Well, it's physically possible ...
Given all the 10000s of shiny new single gauge BG concrete sleepers being put in for the Shepparton line upgrade at great expense, I think we can kiss the Tocumwal and Deni SG plans goodbye.Can they not be recycled into the Melbourne network to replace the timber sleepers?
Yes, but the issue is put in gauge convertible concretes now they add a couple of per cent to the project cost and they are good for 50 years. The inevitable standardization of Tocumwal and associated Toolamba - Echuca - Deniliquin lines will occur in the medium term.
Then at the time you do the conversion it is a one month move one rail inwards job with minimal service disruption.
Doing the job now with broad gauge concretes is moronic shortsightedness, As when the inevitable happens the conversion takes months longer, and the rails have to lifted, all broad gauge sleepers removed and replaced with new sg ones, plus tamp and pack, horrific and totally avoidable additional costs.That is the issue.
SA having been using gauge convertible concretes for over 30 years in the mainline to Serviceton and in the Adelaide Metro lines. In 1995 when Melbourne - Adelaide was standardized the whole job was done in the month of January through AN foresight in using gauge convertible concretes and they are still there in the track today set as standard gauge. There were some minor issues with rail creep in te Adelaide Hills on reverse curves but those issues were addressed with altered fixings. The latest gauge convertible sleeper type used in the Adelaide Metro system uses an improved clip fixing and has been trouble free for many years. So we should be using that sleeper type here in all future regional tie renewals. It is understood that Austrak at Avalon has even developed a low profile variant which could be used as timber replacements and mixed in with timber, but it is understood our world experts in sleeper technology at V/Line refuse to use gauge convertible sleepers of any type, full or low profile concretes, or gauge convertible steel.