Have Your Say on Lower Hunter Freight Corridor

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 17 Jul 2021 11:04
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
This came out of the blue?

“A future Lower Hunter Freight Corridor will allow for a dedicated freight rail line between Fassifern and Hexham, bypassing Newcastle’s urban areas and will ensure forecast freight needs can be accommodated,” Mr Toole said.
NSWG


Have Your Say on Lower Hunter Freight Corridor

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  M636C Minister for Railways

This came out of the blue?

“A future Lower Hunter Freight Corridor will allow for a dedicated freight rail line between Fassifern and Hexham, bypassing Newcastle’s urban areas and will ensure forecast freight needs can be accommodated,” Mr Toole said.


Have Your Say on Lower Hunter Freight Corridor
bevans
Not completely out of the blue.
This was mentioned as an alternative to grade separation of the level crossing at Adamstown some time ago.

I'm not sure that it will help much at Adamstown.
But it should improve the running of freight between Hexham and Fassifern.

It should use the alignment of the old J & A Brown railway across the swamp and the old main line alignment north of Fassifern with, I'm told, some private coal railways in the middle.

Sadly the linked details on the NSW website couldn't be found (by me anyway).

Peter
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Interesting that it follows the M1 for a decent amount of the route.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Is this the biggest problem the nsw govt should be solving for rail ?
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
This should have been completed a long time ago . It is most unreasonable to have to run to Hexham via Broadmeadow when a more direct route could have and should have been constructed .
Obviously the Inland thing is getting the headlines but its a bit useless for rail freight in/out of Newcastle/Sydney/Wollongong .

The benefits are a shorter faster journey for anything in/out of Sydney going to/from Maitland and beyond .
Also paths through the electrified network between Fassi and Broadmeadow would be tight now days .
The current route is not too good geographically for todays freight trains , tight bends low speeds and steep grades .
The level crossing issue , particularly at Adamstown , is not insignificant .

A Fassi Hexham link is a win for all traffic on the short North corridor , it unties so many knots .
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Is this the biggest problem the nsw govt should be solving for rail ?
freightgate
It is one of them. As mentioned elsewhere there are some spots like this such as botany and strathfield to hornsby quadding for instance.

Also the inland is an Australian Government ARTC project whereas this is a nsw government project.
  303gunner Train Controller

This came out of the blue?

“A future Lower Hunter Freight Corridor will allow for a dedicated freight rail line between Fassifern and Hexham, bypassing Newcastle’s urban areas and will ensure forecast freight needs can be accommodated,” Mr Toole said.


Have Your Say on Lower Hunter Freight Corridor
But it should improve the running of freight between Hexham and Fassifern.

It should use the alignment of the old J & A Brown railway across the swamp and the old main line alignment north of Fassifern with, I'm told, some private coal railways in the middle.

Peter
M636C
Well, this will make for an interesting Test Case on the Government's attitudes.

The J &A Brown line across Minmi Swamp is now partially a Rail Trail. It is, for very obvious reasons, the best alignment for a rail line with excellent grades and alignment being almost a perfectly straight line between Minmi and Hexham, and with minimal residential disturbance being surrounded on all sides by a wide agricultural buffer, so pose no local noise objections. It is not an easment across farmland, it is a separate parcel of freehold land that was historically zoned for Rail use, so land acquisitions should not be detrimental to adjoining landholders.

But will the Gov overturn the Rail Trail proponents and the expected Environmental arguments that following the cessation of over 100 years of rail use, the zone has now become a Wetland Haven for some endangered waterfowl?

As a curiosity, why should this line be solely devoted to Freight? North Coast and North West Passenger services could take advantage of the significant savings in travel time, and still service Newcastle (aka Broadmeadow) with Interurban or Hunter  connections at Fassifern or Maitland.
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

Well, this will make for an interesting Test Case on the Government's attitudes.

The J &A Brown line across Minmi Swamp is now partially a Rail Trail. It is, for very obvious reasons, the best alignment for a rail line
303gunner
The maps linked above show that the proposed route does not use the former J & A Brown line across Hexham Swamp.
https://corridors.ucapp.com.au/project/lower-hunter/lhfc-feedback-map/
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Is this the biggest problem the nsw govt should be solving for rail ?
freightgate
Fixing a bunch of small problems will have just as much an impact as one big thing.

THe SB/BS corridor is going to need more of these things to restore its competitiveness...
  303gunner Train Controller

Well, this will make for an interesting Test Case on the Government's attitudes.

The J &A Brown line across Minmi Swamp is now partially a Rail Trail. It is, for very obvious reasons, the best alignment for a rail line
The maps linked above show that the proposed route does not use the former J & A Brown line across Hexham Swamp.
https://corridors.ucapp.com.au/project/lower-hunter/lhfc-feedback-map/
NSWRcars
My point exactly. Despite it being the absolutely ideal route in every technical way, they have avoided it. Why?

To avoid upsetting the Rail Trail? Environmental issues? What pressing reason is there to select a route that will cost millions more than the most direct, level route and add months of delay in engineering?
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

Despite it being the absolutely ideal route in every technical way, they have avoided it.
303gunner
Are you sure about that, and are you suggesting that reasons for selecting a different route are not justified? Hexham Swamp is flood prone.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

My point exactly. Despite it being the absolutely ideal route in every technical way, they have avoided it. Why?

To avoid upsetting the Rail Trail? Environmental issues? What pressing reason is there to select a route that will cost millions more than the most direct, level route and add months of delay in engineering?
303gunner
Where does it say it is a rail trail. From the map it lists it has part of a heritage railway and not a rail trail.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Building a line through a swamp is probably less than ideal for a wide range of reasons if there is a decent alternative.  Cost of construction, disaster recovery, just to name two.
  303gunner Train Controller

My point exactly. Despite it being the absolutely ideal route in every technical way, they have avoided it. Why?

To avoid upsetting the Rail Trail? Environmental issues? What pressing reason is there to select a route that will cost millions more than the most direct, level route and add months of delay in engineering?
Where does it say it is a rail trail. From the map it lists it has part of a heritage railway and not a rail trail.
simstrain
Sixmaps shows the Minmi end as a railtrail.

https://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/council/news/projects-and-works/shortland-richmond-vale-rail-trail

Title to the land has already been transferred from Coal and Allied to NSW Government.
  303gunner Train Controller

Building a line through a swamp is probably less than ideal for a wide range of reasons if there is a decent alternative.  Cost of construction, disaster recovery, just to name two.
james.au
They wouldn't be building it from new. The railway is on a raised embankment that carried the double track private Coal Railway from Minmi and Richmond Main Collieries to Hexham from 1857 to 1987. The embankment is still complete and intact for the whole length. Even has remnants of track in places.

Flood free: https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/2805972/minmis-hidden-lifeline/
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I agree that I think this old line should be used for this bypass but I suspect that Pacnat might have put up a fight because that path runs right in to the middle of their rail yard. I would also mention that just because it ran trains up to 1987 it doesn't mean it would be up to standard to run modern freight trains along it. I suspect the old coal line might not have had 130+ tonne loco's to handle and time is an enemy and there would probably still need to be a lot of work done to bring it up to scratch.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Quite some years back, at least 20 + there was a double page spread in one of the old Railway magazines, may have been in the NSW ARHS magazine, or the Roundhouse one, the maps included a good range of articles that highlighted at that time routes and future coal lines, along with those currently in use.  Also included was the proposal for a bypass freight line, and rather than just use the old Fassifern/Teralba route, it propossed one that veered off at the bottom of Hawk Mount & ran through to Hexham. At the time there was no such future for an ILR route, but was primarilly for coal trains and other freight movements to Kooragang and PTW areas.

At the time the sidings at Hexham were not shown or mentioned, the primary call for the new line was for freight trains of all types to bypass the congestion betwen BMD and Dora Creek, both directions.  At that time also, Fassifern was still in coal haulage operations to Awaba and to PTW/Kooragang, also the the Cockle Creek coal loading was in use, which meant that the coalies were more frequent, albeit shorter than what is seen today.

Part of the propossal also allowed for a Y to be built to enable trains heading to the NCL and to WCK and beyond would not need to reverse the loco's on those trains.  A side note was that the XPT's and regional trains need not go to BMD but Maitland would be the primary station, that was knocked on the head as the bypass line was for freight, and Fassifern was a primary stopping station.

The old Stockrington colliery rail line, did have a fairly large amount of remedial work on the lines ROW as it crossed the edges of the swamp, the Aurizon service centre, has a longish dead end track at the Western side of the facility, while not on the old colliery alignment, there has been quite an amount of work carried out in parts of the swamp that blocks much of any potential flooding as used to happen, further work can be carried out without any excessive damage (as such) to the swamp areas.

While there is a road access from the Exit for Taro/Beresfield from the Highway that serves the Aurizon facility, there is enough solid ground there to allow for an exit to the Coal roads before the Highway Overpass, for trains heading to the Coast, there is new crossovers from the coal road to & from the main line North of Thornton, near where the old brick works were located.

While it would be more expensive, I believe its a better propossal, rather than trying to utilise the old 1:40 grade all the way on the old alignment, might be straighter but with a new estate being build right up to the edge of the old alingment, there could be resistance to it. Would benefit through Pax services though.

The other aspect regarding costs, the line would likely need to have a fair number of tunnels as the area in question from Fassi & to get to the old colliery line, is fairly hilly and much of the area is now built out.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I agree that I think this old line should be used for this bypass but I suspect that Pacnat might have put up a fight because that path runs right in to the middle of their rail yard. I would also mention that just because it ran trains up to 1987 it doesn't mean it would be up to standard to run modern freight trains along it. I suspect the old coal line might not have had 130+ tonne loco's to handle and time is an enemy and there would probably still need to be a lot of work done to bring it up to scratch.
simstrain
Both relevant points.

The last thing the govt will want to do is do a half assed job on the foundations and have a loaded interstate freighter go sideways into a swamp...
  cityrail-rulez Chief Train Controller

This is a great idea but wouldn't it be better if the proposed corridor was to link between Fassifern and Kurri Kurri or Cessnock? This would allow passenger services to operate between Maitland and Fassifern via Kurri Kurri or Cessnock it would help out the community who needs a train service on the not much used South Maitland Railway corridor

I did submit my suggestions to Transport NSW in regards to this idea already, not sure if they would take it into consideration! But it doesn't hurt to have my opinion either
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
Fassfern-Cessnock/Kurri is straight through Mt Sugarloaf& the conservation area, and is terrain that only a mountain goat could love. The geotechnical costs would be enormous for bugger all benefit. The line from Cessnock-Maitland isn't well suited for high speed running, even though they've done it up to suit 20TAL, you wouldn't be running it at 80, yet alone 115...

I did have a copy of the curve & gradient chart when I used to run out to Austar, I'll try to dig it out.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

This is a great idea but wouldn't it be better if the proposed corridor was to link between Fassifern and Kurri Kurri or Cessnock? This would allow passenger services to operate between Maitland and Fassifern via Kurri Kurri or Cessnock it would help out the community who needs a train service on the not much used South Maitland Railway corridor

I did submit my suggestions to Transport NSW in regards to this idea already, not sure if they would take it into consideration! But it doesn't hurt to have my opinion either
cityrail-rulez

This will be a freight line and not a passenger line.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Freely admitting that I know nothing of the traffics and geological features etc of the area but I must ask is any expenditure/improvement along the lines proposed going to be adversely affected or invalidated by Inland Rail when (and if) it is ever completed.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Freely admitting that I know nothing of the traffics and geological features etc of the area but I must ask is any expenditure/improvement along the lines proposed going to be adversely affected or invalidated by Inland Rail when (and if) it is ever completed.
YM-Mundrabilla
No, because there will still be traffic to/from this area to Sydney. This is not about competing against inland rail but to clean up the broadmeadow / adamstown area to reduce level crossing delays. It will benefit passenger rail as much as it will freight rail.

There is much more rail traffic around newcastle then there is BM or SB traffic.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Building a line through a swamp is probably less than ideal for a wide range of reasons if there is a decent alternative.  Cost of construction, disaster recovery, just to name two.
They wouldn't be building it from new. The railway is on a raised embankment that carried the double track private Coal Railway from Minmi and Richmond Main Collieries to Hexham from 1857 to 1987. The embankment is still complete and intact for the whole length. Even has remnants of track in places.

Flood free: https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/2805972/minmis-hidden-lifeline/
303gunner
The problem with using the old J&A Brown line is that the connection to the main line at Hexham might interfere with the"Proposed F3 Extension to Raymond Terrace" which crosses the present line just north of the Oak factory and joins the existing Pacific Highway just north of the present bridges. I assume that a flyover would be required from the main lines to the new link to avoid disruption of the coal traffic. this road link appears on map 97 of the 2008 UBD Citylink Directory, Newcastle section.

Peter

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