is that its fine to build this railway down to a cheap price rather than up to a modern standard .
Blind and Def Freddy already knows than we generally operate with sub standard axle loads in this country and continuing this lunacy is and always will be an exercise in going backwards .
Have a look at the most successful and profitable freight railways in Australia today and tell me they run on cheap dinky perway .
They spend good money on their infrastructure and are getting huge returns from the dollar spent . Nothing else compares , doesn't even get close .
BDA

Mate in the case of Adelaide-Darwin, you could build it to a 50 or 60 or hey, lets be crazy and say 100 tonne axle load and youre not going to make any significant difference to the tonnages hauled.  They're just not there to be hauled.  It is Darwin we are talking about, population less than the ACT.

What I'm saying, going and spending lots of money to create the best, world class train line, in some cases (and demonstrably in the case of Adelaide-Darwin) would be a waste of money.

It would be like a tradesman buying a road train to carry around his tools.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction

Mate in the case of Adelaide-Darwin, you could build it to a 50 or 60 or hey, lets be crazy and say 100 tonne axle load and youre not going to make any significant difference to the tonnages hauled.  They're just not there to be hauled.  It is Darwin we are talking about, population less than the ACT.

What I'm saying, going and spending lots of money to create the best, world class train line, in some cases (and demonstrably in the case of Adelaide-Darwin) would be a waste of money.

It would be like a tradesman buying a road train to carry around his tools.
james.au
Here's a Sea Q for you James, what are the economics of Rail vs Sea in the context of Aus?

I though one of the outcomes of completing the line to Darwin might have been shipping into Darwin from Asia and then distribution from there.

Melbourne is expected to right up there in the battle to be Aus' busiest port for a few years yet so I assume the Sea road is cheaper.

BG
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The than new Alice Springs - Darwin line was planed to be used by land bridging trains, reducing transit time between the likes of Singapore and Melbourne (using the new port of Darwin)

But this Idea never turned out been cost effective, where Is was much cheaper to ship via Fremantle (than rail to Melbourne) or just suck It up with transit times and ship all the way to Melbourne.

Alice Springs - Darwin line Is mostly only used for local transport needs (reason why the transport task Is limited)
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Pretty well what @Nightfire said.  For domestic work, rail seems to be better.  For export, sea freight edges out.

The thing with Darwin, is that it doesn't have the volume to make for decent ship sizes and visit frequencies. Which means rail freight meeting sea freight doesn't have the greatest economics to work with on the sea side of the equation, even though it has time value benefits that it brings to the equation.

The only thing I can see making a difference to Darwin port economics is if the Tennant Ck-Mt Isa section is built, and that starts new traffic flows from Queensland/NSW.  But even then it is a long shot.

Also re rail vs sea on domestic, there have been calls to relax the domestic shipping regulations to allow more domestic freight to be picked up in say Freo and dropped off in Syd/Mel/Bne etc.  Whilst this has happened to some degree it doesn't look to have impacted rail much, probably because a lot of the domestic freight is more time sensitive than export freight.

Just my 2c...
  Lockspike Assistant Commissioner

James having worked with one of the construction Foremen who helped build the Alice to Darwin line what BDA says is quite correct.
Basicly it was built on the cheap is what was told to me first hand.
Clyde Goodwin2
That is patently true.
It was build it cheap or not build it at all.

The NT and SA govts formed the Austral-Asia Railway Corporation with the objective of getting this railway built. They were still short of funds when the Howard govt kicked in the $300m needed to make it happen. They were motivated to do so by the difficulty the ADF experienced in mobilising to East Timor. Apparently, a railway would have made it so much faster and easier, even with a modern motorised army.

The option of a high capacity railway was never on the table.

However, this is not the disaster espoused by some. Modern sleeper spacing machines can make short work of closing up the sleepers, the sleepers have a rail seat suitable for 60kg rail, and ballast can be placed to give a greater depth. If there ever is the demand to increase the track capacity, it can be done.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
I wonder how the road freight industry would have reacted if Australia's interstate road links had all been limited to 70-80 km/h with any worthwhile road axle load .
BDA

Just reading back through this thread and this point stuck out.  As has been discussed in many other places, the difference in investment approval thresholds between road and rail has been stark, and patently biased towards road.  No disagreement from me on this one.

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