Leigh Creek Coal Train - The End Is Nigh

 
  MetroFemme Chief Train Controller

300 kms of railway pulled up would cost $400m to relay in 20 years time or even more. How can you advocate for that approach to pull up?

I agree it is a South Australian thing. Learned helplessness.

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  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
300 kms of railway pulled up would cost $400m to relay in 20 years time or even more. How can you advocate for that approach to pull up?

I agree it is a South Australian thing. Learned helplessness.
MetroFemme
Disagree with your figures.
Track will deteriorate over time with timber sleepers and eventually require a complete relay no matter what.
How often have we seen where rail land has been sold/given (whatever) to mates/cockeys etc for next to nothing who then refuse access for walking/bike paths etc.
As I say lease, lend or whatever but NEVER part with the title and right of access to the public when necessary.
  michaelgm Assistant Commissioner

The only reason to remove the line quickly, would be the ability to use trains to transport the recovered bits and pieces. If in indeed this would be the preferred method, don't know.

Otherwise I see no harm in simply abondoning the line as is.

Although surely some government boffin would have done a cost benefit analysis. And decided removal is more appropriate.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
The only reason to remove the line quickly, would be the ability to use trains to transport the recovered bits and pieces. If in indeed this would be the preferred method, don't know.

Otherwise I see no harm in simply abondoning the line as is.

Although surely some government boffin would have done a cost benefit analysis. And decided removal is more appropriate.
michaelgm
The relevant questions would be;

- Is the track (ie rail and/or sleepers) in good enough condition to be re-used?
- If the answer to the above is yes can it be used by the owner (SA Gov't) or can it be sold to another party to use?
- If the answer to the above is no can the rail be sold for scrap?
- Are either of the above viable when transport costs are added?

If either option is viable then it should be ripped up, the environmental input and embedded energy costs of producing new rail and sleepers alone should be enough to make the government make every effort to see that the line is not simply abandoned.

BG
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Retaining even an abandoned railway costs money, things like fuel reduction to stop fires starting, vermin and weed control, generously paid bureaucrats to act as 'land managers' who are housed in expensive Adelaide office buildings, etc. And everyone agrees that money is one thing that the S.A. government doesn't have. There is also the (very) slight possibility that one day the line might be restored.

Perhaps the best way to manage all these issues would be to rip it up, sell the rails for scrap and lease sections of the line to cockies who own adjoining land on automatically renewing 15 year leases. The leases could be for say 80% of the market value with the condition that they are kept free of fuel for fires, vermin, noxious weeds and any other conditions the government cares to impose.

By doing that you eliminate all land management costs and the state government gets a modest income stream. Furthermore, if a commercial mineral deposit is found near the line, the leases can be revoked and the railway rebuilt at the expense of the resources company.
  hbedriver Train Controller

The line passes through arid lands, low rainfall mostly, except for heavy storm events leading to flash floods and occasional wash-aways. Well north of Goyders Line, so sparse plant life, mostly saltbush/bluebush. The track was built in the 1950's, with good knowledge of the climate and watercourses of the district, unlike many older lines built when little was known of either. Good bridges, strong embankments, a good base structure.

Income from land leasing would reflect grazing value, so minimal. Say 1 sheep / linear mile.

The track is in inherently good condition, heavy rail, reasonably new sleepers. Untouched would likely remain close to useable for decades (ie, able to re-open for low cost, essentially clear the roads, check bridges/culverts, weed removal, later spot re-sleepering).

Removal now would release rail for re-use or sale for scrap, so some value (offset by removal costs, also the political matter of then competing with new rails from Whyalla).

Timber sleepers are really never re-useable, they last decades longer in their original habitat, but when moved and re-used quickly go off. Maybe for tourist railways (especially sidings), but not main lines.

The "do nothing" option may be the best for some years to come, a combination of costs and politics.
  Toad Montgomery Chief Commissioner

Location: Port Hedland: Team EMU want's YOU!
Two rails for 300km... hmmm one could be positive, one negative, on timber which in a insulator.
Might to time to teleport mr musk in for a peak, he does need a battery charger.
What about a 300km solar array...



Now back to normal programming!
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
What kg/m rating is the rail?  Could it be used elsewhere?

And what about the sleepers too?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
NSW has left the bulk of the rail network ever used in place. Roughly 1/3 I think is now considered "services suspended". How muh if this track has ever been brought back to life? And the bulk if track runs through land that has 1000 x more to offer than Leigh Creek.

To leave 300k of rail sitting there doing nothing if it was any other asset there would be hell to pay abd considered a waste of tax payers money.

We all know one a line is no longer trafficable to even the removal train the cost of recovery and the damage to the rails increases significantly.

The road traffic volumes into this area are not easily converted to rail or have the volumes to be sustainable.

Unfortuately the time is up for this line and it must be removed like any other forder industrial site as part of return to greenfield legislation.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
NSW has left the bulk of its rail network ever built in place. Roughly 1/3 I think is now considered "services suspended". How much of this track has ever been brought back to life? And the bulk of the unused track runs through land that has 1000 x more to offer than Leigh Creek.

To leave 300km of rail sitting there doing nothing if it was any other asset there would be hell to pay and considered a waste of tax payers money.

We all know once a line is no longer trafficable to even the removal train, the cost of thw rail recovery and the damage to the rails increases significantly.

The road traffic volumes into this area are not easily converted to rail or have the volumes to be sustainable. The line has been there for 30 plus years. If other existing customers wanted to use it they would.

Unfortuately the time is up for this line and it must be removed like any other forder industrial site as part of return to greenfield
legislation. Just a pity a farewell pax run wasn't allowed.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Just a pity a farewell pax run wasn't allowed.
RTT_Rules

Who didn't allow a farewell pass?
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
NSW has left the bulk of the rail network ever used in place. Roughly 1/3 I think is now considered "services suspended". How muh if this track has ever been brought back to life?
RTT_Rules
RTT,

All railway lines in NSW were established by an act of NSW parliament. Consequently, to remove the tracks also requires an act of parliament. Why the disposal act is not passed, I don't know except that it most likely suits the government to retain the right-of-way on the off-chance that it returns to importance to the government.

That''s why you still see abandoned rails in NSW.

Anyway, the fate of the Leigh Creek line? who knows.....

Dan
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Leaving the tracks in place has unintended consequences though - if the corridor ever does become useful again, the business case for rebuilding it has to include the cost of removing the rotten old debris. Given that closed/suspended lines usually get that way for a good reason, any business case for rebuilding is likely to be so marginal that this extra cost would have a strong chance of making it unviable.

I prefer the SA approach of the government retaining ownership of the land but allowing the track to be removed and the corridor leased to other parties. The Coast to Vines Rail Trail, for example, is far more successful than the Willunga railway which previously used the corridor. The trail did not serve to act as an obstacle to a 1.4km stretch of the corridor being 'returned' to rail use as part of the new Seaford Extension built five years ago. In fact, the Seaford Extension project included the shared path being rebuilt alongside the new railway and doing double duty as an access track for maintenance crews.
  Dangersdan707 Deputy Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Before anyone suggests the rails and sleepers should go to the PRR to get to Marre,  ITS PROBABLY NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN
  SAR523 Chief Train Controller

Location: Chicago, IL
Before anyone suggests the rails and sleepers should go to the PRR to get to Marre,  ITS PROBABLY NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN
Dangersdan707
I've got to say, that would be a most ambitious heritage railway project.  

Just for giggles I plotted Quorn to Maree on google maps as I couldn't really place it in my head (I've been north of Hawker, but not that far north).  Thought I'd mistakenly put in Pt Augusta as at the scale the map chose to show the line Quorn's name isn't even visible and the 'route' looks like it runs to PA.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Is there much between Quorn and Hawker?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Is there much between Quorn and Hawker?
x31
Much what ?
  allan Chief Commissioner

Is there much between Quorn and Hawker?
x31
There's quite a bit of not very much! A few dry creeks, a couple of cemeteries, a few sheep and the odd bunny. The dominating feature is the track formation.
  sar602 Chief Train Controller

Location: Nomadic truckie
Bowmans rail has started work on a hard stand around 10km north of Stirling north around the site of Emeroo adjacent to the new solar plant under construction. I assume this will be used for delivery of construction materials for the new solar plant? How long will this traffic last and will trains be running to Neuroodla to run locos around or will it be operated push pull? should be interesting
  Clyde_AT26HC-2M Chief Train Controller

"Apparently" the Bowmans contract is for 12 months with 2 trains a week.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The trail did not serve to act as an obstacle to a 1.4km stretch of the corridor being 'returned' to rail use as part of the new Seaford Extension built five years ago. In fact, the Seaford Extension project included the shared path being rebuilt alongside the new railway and doing double duty as an access track for maintenance crews.
justapassenger
Didn't realise that the Seaford line used 1.4km of the old Willunga alignment?
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
The trail did not serve to act as an obstacle to a 1.4km stretch of the corridor being 'returned' to rail use as part of the new Seaford Extension built five years ago. In fact, the Seaford Extension project included the shared path being rebuilt alongside the new railway and doing double duty as an access track for maintenance crews.
Didn't realise that the Seaford line used 1.4km of the old Willunga alignment?
don_dunstan
The Seaford line between Seaford Meadows Station and Seaford Station follows the original Willunga Alignment.
Likewise the future extension to Aldinga will follow the Willunga alignment from Seaford Station to Pedler Creek.
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: By a road taking pictures
Sell the rails, pull up the sleepers if they like but there is NO WAY that any government should part with railway, defence, aerodrome land etc. Lease it for a peppercorn rent if necessary for a few years (no more than five at a term) but retain the title.
YM-Mundrabilla
The usual thing that happens after the railway infrastructure is removed is that landowners adjacent shift the fences and nothing more is said until someone else shows an interest in the land. After all the adjacent land owners are getting land use free of charge and the government doesn't have to maintain it. Occasionally an interested party may want to buy the land for some purpose and the government will sell it. This has happened at Charleston on the old Mount Pleasant line and also at the Balhannah Golf Course. The government has tried to sell old pieces of land in the past but often the surrounding landowners just shrug their shoulders and say nothing doing and so the status quo remains.
  ANR Junior Train Controller

Extend the PRR now! Lease a diesel Loco, and add a couple of carriages to start with...

Hawker to Parachilna, north to Beltana, Farina and to Marree. A heritage railway indeed.... Why not take it further to Oodnadatta? No wait... too late for that....

You know, there may even be a drop in the GSR bookings for the pretend Ghan.

Can this railway line be extended to Carrapateena and on to Olympic Dam/Prominent Hill? Their request was rejected back in 2015 for a spur to the Tarcoola-Darwin line. Not sure on what grounds.... it was only 100km of track....

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