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Rail Trucking: Some maths for the Sydney to Brisbane Rail line


Ok… so how many trucks could the Sydney Brisbane rail line handle? How many trucks could we get off the Pacific Highway?
10… 100… 1000? Is this all worth it?
Here are some figures.
  • The station manager I interviewed at the Casino rail station said that up to 15 trains pass through per day with the maximum on the weekends.
  • This manes that 7-8 trains pass every day going opposite directions.
  • This means one train passing every spot on the line every 2 hours on average.
  • Each train is up to 1.5km in length and must go on the side rail at least twice in a 12hour Syd Bris trip to allow other trains to pass. During this time they are waiting for the other train to clear the main line since it is shared by trains going north and south.
  • The Sydney Brissy line is about 1000km long.
  • During a 12 hour trip there would be at least seven other trains on the line with you at the same time.
  • Given that the train is 1.5km in length and a 10 km buffer is needed in front of each train for safety reasons you need to take at least 7x 12km (or 90kms) of track just for trains and their safety zones.
  • This leaves 900k’s of track available for rail trucking activity.
  • Give each truck a 300meter buffer this means 3 trucks per k and this means…
  • A capacity of up to 2700 trucks 10 hr trip or (2700 x 2.4 ) 6,480 per day with each truck getting on and off the rail maybe three times per trip…
  • In reality a 2-3 hour drive spell means 4-5 stops in 10 hours which actually adds to the relieving of congestion further.
  • Better still what if the main line went bidirectional… ie one rail line in each direction… spacing could get down to 100 meters and the space needed for trains could be reduced due to never risking a head-on collision….
  • With this config the capacity more than doubles…
  • Only 50k’s are needed for all the trains on the line…
  • And 10 trucks can travel per km of rail which makes the equation 2 x 950 x 10 which is 19000 trucks in 10 hours which is over 32,000 trucks per day at full capacity.
And this is a line in high existing use!
Note: This is not a definitive research figure but more an initial assessment prior to full research and verification which would happen prior to publishing the post prototype business plan.
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