Who will use Mildura SG and how?

 
  MetroFemme Assistant Commissioner

huge amount of money being spent on a conversion of the Mildura line but who will use it post conversion and where will the benefits to customers come from?

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  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
The same ones who used the BG up to now - and hopefully some new business will stand up.
  brownhillboy Train Controller

Iluka will not have enough Heavy Metal Concentrate from its Balranald operation to justify reopening the processing plant at Hamilton. This was probably going to be the main traffic on the Maryborough-Ararat section. The HMC will now be processed in WA. Portland would need to lift its game in regard to rail infrastructure if it wants to capture this business, otherwise it will likely go via Geelong.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The same ones who used the BG up to now - and hopefully some new business will stand up.
mikesyd

So there is no real benefit in standardising the line for customers or those who are wanting to  move to rail for environmental reasons?

It is a great point @MetroFemme makes as the business case should have also included plans to entice operators onto the new line and provide customers and operators with the ability to load and unload and points along the line.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
There is loading done along the line.   At Donald, usually up to a dozen containers are added to each train. Plenty of scope for more if any business wants to get on board and use the container loader.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Somewhat related but are containers loaded and unloaded at Boort?
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Mexicans.......

Whinge about the break of gauge for decades and threaten to bring down governments over the issue.

Government commits to the project, everyone starts questioning the validity of the project.

You guys crack me up Razz
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
It is a valid question in what benefits will conversion bring to customers?

competition?
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
In theory at least there will be savings on rolling stock as the standard gauge rolling stock can be moved between various parts of the country as needed (eg grain wagons and other seasonal traffic vehicles as well as locomotives.)

It should open up more competition as some operators don't want to have to deal with multiple gauges.  There are more standard gauge operators than broad gauge ones.

When the line to Adelaide was broad gauge there was freight sent west via rail to Adelaide.  When the Adelaide line was converted to Standard Gauge a lot of that traffic went to road. There is now the chance to win back the traffic to there and Perth without any delays caused by bogie exchanging or transferring loads between wagons.

In the long term I expect at least all Victorian lines carrying freight to be converted to Standard Gauge which then simplifies rail arrangements at ports etc as they then only need to deal with a single gauge.  They may do all country lines but it will need some work on the Gippsland lines to separate them from the suburban traffic as they pass through Melbourne. It will be simplify the ongoing maintenance over dual gauge tracks.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Somewhat related but are containers loaded and unloaded at Boort?
x31
No

The customer who once loaded containers at Boort relocated their operations to another region.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
If you check out the business case, you'll see why.  It mentions that there had been no investment in BG rolling stock for many years and no major investment expected ever.  So the trains would eventually get to the point where they broke down, become uneconomical to repair and the services would be cancelled, leading to all movements going to road.  By converting, Victorian producers gain access to the entire SG fleet (subject to weight restrictions of course) and the benefits it could bring including lower costs, and yes, competition.  Its clear that SSR wants into the Vic market, and I'm sure that others would like to enter too (could we even see Auirzon bulk make some moves with their SG fleet?)

The loss of the sands traffic is not a great thing, but i think the project will sill have a positive BCR without it.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
It is a valid question in what benefits will conversion bring to customers?

competition?
8077
No - plenty of time to ask the question when it was in the planning stages, but no.

Wait until everything is locked in and then start whingeing.

Had your chance - move on Evil or Very Mad
  Z VAN Junior Train Controller

huge amount of money being spent on a conversion of the Mildura line but who will use it post conversion and where will the benefits to customers come from?
MetroFemme
When I read your post this morning I thought you were trying to wind us up and to a degree you have.
Several posters have answered your question showing that there has not been any investment in Broad Gauge rolling stock or Locomotives in recent years and it was looking like No Operator was going to invest in the near future.
Let us hypothesise. For instance if the Government had simply said I have 400 million dollars for new rolling stock for the Broad Gauge system that any Operator can hire we would remain in the same situation as before. All that would have happened these new wagons would age and given time we would arrive back to where we are today.
If you keep applying the same formula and expect a different outcome you will be disappointed, nothing will change.

By converting to a common gauge investment may or may not come specifically for the Murray Basin Lines but what can come is rolling stock from other systems can be simply deployed and if traffic or the season varies the same rolling stock can be deployed elsewhere.
Will other Operators come to challenge Pacific Nationals monopoly?
With a common gauge at least that part is out of the equation they can with reduced start up costs.
The simplest is wheat. Southern Shorthall Railroad have recently been hauling grain for Emerald Wheat in Victoria and it would not be to fanciful to assume they may venture onto the Mildura line.
The benefit to the customers will be there are other Operators available that does not necessarily reduce costs but puts the lid on excessive price risers because of the attitude "it is Me or know one else'.

Equally once this project is complete the same argument will apply to the Goulburn Valley group of lines as this system carries similar commodities as the Mildura line and the flexibility of equipment will be further enhanced.

Gippsland and the Warrnambool lines are a different story.
The Gippsland line for the most part has become a commuter line with only one container train a day from the paper mill at Maryvale. A costly exercise to convert. If Western Port Harbour kicks off the economics change.
Warrambool nearly as difficult however the only real bottle neck would be the South Geelong tunnel that with 'will' and money is not an obstacle.
Getting carried away, I am happy that the Government has seen fit to proceed and not listen to the What is the point Brigade.
As I said earlier, if you change nothing nothing will change and you remain static as the World moves on.
  K-Class Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
A good example of the benefits available to the lines converted to SG is to look at the difference between the operations of Qube in NSW vs the BG in Victoria. In NSW most of the locos and wagons used are modern (ie built in the 2000's) with a smaller number of 1st and 2nd generation locos to help out where needed mainly as shunters and on a few branch lines. On the BG in Victoria Qube use 1 loco built since 2000 (a VL) a few 80's locos (G's ) and a number of hired 1st generation locos (B, S & T's).

Once the Mildura and other lines go SG Qube could in theory start a service in competition to PN from its existing pool of locos and rolling stock or if needed they could hire one or more of CFCLA's SG locos that are currently looking for work. For Qube to have tried to compete against PN on the BG to Mildura they would have had to find 2 or 3 locos that could be gauge converted from scratch (ie new wheel sets made) as there are no spare BG loco bogies sitting around for Qube to use which adds considerably to the cost and risk associated.

The same scenario also applies to SSR who have a supply of SG locos but not BG ones

The last locos specifically built from scratch to operate on the BG were the Vline G's and N's thats now over 30 years age. The BG is something that has to go for Victoria to improve productivity on the rails and move any real modal shift from road to rail.

Matt
  stuie83 Train Controller

Location: Stawell
there is also the problem of Ballarat for freights, it will be faster for trains to go via ararat to geelong as there are only a few paths through ballarat. those windows are getting smaller as v/line are adding more services.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
there is also the problem of Ballarat for freights, it will be faster for trains to go via ararat to geelong as there are only a few paths through ballarat. those windows are getting smaller as v/line are adding more services.
stuie83
I don't know the numbers but surely there are a large number of paths available for freight services that up until now had used the BG lines to get to Melbourne and Geelong?

In addition, from the Wimmera passenger rail report (discussed in other thread) the centre track will be converted to SG.  Depending on how much more of the track on either side of the station will be the same, the SG traffic could have its own dedicated paths through the Ballarat region?  Lets see what Stage 4 documents come out with.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I know the Mildura area well and have for years photographed the decline in rail access. A few comments

The question more in my mind relates to how would the SG conversion facilitate the building of freight on the line.  There is really only two places to load freight Donald and Merbein.  Merbein is a private siding.  There is a lot of freight opportunity in Mildura which v/line wound down under Kennett.  There is a ton a Irymple and much much more at Redcliffs with several large customers in the area.

There is grain from Yelta and the opportunity for oil and cement again.  The cement could come from Somerton on SG and be attached to the 9101 and 9102.  How much of the project budget for example is catering for intermodal at Redcliffs?

Cement traffic and Oil traffic being returned to rail have been killed of by PN.  Mildura had 4-5 vans a day into the freightgate which was profitable traffic.  Again killed by PN. There is scope for SCT style operation in Mildura as loading does go to places other than Mildura.

Under Vline Mildura had a daily 9101 and 9102.  Then it became alternate days under PN.  I am told Iron Horse wanted more train capacity but was not given it with excuse after excuse.

There is also no intermodal access at Geelong which is a shame and the ability for more gypsum traffic out of Ouyen?

Donald could load more containers if the capacity were available.
  Gauntlet Chief Commissioner

Location:
I guess that there's a reason nobody has mentioned the possibility of extending the line to Broken Hill after the conversion to SG.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
I know the Mildura area well and have for years photographed the decline in rail access. A few comments

The question more in my mind relates to how would the SG conversion facilitate the building of freight on the line.  There is really only two places to load freight Donald and Merbein.  Merbein is a private siding.  There is a lot of freight opportunity in Mildura which v/line wound down under Kennett.  There is a ton a Irymple and much much more at Redcliffs with several large customers in the area.

There is grain from Yelta and the opportunity for oil and cement again.  The cement could come from Somerton on SG and be attached to the 9101 and 9102.  How much of the project budget for example is catering for intermodal at Redcliffs?

There is also no intermodal access at Geelong which is a shame and the ability for more gypsum traffic out of Ouyen?

Donald could load more containers if the capacity were available.
bevans
Considering the cement is still on the train IIRC (loaded in containers and trucked from Somerton by Blue Circles choice), and Oil was killed off by Shell going nope we don't wanna have the ONLY SERVICEABLE RAIL LOADING POINT FOR EVERYONE.

I want you to cite the sources of the companies that would use rail traffic, even under another operator instead of ballpark guesses.
  Inland_Sailor Junior Train Controller

I guess that there's a reason nobody has mentioned the possibility of extending the line to Broken Hill after the conversion to SG.
Gauntlet
The proposed link to the Interstate East - West mainline is in fact from Yelta to Menindee, as this would be the shortest route. That link alone certainly justify the conversion of the line to SG, bringing with it the possibility of double stacked container trains from the West coming directly into Victoria. [And Visa Versa!]
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The transcontinental link is a weird one.  

Go look at a map and have a think about whether it truely is an efficient link into the East/west market.

A better link (for Perth traffic) would be to head west from Mildura, through the Riverland to Morgan, Burra and then join up somewhere near Crystal Brook.  Sydney traffic i doubt would move.  But a better route for this would be Mildura-Hay and then link into the inland that way.  Plus open new corridors that have traffic potential.

IMO the TCon is really about getting minerals from Western NSW and diverting them to Melbourne instead of the current route to SA.

Id seriously doubt it would ever happen.
  Inland_Sailor Junior Train Controller

The transcontinental link is a weird one.  

Go look at a map and have a think about whether it truely is an efficient link into the East/west market.

A better link (for Perth traffic) would be to head west from Mildura, through the Riverland to Morgan, Burra and then join up somewhere near Crystal Brook.  Sydney traffic i doubt would move.  But a better route for this would be Mildura-Hay and then link into the inland that way.  Plus open new corridors that have traffic potential.

IMO the TCon is really about getting minerals from Western NSW and diverting them to Melbourne instead of the current route to SA.

Id seriously doubt it would ever happen.
james.au
Yes, I agree, building a link from Mildura through Burra to Crystal Brook will never happen, as it's over 400Km across pastoral and farming land as opposed to the much shorter 200Km link through to Menindee. This link would cross relatively flat semi arid plains, with the biggest hurdle being the construction of the bridge across the Murray River.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Could it be cheaper to upgrade the line between Murrayville and the main line between Melbourne and Adelaide?  This to me seems the best approach and then finish the line west of Hay into MIldura with an interchange yard in Mildura creating jobs and a cross roads between east and west and into Melbourne?
  Inland_Sailor Junior Train Controller

Could it be cheaper to upgrade the line between Murrayville and the main line between Melbourne and Adelaide?  This to me seems the best approach and then finish the line west of Hay into MIldura with an interchange yard in Mildura creating jobs and a cross roads between east and west and into Melbourne?
bevans
Apparently the single 2km long double stacked trains can't come to Victoria directly via the Adelaide Hills route and have to be broken down into 4 smaller single stacked trains to then progress on to Victoria. All that extra handling costs in lost efficiencies.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
I know the Mildura area well and have for years photographed the decline in rail access. A few comments

The question more in my mind relates to how would the SG conversion facilitate the building of freight on the line.  There is really only two places to load freight Donald and Merbein.  Merbein is a private siding.  There is a lot of freight opportunity in Mildura which v/line wound down under Kennett.  There is a ton a Irymple and much much more at Redcliffs with several large customers in the area.

There is grain from Yelta and the opportunity for oil and cement again.  The cement could come from Somerton on SG and be attached to the 9101 and 9102.  How much of the project budget for example is catering for intermodal at Redcliffs?

Cement traffic and Oil traffic being returned to rail have been killed of by PN.  Mildura had 4-5 vans a day into the freightgate which was profitable traffic.  Again killed by PN. There is scope for SCT style operation in Mildura as loading does go to places other than Mildura.

Under Vline Mildura had a daily 9101 and 9102.  Then it became alternate days under PN.  I am told Iron Horse wanted more train capacity but was not given it with excuse after excuse.

There is also no intermodal access at Geelong which is a shame and the ability for more gypsum traffic out of Ouyen?

Donald could load more containers if the capacity were available.
bevans

I hear what your saying, bevans, there probably is a lot of freight out there, that's been transferred to road for numerous reasons and whether any of this can be poached back onto rail, remains to be seen.

One would hope plenty of customers are sitting on the fence to see what becomes of the refurbished line and hopefully some Pro-Active companies wanting to drum up every bit of freight they can, which is one of the advantages of standard gauge operators. The likes of SCT, SSR and Cube seem to be keen for business in the market place.

However, the conversion to standad gauge will only be worth the effort, if it is maintained to the correct standard, class 3 and 80k running speed, if it's let slip back into the current state, we might as well board the rail system up.

Another curly one, I've mentioned this before, over the years, given the freight that comes out of the Mildura region, Robinvale is a very similar area for it's produce, what freight opportunities are there for a pro-active rail service and further more, there is now a loading site just down the road, Manangatang, 55 k's on a truck, then hard stand area, ready for the next train ???  

BigShunter.

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