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Registered Melbourne
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It's surprising that, in this OZScrapers Subforum, I have looked so far back, and as yet, haven't found even a quiescent thread relating to rail freight: yet, as the cost of oil increases, this will probably make or break us: anyway, to kick this thread off, here's a few photos and reflections from the west side of Melbourne, Sunday 8th of June:



The Queen has her birthday on many days (I guess she gets more presents that way), but in Victoria, we are celebrating today the Queen's birthday, and have proclaimed a public holiday for the occasion. Hence, I was rather surprised to see the train above, pulling out of Melbourne, late on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of a long weekend, and there was more of it:



I post this here for those who never see a freight train: all part of the same train; they're very long these days. The first two photos were taken from the bridge in the third photo: and I didn't run..

The discerning viewer will note that the track on the left in the first image has, not two, but three rails. This is because Australians couldn't agree on their rail-gauges. At West Footscray, 200m or so west of the previous photos, this out-of-focus image never-the-less explains it all:



The broad gauge goes to the left; the standard gauge (national network) to the right. I guess you can see where most of the traffic goes as well.

From what I understand, 38% of container traffic in Australia is off-loaded at the Port of Melbourne: and 80% of the container traffic from Melbourne to Adelaide proceeds by rail. Anyway, it all comes through here.
 

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Registered Melbourne
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
^^ Anyway, they're fixing it up, which is why I posted in the first place.

Some infrastructure developments might not attract a lot of media attention, but for those who are interested:

New (or replacement) track:



there are a lot of people on this site that think that once you build a railway, it lasts for ever. Not so. Anyway, apart from replacing the sleepers and the ballast here, the powers that be replaced or installed:

Some new signalling cabinets:



(gunzel grafitti artists, try now ... before they're painted!)

and new signal gantries-



three in all, so far as I travelled. I noted that the signals were turned 90 degrees, at present:



Anyway, new gantry:



new track:



More bits to be loaded into place:



And some more track to be finished further west:



more freight development projects in this part of the continent:

  1. Dynon-Port of Melbourne link
  2. Seymour-Albury duplication & Wodonga by-pass
  3. Mildura line track upgrade
 

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̙͈̩ͫ̎Ż̌ͫ&
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3,549 Posts
I think the general reason that freight upgrades aren't commented as much as passenger upgrades on this forum, is due to the more closed details surrounding them, and less visible nature of the projects. Also, the distance (for regional areas) being too great for people to just whip out with the camera for some quick snaps. It can be noted that in similar step, regional pass services are also not greatly covered.

Anyway, the upgrade of that freight line (through to Sunshine) occurred through full occupation a number of months back.

The new gantries have been popping up over the last couple of months too.
 

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Former Member
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In Queensland's coal fields, $4 billion is being spent on expanding the capacity of the coal supply chain. This includes $700 million worth of works on the rail network over the next 5 years. The remainder of the expenditure is on port capacity .

The COALRAIL infrastructure program (devised in 2006) is centered around Queensland's two largest coal railway systems: the Blackwater system, which extends west from Gladstone towards Emerald; and the Goonyella system, which branches west from Sarina, near Mackay, towards Moranbah. The projects in the program aim to allow longer trains (upwards of 130 wagons) to run on these systems, and to allow for an increase in the proportion of electric-hauled trains.

The full plan is available at QR's website, if anyone's interested (2 MB PDF):
http://www.qr.com.au/CoalRail/Images/2006MasterPlanMainDocument_tcm27-14596.pdf

There's also a bunch of general info on many individual projects here:
http://www.qr.com.au/coalrail/coal_systems/overview/

Highlights include
- Duplication of the trunk line on the Blackwater system to Blackwater. There are several single track sections remaining between Gracemere (near Rockhampton) and Blackwater.
- Extension of the duplicated track beyond Coppabella on the Goonyella system.
- Quadruplication of the Blackwater system where it currently shares tracks with the the North Coast Line system near Gladstone.
- Electrification of branch lines on the Blackwater system to allow electric trains to serve more mines.
- Additional unloading bays and pits at coal ports along the eastern seaboard.
- Higher capacity load-outs at mines to decrease loading times.
- General track upgrades, although the majority of Queensland's coal network is already modern, with heavy duty rail on concrete sleepers.
- Signalling upgrades to decrease headways. Current headway is about 15-20 minutes on the Blackwater & Goonyella trunk lines, i.e. coal trains run more frequently than Cityrain services in Brisbane!.
- Major redevelopment of the Jilalan and Coppabella rail depots on the Goonyella system to allow for better sequencing of trains to ensure they reach the port in the optimal order.
- Upgrades to the overhead power network to allow more trains to occupy given sections of track
- Lengthening of crossing loops across the coal network to allow longer trains to run.

There are a couple of completely new coal railways on the cards as well, i.e.
- Southern Missing link, connecting the vast Surat Basin coal reserves west of Toowoomba with the ports at Gladstone, south of Rockhampton. Coal from the Bowen Basin is currently exported through the Port of Brisbane, however due to train length restrictions, the very windy Toowoomba range and the lack of dedicated freight paths through Brisbane, the volumes are tiny.
- Northern Missing link, connecting the Goonyella system to the Newlands system (which has a port at Bowen, south of Townsville), which would allow coal that would normally be exported through the congested ports of Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point to be sent through to Abbot Point at Bowen instead.

Other than coal haulage, rail freight takes a back seat to road freight in Queensland (which is unfortunate).

Trent
 

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Registered Melbourne
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4,166 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think the general reason that freight upgrades aren't commented as much as passenger upgrades on this forum, is due to the more closed details surrounding them, and less visible nature of the projects. Also, the distance (for regional areas) being too great for people to just whip out with the camera for some quick snaps. It can be noted that in similar step, regional pass services are also not greatly covered.

Anyway, the upgrade of that freight line (through to Sunshine) occurred through full occupation a number of months back.

The new gantries have been popping up over the last couple of months too.
I'm not sure what you mean ... I took those photos Sunday afternoon, so that's essentially how it is now.
 

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Registered Melbourne
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
^^ take it from me, there's quite a bit of track-work to be finished yet: and two of the three gantries in various stages of erection were partly over one track which, as yet, goes no-where.
 

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̙͈̩ͫ̎Ż̌ͫ&
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Ah, so they haven't finished relaying track around the back of Tottenham Yard?

They occupied for the Sunshine and West Footscray sections around the same time, so I just assumed the main track through Tottenham Yard was also done at that stage.

They're taking their time then.
 

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Registered Melbourne
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
^^ that may well be.

I took the photos above in something of a hurry, but unless I really messed up (and I don't think i did):

The 4th last photo (titled "Anyway, New Gantry") shows a new track on the northern edge of the yards.

The 3rd last photo ("NewTrack") shows the eastern extremity of that track: as I said, it doesn't go anywhere yet. The track on the right- the main standard gauge line out of Melbourne- has for me what is a puzzling cross-over immediately after the line diverges from single track (in the foreground) to double track.

The last two photos are of the same section of new track, further west. The only info I really have on this is from what was circulated to residents of the area: there will be trucks, there will be construction activity and noise etc.

I presume the intent of this proposal is to provide bi-directional double dual gauge track from Dynon to west Footscray, and double (bidirectional?) standard gauge track from West Footscray to the junction of the Adelaide and Sydney standard gauge lines just west of Tottenham: but if I'm wrong, correct me.
 

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derp
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Not Railcorpse, ARTC are.

The SSFL is taking fecking ages to get started though so I'm not holding my breath for the beginning of the Short North quadding.
 

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WARREN
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8,176 Posts
TIDC has released a PDF showing the proposed components of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor project:

http://www.tidc.nsw.gov.au/Documents/2070_NSFChandout.pdf
http://www.tidc.nsw.gov.au/Documents/2069_NSFCITTpreso.pdf (presentation)

Interesting bits are:

- Flyover at North Strathfield, quad of the currently two or three-track sections between there and Hornsby.

- Track amplification between Hornsby and Cowan

- New passenger tunnel from Mount Kuring-gai to Hawksbury River, bypassing Cowan Bank and Berowra which will be left to the freights. If historyworks is lucky, Berowra might be retained as a short stub (passenger wise) from the main line :lol:, but poor old Cowan would probably miss out :(

Hey Tony, you're gonna have to go to Mount Kuring-gai to catch the interurbans! :lol:

They're not hoping for an environmental assessment until 2010, so it's not going to happen overnight. SSFL is taking fucking forever still (bloody CabraNIMBYs) - no work as of yet. What do you think?
 

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WARREN
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Boosting the number of tracks.

I take it that they used the word "amplification" as opposed to quadruplication as it's unclear if it will be three or four tracks.
 

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WARREN
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Although there seems to be almost no interest in this cos it has no shiny trains, here's an article. If it makes you feel better, the extra tracks will be shiny, and so Berowra will see more freight choo choos and may retain a passenger service.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/rail-chiefs-bid-to-unclog-cityrail/2009/01/17/1231609053592.html

Rail chief's bid to unclog CityRail
Linton Besser, Transport Reporter
January 18, 2009

SYDNEY'S clogged rail network is the greatest impediment to moving freight along the east coast of Australia, according to the Commonwealth rail agency's chief executive, David Marchant, who has called on the Rudd Government to help fund a $4 billion expansion of the northern line to Hornsby.

The CityRail passenger network is shared with Australian Rail Track Corporation trains carrying goods to and from the north coast and Melbourne but with CityRail at capacity, all freight trains are restricted to operating outside the peak periods.

The result is long delays in the turnaround time required to run freight up and down the coast and increased costs.

A $300 million dedicated freight line, the Southern Sydney Freight Line, now under construction, will fix half of Sydney's bottleneck, Mr Marchant said, but more is needed.

"Similar to the Southern Sydney Freight Line, construction of a new northern line would also free up capacity for more than 100 new passenger train paths to and from Sydney especially from the Central Coast through Hornsby."
 

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PTnut
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588 Posts
What's a track amplification?
Quantitative terms with reference to track capacity are part of the rail nomenclature, but once in the public arena, it can be interpreted slightly differently.

For example:
Definition of 'Quadruplication'
Rail-speak: Increase capacity to four tracks.
Dictionary-ish: Increase the current capacity by a factor of four.

So if we for example are talking about a corridor already with two tracks, under each of the definitions, 'Quadruplication of the corridor' would result in
Rail-speak: Four tracks.
Dictionary-ish: Eight tracks.

Hence why public documents these days refer to amplification of track rather than insertnumberhere-ation of track - to try to remove the ambiguity.
 

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Registered
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Thanks smeghead (awesome screen-name btw!!) I suspected as much in the past regarding the differences. Though I find your comment at the end amusing: they essentially substitute in a say-nothing word to prevent confusion but instead just leave us guessing :p Actually, it's preventing misinterpretation and replacing it with ambiguity :p But anyway...

That article above says that the Southern Sydney Freight Line (which supposedly solves 'half' the bottle-neck) is costing $300m - why would they need $4b for the northern side? That's over 13 times more money.
 
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