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Its a sleepy little town
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http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,12675755-421,00.html

$3bn interstate rail link proposed
By Robin Bromby and Annabelle McDonald
March 28, 2005
From:
POWERFUL forces are aligning to realise another massive railway infrastructure dream - an inland line that links Melbourne and Brisbane and serves huge tracts of regional NSW.

The proposed $3 billion project would cement the concept of Australia entering a new railway age following the completion last year of the $1.3 billion Alice Springs-to-Darwin line.
It already has the backing of Chris Corrigan's Patrick Corp, which co-owns rail operator Pacific National, and is seen as a more viable financial proposition than the struggling line to Darwin.

The Federal Government has committed $1.8 billion to upgrading the interstate rail system but this project would almost certainly depend on some private financing.

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Others backing the proposal are understood to include freight operator Linfox and government-owned Queensland Rail, which is renaming itself QR National ahead of a thrust into interstate markets.

The nation is facing severe transport infrastructure constraints, with the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics forecasting inter-capital freight loads will expand at twice the rate of economic growth through to 2020. Large tracts of land have been bought up by at least one freight operator, Forbes-based Mountain Bulk Haulage subsidiary Terminals Australia, around Parkes - where the proposed new line would intersect the main Sydney-Perth railway - in expectation that the NSW country town would be the main interchange point between the two tracks.

Talk of Parkes becoming the country's new inland transport hub prompted the town's deputy mayor, Ken Keith, yesterday to predict the farming and copper mining community would become the "Chicago of Australia - without the gangsters".

"It is going to be a national transport hub - not just a state one," Mr Keith said.

"Parkes is 10 hours' travelling time from 80 per cent of Australians. People could have one warehouse here and ship goods to almost anywhere in Australia overnight. It really makes logistical sense."

Mr Keith said the new rail network would revitalise the region, which had suffered three years of drought, and encourage manufacturing companies to relocate to the town.

Already Parkes was experiencing a mini-boom in commercial development, with several large businesses moving into town on the strength of talk of the new rail line.

But Mr Keith said the challenge for the town would be to stay true to its hospitable country roots as it grew bigger.

"The people of Parkes don't want to lose that."

Patrick, meanwhile, is acquiring control of FCL Interstate Transport, which has a terminal at Parkes where it double-stacks containers on rail wagons for the journey to Perth.

And the Australian Rail Track Corp has earmarked $57 million to upgrade the existing line from Cootamundra via Parkes to Werris Creek, a key part of any new inland route.

Federal Transport Minister John Anderson will in the next two weeks announce details of a feasibility study into the rail plan. This is expected to include a review of all rail freight operations along the east coast.

The review will come up against one salient fact: it is impossible for the existing main line through Sydney to cope with forecast rail volumes over the next 15 years with tunnel heights and electric overhead wires ruling out double stacking of containers - a common practice elsewhere on interstate rail services.

Rail observers say the most likely option would be for the new route to veer from the main line at Cootamundra in NSW and wind through Parkes, Dubbo, Werris Creek and Glen Innes to cross the Queensland border and then on to Toowoomba.

Much of the route which is not already in use is either disused track or rail corridors that have been abandoned.

Regional interests are sure to play up the advantage of other possible routes.

Riverina councils will be advocating re-opening the mothballed track between Tocumwal and Narrandera while advocates of the existing line to Moree and then into Queensland at Goondiwindi are also likely to be heard.

Whatever the final decision, rail would be able to compete on a direct route between Victoria and Queensland in competition with trucks plying the Newell Highway.

Everald Compton, the Brisbane businessman whose Australian Transport and Energy Corridor consortium has been the main driving force for an inland route, said he believed realisation of the plan was the closest it had ever been.

While Mr Corrigan pledged that Patrick could contribute up to $500 million, there were many interests wanting to be part of the project.

"Corrigan's not the only one at the table. Every major freight company is seeking a place at the table," he added.

Mr Compton said there was no way of fixing constraints on the present main line through the NSW capital.

Port Jackson Partners, which has just completed a detailed infrastructure review for the Business Council of Australia, has concluded building a ring track around the edge of Sydney would not be cost-effective.

Report author Rod Sims said yesterday said a ring line would be extremely expensive and would still not raise rail performance.

Tunnel heights on the track would stop the double stacking of containers.

If rail got above 20 per cent of the north-south freight, then an inland route would be justified, said Mr Sims.

But the government would have to compensate rail operators for having to bear higher costs than truck companies.

The rebuilding of the track through Glen Innes would invoke a key part of Australian rail history. This was the rail route between NSW and Brisbane, through the famous change of gauge station at Wallangarra. It was superseded in 1930 by a coastal standard gauge line into Brisbane.
 

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Registered Yooser
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sirhc8 said:
I think that's the key here. Our cities need massive infrastructure investment but we need to massively invest in better connecting our cities.
Well said.

I agree totally, and this seems like a pretty good investment.

Darwin was a bit of a farce, but giving stonger links to Aust's three main states would do wonders for rail freight, and maybe even the possibility of a high speed rail link :D
 

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Champagne Socialist
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www.aire.com.au

the only segments worth upgrading for 'high speed rail' (of which I assume you mean for passengers) is the Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga section on that, above, route - btw 'high speed freight' is usually bout 110-120kph.

200kph would be nice, then all we need is a new line between Albury and Canberra, then a significantly upgraded line between Canberra and Sydney.
 

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Malt said:
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,12675755-421,00.html
Others backing the proposal are understood to include freight operator Linfox and government-owned Queensland Rail, which is renaming itself QR National ahead of a thrust into interstate markets.
bwaha, going to be moving huge amount of freight interstate with a handful of standard guage locomotives and a few dozen cars... :hahano:
 

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Watch my Chops
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Meh continue till you merge into one city then do it all by car.
 

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Unacquainted Acquaintance
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tayser said:
the only segments worth upgrading for 'high speed rail' (of which I assume you mean for passengers) is the Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga section on that, above, route - btw 'high speed freight' is usually bout 110-120kph.

200kph would be nice, then all we need is a new line between Albury and Canberra, then a significantly upgraded line between Canberra and Sydney.
If you're going to build a line suitable for high-speed passenger rail you might as well build it for the highest speed you can. But as far as the corridor goies, yeah, probably only from Melb-Albury is suitable. Y'know, this'd be a good way to actually kickstart a high-speed connection. It'd also be nice to have a direct Melb-Syd one, but you probably couldn't find the demand.
 

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I hope they don't do passengers on this rail line. They get in the way of the freight, causing a significant loss of time and competitiveness for these services. And rail is generally so uncompetetive with air for long distance passenger service. Unless they get really serious with a Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney-Brisbane high speed rail line.

I don't think you are going to get anything much over 100k/h average line speed for $3 billion. The line bypasses Sydney and many major coastal towns, so a slow speed Melbourne to Brisbane rail passenger line is not that exciting. If anything the line may get a token once a day or three times a week service.
 
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go wit hthe investment and build a mag-lev, the entire distance..Melb-Syd-Bris. Then we could boast about it and peopel would come from all over the wolrd to travel on it. :)
 

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From memory a few announcements ago this project was going to "start" and it was signified by the planting of a tree at the present end of the line at either North Star or Boggabilla (past Moree). Maybe the time has almost come for the tree to be cut down and turned into sleepers.

As for maglevs, they are useless at moving freight efficiently, this corridor is not intended for passenger services, and besides, they are far too expensive for any actual purpose. Plus most of the freight traffic will originate off-route and thus the trains will have to travel on existing track then join or leave the new/refurbshed track along this corridor.

Further, we've spent the last 100+ years trying to eliminate break of gauge in this country and now you want to introduce yet another incompatible system? Get real.
 

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Evidently there are three competing plans to build this track. One is the 10 year old ATEC proposal which has been planned to be privately financed. Rumour is that it will be impossible to make it stack up financially. The other is by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, for incremental improvement, using govt funding. The other is a consortium between Pacific National and Queensland Rail, also using govt funding, and evidently a bit more big bangish.
 

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moonage daydream
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"But the government would have to compensate rail operators for having to bear higher costs than truck companies."

Interesting how this statement appears to have been overlooked. If the line is not cost effective then why build it? Why should the government subsidise transport companies? Do we need another multi-billion dollar white elephant?
 
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