Doubt builds over Miling rail line future

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 16 Mar 2015 22:07
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
PUBLIC safety along the Miling-Toodyay rail line will suffer, a local grower has warned, as doubt builds over the line's future.

Brookfield Rail chief executive Paul Larsen told Farm Weekly recently that the Tier 2 line is in need of significant upgrade before December 2016 and could be made redundant, due to its proximity to good condition lines out of McLevie and Moora.

But Miling grower and shire councillor Ken Seymour has warned already deteriorating shire roads will continue to degrade and threaten public safety if freight is forced onto the road in his region.

"About 500,000 tonnes of grain runs on that line each year," he said.

"We can cart either side to existing lines, but it will be at the expense of the shire's roads.
Doubt builds over Miling rail line future

Brookfield are a barrier to doing rail business.  This line has 500,000 tonnes of grain.  That equates to 9000 wagons of grain and rail is not viable?

Imagine the cost to the environment to place that many truck movements on the roads around there.  Where is the commonsense?

Sponsored advertisement

  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

The other (never mentioned) part of this lines saga is that there are currently three mining companies with major drilling operations around the Yerecoin and Calingiri areas, and one of them is currently discussing options for transport to Kwinana, saying that rail is their main choice. They are stating that their start-up is based on 250,000 tonnes per year, with a possible maximum of 3,000,000 tonnes per year over the next three years. Their only other option is road hauling to the Moora line, and heading up to Geraldton, but it seems that in the last couple of months that any spare capacity at Geraldton has been allocated.

The outlook for this line is very good indeed, yet it is the only Tier 2 line that will move directly from Tier 2 to closed, due mainly to poor maintenance and deferred maintenance finally catching up with them. It is a great shame that the option to remove the lines from the lesee and bring them back under government control was taken away in 2009 during the previous shameful dealings between the government and Brookfield. Roll on more pocket road trains of grain, the class of truck on our network which does less to cover their own costs of damage than almost any other class.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
From what you state the lines future looks good as the mining on panties will need to fork over track access dollars.

Problem solved ?
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

Forgot to mention, Brookfield have also previously stated that this line has a maximum capacity of 750,000 tonnes per year in its current setup. Remember that Brookfield loves to get everyone else to pay for the upgrade/rebuild/etc, and then reap the higher charges on the upgraded asset.
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

From what you state the lines future looks good as the mining on panties will need to fork over track access dollars.

Problem solved ?
freightgate
No - the simplistic answer is that Brookfield shut down the line, removing the option to use it unless the line is rebuilt - using the mining companies/CBH/government money for this, with a partial allocation from themselves. They then are able to renew their asset using other peoples money, and charge the higher access fees on it as it will no longer be a 16 tonne axle load line, with a very low cap on the number of train movements per day.

Win for Brookfield who have saved money on the deferred maintenance over the last many years, win for Brookfield for the upgraded and extended life on their controlled asset, win for Brookfield on the higher access charges for the line, and lose for almost all others through the saga except for the government saying that this is simply the market at work (the ongoing version of a horribly distorted market anyway).

Also note that by 2019 there will be triple road trains running through to Muchea on the Great Northern Highway. This means that Miling grain will be able to travel to Perth nearly entirely on 56m road trains at 100kph, rather than in 26 wagon short rakes at 30kph due to the condition of the Miling line. Also expect that there will be many permit applications made for bringing grain out of both Calingiri and Wongan Hills via 56m road trains through to New Norcia, and about the best we could hope for is that there is a large consolidation bin put at Muchea for shuttle grain trains to Kwinana, rather than breaking down lots of 56m road trains into even more 36.5m road trains.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
I am not from wa. So customers like CBH and mining companies 500,000 tonnes of grain and millions of tonnes of orris not enough to run a ra line to miling ?

Road trains still may not e cheaper than rail even in the scenario described. Road maintenance costs are much higher.
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

I am not from wa. So customers like CBH and mining companies 500,000 tonnes of grain and millions of tonnes of orris not enough to run a ra line to miling ?

Road trains still may not e cheaper than rail even in the scenario described. Road maintenance costs are much higher.
freightgate
It is high enough indeed, but you are missing the big part of the issue surrounding the Tier 3 debate here. It is about one company having the ability to now shut down lines, yet not hand them back for others to run and operate, as they may have some use for them in the future, however far away that future may be. If they are fixed and paid for by others, even better, as they are able to then use this upgraded asset to increase their own income as they are the only ones allowed to manage the lines and gain the income from the train operating companies.

Road maintenance costs are much higher, but these classes of road train do not come close to covering their allocated road maintenance costs, and do not even attempt to say that they do. They are referred to as High Productivity Vehicles, and it seems to refer solely to the tonnage delivered with one driver, and that's it. Their road maintenance costs are spread out across the entire heavy vehicle industry (from 4.5 tonne rigid trucks upwards), but funnily enough, their road damage is not spread across the same group. The wheatbelt roads will get worse, but there is little we can currently do about it right now, and it will get worse as we have just lost both maintenance (down up to 45%) and capital funding (down over 20%) for the next few years across the whole wheatbelt region.
  Bethungra Train Controller

It is high enough indeed, but you are missing the big part of the issue surrounding the Tier 3 debate here. It is about one company having the ability to now shut down lines, yet not hand them back for others to run and operate, as they may have some use for them in the future, however far away that future may be. If they are fixed and paid for by others, even better, as they are able to then use this upgraded asset to increase their own income as they are the only ones allowed to manage the lines and gain the income from the train operating companies.
Bulbous

It is hard to understand from the East Coast, well anywhere. By Brookfield shutting down the line they are effectively cutting off a revenue source?  With the line open the line is generating income assuming that income is going to Brookfield?
  Bulbous Assistant Commissioner

Brookfield are claiming that there will need to be nearly $100m spent on the line to improve the current conditions, including $40m in new rail alone. This funnily enough will bring the spend per kilometre to within 30% of the cost of the Mid-west upgrade, which has dual gauge concrete sleepered and heavy railed about 350km of old NG line in the Mid-west between Geraldton and Morowa (on new, more easily graded formation alongside the previous line), yet this would be to bring the Miling line to a state of good repair? Brookfield do themselves no favours in throwing numbers like that around.

Brookfield also assume that the ore will make it onto the rail system somewhere, so it is not their concern. Better for them if they can put it onto a line which is busy already, as then capacity charge is higher, access charges increase, and additional infrastructure (such as new passing sidings, etc) will get charged to the new traffic stream as well. Like I said - Win, Win, Win for Brookfield under the current agreement with the government.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Brookfield are claiming that there will need to be nearly $100m spent on the line to improve the current conditions, including $40m in new rail alone. This funnily enough will bring the spend per kilometre to within 30% of the cost of the Mid-west upgrade, which has dual gauge concrete sleepered and heavy railed about 350km of old NG line in the Mid-west between Geraldton and Morowa (on new, more easily graded formation alongside the previous line), yet this would be to bring the Miling line to a state of good repair? Brookfield do themselves no favours in throwing numbers like that around.
Bulbous

$100m sounds very cheap compared to the environmental and road damage which will be caused by B tripple trucks not to mention the accident costs.

Governments need to start waking up and looking at the total costs of not using rail.  Tripple bottom line analysis is what is required.

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: 8077, bevans

Display from:   

Quick Reply

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