Grain Harvest 2020-21

 
  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic
A very revealing report in Stock and Land this morning:

https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/7113448/road-winning-out-over-rail-for-record-grain-harvest/?cs=4598
I wonder if Mr Riordan would mind paying some dollars per TKM to help fund those road upgrades?

And his trucking movements are being subsidised and he is loving it.

This article is a good one and highlights just what a mess the rail network is under the current administration.
bevans
Declare conflict as I know Jim Riordan from a previous job. He is and will always be road transport focused. They run a substantial trucking fleet after all. He is a grain trader first and foremost, and knows the industry like the back of his hand. If it was in his interest to shift grain by train, I imagine he would in a heartbeat. With the amount of containerised grain they shift it wouldn't surprise me if they do at times already.

Not sure there's any surprises in there for any of us on this forum. The rail network is in a sad state, and no surprise road is doing more of the work than it has in previous years. I do note in the article that the operators have trains down at present due to failures or maintenance. Probably points to PN, but they are as we all know in the business to make money, so don't think that would be completely accurate, more like the grain companies dont need the amount of grain shifted by rail at present.

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  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Cutting costs is so often seen as far easier than spending money to make money.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Here's a round up of harvest pictures from GrainCorp sites far and wide, some terrific views of a mammoth harvest.

Harvest soared to new heights ???? ????

With harvest 2020/21 close to completion on Australia’s east coast, we wanted to share some of our highlights from the bumper season.

Over 13 million tonnes of grain has been delivered into our east coast receival sites (and climbing!) and over 60 sites in NSW and Victoria have broken their receival records.

Many of our other sites went from bust to boom: Narromine, in Northern NSW, received just 92 tonnes of grain in 2019 but took over 124,000 tonnes in 2020 – the most it has ever received at the site. Likewise, Moree went from receiving just over 2000 tonnes of grain in 2019 to taking over 397,000 in 2020.

In a harvest to remember for many of our farming communities, we couldn’t have done it without our people.

A massive thank you to the thousands of harvest casuals that graced our sites, from Mt McLaren in QLD to Geelong in VIC. For many, it was their first harvest with us, but they successfully managed every weather event from severe winds to extreme heat to deliver for our growers.


Special shoutouts to our ‘Grandfather of harvest’, Donnie Krug, who celebrated his 80th birthday while working at our Walgett site; Indigenous elder Guddoo Shepherd coming out of retirement at 72yo to help us out at Merrywinebone; and the 300+ staff that relocated across sites (and states) as the harvest moved south.

Enjoy some of our favourite shots from a season to remember! ????


https://www.facebook.com/GrainCorpLimited/posts/1729297120565333?__tn__=-UC-R

BigShunter.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I note grain traffic via @ghaploop has dropped off so far this week.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
In what is perhaps a sign of how this summers' grain harvest in Victoria is going with regards to rail transport, Pacific National's 7936V loaded grain from Speed on the 6th of February 2021 suffered a beleaguered run south when it was terminated at Birchip due to issues with the train locos BL27 and XR559.


Fast forward three days and with those two having been dragged dead to Melbourne and replacement locos BL30 and 8134 being sent up on 7901V, the now very delayed train is finally seen on the afternoon of the 9th of February climbing Bealiba Bank.


Trains seen in order are:
7936V- BL30 and 8134




https://youtu.be/XhBQaKuynqM
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Another good article in Stock & Land, with a fair bit mentioned about Dookie as well:
https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/7119436/dookie-grain-receival-rail-call/?cs=4786
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
I have watched a few videos on the Sea Lake branch of late with piles of new timber sleepers on the sides of the track. The point being as the article said, why is the maintenance being completed in peak harvest/ export season!? Just completely undermines the whole point of what's meant to be an efficient rail system, as we all know it is not. There has also only been a handful of SG grain trains on the Yelta line so far this harvest/ season. The BG has been quite busy with 3 PN rakes currently active.

Will anything positive ever come out of this situation?
V/Line are their own worst enemy. Still using wooden sleepers with a 15 year life just pepetuates an on-going high maintenance freight track.  Should be using gauge convertible steel sleepers that have a 50 year life and locks in a lower on going track maintenance cost.  The NSW regional freight network uses steel sleepers with improved ballast and drainage and is much lower cost to maintain proven, than VLP outdated practices.  

Viz: Echuca - Toolamba upgraded with timber sleepers on at least two occasions and now unserviceable again, facing bumper rice harvest. As Basil Fawlty would say "Hopeless !!! - just hopeless !!!"
kuldalai
According to Zuckerbook there are some Concretes going in north of Inglewood on the Manangatang line (Non gauge convertible BG ones of course) but only counting for something like 10% of the sleeper input.
  emmastreet Train Controller

Location: Goulburn Valley
Another good article in Stock & Land, with a fair bit mentioned about Dookie as well:
https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/7119436/dookie-grain-receival-rail-call/?cs=4786
Carnot
Graincorp are quoted in the article as saying most of the Dookie grain is for the domestic market. So apart from the mill at Kensington it's likely nothing would be going on rail even if the line was open.
  cbinyon Chief Train Controller

Location: London, England
Sleeper replacements were happening last weekend on the Sea Lake line at Boigbeat, I am unsure how far south and how thourough the work being undertaken is. How much will line speeds be able to lifted post maintenance?

There is PN train loading there tomorrow so maybe crews are only working in between trains and/or on weekends?

I believe Manangatang has only had one PN train thus far this harvest. Boort however, has had many since the new year.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Sleeper replacements were happening last weekend on the Sea Lake line at Boigbeat, I am unsure how far south and how thourough the work being undertaken is. How much will line speeds be able to lifted post maintenance?

There is PN train loading there tomorrow so maybe crews are only working in between trains and/or on weekends?

I believe Manangatang has only had one PN train thus far this harvest. Boort however, has had many since the new year.
cbinyon
I spoke to someone who worked at Manang on the harvest, story I got was that they had a few trains early on (4?) but the TSRs meant that the turnaround times were too slow so they were canned in favour of trucks (and storage obviously)
  cbinyon Chief Train Controller

Location: London, England
Sleeper replacements were happening last weekend on the Sea Lake line at Boigbeat, I am unsure how far south and how thourough the work being undertaken is. How much will line speeds be able to lifted post maintenance?

There is PN train loading there tomorrow so maybe crews are only working in between trains and/or on weekends?

I believe Manangatang has only had one PN train thus far this harvest. Boort however, has had many since the new year.
I spoke to someone who worked at Manang on the harvest, story I got was that they had a few trains early on (4?) but the TSRs meant that the turnaround times were too slow so they were canned in favour of trucks (and storage obviously)
BrentonGolding
It makes sense. I hope they actually maintain and fix the track all the way up to Manang to enable trains again. At least they have been getting to Boort and Quambatook. Nothing loaded from Ultima as of yet either.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Sleeper replacements were happening last weekend on the Sea Lake line at Boigbeat, I am unsure how far south and how thourough the work being undertaken is. How much will line speeds be able to lifted post maintenance?

There is PN train loading there tomorrow so maybe crews are only working in between trains and/or on weekends?

I believe Manangatang has only had one PN train thus far this harvest. Boort however, has had many since the new year.
I spoke to someone who worked at Manang on the harvest, story I got was that they had a few trains early on (4?) but the TSRs meant that the turnaround times were too slow so they were canned in favour of trucks (and storage obviously)
It makes sense. I hope they actually maintain and fix the track all the way up to Manang to enable trains again. At least they have been getting to Boort and Quambatook. Nothing loaded from Ultima as of yet either.
cbinyon
Manangatang to Lalbert was mostly fixed over a year ago.  The main problem is the 20-30 km/h for the 80km stretch between Korong Vale and Lalbert.  Heaps of broken sleepers, worn/corroded rail etc.  An utter disgrace.  Probably left to rot while various Government dithered over Murray Basin Rail Debacle.

Inglewood to Dunolly is also down to 40 km/h and about to have a major sleeper replacement program begin.

At least something is happening I suppose.

P.S. Ultima had one grain train late last year apparently.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Another good article in Stock & Land, with a fair bit mentioned about Dookie as well:
https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/7119436/dookie-grain-receival-rail-call/?cs=4786
Graincorp are quoted in the article as saying most of the Dookie grain is for the domestic market. So apart from the mill at Kensington it's likely nothing would be going on rail even if the line was open.
emmastreet
Yes seems to be the case, after a lot of talk about reopening the line, we've been barking up the wrong tree.

So, if we round things up a bit and say 100,000 tonne of grain most years. 20 - 30,000 is Canola, 70 - 80,000 is Wheat / Barley.
Most of the Canola goes to Numurkah and we will say, 55 - 65,000 tonne gets consumed by the local market, it's leaving F/A to be transported by train Shocked guess we have had fun ranting about the Dookie line, though !

Interesting and informative article, good scoop Carnot.

BigShunter.
  cbinyon Chief Train Controller

Location: London, England
Sleeper replacements were happening last weekend on the Sea Lake line at Boigbeat, I am unsure how far south and how thourough the work being undertaken is. How much will line speeds be able to lifted post maintenance?

There is PN train loading there tomorrow so maybe crews are only working in between trains and/or on weekends?

I believe Manangatang has only had one PN train thus far this harvest. Boort however, has had many since the new year.
I spoke to someone who worked at Manang on the harvest, story I got was that they had a few trains early on (4?) but the TSRs meant that the turnaround times were too slow so they were canned in favour of trucks (and storage obviously)
It makes sense. I hope they actually maintain and fix the track all the way up to Manang to enable trains again. At least they have been getting to Boort and Quambatook. Nothing loaded from Ultima as of yet either.
Manangatang to Lalbert was mostly fixed over a year ago.  The main problem is the 20-30 km/h for the 80km stretch between Korong Vale and Lalbert.  Heaps of broken sleepers, worn/corroded rail etc.  An utter disgrace.  Probably left to rot while various Government dithered over Murray Basin Rail Debacle.

Inglewood to Dunolly is also down to 40 km/h and about to have a major sleeper replacement program begin.

At least something is happening I suppose.

P.S. Ultima had one grain train late last year apparently.
Carnot

https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/victoria/murray-basin-rail-project-70000-sleepers-to-be-replaced-on-sea-lake-line/news-story/b8035e7d41369f1b9c6f63c2d493108a

The latest article from the Weekly Times:

WORK has begun on replacing 70,000 red gum sleepers on the 141km Korong Vale-Sea Lake Sea rail freight line, which services two major grain terminals, as part of $48.8 million of works to keep the dilapidated line open.


Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan today announced work had commenced on replacing the sleepers, as well as renewing four level crossing and maintenance of more than 3000 track joints.

Further works will continue over the coming months to remove bottlenecks and improve network efficiency and reliability ahead of the next grain season, with 23,000 sleepers to be replaced between Inglewood and Korong Vale and nearly 28,000 new sleepers between Dunolly and Inglewood.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
A very good article regarding truck sizes and how the harvest is being shifted to port. Also a few statements on the rail system and how it is or isn't performing.

https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/7129273/open-more-routes-to-hpfvs-says-vta/?cs=4786

The head of Victoria's peak freight transport body is urging the state government to open up more routes to high productivity vehicles, particularly during this year's bumper grain harvest.

He said he'd like to see a committee - made up of representatives from the industry, the Victorian Farmers Federation and government - established, to look at the issues the bumper harvest presented.

"We can co-ordinate our way of out if, if we get the parties sitting around the table," Mr Anderson said.

"We can't fix rail, overnight it's not a blame game, we are not trying to say someone has done something wrong, anywhere.


And here's an example that the Wimmera or anywhere doesn't need after a great harvest, which is a huge mouse plague.

This is what a mouse plague looks like... ????

Some folks are facing an onslaught of the pests in parts of Queensland and New South Wales. We're thinking of you and wishing you luck!

This video was taken on a family farm in Warren, NSW.


https://www.facebook.com/LandlineABC/videos/445640613242486/

And another article regarding the lack of food grade shipping containers.

Food-grade container shortages hitting Victorian exporters hard.

https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/7127301/dairy-pulse-exports-thumped-by-container-shortage/

BigShunter.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
What they call Victoria's Peak Freight Transport body actually refers to the road transport lobby.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
An update curtesy of GrainCorp's Facebook page, things are running full boar at the Port of Geelong's GrainCorp terminal.

https://www.facebook.com/GrainCorpLimited/videos/772832936966887/

Our Geelong port is running a tight ship ???? ????

While harvest might have wrapped up at our up-country sites, our ports team at Geelong, in Victoria, is still in the thick of it.

In fact, the port has already exported more than 750,000 tonnes of grain of an expected two million tonnes for the financial year.

For our Ports Operations Manager, Patrick Prendergast, it’s been all hands on deck.

“We’re experiencing one of our biggest harvest seasons in the past decade, having already loaded 12 vessels, with our biggest being 60,000 tonnes of canola,” says Patrick.

“We’ve even set a new road receival record loading 16,000 tonnes of grain in 16 hours – eclipsing our previous 24-hour record by almost 25 per cent!”

“The solid shipping schedule will continue until September with strong demand for our grain from North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”

The good news for our ports doesn’t stop there: As of this month, our port networks have loaded more than one million tonnes across 27 vessels since the recent winter crop harvest first began.

If you ask us, we wouldn’t be reaping these successes at our ports without extensive planning and collaboration from our teams.

????: Canola in the Geelong shed, courtesy of Tony Mellington, Site Manager at Geelong Port  

I s'pose some are going to be horrified by the new record set with road receivals however it's good to see a fast and efficient turn around time for the truck traffic. Aim complaints to the government perhaps.

Thanks to GrainCorp for the information.

BigShunter.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

An update curtesy of GrainCorp's Facebook page, things are running full boar at the Port of Geelong's GrainCorp terminal.

https://www.facebook.com/GrainCorpLimited/videos/772832936966887/

Our Geelong port is running a tight ship ???? ????

While harvest might have wrapped up at our up-country sites, our ports team at Geelong, in Victoria, is still in the thick of it.

In fact, the port has already exported more than 750,000 tonnes of grain of an expected two million tonnes for the financial year.

For our Ports Operations Manager, Patrick Prendergast, it’s been all hands on deck.

“We’re experiencing one of our biggest harvest seasons in the past decade, having already loaded 12 vessels, with our biggest being 60,000 tonnes of canola,” says Patrick.

“We’ve even set a new road receival record loading 16,000 tonnes of grain in 16 hours – eclipsing our previous 24-hour record by almost 25 per cent!”

“The solid shipping schedule will continue until September with strong demand for our grain from North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”

The good news for our ports doesn’t stop there: As of this month, our port networks have loaded more than one million tonnes across 27 vessels since the recent winter crop harvest first began.

If you ask us, we wouldn’t be reaping these successes at our ports without extensive planning and collaboration from our teams.

????: Canola in the Geelong shed, courtesy of Tony Mellington, Site Manager at Geelong Port  

I s'pose some are going to be horrified by the new record set with road receivals however it's good to see a fast and efficient turn around time for the truck traffic. Aim complaints to the government perhaps.

Thanks to GrainCorp for the information.

BigShunter.
BigShunter
16000 tonnes from trucks in 16 hours is horrific.  That's 320 B-doubles.  That's the equivalent of just 7 grain trains.

Which one is doing more damage to the environment, road safety, and the roads themselves?  Appalling.  Jacinta, are you listening?
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
This may enrage you even more Carnot, 45tonne/b-double, so could be 355 b-double loads.

I suppose your not going to like a bit more medicine but there's probably plenty of A-Doubles in there as well..Laughing

BigShunter.
  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic
16000 tonnes from trucks in 16 hours is horrific.  That's 320 B-doubles.  That's the equivalent of just 7 grain trains.

Which one is doing more damage to the environment, road safety, and the roads themselves?  Appalling.  Jacinta, are you listening?
Carnot
7 grain trains is about the limit of receivals is over that period. Maybe 8 if everything goes to script. Takes about 2 hours to unload a grain train at geelong when i was last there.

320 b-doubles or equivalent doesn't seem quite right, but if thats what they are saying then i guess it must be.
  cbinyon Chief Train Controller

Location: London, England
Due to lack of crossing loops, the 9148 Charlton grainy, despite having a quick loading and turn around time is stuck at Korong Vale due to 9149 to Wycheproof having trouble around Ballarat and hence holding up the Charlton grainy at Korong Vale for approx. 5 hours. This in itself just shows how desperately the network needs more BG loops reinstated ASAP. Lately, all the Charlton AWB grain trains have had impressive 18 - 20 hour turnaround times from Nth Geelong. So this just completely hampers any advantage rail has over road.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
How much would it cost to re-instate a broad gauge road at Maryborough to be used as a crossing loop?

Probably won't happen for the same reason they never got around to re-opening the Inglewood to Eaglehawk line.

Either of those options would be better than what we have now.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

How much would it cost to re-instate a broad gauge road at Maryborough to be used as a crossing loop?

Probably won't happen for the same reason they never got around to re-opening the Inglewood to Eaglehawk line.

Either of those options would be better than what we have now.
"Gman_86"



Why?   A mixture of choochoos has crossed at the Borough without any problems, even separate BG trains have operated beyound the Borough without any problems, it is called Safe Working.....................
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

(Re)Installing a BG loop at Maryborough would shorten the incredibly long section between Korong Vale and Ballarat. Therefore allowing the train stuck at Korong Vale to proceed at least that far while the problem with the grainy at Ballarat was sorted out.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
How much would it cost to re-instate a broad gauge road at Maryborough to be used as a crossing loop?

Probably won't happen for the same reason they never got around to re-opening the Inglewood to Eaglehawk line.

Either of those options would be better than what we have now.
Gman_86
You'd need a partial or complete resleepering of the yard, as its been relayed in SG concretes. Probably would have to redo some of the points now too, them also being concrete.

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