Murray Basin standardisation

 
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Hard to see the SG conversion as anything other than a disaster for rail freight to Mildura. The amount of money already spent to the track conversion done should have amounted to less trucks on the highway to Melbourne ports but there are actually more. GTS has been trying to hire more drivers for more business that should be going on rail.

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  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Hard to see the SG conversion as anything other than a disaster for rail freight to Mildura. The amount of money already spent to the track conversion done should have amounted to less trucks on the highway to Melbourne ports but there are actually more. GTS has been trying to hire more drivers for more business that should be going on rail.
freightgate
Failure of the project manager (ie VLine) to deliver a key component is the disaster - SG from Maryborough through Ballarat to Geelong.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Hard to see the SG conversion as anything other than a disaster for rail freight to Mildura. The amount of money already spent to the track conversion done should have amounted to less trucks on the highway to Melbourne ports but there are actually more. GTS has been trying to hire more drivers for more business that should be going on rail.
freightgate
The SG conversion isn't the problem. The problem is that the job wasn't done properly and to scope and so you end up with the problems currently faced. It can be solved by DG'ing all of that western track to make up for the monumental screw up.
  Lachlan's Train Channel Chief Train Controller

Location: probably taking a photo of 7901V
Rail train from Port Augusta with some ELs heading to Ararat today.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Rail train from Port Augusta with some ELs heading to Ararat today.
Lachlan's Train Channel

Via Melbourne?
  Lachlan's Train Channel Chief Train Controller

Location: probably taking a photo of 7901V
Rail train from Port Augusta with some ELs heading to Ararat today.

Via Melbourne?
bevans
Nope, heading straight there. I'd say it's because it's more than enough rail to make numerous trains.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Video from the afternoon of the last day of April 2022 and after several years of talking about it the first real action taken towards increasing the maximum permissible axle loading on the Avoca line between Ararat and Maryborough was taken when Railfirst duo EL56 and EL60 worked onto the line on 7751V with a pair of ARTC long-welded-rail sets to begin discharging heavier 47kg/m rail to replace the incumbent and very old 80lb rail currently used.


Operated in Victoria by SSR after Bowmans Rail had ran the train from Port Augusta, the train also provided the first EL's across the line in nearly three years, making for plenty of chances to get the throaty sounding unmuffled GE's working hard across the many grades the line runs across. The pair are caught several times between Dunneworthy and Maryborough after completely discharging the second of the two rail rakes forming the train, with the other rake due to be done the following day.


Trains seen in order are:
7751V- EL56 and EL60



https://youtu.be/Om3-koOevGc
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Just observing Greensleeves video there and it's surprising how pliable a length of railway line is. It's bit of a brain teaser, you think of a length of rail as straight and I suppose 3ft is but 300ft is a different story.
Watching the train snake into the Maryborough yard at about 16:00 is the spot.

As for unloading and dispersing of the rail, how is it unloaded and is it placed out in lengths along the line ?
And one more how long are the lengths ?

BigShunter.
  Lachlan's Train Channel Chief Train Controller

Location: probably taking a photo of 7901V
Those 52,000 concrete sleepers really make a future SG conversion a lot harder. But it's good to see the TSR lifted after almost two years.
  YM-Mundrabilla The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Just observing Greensleeves video there and it's surprising how pliable a length of railway line is. It's bit of a brain teaser, you think of a length of rail as straight and I suppose 3ft is but 300ft is a different story.
Watching the train snake into the Maryborough yard at about 16:00 is the spot.

As for unloading and dispersing of the rail, how is it unloaded and is it placed out in lengths along the line ?
And one more how long are the lengths ?

BigShunter.
BigShunter
Each rake APPEARS to be 11 wagons and the wagons LOOK to be mostly ex CR RG 47 foot deck flats (say 49 feet over couplers) so on this basis the rails MIGHT be around 540 feet (6 x 90 foot lengths???).

Don't know how rails are unloaded in Wictoria but others often pull them over the wagon ends into the four foot. There might be a harder way in which case ......................

The old VR used wagon mounted cranes on their rail flats which unloaded the rail onto the cess but not sure how they worked or whether they could unload to both sides of the track.

The foregoing is largely calculated guesswork so don't blame me if it's not right. Laughing
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Allegedly 7-8 km of track per load.  So perhaps 10 rail train trips in total for the whole Ararat to Maryborough section?  Don't quote me on this...
  YM-Mundrabilla The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I agree with Carnot's calcs.

15 rails across and 3 deep/wagon = 45 rails x 540 feet = 24,300 feet x two rakes = 48,600 feet of rail per train or 16,200 yards/14,800 metres.
14,800 metres ÷ 2 =7.4 route km of rail/train.

Why on earth did 'they' go for 94 pound rail only. I thought that this weight was obsolete.
  lkernan Chief Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Why on earth did 'they' go for 94 pound rail only. I thought that this weight was obsolete.
YM-Mundrabilla
Because in a couple of years they'll finally get around to the Maryborough-Geelong standardisation and this line will go back to rusting in the weeds?
  YM-Mundrabilla The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Why on earth did 'they' go for 94 pound rail only. I thought that this weight was obsolete.
Because in a couple of years they'll finally get around to the Maryborough-Geelong standardisation and this line will go back to rusting in the weeds?
lkernan
Clearly I have underestimated the level of their forward planning expertise.Smile
  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic
Why on earth did 'they' go for 94 pound rail only. I thought that this weight was obsolete.
Because in a couple of years they'll finally get around to the Maryborough-Geelong standardisation and this line will go back to rusting in the weeds?
lkernan
there has been a few trains go to portland. A few go west. yes, it wont see the same level of traffic, but would expect a few trains a week. Need to convince the government to finish the job, which wont happen without a government change (maybee) or most of the cash to do it from the feds
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Why on earth did 'they' go for 94 pound rail only. I thought that this weight was obsolete.
YM-Mundrabilla
The level crossings rebuilds were done with this size of rail (when the line was rebuilt a few years ago)
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Why on earth did 'they' go for 94 pound rail only. I thought that this weight was obsolete.
The level crossings rebuilds were done with this size of rail (when the line was rebuilt a few years ago)
Nightfire

Yes they were. I actually inspected the level crossings in 2019. They all had 47 kg rail. Incidentally that rail weight for the types of trains on this line is fine. You are not going faster than 80kph, you don't have a ridiculously high axle load (no ore trains or super freighters) and they are only doing what they should have done at the start.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Those 52,000 concrete sleepers really make a future SG conversion a lot harder. But it's good to see the TSR lifted after almost two years.
Lachlan's Train Channel
Ararat - Maryborough is alread standrad gauge and has been so on wooden sleepers from 1995, and on concrete sleepers since the 2017 re-opening.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Why on earth did 'they' go for 94 pound rail only. I thought that this weight was obsolete.
The level crossings rebuilds were done with this size of rail (when the line was rebuilt a few years ago)

Yes they were. I actually inspected the level crossings in 2019. They all had 47 kg rail. Incidentally that rail weight for the types of trains on this line is fine. You are not going faster than 80kph, you don't have a ridiculously high axle load (no ore trains or super freighters) and they are only doing what they should have done at the start.
Duncs
Yes but the 47kg rail for this job and also for the Shepp line upgrade had to be especially rolled by Liberty Steel at Whyalla at higher cost, than just purchasing same profile 50 kg stock standard rail from the plant. Seems weird only VLP would know why !!!.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

Just observing Greensleeves video there and it's surprising how pliable a length of railway line is. It's bit of a brain teaser, you think of a length of rail as straight and I suppose 3ft is but 300ft is a different story.
Watching the train snake into the Maryborough yard at about 16:00 is the spot.

As for unloading and dispersing of the rail, how is it unloaded and is it placed out in lengths along the line ?
And one more how long are the lengths ?

BigShunter.
Each rake APPEARS to be 11 wagons and the wagons LOOK to be mostly ex CR RG 47 foot deck flats (say 49 feet over couplers) so on this basis the rails MIGHT be around 540 feet (6 x 90 foot lengths???).

Don't know how rails are unloaded in Wictoria but others often pull them over the wagon ends into the four foot. There might be a harder way in which case ......................

The old VR used wagon mounted cranes on their rail flats which unloaded the rail onto the cess but not sure how they worked or whether they could unload to both sides of the track.

The foregoing is largely calculated guesswork so don't blame me if it's not right. Laughing
YM-Mundrabilla
That's pretty much it, YM. An item of mobile plant can pull the rails off the end of the last wagon, but the usual method is to anchor two rails (usually with said mobile plant) and pull the train out from underneath them, dropping the rails in the 5' (Don't tell DD but it works just as well for other gauges!). Rinse and repeat until job done. A rail handling crane (used to be a Pettibone Mulliken Speedswing, these days they use a hi-rail excavator) will further move the rails if required.

Shunter,
Rails are moved by picking up the end, moving it over, then working along the rail to the end. Lifting the old rail out and placing the new one in is just more of the same. In some circumstances, a skilled operator can flick the end over and have the rest of the rail move across in a horizontal wave like motion, much quicker and pretty to watch. But watch at your own peril; things can go wrong and a rail (particularly the end) can flick around and come at you faster than an angry snake. Everyone stands well clear when rails are being handled.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
What happened to a $130 million rail project in the heart of Ballarat?
From the Ballarat Courier
In 2018, before the election, the state government promised $130 million for freight line upgrades in Ballarat.
Four years later, that project has been scrapped, leaving questions about the viability of other major projects in the city.
The Freight-Passenger Gauge Separation Project - stay with us - was meant to make it easier for freight trains coming from the north of the state to get to ports.
It would follow another massive project, the Murray Basin Rail Project, which has also had its share of problems, and would mean freight trains don't have to do a dog-leg between Maryborough and Ararat.
READ MORE: Murray Basin Rail Project: What the business case review could mean for Ballarat
The state government promised to put in extra tracks around Ballarat, including under the bridge at Armstrong Street, which would mean more freight trains could come through the city on the way to Geelong.
Long story short, there are two different kinds of tracks, standard gauge and broad gauge, and most freight is on standard gauge - it can also be dual gauge, with both, like between Ballarat and Geelong.
The original media releases from 2018 have been deleted from state government websites, but reporting from the time reveals a plan to duplicate more than a kilometre of track between Ballarat station and the North Ballarat junction.
FROM 2018: State to splash $130 million to separate passenger and freight trains in town
"Under the project broad gauge passenger services and single gauge freight trains will be separated in and around Ballarat Station, allowing for more efficient use of the platforms and fewer hold-up periods," The Courier reported.
"When completed the upgrade will allow for a fifth daily commuter service to run between Ballarat and Ararat while paving the way for further services to Maryborough."
But in 2019, a year after the announcement, which was funded in the 2018-19 budget, found the project "unviable" given the high cost and extensive construction required.
It "would constrain current and future Ballarat passenger services, and is unlikely to deliver expected key benefits to the freight industry now and into the future".
A Department of Transport spokesperson said in a statement "significant work has been undertaken by the Victorian and Federal Governments between Maryborough and Ararat allowing the freight line to be reopened after 15 years, and by the end of 2022 will enable improved journey times and increased loading capacity to 21-tonne axle loading".
Hinch Justice Party upper house MP Stuart Grimley said there were more questions to be answered by the state government.
"Is this a broader message about the Government's intentions to not invest in the full Murray Basin Rail Project upgrades in future?" he said in a statement.
"Whilst the community appreciates the increase in passenger services to and from Ballarat in recent years, we still haven't addressed the problem of allowing additional freight services through Ballarat. This has huge economic impacts on the whole western and northern regions of our state.
"Further, given this money was factored into the 2018-19 Budget, where did this money go?"
Public Transport Users Association Ballarat convenor Ben Lever said had the project been completed, there would not have been a significant effect on passenger services.
"The government has made comments that imply it's no longer possible to run these freight trains through Ballarat due to increased passenger services, but that's not really accurate," he said.
"They might need to invest in building more capacity through Ballarat in order to ensure everything runs smoothly, but that's exactly what the Freight-Passenger Gauge Separation Project was designed to achieve."
He added plans for an intermodal freight hub at the Ballarat West Employment Zone could also be affected - the federal government has allocated $9 million to that project.
"The intermodal freight hub at BWEZ was always a bit of a tricky proposition because it's not really in the best location - logistically it's best if intermodal facilities are "on the way", so trains can just pause there briefly rather than having to divert out of their way," he explained.
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
Hmm anyone up to bailing up Dopey Jacinta again? Cos this is another no brainer that's been put on the never-never. Cos that means replacing track that V/line want's gone! I'm wondering if someone did something to the Armstrong Street bridge that inhibits double tracking? As that Ballarat Station carpark the users of almost need a shuttle bus for, certainly blocks triple tracking.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Those 52,000 concrete sleepers really make a future SG conversion a lot harder. But it's good to see the TSR lifted after almost two years.
Ararat - Maryborough is alread standrad gauge and has been so on wooden sleepers from 1995, and on concrete sleepers since the 2017 re-opening.
kuldalai

Oops.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

What happened to a $130 million rail project in the heart of Ballarat?
From the Ballarat Courier
In 2018, before the election, the state government promised $130 million for freight line upgrades in Ballarat.
Four years later, that project has been scrapped, leaving questions about the viability of other major projects in the city.
The Freight-Passenger Gauge Separation Project - stay with us - was meant to make it easier for freight trains coming from the north of the state to get to ports.
It would follow another massive project, the Murray Basin Rail Project, which has also had its share of problems, and would mean freight trains don't have to do a dog-leg between Maryborough and Ararat.
READ MORE: Murray Basin Rail Project: What the business case review could mean for Ballarat
The state government promised to put in extra tracks around Ballarat, including under the bridge at Armstrong Street, which would mean more freight trains could come through the city on the way to Geelong.
Long story short, there are two different kinds of tracks, standard gauge and broad gauge, and most freight is on standard gauge - it can also be dual gauge, with both, like between Ballarat and Geelong.
The original media releases from 2018 have been deleted from state government websites, but reporting from the time reveals a plan to duplicate more than a kilometre of track between Ballarat station and the North Ballarat junction.
FROM 2018: State to splash $130 million to separate passenger and freight trains in town
"Under the project broad gauge passenger services and single gauge freight trains will be separated in and around Ballarat Station, allowing for more efficient use of the platforms and fewer hold-up periods," The Courier reported.
"When completed the upgrade will allow for a fifth daily commuter service to run between Ballarat and Ararat while paving the way for further services to Maryborough."
But in 2019, a year after the announcement, which was funded in the 2018-19 budget, found the project "unviable" given the high cost and extensive construction required.
It "would constrain current and future Ballarat passenger services, and is unlikely to deliver expected key benefits to the freight industry now and into the future".
A Department of Transport spokesperson said in a statement "significant work has been undertaken by the Victorian and Federal Governments between Maryborough and Ararat allowing the freight line to be reopened after 15 years, and by the end of 2022 will enable improved journey times and increased loading capacity to 21-tonne axle loading".
Hinch Justice Party upper house MP Stuart Grimley said there were more questions to be answered by the state government.
"Is this a broader message about the Government's intentions to not invest in the full Murray Basin Rail Project upgrades in future?" he said in a statement.
"Whilst the community appreciates the increase in passenger services to and from Ballarat in recent years, we still haven't addressed the problem of allowing additional freight services through Ballarat. This has huge economic impacts on the whole western and northern regions of our state.
"Further, given this money was factored into the 2018-19 Budget, where did this money go?"
Public Transport Users Association Ballarat convenor Ben Lever said had the project been completed, there would not have been a significant effect on passenger services.
"The government has made comments that imply it's no longer possible to run these freight trains through Ballarat due to increased passenger services, but that's not really accurate," he said.
"They might need to invest in building more capacity through Ballarat in order to ensure everything runs smoothly, but that's exactly what the Freight-Passenger Gauge Separation Project was designed to achieve."
He added plans for an intermodal freight hub at the Ballarat West Employment Zone could also be affected - the federal government has allocated $9 million to that project.
"The intermodal freight hub at BWEZ was always a bit of a tricky proposition because it's not really in the best location - logistically it's best if intermodal facilities are "on the way", so trains can just pause there briefly rather than having to divert out of their way," he explained.
james.au
The 40 minute Off Peak frequency is not the issue as claimed and Government knew of it as it planned the sg line through Ballarat it was well aware of the promised 40 minute Off Peak frequency.
The key issues are improving the infrastructure immediately on either side of Ballarat so sg & bg freight trains can use the 30 minute window through Ballarat taht occurs in each 40 minute Off Peak cycle.  Simply done basically dual gauge Maryborough to Ballarat North Junction, and dual gauge Gheringhap to Hummfray Street at Up end of Ballarat Yard.
Resore bg crossover at Warrenheip so Melb trains can also use South Line.  Restore second track between Lydiard Street and North Ballarat Junction.  South track as bg, North track as sg only. Then Centre Line through Ballarat station  becomes standard gauge only.  Platforms remain as bg only.  Broad gauge through freight trains use platform 1 to/from South Track,  standard gauge trains use Centre Road.  This can all be done with two powered gauge splitters, 3 mixed gauge diamonds, and the crossover from the broad gauge North Line at Warrenheip to the dual gauge South Line.
The current arrangement at Ballarat is a fool of a layout dicated by some number cruncher or person with limited if any rail operational experience. Currently the North line sees over 60 pass trains on Weekdays , whilst the South line averages 3 !!!  With Up and Down Wendouree trains crossing at Ballarat any late running on the Down automatically condemns the Up to late departure from Ballarat. By simply re-instating the crossover at Warrenheip creates a 6 km double track broad gauge section, allowing Ups to depart Ballarat on time via the South Line to Warrenheip in the event of late running on the Down .   The claim it cannot be done is a smokescreen for saying I just don't want to have sg freight trains of that nightmare Murray Basin Project running through Ballarat.  
Before 1995 we had much greater numbers of freight trains all on broad gauge from the Wimmera, Adelaide and Maryborough all passing through Ballarat with double track from Warrenheip right through to Linton Junction.  Agressive track rationalization at Ballarat by VLP to save maintenance costs, plus removal of connections at Warrenheip and closure of two crossing loops at Sulky and Tourello have crippled train through put at Ballarat.  Easily fixed as outlined above incorporating the already funded loop restoration at Tourello.
  Lachlan's Train Channel Chief Train Controller

Location: probably taking a photo of 7901V
Those 52,000 concrete sleepers really make a future SG conversion a lot harder. But it's good to see the TSR lifted after almost two years.
Ararat - Maryborough is alread standrad gauge and has been so on wooden sleepers from 1995, and on concrete sleepers since the 2017 re-opening.
The Vinelander
What? I was referring to the Manangatang line re sleepering.

Edit: My apologies, I've whacked it in the wrong thread by the looks.

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