Railway Digest July 18 E-Copy

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July 2018 RD Blurb
Pacific National launches North Queensland sugar services
Following Aurizon’s exit from bulk sugar and molasses haulage from Wilmar Sugar’s four Burdekin area sugar mills to the Port of Townsville and Wilmar’s Proserpine to Mackay Harbour sugar haul, new contractor Pacific National has been gearing up to start operations for this year’s sugar season. John Hoyle reports.

Heidelberg – Doubling Up
Having concentrated their efforts over the past few years on upgrading the Caulfield, Burnley and Northern Group lines, Melbourne’s Level Crossing Removal Authority more recently turned its attention to the Hurstbridge and South Morang lines. Having covered the South Morang to Mernda project in our January issue, David Campbell describes some major works recently undertaken at Heidelberg and Rosanna that will transform operations on the Hurstbridge line.

Canberra rail in the twenty-first century
Current Sydney to Canberra train services are too slow to be commercially attractive in the 21st Century. Rail transport specialists Philip Laird and Max Michell take a look at past studies for incremental improvements to train services, mainly upgrades of the existing track between Sydney and Canberra, and suggest how ‘Medium Speed Rail’ options should be considered as a short-term objective for reducing Sydney-Canberra passenger train transit times and improving frequencies.

An Easter Road Trip
Phil Melling was keen to see both the Mineral Resources ore trains and the Aurizon 6020 class units, transferred to Western Australia from the wind up of Aurizon’s interstate intermodal operations, in action. (And maybe some of SCT’s ‘new’ LDPs on interstate services.) Unfortunately, this involved a road journey of 900 kilometres from his home in Geraldton to Kalgoorlie, then another 400 kilometres south if a visit to Esperance was included. It was looking like the best time for this trek was Easter, plus the week following.