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Greens awaken to the shutdown of rail freight.

By johnboy - 17 August 2011 14

The ACT Government has been closing down rail freight to Canberra for some years now. The cynical might think it’s related to the real estate value of the Kingston land the tracks run over.

This morning the Greens’ Amanda Bresnan has expressed concern:

“Moving to rail freight is a way of preparing for the future and challenges such as climate change and peak oil. Road freight is generally more than twice as polluting as rail freight.

“In the most recent question time, Minister Corbell dismissed Greens’ questions about improving rail freight, saying the Government was doing nothing, and there was nothing it could do.

“In fact the ACT’s own 2009 Rail Master Plan shows that there are many ways to enhance rail infrastructure in the region which would provide significant benefits, including improved opportunities for rail freight.

“The problem is just that the Government has not taken these opportunities.

“The Greens want the Government to explore options for an intermodal freight facility at a site near the existing rail line, which would allow for rail freight to transport to road freight once it reaches Canberra. The current proposal to relocate the Kingston station to Fyshwick provides a good opportunity to investigate this.

“intermodal” can be another word for “double handling”.

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
Greens awaken to the shutdown of rail freight.
Bussie 1:04 pm 18 Aug 11

arescarti42 said :

Lets not forget the fact that because damage to the road surface increases exponentially with weight, a single large truck causes the same amount of damage as about 9000 cars.

Guess how much damage a train causes to the road surface.

Road damage is proportional to the fourth power of the axle weight. So a truck with an axle weight of 6 tons does 1296 times the damage as a large car with an axle weight of 1 ton. Fourth powers are pretty rare in physics so I’d like to know the formula for this. I asked an engineer once and he’d heard of it but couldn’t offer any more info.

dpm 9:45 pm 17 Aug 11

Classified said :

…something about a big container of pig crap and the lake…

I thought the lake WAS the big container of pig crap?!?

Classified 7:10 pm 17 Aug 11

wildturkeycanoe said :

To make the railway line viable we’d first have to clean up all the debris on the track, erect barriers to prevent kids throwing boulders and the like at locomotive windscreens and build a soundproof barrier [like the one on the Hume Highway at Goulburn] so the residents of the new waterfront villas don’t get disturbed by the “toot-toot”. Maybe a “Simpson’s Movie”-like dome could be used so that aircraft noise also is negated. Benefits for the rest of Canberra include an abundance of car parking spaces due to those being trapped inside the dome, an increase in the value of land throughout as waterfront properties become unpopular and we’d have somewhere to pump and contain all the blue-green algae in summertime.
Doh! I’ve forgotten what my point was….

…something about a big container of pig crap and the lake…

Thumper 6:53 pm 17 Aug 11

Actually the original Canberra station was in Civic, but the bridge over the Molonglo washed away in 1922 and was never rebuilt.

Yeah, I know. In fact you can still see some of the earthworks associated with the old track. I believe the terminus was roughly where the chess pit is now.

wildturkeycanoe 6:47 pm 17 Aug 11

To make the railway line viable we’d first have to clean up all the debris on the track, erect barriers to prevent kids throwing boulders and the like at locomotive windscreens and build a soundproof barrier [like the one on the Hume Highway at Goulburn] so the residents of the new waterfront villas don’t get disturbed by the “toot-toot”. Maybe a “Simpson’s Movie”-like dome could be used so that aircraft noise also is negated. Benefits for the rest of Canberra include an abundance of car parking spaces due to those being trapped inside the dome, an increase in the value of land throughout as waterfront properties become unpopular and we’d have somewhere to pump and contain all the blue-green algae in summertime.
Doh! I’ve forgotten what my point was….

martyman 4:34 pm 17 Aug 11

Thumper said :

Such a pity that the lines stopped at Kingston.

If it had run through civic and out to Belconnen then onto Yass and wherever then we would have had a heap of old school railway hotels and a viable and cheap alternative to cars and aircraft.

Actually the original Canberra station was in Civic, but the bridge over the Molonglo washed away in 1922 and was never rebuilt.

Lazy I 3:08 pm 17 Aug 11

How many years late is this exactly? 25? Intermodal freight facility… like the start of a rail/freight terminal that was built and never exploited that is now used for a Dog Food HQ in Kingston? what a great, fresh, new idea! (no climate change / peak oil drum beating required)

Speaking of which, does anyone have any old photos/stories/news articles/details about this (proposed) freight terminal?

http://goo.gl/VaZcR

qbngeek 2:24 pm 17 Aug 11

I have an idea, lets get heaps of those little ride on trains (like the ones at Darling Harbour) and drive them through Canberra to Parliament House in peak hour traffic while claim to be ‘True Australians’. We can even claim that we have no intention of disrupting anything….hang on…that plan sounds familiar……

Skyring 2:05 pm 17 Aug 11

Thumper said :

If it had run through civic and out to Belconnen then onto Yass and wherever then we would have had a heap of old school railway hotels and a viable and cheap alternative to cars and aircraft.

I have heard people say the choice is to drink or drive, but I have never heard one suggested as a cheap and viable alternative to the other.

More details, please!

Stevian 1:13 pm 17 Aug 11

arescarti42 said :

Lets not forget the fact that because damage to the road surface increases exponentially with weight, a single large truck causes the same amount of damage as about 9000 cars.

Guess how much damage a train causes to the road surface.

None because it travels on rails. Oh it was a rhetorical question.

Thumper 12:24 pm 17 Aug 11

Such a pity that the lines stopped at Kingston.

If it had run through civic and out to Belconnen then onto Yass and wherever then we would have had a heap of old school railway hotels and a viable and cheap alternative to cars and aircraft.

EvanJames 12:10 pm 17 Aug 11

The systemised dismantling of the rail network, and increase use of trucks for freight is an exercise in a particular industry being subsidised by everyone. Other western countries have maintained and improved their rail networks. We’ve chopped rail lines by building roads over them and letting the railways decay. We actually HAD infrastructure and it’s been allowed to disintigrate while the truck industry got a big freebie.

the damage that trucks do to the road is huge. Without trucks, a road could be built and pretty-well left alone. With trucks, you not only get damage to the surface, but also to the underlying structure. We are all paying for this.

Dreadful policy-making, driven I suspect by a very active industry lobby.

arescarti42 11:01 am 17 Aug 11

Lets not forget the fact that because damage to the road surface increases exponentially with weight, a single large truck causes the same amount of damage as about 9000 cars.

Guess how much damage a train causes to the road surface.

Boring_Name 10:15 am 17 Aug 11

This looks like it will be one of those issues that won’t be addressed until the price of oil makes it necessary (i.e. it is too late). I hesitate to say I agree with the Greens, but this makes sense.

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