Murray Basin standardisation

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
@bevans have you asked any of the companies that you reference why they are not using Rail ATM?

BG
BrentonGolding

No, I have not BG but I think I might start to make a few calls after the final Uni exam in a few weeks time.  I would like to get a view on the thoughts around rail now the SG has gone through.

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  justarider Chief Train Controller

Location: Stuck on VR and hoping for better.
Reopening Inglewood - Eaglehawk doesn't solve mineral sands Manangatang - Portland.
kitchgp
Very true, but it opens up mineral sands Manangatang-Melbourne.

Portland Port are really dealing themselves out of the freight business, unless it's wood. PLUS the Portland line is now CLOSED.

cheers
John
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

PLUS the Portland line is now CLOSED.
justarider

There are contradictory lines on this.

Some say it’s a “paper” closure to prevent ARTC having to patrol it when there are no trains.

On the other hand, lines that close on paper rarely reopen these days.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
A good grain year will reopen things
  max_thum Station Master

Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Doesn't look like the Sea Lake line is being converted anytime soon (maybe next year?), 707 Operations proposed for a tour down to Sea Lake. "The Grainlander to Sea Lake on 6th to 8th September" with R 707 'City of Melbourne'.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
A good grain year will reopen things
james.au
Not so sure about that, james, FA grain goes to Portland, although there was a minor surge last year, remember they are only interested in the wood chips.

Also, remember, she's a swine of a setup for unloading trains, these days.

BigShunter.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Yes, with the new Ultima siding being laid in BG and that newsletter I’d say the standardisation has definitely been deferred until after this year’s harvest.

Which is what the Minister told us late last year, so nothing’s changed despite the cries of the (large and worthy) peanut gallery.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Which is what the Minister told us late last year, so nothing’s changed despite the cries of the (large and worthy) peanut gallery.
potatoinmymouth
Which statements are you referring to PIMM?  I can't find the releases atm...
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Also something i have just noticed on the project website - the Freight Passenger Seprartion Project is shown to apply to the entire length of track from Maryboruough down to Warrenheip.  Not sure if this is a strategic change or if this is a website developer error.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Sorry James, I don’t have a specific link. It was when the FPRSP was announced I think, and 2020 was being knocked around - I thought by the Minister but I have been wrong before!

As for the diagram on the MBRP website that hasn’t changed since it was updated in the middle of last year to excise all references to Stages 4 and 5, and then a bit later to include the FPRSP. I don’t think it means anything.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
A good grain year will reopen things
Not so sure about that, james, FA grain goes to Portland, although there was a minor surge last year, remember they are only interested in the wood chips.

Also, remember, she's a swine of a setup for unloading trains, these days.

BigShunter.
BigShunter
FA grain goes to Portland as the line TAL is low (19?).  ARTC, the Vic Govt and the port are all dodging the bullet of funding the upgrade...
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
A good grain year will reopen things
Not so sure about that, james, FA grain goes to Portland, although there was a minor surge last year, remember they are only interested in the wood chips.

Also, remember, she's a swine of a setup for unloading trains, these days.

BigShunter.
FA grain goes to Portland as the line TAL is low (19?).  ARTC, the Vic Govt and the port are all dodging the bullet of funding the upgrade...
james.au
Add the major problem of ageing and Inefficient grain handling / storage facilities at the port.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
A good grain year will reopen things
Not so sure about that, james, FA grain goes to Portland, although there was a minor surge last year, remember they are only interested in the wood chips.

Also, remember, she's a swine of a setup for unloading trains, these days.

BigShunter.
FA grain goes to Portland as the line TAL is low (19?).  ARTC, the Vic Govt and the port are all dodging the bullet of funding the upgrade...
Add the major problem of ageing and Inefficient grain handling / storage facilities at the port.
Nightfire
Yep, all of the above and this year, grain is heading North, for drought relief.

As far as I'm concerned, Portland has a very limited life span in the future for grain exportation, which is a shame but it's location for a Huge refurbishment, makes it nearly impossible and the management seems happy with their woodchip, cash cow.
If BG's mineral sands gets up and running, perhaps that will be another feather in their cap, but as Iv'e said before I'll believe that when I see it. ( and have to shout BG a Gallon of Stout, Bingley and I on the light.. Rolling Eyes )

I also reckon Geelong needs to really sharpen the pencil with their loading speed and perhaps their unloading facilities/unloading speed, to be competitive with Port Kembla ( similar distance to both from Southern NSW ) if Geetroit wants to attract grain from the Riverina and be at least on par, with those Newsouth Welshmans ports.

And here endith the Epistle....

BigShunter.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
As far as I'm concerned, Portland has a very limited life span in the future for grain exportation, which is a shame but it's location for a Huge refurbishment, makes it nearly impossible and the management seems happy with their woodchip, cash cow.
If BG's mineral sands gets up and running, perhaps that will be another feather in their cap, but as Iv'e said before I'll believe that when I see it. ( and have to shout BG a Gallon of Stout, Bingley and I on the light.. Rolling Eyes )

I also reckon Geelong needs to really sharpen the pencil with their loading speed and perhaps their unloading facilities/unloading speed, to be competitive with Port Kembla ( similar distance to both from Southern NSW ) if Geetroit wants to attract grain from the Riverina and be at least on par, with those Newsouth Welshmans ports.
BigShunter
Given one of the stated problems identified to support the Murray Basin project was "Restricted access to Victorian ports is undermining the international competitiveness of bulk products" and that competition between the ports is also identified as an issue (which under split BG/SG track networks they can't compete with each other) the above is somewhat interesting.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
There is still the outstanding intermodal terminal development at North Portland which would provide traffic for the line.

The Woodchips really need to get onto rail.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/victoria/murray-bain-rail-project-runs-out-of-funds/news-story/eb3f7b82dd5043c449ddf6bd00255ea9

And there we go folks.  The truth comes out.

Disappointing to say the least.



Murray Bain Rail Project runs out of fundsEXCLUSIVE: THE $440 million Murray Basin Rail project has run out of steam and funding, with Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan forced to wind back the troubled project.

Work was due to start on upgrading and converting the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines from broad to narrower standard-gauge track next month.

But Ms Allan said inspections of both lines by Rail Project Victoria staff had shown the Manangatang line was heavily degraded and in desperate need of repair.

“There are parts of the line that are almost non-existent,” Ms Allan said. “V/Line said if you don’t do some urgent work on the Manangatang line we will be forced to close before the coming grain season.

“Faced with that … I’ve decided we have to keep it open.”

About $23 million will now be spent on repairing the track.

When The Weekly Times questioned why work to fully upgrade and standardise both lines could not be done now, rather than patching up the track now and having to come back to do the full job at a later date, Ms Allan said she was advised the condition of the track was so poor that the complete upgrade would take too long.

“We wouldn’t be able to get it done before the grain season,” she said.

Ms Allan also revealed the $23 million would eat up the last of the $440 million that both the state and federal governments had committed to the project. “With the investment in Manangatang most of the $440 million has been invested,” she said.

The minister said the Victorian Government would now have to revisit the business case for the Murray Basin Rail Project and “talk to the Federal Government to progress the next stage”.

She said she could appreciate that it would be frustrating for grain producers who wanted to see the project completed. It’s the second time upgrades to the Manangatang and Sea Lake lines have been delayed, with Ms Allan forced to suspend work last year, due to delays in upgrading the Maryborough to Ararat line, which also proved to be in far poorer condition than detailed in the original business case.

At the time rail industry insiders told The Weekly Times project management was taken out of V/Line’s hands and passed on to Rail Projects Victoria because of its poor performance.
  TheMeddlingMonk Deputy Commissioner

Location: The Time Vortex near Melbourne, Australia
Did anyone actually check the condition of the lines before putting a price on the works?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Did anyone actually check the condition of the lines before putting a price on the works?
TheMeddlingMonk
As someone has noted elsewhere, VLine, while good at managing smaller upgrades to their passenger network that they know well, were out of their depth and failed to realise the risk creep of the MB project.  Then failed to manage the contractor (probably both through lack of oversight but lack of scope definition in the first place).
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

Take the $260 million from the Kooyong LX pork-barrel and either finish the project or convert Mildura/Murrayville back to BG. The worst outcome for this project is to leave it half-done.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Some internal clean up from me.

When the wheels started falling off the project, there were a few posters here  who started raising the red flags.  I won't name all but @kuldalai and @Trainplanner were main ones commenting.  Now, I (and possibly others) didn't dismiss these outright, but didn't give them full credence given they were things posted on the boards, and based on previous posts from the posters they could have been interpreted as them laying in the boot to the project.

But they were right, and the project was off the rails at that stage.  Which I want to acknowledge.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Well there you go.   BG lives on.

It would be interesting to hear how much it would cost to fix Eaglehawk to Inglewood to give these BG lines a chance to have decent alternative pathing?
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Well there you go.   BG lives on.

It would be interesting to hear how much it would cost to fix Eaglehawk to Inglewood to give these BG lines a chance to have decent alternative pathing?
Carnot

Marong trestle wouldn't help things there
  lkernan Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
V/Line said if you don’t do some urgent work on the Manangatang line we will be forced to close before the coming grain season.
Somebody


Some amazing forward planning there V/Line!  Aren't you supposed to manage maintenance across the network
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Some amazing forward planning there V/Line!  Aren't you supposed to manage maintenance across the network
Ikernan

Sounds to me like they’ve been deferring since 2014 on the “assumption” that someone would pay for it as part of the standardisation.

I want to reiterate what James said as I’ve cast doubt too on allegations which have now proven correct.

Where to from here?

There is little doubt now this project is FUBAR. It will almost certainly never be completed as originally intended, despite what David Davis might think.

I don’t think unconverting Mildura is a realistic option but honestly at this point who knows. It might be the only way to save Sea Lake and Manang from complete closure. The one bright light in this article is that the minister seems committed to making sure they hang around. Inglewood might be another option; again, who knows how realistic it is (pathing through Bendigo might be worse than Ballarat).

More disturbingly I think it means the northern lines will not be converted in the next couple of decades. What minister or public servant is going to stake their reputation on a standardisation project after the last two have been such unequivocal failures? I sure wouldn’t.

Only time will tell whether this sounds the death knell for freight rail in Victoria. But the signs are very bad.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
V/Line said if you don’t do some urgent work on the Manangatang line we will be forced to close before the coming grain season.


Some amazing forward planning there V/Line!  Aren't you supposed to manage maintenance across the network
lkernan

That has never been managed effectively and to the benefit of the community and the operators.  There are sections of track still which should be fixed for operator access but which are not.

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