Railway's in South Australia - Genesee & Wyoming's involvement

 
  amen423 Beginner

I am doing some research into Genesee & Wyoming's involvement with the Railway's in South Australia.

Can anyone give me any information about them and what they have done and/or do in South Australia?

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  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Here are some of the broad brush strokes.

G&W was the winning bidder for Australian National's intra-state rail freight assets in SA, which included ownership of assets such as rolling stock and a 50 year lease of certain lines and facilities not related to the interstate mainline. As part of that privatisation of AN, ownership of the intra-state freight lines was transferred to the state government's transport department - DTEI, DPTI etc

As such they are the operator of:
  • Broad gauge lines beyond Gawler and Gawler Central to Penrice, Kapunda, Burra, Balaklava. None of these lines are operational at present.
  • Standard gauge lines east of Tailem Bend to Loxton and Pinnaroo, also not operational.
  • Standard gauge line from Monarto South to Apamurra, also not operational.
  • Narrow gauge lines on Eyre Peninsula.


GWA operates the narrow gauge lines bringing iron ore into Whyalla on behalf of the owner LibertyOneSteel (previously BHP, then sold off as OneSteel and renamed as Arrium before going bust) and manages the lines within the LibertyOneSteel plant. These lines are not connected to the Eyre Peninsula narrow gauge network.

Separate from the lease of the DPTI-owned lines, GWA purchased Freightlink in 2010 and therefore became the holder of the 50 year lease on the Tarcoola to Darwin line. This includes managing the operation of the line, running trains and selling access to other operators.

Finally, GWA operates trains on various part of the ARTC network in SA.
  DJPeters Chief Train Controller

Here are some of the broad brush strokes.

G&W was the winning bidder for Australian National's intra-state rail freight assets in SA, which included ownership of assets such as rolling stock and a 50 year lease of certain lines and facilities not related to the interstate mainline. As part of that privatisation of AN, ownership of the intra-state freight lines was transferred to the state government's transport department - DTEI, DPTI etc

As such they are the operator of:
  • Broad gauge lines beyond Gawler and Gawler Central to Penrice, Kapunda, Burra, Balaklava. None of these lines are operational at present.
  • Standard gauge lines east of Tailem Bend to Loxton and Pinnaroo, also not operational.
  • Standard gauge line from Monarto South to Apamurra, also not operational.
  • Narrow gauge lines on Eyre Peninsula.


GWA operates the narrow gauge lines bringing iron ore into Whyalla on behalf of the owner LibertyOneSteel (previously BHP, then sold off as OneSteel and renamed as Arrium before going bust) and manages the lines within the LibertyOneSteel plant. These lines are not connected to the Eyre Peninsula narrow gauge network.

Separate from the lease of the DPTI-owned lines, GWA purchased Freightlink in 2010 and therefore became the holder of the 50 year lease on the Tarcoola to Darwin line. This includes managing the operation of the line, running trains and selling access to other operators.

Finally, GWA operates trains on various part of the ARTC network in SA.
justapassenger
G&W now also own Freightliner, world wide as well so that is something else to add to the above.
  T412 Beginner

Also soon Eyre Peninsula Lines operations to be discontinued sometime between end of March and May 2019 if rumours and press reports are true.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Also soon Eyre Peninsula Lines operations to be discontinued sometime between end of March and May 2019 if rumours and press reports are true.
T412
Extended from end of March to 31 May I have been told. But that's only the grain lines feeding into Port Lincoln. The gypsum traffic out of Thevenard will continue.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Also soon Eyre Peninsula Lines operations to be discontinued sometime between end of March and May 2019 if rumours and press reports are true.
T412

Another GWA abandonment in SA?
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Also soon Eyre Peninsula Lines operations to be discontinued sometime between end of March and May 2019 if rumours and press reports are true.

Another GWA abandonment in SA?
bevans
It was Viterra abandoning rail, leaving GWA with no traffic. It will go to trucks, which from Viterra's perspective are cheaper, but ignoring the costs to the communities of having hundreds of grain trucks (bigger than now permitted) passing through the towns.
  Bethungra Train Controller

How could it be cheaper to take loads by truck and not large 40 wagon+ trains on the network?

Makes no sense at all and the road costs would be much higher when you take damage into consideration.

Viterra are not very environmentally friendly or responsible are they are is it they just don't like GWA?
  T412 Beginner

It is also thought that the Diesel Servicing gear is being shifted to Thevenard (or nearby) from Pt Lincoln to avoid Light Engine running to and from Pt Lincoln as a cost saving.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

How could it be cheaper to take loads by truck and not large 40 wagon+ trains on the network?

Makes no sense at all and the road costs would be much higher when you take damage into consideration.

Viterra are not very environmentally friendly or responsible are they are is it they just don't like GWA?
Bethungra
Of course. Viterra were quoted cheaper rates from the truckers, so the commercial decision is easy. Nothing to do with liking GWA or not, they go for the cheaper rate.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

It is also thought that the Diesel Servicing gear is being shifted to Thevenard (or nearby) from Pt Lincoln to avoid Light Engine running to and from Pt Lincoln as a cost saving.
T412
Certainly some of it moving to Thevenard, Not certain whether they will have the same ability as Port Lincoln. I believe GWA are moving out of Lincoln altogether.
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
This where I get really annoyed.

Government plays no role in taking a holistic view of what it means for the community as a whole. So greater road repairs due to the truck traffic, increased potential for road accidents, degradation of the rail infrastructure. Once closed, it will be very difficult to reinstate it.

Hmmm...... very sorry to hear this.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
This where I get really annoyed.

Government plays no role in taking a holistic view of what it means for the community as a whole. So greater road repairs due to the truck traffic, increased potential for road accidents, degradation of the rail infrastructure. Once closed, it will be very difficult to reinstate it.

Hmmm...... very sorry to hear this.
SA_trains
All about cost and responsibility shifting !
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

This where I get really annoyed.

Government plays no role in taking a holistic view of what it means for the community as a whole. So greater road repairs due to the truck traffic, increased potential for road accidents, degradation of the rail infrastructure. Once closed, it will be very difficult to reinstate it.

Hmmm...... very sorry to hear this.
SA_trains
It's a bipartisan issue in SA, but for different reasons.

Liberal state governments in SA are very right wing on economic issues and won't get involved in something the market should sort out, ALP state governments need someone with a map to explain that places like Eyre Peninsula even exist.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey


As such they are the operator of:
  • Broad gauge lines beyond Gawler and Gawler Central to Penrice, Kapunda, Burra, Balaklava. None of these lines are operational at present.
  • Standard gauge lines east of Tailem Bend to Loxton and Pinnaroo, also not operational.
  • Standard gauge line from Monarto South to Apamurra, also not operational.
  • Narrow gauge lines on Eyre Peninsula.
justapassenger

What an impressive performance from GWA having taken over the network and kept others out of the network who presumably could have done a much better job.  This is appalling my any measure.

What benefits have the South Australian taxpayer received from this arrangement?

What have been the true costs to the SA taxpayer of this farce they called GWA?
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: no longer in Sydney
x31, please tell us what GWA have kept other Operators from doing. What traffic is currently on offer from the closed/disused lines?
  SAR523 Chief Train Controller

Location: Chicago, IL
    What an impressive performance from GWA having taken over the network and kept others out of the network who presumably could have done a much better job.  This is appalling my any measure.

    What benefits have the South Australian taxpayer received from this arrangement?

    What have been the true costs to the SA taxpayer of this farce they called GWA?
    x31
    Perhaps you could share the basis of this presumption?

    Or the rationale behind a private entity behaving this way? They’re denying others the ability to make money but not doing it themselves?

    It’s worth recalling that G&W is very successful in the US at short line operations.  Perhaps the business just isn’t there, and this was reasonably clear in about 1920 for most of those lines.

    What the taxpayer is getting out of this is not paying for unproductive railway lines just to have them or because they were already there.

    Look, I love trains as much as the next person here, but there are some stark realities about South Australia that don’t make it amenable to a bunch of rail lines.
      nswtrains Chief Commissioner

    What an impressive performance from GWA having taken over the network and kept others out of the network who presumably could have done a much better job.  This is appalling my any measure.

    What benefits have the South Australian taxpayer received from this arrangement?

    What have been the true costs to the SA taxpayer of this farce they called GWA?
    Perhaps you could share the basis of this presumption?

    Or the rationale behind a private entity behaving this way? They’re denying others the ability to make money but not doing it themselves?

    It’s worth recalling that G&W is very successful in the US at short line operations.  Perhaps the business just isn’t there, and this was reasonably clear in about 1920 for most of those lines.

    What the taxpayer is getting out of this is not paying for unproductive railway lines just to have them or because they were already there.

    Look, I love trains as much as the next person here, but there are some stark realities about South Australia that don’t make it amenable to a bunch of rail lines.
    SAR523
    I would not take the slightest notice about anything X31 has to say about G&W. In the Queensland forum he is banging on much the same about G&W. X31 is really prone to hyperbole without any basis for his statements. G&W know what they are doing.
      x31 Chief Commissioner

    Location: gallifrey
    You don't need to be a member of Mensa to work out their business on those lines has failed.  What they do in the USA with more than competent and forward thinking management (who create business opportunities rather than steal business from others) to know the Australian Operation needs a clean out.

    They know what they are doing?

    Tell us what they are doing in SA?
      SinickleBird Train Controller

    Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
    @x31 the issue in SA is “what traffic exists that is suited to rail”, as pointed out earlier.

    Grain traffic is heavily seasonal, variable, and broadly close enough to Adelaide that trucking is more economical. Minerals traffic is sparse - note they continue to service Thevenard.

    My issue is that G&W seems to have bought into a declining business and blown their investment.

    We have similar arguments with our Victorian friends over (reinstatement of) passenger train services to various towns that look interesting on a map.
      x31 Chief Commissioner

    Location: gallifrey
    I agree this is only my view and I should not be attacked over it.

    I see you agree their business is declining and I do not believe trucks for grain are cheaper when you add all the costs.  False economy.

    The Victorian experience should not be compared as there and intrastate services until what is happening in SA.

    G&W manage are so thick they are not able to do a deal with a government giving away funding to reopen Mount Gambier.  They cannot do a deal with Scotts?

    They cannot open a few intermodal terminals?

    They are owned by a US short line operator but cannot find the time to run short haul trains?

    They cannot manage to run a service east or west from Adelaide on the SG and only limited traffic on the north south?
      SinickleBird Train Controller

    Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
    Not meaning to attack, @x31. Apologies if my language appeared otherwise.

    Unfortunately, as covered in various other forums, full cost recovery is very much a rail thing. Rightly or wrongly, road costs are socialized.

    Re Scott’s - time to drive a B-double Mt Gambier to Adelaide is what - 5 hours tops? Assuming SG all the way, time in a train is maybe 8-9 hours. The old Bluebird railcar used to leave Adelaide at 8:05am, arriving around 4:30pm. Plus you can run B-doubles at whatever time it is loaded, for a train, when the path is available through the busiest sector.

    I like trains as much as anyone else. Economics suggests they win for long distance (mandatory truck driver breaks) and big loads (commodities and long takes of containers).

    Interestingly, the definition of long distance in NZ is considerable shorter on account of terrain and road quality.
      BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

    Location: Maldon Junction
    @x31 the issue in SA is “what traffic exists that is suited to rail”, as pointed out earlier.

    Grain traffic is heavily seasonal, variable, and broadly close enough to Adelaide that trucking is more economical. Minerals traffic is sparse - note they continue to service Thevenard.

    My issue is that G&W seems to have bought into a declining business and blown their investment.

    We have similar arguments with our Victorian friends over (reinstatement of) passenger train services to various towns that look interesting on a map.
    SinickleBird
    The other issue may be the way the contract was let. Another operator may have been able to tender for some of the Viterra work at a cheaper price than G&WA for whatever reason but may be precluded from doing so by G&WA who control access to the network.

    I would love to see what access charges would be in place for the EP lines, Loxton, Pinnaroo etc which according to https://www.gwrr.com/railroads/australia/genesee_wyoming_australia/access_seekers/GWA are still avl

    It maybe that access charges are too high to promote competition. But it may also simply be that there is insufficient demand, Viterra might have all the grain locked up and not be interested in seeking a better rail deal through a competitor, I don't know.

    But I think is a bit simple to accuse G&WA of closing lines, they are a rail operator, if there was a customer they would run the trains and upgrade the lines.

    Interestingly reports on the Vic Grain forums that farmers from SA (SE not Mallee) were being offered better prices to truck to Dimboola and other rail served Victorian sites. Not sure how many did but it might make Viterra think again if they keep losing supply.

    BG
      mikesyd Chief Commissioner

    Location: no longer in Sydney

    G&W manage are so thick they are not able to do a deal with a government giving away funding to reopen Mount Gambier.  They cannot do a deal with Scotts?
    x31
    So what's this funding being offered to re-open Mount Gambier that you mention then? - nothing seen in the 'news'.

    Could you please enlighten us.
      mikesyd Chief Commissioner

    Location: no longer in Sydney
    Interestingly reports on the Vic Grain forums that farmers from SA (SE not Mallee) were being offered better prices to truck to Dimboola and other rail served Victorian sites. Not sure how many did but it might make Viterra think again if they keep losing supply.

    BG
    BrentonGolding
    Yes, many seem to forget that in the past, Grain was a Monopoly, farmers had to sell to the Federally owned Australian Wheat Board (AWB), and that usually meant that they could deliver it to the nearest Silo, which again was run by a State Owned Monopoly - Grain Elevators Board (GEB) in Victoria, and their equivalents in other states. So the farmers could NOT negotiate on price (except at the ballot box) and had to take the going rate that AWB was paying, and even that was in instalments over the following year. AWB sold most of that grain for export, though some was sold locally to Mills.

    There were Quotas at some stage too, Farmers were only allowed to grow so much.

    The Railways were all then Government owned too, and the relevant Grain Handlers (GEB etc) paid them to transport the grain to Ports - which was then loaded onto ship for export - AWB being the exporter.

    Step forward to the Privatisation era of the 1980's/90's and all that changed, AWB lost its monopoly and was privatised, as were the Grain Handlers. The farmers were free to sell to who they wished at an agreed price. Depending on who they sold it too, dictated the means of transportation.

    Don't forget, its not all wheat these days - there is lots of Canola about, and that takes a different path - to facilities who crush it and produce Vegetable oils. (GrainCorp have one such facility at Numurkah Vic)

    So lets not go blaming Rail Operators for the demise of grain branch lines, they don't control the Grain Storages and where the grain from those storages is destined. In the recent SA cases, as I understand it, Viterra owned the storages, and contracted GWA to transport grain from some of them to Port. Those contracts expired, and Viterra chose other Operator(s), who could transport for a cheaper rate and not go bankrupt in the process.

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