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Strategically connecting W.A.

Started by DVR, August 14, 2006, 16:20:31 PM

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Hi all,

I did hear talk about introducing standard gauge mineral lines in the Geraldton area. I did think initially, that seemed silly - imposing another gauge break and removing potential for network co-ordination - but consider this - if there was scope to get back as far as Meekatharra, with the support of the Pilbara miners, one could continue the line on to Newman, build a connection to Tom Price and allow both Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to access the new Geraldton Port as a means of production / cyclone proofing their own ports at Port Hedland and Dampier? Strategically sensible? Then continuing on the same tack, build in the opposite direction from Meekatharra south east to Leonora, connecting the mineral lines to the national network. Why? Why not? With Leonora - Kalgoorlie - Esperance brought up to Pilbara standards, you would then have W.A.'s key mineral ports Port Hedland / Dampier / Geraldton / Esperance interconnected!

Lets go further! The Midland line to Geraldton is well used, however the WAGR line Northam / Kalannie / Maya / Morowa / Mullewa is broken in the middle and almost redundant. If standard gauge appeared in Geraldton, would it not be sensible to convert Mullewa to Northam to standard gauge, which would connect Geraldton to the standard gauge network? Further, with standard gauge linking Kalgoorlie - Leonora - Meekatharra - Mullewa - Northam, Perth would have a second standard gauge route from Kalgoorlie - a strategic asset to protect against derailment / storm damage to the Northam - Kalgoorlie via Merridin route.

Even further! I have heard mutterings from the Pilbara miners about considering a new transcontinental route from the Pilbara to Central Queensland. Great idea! I cant see the proposed line cutting across the Great Sandy, Gibson and Tanami Deserts, so one would logically expect the line to head north east to the Kimberley and pick up the original ambitious Australian Inland Rail Expressway plan of Kunnanurra - Katherine - Tennant Creek - Mt Isa - Winton - Longreach - Emerald - Gladstone. With the increasing productivity of the Kimberley, it is crying out for connection to the national rail network. Under the original A.I.R.E. plan, the Kimberley was virtually sceeded to the Northern Territory. In linking W.A. standard gauge networks, Perth can retain a grip on it's remotest region. Added to the current Inland Rail Spine proposals and to what I detailed previously above, Western Australia would then be strategically in a good position with two trans-continentals (Three from Kal to Northam) protecting it from derailment / storm or other calamity, which with rails increasing domination of the trans continental traffic flow, is making W.A. increasingly vulnerable with one, easily disrupted trans-continental.

Z [Tas]


Reference your comment regarding buses connecting with trains, most bus routes connect with the trains at train/bus stations, with these bus routes working as feeders for the trains. There are designated bus/train interchanges on all train lines, but as these were the original passenger lines in Perth dating from 1881, the provision of the bus/rail interchanges has meant huge re-development costs. There were some stations where the work was relatively easy to provide, but others would have been very expensive.   The Northern Suburbs Railway (NSR) which opened in 1994 or thereabouts provided a park and ride car park; kiss and ride stop for cars to drop off and drive away, and/or a bus interchange station at nearly all of the new stations built. The interchanges were provided on bridges built over the top of the railway, so that passengers got off the bus, and got a lift, stairs or escalator to the platform below. There are a couple withing 5 kms of Perth that are none of those things (Leederville on NSR); City West, West Leederville (Fremantle); McIvor - Midland and Armadale lines, Claisebrook (Midland and Armadale); and a few others {for example} which are mainly ped access to work places rather than residential. The new stations on the Mandurah will in the main have all of the various facilities available, and will all be bus interchange stations. There is one (proposed South Perth) which will probably not have bus interchange, but is likely to have some limited parking available. It is very close to residential apartments, and it is hoped that passengers will walk to and from.
There have been a couple of new stations and an extension to the NSR built as well, with suitable interchange facilities provided.
As far as the Standard Gauge connections, the ideas certainly make sense, which unfortunately probably means they won't happen, because the pollies hardly ever do anything that makes sense, do they? :lol:

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