Railway upgrades derail B-double access during busy harvest

B-double access to GrainCorp’s Murchison East site will be impacted by upgrades to the railway station that sits right next to it, right in the thick of the busy harvest.

Up to 150,000 tonnes of wheat and canola are expected to arrive at the GrainCorp site this season, but the upgrades will close the Murchison/Violet Town Road at the level crossing from December 1 to December 10.

The railway works are part of the Shepparton line upgrade to allow velocity trains to travel there for the first time.

As ABC News reports, GrainCorp has been in discussions with Rail Projects Victoria since July about the issue – with one of the suggested solutions being to “delay harvest”.

“They actually asked if we could get the growers to delay the harvest,” said senior supply chain manager for the south Craig Cochrane.

“That really does show that they hadn’t taken into account how important that time of year is for the local area.”

Initially the works were set to force B-doubles to take a 38km detour, however GrainCorp says a more viable solution has now been put on the table.

“On average, 20 per cent of the trucks coming into the GrainCorp Murchison East site are B-doubles which equates to around 200 truck movements from the west this harvest, which would need to take a 38km diversion (one way) at an approximate cost of $8/t freight,” GraonCorp told Big Rigs.

“The solution now being offered is what we requested for growers situated to the west and north of our site – that oversize vehicles approaching from west or north of the level crossing will now be able to use the local detour route previously approved for smaller vehicles.”

Originally, larger vehicles such as B-doubles, were advised they would need to travel via Shepparton.

Instead, B-doubles will be allowed to access the GrainCorp facility via a 4km detour onto Pretty John Road, and return using an 8km detour onto Douglas Road. This map below has been provided by Rail Projects Victoria.

Traffic management will be in place while the road and crossing are closed to control the movement of B-doubles through the detour, with traffic on Pretty John Road and Douglas Road reduced to one-way to allow the larger vehicles through.

“We are really pleased with the result for growers and truck drivers and wish them all the best for the upcoming harvest, and ask that they stay safe,” added GrainCorp.

Earlier this year, GrainCorp upgraded the Murchison East site by adding 80,000 tonnes of extra storage. It’s expected the site will this year be filled with between 130,000 to 150,000 tonnes of grain.

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