Inland Railway - Construction Phase

 
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Funding is not a point of no return, it can always be revoked.

The bigger concern is that all upgrades to the existing network (including a couple of connections and bypasses) are the only parts to see real work on the ground.

The heavy lifting north of Narromine is still only theoretical, and the feds seem very keen to hold on as long as possible before they give up the exit options of closing the project as just a bunch of upgrades to the country network in northern Victoria and central-southern NSW.

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  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Funding is not a point of no return, it can always be revoked.

The bigger concern is that all upgrades to the existing network (including a couple of connections and bypasses) are the only parts to see real work on the ground.

The heavy lifting north of Narromine is still only theoretical, and the feds seem very keen to hold on as long as possible before they give up the exit options of closing the project as just a bunch of upgrades to the country network in northern Victoria and central-southern NSW.
justapassenger
This is only your opinion. The Feds have committed to the Inland Rail Project and cancelling it would be electorally damaging. I think you are stringing a few elements together to come up with a answer you wish to arrive at and you are just plain wrong.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Funding is not a point of no return, it can always be revoked.

The bigger concern is that all upgrades to the existing network (including a couple of connections and bypasses) are the only parts to see real work on the ground.

The heavy lifting north of Narromine is still only theoretical, and the feds seem very keen to hold on as long as possible before they give up the exit options of closing the project as just a bunch of upgrades to the country network in northern Victoria and central-southern NSW.
This is only your opinion. The Feds have committed to the Inland Rail Project and cancelling it would be electorally damaging. I think you are stringing a few elements together to come up with a answer you wish to arrive at and you are just plain wrong.
nswtrains
What actually has the Inland Project achieved thus far?

A new angle at Parks is the only new track/new alignment delivered. Everything else has been upgrades to existing infrastructure. A single Queensland sugar mill built more new mainline kilometres last year than the ARTC has delivered in the last decade.

And when you say cancellation would be electorally damaging - it's the electorates that the line passes through that are most opposed to its construction (in Queensland protests have arisen in Maranoa, Groom, Wright, Ford, Rankin and Moreton over alignment and train noise). Electorally the line may be doing more harm than good to the federal government. With no large scale track construction yet to be committed to, the simple fact is the entire project could be abandoned under the auspices to fund Covid-19 recovery programs and no one in rural or urban Australia - other than a few on this page - would bat an eyelid.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

This is only your opinion.
nswtrains
incorrect. It is my analysis.

It is an objective factor that “committed” funding can be revoked. This federal government has demonstrated that capability already.

The Feds have committed to the Inland Rail Project ...
nswtrains
So committed that they’ve built roughly 5km of new track.

Well done chaps, champers all round.

The Feds have committed to the Inland Rail Project and cancelling it would be electorally damaging.
nswtrains
Cancelling it would only be electorally damaging for the ALP, and a good way to shore up Coalition support in some seats at risk of going to a minor party or independent.

I think you are stringing a few elements together to come up with a answer you wish to arrive at and you are just plain wrong.
nswtrains
Nope. I haven’t brought my hopes into these last few posts.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Cancelling the Inland now would not go down well for the LNP.  Their reputation as infrastructure builders would be in tatters.  Theyve been crowing on about it as a once in a generation opportunity blah blah and anything short of the basic route will be fodder for the ALP and others to go after them, particularly the Nats.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Cancelling the Inland now would not go down well for the LNP.  Their reputation as infrastructure builders would be in tatters.  Theyve been crowing on about it as a once in a generation opportunity blah blah and anything short of the basic route will be fodder for the ALP and others to go after them, particularly the Nats.
james.au

Indeed, but it's not like it's the NBN or the Hume Highway. Very few voters have an interest in the Inland Rail Project, or even know what it is. If there's a large scale national project in Australia that could be shelved with zero impact on the suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney, then this is it. And, yes, the Nationals would jump up and down, but redirected funding to improve regional highways and internet access would shut them up faster than a cold beer.

As long as this line remains dots on a map it's under threat - whether by changing politics or changing economics. Inland Rail has been on the drawing board for so long, that its very purpose - interstate rail freight - is becoming, rightly or wrongly, an anachronism. Aurizon has since given up on it and PN is haemorrhaging volumes to coastal shipping, road trains, new road technologies and access costs. Inland Rail's very reason to be built is at risk. And while we might all be able to see all that is bright and good with this project, don't confuse that enthusiasm with what Canberra might be thinking today, tomorrow or next week.
  arctic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Zurich
Inland Rail is funded differently from roads, a cancellation of Inland would not mean any new dollars for roads from that source. I dont even know why this is a topic - it was not long ago the announcement was made - by the feds- to speed up construction.

Is there anything other than speculation to back up an idea of cancellation?
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Inland Rail is funded differently from roads, a cancellation of Inland would not mean any new dollars for roads from that source. I dont even know why this is a topic - it was not long ago the announcement was made - by the feds- to speed up construction.

Is there anything other than speculation to back up an idea of cancellation?
arctic
You are correct, it is all speculation. However you cannot ignore how our political elite operate with funding. They can giveth and they can taketh away when it suits them. Just look at the Homeland Minister's whim to "reallocate" funding for CCTV systems. Irrespective if it was allowed to happen or not, it did happen.


We have numerous infrastructure projects espoused by all level of governments and political persuations. When the pollies get involved they will spin the max that it will deliver and then in reality only provide initial funding until the next toy comes along. They struggle to maintain big vision, multi term projects. They love 3 year projects as the ribbon cutting occurs within their term. Never stand in the way between a pollie and a chance to open a curtain, hop in an excavator, turn over one shovel full of dirt or cut a ribbon.

Once the real works starts, delays occur, cost  blow outs occur (might be simply a contracting business folds) and the political focus has moved away in the 24 hours news cycle. Then the reality kicks in, these become another project that is subject to cost cutting, deferrement or cancellation.

No guarantee that this will be finished, nor completed within our lifetimes. It should happen, but if it does, it will face all of these pressures. Possibly the final project doesn't match the original vision.

As others said, the amount of actual new track that has been constructed has been minimal. Wait till they have do the real construction through hostile electorates. Isn't there an election late this year or early next year? You watch, there will be a slow down for those areas and the focus will continue on rehabilitation of existing track. Can't spook the horses.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Thinking it may become a truncated project. Completed south of Parkes. Allowing double stacking between Melbourne and points west. Unsure if this will satisfy operational requirements and ROI.
  Sunbird Locomotive Fireman

Big J, I think your analysis of how politics so easily intrudes on these projects and how it effects the outcome is correct.
 Unfortunately I think that even if the project is completed as planned there will still be an ongoing threat to its future.
 It would be easy for a future federal government to transfer control of the corridor between Toowoomba and Brisbane (the really expensive bit) to the state government for use as a corridor for high speed interurban trains.
 The standard guage trains would be reduced to single stack running under newly installed catenary and mostly during off peak hours ( similar to the existing connection to the port).
Double stack trains would have to terminate at Gowrie which would become a new Brisbane west freight hub.
Sure this all just speculation on my part but a modern interurban train running between the two centres would be politically very popular and this would have to be an easy way to create it.
 I fear it will be too tempting an idea if the forecast freight volumes don't eventuate.
  arctic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Zurich
Well, those who complain get the most press and air time. Right now its those who oppose. Its an unfortunate fact. If the project was cancelled then I suspect there would be a lot of coverage of that and those affected.

Looking in the comments section of the Courier Mail is a dismal exercise full of disinformation and outright wrongs regarding the project.

Double Stacks can run under wire, look at India.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Big J, I think your analysis of how politics so easily intrudes on these projects and how it effects the outcome is correct.
 Unfortunately I think that even if the project is completed as planned there will still be an ongoing threat to its future.
 It would be easy for a future federal government to transfer control of the corridor between Toowoomba and Brisbane (the really expensive bit) to the state government for use as a corridor for high speed interurban trains.
 The standard guage trains would be reduced to single stack running under newly installed catenary and mostly during off peak hours ( similar to the existing connection to the port).
Double stack trains would have to terminate at Gowrie which would become a new Brisbane west freight hub.
Sure this all just speculation on my part but a modern interurban train running between the two centres would be politically very popular and this would have to be an easy way to create it.
 I fear it will be too tempting an idea if the forecast freight volumes don't eventuate.
Sunbird
Yes a sad indictment of our processes. That is a major reason that infrastructure delivery is good sometimes and but really bad for big, long term forward thinking, better for the whole nation type projects.

NIMBYism is king and opposition politicians exploit it. Once they get in, then they feel the NIMBYism and achieve nothing, except for renewing existing assets and wonder why they have no legacy in their community when they get turfed out of office.

Personally, I think the project is fantastic, but I agree with you it will terminate at Gowrie, if it eventually gets to Qld. I don't even think the double stack under the wires is the issue, they will simply road haul up and down the range to avoid dealing with the public outside of Brissie. The political angst is palpable.
  WimbledonW Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney
Does Inland Rail have a link to the Port of Brisbane? An article in today's "Australian" newspapers says that it does not, rendering IR a "white elephant"?

The distancee between Acacia Ridge and the Port of Brisbane is about 38km. Is is electrified? Does the 25kV allow for double stacking? Are there any  intermediate crossing loops?

FYI the loop at Kinloss can be found at https://www.nswrail.net/locations/show.php?name=NSW:Kinloss&line=NSW:main_south:0
It was in use from 1943 to 1953.


616.370km Gerogery (passing lane 6000m)
631.101km Tabletop (loop closed)
637.260km Ettamogah (siding => loop )
639.794km Kinloss (loop 1943-1953 400m)
646.240km Albury (loop 1500m)
  Sunbird Locomotive Fireman

Does Inland Rail have a link to the Port of Brisbane? An article in today's "Australian" newspapers says that it does not, rendering IR a "white elephant"?

The distancee between Acacia Ridge and the Port of Brisbane is about 38km. Is is electrified? Does the 25kV allow for double stacking? Are there any  intermediate crossing loops?

FYI the loop at Kinloss can be found at https://www.nswrail.net/locations/show.php?name=NSW:Kinloss&line=NSW:main_south:0
It was in use from 1943 to 1953.
WimbledonW
There has been a standard guage link to the port since the early nineties. It's had bugger all use.
It is of course not double stack which the inland rail is intended to be so I guess the "Australian" isn't lying if that's their criteria.
The existing route follows the suburban alignment and the nimbies living along that route don't want freight trains (including the existing narrow guage ones) near their increasingly valuable real estate so they have been pushing for a dedicated freight route.
Not an all together bad idea as it would free up the existing path for public transport but its debatable if it would be justified on the predicted increase in freight volumes.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Latest news on Brisbane is running again https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/missing-port-link-makes-mockery-of-10bn-inland-rail-project with the government now having to defend no link to Brisbane Port.  I know if has been raised in the past here but should their be a tunnel connecting to the Port or can the existing line be used?

The above article states

Instead, the planned 1700km line between Brisbane and Melbourne threatens to be a gigantic white elephant.

The rail link, first proposed more than a century ago, has a fundamental flaw – the Brisbane end of the line doesn’t go anywhere near the city’s port, instead terminating in the middle of the southern suburbs.

That defeats its main purpose, to get trucks off our increasingly busy roads and make rail a viable alternative to move goods to global markets. Only 2 per cent of freight to the port currently goes by rail from 13 per cent in 2006, a failing Inland Rail was supposed to remedy.

A recent Senate inquiry into Inland Rail has revealed a litany of issues with the project, much of it focused on the bureaucratic buck passing over the failure to plan for a Brisbane Port link. It beggars belief that planners could even envisage starting work on a project the size of Inland Rail without finalising where one end of it would finish.
Somebody

I could be wrong but the inland rail line was not to address the failed policy of Queensland to not use an existing rail link which is available.  Inland rail cannot solve that issue.  A line exists and it is under utilising and this is due to policy and wasted time in not fixing lowering of tunnels sooner to the west.
  Sunbird Locomotive Fireman


I could be wrong but the inland rail line was not to address the failed policy of Queensland to not use an existing rail link which is available.  Inland rail cannot solve that issue.  A line exists and it is under utilising and this is due to policy and wasted time in not fixing lowering of tunnels sooner to the west.
Bevans, The reason the existing standard guage port link gets no use isn't because of government policy its because there is no freight to haul on it. All the standard guage currently does is link Brisbane to Sydney and that's the reason it was built in the 1930's. The north coast of NSW generates no significant export volumes and any freight for Sydney arrives at port Botany not Brisbane.
The dual guage freight corridor to the port that was built in the early nineties isn't a white elephant as the narrow guage portion has seen much use (mainly coal but also grain and containers).

The article in the "Australian" is just another bollocks piece by a journalist who wants to push an image of government incompetence.
The inland rail project is being sold to the public as something that will facilitate the transport of agricultural products from the "inland" to the port for export (such as a container of beef from an abattoir in Moree to the port of Brisbane) whereas in reality it will mainly transport freight between the urban masses of Melbourne and Brisbane (such as a container load of pizza bases from a factory in Melbourne to a supermarket distribution centre in Brisbane).
There simply won't be that much demand for trains to run directly to and from the port and what demand there is can, for the time being, use the existing link.
The long term goal of a new freight only corridor is worthwhile but the only realistic option is to follow the Logan and Gateway motorway corridor between Parkinson and Murarrie. The idea of building a 16km tunnel (as the news corporation papers are pushing) is just fantasy.
  br30453 Chief Train Controller


I could be wrong but the inland rail line was not to address the failed policy of Queensland to not use an existing rail link which is available.  Inland rail cannot solve that issue.  A line exists and it is under utilising and this is due to policy and wasted time in not fixing lowering of tunnels sooner to the west.Bevans, The reason the existing standard guage port link gets no use isn't because of government policy its because there is no freight to haul on it. All the standard guage currently does is link Brisbane to Sydney and that's the reason it was built in the 1930's. The north coast of NSW generates no significant export volumes and any freight for Sydney arrives at port Botany not Brisbane.
The dual guage freight corridor to the port that was built in the early nineties isn't a white elephant as the narrow guage portion has seen much use (mainly coal but also grain and containers).

The article in the "Australian" is just another bollocks piece by a journalist who wants to push an image of government incompetence.
The inland rail project is being sold to the public as something that will facilitate the transport of agricultural products from the "inland" to the port for export (such as a container of beef from an abattoir in Moree to the port of Brisbane) whereas in reality it will mainly transport freight between the urban masses of Melbourne and Brisbane (such as a container load of pizza bases from a factory in Melbourne to a supermarket distribution centre in Brisbane).
There simply won't be that much demand for trains to run directly to and from the port and what demand there is can, for the time being, use the existing link.
The long term goal of a new freight only corridor is worthwhile but the only realistic option is to follow the Logan and Gateway motorway corridor between Parkinson and Murarrie. The idea of building a 16km tunnel (as the news corporation papers are pushing) is just fantasy.
Sunbird
Sunbird, The purpose for Inland Rail was as you stated " it will mainly transport freight between the urban masses of Melbourne and Brisbane (such as a container load of pizza bases from a factory in Melbourne to a supermarket distribution centre in Brisbane.
Avoiding the congested Sydney mtropolitan area it thus provides paths that are not contrained by "curfews" and reduce the transit time between Melbourne and Brisbane.
However the construction of providing a link along the Gateway Corridor is not a realistic option and after twice having been given the task of investigating such a route I found that it would be not feasible.

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