More than ever, it’s time to upgrade the Sydney–Melbourne railway

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 05 Aug 2022 15:24
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Yet another report on what is surely becoming a national disgrace which is the state of the rail system between Sydney and Melbourne.  14 years ago it was called out as being in urgent need of investment and since then the Liberal Coalition when in power did NOTHING except window dress the problem.

More than ever, it’s time to upgrade the Sydney–Melbourne railway

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  SinickleBird Deputy Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
For all the talk about Climate Action, there is precious little attention paid to road vs rail. Many more votes to be had (or lost) from the trucking industry than from rail. Logical as it seems from a economic and climate perspectives, I don’t hold out much hope of change in the preference for rail.

And corporates who contract out their logistic needs are only interested in the cheapest option. Which will be trucks until diesel hits $5 a litre.

In NSW, upgrades are underway all along the Newell, almost guaranteeing that Inland Rail will flop.The road crews have built more km of overtaking lanes on the Newell than ARTC has built new track.
  YM-Mundrabilla The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
At the bottom of any KPI measured by anyone today is MONEY.
Decency, morality, the environment or the community count for NOTHING.
For political circles add votes to the above.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

For all the talk about Climate Action, there is precious little attention paid to road vs rail. Many more votes to be had (or lost) from the trucking industry than from rail. Logical as it seems from a economic and climate perspectives, I don’t hold out much hope of change in the preference for rail.
SinickleBird
They'll be more likely to kill off all the livestock and make us be vegan (cow farts are bad Evil or Very Mad) than encourage a shift from road to rail.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

In NSW, upgrades are underway all along the Newell, almost guaranteeing that Inland Rail will flop.The road crews have built more km of overtaking lanes on the Newell than ARTC has built new track.
SinickleBird
I fear what you say is true, and I've said it before in these pages that the political avoidance and procrastination is what will kill Inland Rail.

To be fair, road 'amplification' has a long history and is very palatable to the politicians, so it's easy to get approvals to do significant Newell Hwy upgrading.

Inland Rail is tackling the easy bits first while they gird their loins for the more difficult bits. The difficult part is getting the approvals in place to allow construction. Once (and if) the signal is green, construction will go rapidly.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Road is easy and politicians only want to do easy things. They do not want to tackle the important and future benefit stuff. This is a reason why Australia is so far behind in many respects.

Urgent work is needed to provide the second busiest airline route in the world with an alternative.

Freight is a while different issue and one deliberately ignored for years by governments. Freight rates are higher than they need be and we are again going backwards on addressing emissions.
  ANR Chief Commissioner

Last time I used the Newell was in 2000. It was a two way narrow "highway" with limited overtaking lanes, and the only people doing the overtaking were the truckies. Got a cracked windscreen on my way to Adelaide as a souvenir.

Now, let me tell you about a little secret. It is called the Olympic Highway. It is what the Newell used to be, except, there are very few cars and trucks using it. Being so far from the Hume Fwy, I find this road one of the best routes to get to Melbourne. I usually join the Hume Fwy near Albury.

It will be interesting to see how much traffic inland rail removes from the Newell.

The poor truckies doing the Syd-Mel Hume corridor are paid peanuts and race against the clock.

The track between Sydney and Melbourne cannot compete with the flexible nature and speed of a truck on the Hume.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Wonder how much is being spent maintaining the Hume. On the NSW side it's rare that they're not cutting out and replacing sections of the pavement. We're talking about thick reinforced concrete so it wouldn't be a cheap exercise.

As for the rail line, perhaps the same funding model would help.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
I read it costs 3 times the investment to maintain a road v rail per kilometre. Australia just has it all wrong as usual with the biggest issue at the moment a voice vote. No wonder we never get any of the real nation building work completed.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
I read it costs 3 times the investment to maintain a road v rail per kilometre. Australia just has it all wrong as usual with the biggest issue at the moment a voice vote. No wonder we never get any of the real nation building work completed.
freightgate
If the engineered highway is breaking up rural arterial roads are copping it worse. These were never built for B doubles and the damage often falls on cash strapped local councils to repair. The funding model has distorted the long distance freight market.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

Wonder how much is being spent maintaining the Hume. On the NSW side it's rare that they're not cutting out and replacing sections of the pavement. We're talking about thick reinforced concrete so it wouldn't be a cheap exercise.

As for the rail line, perhaps the same funding model would help.
cootanee
When these double slab concrete roads were starting to become de rigueur (late 80s), I consulted a retired NSW road engineer who kept himself abreast of developments in his discipline. I asked him how long he thought these roads would last.
He had read that it was expected that the top slab may have to be replaced after 50 - 75 years, but the bottom slab should be good for 100yrs or more.
That's not how it has turned out.
These roads comprise a very carefully engineered sub-grade, a 300mm* thick slab of high strength concrete, a resilient membrane, then another 250mm* slab on top. They ought to be bomb proof - literally.  
However, the 'road friendly' suspensions are pounding the crap out of these roads.

Don't bother informing your local member or the minister, I'm pretty sure they don't want to know.

* These are approximations.
I don't have information on the reinforcing in the concrete but I would imagine it is considerable.
A better informed person may be forthcoming.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Wonder how much is being spent maintaining the Hume. On the NSW side it's rare that they're not cutting out and replacing sections of the pavement. We're talking about thick reinforced concrete so it wouldn't be a cheap exercise.

As for the rail line, perhaps the same funding model would help.
A better informed person may be forthcoming.
Lockspike
Someone at the engineering side told me how they would advise against increasing weight limits to no avail. Pretty much all rural roads used by B Doubles and lately road trains are just asphalt on dirt.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
its been a while since I drove on the Newell, and I dind't enjoy it then or other times in the past. Inland or not, the road needs an upgrade to make it safe. We cannot refuse to fund road investment to force freight onto rail, rail needs to support itself.

Are trucks too heavy and too big for our roads, yes. 500m people in EU and despite what people think, rail isn't used for the short hall mixed goods type services anymore or in rapid decline. But you still do not pass trucks the sizes of the ones in Australia and they still have proper roads, even with high fuel taxes.

TBH the rules of no tolls on National highways needs to be dumped and major highways become toll roads to generate income to fund their investment. In this day and age is not complicated to do and almost everyone has e-toll account anyway. Drive acorss Italy or France on their dual carriage roads, every 1-2h you pass a man or woman with their hands out for your contribution to help pay for the roads.
  Fatty Deputy Commissioner

Location: Narrabri
In NSW, upgrades are underway all along the Newell, almost guaranteeing that Inland Rail will flop.The road crews have built more km of overtaking lanes on the Newell than ARTC has built new track.
SinickleBird
If/When Inland Rail opens trucks won't be able to compete with double stacked trains that can do Brisbane - Melbourne in 24 hours. I've spent quite a bit of time travelling the Newell and these upgrades will just bring it up to being a reasonable standard that will be quickly destroyed by heavy vehicles.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW

TBH the rules of no tolls on National highways needs to be dumped and major highways become toll roads to generate income to fund their investment. In this day and age is not complicated to do and almost everyone has e-toll account anyway. Drive acorss Italy or France on their dual carriage roads, every 1-2h you pass a man or woman with their hands out for your contribution to help pay for the roads.
RTT_Rules
GPS tracked pricing for all roads is the more complete solution.

Reducing fuel tax and rego tax to compensate of course.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
its been a while since I drove on the Newell, and I dind't enjoy it then or other times in the past. Inland or not, the road needs an upgrade to make it safe. We cannot refuse to fund road investment to force freight onto rail, rail needs to support itself.

Are trucks too heavy and too big for our roads, yes. 500m people in EU and despite what people think, rail isn't used for the short hall mixed goods type services anymore or in rapid decline. But you still do not pass trucks the sizes of the ones in Australia and they still have proper roads, even with high fuel taxes.

TBH the rules of no tolls on National highways needs to be dumped and major highways become toll roads to generate income to fund their investment. In this day and age is not complicated to do and almost everyone has e-toll account anyway. Drive acorss Italy or France on their dual carriage roads, every 1-2h you pass a man or woman with their hands out for your contribution to help pay for the roads.
RTT_Rules
In the USA you'd be hard pressed to see the equivalent of B-Doubles let alone Road Trains. They want their roads to last.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

... TBH the rules of no tolls on National highways needs to be dumped and major highways become toll roads to generate income to fund their investment. In this day and age is not complicated to do and almost everyone has e-toll account anyway. ...
RTT_Rules
Technically it is not difficult at all.

The difficult part is convincing politicians to pass such legislation, not that the road transport industry lobbyists have anything to do with it ...

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