Mount Barker train would be ‘huge win’ for business, local association says

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 27 Jul 2019 09:23
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Will the SA government take this seriously?  Every other state with the exception of Tasmania either area or are ,looking to expand or improve regional rail services. 

SG Vlocity services could be deployed into this route with the only issue in my mind being the Adelaide end.  Parklands station would need to be used unless a platform or 2 at Adelaide Metro could be dual gauged?

Mount Barker train would be ‘huge win’ for business, local association says

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  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The Government of South Australia is pretty much broke at the moment, they're putting about $2-$3 billion into the completion of the South Road motorway project and all that money (bar the Commonwealth contribution) has to be borrowed. We don't have the rivers of stamp duty money here that VIC and NSW have enjoyed over the last few decades and we simply don't have the money or momentum for large scale urban rail projects.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
You Could Fairly Easily Dual Gauge the 30ish km from Belair to Mt Barker Junction if you had the will and $$ to do so as the Dual Gauge sleepers are still in-place and the alinement is still intact from Mt Barker Junction to Mt Barker itself. You'd Whana do some convincing Steamranger ARTC to allow the Ad Metro in on there lines. IIRC to the line was double track past Belair at one point too?

what's old is new again

https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1684052.htm


https://www.railpage.com.au/uploads/10/0/railway_lines_south_australia.pdf
  SinickleBird Chief Train Controller

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
To get to 160 km/hr on an Adelaide to Mount Barker run, you would need to build a totally new line that is (a) virtually straight and (b) tunnelled most of the way. Mt Barker is about 350 metres higher in altitude than Adelaide, and about 34km in distance. That works out at a 1:100 gradient the whole way.

The ‘old’ alignment rises to Mount Lofty station (approx 490 metres), and is winding because of the gradients. Passenger services effectively died on this route by the early 1980s, because it took an hour to get from Adelaide to Bridgewater, while you could drive or take the bus in half that time. Not to mention a 2-hourly service frequency during the day. As a teenager, I have ridden my bicycle from Heathfield to Adelaide considerably faster than the train schedule (OK, so i did take the train home, hang the slow journey time) Laughing

As Don_dunstan correctly points out, the cost between land acquisition and construction would be astronomical and, being largely tunnelled, the view would be non-existent. Hardly a tourist attraction.

Another wet dream from a local business association, who would be quite happy to commit other people’s money. How ironic that Mr Gilbert, owner of the local Toyota dealership, is pushing for rail when it was his industry that cruelled rail in the first place.
  SinickleBird Chief Train Controller

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Dan707, only ever a passing siding on the down side of Belair. Otherwise single track - too many tunnels to allow duplication, even if traffic were higher.
  SAR520SMBH Junior Train Controller

Dangersdan707

They can't run dual gauge from Belair. The sleepers aren't dual gauge, they're gauge convertible.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Dangersdan707

They can't run dual gauge from Belair. The sleepers aren't dual gauge, they're gauge convertible.
Couldn't possibly modify some clips to make it work Laughing  as I said only the will and Money are needed (Ad METRO BG TRACK USED IN IMAGE)

  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Dan707, only ever a passing siding on the down side of Belair. Otherwise single track - too many tunnels to allow duplication, even if traffic were higher.
SinickleBird
I'm not coming out in support of this, its never going to happen as its highly unlikely to happen due to the Long way the Rail Line takes. Thanks for the corrections
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

This is the sort of case where adding a guided busway (and high quality buses) to the SE Freeway corridor would be the ideal solution. Not enough population to justify the sort of monumental 20+ km rail tunnel needed to create a competitive rail service.

It's also the case where simply buying better buses to use on the existing SE Freeway bus routes would allow a real improvement in the service immediately. There's certainly a case for looking into hybrids, which could potentially be reconfigured to use both diesel and battery power simultaneously for improved performance climbing the long hill up to Crafers from either direction.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
I love it when interstaters on RP start telling us how do things in SA after reading a tabloid headline and without researching the facts.

Simple things, like what would be the patronage and what would be the real cost?

You don't answer these question, and you never do. The change of gauge at Mt Barker, paths on the existing standard gauge line, a very tight easement in the Hills that prevents duplication, all add to the cost and have to be overcome.

I think I've mentioned this before. About 20 years ago the Mayor of Mt Barker asked for some advice on re-establishing a passenger service to Mt Barker. I did a very basic back of the envelope calculation and submitted a one page discussion paper to him. Never did hear from him again, mainly because the subsidy required would be something like 90%.

It is true the population of Mt Barker has grown since then (currently 33k, 55k by 2035), but on the existing alignment the travel time will never be competitive with car or bus, more because of the distance travelled than the track speed. As for the high speed rail option, if they think they can get it done for $1bn then they are something some pretty strong stuff in the Hills.

Absolute utter bollocks Evil or Very Mad
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
The Government of South Australia is pretty much broke at the moment, they're putting about $2-$3 billion into the completion of the South Road motorway project and all that money (bar the Commonwealth contribution) has to be borrowed. We don't have the rivers of stamp duty money here that VIC and NSW have enjoyed over the last few decades and we simply don't have the money or momentum for large scale urban rail projects.
don_dunstan

Not stopping Marshall and his loopy Globelink project.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Not stopping Marshall and his loopy Globelink project.
bingley hall
There's nothing stopping Globelink - but nothing propelling it forward either.

Eventual outcome for that one is to sit on a shelf in a dusty basement with other not-started-but-not-cancelled-either projects like Mike Rann's Coast To Coast Light Rail.
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
This is the sort of case where adding a guided busway (and high quality buses) to the SE Freeway corridor would be the ideal solution. Not enough population to justify the sort of monumental 20+ km rail tunnel needed to create a competitive rail service.

It's also the case where simply buying better buses to use on the existing SE Freeway bus routes would allow a real improvement in the service immediately. There's certainly a case for looking into hybrids, which could potentially be reconfigured to use both diesel and battery power simultaneously for improved performance climbing the long hill up to Crafers from either direction.
justapassenger
I have heard a rumour of the current hills fleet being replaced prematurely, but I have seen no signs of this taking place as of late. Some modern buses go from 0 to 60kph in 10 seconds, and this can potentially cause discomfort for standing passengers. Modern Scania buses have a power delay, but some other chassis types don't.

Travel time difference would be negligible with a busway that would potentially cost hundreds of millions (taking into property acquisition). The O'bahn tunnel was expensive enough to save roughly 4 minutes per trip. It's possible that this hypothetical busway would be about the same unless there was a deep cutting/tunnel to make the gradient more consistent which would inflate the price even more.

And don't forget the cost of on and off ramps as well as the inconvenience during the lengthy construction phase. Standardising the AdMet system would probably be less impractical.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The Government of South Australia is pretty much broke at the moment, they're putting about $2-$3 billion into the completion of the South Road motorway project and all that money (bar the Commonwealth contribution) has to be borrowed. We don't have the rivers of stamp duty money here that VIC and NSW have enjoyed over the last few decades and we simply don't have the money or momentum for large scale urban rail projects.

Not stopping Marshall and his loopy Globelink project.
bingley hall
I think a much better option would be to connect the former Morgan SA railway with what used to be the Morkalla VIC line through to a destination maybe Gawler to Dry Creek on standard gauge. I know it probably wouldn't save much time but it would appease the Adelaide Hills complainers about the current alignment most of which is actually going Melbourne-Perth or Perth Melbourne.

It could have the advantage of abandoning the current ARTC alignment Belair-Ararat that's partially redundant so it's available for other purposes (if any), servicing the Sunraysia and the Riverland with a frequent-ish rail freight option etc.

Pie-in-the-sky stuff I know but I think the very cheapest option for an Adelaide-Hills freight by-pass available, Marshall's Globelink thing demands heaps of greenfields railway alignment through some still rather hilly parts of South Australia whereas my idea at least follows lots of lost railway alignments and connects some major standard gauge freight centres.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
And don't forget the cost of on and off ramps as well as the inconvenience during the lengthy construction phase. Standardising the AdMet system would probably be less impractical.
ARG706
The very, very cheapest manner in which a Mt Barker train could be done would be to utilise the 3000's currently being displaced from the Gawler line, converted to standard gauge and running on a dual gauge track for 2km or so into 3/4 at Adelaide. They should also consider whether it's worth converting the entire Belair line over to standard gauge at the same time as this cost could be defrayed with the ARTC/Commonwealth - but if not then 10/12 3000 cars could probably exclusively run a standard gauge service every half hour or hour maybe interchanging with the Belair line at certain stopping points. Mt Barker has run away now as a large regional city, perhaps it's not a bad idea thinking about trying to remove some bus traffic from the Heysen Tunnels and the morning logjam on Glen Osmond Road.

Bear in mind that that you'd have to share tracks with some pretty slow-ish ARTC services on standard gauge, that's why converting the entire hills services to standard gauge run by its own fleet of 3000's might be a good idea because it opens up the Hiils line to suburban services overtaking slower freights etc. They seem to have decided that they're not going to electrify the Belair line because of the potential for double-stacking in the future so why not just integrate diesel services with ARTC trains separate service to the rest of the electrified network?

Someone referred to the slowness of the old service; the most positive spin you can put on that is that the revitalised Mt Barker line does at least does stop in places like Littlehampton, Handorf, Balhannah, Bridgewater, Stirling etc which would help local amenity by giving an alternative to driving within (connecting those hills places) AND out of the hills district to Adelaide - although do we really want more 'McMansion' type development in those places? They seemed to decide in the seventies that we weren't going to have mass development in the hills because of the water catchments etc - putting a heavy rail service back in would seemingly run contrary to that goal...

Just some random thoughts.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I'd love to see such a service return, but the obstacles are significant.

It closed through lack of demand in 1984, what has changed?

There is no practical affordable way to bring SG to Adelaide station.

The cost of upgrading Mt Barker Jnct to Mt Barker.

A state govt which doesn't have the income to fund such expenditure.

Finally, how will this train be better than the existing bus?
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

If you can beat a train starting out in Adelaide and going to Belair by driving to Belair at the speed limits mind you just as the train leaves Adelaide station, then you can get something to eat or drink at Belair and then still have to wait for the train to get there. So the whole railway line even if it was possible to run from Mt Barker To Adelaide would still be slower than driving up to Mt Barker. It might be adventageous to run a bus service from Mt Barker to Belair though to pick up the Adelaide Metro service onward towards Adelaide. But then comes the problem of just how many would use the service though both rail all the way to Adelaide or the bus service connecting Mt Barker to Belair.

The train trip is too slow and always has been because it twist and turns all over the place to gain height where the roads go straight up the hills more or less. I have been to Mt Barker by bus years back and it was a lot quicker than any rail trip to the same place though.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I cannot find an old Mt Barker train timetable so a few comparisons

From Adelaide Station to Belair, (11km by road, 21km by rail)
- 35-39min for the Belair all stopper train to Belair
- Up to 35min to drive in peak to Belair (Google), half that out of peak.


From Adelaide Station to Mt Barker (35km by road, 50km by rail)
- Mt Barker Bus is around 1h 1min to 1h 15min depending on time of day
- Driving to Mt Barker, 35min to 1h 10min (Google)


From Adelaide Station to Murray Bridge (76km by road, 97km by rail)
Overland Train 2h or 48km/h
Road roughly 60 - 90min

So from this I'm guessing a Adelaide station, Goodwood station, Belair station then all to Mt Barker Station service would take 75 - 90min, which is not too bad and if the Belair line is popular, then maybe this would work if a few services a day.
- Morning peak direction,
- Midday up and back
- PM peak direction
Sat/Sun, return to City in AM and PM

1 x SG set with spare would do this easily.

The hard part is the last 1.5km of DG trackage from the Y junction near Adelaide station through a number of points. Would it be worth it? The conversion of the 3000/3100 class is probably the cheapest in the whole exercise. Each station currently out of service needs the full 21st century DAA package upgrade, plus likely 2 tracks being converted to DG into Adelaide station, that won't be done for less than a few million.

Also, can suitable slots be made available by ARTC?
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Belair NOT Bel Air.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Belair NOT Bel Air.
Donald
Raily? Is loves cherelay Belairs

  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Belair NOT Bel Air.
Donald
Thanks, fixed
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

It might be adventageous to run a bus service from Mt Barker to Belair though to pick up the Adelaide Metro service onward towards Adelaide.
DJPeters
No way.

You obviously have no knowledge of the roads in the area, plus a poor appreciation of how slow the Belair trains run.

Anyone who has followed a heavy vehicle along Upper Sturt Road will be able to tell you that it is an excruciatingly slow experience.

A passenger riding the T840 (direct bus using the South-Eastern Freeway) would get all the way into the city in the same amount of time it would take a passenger to ride a bus to Belair and make the connection. That's not speculation, it's based on the real T840 and 893 timetables and the real walking distance from the nearest bus stop on Sheoak Road to the suburban platform at Belair.

Once the passenger going via Belair is on the train, they then have a 44 minute trip to Adelaide station, a few minutes to get out of the station and however long it takes them to get from the wrong side of North Tce to wherever they really want to go in the city. If they aren't going to Parliament House or the Intercontinental, their total delay from going via Belair will probably end up being over an hour!

If you want to make some real improvements for public transport to Mount Barker, build bus lanes on Glen Osmond Road and buy buses which can maintain higher speeds when running uphill. Not as fun as playing trains with other people's money, but a damn sight more useful.
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: By a road taking pictures
Rail to Mt Barker would be possible if done in conjunction with a tunnel upgrade of the interstate line with a tunnel from near Mitcham to Callington. This tunnel could be fairly straight, have four tracks down to under Mt Barker (two for each gauge) and also a further station under Mt Lofty. The grade would be approximately level with Callington being slightly (three metres) lower than Lynton. However this would require heaps of finance and political will.
  Andrewdr Station Master

I love it when interstaters on RP start telling us how do things in SA after reading a tabloid headline and without researching the facts.

Simple things, like what would be the patronage and what would be the real cost?

You don't answer these question, and you never do. The change of gauge at Mt Barker, paths on the existing standard gauge line, a very tight easement in the Hills that prevents duplication, all add to the cost and have to be overcome.

I think I've mentioned this before. About 20 years ago the Mayor of Mt Barker asked for some advice on re-establishing a passenger service to Mt Barker. I did a very basic back of the envelope calculation and submitted a one page discussion paper to him. Never did hear from him again, mainly because the subsidy required would be something like 90%.

It is true the population of Mt Barker has grown since then (currently 33k, 55k by 2035), but on the existing alignment the travel time will never be competitive with car or bus, more because of the distance travelled than the track speed. As for the high speed rail option, if they think they can get it done for $1bn then they are something some pretty strong stuff in the Hills.

Absolute utter bollocks Evil or Very Mad
bingley hall
Good comment. I suspect the B/C ratio would be miniscule!
The other crucial assumption being made is that the people commuting to Adelaide via the SE Freeway are largely destined for the city or locations adjacent to the line.
IMHO, this is highly unlikely; given the social demographic of Mt Barker, their destinations are far more likely to be scattered across the larger metro area, with probably a focus on the industrial and commercial areas in the suburbs S and SW of the city.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

I cannot find an old Mt Barker train timetable so a few comparisons

So from this I'm guessing a Adelaide station, Goodwood station, Belair station then all to Mt Barker Station service would take 75 - 90min, which is not too bad …
RTT_Rules
You're looking at the outer end of that 75-90 minutes.

Attacking the approximation of the time from another direction:

ARTC Master Train Plan time (yes, the usual disclaimers about the MTP apply) for the Overland going non-stop from the passing loop at Mount Barker Junction to Keswick: 62 minutes.
Mount Barker to Mount Barker Junction: 5.2km of tight curves which would keep speeds down to ~45 km/h, probably about 8 minutes.
Keswick to Adelaide: 7-10 minutes, depending on how things go with junctions, network interfaces etc
Time lost at intermediate stops (Adelaide Showground, Belair, Mount Lofty, Bridgewater, Balhannah): 8-10 minutes
Total time: 85-90 minutes
Getting a train to 'Adelaide' in the 21st century and getting dropped off on the wrong side of North Terrace in borrowed parklands: priceless

So from this I'm guessing a Adelaide station, Goodwood station, Belair station then all to Mt Barker Station service would take 75 - 90min, which is not too bad and if the Belair line is popular, then maybe this would work if a few services a day.
- Morning peak direction,
- Midday up and back
- PM peak direction
Sat/Sun, return to City in AM and PM

1 x SG set with spare would do this easily.
RTT_Rules
Decent service pattern proposal, but thought would need to be given to how the reliability of the service would be maintained against ARTC's regular pattern of doing off-peak track maintenance somewhere along the route.

Running a micro-fleet of SG cars would also hit service reliability.

The hard part is the last 1.5km of DG trackage from the Y junction near Adelaide station through a number of points. Would it be worth it?
RTT_Rules
Not worth it for just a couple of trains a day. Initially terminating at Adelaide Showground might be the best available option to get an initial trial service up and running.

But it does present a good case for the gains to be made at a fraction of the cost by improving conditions for buses travelling along Glen Osmond Road. A 55 minute peak service (50 minute off-peak) should be the target, and you would get improvements for the local buses on Glen Osmond Road bundled in for good measure.

Each station currently out of service needs the full 21st century DAA package upgrade, plus likely 2 tracks being converted to DG into Adelaide station, that won't be done for less than a few million.
RTT_Rules
Stations:
New SG platform at Adelaide Showground (easier than upgrading Goodwood, better connections) if ARTC allows it
Upgrade at Belair – or at Blackwood instead for a more useful stop
Upgrade at Mount Lofty
New stations at Bridgewater and Balhannah if ARTC allow them
Upgrade or new platform at Mount Barker

If heritage listings cannot be retracted, expect the old station upgrades to go well past a million dollars each.

Other infrastructure:
Dual gauge into Adelaide, including link line at Mile End and signalling installations.
Rebuilt track from Mount Barker to Mount Barker Junction, including signalling installations, secure stabling facility, connection to ARTC network.
Stabling/maintenance facility at the Adelaide end.

Also, can suitable slots be made available by ARTC?
RTT_Rules
The Adelaide-Melbourne line is pretty sleepy these days, only 4-5 trains each way per day.

If the operator is willing to pay, they'll get the access. The tougher question is whether ARTC will allow all these new passenger stations on their network - unlike the Vic and NSW lines which they lease (with conditions) from the respective state governments, ARTC actually own this route and would have a far greater say.

Rail to Mt Barker would be possible if done in conjunction with a tunnel upgrade of the interstate line with a tunnel from near Mitcham to Callington. This tunnel could be fairly straight, have four tracks down to under Mt Barker (two for each gauge) and also a further station under Mt Lofty. The grade would be approximately level with Callington being slightly (three metres) lower than Lynton. However this would require heaps of finance and political will.
nm39
Wow.

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