Spanning The Continent By Railway

Spanning The Continent By Railway

Connecting Port Augusta To Broken Hill

Victor P Taffa

On 26 September, 1855 the Western Line in New South Wales opened between Sydney and Parramatta that would go all the way to Perth, Western Australia.

There were 6 Railway Stations when the line opened in 1855. These were as follows:

  • Sydney,
  • Newtown,
  • Ashfield,
  • Burwood,
  • Homebush
  • Parramatta.

Following the opening of the line further extensions followed. These included:

  • Granville to Blacktown 4 July 1860
  • Then to Penrith 18 January 1863
  • Mount Victoria 1 May 1868
  • Bowenfels 18 October 1869
  • Bathurst 4 April 1876
  • Orange 19 April 1877
  • Orange to Dubbo 1 February 1881
  • Then to Bourke 3 September 1885
  • Orange to Condobolin 1 March 1898
  • Then to Broken Hill 15 July 1919

 

Track Gauges

Measurement of a Track Gauge is the distance measured between the two rails. Previously train bogies (Wheels) had to be changed in order for a train to use a different gauge.

Third rail that is not an electrified track is placed between the two rails and gauge convertible bogies are fitted to trains for flexibility.

Transcontinental Railway Line was to be to the standard gauge of 4 ft 8 1?2 in (1,435 mm), even though the state railway systems at both ends were narrow gauge at the time.

Entire route was not converted to standard gauge until 1970.

Three main types of track gauges used in Australia today are:

  • Narrow Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
  • Standard Gauge 4 ft 8 1?2 in (1,435 mm)
  • Broad Gauge 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)

Railway Tracks across every State Border are now Standard Gauge. However railway systems within each State or Territory use the following Track Gauges:

  • State of Queensland uses Narrow Gauge
  • State of Tasmania uses Narrow Gauge
  • State of Western Australia uses Narrow Gauge
  • Australian Capital Territory uses Standard Gauge
  • Northern Territory uses Standard Gauge
  • State of New South Wales uses Standard Gauge
  • State of South Australia uses Broad Gauge
  • State of Victoria uses Broad Gauge

 

Joining Port Augusta With Broken Hill By Railway

While the Transcontinental Railway Line opened on 17 October 1917 a direct line of Standard Gauge crossing the border of South Australia into New South Wales was still some time off.

Peterborough, South Australia originally opened in January 1880 as Petersburg when a narrow gauge line opened from Port Pirie to the west.

  • In November 1881, a line arrived from Terowie and the south
  • In 1882 it was extended north to Quorn.
  • In 1888, a line was built eastwards to Broken Hill.

Entire route was not converted to standard gauge until 1970.

Indian Pacific Train

Ghan Train

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Pacific

Train’s route includes the world’s longest straight stretch of railway track, a 478-km (297 mi) stretch of the Transcontinental Railway Line over the Nullarbor Plain.

Localities And Stopping Places Related To The Indian Pacific Train

State Of Western Australia

  • East Perth
  • Midland
  • Northam
  • Merredin
  • Southern Cross
  • Kalgoorlie
  • Rawlinna
  • Loongana

Western Australia/South Australia Border

State Of South Australia

  • Cook
  • Tarcoola
  • Kingoonya
  • Pimba
  • Port Augusta
  • Coonamia
  • Adelaide
  • Gladstone
  • Peterborough

South Australia/New South Wales Border

State Of New South Wales

  • Broken Hill
  • Menindee
  • Ivanhoe
  • Euabalong West
  • Condoblin
  • Parkes
  • Orange
  • Bathurst
  • Lithgow
  • Sydney Central

Indian Pacific Train Facts

Indian Pacific operates services from Sydney, New South Wales on the east coast to Perth, Western Australia on the west coast and return.

Indian Pacific also stops in both directions at Adelaide, South Australia.

Indian Pacific Train is named after the Indian Ocean on the west coast and the Pacific Ocean on the east coast.

Length of Journey:

  • Sydney-Perth
  • 4,352 km
  • 65 Hours

 

In addition to the Indian Pacific Train, Australia currently has 2 other major long distance trains. These include the Ghan and Overland Trains.

Ghan Train Facts

Ghan Train is an abbreviated version of its previous nickname The Afghan Express and operates services between Adelaide, South Australia and Darwin, Northern Territory.

Length of Journey:

  • 54 Hours
  • 2,979 Km

Overland Train Facts

Overland Train operates services between Adelaide, South Australia and Melbourne, Victoria.

Originally, the Intercolonial Express operated a luxury overnight service complete with dining cars. The train became known as The Overland in 1926.

Length of Journey:

  • 5 Hours
  • 828 km

Capital City-Capital City HSR at 500 km/h will boost the Indian Pacific Ghan and Overland Train services

Overland Train

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next 100 Years

Future of the Indian Pacific, Ghan and Overland Trains is bright with the introduction of High Speed Rail operating at 500 km/h.

Reason for this is that currently most passengers who want High Speed Rail are sitting 40,000 feet up in the air on aeroplanes.

Sydney-Melbourne air route is the 5th busiest in the world. This not so much a matter of people loving to fly but more a matter of people having no real alternative in what is the world’s largest island continent.

Airlines cater to different types of passengers with a different market share.

People will have a choice between HSR and Indian Pacific, Ghan and Overland Trains. HSR and Indian Pacific, Ghan and Overland Trains have a different market share and commuter.

Different market share includes the following types of passengers:

  • Business Passenger
  • Commuter Passenger
  • Seasonal Passenger
  • Tourist Passenger

Business Passenger

Currently Business Passengers are flying as existing long distance trains does not cater for the times required of Business Passengers. HSR will have faster travel times than current long distance trains yet a better alternative to flying as HSR is a Door-to-Door CBD-to-CBD service. Time gained by Air Travel is lost by getting to an Airport and through Security.

Commuter Passenger

Sydney and Melbourne are being over developed just to justify fast suburban trains at speeds of 100 km/h. HSR at speeds of 500 km/h will attract Commuters who want to move to Goulburn and still able to work in Sydney or move to Shepparton and still able to work in Melbourne.

Seasonal Passenger

Seasonal Passengers going to Floriade in Canberra, Football Finals in Sydney or Melbourne, Melbourne Cup or Rugby League State of Origin in Brisbane will have seasonal ticket pricing that Airlines currently offer.

When Cloud Ash affects Air Travel in Darwin or Fog affects Air Travel in Brisbane people will have choice between waiting in an Airport Lounge for many hours or catching HSR, the Indian Pacific, Ghan or Overland Trains.

Tourist Passenger

Tourist Passengers have different requirements and HSR Indian Pacific, Ghan and Overland Trains caters more effectively that CBD and Regional Airports.

Similarly when Cloud Ash affects Air Travel in Darwin or Fog affects Air Travel in Brisbane people will have choice between waiting in an Airport Lounge for many hours or catching HSR, the Indian Pacific, Ghan or Overland Trains.

 

Going Forwards

HSR operating on rail corridors of up to 4 electrified tracks wide in areas of heaviest traffic enables Freight Trains and Indian Pacific, Ghan and Overland Trains to operate with faster travel times that in turn attracts higher volumes of business.

Currently Capital City-Capital City rail corridors are mostly single track. When Freight Trains derail as they have done on the Transcontinental Line this holds up all rail traffic from proceeding in either direction.

Additional Tracks enables Trackwork to proceed without a diversion of services onto other lines in New South Wales. With additional tracks this allows Freight Trains or the Indian Pacific to switch to the other line without delaying HSR that is travelling at 500 km/h.

Crossing Loops

While the Transcontinental Line currently has crossing loops these would have to be 2 continuous tracks plus crossing loops in each direction with HSR passing through at 500 km/h.

Even in 2017 given the length of freight trains and of the Indian Pacific Train it is far more economic to connect all Crossing Loops together to form a second continuous track that would also contain Sets of Points and Cross-Over Tracks.

Railway Tracks are just like Traffic Lanes on a road. Rail Corridors needs more than 1 track and this applies to all Capital City-Capital rail corridors.

Air Travel that is allegedly faster is offset by spending time in getting to Airports and through Airport Security.

HSR will increase rail patronage and provide real competition for the Airlines. Travelling public will be the winners.

HSR Operators will be tendered out with more than one single HSR Operator that would provide maximum benefits to the public and competition in the market place.

 

Capital City-Capital City HSR Routes include:

  • Sydney-Adelaide CBD

via Bradfield, Bankstown, Richmond Line Extension, Richmond, Lower Blue Mountains, Western and Transcontinental Lines

  • Sydney-Brisbane

via Bradfield Line, Sydney Harbour Heavy Rail Tunnel, Brookvale Line, Cessnock Line, Newcastle CBD and Northern Line.

  • Sydney-Gympie

via Bradfield Line, Sydney Harbour Heavy Rail Tunnel, Brookvale Line, Cessnock Line, Newcastle CBD, Northern Line and Cross River Rail.

  • Sydney-Canberra

via Bradfield, Princes, Illawarra and South Coast Lines

  • Sydney-Darwin CBD

via Bradfield, Bankstown, Richmond Line Extension, Richmond, Lower Blue Mountains, Western, Transcontinental and Ghan Lines

  • Sydney-Melbourne

via Bradfield, Princes and Southern Lines.

Princes Line joins with Southern Line via Unanderra-Moss Vale Railway corridor

  • Sydney-Pakenham

via Bradfield, Princes, Southern Lines and Melbourne CBD Line.

Princes Line joins with Southern Line via Unanderra-Moss Vale Railway corridor

  • Sydney-Perth

via Bradfield, Bankstown, Richmond Line Extension, Richmond, Lower Blue Mountains, Western and Transcontinental Lines

  • Melbourne-Adelaide CBD

via Ararat

  • Melbourne-Canberra

via Southern Line

  • Melbourne-Darwin CBD

via Mildura, Broken Hill, Transcontinental and Ghan Lines

  • Melbourne-Hobart

via Williamstown Line and Rail Ferry

  • Melbourne-Perth

via Mildura, Broken Hill and Transcontinental Line

  • Brisbane-Darwin CBD

via Charleville and Alice Springs

via Cairns and Mount Isa

  • Perth-Sydney

via Transcontinental Line

  • Perth-Melbourne

via Transcontinental Line, Broken Hill and Mildura

  • Perth-Adelaide CBD

via Transcontinental Line

  • Perth-Brisbane

via Transcontinental Line and Northern Line

  • Perth-Canberra

via Transcontinental Line and Griffith

  • Perth-Darwin CBD

via Newman

via Port Headland

  • Hobart-Melbourne

via roll-on roll-off Rail Ferry

  • Hobart-Adelaide CBD

via roll-on roll-off Rail Ferry

HSR Services can also depart Flinders Street Railway Station to cater for new Rail Passengers

Adelaide Railway Station Platforms to be lengthened for Indian-Pacific and HSR Services

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Backwards

  •  1984 Prime Minister Bob Hawke rejected a VFT (Very Fast Train) to Canberra
  • 2010 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spent $20 Million on a study into HSR (High Speed Rail)
  • 2017 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull looking into Melbourne-Brisbane Freight Line

Yet not one sod of soil was turned or service commenced that would have been going forwards.

1984 VFT To Canberra

In 1984 VFT to Canberra was rejected as not being a profitable idea. Yet the construction of the tracks and provision of services are two separate matters. All HSR services would be tendered out and one company may not operate every service.

2010 HSR Study

Given that plans for a VFT were undertaken in 1984 it was a waste of $20 Million not to have turned a sod of soil on actual construction.

2017 Brisbane-Melbourne Freight Line

In 2017 Brisbane-Melbourne Freight Line plans to buy up land for a completely new corridor that ignores Sydney and the Moorebank Freight Facility. This idea ignores utilising unused rail corridors and also ignores HSR which is a complete waste of many billions of dollars and many more lost decades.

 

The next 100 years will be bright for the Indian Pacific, Ghan and Overland Trains with the introduction of High Speed Rail operating at 500 km/h.