Kennedy Highway Barron River Bridge closure impacts rail

 
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

November 4th saw Queensland's Department of Transport and Main Roads reduce weight limits and close lanes on the Kennedy Highway's Barron River Bridge at Kuranda due to unspecified concerns. The ABC is reporting the bridge may need repairs or replacement.

Speaking to Tully-based Blenners, one of North Queensland's largest trucking companies, a spokesman has told the ABC this morning that the company usually runs 15 B-Doubles in each direction between Cairns rail yards (Portsmith and Woree) and Mareeba daily, with trucks loaded both ways. The restrictions or closure of the bridge may add five hours to each truck journey if diversions via Innsifail become necessary.

The Cairns to Mareeba railway remains open and in place for tourist services, but has not seen freight traffic for more than a decade - with tunnels preventing the movement of High Cube containers beyond Cairns.

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  Fatty Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
I find it very hard to believe that unloading at Innisfail and heading up the Palmerston adds five hours to the journey.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
This was definitely a 'News' thread item...a storm in a teacup with apparently no rail implications.

M.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

As of 5.39am this morning the Barron River Bridge remains restricted to single lane use under traffic control, with load limits for articulated vehicles. B-Doubles exceeding mass limits continue to be diverted via Innisfail or Mossman. These now long term restrictions will impact rail loadings out of Cairns.

It is not a storm in a tea cup, but a very real and serious issue for the two rail freight hubs in Cairns and any resulting congestion at the much smaller Innisfail terminals.

Every dollar and minute more it takes to move a rail consignment is a dollar and minute closer to the customer choosing an all road routing for freight. Blenners already dominates long haul road freight out of North Queensland, it would be a lot easier for them to haul that freight all the way to Brisbane or Sydney than to phaff around with the Kennedy Highway restrictions to deliver freight for rail-based competitors.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I have just come back from the area having spent two weeks looking around and yes there a lot of large trucks on the Kennedy Highway taking dangerous journeys down the range with cars on both sides of the road.  There is space for loading and unloading of containers at Mareeba as I observed.

Something must be done soon to get some of this traffic off road and onto rail with so much capacity still available between Cairns and Mareeba.  There is simply a need to get the rail right.

I will comment on the abortion which is now the mess between Mareeba and Atherton shakes his head.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Sadly, this will add no rail traffic. Road will work via Mareeba or go from BDouble to single trailer within the weight limit. Cheaper to run an extra prime mover and driver than muck around with infrastructure. As much as I love of my memories of 1620 class hauling a string of FJS, ALX and QLX with the CLV at the end, up and down the range, this will not bring that back or its modern equivalent.

Mareeba as a freight rail hub is dead.

The only caveat I will place is, if the road bridge becomes dead in both directions, then suddenly all solutions are on the table. However The guvern'mint will pour money into it, just to restore single lane access, so they don't face political embarrassment.
A wise man told me once in public service government, is that a federal, state or local government will just enough not to get into trouble and blame someone else, but not enough to solve the actual problem. It has stuck with me for 4 decades and proven to be true.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Every dollar and minute more it takes to move a rail consignment is a dollar and minute closer to the customer choosing an all road routing for freight. Blenners already dominates long haul road freight out of North Queensland, it would be a lot easier for them to haul that freight all the way to Brisbane or Sydney than to phaff around with the Kennedy Highway restrictions to deliver freight for rail-based competitors.
Sulla1
I agree Sulla, this is looking better for Blenners than Linfox and PN.

Although they are very capable using rubber transport as well. I might be "passing another fox" along the Palmerston.

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