Tookayerta (Loxton) & Pinnaroo lines to close

 
  SAR520SMBH Train Controller

I might suggest that you read the last sentence in my previous post Railwayfan. My post was nothing more than sarcasm, you're the first to take the bait.

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  Railwayfan Train Controller

Location: By a Railway
I might suggest that you read the last sentence in my previous post Railwayfan. My post was nothing more than sarcasm, you're the first to take the bait.
SAR520SMBH

Couldn't pick it. Wasn't much of bait though.
  62440 Chief Commissioner

One issue which I may have missed relates to proposed standardising of the Mildura line. The Pinnaroo line could be extended to Murraytown, then silo by silo to Ouyen, maintaining SG links which could go back into Vic or to OH. Then standardise north and south from Ouyen, reducing line closure and offering a choice of ports. The state boundary is a line on a map, not the DMZ.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

The border may be a line on the map, but it does mark the change in ownership of the two sections making up this route...as long as these two sections remain under different ownership the chance of standardisation of the Victorian side is pretty slim for the moment.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
One issue which I may have missed relates to proposed standardising of the Mildura line. The Pinnaroo line could be extended to Murraytown, then silo by silo to Ouyen, maintaining SG links which could go back into Vic or to OH. Then standardise north and south from Ouyen, reducing line closure and offering a choice of ports. The state boundary is a line on a map, not the DMZ.
62440


i was hoping this was in the sg plans for victoria. having a second route from parts of victoria to south australia and reverse is not an idea which should be dismissed.

implementing this plan would allow other operators such as gwa access to mildura and other grain silos defraying costs.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
i was hoping this was in the sg plans for victoria. having a second route from parts of victoria to south australia and reverse is not an idea which should be dismissed.

implementing this plan would allow other operators such as gwa access to mildura and other grain silos defraying costs.
JimYarin

Ideally the Australian network should be all one gauge and line crossing state borders in various locations that are based on practicality and distance to port but at same time also allowing some flexibility for customers to choose both operators and destinations.

Unfortunately the Australia rail network was built on common sense and progress in this direction is very very slow.
  br30453 Chief Train Controller

Ideally the Australian network should be all one gauge and line crossing state borders in various locations that are based on practicality and distance to port but at same time also allowing some flexibility for customers to choose both operators and destinations.

Unfortunately the Australia rail network was built on common sense and progress in this direction is very very slow.
RTT_Rules

RTT_Rules,

Didn't  you mean to say  "Unfortunately the Australia rail network was not built on common sense and progress in this direction is very very slow.


Don't you know "That the railways will not meet at state borders", to quote a great farsighted public official of the past.


Unfortunately we still have many of these people in high positions today.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

For all your comments.

In the 1850s when railways were being considered in Australia gauge unification was important to the then planners.

It was first going to be Stephenson's gauge, the Irish gauge. That was how it stood and all states agreed to 5'3" until NSW sacked its engineer wand the replacement went against the then agreed "standard" for Australia.

Considering the distances and amount of finance available we might have been better off standardising on 3' 6".

The only reason the TAR was 4' 8.5" was because the Eastern states politicians and bureaucrats didn't was SA and WA having any advantage. It needs to be remembered that the most powerful locomotives in Australia at the time ran on 3' 6" tracks.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
It helps if you break down freight into four main categories like GB rail people do – less-than-wagonload which gets loaded into vans or boxcars or tied down on flats, intermodal containers which get put on standard ISO intermodal wagons, wagonload that uses specialised wagons (e.g. hoppers, tanks, autoracks, steel wagons) marshalled into mixed trains, and trainload where you have a unit train of one wagon type.

I assumed that he was talking about the railways in Australia walking away from the less-than-wagonload freight and driving that business to the open arms of Scott and Fox, unless it was put inside a shipping container and driven to the freight terminal where the railway would treat it as intermodal freight. SCT brought less-than-wagonload freight back and have made it work to some degree, and Aurizon seem to be open to it as well as I saw one of their trains go through Goodwood with one flat having a 24 seat bus and a trailer tied down, and another with a pair of brand new tractors.

We don't really have much in the way of wagonload freight in Australia these days, but there is at least some. The copper concentrate picked up at Union Reef and coupled to the end of GWA intermodal trains is very much an exception to the rule these days.

Trainload freight is still a very large part of the Australian freight scene – we transport coal, minerals, steel and grain in unit trains. If certain GWA grain trains are still picking up a few hoppers from each silo along the way after a common tractor would push them around during loading, they could be thought of as a hybrid wagonload/trainload operation.
I don't think many people would refer to specialised freight wagons as "containers."

I thought boxcars were still fairly common in many some parts of the USA, but I guess it could just be a case of different operators in different parts of the country using whatever method they prefer to get the job done. It seems to be a winning move for SCT regardless of which US operators use them, as was their use of intermodal wagons for the short-term Rankin Dam iron ore deal that they could now put to work carrying conventional containers if required.
justapassenger

SCT less than wagon load traffic is limited to very long haul, where rail gets roughly 80% of the total freight. They cannot or won't attempt it along the eastern corridor where rail gets less than 30%.

I would suggest the observation on a Aurizon train was a rare event for specific reason. when I lived in Gladstone until 2010, yes I used to see the odd thing strapped to a QR container train. But it was very rare then. QR has pretty much pulled out of the general freight business with the removal of most of the louvered vans from traffic as they were a money pit.

Boxcars would only be successful where you have direct supplier to consumer supply chain over a long distance and both have suitable infrastructure in place. The days of having an engine shunt one wagon at a time are mostly gone. A pair of drivers and a single loco would costs hundreds of dollars an hour to do this and this eats into the margins of hauling the goods by rail. Gravity shunting helps reduce the costs, but how does the likes of OHS take to this these days?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
For all your comments.

In the 1850s when railways were being considered in Australia gauge unification was important to the then planners.

It was first going to be Stephenson's gauge, the Irish gauge. That was how it stood and all states agreed to 5'3" until NSW sacked its engineer wand the replacement went against the then agreed "standard" for Australia.

Considering the distances and amount of finance available we might have been better off standardising on 3' 6".

The only reason the TAR was 4' 8.5" was because the Eastern states politicians and bureaucrats didn't was SA and WA having any advantage. It needs to be remembered that the most powerful locomotives in Australia at the time ran on 3' 6" tracks.
steam4ian

Agree on 3'6" but the technology didn't get out of the slow and light category until the late 20'th century when QR started to build serious coal haulage routes.

The XPT was doing 160km/hr in the early 80's on wooden sleepers and mostly straight track maintained by hand. When QR wanted to run a 160km/hr train, they had to rebuild the track with concrete sleepers, heavy rail etc to get the stability.
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
"Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan today welcomed an agreement reached between Viterra and Genesee & Wyoming Australia to use the Murray Mallee rail lines for the movement of grain for a further twelve months.


Minister Mullighan said the agreement was reached through discussions with Genesee & Wyoming Australia, Viterra, Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock, Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell and the local member, Tim Whetstone.


“After meeting and talking through the concerns of many South Australians living in the Murray Mallee region, we have worked with the industry to ensure the lines will be used for moving grain for a further year, giving certainty to local grain producers,” Mr Mullighan said.


“Tim Whetstone argued strongly that his community wanted the lines open, and together we’ve been able to convince the companies to reach agreement for the coming year.


“Beyond that, we need to be prepared for the likelihood that the lines will close, and there will be increased freight on local roads including the Karoonda Highway."


http://www.premier.sa.gov.au/images/news_releases/14_08August/mallee.pdf
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
It is pretty clear from these latest posts that despiteearlier protestations from Government and others that there were no plans to suspend services and/or close these lines, the reality is that some form of talk have been going on in fact for sometime about their future.

In an earlier post I questioned the actual level ofefficiency as to how these grain lines in South Australia are being operated and I think the inefficient operation and associated cost of GWA’s operations have as much to do with a decision for the lines to be closed and the grain hauled by road as it is to do with the current track condition.

A very recent post from the South Australian sightingsthread tells a lot even though in this case it is a grain service out of Tailem Bend:

“Tailem Bend grain trains are BACK!!! -  After just over 2 months without any to saidlocation, today FQ02-ALF20-ALF19-2212-GM38-FQ04 hauled 50 hoppers bound for Tailem”

If we take this mainline service as being a train of around4,200 tonnes gross ex Tailem Bend to Pt Adelaide being hauled by 6 locomotives with around 16,000 HP for traction you have to seriously question how cost effectively is GWA operating that train.  
It is my understanding that SCT services crossing the Adelaide Hills areto my knowledge using 2 SCT units ex Melbourne plus an assistant loco out of Tailem Bend for a train slightly heavier but more significantly is far, far longer with associated greater rolling resistance because of associated curvature.


Without knowing the engine load tables for that sectionsurely that grain train should be able to run with sat 2 xFQ units plus assisted with 1 ALF.  If Im ABOUT rightthen just on that 1 example alone we have a train that has undertaken 1 round trip potentially using 2 more locos than I estimate is required.  Quite clearly GWA has every right to make aprofit out of these operations that’s what its therefore.   My issue however because all of the costsare passed to the client then Viterra does the simple math, works out what is cheaper for them and decides it to get out of rail haulage.

This comes at a time however where in other states seriousefforts are being made to expand the use of rail through grain handlers owning their own wagon fleets and in the case of CBH in WA their entire train consists.

Whilst a controversy is currently raging in WA about therecent closure of Tier 3 grain lines CBH who up until 3 years ago was a supporter of the line closures is now strongly advocating and even going to court to get control via a sub lease to takeover the these lines.

The whole situation there  has completely turned around because as agrain handler now owning train sets and contracting their operation CBH has total control of the logistics chain and has seen huge savings to them in reduced haulage costs on railways I might add that are at a far lower standard than these 2 lines.

It would be great to see South Australian Department ofTransport initiate its own review of grain haulage and handling for South Australia as has been done in WA, Victoria and NSW where there does appear to be emerging a greater appreciation of the role of rail in reducing grain handling costs through application of different models than what is effectively the traditional model currently operating in South Australia.  Let’s hope someone has the drive to get sucha review happening.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
It was first going to be Stephenson's gauge, the Irish gauge. That was how it stood and all states agreed to 5'3" until NSW sacked its engineer wand the replacement went against the then agreed "standard" for Australia.
steam4ian

Stephenson's gauge was and is 4'8½". The Irish gauge was and is 5'3".

The original agreement was to build to a continent wide British standard of 1435mm, and S.A. adopted that gauge. NSW, however appointed an Irish engineer (Sheilds) who pointed out the advantages of extra room for the internal cylinders then in use and their associated machinery as well as stability at speed. Though these were marginal, he was convincing enough to get the gauge changed to 1600mm.

Victoria and S.A., Tasmania and New Zealand agreed to change to the broad gauge and commenced building their tracks, NSW changed engineers over a salary dispute and the new Scottish man (Wallace) persuaded the government to change back to 1435mm to make buying rolling stock from Britain an easier process. The debacle began.

To his great credit, John Whitton of NSW saw the folly of this and, when the colony had only 21 miles of line, tried hard to get the government to change to a uniform broad gauge with the other states but was ignored, and with the narrow gauge craze then at its height to make it worse, we are saddled with multiple gauges well over a century after the USA and other countries with similar problems standardized their railways. NSW, the cause of the mess has got off scot free, and Victoria and S.A. have had their formerly uniform gauge country and interstate systems wrecked.

For this and many other reasons, is it any wonder that I regard this country's railways to be an anachronistic joke?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Stephenson's gauge was and is 4'8½". The Irish gauge was and is 5'3".
"SAR526"
Ian usually gets things like that right, so I suspect it would just have been a typo that meant to read:
"It was first going to be Stephenson's gauge, then Irish gauge."
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Ian usually gets things like that right, so I suspect it would just have been a typo that meant to read:
"It was first going to be Stephenson's gauge, then Irish gauge."
justapassenger

Justpax

Thanks for the compliment. You are right, it was my keyboard dyslexia again.

It is just that the standard gauge argument gets on my goat. A unified gauge would have been a good idea and it could have been anywhere between 7' and 3' 6".

We couldn't get it right in SA. The then Harbours Board, under the same chief engineer built lines on jetties with 3' 6" as the gauge. It was only a short step to extend this from Port Wakefield to Balaclava and Hoyleton. The rest is, as they say, history. The attitude of the day was that being port focused they respective narrow gauge lines would never join up.

The irony is, that the most profitable and possibly heaviest used line in SA was 3'6".

Would Webb's money have been better spent  bringing the Western 3' 6" tracks into Adelaide and converting the route via Burra to 3' 6".? Basically, everything north of Gawler on 3' 6". The gauge widening money could then have been spent on track upgrading and new rolling stock. We might have got the 3' 6" Santa Fes Webb proposed.

My contention is that, considering the traffic and available funds, 3' 6" would have been a very practical gauge for much of SA.

Ian
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

post script.

Imagine a 520 on 3' 6"!   Very Happy
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
post script.

Imagine a 520 on 3' 6"! Very Happy
steam4ian

A visit to the Mainline Steam Heritage Trust's Parnell Depot in Auckland reveals some seriously large South African Railways steam locomotives: 2 25 class and a GMAM garratt.

The 25s dwarf the NZ steam locomotives - much wider and taller and too heavy for the NZ 3' 6" track.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
Ian usually gets things like that right, so I suspect it would just have been a typo that meant to read:
"It was first going to be Stephenson's gauge, then Irish gauge."
justapassenger

I'd agree. I have no doubt that Ian knew the facts, and I am not criticising him in any way.

Nevertheless, careless readers or those who have never learned of the origin of our gauge muddle should not be left to believe or perpetuate anything but the truth. My very short history was intended to put the essential facts before them.

As for his suggestion that 3'6" could have been a better gauge for the whole of northern South Australia given the extant position at the time, I would agree. With high standards of building – heavy rails on substantial track beds – we could have had uniform gauge to Perth and Darwin very much sooner with very little diminution of serviceability. The South African Railways amply demonstrate this. BUT HANDS OFF OUR BELOVED 520s!!!!!!
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.


A very recent post from the South Australian sightingsthread tells a lot even though in this case it is a grain service out of Tailem Bend:

“Tailem Bend grain trains are BACK!!! - After just over 2 months without any to saidlocation, today FQ02-ALF20-ALF19-2212-GM38-FQ04 hauled 50 hoppers bound for Tailem”

If we take this mainline service as being a train of around4,200 tonnes gross ex Tailem Bend to Pt Adelaide being hauled by 6 locomotives with around 16,000 HP for traction you have to seriously question how cost effectively is GWA operating that train.
It is my understanding that SCT services crossing the Adelaide Hills areto my knowledge using 2 SCT units ex Melbourne plus an assistant loco out of Tailem Bend for a train slightly heavier but more significantly is far, far longer with associated greater rolling resistance because of associated curvature.


Trainplanner

I wonder if this is getting closer to the real problem, that is the HP required to drag a train load of grain over the hills.
A number of years ago I was at a booze-up in the south east and the topic of trains and grain haulage became the subject for quite a healthy discussion.
A few blokes who farmed in the Keith and Bordertown area, reckoned that if the line to Mt Gambier and on to Portland was in productive state, most of the grain from that area would go south and over the boarder.
They said the amount of horsepower (and fuel consumption ) that was needed to pull grain up and over the hills, combined with the slow running speeds because of the tight curves was nearing ridiculous.
Where if the alternative to Portland, a train would practically roll the entire distance.

So is the case from Loxton and Pinnaroo and with the track conditions declining the task is getting beyond a joke.

Now I don't exactly know if the opinion from the blokes is right or not but I certainly thought it was an interesting comment, that just perhaps is correct.

Heaps of people have posted in this forum and many others about if the Mildura line was standardised along with the Ouyen to Pinnaroo it could be another place to send produce to port, but because of the very reasons I have mentioned, would find that a long shot.
Probably the only gradient from Mildura is downwards.

Viterra might have an ulterior motive and be planning to pull grain to port in Vic and just truck the Loxton portion on the Northern,Port River Expressway which are very good roads.
I will be interested to hear some points of view.

BigShunter.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
People are conveniently forgetting the history of how this country came about.
When railways were first being built in this country, there were NO States.
It was the Colonial Govts that built them, and at that time there was no national Govt of any kind.
The colonial govts had no responsibility to do anything apart from what benefited themselves
and today its still the same.
The State constitutions require that the State Govts act in a manner that benefits the State.
The State Govts have no  requirement of any kind to act in the National Interest.

Even today, the National Govt has very little to do with rail.
The Australian Constitution prohibits the National Govt from doing anything rail wise ( excepting for military reasons) , unless the States agree.
Rail regulation is still a State responsibility.
Even with the advent of ARTC, most of the tracks are still owned by the States, and are leased to ARTC.
You wont find many , if any other countries in the world , with such an arrangement.
How do you think the US rail system would survive , if it was regulated at a State level?
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
How do you think the US rail system would survive , if it was regulated at a State level?
MD

The various railway operating companies aren't above putting the bite on individual states in the USA to contribute towards maintenance, even to acquire some lines.   An example is AMTRAK canvassing the governments of Colorado and New Mexico to maintain the line over the Raton Pass for the South West Chief given that BNSF has but one freight each way a day and is reluctantly maintaining the line for AMTRAK to run at 90 mph.

The states, too, have been known to acquire strategic lines to further the aims of the current state government in assisting local businesses.

So the states have some, if not a lot, influence on the railway scene.

The national government in Canada owns a fleet of grain hoppers which would appear to be in general service; such could be a model for South Australia which could have a government owned hopper fleet and have short line operators serve sidings on lines like those in the mallee with a couple of second hand locos each.   The haul would be to Tailem Bend only interchanging with, at present, GWA, there.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE


It would be great to see South Australian Department ofTransport initiate its own review of grain haulage and handling for South Australia as has been done in WA, Victoria and NSW where there does appear to be emerging a greater appreciation of the role of rail in reducing grain handling costs through application of different models than what is effectively the traditional model currently operating in South Australia. Let’s hope someone has the drive to get sucha review happening.
Trainplanner

The main impact on grain haulage is gauge.

Vic must maintain a fleet of BG wagons that when there is low tonnages get parked up because they cannot used anywhere else.

The SG grain fleet is almost on an island because its too far for the operator to easily/quickly go and do some work in NSW if there was an opportunity .

The SG NSW fleet have a large foot print and operate to Vic ports

In SW Qld, you have a land locked NG fleet operating low capacity wagons. If things are dry, the fleet is parked up.

In WA, while a long way away, again a NG fleet that is isolated.

Meanwhile harvesting equipment and haulage trucks follow the harvest regardless of where it is. Why would you want to invest in rail grain haulage and risk having your equipment parked up 1-2 years every 7-8 years because of drought or what other reason?

If BG was removed, the operators could be more flexible and hence competitive. Eventually the Inland will be built and this will wipe out the NG grain in SW Qld, again creating larger footprint for the grain haulers to move around in.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Regarding the future of grain handling there is something hiding in the wood pile.

The farmers themselves have an interest in grain going by road. In the off season they either own or drive the B Doubles and Road Trains which cart the grain to port, it is extra income for them.

The rail system does not provide your local farmer with supplementary employment and much needed cash flow.

Ian
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Ian, if the farmers only had to cart their grain to the nearest silo, they would not need the multiple trucks necessary to take grain potentially hundreds of kilometres.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

All too often, the extra costs of the local silo (i.e. the cost of the rail industry) makes self-trucking a viable option.

Owning and operating the trucks is cheaper than paying for the grain to be stored at the silos until such time as GWA feel like coming and picking it up.

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