Australian freight railways for a new century

After a decade of reform, Australian rail has demonstrated that it can be cost-efficient in moving bulk freight such as coal and iron ore along with the lion's share of the non-bulk freight market on the east/west corridor. However, on the north-south corridor, rail has less than 20 per cent market share of contestable freight. This paper looks at one particular aspect, rail infrastructure, which can be improved to give faster transit and reduced rolling stock inventory and fuel costs to contribute to reduced train operating costs, while at the same time reducing the ongoing cost of infrastructure maintenance. This paper considers track alignment, and explores the aspects of cost and benefit that are relevant to the justification of such work. By way of example, construction of a 67 km Karuah Valley railway could replace the existing 91 km Hexham - Stroud Road section with its poor alignment plus halve transit times and reduce fuel use by 40 per cent. A new 67 km Grandchester - Gowrie crossing of the Toowoomba Range, replacing the existing 107 km section, would cut freight train transit times from about three hours to one hour and almost halve fuel use. Appreciable reductions in external costs would also result in both cases. The paper concludes with some commentary on the issue of funding where there are benefits to the community in general as well as specifically to the project participants.

Media Info

  • Pagination: 11p.
  • Monograph Title: AusRAIL PLUS 2005, 22-24 November 2005, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01516905
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 4 2014 7:58PM