New terminal takes cucumbers from truck to train in 15 minutes

 

News article: New terminal takes cucumbers from truck to train in 15 minutes

A new dedicated fresh line between the Netherlands and Germany is in the making.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Interesting article about now it is possible with the will and innovation to make rail work for fresh produce.  Why can't this model work in Queensland for growers wanting to get their produce south to major markets?

The Europeans seem to be able to make things work well with a minimum of fuss but there are so many perceived blockers in Australia which this was never the case historically.

New terminal takes cucumbers from truck to train in 15 minutes

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  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Interesting article about now it is possible with the will and innovation to make rail work for fresh produce.  Why can't this model work in Queensland for growers wanting to get their produce south to major markets?

The Europeans seem to be able to make things work well with a minimum of fuss but there are so many perceived blockers in Australia which this was never the case historically.

New terminal takes cucumbers from truck to train in 15 minutes
bevans
Europeans have rail everywhere which is why it succeeds there. Nothing that europe does is in anyway applicable to Australia.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

The added complexity and cost of specialised rollingstock can be the enemy of low-cost high-volume intermodal. This system isn't really improving on the current "container from farm to gantry to wagon" systems used by regional fruit and horticultural intermodal terminals in North Queensland such as Innisfail and Bowen.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Interesting article about now it is possible with the will and innovation to make rail work for fresh produce.  Why can't this model work in Queensland for growers wanting to get their produce south to major markets?

The Europeans seem to be able to make things work well with a minimum of fuss but there are so many perceived blockers in Australia which this was never the case historically.

New terminal takes cucumbers from truck to train in 15 minutes
bevans
500M people in a space the size of Qld also seems to help the economics somewhat.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

which this was never the case historically.
bevans
The reason the "good old days" saw the railways desperately trying to meet the needs of all kinds of traffic any way they could was because of their legal obligation to carry anything and everything. Decades of misguided economic policy saw restrictions placed on road transport to justify the continued existence of thousands of poorly maintained branch lines, each one becoming ever more difficult to operate efficiently, and each one drawing scarce resources from mainlines and major terminals. The end result, when deregulation finally came, was a national railway system hopelessly unsuited to the kind of tasks it ought to excel at - high-volume freight routes, fast or slow.

And now, you want us to... build specialist cucumber wagons? I think I'll pass.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
' .... Nothing that Europe does is in anyway applicable to Australia. ....'
Like punctuality for a start.
  Lockspike Assistant Commissioner

' .... Nothing that Europe does is in anyway applicable to Australia. ....'
Like punctuality for a start.
YM-Mundrabilla
Good to have you back here YM
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

' .... Nothing that Europe does is in anyway applicable to Australia. ....'
Like punctuality for a start.
YM-Mundrabilla
All European railways are heavily subsidised as are their farmers. They still run 4 wheelers with buffers and draw hooks which I don't think is all that progressive. They carry goods in short goods trains and we do freight in long trains. No comparison as others have noted.
  Big J Assistant Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
' .... Nothing that Europe does is in anyway applicable to Australia. ....'
Like punctuality for a start.
All European railways are heavily subsidised as are their farmers. They still run 4 wheelers with buffers and draw hooks which I don't think is all that progressive. They carry goods in short goods trains and we do freight in long trains. No comparison as others have noted.
nswtrains
A bit of a generalisation. There are many 8 wheeler rail wagons especially for the good old boxes for longer distance freight. Also I would suggest their TAL would be equal or better than for any main lines that would host long distance freight.

Also as their railways, due to population density, have a much higher passenger train intensity,so their freights tend to be about maintaining a speed that is superior to Australian freight trains, so their performance focus tends to have shorter freights operating at a higher speed, often with electric traction.

What they have done a better job than us is retaining specialist industries on rail to haul over relatively shorter distances than us.  We have given up specialist wagons (clay, fuel, liquids etc) and focus on rocks and boxes.

As others said different operating environment compared to Australia.

Cheers
Big J
  Big J Assistant Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
' .... Nothing that Europe does is in anyway applicable to Australia. ....'
Like punctuality for a start.
All European railways are heavily subsidised as are their farmers.
nswtrains
Also are you suggestion that rail isn't subsidised in Australia??????
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
We have had and still have some specialist wagons, but you need the volumes to sustain and generate further investment. Tasrail was moving clay over a distance of 250km, but the business closed due to change in technology.

The other issues facing the specialised wagons is who pays for the specialised equipment and loading/unloading terminals. Talking to CQ Petroleum many years ago he said the haulage of diesel to Emerald would stop simply because neither QR nor CQ Petroleum was willing to pay for the upgrades of the terminals to meet new regulations because of low volumes and it did. That and the loading/unloading terminals required painful shunting would not have helped, but they were not moving rake loads, it was a dozen wagons 2-3 times a week. So the volumes didn't support alot of investment.

If a railway invests in wagons to carry boxes and container terminals, it knows it can do no wrong and the wagons are flexible to be used for any customer and easily sold if needed, almost risk free.  

EU runs small fast freights because they have to to fit in with a high density passenger system. If you tried to run the slow monolith freights of Australian rail their system would collapse. In addition finding space of rail yards 2km long would be a challenge.

The economics in Australia means short trains are not viable unless they are high frequency as we see with Sugar in Qld, Cement in Tas etc.

Govt regulation in the EU forces alot of traffic onto rail even without a subsidy.

Maybe of interest
While 45 percent of inland transportation in the United States was done by rail in 2013, rail freight account for only 17.8 percent of intra-european transport — compared with 19.7 percent in 2000. During the same period the road transport share increased from 73.7 percent to 75.4 percent; or in other words the European freight market increased by 2.3 percent annually, with 25 percent of the trucks reported to have been driven empty because of the lack of freight match back.

So rails share of inland freight in the EU is also declining until 2013.

EU's goal
The EU commission set up clear objectives in 2011: transfer 30 percent of the current freight tonnage above 300 km (186 miles) from road to rail/barge by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050. It is clear now that these objectives will not be achieved.

https://www.joc.com/rail-intermodal/international-rail/how-europes-rail-freight-can-connect-ports-hinterlands_20180226.html
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
500M people in a space the size of Qld also seems to help the economics somewhat.
RTT_Rules

Why is that a consideration?  I am sure it is revelant as freight is not reliant on the number of people.  If there are 40 wagons then there are 40 wagons.

Food needs to get from farmgate to market/consumer.  Rail can continue to play a role in this and should play more of a role.  There are news items yesterday calling for greater investment in rail for freight.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
500M people in a space the size of Qld also seems to help the economics somewhat.

Why is that a consideration?  I am sure it is revelant as freight is not reliant on the number of people.  If there are 40 wagons then there are 40 wagons.

Food needs to get from farmgate to market/consumer.  Rail can continue to play a role in this and should play more of a role.  There are news items yesterday calling for greater investment in rail for freight.
bevans
Is it 40 wagons per hour, per day, per week, per month, per year?

A single farm may have 40 wagons of grain produced each year, but this doesn't justify a railway to their door. If it was daily, it would and it would depend on how long the line is before it was used by other services.

Back to the EU, you have 500,000,000 people living on a land mass that makes coastal shipping of limited value apart from places like UK, Ireland, Scandinavia. Of those 500,000,000 people, most live more than 500km from the coast as by Australian standards the EU coast line has limited population along large chunks of the coastline, ie most live inland at places like Paris, Madrid, Swis cities, Lyon, Much of Germany, Austria etc etc. So naturally rail is already a clear advantage in generating the volumes to justify the investment in rail infrastructure.

Compare to Australia most of us live within 100km of the coast and live within 250km of one of 6 major centres. ie
Greater Perth
Greater Adelaide
Greater Melbourne
Greater Sydney
Greater Brisbane
Greater FNQ

So anything coming to/from OS, which is most of the manufactured goods and consumer items is by ship and then distributed locally by truck. Rail is only a consideration for shipping to places like Adelaide, Perth, FNQ and to a far lesser degree Tasmania.

Next, the EU is a large manufacturing base in its own right. Unlike Australia not just shifting dirt and grain, which is the back bone of most of Australia's rail freight. The EU is moving raw materials around as well as the finished goods in between EU states.

Rural freight could be better, but unfortunately we hung on to dead branch lines for way to long and didn't invest in upgrading trunk lines and building efficient depos/transfer yards. However if you are thinking to replicate the EU, you are mistaken.

Remember if it wasn't for the abandonment of coastal shipping, its likely some of our capital cities may not even be connected to the interstate rail network anymore.
  Big J Assistant Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
500M people in a space the size of Qld also seems to help the economics somewhat.

Why is that a consideration?  I am sure it is revelant as freight is not reliant on the number of people.  If there are 40 wagons then there are 40 wagons.

Food needs to get from farmgate to market/consumer.  Rail can continue to play a role in this and should play more of a role.  There are news items yesterday calling for greater investment in rail for freight.
bevans
Simply $/person/km. More people reduces the cost of the actual rail infrastructure (if they are built to the same standard). Let's get real the majority of the capital for funding the rail network is ultimately funded by taxpayers. Above line revenue probably barely covers asset maintenance.

So more people paying reduces the impact on tax payers. That's the theory.

I am not saying that we shouldn't encourage freight on rail in Australia, just it costs more per person.

Same reasons we keep kicking the High Speed Rail investment can down the road. We are not Europe, the US, China nore Japan.

The cost per km is roughly the same, but we ahve less people to pay for it.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

' .... Nothing that Europe does is in anyway applicable to Australia. ....'
Like punctuality for a start.
All European railways are heavily subsidised as are their farmers.
Also are you suggestion that rail isn't subsidised in Australia??????
Big J
Freight is no longer subsidised. I am not interested in long distance passenger rail which is heavily subsidised in Europe and not all that relevant in Australia..
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
' .... Nothing that Europe does is in anyway applicable to Australia. ....'
Like punctuality for a start.
All European railways are heavily subsidised as are their farmers.
Also are you suggestion that rail isn't subsidised in Australia??????
Freight is no longer subsidised. I am not interested in long distance passenger rail which is heavily subsidised in Europe and not all that relevant in Australia..
nswtrains
Some is, especially grain.
  Big J Assistant Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
' .... Nothing that Europe does is in anyway applicable to Australia. ....'
Like punctuality for a start.
All European railways are heavily subsidised as are their farmers.
Also are you suggestion that rail isn't subsidised in Australia??????
Freight is no longer subsidised. I am not interested in long distance passenger rail which is heavily subsidised in Europe and not all that relevant in Australia..
nswtrains
"Freight is no longer subsidised".

So do above rail operators pay wholly the cost for infrastructure or do tax payers?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Sulla will probably know better, but I though much of the rail freight from FNQ was actually fruit and veg headed for the south.
  Big J Assistant Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Sulla will probably know better, but I though much of the rail freight from FNQ was actually fruit and veg headed for the south.
RTT_Rules
It is. Probably more heads north than south in terms of full boxes.

My point to nswtrains is that all rail on the former government rail network is/has been subsidised by taxpayers. We paid for it. Operators probably only cover the cost of maintaining infrastrucutre assets to the current standard. All new lines, improvements are paid by government in the end.

The exceptions are mineral based lines. But we are talking about long distance freight. the same argument can be made about road freight. Heavily subsidised by taxpayers by governments paying for the roads (ultimately irrespective of private starts).

Not saying that it is wrong, just saying it is a fact.

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