Rail study: reinstating Mt Gambier to Heywood line could save $15m a year

 

News article: Rail study: reinstating Mt Gambier to Heywood line could save $15m a year

The South East could see the return of a freight rail service between Mount Gambier and Heywood, if recommendations of a new study are adopted.

  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
A good read pressing the case for rail again to the area with plenty of freight on offer. Let’s see if that department building intermodal terminals will take this up and make it happen. Nobrainer ?

Rail study: reinstating Mt Gambier to Heywood line could save $15m a year

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  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Costed at $120m for approx 90km. Sounds underdone to my untrained eye.

The other question would be are we aiming to freight product only to Portland, in which case distance unlikely to be economic, or is something considerably further envisaged?
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
I think the cost of what it should be and with the economic downturn people are talking about a contractor would take that on.

The line is mostly there and the freight is also available.
  justarider Deputy Commissioner

Location: Free at last, free at last
Costed at $120m for approx 90km. Sounds underdone to my untrained eye.

The other question would be are we aiming to freight product only to Portland, in which case distance unlikely to be economic, or is something considerably further envisaged?
SinickleBird
very underdone.
Sorry @freightgate but the line might be "mostly there" but hasn't felt a train nor maintenance for 25 years. That's a lo t of timber rot, nothwithstanding the need to convert to SG.

As has been observed repeatedly, timber product from Gambier area is a none starter for rail. Harvesting is in the forest and the site continuously moves.
On truck, store, on train, store, on truck, store, on boat - just doesn't work for the short 50k to Portland.
Intermodal to Melbourne the only hope, but is there enough product?

cheers
John
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The article shows over 400,000 truck movements to the region, yes that will be enough and I disagree with the idea that rail cannot compete on woodchips.  The chipping plant is rail adjacent.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
This is has been going on for decades - the biggest problem being that the Scott Group of companies previously fought hard against any reinstatement or standardisation of the line because they benefit greatly from not having to compete with rail. If you've been to the South East you'd know that trucking traffic dominates the roads down there -Anyone who doubts the power of the Scott Group need only recall that in 1998 Alan Scott threatened to move his entire trucking company to Queensland if (then) Premier John Olsen implemented a heavy haulage tax... the Liberals folded like a house of cards.

My two cents is that an intermodal facility on the eastern side of Mt Gambier combined with woodchip traffic would probably be a winner. However, Alan Scott has long passed off this mortal coil but his companies still dominate that part of the world. I just don't see any of those south-east lines getting up again while there is such strident commercial opposition.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Sorry @freightgate but the line might be "mostly there" but hasn't felt a train nor maintenance for 25 years. That's a lo t of timber rot, nothwithstanding the need to convert to SG.
justarider
Not quite, The limestone coast railway shut in 2006, 14 years since parts of it were last used by a red hens.

IIRC sections of the track were done with trigauge steel sleepers, no idea on their condition though.

Anyway, at the current point in time its pie in the sky, with the SA liberals in power I doubt it'll happen. It'll be Left to rot for many more years to come
  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
I’m pretty sure the Limestone Coast (and its railway) isn’t between Mount Gambier and Heywood.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
I’m pretty sure the Limestone Coast (and its railway) isn’t between Mount Gambier and Heywood.
"SinickleBird"

Agreed, there was a Railpage poster from Mt Gambier whose name I've forgotten but he was formerly a volunteer. I think it went from the Mount to Nangwarry or another point just north of the town. They didn't have $$$ for anywhere near the sort of route that they wanted and unfortunately it just wasn't viable in the end.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
I’m pretty sure the Limestone Coast (and its railway) isn’t between Mount Gambier and Heywood.

Agreed, there was a Railpage poster from Mt Gambier whose name I've forgotten but he was formerly a volunteer. I think it went from the Mount to Nangwarry or another point just north of the town. They didn't have $$$ for anywhere near the sort of route that they wanted and unfortunately it just wasn't viable in the end.
don_dunstan
And I thought it ran on the old Millicent / Beachport line so it could have gone just about anywhere Laughing
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
I’m pretty sure the Limestone Coast (and its railway) isn’t between Mount Gambier and Heywood.

Agreed, there was a Railpage poster from Mt Gambier whose name I've forgotten but he was formerly a volunteer. I think it went from the Mount to Nangwarry or another point just north of the town. They didn't have $$$ for anywhere near the sort of route that they wanted and unfortunately it just wasn't viable in the end.
don_dunstan
And I thought it ran on the old Millicent / Beachport line so it could have gone just about anywhere Laughing
"BrentonGolding"

Mt.Gambier - Millicent - Beachport would have been a trip worth taking. Sadly the Millicent - Beachport line disappeared sometime in the fifties, I think sometime after gauge conversion from narrow to broad.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
I’m pretty sure the Limestone Coast (and its railway) isn’t between Mount Gambier and Heywood.

Agreed, there was a Railpage poster from Mt Gambier whose name I've forgotten but he was formerly a volunteer. I think it went from the Mount to Nangwarry or another point just north of the town. They didn't have $$$ for anywhere near the sort of route that they wanted and unfortunately it just wasn't viable in the end.
don_dunstan
Your Referring to Johnny? right? his site is here

https://web.archive.org/web/20180226010149/http://www.johnnyspages.com/l_c_railway_menu.htm

According to wikipedia
'The South Australian section of the line between Mount Gambier and Rennick was used by the tourist service, the Limestone coast railway, until 20 March 1999'
Feel free to Correct me if I'm wrong Very Happy
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
The Wimmera MailTimes strikes again with this link to The Stock & Land.

CSIRO which used modelling to map the region's freight task and supply chains for major commodities including timber, livestock, dairy products and crops.

"This report has critically analysed the volume, variety and movement of the commodities in our region so we can understand our region's freight demand and supply chains and the opportunity for rail in the Limestone Coast," Mr Gandolfi said.

"This analysis estimated road and rail transport costs for major commodities moving across and out of our region.

"Crucial to the process was identifying where potential savings can be made through reinstating rail for current and future freight demands."

The report showed about 527,000 truck movements used at least part of the Limestone Coast region's transport network.

" Of these about 476,000 movements originate in or are destined for the region," said Mr Gandolfi.


The reinstatement of the line between Mount Gambier and Wolseley was evaluated by CSIRO but was found to have a very low economic benefit to the region and incur a much greater cost to reinstate than the Heywood line.

https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/6677885/call-to-reinstate-limestone-coast-rail-line/

BigShunter.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The Wimmera MailTimes strikes again with this link to The Stock & Land.

CSIRO which used modelling to map the region's freight task and supply chains for major commodities including timber, livestock, dairy products and crops.

"This report has critically analysed the volume, variety and movement of the commodities in our region so we can understand our region's freight demand and supply chains and the opportunity for rail in the Limestone Coast," Mr Gandolfi said.

"This analysis estimated road and rail transport costs for major commodities moving across and out of our region.

"Crucial to the process was identifying where potential savings can be made through reinstating rail for current and future freight demands."

The report showed about 527,000 truck movements used at least part of the Limestone Coast region's transport network.

" Of these about 476,000 movements originate in or are destined for the region," said Mr Gandolfi.


The reinstatement of the line between Mount Gambier and Wolseley was evaluated by CSIRO but was found to have a very low economic benefit to the region and incur a much greater cost to reinstate than the Heywood line.

https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/6677885/call-to-reinstate-limestone-coast-rail-line/

BigShunter.
BigShunter
Thats about 1300 trucks a day or 15km of trucks a day. You would think 1-2km of train a day wouldn't be too hard to find in that list.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland

Mt.Gambier - Millicent - Beachport would have been a trip worth taking. Sadly the Millicent - Beachport line disappeared sometime in the fifties, I think sometime after gauge conversion from narrow to broad.
don_dunstan
The decision was made not to rebuild the Millicent - Beachport line to broad gauge In 1955, dual gauge between Millicent and Mount Gambier was put In place for a year or two (only a weekly goods and the odd pick nick special passenger train ran to Beachport)

On closure of the narrow gauge line, the track was removed and rebuilt Into a direct road most of the way between Millicent and Beachport.

Some Interesting relics from the former railway still can be found at Beachport, like the bond store, water crane, rails In the pavement and the bowling club using the former station site.
  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
Who would be paying the $120,000,000 to get products from SA to Vic?

Who would get the profits/savings?

Does the Mt Gambier region think Adelaide or Melbourne? ( think Broken Hill - Adelaide & Lismore - Brisbane)
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Who would be paying the $120,000,000 to get products from SA to Vic?

Who would get the profits/savings?

Does the Mt Gambier region think Adelaide or Melbourne? ( think Broken Hill - Adelaide & Lismore - Brisbane)
GrahamH
That's where plans always seem to fall apart.

Victoria would have to fund It all !
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
AS always, anyone got a copy of the report?  Im not seeing one jump out at me....

Also whats the prospect of any product being short hauled up to Ararat for attachment to a Brisbane or Perth bound service (or vice versa)?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
AS always, anyone got a copy of the report?  Im not seeing one jump out at me....
james.au
https://www.rdalc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/TraNSIT-Limestone-Coast-Final-Report-website.pdf

Also what's the prospect of any product being short hauled up to Ararat for attachment to a Brisbane or Perth bound service (or vice versa)?
james.au
Depends on how hungry the rail operator(s) are for the traffic. Short-hauls of that length (we're talking up to a 200km trip!) would probably require a few hundred metres-long train in and of itself to be viable.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Who would be paying the $120,000,000 to get products from SA to Vic?

Who would get the profits/savings?

Does the Mt Gambier region think Adelaide or Melbourne? ( think Broken Hill - Adelaide & Lismore - Brisbane)
That's where plans always seem to fall apart.

Victoria would have to fund It all !
Nightfire
That makes sense, given that of the ~80-86km of railway line proposed to be reinstated in the CSIRO report (from the Mount Gambier & District Saleyards in Glenburnie SA to Heywood VIC), nearly 71km of the line is still on the Victorian side of the border. Victoria, SA and the Feds would all save money through getting trucks off the roads within their respective networks. SA should pay its fair share, but that should be a minority of the total financial cost of reinstating the line. Instead its contribution should mostly be in the form of in-kind support to shift road freight over to rail through assistance to establish an intermodal site in Mt Gambier, incentives to get SA-based customers to move to rail and so on.

The TraNSIT report itself notes that the large export woodchip freight task would be marginally more expensive by rail than by road in terms of direct costs to producers. However, with small direct subsidies that reflected the savings in avoided road damage borne by all three relevant governments from a substantial shift to rail I think that rail would be quite competitive. There is plenty of opportunity for rail in this task even with the use of "in-field" woodchipping if suitable intermodal woodchip containers were devised and used. Better still - the railway line from Mt Gambier through to Dartmoor runs straight through timber plantations so a shift from in-field chipping to railside mobile chipping at temporary sites loading straight into wagons on the mainline (or containers on the ground adjacent to the mainline that are loaded on later) could be done depending on the traffic volumes of the line. That sort of holistic supply chain management is hard but could be very rewarding for all involved. I think it largely depends on how 'hungry' a prospective rail operator would be for the additional traffic. A holistic US Class III/shortline model for operating the line would be my preferred option as it allows one good operator to capture as much traffic as possible without the possibility of direct undercutting/poaching and given how much road dominates the supply chain in the area I think there's a low likelihood of a monopoly being formed.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Who would be paying the $120,000,000 to get products from SA to Vic?

Who would get the profits/savings?

Does the Mt Gambier region think Adelaide or Melbourne? ( think Broken Hill - Adelaide & Lismore - Brisbane)
That's where plans always seem to fall apart.

Victoria would have to fund It all !
Nightfire
That makes sense, given that of the ~80-86km of railway line proposed to be reinstated in the CSIRO report (from the Mount Gambier & District Saleyards in Glenburnie SA to Heywood VIC), nearly 71km of the line is still on the Victorian side of the border. Victoria, SA and the Feds would all save money through getting trucks off the roads within their respective networks. SA should pay its fair share, but that should be a minority of the total financial cost of reinstating the line. Instead its contribution should mostly be in the form of in-kind support to shift road freight over to rail through assistance to establish an intermodal site in Mt Gambier, incentives to get SA-based customers to move to rail and so on.

The TraNSIT report itself notes that the large export woodchip freight task would be marginally more expensive by rail than by road in terms of direct costs to producers. However, with small direct subsidies that reflected the savings in avoided road damage borne by all three relevant governments from a substantial shift to rail I think that rail would be quite competitive. There is plenty of opportunity for rail in this task even with the use of "in-field" woodchipping if suitable intermodal woodchip containers were devised and used. Better still - the railway line from Mt Gambier through to Dartmoor runs straight through timber plantations so a shift from in-field chipping to railside mobile chipping at temporary sites loading straight into wagons on the mainline (or containers on the ground adjacent to the mainline that are loaded on later) could be done depending on the traffic volumes of the line. That sort of holistic supply chain management is hard but could be very rewarding for all involved. I think it largely depends on how 'hungry' a prospective rail operator would be for the additional traffic. A holistic US Class III/shortline model for operating the line would be my preferred option as it allows one good operator to capture as much traffic as possible without the possibility of direct undercutting/poaching and given how much road dominates the supply chain in the area I think there's a low likelihood of a monopoly being formed.
"LancedDendrite"

Any competition should be welcomed, especially the option of the Ports of Portland, Geelong or Melbourne all possible from an intermodal port at Glenburnie. Sadly I don't think extending the line in the other direction to either Snuggery or Penola/Naracoorte/Wosley would be possible - you've got twin problems of rail losing competitiveness going over the Adelaide Hills. Rail could be competitive from a Glenburnie container/bulk hub but maybe not towards Adelaide, that route might never see any kind of traffic again.

I do recall Dean Brown (then SA Premier) promised a token ten million or something for gauge conversion after the Working Nation standardisation was completed in 1995 but no other money came forth from the Commonwealth so it never happened. It's been almost 25 years, you'd have to imagine none of the sleepers and not much of the rail is salvagable in any case.

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