Acting PM says Gladstone should be connected to inland rail

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 17 Jan 2018 10:33
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Should Gladstone be connected and why?  

Gladstone already has a viable and well maintained network of rail which connects the city to the rest of the country.

Acting PM says Gladstone should be connected to inland rail

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  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Interesting question.  Here is a positive spin on it:

- Port of Brisbane takes grain and coal from the downs area and SW Qld.
- A connection from there to Gladstone could divert some of this away from PoB.
- Gladstone has massive investments in coal loading. It may have a handling cost advantage to PoB (given volumes?).  It also has grain loading investments.
- There is consideration of a dedicated, SG connection from PoB to Acacia Ridge to link with Inland Rail.  Cost is over $1bn at this stage and goes through many residential regions and will require tunnelling etc.
- An SG connection of 700km might be a cheaper option and less disruptive to metro residents (and less vote impacting).  It would also possibly support the gauge conversion of the SW network, facilitating improved rail connections in these areas.
- Gladstone is a cyclical area, and having additional freight volumes may share some of the economic growth
- This economic sharing may transfer a bit of it away from the SE Queensland which is experiencing rapid growth
- PoB and surrounding land may be able to be used differently to support the SE Queensland area.

There are negatives, and lots of them, but ill leave others to comment for now.


(And as an aside, we should be careful, if Barnaby was in real politicking mode, he might just suggest it be routed Werris Creek-Armidale-Toowoomba to safeguard his electorate in the face of Windsor's challenge....)
  Hendo Deputy Commissioner

Because the alignment would be far easier to build and cheaper, both for construction and operations than coming down the Toowoomba Range. Divert the bulk coal and grain traffic to Gladstone, then just dual gauge down to Brisbane for its freight needs.

That would also kill off some of the nimby complaints about the coal traffic through Brisbane and may delay the need for additional trackage to the Port of Brisbane.


Cheers,
Hendo
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Why doesn't the acting Prime Minister put his money where his mouth is in regards to inland rail. Going by the LNP's previous form on rail infrastructure, he should shut his pie hole and fu sod off. All feathers and no bird
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Gladstone is also shaping up to become the most important petrochemical hub on Australia's east coast in the next decade or two. It is very likely the volume of gas available in Gladstone will eventually see additional plastics and chemical business in the city and oil refining is also underway. However the break of gauge in Brisbane has so far kept most of Gladstone's southbound chemical business on road and that doesn't seem likely to change while that break of gauge exists.
  62440 Chief Commissioner

This was looked at in a fair amount of detail about 10 years ago. The idea was to extend Toowoomba Wandoan SG for coal, north to Banana connecting into the Moura system. Have a look on google earth, not the easiest country for a high performance railway
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
The Banana-Wandoan route that ATEC/AIRE/Surat Basin Rail champion isn't even the quickest route to Gladstone from the Darling Downs. It just happens to pass near a bunch of coalfields.

The easiest (i.e shortest and best-graded) route from the Darling Downs to the coast is actually the SUDAW route proposed in the mid-90s to haul coal from the Downs to a proposed loader at Bundaberg. The SUDAW route goes from Brigalow on the Western Line to Gunalda on the North Coast Line, passing just north of the Bunya Mountains and passing near Kingaroy. It roughly follows the Kingaroy line but likely wouldn't use much of the alignment, if any.
Here's a picture from the January 2005 Railway Digest article on it (In Search Of An East Coast Corridor, Part 1):




As the article points out further on, if it used a direct connection from Goondiwindi to Brigalow it would be the shortest possible route to Gladstone.

If it was built as dual gauge I reckon it would siphon off a fair bit of Western Line coal traffic that would otherwise go via the Port of Brisbane - which the current Inland Rail proposals rely on to bolster their business case for a crossing of the Main Range near Toowoomba. Of course that would mean it also ruins the business case for said crossing - but hey, that means the Warwick crossing is a better option then, right?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Latest update in case anyone is interested:

https://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/250k-inland-rail-study-held-up-by-federal-bureaucr/3311082/

An interesting quote

"Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the deputy prime minister needed to look at the study in more detail before it was released.
"While there may be some short-term obstacles identified, it's the long-term advantages for the region that we need to focus on," he said."

Discount rate perhaps producing a negative cost benefit ratio?
  antz1991 Locomotive Fireman

correct me if im wrong but I seem to remember the original inland rail plan going all the way to cairns? with a few connection points to coastal cities. why did the cairns pat get scrapped?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Joyce should leave it alone for a while (SG to Gladstone that is) and worry about the million real problems facing Australia at the moment.
  cuthbert Train Controller

Something to think about - PoB is foreign owned and Gladstone is QLD owned. ARTC have already made the choice of sending coal to PoB to the surprise/delight of the foreigners!
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Something to think about - PoB is foreign owned and Gladstone is QLD owned. ARTC have already made the choice of sending coal to PoB to the surprise/delight of the foreigners!
cuthbert
The ARTC presently has absolutely no role in coal trains to PoB.  Zero, nothing, period.  All that is being done by QR and Aurizon....
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Something to think about - PoB is foreign owned and Gladstone is QLD owned. ARTC have already made the choice of sending coal to PoB to the surprise/delight of the foreigners!
The ARTC presently has absolutely no role in coal trains to PoB.  Zero, nothing, period.  All that is being done by QR and Aurizon....
james.au
And not to mention Brisbane's Queensland Bulk Handling Coal Port at Fisherman Islands is owned by the New Hope Group (and has been for the last thirty years), a majority Australian-owned company.
  neillfarmer Chief Train Controller

The idea of connecting Gladstone to the SG system all depends on the traffic offering. I can't see there being enough to make it worthwhile in the foreseeable future. There really is not much traffic on the SW and Western NG systems after Ackland finishes up. Maybe one or two SG coal trains a day from Columboola and maybe one intermodal? If there were more mines along the way the traffic might be there but with the way the environment is going I can't see more coal expansion being politically acceptable.
I think our friend Barnaby is flying kites, get his name in the news, pander to his constituency, look like they are doing something.
All this takes focus away from the real issue, the IRL. Barnaby's sprouting just muddies the water and gives the impression that the LNP still hasn't committed fully to the IRL.
I'll believe it when they start digging through the Toowoomba range.
Neill Farmer
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
correct me if im wrong but I seem to remember the original inland rail plan going all the way to cairns? with a few connection points to coastal cities. why did the cairns pat get scrapped?
antz1991
If I recall it went up through Miles, Banana and then branch to PoG and then off too Mt Isa and Darwin. May have been a branch to T'ville or basically DG the Mt Isa line.

The northern section of the original proposal Inland, ie bit north of Toowoomba has been dropped because inter-modal wise, there is buggerall freight. The Adelaide to Darwin line was built on the back of creating a land bridge to Darwin for SE corner. This has basically been a flop and why do you need a land bridge when ships go direct to Melbourne and it only saves a few days sailing but comes at a significant cost penalty.

The last section to be cut was Toowoomba to Gladstone as there was a large coal mine, not Miles but near there around the order of 20mtpa. These tonnages were deemed impractical to send via Brisbane due to draft and capacity through the 'burbs and dust would not have been popular and hence Gladstone was obvious choice for only minor extra route distance. As this mine project folded, so did the railway extension which was last proposed to be NG built on DG sleepers. It was called the so called "southern missing link", the Newlands connection to Goonyella in north being the "northern missing link" and has since been connected.  

Gladstone port is not a major container terminal and never will be. Manufacturing companies in Gladstone and Rocky ship to Brisbane or in some cases Townsville via rail to get the shipping locations and frequency that are not available in Gladstone. Mackay has also died as a container port for same reason.  

While some think further coal mine expansion is politically unacceptable, the reality is coal mines are being expanded and built as this is the cash cow of the Qld govt and they cannot afford to stop this gravy train considering they have a $80B debt.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The idea of connecting Gladstone to the SG system all depends on the traffic offering. I can't see there being enough to make it worthwhile in the foreseeable future. There really is not much traffic on the SW and Western NG systems after Ackland finishes up. Maybe one or two SG coal trains a day from Columboola and maybe one intermodal? If there were more mines along the way the traffic might be there but with the way the environment is going I can't see more coal expansion being politically acceptable.
I think our friend Barnaby is flying kites, get his name in the news, pander to his constituency, look like they are doing something.
All this takes focus away from the real issue, the IRL. Barnaby's sprouting just muddies the water and gives the impression that the LNP still hasn't committed fully to the IRL.
I'll believe it when they start digging through the Toowoomba range.
Neill Farmer
neillfarmer
The Govt funded Inland has been a progressive funded project with a common timeline across now two changes in govt over 15 to 20 years. Unlike some overseas country's Modern Australian politics rarely commits major funded projects that take two decades to build in one project. Rather its done in steps. The next step is funded to I think North Star.

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