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Champagne Socialist
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...add that to the growing list of niggling things to decide on / potentially pay extra for in an incrementalism scenario.

There's a project to have Melbourne-Albury-junction to Inland rail (at least) clearances increased to 7.1m to allow for double stacking freight, electrification puts another height/clearance constraint on existing track.


This fact sheet says 7.1m clearance (for what we assume is unelectrified height clearance for double-stacked freighters) and 4.5m for horizontal clearance: https://inlandrail.artc.com.au/13269/widgets/282766/documents/92761/download

If anything 25 kV AC would be preferable for scalability. Look to Italy for guidance here: they have trains running in the 160kph realm on their widespread 3 kV DC network, but the real(ly) high-speed lines are 25 kV AC.
 

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Champagne Socialist
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More digging on ARTC's site, a working paper that was devised during the Inland Rail corridor study has this to say about speeds: http://www.artc.com.au/library/IRAS_WP6 Design Standards.pdf

There is no proposal to increase maximum line speeds for freight trains on the ARTC network, and therefore any rollingstock purchased to travel at higher speeds would either be dedicated for use on Inland Rail, or would not be using its full design potential when used elsewhere. There are therefore network benefits to using 115 km/h as the maximum speed for the inland railway.

The study has not considered the needs of passenger services over routes that may be used by Inland Rail. Passenger rollingstock is capable of up to 160 km/h, and has lower axle loads than freight rollingstock. This means there is the potential for differential line speeds, where passenger services can operate at more than 115 km/h subject to limits on axle loads.
For freight the track design (and therefore the upgrades from Melbourne all the way to Junee) will be 21t per axle @ 115kph.

According to this, a 3-car Vlocity weighs 181 tonnes or approx 15t per axle ( 4 axles a car). The trains would also, well and truly, fit within the Inland rail height and width clearances.

Curves and signalling/control systems might be the major constraints on higher speeds on the North-east line. (stabbing in the dark here - jump in anyone who's far better versed in this stuff).

Vlocities, according to wikipedia (cough) arer designed for 210kph. Squares with BR class 220 (Voyagers) - which have the same power plants - 1 Cummins QSK-19R per carriage


 

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Any high-speed line really has to be 25kv, but the trains themselves can be multiple voltage so they can also run on legacy lines in NSW. This would however prevent existing commuter trains from doing the reverse, unless they are retrofitted.

As for Toowoomba, a connection between the town and the tunnel portal mostly using existing track is feasible. If it were up to me I would have a parkway station at Gowrie near the tunnel portal (primarily for commuters to Brisbane, who could drive to the station), as well as keeping the existing station in Toowoomba's centre (for visitors to Toowoomba). The latter would obviously take a little bit longer to reach but would be far more convenient for tourists (and possibly for some commuters).

There are two possible solutions for gauge issues: dual-gauge tracks or variable gauge trains, but figuring out which would be more cost effective would require more detailed study. The inland railway will already have a significant amount of dual-gauge tracks, but I'm pretty sure the tunnel will be standard-gauge only.
 

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The geography is the issue. You use inland Rail and the tunnel puts you out west of town and the route back in isn't the greatest speed wise. you don't use that then the existing climb up is terrible. you build a new route up the range and you're capital expenditure is to great. Existing roads/bus transport options dont have as much of a handicap from climbing at the infrastructure is already there in the form of the warrego highway.



The interchange there was upgraded somewhat last year, with separate turning lanes and the like so that people aren't driving across the highway. not grade Separate but something at least.
yeah that's true. Did they lower the speed limit there? To be perfectly honest, under the ALP i cant see that intersection will get upgraded
 

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Inland railway is standard gauge, no?

How do you integrate the narrow gauge and the standard gauge?

This project comprises 28km of new dual gauge track between Gowrie (north-west of Toowoomba) and Helidon (east of Toowoomba). It crosses the two Local Government Areas of Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley.
 

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....primarily for freight. And also, I assume it's a single track by the way they talk about it, which again, massively impacts on passenger services being viable.
 
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