Should the Adelaide Hills get a rail line?

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 19 May 2021 09:04
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Then add in the problem of mixing suburban/interurban trains on the same tracks as they did in the 1990's.

Incidentally there was another runaway truck crash at Mt Osmond just this morning - it really is a fairly frequent occurrence.
Mt. Barker in this case not Bridgewater - so it might be more viable.

Probably Balhannah as well as Bridgewater, Aldgate and Stirling should all be stops but in theory Belair the last stop until (say) Goodwood. Although they're going to get stuck behind and between freight trains aren't they.

Rail has had multiple obstacles in this state not the least of which the gauge mix situation.
How many freights per day on the Belair corridor?

Any idea of nominal timing of these trains?

Mt Barker service would be no more than a handful of trains per day, targeting peak and midday.

Gauge issue is only minor, not every train everywhere can and does run through the city. For example nearly all Southern Highlands NSW services terminate Campbelltown. Sydney also has the Metro which for 6 years won't run into the city and before that we had Carlingford as well as other services where changes are required to access the city station. Brisbane has or at least had a few of its own examples.

Cross platform change at Belair connecting to a express service would be relatively painless or Goodwood which has cross platform to/from the city connecting with Belair line trains.

The more we look at this the easier it is to see a low cost trial is not that hard to bring to the table.

I've heard it suggested that Blackwood would be a better platform transfer point than Belair due to bus connections to FMC/Marion etc, which I think has some merit.

Acknowledging my pro-rail bias, aside from the cost of accessing ARTC track I don't see too many real issues having a MB -> metro connection using the 3000s.  Examples of passenger numbers from the late 80s are not an apples to apples comparison (population growth + trains only ran to Bridgewater); and while the duration of the journey will exceed that of a bus the whole point is that an incident on the SE freeway will blow out commute times to greater than that of a train.  It's worth at least a trial.
DrJames

Disruptions from SCT (and other) freight trains failing in the Hills are more frequent than major hold ups on the freeway.

You still have to convert Mount Barker to Mount Barker Jct to standard gauge and reinstate a connection at MBJ

A cross platform interchange at Belair will see the ARTC crossing looped blocked.

A cross platform interchange at Blackwood will require construction of a passing siding

Mt Barker station would have to be converted to dual gauge with disruption to Steamrangers very successful heritage operations.

You and RTT_Rules say you want trial, but all the above have to be dealt with to even get to that stage. Tell us how much it is all going to cost? I doubt you would get much change out of $40m just for your trial, so it's worth bearing in mind that the state government recently scrapped the $40m Port Adelaide extension project because it cost too much.

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  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I've heard it suggested that Blackwood would be a better platform transfer point than Belair due to bus connections to FMC/Marion etc, which I think has some merit.

Acknowledging my pro-rail bias, aside from the cost of accessing ARTC track I don't see too many real issues having a MB -> metro connection using the 3000s.  Examples of passenger numbers from the late 80s are not an apples to apples comparison (population growth + trains only ran to Bridgewater); and while the duration of the journey will exceed that of a bus the whole point is that an incident on the SE freeway will blow out commute times to greater than that of a train.  It's worth at least a trial.
For me I think the single most important advantage is providing that alternative connection from the Hills district to the southern suburbs via public transport so yes the interchange at Blackwood for frequent connections to Flinders and Marion would be important. At the moment to access the south using public transport you'd have to go into the city first.
don_dunstan
Marion and Flinders have faster and more reliable access from the hills using the existing freeway bus routes and Seaford/Flinders line trains than they would using a connection at Blackwood.

For those who can’t handle walking from Currie St to the station in the city, there’s also the option of a shorter walk to change to the 300 at Glen Osmond.

Unless a person is a competitive swimmer wanting to train at the state aquatic centre (in which case the trains probably wouldn’t run early enough in the morning for competition training times) I can’t see what could possibly attract people from the hills to Marion. Westfield Marion has gone downhill and is pretty well just chain stores now - which are all more conveniently available to hills residents at Mt Barker, the city, Burnside or online.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

I've heard it suggested that Blackwood would be a better platform transfer point than Belair due to bus connections to FMC/Marion etc, which I think has some merit.

Acknowledging my pro-rail bias, aside from the cost of accessing ARTC track I don't see too many real issues having a MB -> metro connection using the 3000s.  Examples of passenger numbers from the late 80s are not an apples to apples comparison (population growth + trains only ran to Bridgewater); and while the duration of the journey will exceed that of a bus the whole point is that an incident on the SE freeway will blow out commute times to greater than that of a train.  It's worth at least a trial.
DrJames
Good point, forgot Blackwood still had a SG platform, both might be option.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

Disruptions from SCT (and other) freight trains failing in the Hills are more frequent than major hold ups on the freeway.

You still have to convert Mount Barker to Mount Barker Jct to standard gauge and reinstate a connection at MBJ

A cross platform interchange at Belair will see the ARTC crossing looped blocked.

A cross platform interchange at Blackwood will require construction of a passing siding

Mt Barker station would have to be converted to dual gauge with disruption to Steamrangers very successful heritage operations.

You and RTT_Rules say you want trial, but all the above have to be dealt with to even get to that stage. Tell us how much it is all going to cost? I doubt you would get much change out of $40m just for your trial, so it's worth bearing in mind that the state government recently scrapped the $40m Port Adelaide extension project because it cost too much.
bingley hall
From Mt Barker station headed to city

- Mt Barker Station would need a separate physical break between SG and BG for insurance purposes. Likely best option is to reinstate what looks like a former Dock platform in the car park for TransAdelaide.

- Additionally the turntable needs to be relocated such that TA trains have direct access to the dock without traversing the Turntable which could be moved into the adjacent platform loop road.

- Gauge conversion of the branch would simply come under the cost of full sleeper replacement and ballasting, I don't see any additional cost to gauge convert especially with no loops or points.

- Mt Barker Junction, Google Sat view shows a set of points leading into a pile of dirt, assume the Break of Gauge separation between SG on the main and BG branch.

- Cross Platform change at Belair is only holding the loop for a short period of time while the train discharges its passengers an d then either continues or returns. I'm sure the freight trains that sit there take much longer and how long per day is a freight actually in the loop? The platform however does need modifications as it appears not to follow the track alignment.

- No need for a passing loop/siding or DG at Blackwood, its just a stop.

- Goodwood doesn't appear to need any changes.

- Rolling stock, post Gawler there will surely be at least 2 sets of 3000/3100 class available for SG conversion.

Cost for trial
- Option 1: Only open to Mt Barker Junction, 6 - 12 mths
- Stations between Belair and Mt Barker Junction that should be reopened (not all former stations should) but no longer exist, I think Adelaide has experience with scaffold stations.
- Reconnection Mt Barker Junction to the main.
- Platform upgrades for DAA compliance.
- Two DMU sets converted to SG OR hire 2 x Explorers when NSW gets its new rolling stock

None of this will be $40m

Reopening of the Mt Barker line, about 5km will push the price tag to $10 - 15m.

No disruption top Steam Ranger, rather maybe a long term benefit.

The govt baulked at Port Adelaide because it was $40m to build 1km of track in a cost cost area that would still be 600m from the nearest station. There are alot of things that could be done for alot less to achieve a similar goal.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Good point, forgot Blackwood still had a SG platform, both might be option.
RTT_Rules
It doesn’t. The line was shifted away from the platform years ago.

Goodwood is the same.

Given you would have to use a temporary platform built from staging, using a station location without a standard gauge platform would be easier than trying to do something in the relatively narrow (too narrow for standard staging segments, and irregularly shaped) space at either of those stations.
  DrJames Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, SA
Good point, forgot Blackwood still had a SG platform, both might be option.
It doesn’t. The line was shifted away from the platform years ago.

Goodwood is the same.

Given you would have to use a temporary platform built from staging, using a station location without a standard gauge platform would be easier than trying to do something in the relatively narrow (too narrow for standard staging segments, and irregularly shaped) space at either of those stations.
justapassenger

Adelaide Showground station an option? there's a landscaped section on the West side.  

I guess there are issues with platform access for intermediate hills stations.  Bridgewater could have a temporary station built since it's no longer there anyway, but Aldgate/Mt Lofty buildings are still there according to Google Maps so I'm assuming the track has been moved away from platform if it has been at the suburban stations.  From the looks of things though Aldgate might also be able to support a temporary station on the opposite side to the existing one.
  Hovedale Station Staff

A train to Mount Barker is possible but it's going to be slow.
Let's divide the line to Mount Barker into three sections:
1)ARS to Blackwood 18km: A current all stops train takes 30min running express would be about 23min (average speed onky 50km/h due to terrain and windy line)
2) Blackwood to Aldgate 17km: 22min (total journey time to ARS 45min, which is equivalent to a bus in peak hour, total distance 35km)
3) Aldgate to Mount Barker 20km: 25min (total journey time to ARS 70min, total distance 55km) An express bus to Mount Barker takes 55min in peak hour (45min non peak)
So it's possible to run trains to Mount Barker, the journey the would be 15min slower in peak hour and 25min slower non peak.  
The train has an added benefit of providing extra capacity on the Belair line by providing an express train from Blackwood.  
Now how many trains would you run a day? I would say at least 3 leaving Mount Barker between 630am and 8am, using 3 or 4 carriage 3000 class trains running on the freight line. You could book out the freight line in peak hour, there's really only like a max of like 12 freight trains a day.
  DJPeters Deputy Commissioner

Mt Barker Junction did at one time have standard gauge into the platform there as a siding off of the main line so it would have been easier to tranship from one train to the other if needed. However this siding was disconnected years ago around the time or just before the the station upgrade on the Standard gauge was done at Mt Barker Junction and from memory the point in the mainline was removed along with signalling that was used on it.  

But by the time you take the train to Adelaide you could have driven to Adelaide done what ever you wanted to do and be on the way home or even back at home while the train is still coming down the track to Adelaide.  Some people live in Murray Bridge and come to work in Adelaide I know of one electrician that did that and when I asked him why he just stated I can drive to Adelaide in about a hour or less so it is not a problem for me.  Tradesmen drive a lot of the time to get to jobs and I used to work for one and we did just that travelling anywhere a job was needed to be done as my boss was the company plumbing contractor and they called and we went out to fix or correct what ever was wrong.

Once you get used to driving like this you will always drive as it is convienent for you, you don't have to wait any amount of time waiting for a train or a bus etc you just get into your car and go. Now I am retired and no longer working I use public transport but I am in no great hurry to get anywhere unless it is an appointment or something which is rare for me these days.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

But by the time you take the train to Adelaide you could have driven to Adelaide done what ever you wanted to do and be on the way home or even back at home while the train is still coming down the track to Adelaide.  Some people live in Murray Bridge and come to work in Adelaide I know of one electrician that did that and when I asked him why he just stated I can drive to Adelaide in about a hour or less so it is not a problem for me.  Tradesmen drive a lot of the time to get to jobs and I used to work for one and we did just that travelling anywhere a job was needed to be done as my boss was the company plumbing contractor and they called and we went out to fix or correct what ever was wrong.

Once you get used to driving like this you will always drive as it is convienent for you, you don't have to wait any amount of time waiting for a train or a bus etc you just get into your car and go. Now I am retired and no longer working I use public transport but I am in no great hurry to get anywhere unless it is an appointment or something which is rare for me these days.
DJPeters
Yes yes yes, we hear that all the time, but then look at other locations and surprise its not the big drama. Maybe not ideal, but not an impediment.

Look at examples in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Mt Barker out of peak is 35 - 40min, but in peak around 50 - 55 min, yes rail is a bit behind. Its also why in the US and Canada many commuter lines operate only in peak flow only recognizing the outside peak rail is simply not attractive and the cost of upgrading isn't justified, especially ones operating on freight lines like this. So rail doing what it does best, providing mass transit and reducing demand on roads at peak times. However for some reason in Australia we only see commuter rail as high cost dual track high frequency service through out the day?

Belair seems a classic example, in peak its around 40min by train, 25 - 35min by road. Not a huge difference but yes you still need to get to the station.

Back to Mt Barker, its supposedly so attractive to drive, but meanwhile there are how many buses a day that take between 1h 10min to 1hr 25min.

Moral of the story, a limited frequency rail service concentrating on peak with the odd service during the day so as not to take up too much capacity from freights is likely more than both attractive and viable and if the service was running today would have zero chance at being cancelled.
  62440 Chief Commissioner

It is amusing to see these posts which make it sound so easy. It is about 6km from Mt Barker station to the junction which has to be completely relaid, there are half a dozen road crossings some of which need grade separation. I am assuming the tunnel under the freeway will be suitable. Track standard has to be to main line standard if you are chasing commuter traffic and you need a regular service.
Next, you have to decide on the gauge. Do you dual gauge to Belair or do you make it SG and terminate at Parklands? Do you run SG in to Adelaide station on dual gauge? Do you use Spanish technology and change gauge on the move? You have to design to current standards. Some of the prices quoted above wouldn't cover design, let alone construction. Dream on!
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville

But by the time you take the train to Adelaide you could have driven to Adelaide done what ever you wanted to do and be on the way home or even back at home while the train is still coming down the track to Adelaide.  Some people live in Murray Bridge and come to work in Adelaide I know of one electrician that did that and when I asked him why he just stated I can drive to Adelaide in about a hour or less so it is not a problem for me.  Tradesmen drive a lot of the time to get to jobs and I used to work for one and we did just that travelling anywhere a job was needed to be done as my boss was the company plumbing contractor and they called and we went out to fix or correct what ever was wrong.

Once you get used to driving like this you will always drive as it is convienent for you, you don't have to wait any amount of time waiting for a train or a bus etc you just get into your car and go. Now I am retired and no longer working I use public transport but I am in no great hurry to get anywhere unless it is an appointment or something which is rare for me these days.Yes yes yes, we hear that all the time, but then look at other locations and surprise its not the big drama. Maybe not ideal, but not an impediment.

Look at examples in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
RTT_Rules

What examples in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, where an area of reasonably low population density has had a moribund rail line reinstated to serve it, or has introduced a trial service between two points with a break of gauge in the middle.

If you are only going to run from MBJ in the first instance then where will you have your car park, how many spaces will it have, and who will tell the property owner? I'm pretty sure the station building is privately owned (although not occupied) at present.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Good point, forgot Blackwood still had a SG platform, both might be option.
It doesn’t. The line was shifted away from the platform years ago.

Goodwood is the same.

Given you would have to use a temporary platform built from staging, using a station location without a standard gauge platform would be easier than trying to do something in the relatively narrow (too narrow for standard staging segments, and irregularly shaped) space at either of those stations.

Adelaide Showground station an option? there's a landscaped section on the West side.  

I guess there are issues with platform access for intermediate hills stations.  Bridgewater could have a temporary station built since it's no longer there anyway, but Aldgate/Mt Lofty buildings are still there according to Google Maps so I'm assuming the track has been moved away from platform if it has been at the suburban stations.  From the looks of things though Aldgate might also be able to support a temporary station on the opposite side to the existing one.
DrJames
Goodwood station isn't the best place to terminate any kind of train service since it doesn't interchange easily with the tram to the city - strangely there used to be a tram line right past the present site of the Showgrounds station demolished with the Playford 'reforms'.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Good point, forgot Blackwood still had a SG platform, both might be option.
It doesn’t. The line was shifted away from the platform years ago.

Goodwood is the same.

Given you would have to use a temporary platform built from staging, using a station location without a standard gauge platform would be easier than trying to do something in the relatively narrow (too narrow for standard staging segments, and irregularly shaped) space at either of those stations.

Adelaide Showground station an option? there's a landscaped section on the West side.  

I guess there are issues with platform access for intermediate hills stations.  Bridgewater could have a temporary station built since it's no longer there anyway, but Aldgate/Mt Lofty buildings are still there according to Google Maps so I'm assuming the track has been moved away from platform if it has been at the suburban stations.  From the looks of things though Aldgate might also be able to support a temporary station on the opposite side to the existing one.
Goodwood station isn't the best place to terminate any kind of train service since it doesn't interchange easily with the tram to the city - strangely there used to be a tram line right past the present site of the Showgrounds station demolished with the Playford 'reforms'.
don_dunstan
I thought of Showgrounds and this could be added but was looking for easy platform connections.

Major Lost opportunity for tram stop not being ontop of the over pass with stairs to station.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

What examples in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, where an area of reasonably low population density has had a moribund rail line reinstated to serve it, or has introduced a trial service between two points with a break of gauge in the middle.

If you are only going to run from MBJ in the first instance then where will you have your car park, how many spaces will it have, and who will tell the property owner? I'm pretty sure the station building is privately owned (although not occupied) at present.
bingley hall
Break of gauge is also simply just a break in journey

Southern highlands
Bathurst
Carlingford (former)
Nowra
Newcastle services now connect to tram to access city
Gympie North
Illawarra services have an average speed of less than 60km/h

Property owners is minor issue, carpark etc same. Yes it would also need to be built and made more completed as road is gravel, but do you need to change this for 6mth trial? Nth Gympie is very simply arrangement, a few km out of town, short access road through the bush, town size is actually smaller, 3h train ride for 170 km....
  CPH8 Junior Train Controller

What about Mitcham? SG on platform 3 - cross platform interchange for up passengers, subway for down passengers. Back 75 years ago you had the all stations Belair - Adelaide train arrive at platform 3 Mitcham (behind an F) and three minutes later the Bridgewater - Adelaide train pulled into platform 2. Those people going to the city crossed over from the Belair train to the Bridgewater train which ran express to the city, arriving there 10 minutes later. All the hills kids going to Unley High cavalcaded through the subway and down Unley Road.

Making Mitcham the terminus for the SG service to Mount Barker, with up traffic crossing from platform 3 to platform 2, and down traffic through the subway from platform 1 to platform 3. Perhaps a SG stop at Belair for anyone joining Torrens Park - Belair but otherwise SG express from Mitcham to Belair and then all stations to Mt Barker. Mt Barker could be dual gauged, just like Parklands used to be when the Overland was still BG. There was at least one occasion when a SG Bluebird bound for Whyalla came into Parklands with a BG car in the set. Thankfully it was rectified before departure!
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
I thought of Showgrounds and this could be added but was looking for easy platform connections.
Adelaide Showground is the hands down winner there. It's a far more superior facility which meets modern accessibility standards, and the western side just happens to have a glassy smooth hotmix bitumen path (currently just for ARTC maintenance access) which meets up with the bottom of the station overpass ramp.

Bus connections for Grote St, King William St, Currie/Grenfell St and even the O-Bahn are all close as well.

Goodwood is simply unworkable, even if it was for a permanent solution.
justapassenger
Terrible shame that the spur line to Keswick isn't still in existence, Showgrounds station could have been the second 'interchange' point to the city after Adelaide itself. Not only terminating standard gauge trains but also Seaford/Flinders passengers wanting to get to the southern side of the city quickly.

All in the ether now.

  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I thought of Showgrounds and this could be added but was looking for easy platform connections.
Adelaide Showground is the hands down winner there. It's a far more superior facility which meets modern accessibility standards, and the western side just happens to have a glassy smooth hotmix bitumen path (currently just for ARTC maintenance access) which meets up with the bottom of the station overpass ramp.

Bus connections for Grote St, King William St, Currie/Grenfell St and even the O-Bahn are all close as well.

Goodwood is simply unworkable, even if it was for a permanent solution.
justapassenger
Agree with one cavate, Goodwood offers a cross platform change in both directions. But yes both stations would be stops.


Not sure how old the Google Satellite pics are, but factoring in gauge the SG and BG rails are the same distance from the platform.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The South Australian Government is very anti rail  https://t.co/KGWxrUp5mY?amp=1 shows options and also the willingness of people to ask for a rail service when the government wants to do otherwise.

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