Victoria’s peak transport body welcomes an announcement from the state’s port and freight minister to increase capacity across freight-only broad-gauge rail lines, which will expedite the movement of agricultural goods to ports from farming communities.
Under the announcement, operators on the Shepparton-Tocumwal rail freight corridor will be able to carrier heavy loads thanks to works completed by V/Line including increasing the depth of crushed rock supporting tracks and assessing and upgrading culverts and bridges on high-use corridors.
The V/Line works have delivered higher tonnage capacity at four grain terminals on the broad-gauge freight network from 19 to 20 tonne axle-load (TAL).
“This is a smart investment in developing Victoria’s freight network and makes the existing rail infrastructure more productive and efficient,” said Victorian Transport Assocation CEO Peter Anderson.
“The larger capacity created from increasing the weight tolerance of these crucial rail networks has many positive repercussions for our supply chains including greater certainty of supply and the potential for transport cost savings as a result of productivity gains.
“Ultimately, consumers benefit from these investments because the standard of living we have come to expect from having regular access to high-quality, fresh produce is enhanced.”
Anderson reiterated that other forms of transport also benefit from the rail freight network being able to carry heavier loads and greater volumes.
“Whenever capacity is increased on the rail network, road freight operators benefit because ultimately they are tasked at both ends of the rail line haul. Whether it be by rail or road, freight must be moved safely and productively, and the Victorian Government’s ongoing investment in the intermodal freight network is welcome news,” he said.
Pacific National CEO Paul Scurrah said the company had moved 200,000 tonnes of grain on the Shepparton-Tocumwal line in the past 12 months.
“(This) is the equivalent to removing more than 3700 trucks off Victoria’s road network,” Scurrah said.
“Hauling more bulk grain by trains means fewer trucks on country roads, improving safety and reducing emissions.”
The project is part of $181 million earmarked in the 2022/23 Victorian Budget for critical maintenance works on the regional rail freight network, to improve competitiveness and support the growing freight task that is vital to regional economies and supply chains.