More Traffic for the MNPL?

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More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby Cogload » Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:31 pm

http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/loca ... e/3925469/


The enterprise of three Wanganui businesses has found an ally with Port Taranaki to see the creation of an inland container terminal in Wanganui's industrial belt.

Expected to be operational in about a month's time, the inland port will see the mothballed Castlecliff rail branch line back in service and thousands of containers transported to the New Plymouth port.

Initial projections have 3000 high cube containers moved from the Balgownie facility in the first year, but Port Taranaki expects that to increase to at 10,000.

And the port company was also hoping to piggyback the growing log trade through the city as well.

The inland port has been pulled together by principals of Molten Metals, Port Taranaki and Ali Arc Logistics and KiwiRail.

Port Taranaki is leasing a block of land, between Heads Rd and Gilberd St, that is owned by Molten Metals. The branch line runs between that land and Ali Arc Logistics warehouse on Heads Rd, which is the storage facility for milk powder produced at the Open Country factory further along Heads Rd.

Olaf Numssen, commercial manager for Port Taranaki, said milk powder production was a catalyst for the creation of the inland container terminal here.

In the peak of the season, Open Country is producing about 160 tonnes of milk powder daily.

Currently it has about 6300 tonnes of powder stored in the Ali Arc Logistics warehouse.

Mr Numssen said the terminal would be know as Westgate Wanganui, picking up on the Westgate name already branding the New Plymouth port facility.

Currently milk powder is trucked from the factory to the warehouse where it is loaded into containers and then trucked to the railhead on Taupo Quay.

But under the new regime containers will be stored at the new terminal, loaded from the warehouse and then hoisted on to rail wagons by a 75-tonne mobile container crane and ferried by rail to Port Taranaki.

Brendon Bartley, manager of Ali Arc Logistics, said they expected the branch line to be operating within about a month and they expected physical work to start on the line next week.

Bruce Tunbridge, Molten Metals owner, said Open Country was the key to the deal and having the warehouse and rail line side-by-side was ideal.

More room was available if it was needed in future and it would not only be handling Open Country dairy product.

The terminal would also operate as an empty container depot, which meant containers could be upgraded on site.

"The advantage of that is importers and exporters can drop off any sort of container here and we can upgrade to whatever standards are required, rather than going back to a port like New Plymouth or Wellington to be upgraded saving a huge amount in transport costs," Mr Numssen said.

He said his company already had commitment from one shipping company to use the Wanganui terminal once it was running and there were others lined up to be involved later.

"Port Taranaki is dealing with the logistics while KiwiRail is providing the rail transport."

He said he was aware Palmerston North had been talking up its chances of creating an inland port but he said the influence of Open Country and Ali Arc Logistics had been decisive, along with high land prices in that city.

"We were targeting Open Country as a major exporter so it came together from that," he said.

Mr Numssen said Port Taranaki was also hopeful of getting petfood manufacturer Mars Corporation on board, shipping export product from its Castlecliff plant.

"Once the momentum starts, others will come on board because we have been talking to producers about this project.

"Wanganui provided the opportunity that we couldn't afford to lose and it provides options to expand the in future," he said.

"What we can do here could easily expand to other commercial interests well beyond this region. We have budgeted on Open Country's container numbers first, but that could double really quickly.

"The volume is there, but it's just the matter of capturing that market."

Mr Numssen said Port Taranaki had been actively pursing new customers since it lost a big portion of the output from dairy giant Fonterra.

"But the upside is we've gained a good amount of Australian cargo and our turn around as a transtasman port is hard to beat. We're now targeting anyone in the lower North Island who trades with Australia."

The biggest growth through New Plymouth lately had been with logs and the company was looking at a fivefold increase in that traffic.

Deputy Mayor Dot McKinnon said the council had been working on the concept for about six years and saw it as an economic opportunity that would spread well beyond the city's borders.

Mrs McKinnon said it will take a significant amount of heavy traffic off the district's roads as well.

"We've been talking to KiwRail and Port Taranaki for about six years to get this going. But it wouldn't have happened without the brokering done by Open Country, Molten Metals and Ali Arc Logistics," she said.

"These guys brokered the deal and it's going to be great for Wanganui."


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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby PTNZ » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:44 pm

Someone sent the "Daily News" version of this article to me last month sometime, so I'm surprised it's only just been published in Whanganui. There are still some very interesting opportunities out there for smaller deep-water ports like Port Taranaki, despite Tauranga attempting to take over the world.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby Gibbo » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:54 pm

Yep good news - in fact most of the old Castleliff branch will be used. It may be modest to start with but the potential is there - esp. if those logs start passing thru this operation.

Will be intersting to see how operations pan out - currently 560 runs morning Palmy to Wanganui & returns as 561 in the evening - wonder if crew hang around Wanganui? I guess initially 560/561 will continue & traffic will run a dog-leg via Palmy to allow existing Palmy/New Plymouth/Palmy to handle the traffic!?! The other option may be to have mainline services pick-up/drop off traffic at the old Eastown yard & have a shunt work the run to & from the inland port & other Wanganui traffic (no call for 560/561 in that scenario I guess then!?!)

Anyway, as traffic develops operations will no doubt change to meet traffic requirements.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby mango » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:05 am

Haven't seen anything about this in the 'naki. Looks like it is all go though.
Gibbo wrote:currently 560 runs morning Palmy to Wanganui & returns as 561 in the evening
Gibbo wrote:The other option may be to have mainline services pick-up/drop off traffic at the old Eastown yard & have a shunt work the run to & from the inland port & other Wanganui traffic (no call for 560/561 in that scenario I guess then!?!)
At the moment there is no access from the Whanganui branch to the north, the traffic would have to be shunted out to east town unless the triangle is reinstated at Aramoho. It might be easier to extend 560/561 to New Plymouth and pick up the traffic at east town on the way past.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby Gibbo » Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:29 pm

mango wrote:Haven't seen anything about this in the 'naki. Looks like it is all go though.
Gibbo wrote:currently 560 runs morning Palmy to Wanganui & returns as 561 in the evening
Gibbo wrote:The other option may be to have mainline services pick-up/drop off traffic at the old Eastown yard & have a shunt work the run to & from the inland port & other Wanganui traffic (no call for 560/561 in that scenario I guess then!?!)
At the moment there is no access from the Whanganui branch to the north, the traffic would have to be shunted out to east town unless the triangle is reinstated at Aramoho. It might be easier to extend 560/561 to New Plymouth and pick up the traffic at east town on the way past.


Here's the breif article about it in the latest KR newsletter:

"Regular rail traffic is to resume shortly on the Castlecliff branch line in
Wanganui to collect containerised export product for Open Country Dairy. The
extent of work needed to prepare the four km line is currently being scoped by
the KiwiRail Network team.

At this stage one return service a day is planned along the line, says KiwiRail
Freight National manager IMEX, Mike Lambert.
“A rail served load out facility will be built at the inland port facility setup by the
Port Taranaki and a consortium of local businesses, next to the dairy factory
warehouse. With the multi-year transport contract with OCD secured, the
growth prospects for this area are looking good.”

The line has not been used for regular services since 2004." <ends>

Sounds like traffic will be modest at first, based on OCD traffic, which I understood already went by rail (trucked to Taupo Quay for loading onto rail but not sure which port it went to). There's other traffic such as fertiliser that requires a connection to Palmy, so safe to say it'll be same 560/561 services in the short-term. Hopefully in a relatively short space of time traffic will increase enough to either a direct Wanganui - New Plymouth & return service, or the re-opening of EastTown yard as a pick-up/drop-off point (from where 560/561 or a local shunt could handle the run down the branch.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby geoff_184 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:40 pm

523 could convey Taranaki tonnage down to East Town, which could later be uplifted by 560 and taken into Wanganui, rather than having a shunt come out from Wanganui to uplift it. There would even be time for 523 to take it to Palmy for connection with 560, but personally I've never liked that kind of planning, involving extra running costs, and opening up the possibility that the tonnage won't make it to its destination despite having already passed right by that destination.

In the evening, 561 could set down Taranaki tonnage at East Town, for 520 to uplift.

I expect the DC that normally runs 560-561 will operate the shunt down the branch during the day. Crew wise it'll probably be LE1 560 to Wanganui, then shunt the yard and branch, then car back to Palmy, and LE2 car from Palmy, Shunt the branch and yard, then 561.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby Gibbo » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:45 pm

geoff_184 wrote:523 could convey Taranaki tonnage down to East Town, which could later be uplifted by 560 and taken into Wanganui, rather than having a shunt come out from Wanganui to uplift it. There would even be time for 523 to take it to Palmy for connection with 560, but personally I've never liked that kind of planning, involving extra running costs, and opening up the possibility that the tonnage won't make it to its destination despite having already passed right by that destination.

In the evening, 561 could set down Taranaki tonnage at East Town, for 520 to uplift.

I expect the DC that normally runs 560-561 will operate the shunt down the branch during the day. Crew wise it'll probably be LE1 560 to Wanganui, then shunt the yard and branch, then car back to Palmy, and LE2 car from Palmy, Shunt the branch and yard, then 561.


Yep Geoff sounds like a good plan to me! I know there's been some doubt as to whether a DC can run down the CastleCliff line, but as it won't be a fast run it shouldn't take too much to sure things up enough. Until the inland port starts handling more significant tonnages of rail traffic (hopefully this will be the case as the port chases more business in that region) it wouldn't really be viable to allocate a 'resident' Wanganui shunt loco & crew, so using the DC off 560/561 makes good sense.

IIRC EastTown has a completely intact yard with plenty of sidings but just not used - they'd need a little work too I guess.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby mango » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:20 am

Has the service started yet? Perhaps it is the PN-NP service that has shown up in NZ Railtrack.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby PNGL » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:08 pm

mango wrote:Has the service started yet? Perhaps it is the PN-NP service that has shown up in NZ Railtrack.


The service has not started yet, still lots to do on the lines rehabilitation. A couple of Kiwirail Network crews were hard at work today, surprising to see them out and about on a Sunday morning but then again there is a considerable amount of work required to reopen the line. Perhaps the estimation of things being operational within a month from 7th of October (Wanganui Chronicle Article) was rather overly optimistic.

Points of interest so far, weed spraying has been done & sections of rail marked, possibly indicating replacement in certain areas.

Below a selection of photos showing the current state of the line.

Image

Start of the Castlecliff branch, concrete sleeper still in place chained to track indicating limit of Wanganui Yard.

Image

Open Country Warehouse on Heads Road, site of new container terminal can be seen in background.

Image

Entrance to CT site for trucks, Gilberd Street.

Image

Looking West, line thru to Molten Metals, containers can be seen in far background.

Image

Security fence currently in place will need to be removed or modified, there is another track on far left which is part of the loop at Molten Metals (presently covered in sand/weeds)

Image

Looking East down Heads Road, Open Country Factory can be seen in the distance towards right hand side.

Image

Start of Loop at Molten Metals

Image

Loop at Ali Arc Logistics warehouse, Open Country currently use this for storage as well.

Image

Next to Affco Imlay

Image

Open Country Factory, Heads Road. Track on the left used to go into the Affco Plant, with a small yard just past the factory, all the sidings were lifted years ago when Affco Traffic was lost to road transport.

Image

Present Wanganui CT site.

Image

Rake of wagons in the Wanganui Yard, Taupo Quay.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby mango » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:30 pm

Any developments yet?
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby gandalf1944 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:27 am

http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/rail-fre ... ff/5/88248

Rail Freight Services To Be Extended To Castlecliff
Voxy News Engine Tuesday, 19 April, 2011 - 17:15

Wanganui industry will benefit from an extended rail freight service to Castlecliff with work to reinstate the railway line starting this week.

Council and KiwiRail are working together to ensure that the rail line along Taupo Quay/Heads Road, from Cobham Bridge to the Open Country Dairy site in Castlecliff, will be operational for freight trains to run from May 1.

"This is great news for Wanganui and will enable dairy products to be freighted by rail and ease some congestion on the roads," says Mayor Annette Main.

"The railway line was closed 8 years ago and since that time there has been an increase in heavy traffic and road congestion along Heads Road and Taupo Quay. Although there are no other changes planned to KiwiRail facilities in the Wanganui area at this stage, this is a positive step forward. We will certainly welcome any further development of rail freight services to our industrial area."

Work is underway by Wanganui District Council staff to trim, and in some areas remove, trees and shrubs to ensure safety at car and pedestrian crossings along the 4km of reinstated track.

Small trees are likely to be removed from a stretch of track from Cobham Bridge along the Pitzac boundary to give pedestrians using the crossing clear visibility. A Norfolk Pine hibiscus will be removed at the Bedford Avenue/Heads Road intersection.

"The majority of work will involve trimming back trees to maximise sight-lines to ensure that people will be able to safely cross the tracks, as well as tar sealing many of the crossings which are currently shellrock," says Mayor Main. "This will make them smooth and more accessible for mobility scooter users and prams."

"Whilst the reinstatement of this section of rail is great news it's really important that people remember to act in the correct manner at rail crossings and not forget that trains will now be running on a regular basis. This will not just be along Taupo Quay and Heads Road, but also on the line from Aramoho which runs through the top part of Victoria Avenue."

The Heads Road level crossing near Imlay Place and Prince Street will have a flashing lights and bell system installed by the end of 2012. The Purnell Street level crossing on the main Wanganui line is also likely to be upgraded to half-arm barriers by March 2012 because of the increase in train traffic.

The crossings on Bedford Avenue and Balgownie Avenue are expected to have light traffic use. The Bedford Avenue crossing will be protected with a "Stop" plus a "Railway Crossing" sign on both sides of the crossing. Balgownie Avenue will have "Give Way" and "Railway Crossing" signs on both sides of the railway.

Initial plans are to run four trains daily on weekdays, which will then increase to seven days a week with additional services as demand requires.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby scooter » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:27 pm

gandalf1944 wrote:http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/rail-freight-services-be-extended-castlecliff/5/88248

Rail Freight Services To Be Extended To Castlecliff
Voxy News Engine Tuesday, 19 April, 2011 - 17:15

Wanganui industry will benefit from an extended rail freight service to Castlecliff with work to reinstate the railway line starting this week.

Council and KiwiRail are working together to ensure that the rail line along Taupo Quay/Heads Road, from Cobham Bridge to the Open Country Dairy site in Castlecliff, will be operational for freight trains to run from May 1.

"This is great news for Wanganui and will enable dairy products to be freighted by rail and ease some congestion on the roads," says Mayor Annette Main.


Good stuff indeed. The next question is will these be their own dedicated services or will Wanganui get its own shunt loco and crew to shuttle traffic to and from Aramoho/Easttown?
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby geoff_184 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:34 pm

I gather the existing operation will continue, except the DC will spend less time shunting at Wanganui, in favour of spending a bit of time down the branch.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby mango » Fri May 06, 2011 1:56 pm

According to a KR press release the Castlecliff line was to start operating on may 5 (yesterday ;) ). Can anyone confirm? Photos & videos would be cool too.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby pcuser42 » Fri May 06, 2011 2:13 pm

IIRC DC 4225 made a run down the branch light loco.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby Chris Randal. » Fri May 06, 2011 2:18 pm

pcuser42 wrote:IIRC DC 4225 made a run down the branch light loco.


Geoff's excellent group has photos.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby pcuser42 » Fri May 06, 2011 2:54 pm

flange wrote:
pcuser42 wrote:IIRC DC 4225 made a run down the branch light loco.


Geoff's excellent group has photos.


My source of information :)
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby Gibbo » Fri May 06, 2011 4:40 pm

Photos of DC4225 light engine on branch...

http://www.steamrailwanganui.co.nz/Cast ... ranch.html
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby Gibbo » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:10 am

Good news for KR in Taranaki - let's hope the traffic is not only sustained but that it grows. Hopefully KR will be able to tap into Port taranaki's significant export log traffic with some of those logs coming up from lower Nth Island.

http://www.nztransport-logistics.co.nz/ ... anaki.html

p.s. I'm fairly certain you'll find the reference to 'Fonterra’s Otorua cool stores' is actually their Motorua store... down by the port beside the rail line where lengths of rail had reportedly been recently dumped ready for some work - perhaps they've had a siding been repaired / re-instated.
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Re: More Traffic for the MNPL?

Postby mango » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:47 am

Gibbo wrote:p.s. I'm fairly certain you'll find the reference to 'Fonterra’s Otorua cool stores' is actually their Motorua store... down by the port beside the rail line where lengths of rail had reportedly been recently dumped ready for some work - perhaps they've had a siding been repaired / re-instated.
The loop outside the Moturoa cool stores has been partly relaid over several weekends recently. You can tell how much because the old section has tarseal laid over the ballast but the new section is just ballast up to rail level.
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