Minister's answer undercut by cabinet documents on Sydney-Wollongong rail tunnel

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 28 Jun 2017 13:46
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
A correction to my previous post which was written on the run. Of course Dapto is north of Shellharbour which I forgot, so between Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven (i.e. the rail catchment) there are over 200,000 people, about the same as the population of the City of Wollongong. There are as many living in the catchment south of Wollongong as in Wollongong itself. About 2/3 of these are living between Kiama and Shoalhaven. Does that give people a bit of perspective on the imagined "quaint string of rural villages" south of Wollongong? It sounds like some of you haven't had a holiday down the south coast since the 1950s lol!

This naturally means that there is a huge latent and unfulfilled demand for public transport which is being very effectively deterred by an achingly slow rail service (average speed 55 km/h) and terrrible, uncomfortable trains.  The condition of the line between Waterfall and Coledale is a well-identified issue. My drift in this thread is that in the meantime some improvement can be achieved by the evidently novel concept (in NSW) of actually speeding up the trains between Sydney and Waterfall, Thirroul and Kiama and Kiama and Nowra - areas where the track basically doesn't need realigning. I'm not really looking for a whole lot of "nah it can't be done mate"s, I'm looking for railwaymen's knowledge of how it can be done. Given the size of the population and its rate of growth, it has to be done, one way or the other.

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  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Rebuild the line from the ground up within the existing corridor removing undulations in the track and easing curves using heavy rail, applying suitable super elevation as needed, deep ballast and heavy concrete sleepers. The limitation will then be purely driven by the curve radius.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Rebuild the line from the ground up within the existing corridor removing undulations in the track and easing curves using heavy rail, applying suitable super elevation as needed, deep ballast and heavy concrete sleepers. The limitation will then be purely driven by the curve radius.
RTT_Rules
Logical suggestion, but it would be interesting to learn how much of this has actually already been done. Sections of the line are signed at 140 (XPT presumably) which means they must already be up to a pretty high standard. Such a section for example is Dapto-Albion Park which is tabled for 7 minutes and it's similar in distance and track profile to Canning Bridge-Bulls Creek in Perth which is tabled at 4 minutes (max speed 130).

Anybody who rides the south coast passenger services knows why - the trains move along like a slug on dope, even when there is no infrastructure constraint, no other trains in the way and the section is signed for high speed.

This is presumably the slowdown for on-time running, still taken to almost petulant extremes a decade later. How many more centuries is this state of affairs supposed to last? Is anybody in the railway hierarchy going to go to the Minister and say, hey it's taken a decade but we finally have our act together now and think we can ratchet up the train speeds to shorten the journey times? Or, we can do this if you allow us to undertake this and this work. Or is everybody asleep and doesn't care, or spends many man-hours assembling reasons why nothing can be done as meanwhile the RMS relentlessly surges ahead with its motorways and the residents of south coast rage but don't get any response because they're not swinging seats.

It's like the NSW railways have died, no sign of life, pride, sense of achievement, wanting to move forward, innovate, or anything.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Maybe they should become swingers .
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Rebuild the line from the ground up within the existing corridor removing undulations in the track and easing curves using heavy rail, applying suitable super elevation as needed, deep ballast and heavy concrete sleepers. The limitation will then be purely driven by the curve radius.
Logical suggestion, but it would be interesting to learn how much of this has actually already been done. Sections of the line are signed at 140 (XPT presumably) which means they must already be up to a pretty high standard. Such a section for example is Dapto-Albion Park which is tabled for 7 minutes and it's similar in distance and track profile to Canning Bridge-Bulls Creek in Perth which is tabled at 4 minutes (max speed 130).

Anybody who rides the south coast passenger services knows why - the trains move along like a slug on dope, even when there is no infrastructure constraint, no other trains in the way and the section is signed for high speed.

This is presumably the slowdown for on-time running, still taken to almost petulant extremes a decade later. How many more centuries is this state of affairs supposed to last? Is anybody in the railway hierarchy going to go to the Minister and say, hey it's taken a decade but we finally have our act together now and think we can ratchet up the train speeds to shorten the journey times? Or, we can do this if you allow us to undertake this and this work. Or is everybody asleep and doesn't care, or spends many man-hours assembling reasons why nothing can be done as meanwhile the RMS relentlessly surges ahead with its motorways and the residents of south coast rage but don't get any response because they're not swinging seats.

It's like the NSW railways have died, no sign of life, pride, sense of achievement, wanting to move forward, innovate, or anything.
tonyp
You probably find there are bits here and there that don't meet higher standards but with a lack of services to need the need is not there to spend the money.

On both the central coast and South Coast lines there is an easy but not cheap opportunity to bring Gosford/Wyong and Wollongong another 20-25min closer to the city. The south coats is probably $2-3B and Central Coast probably $3-4B with a bigger population to off-set and far more freight traffic, but there is probably more land options on the south side.

The Central coast is re-alignment from Asquith to Berowa, Cowan township by-pass tunnel to Cowan bank a few km from Hawkesberry, realignment to just before Woy Woy tunnel, direct tunnel to back of Koolingwong, curve easing through Tascot - Point Claire and then nth of Gosford to Tuggarah realignment and curve easing.      

Has NSW Rail lost it s way? No I don't think so, look at the money being spent in Sydney and rollingstock replacement out of Sydney. But this is after years of limited action and mostly sustainability projects like Clearways. Now we are starting to see the growth projects which hopefully within next 10 years includes major realignment projects on the interurban lines for which I think now the population can afford.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
I note in the driver's knowledge diagrams the south coast line is called the Illawarra main line as far as the junction with the Moss Vale line and then south of that is the "South Coast branch line". Perhaps this has created a sort of mentality about it over the years!

However, since those dairy-farm days a couple of hundred thousand people have settled down along the line or in its vicinity. I don't think the scale of that change has sunk in with most people outside the south coast. It's the south coast that actually has the bigger population than Central Coast. What gives the central coast a nudge is, as you say, the major freight route as well as having the large city of Newcastle sitting at the top of it.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

I note in the driver's knowledge diagrams the south coast line is called the Illawarra main line as far as the junction with the Moss Vale line and then south of that is the "South Coast branch line". Perhaps this has created a sort of mentality about it over the years!
tonyp
This is because south of unanderra, it is the minor line. 1 daily freight.   It is also to do with the track layout to get to the Inner Harbour and Port Kembla from moss vale.  (hence why unanderra has right hand running past the platforms).
Just remember that is was the last line in Australia to use electric staff, and wasn't even electrified that long ago.
  Transtopic Assistant Commissioner



It's like the NSW railways have died, no sign of life, pride, sense of achievement, wanting to move forward, innovate, or anything.
I don't find myself often agreeing with you tonyp, but on this issue I concur.

I am concerned that the expertise of the former Railcorp strategists has been undermined by the new Transport for NSW blow-ins, mainly from the UK.  There's a lot of valuable intellectual knowledge of how the Sydney rail system has developed and could be  potentially enhanced, which may not be apparent to a recent outside appointment.  I feel we have lost that expertise under the present regime, which presents a biased anti-legacy agenda.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

This is mostly for Tonyp, but for all those interested, I have put pen to paper to outline my ideas for upgrading the South Coast line.  this is probably not the thread for it, so I've put it in Armchair Operators: https://www.railpage.com.au/f-po-editpost-2071515.htm  Comments and criticisms invited (in that thread).

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