RAIL freight operator Pacific National, bulk grain-handling companies GrainCorp and Cargill Australia and public transport operator V/Line have formed a working group to advise it on current and future infrastructure upgrades for Victoria’s broad-gauge network.
The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form the Grain Rail Improvement Plan (GRIP) Working Group at Gheringhap, a rural township near Geelong yesterday.
They will work together to understand the operational requirements needed to best run each terminal as every freight line and terminal is different and will benefit from upgrades in different ways.
Victorian Government Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said the MOU outlined the group’s commitment to finding the optimum ways to use the rail-freight network.
“Victoria’s rail-freight network is diverse and getting the best out of it will take a co-ordinated approach which is why I’m thrilled to see industry coming together to commit to improving the system,” Ms Horne said.
GrainCorp chief operating officer Klaus Pamminger said the GRIP will work with the Victorian Government to ensure all rail upgrades benefit the state’s grain supply chain.
“Rail-freight working groups like this are crucial to bridging the knowledge gap and guiding government infrastructure planning and delivery, to make real and meaningful improvements to the supply chain,” Mr Pamminger said.
“It’s an important step forward in the industry’s efforts to inform an efficient future strategy for the network.”
Cargill Australia general manager commercial Grant McDougall said having input into the increasing the efficiency and utilisation of the broad-gauge V/Line rail network will hopefully bring benefits to the industry.
“Increasing rail axle loads, rollingstock lengths and rail speeds on the rail network will ensure rail is a competitive option for land transport of grain in Victoria to the benefit of growers and local communities,” Mr McDougall said.
Gheringhap track upgrades
Alongside the MOU signing, Ms Horne and Member for Geelong Chris Couzens also announced that track upgrades would soon be under way in Gheringhap.
Works will reopen a passing track, paving the way for longer 800-metre freight trains to run from the Sea Lake and Manangatang lines to the Port of Geelong, while also allowing 800m trains coming via Melbourne from the Piangil, Deniliquin and Tocumwal lines to reverse and access the port for the first time.
“These key improvements in Gheringhap will result in both safer roads for local drivers and the boost for producers that they need,” Ms Couzens said.
Upgrades are already under way across the state as part of the investment, including construction of a major rail bridge at Barakee on the Sea Lake lin, and upgrades to siding tracks at several grain terminals.
Track improvements were completed on the Piangil line in recent weeks, and on the Tocumwal line earlier in the year; these have allowed trains with 20-tonne axle loads to run on the lines.
Future works include replacing 40 kilometres of rail in the busy shared freight corridor between Dunolly and Inglewood, sleeper replacements on the Deniliquin and Geelong-Ballarat lines, and upgrades to more terminal sidings.
Source: Victorian Government