Grain Harvest 2016/2017

 
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Another media article here: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/4356731/hot-weather-train-ban-threatens-bumper-harvest/?cs=80

"Rail Freight Alliance spokesman Reid Mather said the lower temperature threshold would hurt grain exporters and appeared to have been poorly thought through.  
"I don't know why they'd be making this call at the height of the grain harvesting season in Victoria," Mr Mather said.
"I don't know how they are going to get product to port. If you close it for eight hours they lose their windows so effectively you've stopped the system."

Sponsored advertisement

  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
The Murray Basin Project under Stage 1 has completed the following as extracted from the project web site:

"Stage one works on the Mildura and Hopetoun rail line are complete. These essential works involved installing more than 175,000 sleepers and replacing 3,400 metres of rail across North Western Victoria".

Whilst Stage 1 included works on the Hopetoun Line, it is well known that the majority of works were about undertaking an urgently needed amount of significant resleepering, ballast top up and selected rerailing of some curves on the Mildura Line especially after the derailments that were investigated by the ATSB.

How can it be then after all of this work that these total restrictions on train movements are being considered is quite staggering because it is highly unlikely given the rest of the conversion program to be undertaken that another major, major cycle of restorative work will be spent on the Mildura Line again.

In addition the work program was also about increasing the ability of the track to support increased axleload.   So how is it a stronger track that has just been upgraded cannot operate say under speed restriction as one of the ways of reducing risk associated with hot weather conditions.   The Mildura Line of all the lines in the Murray Basin Project should have been heavily upgraded with full concrete resleepering and new rail.  At the sametime as we have these restrictions being imposed secondary lines in NSW like June to Griffith are quite happily supporting 4,000HP new generation locomotives and 23 tonne plus axleloads.   Sighhh!!!
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Is this some kind of cruel joke?  V/Line are basically going to suspend most freight operations when the temp gets above 33 - 36 degC:

http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/agribusiness/cropping/vline-freight-on-key-lines-to-stop-if-33c-reached/news-story/37350f02909ba6a8197dcdfaa71aa86e

VICTORIA’S largest grain export program is under threat following a decision by V/Line to shut major rail freight lines once temperatures hit 33C.

A network service plan released by V/Line shows freight on the Swan Hill, Echuca, Shepparton, Murrayville, Mildura and Dimboola-Yaapeet lines would be stopped during the day if temperatures reach 33C.
Freight on the Manangatang and Sea Lake lines would be stopped at 36C.
Victorian Farmers Federation grains president Brett Hosking said V/Line was “effectively shutting down rail freight for the northwest of the state for two months during the most critical time of the year”.
Carnot
I came across that Network Plan a couple of days ago while researching WOLOs on the Bendigo Line. It looked strange but I assumed it was a long standing policy not a new one. So you spend $400M + upgrading the Murray Basin Freight Network and simultaneously impose restrictions that condemn the lines to fail to increase rail traffic?

Farce.

BG
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Surely competition policy requires VLine to provide track access at commercially reasonable levels? Effectively closing a line for all but a few hours a day must somehow contravene commercial access agreements.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
That is simply unacceptable

Would any other networks in Australia have those restrictions?
x31
Can you imagine ARTC doing the same on the Trans Australia line? or the Hunter Valley Coal network?
Or GWA shutting down the Darwin line?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
I would equate in terms of its role the Mildura Line being on a par with as I said earlier, Junee to Griffith, Stockinbingal to Temora, Orange to Dubbo.   That is a fairly important line of a track standard that can support 23.5 tonne axleload, enables general freight trains to operate in the 80-100km/hr range (depending on axleload) and loaded grain trains at say 60km/hr.

The following is the scope of works for the Murray Basin Project that are relevant to this thread and can be found on the Murray Basin Project web page;

The scope of works will include significant
upgrades to ensure the rail track’s ongoing
integrity. Additional works will be required
to increase the axle loading to 21 tonnes
and to standardise or dual-gauge the tracks.

Upgrading the Murray Basin rail lines from
a 19 tonne to 21 tonne includes:
• restoring the track formation
and ballast
• bridge inspections and
drainage improvements
• tie renewal and replacement
of worn rail
• continuous welding of the track to
enable 80km per hour train speed
• replacing life expired sleepers with
new concrete timber replacement
sleepers on the Yelta to Ararat, Dunolly
to Manangatang and Korong Vale
to Sea Lake line sections, and with
timber sleepers on the Maryborough to
Gheringhap dual gauge line section
• supply and placement of additional
ballast and re-tamping the track after
installation of new sleepers
• vegetation clearance along the track to
ensure line of sight safety as required
• upgrading level crossings and
signalling
Gauge standardisation includes:
• moving one rail across to the standard
gauge configuration and realigning
both rails on curves and bridge
structures
• supply and installation of additional
rail on the new dual gauge section
between Warrenheip and Gheringhap
• turnout renewal involving new timber
bearers and track fasteners.

The key point here specifically related to this current post:   Significant works to ensure the track's ongoing integrity, (which I take to mean in the first instance the Stage 1 works mentioned in my previous post which have been completed).   That says to me Stage 1 should have been to a standard not requiring suspension of services when it gets "warm".

The scope then outlines the next phase of work which is the gauge conversion and upgrade from 19 to 21 tonne axleload.
Here specifically for the Mildura/Yelta Line that scope is:

restoring the track formation
and ballast
• bridge inspections and
drainage improvements
• tie renewal and replacement
of worn rail
• continuous welding of the track to
enable 80km per hour train speed
• replacing life expired sleepers with
new concrete timber replacement
sleepers on the Yelta to Ararat etc

So after all of that work we then have a railway that still won't permit the operation of higher horsepower new generation locomotives or the full use of an increasing number low tare/ high capacity grain wagons to deliver the sorts of productivity gains and rail freight price reductions that we now here and which are openly published in the order of $5 per tonne to as high as $26 per tonne that we see in NSW.

After reading the news story last night I went on youtube and watched a very nice clip involving an SSR grain train travelling from Temora to Stockingbingal and then onto the ARTC network.   The train was comprised of a BMR class, C class and SSR class loco hauling 44 high capacity wagons making good speed on the "branch line".   There were close up shots of the track that evidence to me that NSW regional network has improved substantially over the past 4 to 5 years and you then contrast that with what will be achieved at the end of the Murray Basin Project even with the additional Stage 2 works.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
Just a quick question. As Vline is an operator it can impose whatever limits it likes for its trains. It can't stop trains by other operators from running (eg the Denliquin rice train) - only VicTrack can impose those rules on other operators.

So could the grain growers hire another company to do the hook and pull?
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
Surely competition policy requires VLine to provide track access at commercially reasonable levels? Effectively closing a line for all but a few hours a day must somehow contravene commercial access agreements.
Sulla1
VLine don't own the track - VicTrack does (or did 2 years ago when a company I worked for had the contract to weedspray along railway corridors for fire prevention)
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
Surely competition policy requires VLine to provide track access at commercially reasonable levels? Effectively closing a line for all but a few hours a day must somehow contravene commercial access agreements.
VLine don't own the track - VicTrack does (or did 2 years ago when a company I worked for had the contract to weedspray along railway corridors for fire prevention)
HardWorkingMan
Your counter-example isn't quite correct.

VicTrack owns the land but it doesn't do anything involving trains (except for telecoms backhaul, but I digress). It has obligations relating to the upkeep of the railway corridors, except in circumstances where they have transferred this as part of a lease. That includes weedspraying, definitely.

V/Line maintains the perway (i.e track) on operational railway lines that it controls and is required to provide open access for freight.
  ab123 Chief Train Controller

Can't help but think perhaps there is some politics at play. V/Line trying to get some more funds from the government perhaps?
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
Can't help but think perhaps there is some politics at play. V/Line trying to get some more funds from the government perhaps?
ab123
could also be someone in an airconditioned office in Melbourne thinking they know about life in regional Australia when they have never been past Werribee too. This is fairly common in some of the capital cities and not just in railways.  eg When I spoke to Telstra about out internet being down the person told me if it was urgent I should walk to Maccas and use their free wifi.  When I said that Maccas closed over 30 minutes ago and was a 15km walk they didn't believe me "There is nobody that far from a Maccas and they all open 24 hours" was their reply
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Laughable situation.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Not that I'm in the habit of defending Telstra (I've made a point of never buying their services), but their call centre bloke has a point. Every town in Victoria with a population of over about 4,000 (except Castlemaine) has a Maccas, and there can't be many places in Melbourne or the regional cities that is more than a couple of km from one.

So 95% of Victorians, almost everyone except farmers, residents of very small towns and Castlemaineiacs, has easy access to free internet at Maccas.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
Not that I'm in the habit of defending Telstra (I've made a point of never buying their services), but their call centre bloke has a point. Every town in Victoria with a population of over about 4,000 (except Castlemaine) has a Maccas, and there can't be many places in Melbourne or the regional cities that is more than a couple of km from one.

So 95% of Victorians, almost everyone except farmers, residents of very small towns and Castlemaineiacs, has easy access to free internet at Maccas.
Bogong
I'll have you know Kyneton at ~6500 doesn't have one either. It seems to be a thing on the Bendigo Corridor.
  Crossover Train Controller

Location: St. Albans Victoria
Not that I'm in the habit of defending Telstra (I've made a point of never buying their services), but their call centre bloke has a point. Every town in Victoria with a population of over about 4,000 (except Castlemaine) has a Maccas, and there can't be many places in Melbourne or the regional cities that is more than a couple of km from one.

So 95% of Victorians, almost everyone except farmers, residents of very small towns and Castlemaineiacs, has easy access to free internet at Maccas.
Bogong
Kyabram - Population around 5,000 doesn`t have a Maccas
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
My apologies to both of you.
I'd forgotten that Kyneton has grown a bit in recent years and I didn't realise that Kyabram was that big.
I used this zoomable map of Maccas locations to come up with that claim. https://mcdonalds.com.au/find-us/restaurants

But my basic point still stands, the bloke at the Telstra call centre had a valid point. Every city in Victoria has lots of McDonalds outlets and all but three mid sized towns have at least one, so 94% of the population of Victoria is within a few kilometres of free internet at Maccas.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
There is NOT a  Macca's between Murray Bridge and Horsham!
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Interesting that we have X44 working a grain today and we have XR554-XR558 inbound to Melbourne with loaded grain for Appleton Dock on the BG.  It has been a while since BG grain came into Appleton Dock from memory.  Train was 9148 so would be off the Ballarat line?
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
X44 on the domestic grain to Kensington.
  Crossover Train Controller

Location: St. Albans Victoria
My apologies to both of you.
I'd forgotten that Kyneton has grown a bit in recent years and I didn't realise that Kyabram was that big.
I used this zoomable map of Maccas locations to come up with that claim. https://mcdonalds.com.au/find-us/restaurants

But my basic point still stands, the bloke at the Telstra call centre had a valid point. Every city in Victoria has lots of McDonalds outlets and all but three mid sized towns have at least one, so 94% of the population of Victoria is within a few kilometres of free internet at Maccas.
Bogong
Latest figures Kyabram has a population of 10,735   quite a big town really
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

It's been a very quiet week so far on Bendigo line. But Maryborough has been busy. I suspect they're trying to move as much as they can before disruptive heat restrictions kick in with hot weather just around the corner.  

Still heaps of harvesting to happen. I'm hearing that around Donald it won't conclude until mid-January or later.

Kyabram (on Toolamba line) is almost big enough to support a regular passenger rail service.... That's for another thread.
  Crossover Train Controller

Location: St. Albans Victoria
It's been a very quiet week so far on Bendigo line. But Maryborough has been busy. I suspect they're trying to move as much as they can before disruptive heat restrictions kick in with hot weather just around the corner.  

Still heaps of harvesting to happen. I'm hearing that around Donald it won't conclude until mid-January or later.

Kyabram (on Toolamba line) is almost big enough to support a regular passenger rail service.... That's for another thread.
Carnot
Close to Echuca too . ? A service between Echuca and Seymour perhaps ?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
They send freight both ways - why not pax?.....
  trainbrain Deputy Commissioner

They send freight both ways - why not pax?.....
james.au
no facilities and no bums on seats
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Not that I'm in the habit of defending Telstra (I've made a point of never buying their services), but their call centre bloke has a point. Every town in Victoria with a population of over about 4,000 (except Castlemaine) has a Maccas, and there can't be many places in Melbourne or the regional cities that is more than a couple of km from one.

So 95% of Victorians, almost everyone except farmers, residents of very small towns and Castlemaineiacs, has easy access to free internet at Maccas.
Bogong

There's more people living in rural area's than you think, around places like Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Echuca, Benalla, Wangarrata, etc the rural and surrounding have something like 20 percent of the total population, This is going by connected phone services. Over the past at least 20 years (hmmm ,make that at least 30 years) there has been a growing trend by many people for a "tree" change. many do not last to long because of poor services but there is ALWAYS someone willing to take there place.

There's a long standing saying in rural area's that Victoria stops at the Ford works and the rest of the state is this mythical world that only exists in news services when disaster strikes..

woodford

Sponsored advertisement

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.