To remove a physically closed railway, is an Act of Parliament needed first?

 
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The Act only applies to the Rail Infrastructure Owner.
Its totally silent on the issue of rails being removed by someone who is not the owner.
Its also critical to determine who the Rail Infrastructure owner is .
If, for example , the owner is a Govt owned Corporation, then the Govt is not the owner, but merely a shareholder.
MD

The act says the owner may not close the line.  

The act goes on to define closing the line to include selling, or otherwise disposing of, the the land - or the tracks being removed.

It doesn't matter who removes the rails, that constitutes the owner having closed the line, which they are not allowed to do.

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  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
What if the rails are stolen?
Has the Owner removed the rails?
  hunslet1915 Chief Train Controller

What if the rails are stolen?
Has the Owner removed the rails?
MD

Nature has removed rails at various locations - flood washaways, eg, at Tarcutta, also between Merrywinebone and  Pokataroo,
After major bushfires around Gundagai-Tumut, the Government "gave" local farmers rails from the disused Tumut line for use to construct replacement fencing.
There have been other occasions where "the Railways" have removed good rail from a disused line for use elsewhere, then after local political pressure, has been forced to replace it ... which it did, but with condemned rail!
To be fair, if a disused line is to be re-opened for intensive traffic, as was proposed for the Kandos-Mudgee-Gulgong section when the proposed Cobbora Mine was to supply coal to Mount Piper power station, the whole line was to be totally relaid with 60 kg rail and concrete sleepers.
On the other hand, when the Blayney-Cowra and Kandos-Mudgee-Gulgong lines were re-opened in the 1980s or 1990s, minimal work was undertaken and the lines only available for the occasional train running at reduced speeds - until the lines again required major attention.   Blayney-Cowra basical required the replacement of a burnt out timber viaduct with a concrete structure.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

What if the rails are stolen?
Has the Owner removed the rails?
MD


No.  Clearly the law has been broken in this case.  But that doesn't mean the line is formerly closed.

The rail operator is under no obligation to maintain a line to any standard.  They just can't actively do anything to destroy it just because they are no longer using it.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
The act in question was only gazetted in 1988. It didn't apply when the Sydney branch lines you mention were decommissioned.

I understand - for other posts here on Railpage - the RTA have a "make good on demand" arrangement with the agency that owned the track at the time of the Gundagai line crossing by the Hume.
djf01

The Transport Management Act replaced a Railway Act 1906... which for this part had almost the same wording. The law has been in place for over 100 years.  Basically it would be expected the 'right of way' would be maintained. The wording of the Act is not very good, not on an economic scale.

Rail is often 'stolen', and who would expect the government to replace track on a 'non-operational line'. But if the line was to come back to use, it would be made so. About 20 km of rail is missing to Bourke, I would not expect the anyone to pay for that.

Any line returning to operational use is on a user pays scheme anyway. The proposed re-opening of the Molong-Dubbo (northern end) was to be paid by the mining company. ($30m) The same as the Cobbora-Mt Piper Coal Line was to be paid by a combination of the mine and Delta Energy ... but alas it appears neither project will be going ahead anytime soon.

If for example Tumut or Bomballa lines became operational, I am sure that it would be expected the RMS/Government would build new connections (bridges/tunnels etc) where the highway now runs.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
On the other hand, when the Blayney-Cowra and Kandos-Mudgee-Gulgong lines were re-opened in the 1980s or 1990s, minimal work was undertaken and the lines only available for the occasional train running at reduced speeds - until the lines again required major attention.
hunslet1915

Gwabegar (GulgongKandos section) was first made non-operational in 1992. In 2000 RIC spent $16m of Olympic transport grant to return it to operational duties for the Olympic period.... which lasted until 2007 before it was placed back to non-operational.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Please note that this is not about stolen rails, and/or infrastructure.

The reason I was asking is that a source said to me, that the state government has contracted a trucking company to remove all rail track on the Murwillumbah to Casino Line. My source then said that if the rail line is not used for 10 years, then it is no longer considered a rail line.

But my source has stated that a member from the National Party said they have stopped the removal of the rail line at the moment.

I'm not the one that said it, my source did.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Here's my list of line closed legislation.  Note that not all the lines closed were opened.

Cobar to Wilcannia              http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1964-41.pdf

Ballina to Booyong              http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1953-13.pdf

Casino to Bonalbo               http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1941-3.pdf

Glenreagh to Dorrigo            http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1993-65.pdf

Maitland to Morpeth             http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1953-38.pdf

Richmond to Kurrajong           http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1954-9.pdf

Jerilderie towards Deniliquin   http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1963-8.pdf

Campbelltown to Camden          http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1963-8.pdf

I wonder whether because some lines (Toronto in particular) were actually built as "tramways", they aren't "railways".
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The Transport Management Act replaced a Railway Act 1906... which for this part had almost the same wording. The law has been in place for over 100 years. Basically it would be expected the 'right of way' would be maintained. The wording of the Act is not very good, not on an economic scale.
Jim K


Thanks for that Jim.  The 1988 act is the earliest I could find last time I went looking.  I have some vague memory from the time that this was a deal with the Nationals to allow future corporatisation.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I wonder whether because some lines (Toronto in particular) were actually built as "tramways", they aren't "railways".
donttellmywife


If you have a look at Google sat you'll see the Toronto branch has not been lifted.  So it's probably just "disused".

I'd like to kn ow about the Belmont branch, as it might have never been in government hands and thus may have been closed by the private owner.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
Please note that this is not about stolen rails, and/or infrastructure.

The reason I was asking is that a source said to me, that the state government has contracted a trucking company to remove all rail track on the Murwillumbah to Casino Line. My source then said that if the rail line is not used for 10 years, then it is no longer considered a rail line.

But my source has stated that a member from the National Party said they have stopped the removal of the rail line at the moment.

I'm not the one that said it, my source did.
Newcastle Express

If it is true, there maybe a good argument to enforce the Act... especially when the line is still of contention. The group that are fighting to keep the line could take it further, but it all costs lawyer's money which a group like that would not have.

The Main Western out of Bourke was removed by RIC.... but no one out there really cars.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
Here's my list of line closed legislation. Note that not all the lines closed were opened.

Cobar to Wilcannia http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1964-41.pdf

Ballina to Booyong http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1953-13.pdf

Casino to Bonalbo http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1941-3.pdf

Glenreagh to Dorrigo http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1993-65.pdf

Maitland to Morpeth http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1953-38.pdf

Richmond to Kurrajong http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1954-9.pdf

Jerilderie towards Deniliquin http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1963-8.pdf

Campbelltown to Camden http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/act/1963-8.pdf

I wonder whether because some lines (Toronto in particular) were actually built as "tramways", they aren't "railways".
donttellmywife

Camden was classed as a "Tramway" in the Act... not sure what makes the difference but they passed an Act to close that "tramway".
  mikado5910 Chief Train Controller

Location: Kurri Kurri NSW
This is part of the issue for the proposed railtrail from Hexham along the RVR. Because the enabling Act has never been repealed, the rail corridor is still in force, and is one of the legal issues which has prevented further work on the proposal. I raised this issue at a council meeting, where the officers were unaware of it as an issue. About a month later they came back to report that the proposal was dead in the water for that among other reasons.
  barryc Chief Train Controller

Location: Waiting for a train to Canungra
The Camden, Taralga and Batlow-Kunama branches were closed by a specific Act of Parliament.
hunslet1915

Does anyone know if Rogans Hill, Booyong - Ballina, East Maitland - Morpeth, Cobar - The Peak, The Rock - Westby and Matakana - Mt Hope were all closed by Act of Parliament?

As far as I can remember, these were all of the lines abandoned before they started pussyfooting around and just suspended services which started with the Captains Flat line.
  hunslet1915 Chief Train Controller

Does anyone know if Rogans Hill, Booyong - Ballina, East Maitland - Morpeth, Cobar - The Peak, The Rock - Westby and Matakana - Mt Hope were all closed by Act of Parliament?

As far as I can remember, these were all of the lines abandoned before they started pussyfooting around and just suspended services which started with the Captains Flat line.
barryc

The story goes that for the Rogan's Hill Line, Parliament had to pass an Act authorising its construction before one could be passed to authorise its closure!
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

This is part of the issue for the proposed railtrail from Hexham along the RVR. Because the enabling Act has never been repealed, the rail corridor is still in force, and is one of the legal issues which has prevented further work on the proposal. I raised this issue at a council meeting, where the officers were unaware of it as an issue. About a month later they came back to report that the proposal was dead in the water for that among other reasons.
mikado5910

Yep.  It's why there are no rail trails in NSW.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
Yep. It's why there are no rail trails in NSW.
djf01

There are some rail trails in NSW, but nothing like the size of other states.
http://www.railtrails.org.au/trail-descriptions/nsw-and-act?view=trail&id=222
http://www.railtrails.org.au/trail-descriptions/nsw-and-act?view=trail&id=80


A number of others on the site claim to be 'rail trails', like Oberon... but they are only a footpath along side the current track.
  Iain Chief Commissioner

Location: Concord, NSW
Surely the section of the Act you quoted only applied to Rail Operators as the legislation is talking about this in Section 9 1B where this provision is made. I read the legislation as preventing rail operators only from closing railways presumably to stop ARTC and others from doing this without an Act of Parliament. I cannot find any reference to a Railways Act of 1906 or what if any this legislation replaced.

Iain
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Does anyone know if Rogans Hill, Booyong - Ballina, East Maitland - Morpeth, Cobar - The Peak, The Rock - Westby and Matakana - Mt Hope were all closed by Act of Parliament?
barryc

See the post in this thread five or so before yours to links to the actual closure acts for two of those lines (Ballina, Morpeth), and perhaps others.  I found those through a fairly simple act title search - there may be other acts that formally closed lines that I've missed - particularly if the closure was part of some sort of bigger reform (e.g. the railway land being re-tasked for some other purpose).

Actually - for lines that have been cut by roads that is something to bear in mind - if an act was introduced as part of the roads construction (which appears to often be the case for major roads) then closure of the relevant parts of the line perhaps could be considered implicit in the act authorising construction of the road.

I also wonder whether acts of closure might be buried in more general things like appropriation bills or whatever.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
Surely the section of the Act you quoted only applied to Rail Operators as the legislation is talking about this in Section 9 1B where this provision is made. I read the legislation as preventing rail operators only from closing railways presumably to stop ARTC and others from doing this without an Act of Parliament. I cannot find any reference to a Railways Act of 1906 or what if any this legislation replaced.

Iain
Iain

Not sure what you mean, as the laws under :
Division 1B Miscellaneous provisions relating to rail infrastructure, rail access and network control
A rail infrastructure owner must not, unless authorised by an Act of Parliament, close a railway line.


And it is clearly states "owner", not operator.


I believe the old Act is actually known as the "Government Railway Act"... it was either 1906 or 1912. Well known bit of law in the railway world as NSW is unique in always having this law. In 1988, most parts of the former Act were converted to the current Act.


A bill was introduced in 2009 (Transport Administration Bill (Rail Trails) to amend this section so a Minister could close a line case-by-case needs. It was lobbied by cycling and bushwalking groups so that lines could be converted to rail trails. However it was withdrawn in 2010.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The current situation in NSW basically makes the govt an industrial rubbish litter bug. Ok so we have a growing number of lines mostly liekly exceeding 1000km of corridores with rusting and rotting infrastructure mostly coming from the mass closures of 1974 and 1988. For a line running through open farm land or forest no big deal. Except where bridges are road crossings are involved. For road crossings, well we have seen the local councils do there bit and either seal over or remove rails to improve the LX, bridges we have seen in various states of collapse, in some cases making rivers and creeks unsafe for recreational use in the intermediate areas downstream of of the bridge and/or directly underneath.

Its about time this was stopped, the rails and abandoned bridges etc need to be removed. by the time most lines are "services suspended" the track is pretty much phucked anyway and no good for modern use even if the alignment is.
  Albert Chief Commissioner

Why NSW resists closing line by AOP for rail trails is that all the groups that want rail trails have their hand out for state funds to build the trails.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
...Except where bridges are road crossings are involved. For road crossings, well we have seen the local councils do there bit and either seal over or remove rails to improve the LX, bridges we have seen in various states of collapse, in some cases making rivers and creeks unsafe for recreational use in the intermediate areas downstream of of the bridge and/or directly underneath.

Its about time this was stopped, the rails and abandoned bridges etc need to be removed. by the time most lines are "services suspended" the track is pretty much phucked anyway and no good for modern use even if the alignment is.
RTT_Rules

I suspect the reason that the bridges, etc aren't removed is simply because it costs money.  

I can recall a few instances where structures have actually become unsafe and then they have been removed.

So safety aspect aside - why spend money to get rid of something when you don't have to?
  konkos Assistant Commissioner

Location: Live next door to half-bar
We all understand the whole meaning of what it takes to close the whatever line.  The point is that if if it ever comes to actually going through the NSW Parl, then that's the end of many lines.  I am of the view that this is most unlikely to happen  as the backlash from voters would be swift that they would be pulling the paper off the table.  What they have is they are in a - limbo land, ( to hard basket) and the answer which nobody is prepared to move on.  At the end of the day the NSW govt still owns the land and whatever goes with it.  Maybe I have it all wrong but I am open to correction.
konkos
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Why NSW resists closing line by AOP for rail trails is that all the groups that want rail trails have their hand out for state funds to build the trails.
Albert

The other reason is the NSW parliament doesn't do private member's bills for some reason unknown to me.

The cost (to taxpayer) of a typical piece of legislation is ~$500k (so I've heard, can't remember where), so it's all but impossible for the local member to get a local constituency community project that requires state legislation off the ground.


I suspect the reason that the bridges, etc aren't removed is simply because it costs money.
DontTrustMyWife

The law is the reason the rails and steel bridges are still there.  Even the lightest lines have non-trivial scrap value.

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